Vote For Hillary Clinton, Or Else


Parody Clinton commercial from Jimmy Kimmel Live

Quote of the Day: How Would Jesus Vote?

“I just keep thinking, if Jesus were alive now, he wouldn’t necessarily be voting Republican.”

–Portland seminary student Tyler Braun in an article in The Seattle Times on evangelicals who are supporting Barack Obama.

SNL on Clinton’s Arguments Regarding Electability

Amy Poehler performed a fantastic satire of Hillary Clinton’s arguments for being more electable than Barack Obama on Saturday Night Live (video above). The arguments come down to being a sore loser who would undermine Obama’s campaign so she could run in 2012, her supporters are racists who won’t vote for Obama (partially because she secretly would tell them not to), and that she has no ethical standards.

To see the full video click here.

I bet Clinton won’t be citing Saturday Night Live in the near future.

Florida Teacher Fired for Wizardry

Some things are just so bizarre that you can’t make them up. Tampa Bay Online reports:

The telephone call that spelled the end of Jim Piculas’ career as a substitute teacher in Pasco County came on a January day about a week after he performed the disappearing-toothpick trick for a group of rapt middle school students.

Pat Sinclair, who oversees substitute teachers in the Pasco County School District, was on the phone. She told Piculas there had been a complaint about his performance at Rushe Middle School in Land O’ Lakes.

He asked what she meant.

“She said, ‘You’ve been accused of wizardry,’

” Piculas said.

He said the statement seemed bizarre to him, like something out of Harry Potter.

Piculas said he replied, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

He said he also told Sinclair, “It’s not black magic. It’s a toothpick.”

Steve Benen is relieved that at least they didn’t burn him at the stake and wonders “how accusations of ‘wizardry’ can exist in the 21st century.” Considering that there are conservatives who believe things such as that dinosaurs and humans coexisted, and considering the conservative reaction to the Harry Potter novels, it comes as little surprise that there remain people who are worried abut wizardry.

How Hillary Clinton Prevented Us From Having Universal Health Care

Democrats who desire true health care reform, as opposed to a monument to Hillary Clinton’s ego, have been frustrated by Clinton’s dishonest attacks on Barack Obama’s health care plan. The Memphis Daily News describes how Clinton blocked another health care plan when she was First Lady, and why U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee supports Obama:

Cooper, the state chairman of Obama’s campaign in Tennessee, said his speech at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis would focus on the 2008 presidential contest in general terms. But a look at his dealings with the first lady in the 1990s helps put his current political stance into context.

The year was 1993, and the focus was on comprehensive health care reform. The Clinton administration was mounting a full-court press in persuading congressional leaders to sign on to a health care bill championed by the White House.

Cooper had a health care bill of his own.

“They turned up their nose at my bill, and that’s fine. But then they constructed this secret 500-person task force to draft a whole new bill – and I knew it would go nowhere,” Cooper said. “So I went privately to the White House to warn (Hillary Clinton). No publicity. No nothing.

“She brought in a camera to record the meeting. And she has not released the memos on this meeting. She immediately declared war on me. I warned her we didn’t even have the votes (for her bill) in our subcommittee. She said, ‘We’re going to (politically) cut your legs off.’ I’ve never gotten such a cold reception as I got from her.”

Cooper said the first lady set up a war room to undercut Cooper, who was gearing up for a run at the U.S. Senate in 1994. And a former television news reporter from Nashville was tasked with leading that war room, he said.

“Bill Clinton couldn’t have been nicer to me during this period,” said Cooper, who still keeps an old photograph of himself that was taken during a visit to the first lady’s West Wing office in the White House during the 1990s. “I went running with him. I played golf with him. I was asked to hang out in the White House with him.

“I respect Hillary supporters because they haven’t had the chance to get to know her like I have. She does not have the political skills of her husband. Or Barack. You need somebody who can bring people together. She criticized my health care bill because it wouldn’t achieve universal coverage until 1998. Well, today we’d be celebrating the 10th anniversary of having every American with insurance.”

