Clinton Insults “Activist Base” of Democratic Party

Last weekend the big story was a bogus argument that Obama had insulted those who live in small town America. This weekend’s buzz in the blogosphere is likely to be about a different story–Hillary Clinton insulting the Democratic base. Celeste Fremon reports:

At a small closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton blamed what she called the “activist base” of the Democratic Party — and MoveOn.org in particular — for many of her electoral defeats, saying activists had “flooded” state caucuses and “intimidated” her supporters, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by The Huffington Post.

“Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] — which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down,” Clinton said to a meeting of donors. “We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn’t even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that’s what we’re dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it’s primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don’t agree with them. They know I don’t agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me.”

Besides making the mistake of further antagonizing party activists, Clinton is also wrong on her facts:

In a statement to The Huffington Post, MoveOn’s Executive Director Eli Pariser reacted strongly to Clinton’s remarks: “Senator Clinton has her facts wrong again. MoveOn never opposed the war in Afghanistan, and we set the record straight years ago when Karl Rove made the same claim. Senator Clinton’s attack on our members is divisive at a time when Democrats will soon need to unify to beat Senator McCain. MoveOn is 3.2 million reliable voters and volunteers who are an important part of any winning Democratic coalition in November. They deserve better than to be dismissed using Republican talking points.”

Her claims about intimidation don’t hold up well either:

Howard Wolfson, communications director for the Clinton campaign, verified the authenticity of the audio, and elaborated on Clinton’s charge that these same party activists were engaged in acts of intimidation against her supporters: “There have been well documented instances of intimidation in the Nevada and the Texas caucuses, and it is a fact that while we have won 4 of the 5 largest primaries, where participation is greatest, Senator Obama has done better in caucuses than we have.” About Clinton’s remarks suggesting dismay over high Democratic activist turnout, Wolfson said, “I’ll let my statement stand as is.”

In fact, the Nevada caucuses occurred prior to MoveOn’s endorsement of Obama, and when Clinton made her remarks, the Texas caucuses had yet to take place.

While last weeks “bittergate” controversy did not hurt Obama, this might hurt Clinton. At worst Obama repeated some of Thomas Frank’s flawed ideas on voting based on values versus economics. Even if Obama’s analysis was partially in error, there was no validity to Clinton’s distortions of his comments to claim he was insulting small town Americans. In contrast, these comments clearly show Clinton insulting Democratic activists who do have a role in determining the outcome of the final primaries.

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6 Comments

  1. 1
    Probus says:

    Once again she has blatantly obscured the truth. As a member of Moveon I take great offense to what she said. Moveon was formed to give a voice to Americans who don’t have one. They did support the Afghanistan war. She is only getting more desperate as time goes by.

  2. 2
    Kevin Hayden says:

    Actually, MoveOn was formed to oppose Bill Clinton’s impeachment. And I’m betting this will lose her lots of superdelegates as the backlash will be fierce.

  3. 3
    orin says:

    I am a member of MoveOn…I am a REGULAR VOTER!
    I INTIMIDATE NO ONE!

    I AM INSULTED!

  4. 4
    Ermes says:

    Please help italians!! We have Silvio Berlusconi again! Please do something! Invade us !

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  5. 5
    Cory says:

    I love how she continues to blame everyone but HERSELF for a failed campaign.

    The excuses, the lies, the negative attacks are nothing more than her showing her true side. Thankfully, this is all going to be over soon.

  6. 6
    Chris White says:

    And she would have gotten away from it if it weren’t for you damn kids!

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