Chestertown – Wilmington – New York

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Traveling through Chestertown, Maryland up to Wilimington, Delaware and then on up to New York was roughly the route that George Washington used to take when making the journey from his home at Mt. Vernon up to Manhattan. That’s what I’m doing this morning — and part of it in the car, where I’ve been listening to post-debate reactions on various Pennsylvania radio stations.
I didn’t get the debate turned on until 8:30 pm. Quick reactions. I thought that what I saw of Hillary Clinton last night was extremely impressive. She really knows her issues — and I’ve begun to develop a knee-jerk negative reaction to Barack Obama’s response style in debates. The contrast between his brilliant oratory in speeches and his ability to respond to questions clearly is profound and depressing. But that’s just me perhaps.
And how strange it was to hear Obama make the statement that “Israel’s security is paramount” while in contrast Hillary Clinton rode to the rescue of the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the UAE, and other states in the region if confronted by increasing Iranian bellicosity and aggression. Hillary gave the “no false choice” response — and that used to be turf that I thought Obama basically owned, at least until recently.
Obama seemed on the defensive to me in the parts of the debate I saw — and the Hillary Clinton that performed last night seemed refreshed, serious, studied. This Hillary hasn’t been on display for a bit.
I know it’s increasingly less and less likely — but as I think that Barack Obama is going to pull off the nomination, I really think his team needs to either offer Clinton the VP slot, even if she rejects it, and then put Durbin and Schumer on hold and offer Hillary the Senate Majority leader slot.
I don’t see a real pathway for Hillary Clinton to win given the numbers we are seeing in the Pennsylvania and other races — but what is absolutely clear is that Obama’s possible win will not be one in which Clinton was vanquished.
He is going to have to accomodate her franchise in some important way — and his team had better be thinking about that, or they will probably suffer a very serious political insurgency that undermines them in the coming battle with John McCain.
I’m off to New York now on the AMTRAK to New York to moderate an evening book party and reception for my colleague Parag Khanna and his new book The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order. The Washington Note is supporting this reception tonight — and if any readers would like to attend, zap me an email at steve@thewashingtonnote.com and I’ll send you the attendance information. I need full name and affiliation (if any) for the building security folks.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

54 comments on “Chestertown – Wilmington – New York

  1. DBRAN says:

    STEVE- I HOPE YOU WILL COMMENT FURTHER ON HILLARY’S
    UMBRELLA OF DETERRENCE FROM THE DEBATE. HER COMMENTS
    ARE SCARING ME!

    Reply

  2. DBRAN says:

    STEVE- I HOPE YOU WILL COMMENT FURTHER ON HILLARY’S
    UMBRELLA OF DETERRENCE FROM THE DEBATE. HER COMMENTS
    ARE SCARING ME!

    Reply

  3. DBRAN says:

    STEVE- I HOPE YOU WILL COMMENT FURTHER ON HILLARY’S
    UMBRELLA OF DETERRENCE FROM THE DEBATE. HER COMMENTS
    ARE SCARING ME!

    Reply

  4. Jasper says:

    I did not see the debate, but I read the transcript. I thought Obama did better, and had more substantive responses, compared to reviews I have read from people who watched the debate. So, my impression is that his defensive demeanor probably had a great impact, more so than what he actually said.

    Reply

  5. DonS says:

    Gypsy, I find you speculations a bit phantasmagoric, but kicky. But on a more realistic note, I caught this headline on CNN site, which relates to McCain smearing Obama with the “terriers love him” brush.
    Just how is Obama or the eventual candidate going to talk about Israel/Palestine/ME without either pandering [even more] or blowing the cover of the Israel lobby and talking to the “American people like they are grown ups (assuming Obama actually has a clue himself).
    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/
    I was going to post this up at the top of the page, but Steve is having so much cultural fun it seemed impolite. BTW, I’d probably agree with Steve’s assessment that its hard to have to much of a bite in “Candide.”