The Clintons and Racial Divisions

Andrew Sullivan’s column in the Times of London is on how the Clintons have tried to use racial divisions to their advantage in the nomination battle. After describing the Clinton campaign Sullivan argues:

Yes: a candidate was explicitly arguing that she was the candidate of white Americans. No Republican would be so crude, certainly not John McCain. And that became her primary rationale for carrying on. After North Carolina, the short-term electoral costs have evaporated: West Virginia has a black population of just 3.3%, Kentucky has 7.5%, Oregon has 1.9%, Montana and South Dakota both have less than 1%. There are no black superdelegates willing to switch from Obama to Clinton at this point.

And so a strategy that was essentially telling superdelegates that a black man could not win the general election became Hillary’s last resort. In this, the Clintons were egged on by the less principled members of the Republican right.

Black Americans – skilled at judging when they are being dissed – got the message. In last Tuesday’s North Carolina primary, Clinton got only 7% of the black vote – a lower percentage than Nixon or Reagan had won in general elections. If someone had told me last year that a Clinton would get less than 10% of the black vote in a Democratic primary, I would have asked what they were smoking. But in a few months, the Clintons have turned a 30-point lead among African-Americans into a deficit of more than 80 points. No constituency has swung as much over the past few months. And the black turnout last Tuesday was massive.

Obama, mercifully, did not take the bait. Despite the Wright fiasco, he tried mightily not to be racially pigeonholed, as he has his entire life. His victory speech last Tuesday night was full of references to his predominantly white family from Kansas and his love of America.

It was a shrewdly adjusted message. And more interestingly, it seemed to be working – slowly. In Ohio, he won 34% of the white vote; in Pennsylvania, he won 37%; in Indiana, he won 40%. The more the Clintons attempted to polarise the voting racially, the more successful Obama was in deflecting it. His rebuke of Wright probably helped. But also the profound media attention.

The more working-class white voters actually saw and heard of him, the more their fears of the unknown seemed to subside. He won only 27% of white voters without college degrees in Ohio; he won 29% in Pennsylvania and 34% of them in Indiana. And when you look at age, the effect is even more striking. In North Carolina, a southern state, Obama won 57% of white voters under 30 and 45% of white voters under 40.

In the Clintons’ morphing into a crude version of racially angry Reagan Democrats, you can see an almost Shakespearian tragedy. Bill Clinton has a long and admirable record in civil rights; and was on the right side of the struggle in the South in his youth. He has an effortless rapport with black Americans, and they were his core final constituency of support in the darkest days of impeachment.

But like any southerner, Clinton also knew how to navigate racial resentment. In 1992, he interrupted the primary campaign to return to Arkansas to sign the death warrant of a mentally retarded black man. He made a point of attacking the radical black hip hop artist Sister Souljah in his first campaign. He signed off on welfare reform. His genius was in holding together a coalition that included enough Reagan Democrats to win, while never losing wide and deep black support.

But he never ran against a black candidate and neither did his wife. They are used to loving and supporting minorities – as long as the minorities know their place and see the Clintons as the instrument of their salvation. Obama broke that dependency and that relationship. And that was why the Clintons had to do all they could to destroy and belittle and besmirch him.

But in that venture the Clintons are destroying themselves and their legacy and their capacity to bridge the very gaps they now must widen to stay in the race. It is a Clinton tragedy – and one that most Americans seem slowly, cautiously but palpably determined not to make their own.

Joe Gandelman provides further background and an excellent survey of related articles. He also notes how this is ultimately harming Hillary Clinton and working to Obama’s advantage:

There is a hidden danger for Clinton in all of this, in terms of imagery.

It could be argued (and as you can see it is) that Clinton decided not to just telegraph her message about white voters but do it in a way that it was delivered in a sonic boom so voters in the remaining states pick up her belief that she is the one who is one of them in terms of being a blue collar worker kindred spirit (and they all happen to be white).

