Bill Clinton: If I Only Were A Republican

It just gets harder and harder to take Bill Clinton seriously. The Trail quotes Clinton:

“If we were under the Republican system, which is more like the Electoral College, she’d have a 300-delegate lead here,” he said. “I mean, Senator McCain is already the nominee because they chose a system to produce that result, and we don’t have a nominee here, because the Democrats chose a system that prevents that result.”

This system which the Democrats chose just happens to be the one which allowed Bill Clinton to win the nomination in 1992. What Clinton is really singing here is, “If Only I Were a Republican.” He’s also singing, “If I Only Had a Brain.” Intelligence in running the campaign is what has really made the difference. Barack Obama figured out how to win based upon the rules in existence. If there were different rules, there’s no reason to think that Clinton would have won as Obama would have based his strategy upon whatever rules there were. The Clintons failed to plan for a candidate surviving after Super Tuesday and would have been in trouble regardless of the rules.

It is also amusing how the criteria changes. Early in the race, when Hillary Clinton had the lead due to superdelegates who committed to her early, the claim was that this was a race about delegates. When Obama took the lead in delegates the Clintons claimed it was about the popular vote. With Obama winning more delegates, more states, and more of the popular vote, Clinton now claims that the nomination should have been settled by an entirely different set of rules.

How Hillary Clinton Would Deal With John McCain


Hillary Clinton is mad that Barack Obama suggested that John McCain would not be as bad as George Bush. Hillary Clinton would prefer to be harder on McCain–even to Swift Boat him. Above is the type of ad we might expect if Clinton receives the nomination.

Obama Responds to Clinton’s Ad


Obama responds to Clinton’s ad based upon fear by asking, “And who in times of challenge will unite us, not use fear and calculation to divide us?”

Clinton just seems to never learn how her tactics only play to Obama’s strengths.

Posted in In The News. 1 Comment »

Clinton Continues Negative Campaign Over Nonsense

When Hillary Clinton hasn’t been pandering to fear or fabricating arguments that Obama, and not her, has been engaged in negative campaigning, she’s been resorting to all sorts of other nonsense. Last week her campaign concentrated on distorting Obama’s comment in San Francisco, falsely claiming he was insulting small town voters. Today the morning news concentrated on her latest attack on Obama for saying that all three of the current candidates would be better than Bush:

“Senator Obama said today that John McCain would be better for the country than George Bush,” Mrs. Clinton said. “Now, Senator McCain is a real American patriot who has served our country with distinction. But Senator McCain would follow the same failed policies that have been so wrong for our country the last seven years. Senator McCain thinks it’s O.K. to keep our troops in Iraq for another 100 years. Is that better than George Bush?”

Obama had said:

“You have a real choice in this election. Either Democrat would be better than John McCain – and all three of us would be better than George Bush,” Mr. Obama said. “But what you have to ask yourself is, who has the chance to actually, really change things in a fundamental way?”

Obama’s campaign later backtracked on this:

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said: “It’s hard to imagine a president doing a worse job than President Bush but one thing is clear, John McCain wants to do his best to emulate Bush’s failed economic and foreign policies and even his divisive political tactics.”

Perhaps there is no reason to say anything good about the opposition, but saying someone is not as bad as George Bush hardly means they would be an acceptable president. George Bush will go down in history as one of the worst presidents of all time and odds are the next president won’t be as bad, even if a Republican. McCain is certain to distance himself from Bush during the general election campaign and it will be necessary to campaign against McCain’s own faults and not against George Bush.

McCain very well might not be as bad as Bush. While he shares many of his faults, at least McCain is against torture (even if inconsistent when it comes to voting), is more willing to admit that global warming exists (although we don’t know if he will actually do anything more than Bush), and doesn’t get along with the religious right as Bush does (although he sure does pander to them).

I don’t really care all that much if someone wants to say that McCain is not as bad as Bush, or if they believe he is as bad. We won’t really know unless we are stuck with him as president. Regardless of whether McCain is as bad as Bush, this is a nonsense political issue. Whatever Obama said about this has zero meaning in terms of deciding upon who to vote for. However, the manner in which Hillary Clinton has tried to turn this into a major campaign issue only highlights once again why we need an end to her type of politics. It’s the final day before a major primary and the morning news concentrated on this attack from Clinton. Doesn’t she have any better final messages to voters with regards to reasons to vote for her?

Steve Benen also points out that it has been Hillary Clinton who not only has been campaigning by saying something he objects to far more than saying that McCain is not as bad as Bush:

Because it seems to me the single most troubling thing the Clinton campaign has done all year was praise John McCain for having the experience necessary to be president, for passing the “commander-in-chief threshold,” for being a “moderate,” and even for being right about global warming.

Who’s been cheering on John McCain?

Clinton Resorts to Scare Tactics Yet Again

Hillary Clinton is coming under attack for resorting to scare tactics to get votes, including using images of Osama bin Laden in her final ads before the Pennsylvania primary.

The Obama campaign has responded with this statement by Bill Clinton in which he says:

Now one of Clinton’s Laws of Politics is this: If one candidate’s trying to scare you and the other one’s trying to get you to think; if one candidate’s appealing to your fears and the other one’s appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope. That’s the best.