    Reply

  6. gypsy howell says:

    It’s hard for me to imagine any Obama accepting Hillary as a
    VP. If you were the presidential candidate, why would you set
    yourself up for 4 years of having a Cheney-esque shadow
    presidency (I mean in terms of weilding power, not Cheney’s
    specific policies) in the form of Bill Clinton, operating behind
    your back, perhaps contrary to your own political initiatives?
    OTOH, I can kind of see the appeal of a Clinton VP slot for
    McCain, not that I actually think it will happen. He strikes me
    as a person very much in the mold of Bush – loving the
    trappings and percs of power, but not so much the actual work
    involved in formulating and implementing policy. McCain
    seems to me to be another intellectually lazy, shallow-thinking
    and not particularly intelligent candidate who wants to be
    president for reasons that have more to do with personal
    aggrandizement than anything else. In that sense, I think
    McCain would be more than happy to turn over the actual
    workings of government to his VP.
    Back to your point about the divisions between the two camps,
    I do believe that once these primaries are over, the healing will
    begin between Obama and Clinton supporters, as we focus on
    the disaster that a McCain presidency would mean for this
    country. Yes, there may be a few die-hards who won’t vote for
    the democratic nominee when it turns out not to be the
    candidate of their choice, but I truly believe that as we get
    closer to November, those numbers will become fairly
    insignificant.

    Reply

  7. Paul Norheim says:

    “As for current polls, I’d suggest that people recall that McCain
    has had a free ride so far (…) What will count for this election is a)
    the economy b) Iraq c) the political machines on the ground. I
    can’t see McCain having an edge in any of those areas.”
    Good points, morzer.
    It will be interesting to see the real fight – between Obama and
    McCain.

    Reply

  8. morzer says:

    I think the Clinton franchise has been more of a myth than a reality for some time, and its latest owner is pretty much a bust. Sorry, but I can’t see Clinton on the ticket after the last two months, and an increasing number of Democrats feel likewise. There’s no point in having someone who has revealed incompetence, arrogance and dishonesty of appalling proportions. She brings nothing to the ticket but division and disloyalty. Yes, some embittered Clinton fans will sit out or vote McCain. That always happens – you’ll find crossover in any election you care to name.
    As for current polls, I’d suggest that people recall that McCain has had a free ride so far, but has already botched some fairly easy questions, and has a long history of dishonesty, compromise and flipflopping. I doubt he will survive any sort of examination well. In sum, don’t worry about polls this far out. They don’t reveal anything of significance. Last year, Clinton was inevitable, according to the polls – and now, she’s toast.
    What will count for this election is a) the economy b) Iraq c) the political machines on the ground. I can’t see McCain having an edge in any of those areas. He simply doesn’t know the first thing abut economics, his policy on Iraq is naive and unpopular, and the Obama campaign is the best game in town. Given those factors, my money remains firmly on an Obama win in November.

    Reply

  9. jojo says:

    The difference between the speeches and his performances in debates has troublef me, too. I don’t think the college professor rambling will work well if he is elected and surely will put me to sleep rather than inform me. Besides which, he seems entirely too willing to try to accommodate those who can’t be accommodated – the Republicans in congress. Bill Clinton thought he could work with them and it brought him much grief. NAFTA was negotiated by Bush I, and Clinton signed on in an effort to appear bipartisan.

    Reply

  10. DonS says:

    Speaking of mafia, I just can’t resist posting this bit about FBI chief Meuller lecturing about fraud, corruption and moral crisis. If this isn’t SNL material, what is? Talk about irony, how can these guys pretend to have any credibility anymore?
    http://www.wtopnews.com/?nid=116&sid=1389078

    Reply

  11. JohnH says:

    Pauline is right. No one in the foreign policy mafia is talking publicly about the wisdom or viability of the Bush administration’s Afghanistan strategy. The inimitable, incompetent Condi recently signaled why public discussion must be off the table, “Let no one forget, Afghanistan is a mission of necessity for the US, not a mission of choice.”
    But there are other solutions besides the military one. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization could broker a deal among the warring parties. Or the warring parties could come to terms amongst themselves.
    Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani recently told AP that, “We in the National Front and I myself believe the solution for the political process in Afghanistan will happen through negotiations.” Rabbani added that the opposition leaders would soon discuss and possibly select a formal negotiating team for holding talks with the Taliban.
    But don’t look for Steve or anyone in the corporate media the foreign policy mafia to publicly call for negotiations. It is an issue that the entrenched foreign policy mafia regards as far too important to be left to the vagaries of the negotiating process.
    Why? Well, it’s those mysterious vital strategic interests again: “Afghanistan is a key hub of resource-rich Central Asia and the Middle East,” according to M K Bhadrakumar.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/JD19Df02.html

    Reply

  12. pauline says:

    Steve,
    Here’s something I guess foreign policy wonks just don’t bother discussing these days with more important issues like the China Olympic boycotting potential taking up their time — the total failure of gw’s war on terrorism. gw, didn’t your mommy tell you about what happens when you tell lies to cover up other lies?
    Anyone read of the 300,000 US troops from Iraq, Afghanistan that now have mental problems, 320,000 with brain injuries?
    Nice foreign policy, gw!
    ***********************
    Some Perspective on the Bush Administration Fight Against Terrorism
    By: emptywheel Thursday April 17, 2008 3:19 pm
    December 2000: Richard Clarke develops policy paper entitled, “Strategy for Eliminating the Threat from the Jihadist Networks of al Qida: Status and Prospects.” It calls for identifying and destroying known Al Qaeda camps and pressuring Pakistan to cooperate in the fight against Al Qaeda.
    January 25, 2001: Clarke sends the “Strategy for Eliminating the Threat” document to Condi Rice, noting that “we urgently need … a Principals level review” of the threat posed by Al Qaeda.
    September 4, 2001: Condi holds first Principals Committee meeting dedicated to Al Qaeda.
    February 14, 2003: The Bush Administration unveils the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, which includes the objective: “Eliminate terrorist sanctuaries and havens.”
    July 22, 2004: The 9/11 Commission releases its report. The first recommendation is:
    The US government must identify and prioritize actual or potential terrorist sanctuaries. For each, it should have a realistic strategy to keep possible terrorists insecure and on the run, using all elements of national power. We should reach out, listen to, and work with other countries that can help.
    June 23, 2006: The Bush Administration announces the indictment of the Liberty City Seven, an alleged terrorist cell the FBI admits is “more aspirational than operational.”
    August 3, 2007: The Implementing the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act signed into law. It requires:
    (1) REQUIREMENT FOR REPORT ON STRATEGY.—Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report, in classified form if necessary, that describes the long-term strategy of the United States to engage with the Government of Pakistan to address the issues described in subparagraphs (A) through (F) of subsection (a)(2) and carry out the policies described in subsection (b) in order accomplish the goal of building a moderate, democratic Pakistan.
    December 13, 2007: The first trial of the Liberty City Seven ends in a mistrial, with one defendant, Lyglenson Lemorin, acquitted of all charges.
    April 16, 2008: The second trial of the Liberty City Seven ends in a mistrial.
    April 17, 2008: 87 months after Richard Clarke first insisted that the Bush Administration develop a strategy to combat Al Qaeda, 62 months after the Bush Administration announced its intention to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries, 45 months after the 9/11 Commission called for the Administration to develop a strategy to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries, 258 days after Congress required the Administration to submit a strategy to combat terrorist safe havens in Pakistan within 90 days, and one day after the Bush Administration insisted it may try a group of aspirational terrorists a third time, GAO releases a report finding:
    The United States Lacks Comprehensive Plan to Destroy the Terrorist Threat and Close the Safe Haven in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas
    No comprehensive plan for meeting U.S. national security goals in the FATA has been developed, as stipulated by the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (2003), called for by an independent commission (2004), and mandated by congressional legislation (2007).
    The report also states:
    al Qaeda is now using the Pakistani safe haven to put the last element necessary to launch another attack against America into place, including the identification, training, and positioning of Western operatives for an attack. It stated that al Qaeda is most likely using the FATA to plot terrorist attacks against political, economic, and infrastructure targets in America “designed to produce mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the population.
    see —
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2008/04/17/some-perspective-on-the-bush-administration-fight-against-terrorism/#more-2040

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    WigWag, you wrote, “It’s not bigoted to resent those who believe our religious or cultural views are anachronistic, it’s sensible. And it’s sensible not to support a party led by people who want to marginalize those views.”
    Please note that you are half making Obama’s point here. The Republican party has gone out of its way to court the Christian evangelical vote by trying to convince people that the party and the voters are aligned. Meanwhile, in private, many of the “elite” Repubs (leadership) have made truly snarky remarks about that very same evangelical vote. Note the Huckabee vs. McCain split. Real respect for views and well-being isn’t coming from the Republicans, especially McCain who would be happy to take your vote and then send your kids off to an unnecessary war, while cutting your taxes AND your services. You save 200 bucks a year on taxes and you end up with local public school fees that cost 200. (It happened in my town right after Bush’s first tax rebate.)
    So the fact is that the Repubs are pretending to respect your position long enough to get your vote.
    As for Clinton and Obama, POA is convinced they’re both corporate. I’m not quite as convinced. I think if Clinton reprises her husband’s presidency, we’re sunk. And I am ever *hopeful* that Obama can somehow take his lefty sensibilities and meld them with something market-oriented enough to pass Congress, and not so market-oriented as to destroy whatever Bush hasn’t gotten to.

