Even Conservatives and Libertarians Are Debunking Attack From Crazed Clintonistas

As bad as all the dishonesty and racism which came directly from the Clinton campaign was, even worse has come from some of the blogs backing Clinton. This includes one prominent Clinton blogger spreading rumors of a nonexistant tape of Michelle Obama using a derogatory term for whites. This attack is so lame that even conservative and libertarian sites are helping to debunk it.

The Volokh Conspiracy went to actually investigate and, after a lengthy discussion, finds that the charges are “almost certainly false.” National Review found a novel with a similar scenario, suggesting that “whoever started this rumor got the idea from a novel.” In case anyone wonders why conservatives would weigh in, they write:

Why is a conservative blogger putting this much effort into dispelling a rumor that, on paper at least, would hurt Obama? Because those who prefer a president besides Obama should not go through the summer and fall convinced that a magic-bullet devastating tape is going to appear as an October surprise to save the day.

Also, there are a lot of good reasons to vote against Barack Obama; but what people claim Michelle Obama says on a tape that no one can produce and no one has seen isn’t one of them.

Reason has also summarized these posts and has noted the implausibility of these charges. They refer to Obama’s response:

Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday batted down rumors circulating on the Internet and mentioned on some cable news shows of the existence of a video of his wife using a derogatory term for white people, and criticized a reporter for asking him about the rumor, which has not a shred of evidence to support it.

“We have seen this before. There is dirt and lies that are circulated in e-mails and they pump them out long enough until finally you, a mainstream reporter, asks me about it,” Obama said to the McClatchy reporter during a press conference aboard his campaign plane. “That gives legs to the story. If somebody has evidence that myself or Michelle or anybody has said something inappropriate, let them do it.”

Asked whether he knew it not to be true, Obama said he had answered the question.

“Frankly, my hope is people don’t play this game,” Obama said. “It is a destructive aspect of our politics. Simply because something appears in an e-mail, that should lend it no more credence than if you heard it on the corner. Presumably the job of the press is to not to go around and spread scurrilous rumors like this until there is actually anything, an iota, of substance or evidence that would substantiate it.”

Reason supports Obama’s reply, writing:

The proper response to a “when did you stop beating your wife?” query like this is: “Go to hell.”

Clinton Superdelegate Exposes Racist Strategy of Clinton Campaign

The use of racism as a strategy by the Clinton campaign has been discussed frequently, and, along with other dishonest tactics, has been a major reason why many Democrats backed Barack Obama. Finally a superdelegate who supported Clinton has come clean and admitted that this was part of their strategy. The (New Jersey) Star Ledger reports:

A Democratic superdelegate from New Jersey said this week he is worried that unifying the party behind Barack Obama may be difficult because the Clinton camp “has engaged in some very divisive tactics and rhetoric it should not have.”

U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews, who supported Hillary Clinton throughout the primary season, disclosed he received a phone call shortly before the April 22 Pennsylvania primary from a top member of Clinton’s organization and that the caller explicitly discussed a strategy of winning over Jewish voters by exploiting tensions between Jews and African-Americans.

“There have been signals coming out of the Clinton campaign that have racial overtones that indeed disturb me,” Andrews said at his campaign headquarters in Cherry Hill Tuesday night after he lost his bid for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination.

“Frankly, I had a private conversation with a high-ranking person in the campaign … that used a racial line of argument that I found very disconcerting. It was extremely disconcerting given the rank of this person. It was very disturbing.”

The strategy, like so much of what Hillary Clinton did during the campaign, was what we would expect from a Lee Atwater or Karl Rove, not a Democrat. The tragic legacy of the Clinton campaign is that the Democrats have much more difficulty in claiming the high moral ground when a leader such as Hillary Clinton has conducted a campaign as repulsive as any conducted by the Republicans. Fortunately Barack Obama ran a clean campaign, free of Rove/Clinton tactics. He can regain the high moral ground for Democrats, but only if he resists the pressure to allow Hillary Clinton on the ticket or to have a major role in his administration.

John McCain Remembers William Jennings Bryan

John McCain appears to be demonstrating his long memory in an interview with USA Today:

“I believe that people are interested very much in substance,” McCain said. “If it was simply style, William Jennings Bryan would have been president.” (Bryan, a noted orator, lost three presidential elections as the Democratic nominee in 1896, 1900 and 1908.)

It might be interesting to hear McCain’s recollections about the 1896 presidential campaign. I would also be interested in hearing John McCain’s childhood memories of John Adams after watching the HBO miniseries.