This ad is reminiscent of the red phone ads. Resorting to such scare tactics has been a common strategy from the Clinton campaign, representing one reason why she is a poor choice to replace George Bush. This latest ad is actually less objectionable than some previous incidents. After losing in Iowa Clinton flew into New Hampshire to give this warning: “We have people who are plotting against us right now, getting ready to repeat the atrocity of Sept 11. We know it, I see the intelligence reports.”

Hillary Clinton is also the one who used the 9/11 attack to justify voting to go to war in Iraq:

And finally, on another personal note, I come to this decision from the perspective of a Senator from New York who has seen all too closely the consequences of last year’s terrible attacks on our nation. In balancing the risks of action versus inaction, I think New Yorkers who have gone through the fires of hell may be more attuned to the risk of not acting. I know that I am.

Yet Another Clinton Lie–This Time Distorting Blog Post

Although Clinton has been waging a dirty, negative campaign, she has often tried to distort the facts to make it appear that it is Obama who has been doing this. Marc Ambinder reports that the Clinton campaign has distorted a headline to falsely suggest that Obama has been attacking her. He writes:

In their newest television spot in Pennsylvania, the Clinton campaign used a headline from this blog to to make the point that Barack Obama was on the attack. Indeed, my headline was: “Obama on the Attack.” That was true.

But my headline did not so much refer to his specific charges against Sen. Clinton on health care as it did to Obama’s remarks on the stump, the slam on Clinton by an Obama supporter on a conference call, etc.

In general, I don’t consider a contrast ad on health care to be an “attack.” As I pointed out in another blog post, an Obama campaign aide says the Obama health care ad was aired as a direct response to an ad funded by the American Legacy Project, a 527 that receives its money from Clinton donors. While I don’t think the Clinton use of the headline was beyond the pale, I will write my headlines more carefully from now on.

This has been a common tactic used by Clinton to draw a false equivalence between Obama disagreeing with her on issues and Clinton’s dishonest attacks.

Thomas Frank Responds on Elitism and Bitterness

Barack Obama’s recent comments on small town American voters have been compared to the writings of Thomas Frank. I discussed these views at length yesterday in this post. Today The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed from Thomas Frank.

Frank looks at whether Obama, and Hillary Clinton, are elitist:

Consider, for example, the one fateful charge that the punditry and the other candidates have fastened upon Mr. Obama – “elitism.” No one means by this term that Mr. Obama is a wealthy person (he wasn’t until last year), or even that he is an ally of the wealthy (although he might be that). What they mean is that he has committed a crime of attitude, and revealed his disdain for the common folk.

It is a stereotype you have heard many times before: Besotted with latte-fueled arrogance, the liberal looks down on average people, confident that he is a superior being. He scoffs at religion because he finds it to be a form of false consciousness. He believes in regulation because he thinks he knows better than the market.

“Elitism” is thus a crime not of society’s actual elite, but of its intellectuals. Mr. Obama has “a dash of Harvard disease,” proclaims the Weekly Standard. Mr. Obama reminds columnist George Will of Adlai Stevenson, rolled together with the sinister historian Richard Hofstadter and the diabolical economist J.K. Galbraith, contemptuous eggheads all. Mr. Obama strikes Bill Kristol as some kind of “supercilious” Marxist. Mr. Obama reminds Maureen Dowd of an . . . anthropologist.

Ah, but Hillary Clinton: Here’s a woman who drinks shots of Crown Royal, a luxury brand that at least one confused pundit believes to be another name for Old Prole Rotgut Rye. And when the former first lady talks about her marksmanship as a youth, who cares about the cool hundred million she and her husband have mysteriously piled up since he left office? Or her years of loyal service to Sam Walton, that crusher of small towns and enemy of workers’ organizations? And who really cares about Sam Walton’s own sins, when these are our standards? Didn’t he have a funky Southern accent of some kind? Surely such a mellifluous drawl cancels any possibility of elitism.

It is by this familiar maneuver that the people who have designed and supported the policies that have brought the class divide back to America – the people who have actually, really transformed our society from an egalitarian into an elitist one – perfume themselves with the essence of honest toil, like a cologne distilled from the sweat of laid-off workers. Likewise do their retainers in the wider world – the conservative politicians and the pundits who lovingly curate all this phony authenticity – become jes’ folks, the most populist fellows of them all.

Frank notes which party is the champion of encouraging and taking advantage of bitterness:

Conservatism, on the other hand, has no problem with bitterness; as the champion strategist Howard Phillips said almost three decades ago, the movement’s job is to “organize discontent.” And organize they have. They have welcomed it, they have flattered it, they have invited it in with millions of treason-screaming direct-mail letters, they have given it a nice warm home on angry radio shows situated up and down the AM dial. There is not only bitterness out there; there is a bitterness industry.

Consider the shower of right-wing love that descended in February on small-town newspaper columnist Gary Hubbell, who penned this year’s great eulogy of the “angry white man,” the “man’s man” who “works hard,” who “knows that his wife is more emotional than rational,” and who also, happily, knows how to “change his own oil and build things.”

Frank concludes with a summary of his views:

If Barack Obama or anyone else really cares to know what I think, I will simplify it all down to this. The landmark political fact of our time is the replacement of our middle-class republic by a plutocracy. If some candidate has a scheme to reverse this trend, they’ve got my vote, whether they prefer Courvoisier or beer bongs spiked with cough syrup. I don’t care whether they enjoy my books, or would rather have every scrap of paper bearing my writing loaded into a C-47 and dumped into Lake Michigan. If it will help restore the land of relative equality I was born in, I’ll fly the plane myself.