    Reply

  14. Tintin says:

    Now you have me confused, Wigwag. I THOUGHT your point
    was that if Hillary doesn’t win, you’re going to give serious
    consideration to McCain. But your answer to me seems a bit
    confused. You admit that Hillary and Barack aren’t all that far
    off. So why NOT vote for Barack if he wins the nomination?
    You go on to talk about how much you like the Clinton years,
    but then start equating Serbia with Iraq. This is ridiculous. One
    doesn’t have to be a supporter of Clinton’s actions there to see
    that there is NO comparison between what Bush has wrought in
    Iraq and what Clinton did in Serbia. None!
    Then you start equating McCain’s positions with those of the
    other two. I can’t see it. McCain has been an EAGER supporter
    of the war in Iraq from the beginning. He has made VERY
    threatening noises about Iran. This is something that neither
    Barack, nor Hillary has done (though Hillary more so than
    Barack).
    So given that you seem to agree that Iraq has been a disaster,
    why would want to help McCain get elected by not voting for the
    Dem or by actively voting for McCain? Color me mystified.

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    WigWag, the “snark” was asking me if I know what “metaphor” means. I’m not going to pull rank, just going to point out snark. Oh, and “none of this seems important to you” is probably also a bit snarky. When improvements for some come along with tanking for others, I wonder if it’s worth it. Come to think of it, I make a lot more money now, under Bush, than I did in the 90’s. That doesn’t mean Bush has been good for the mass of humankind.
    And with regard to the list-making of divisions, this proclivity is part of the problem!! The Marxists all say class, the feminists all say gender, the race-thinkers all say race, the media are into lifestyle/culture/regional differences. Each one is a department at every university and each has its own tenets…. But this divide-making functions more to divide us than to get us to see what we have in common.
    WigWag, your kid with an autoimmune disease should benefit from EVERYone’s working together, and you ought not to have to pay 2000 dollars for a Remicade infusion, and you ought not to have to worry EVER about maxing out on insurance, changing a job and losing insurance, or insuring your kid after age 23. Every autistic kid should have private schooling that currently costs 50 THOUSAND dollars a year. You have to sue the school district each year to get the coverage, and the courts don’t want to pay. No woman should be underpaid, no darker-skinned person pulled over for DWB…. All of these issues are the same. And when we start making lists, comparing who’s more at a disadvantage, arguing HEY, how come I’m not on the list…we’ve already lost. The monied people, the empowered, keep their money and power and the rest of us languish.
    The society and economy likely have resources for a lot of this stuff, but we won’t use them to help unless we all see our own vulnerability to disease, disaster, disrespect…..
    End of diatribe!!!

    Reply

  16. Sue says:

    “The only real divides we have to overcome are the same divides that American society in general has to overcome: the racial divide, the income divide, the education divide, and the sectarian divide(s).”
    David, you forgot one in your list of “divides.” Did it ever occur to you that there might be a gender divide? Any woman can tell you that gender trumps everything else in the insidious way it influences our lives.
    But I probably shouldn’t be surprised by your omission, David. It’s one only a man would make!

    Reply

  17. Sue says:

    “The only real divides we have to overcome are the same divides that American society in general has to overcome: the racial divide, the income divide, the education divide, and the sectarian divide(s).”
    David, surprise, surpirse, you forgot one in your litany of “divides.” As any woman call tell you, the gender divide supercedes all others in the insidious way it insinuates itself into our lives.
    But of course you forgot that one, men usually do.

    Reply

  18. David says:

    “But many of us would rather give the Republican Party another look before we align ourselves with the likes of Obama and Kervick. And many of us will be giving Senator McCain a long hard look.”
    I think you will find the real John McCain utterly unacceptable.
    questions, I agree that this class divide that supposedly divides Democrats is pretty much faux. The only real divides we have to overcome are the same divides that American society in general has to overcome: the racial divide, the income divide, the education divide, and the sectarian divide(s). The Democratic Party represents Americans in general, although somehow that fact has been lost sight of, and the Republican Party represents special interests (we used to know what the real $pecial intere$t$ were). And let me remind anyone who has forgotten why southerners left the Democratic Party. It is for exactly the reason LBJ said they would, a fact that Nixon exploited so egregiously that, along with any number of other Republican candidates for office, that Mehlman, I think it was, felt compelled to apologize for that disgraceful “southern strategy.”
    I hope the next person who utters the phrase “limousine liberal” chokes.