Now what will happen is that when Clinton wins the West Virginia primary, she and her side will point to the whopping margin as an enormous victory that proves her wide-spread appeal.

But the fact that this issue was raised in the manner in which it was raised, and sparked such widespread condemnation (when Charlie Rangel feels he has to distance himself from Clinton on this and diss her she REALLY knows she stirred things up) will diminish it’s impact.

Some Democrats and pundits will say: sure she won big, but she did it playing the race card.

Fairly or unfairly, that’ll be what will be implied — or said.

And it will likely decrease the impact of any win there on uncommitted Superdelegates — who increasingly seem to be getting out from hiding under the rock, behind the boulder, and at the bar….and are steadily endorsing Barack Obama.

Bill Clinton In Rural America

As yet another example of how the Clintons are dividing the party, Jake Tapper looks at Bill Clinton’s Message to Rural America:

Bill Clinton has the right to say whatever he wants, of course. But he’s a smart man. Brilliant, even.

He can do the math. He must know that it’s quite improbable that his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., will be the Democratic presidential nominee.

So what purpose does it serve for him to barnstorm a state like West Virginia and tell rural voters that Obama and his elitist political/media cabal allies are mocking Appalachia?

He’s using the kind of language Democrats typically use against Republicans — as in, stuff you say when you don’t want voters to vote for the other guy under any circumstance.

This is tough stuff to walk back from.

After providing some examples, he concludes:

And on and on… Ginning up the resentments and the class divide (and maybe other divisions). … His message to these voters: Obama and the media are laughing at you and think you’re stupid!!!

Obama has a clear problem with white working class voters. This kind of rhetoric exacerbates it. Clinton knows that — he’s trying to drive up turnout to maximize his wife’s popular vote argument to superdelegates. He has every right to do so — the race is not over, no nominee exists yet.

But this is what keeps Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi up at night.

Yes, it is a free country. Clinton has a right to do this. He has the right to engage in class warfare. After all, we do have free speech. He has the right to divide the party and increase the chances that John McCain will be the next president. Most likely presumptive Democratic nominee will bridge the gap with working class voters, but Bill Clinton does have the right to make this as difficult as possible. Bill Clinton has the right to destroy his own legacy. People have the right to do very stupid and hateful things. I just wish the Clintons were better people than this.

Clinton Is The One Dividing The Party

Donkey Dish has a similar take as I have on the manner in which the Clinton campaign and supporters are dividing the Democratic Party by dismissing liberals, especially affluent white collar ones, as elites whose votes do not matter. They write:

Grasping at straws as she continues to stay in the contentious Democratic race, Hillary Clinton claimed the following in an interview this week:

“I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on… Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me … There’s a pattern emerging here.”

This followed Democratic strategist / Clinton supporter Paul Begala’s quote during Tuesday night’s coverage of the Indiana primary on CNN:

“We cannot win with eggheads and African-Americans. Okay. That’s the [Michael] Dukakis coalition, which carried 10 states and gave us four years of the first George Bush. President Clinton, you know, reached across and got a whole lot of Republicans and independents to come.”

With their dismissive strategy and divisive remarks such as these, the Clintons are indeed reaching across the aisle. Right to John McCain.

Barack Obama just spent a month being labeled an elitist by Clinton and the mainstream media for his comments about “bitter” Pennsylvanians who “cling” to guns, religion and antipathy towards others…

If the Democratic party is to unite and defeat John McCain this November, these politics of division must end. And despite Obama’s “bitter” slip-up, the main culprits in perpetuating this damaging cycle are his formidable rivals.

As I’ve written many times, the old New Deal coalition is dead. In order to win, Democrats need the votes of working class voters, but also need the votes of blacks, independents, Star Bucks Republicans (who are now voting Democratic) and affluent white liberals. Bill Clinton only won because the vote was divided three ways in 1992 and 1996. By alienating the black vote and the vote of affluent liberals, Hillary Clinton is forming a coalition which will have a difficult time winning national elections. Democrats need a candidate such as Obama who can bridge these gaps and bring new voters into the party.