Joking aside about what this example might say of McCain’s age, it is amazing to see that the same candidate even got a shot three different times. That certainly would not happen again. Richard Nixon got a second shot, but not many politicians could even do that today. Maybe Al Gore could win the nomination a second time if he sought it considering both the unusual circumstances surrounding his loss and the way in which he has changed over time. A second loss would certainly close the door even for him.

As for McCain’s argument in the interview, he is making a serious mistake if he underestimates the substance of Barack Obama. Mark Halperin has listed the many ways in which McCain is mistaken for underestimating Obama. For example, number thirteen:

13. How powerful debates might be when the allegedly inexperienced Obama of allegedly questionable judgment goes toe-to-toe with McCain, even on national security, and is therefore deemed of sufficient strength and stature to be president by many.

Clinton the Wrong Choice For Obama

I don’t imagine that George Will is tops on the reading list for most readers here. Therefore it might be worth pointing out his current column as it pretty much echoes what I’ve written in the past about the prospect of picking Hillary Clinton to be Obama’s running mate. The key point is that, while Obama must look to unify the party, this is not the only consideration. The election will largely be fought over independents, and those former Republicans who are began voting Democratic in 2006. Obama can find other candidates who will appeal to Clinton’s voters without needing to accept all the negatives Clinton brings to a ticket. Will wrote:

Obama’s choice of a running mate will be the first important decision he makes with the whole country watching, so it will be a momentous act of self-definition. If he chooses her, it will be an act of self-diminishment, especially now that some of her acolytes are aggressively suggesting that some unwritten rule of American politics stipulates that anyone who finishes a strong second in the nomination contest is entitled to second place on the ticket.

Behind the idea that Obama should run in harness with Clinton is this wobbly theory: Because the Republican Party is in such bad odor, if you unify the Democratic Party, that will suffice to win the election, and she is a necessary and sufficient catalyst of unity. But she is neither. She would be a potent unifier of John McCain’s party, thereby setting the stage for exactly what the nation does not need, another angry campaign of mere mobilization rather than persuasion.

Surely she, the most polarizing Democrat, is not the only Democrat who can help Obama appeal to the voters who rejected him in Kentucky and West Virginia. And as his running mate, she would nullify his narrative. The candidate embracing the “future” should not glue himself to Washington circa 1993. Someone promising to “turn the page” should not revert to an earlier chapter. Someone whose mantra is “change” should not embrace her theme of restoration — that the 1990s were paradise and Democrats promise paradise regained.

She, whose experiences as First Spouse have not impressed Obama as acquisitions of national security expertise, would not help him deflect McCain’s predictable attack on his thin curriculum vitae. And the more she seems to be pushing Obama to choose her, the more resolutely he must resist. Otherwise, at the beginning of a contest in which McCain will portray him as a flimsy figure, Obama will define himself as someone who can be pushed around.

Clinton certainly will not help Obama on national security matters, unless the race comes down to who is most qualified to fend off imaginary sniper fire. Clinton has no match on that one. Unfortunately she also has few matches for dishonesty in politics, having morphed into a virtual clone of George W. Bush. Beyond fighting such imaginary sniper fire, her national security credentials are highly exaggerated, along with all her other claims of being the more experienced candidate.

Just Say No

It is unfortunate that there will not be a new episode of Saturday Night Live on this week (something I haven’t felt since the original cast left) and that Jon Stewart won’t be on until Monday. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton met Thursday evening. There’s no word on what they really talked about, only increasing the comic potential coming out of that meeting. Most likely it was the opposite of the norm with the woman begging and the man saying no.

No matter how tempting, Obama must say no. He must not be misled by what people are saying at the moment. How many Clinton supporters are really going to allow the guy who wants to bring back clothes hanger abortions to this country to win? That is just temporary insanity which they will get over by November. The Clintonistas are socially conservative in a lot of areas, but not on abortion.

On the other hand, to quite a few new Democratic voters, including those who gave Democrats their Congressional victory in 2006 and those who are now joining the party to support Obama, Hillary Clinton represents what is rotten in Washington almost as much as George Bush does. That is a fact which will not change.

Meanwhile Geraldine Ferraro is arguing that Barack Obama should pay off Hillary’s debt. I guess someone has to pay for all those dishonest mailers and robocalls aimed at Obama. Why not just send the tab to the target?

Update: To clarify for Michael, I expect Obama to help pay off Clinton’s debts. That doesn’t mean I won’t include a bit of snark, such as in pointing out that some of the debt was incurred by Clinton’s use of smear tactics directed at Obama. He will also make a show of considering Clinton as VP but is very unlikely to pick her for reasons I’ve discussed in detail in previous posts.  Of course he will allow her to make it look like it was her decision.