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Thank you, Wigwag, I’m glad we are in agreement.

    Reply

  20. WigWag says:

    That’s right POA, I’m a jackass who pegs the Obnoxious Meter. All I can say is thank goodness for all of your astute, articulate and well reasoned comments.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Gads, this Wigwag jackass pegs the Obnoxious Meter. This despicable gushing about ANY of these three losers is a departure from reality.
    How many lies has Hillary been caught in the last coupla months? Hows that for a presidential qualification?
    Obama sat in the same church for twenty years, and never heard what his pastor was pontificating about? And all the sudden he’s best pals with Israel? Can anyone spell BULLSHIT?
    McCain, humming “Bomb Iran”, still can’t get the who’s who straight on which sects are which in Iraq, and seems to be a bit confused as to where Petreaus fits in the military hierarchy, and the babblin’ buffoon wants to be CIC?
    Meanwhile, its revealed this treasonous bitch Rice has lied to Congress about the torture saga, and who can doubt she’ll skate? Hey, lets see you or I swear an oath before Congress and get away with perjury.
    Then there’s always this slimey head up Bush’s ass Johnson, who equals that pathetic lying puke Gonzales in his ability to stonewall Congress by saying NOTHING when queried about wiping his ass with a court order.
    But hey, we can always burn up a few million campaign bucks debating whether or not to attend the Olympics.
    Screw all these elitist lying posturing pieces of shit. They are an EMBARRASSMENT to what this nation purports itself to be.
    Stick a fork in this nation, we’re done.
    If you aren’t angry, ashamed, and disillusioned, you aren’t paying attention.

    Reply

  22. Paul Norheim says:

    As a European, the US foreign policy is naturally of greater
    concern to me than the domestic issues. However, the US policy in
    the Middle East is obviously one of the most important issues for
    Americans too in this election. And I must confess that it`s hard
    for me to understand how anyone who is not ignorant (and you,
    WigWam, are obviously not ignorant) can even consider voting for
    a candidate who may throw America into another war in the ME
    (Iran) during these horrible times.
    The possible, no: the likely consequences for the whole region,
    for America, and possibly for other parts of the world, are of such
    proportions, that even considering the option seem like sheer
    madness for many of us Europeans. Too me, this alone
    (Chardonnay or not Chardonnay) would be sufficient reason to
    vote for Obama – if voting was an option for me.

    Reply

  23. DonS says:

    Leo opines that “I’d fully expect Hillary to contiue her bitter campaign against Obama after his inauguration.”
    Why then would you ever want her in a position as powerful as majority leader, certainly a perch from which she could wreck perhaps even more havoc than as VP?
    I realize this is getting out in front of reality a bit and, golly gee, Hillary may turn out to be a reasonable, uneogistic, unembittered team player after all.

    Reply

  24. Paul Norheim says:

    ” I just wonder once you get beyond Iran and Iraq whether those
    difference are all that great.”
    I guess not. However, the implications of McCains statements on
    Iran and Iraq are of such huge proportions that I see no reason to
    “get beyond” them in this context.

    Reply

  25. WigWag says:

    Hey questions, what snark are you referring to? I’ve gone back and re-read my posts, I don’t see any snark at all.
    Are you really telling us that as you recall, “the 90’s were not so great for a lot of people”? Do you really mean that?
    Let me tell you what I recall. I recall my paycheck getting bigger for the first time since the 1960s. I remember organized labor in general and my union in particular fighting for and winning better benefits and more vacation time for me. I recall mortgage rates falling enough so I could finally afford that three bedroom house that my family so desperately wanted. I remember crime rates in my neighborhood plunging and my feeling that Bill Clinton’s program to put 100 thousand new cops on the street might be partially responsible. I remember taking advantage of the family and medical leave act just 2 months after it became effective and being thankful that Bill Clinton’s program allowed me to take care of my son when he was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I remember Hillary Clinton fighting for health care for all Americans and being attacked for it by right wing republicans in exactly the same language that Obama supporters are attacking her now. I remember Bill Clinton’s tax plan that raised taxes on the wealthy but left my taxes unchanged, passing by a single vote in the Senate. I remember President Clinton fighting the Gingrich welfare plan tooth and nail and vetoing it once until the Congress produced a better plan that would have passed over his veto whether he signed it or not.
    I get it, questions, none of this seems very important to you. But it was important to me and I think it was important to millions of people like me. If Hillary Clinton does get nominated and elected I don’t know how closely her presidency will resemble her husband’s, but from my perspective the more she emulates him, the better.
    Dan Kervick, there you go again. I know it makes you feel good to criticize right wing radio and cable news. Instead of focusing on them, you should think about your own complicity in fostering the sterotypes about working people that you say you find objectionable.
    Paul Norheim, I don’t have political enemies. If the best you can do to summarize my comments is to accuse me of saying this “we have nothing to fear from neocons and a candidate who supports an attack against Iran and who don`t mind staying in Iraq for 100 years, compared to cultural elitists who are metaphorically sipping Chardonnay” then you either haven’t read very carefully or you are being willfully ignorant. Steve Clemons himself has pointed out many similarities between the foreign policy and defense policy of Clinton, Obama and McCain. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t important differences. I just wonder once you get beyond Iran and Iraq whether those difference are all that great. I can’t imagine why it is so objectionable to you that I raise this question.