Hillary Clinton, Conservative Populist

I’m clearly not the only one who categorizes Hillary Clinton as a conservative populist as I’ve done in several posts, such as here. Jonathan Chait discusses the problems with conservative populists such as Hillary Clinton:

If economists or other social scientists dispute the conservative populist’s claims, that is only because they, too, are elitists. Bush would dismiss objections to the upper class tilt of his tax cuts by picking a middle class family (in this case, the Muellers) and saying, “Oh, some of the sophisticates will say that $2,700 doesn’t matter to the Muellers. ‘It doesn’t sound like a lot to me.’ It’s a lot to them. That’s what counts.”

And so, when Tim Russert said that economists believe the gas tax holiday won’t lower prices at the pump, Clinton campaign chairman Terry MacAuliffe replied, “Maybe for Barack Obama and for many of your economists, Tim, who you may talk to, you know what, maybe an extra hundred bucks for them isn’t a big deal. But I can tell you this, it is a big deal for most Americans.”

Social science analysis is the mortal enemy of conservative populism. The liberal populist sees politics as a series of quantifiable trade-offs between competing interests. The conservative populist offers an appeal that can’t be quantified: Who shares your values? Who is more manly? (James Carville: “If she gave him one of her cojones, they’d both have two.”)

If a liberal populist cites experts or numbers to back his position, that only proves to the conservative populist that he is out of touch. It’s the intellectual equivalent of buying arugula from Whole Foods. A Clinton endorser addressed a rally last month, “You didn’t go to Harvard! You weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth!” (Never mind that Clinton graduated from Yale Law School and had a far more stable, middle class upbringing than Obama.) In the liberal populists’ world, the locus of evil is K Street. In the conservative populists’ world, the locus of evil is Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In Clinton’s defense, she obviously does not believe her own social conservative rhetoric. But neither do Republican social conservatives. She is not running for president so she can suspend the gas tax any more than George H. W. Bush sought the office on order to increase the rate of flag-saluting.

One conceit of the conservative populist style is that its practitioners are “real,” while its targets are “fake.” For years, Hillary Clinton put herself forward as the earnest liberal policy wonk she actually is, while conservatives lambasted her as a phony. Since she started campaigning as the enemy of all she once held dear, some conservatives have started to appreciate her, even lauding her authenticity. The Weekly Standard‘s Noemie Emery gushed that after March 4, Hillary “began to seem real.” Indeed, she is now real in exactly the same way the conservative populists imagine themselves to be.

The other aspect of conservative populism which Chait doesn’t discuss is the manner in which Hillary Clinton has begun imitating George Bush, adopting the policies and tactics of the far right. The manner in which Congressional votes are set up to be along party lines acts to obscure the real divisions within each party. Clinton is considered liberal due to her populist economic policies, but in many ways they are just the mirror image of Republican policies. In each case they use economic policy to pander to their base for support, ignoring both reality and the best interests of the country. Moving beyond economic policy to social issues, matters of Executive power, support for the Iraq war, and tactics used there far too little difference between Hillary Clinton and George Bush.

SciFi Friday (Sunday Edition): The Three Big Mysteries on Television

Lost went backwards again as opposed to a flash forward, providing more on Locke’s life. I suspect we will not see a flash forward on Locke as the fate of those who do not leave the island will remain a mystery for a while longer. We find that Richard Alpert has been watching Locke since he was a born, and seems to have never aged. Matthew Abaddon met Locke when he was in physical therapy and, posing as an orderly, gave Locke the idea of going on a walkabout in Australia. This still leaves the question of how they got Locke, and the other passengers of interest, to go at precisely the time that Desmond would inadvertently cause the plane to crash.

The time differences were demonstrated again as the doctor on the freighter, who has already washed up on the beach, had not yet been killed. There are also strange things going on beyond the time issue. Ben found Jacob’s cabin, only to find both Christian Shephard and Claire there. Does this mean that Claire is dead like Christian Shephard (father to both Jack and Claire) or less likely that Christian Shephard is not dead?

Fortunately we are not going to miss episodes of Lost due to the writer’s strike. Originally there were to be sixteen episodes during each of the three final seasons. This season will wind up being two episodes shorter, but the next two seasons will be extended to seventeen episodes each. There are also some comments on the future of the show from co-creator Damon Lindelof:

“The finale this year will not be as tricky as last year,” he said. “Hopefully, this year it’s a little bit more of a straightforward action-adventure narrative. But the ending of the episode will hopefully engage and intrigue people looking forward to the next season of the show.”

Lindelof declined to say whether the flash forwards will continue, but did leave open the possibility of the show’s main story line on the island catching up with the flash forwards that have taken place on the mainland this season.

“It’s very exciting that the audience is going to be wondering when is the present going to be (next season),” he said. “We’ve moved backward in time, now we’ve moved forward in time. The present of the show has always been on the island — that may not necessarily be the case in the future.”

When it comes time to air the series finale in 2010, Lindelof said he and Cuse plan to “go into hiding for many, many months” at an “undisclosed location.”

“David Chase set a great example when he went off to Paris after ‘The Sopranos’ ending, which is great because all these people are going to be asking, ‘What does it mean? What is it?’ ” he said. “The fact that there’s no one really around to answer that question, it forces people to come up with what they think it means. We can guarantee our show will not end with a cut to black, it will be more clear than that. But whenever anything you love ends … there’s a certain disappointment.”

While some ambiguity about the future of the characters is to be expected, Lost better not go out with everything left a total mystery. Fading to black won’t work as well with a show of this type as with The Sopranos.

For those who watch on the SciFi Channel, Doctor Who has just revealed the back story on the Ood. There is yet another reference to a missing planet, which many speculate is a consequence of Rose jumping between dimensions. Once again The Doctor is portrayed as a heroic character who will be remembered, making the stories this season different from most in the past.

The SciFi Channel remains three episodes behind the BBC. I’ll avoid real spoilers, but this paragraph will give away a little of what comes next. First there is a two parter in which Martha Jones, now working with UNIT, brings The Doctor back to earth to fight an enemy from the original series, the Sontarans. The previews for the episode which aired yesterday reveal a real shocker: The Doctor’s Daughter. The daughter (picture above) is played by Georgia Moffett, daughter of previous Doctor Who star Peter Davison. Davison, the fifth Doctor also appeared in a brief video with the current Doctor, David Tennant in a video I previously posted here. Moffett has also been cast to play Jenna Stannis in the planned reboot of Blake’s 7.

Battlestar Galactica featured a guest appearance by Nana Visitor of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. There’s also a predictable killing of a red shirt and further movement towards humans and one faction of Cylons working together. Visitor is far from the only character in one science fiction show to appear on another. This week we also learned that Bruce Boxleitner of Babylon 5 will be appearing on Heroes next season.

The New York Post reveals the changes to take place on the next season of Weeds. Little Boxes will be played one final time in the first episode but now that Agrestic was burnt down the show will be moving to a seedy seaside town by the Mexican border (actually shot in Manhattan Beach, California). Nancy (Mary Louise Parker) has progressed from a suburban house wife who started selling marijuana to get by following the death of her husband to a big time drug dealer.

There are three major ongoing mysteries on television: the meaning of Lost, the fate of the humans and Cylons on Battlestar Galactica (including the final unrevealed Cylon), and the identity of Ted Mosby’s future wife on How I Met Your Mother. One blogger believes he found a clue in the pictures above. The letter in Stella’s (Sarah Chalke) apartment (right) appears to be the same letter in the background behind the kids (left).

This is far from conclusive. Possibly the props department just happened to use the same prop in both scenes. If Ted is really telling his children the same stories he is telling us, the kids would already know that this is their mother once he began talking about Stella by name. As with Lost and Battlestar Galactica we will have to wait and see how the mystery turns out.