    Reply

  26. Paul Norheim says:

    WigWag`s priorities and his choice of political enemies seem quite
    odd to me under the current circumstances. What our working
    class hero is actually saying, is that we have nothing to fear from
    neocons and a candidate who supports an attack against Iran and
    who don`t mind staying in Iraq for 100 years, compared to
    cultural elitists who are metaphorically sipping Chardonnay.

    Reply

  27. leo says:

    Of course I don’t agree with this VP talk Steve, Hillary would serve the US best in the Senate — not causing chaos with Obama’s Presidency, which has been the defining theme of her campaign over the past few months.
    And, as someone representing “an” Obama perspective, I’d fully expect Hillary to contiue her bitter campaign against Obama after his inauguration.
    The question isn’t how he can accomodate her IMHO, it’s if she (and her mis-lead supporters, like you Steve) will ever be able to accomodate the fact that she lost, long ago.

    Reply

  28. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag says,
    “It’s metaphoric, just like your assumption that working class people prefer NASCAR to soccer. And, by the way, I know you might find it hard to believe, but working class people like art too.”
    And of course that’s true. As I said earlier, my view is that most real working class people are not the culturally homogeneous, raging sacks of envy, anger and bigotry that right wing radio and cable news would make them out to be, and works pathetically to turn them into. Most of them don’t have bees in their bonnet about latte sippers, etc. Most don’t launch into talk radio diatribes during every World Cup about how soccer is a “socialist game”. They don’t fit into easy political operative stereotypes like “Nascar Dad” or “Soccer Mom.” That was the point of the personal anecdote I related – the one WigWag didn’t like. Americans of all classes are diverse in their interests, and charitable towards the different interests of other people.
    But there are some people who exhibit this kind of bigotry, and who attempt to work others up into the same froth.

    Reply

  29. questions says:

    Hey WigWag, nevermind the snark…. Try reading some posts on counterpunch.org for a really nice set of critiques of the Clinton administration’s domestic policy. As I recall, the 90’s were not so great for a lot of people. We may never know how much damage “ending welfare as we know it” did because not long after we ended it, we stopped collecting data on the people kicked off. How many people caught up in the tough on drugs stuff, where is the soul of Ricky Ray Rector, wasn’t there a dotcom bubble as well? I am so very uncomfortable with Clintonomics, I really fear another round of the “boom.”
    At any rate, the whole class war thing is so very sad. We’re all on this planet together and we should all be figuring out how to feel more respect for one another’s cultural choices while really working on the pain that this very uneven economy is causing. There’s something about a 3 BILLION dollar a year income that isn’t even subject to regular income tax because it is from a hedge fund and so is taxed as a 10 or 15% capital gain that just hurts my head…. Yikes. We might be better off letting “class” be about income and not about habits of thought or drink.

    Reply

  30. Jerry says:

    I’m not taking sides in the Wigwag/Kervick imbroglio but I am amazed at how much this reminds me of arguments I’m having with my Clinton supporting relatives in Pennsylvania. I support Obama, mostly because I think it’s time for a change. They support Clinton, mostly because they remember the good economic times they enjoyed when Bill Clinton was President. I find Hillary Clinton increasingly objectionable; their dislike of Obama seems visceral and unalterable.
    I’m beginning to think that we Democrats may be in more trouble then we realize.

    Reply

  31. WigWag says:

    Dan Kervick, I never claimed anything other than the fact that Stevenson reminded me of Senator Obama. Like Obama, Stevenson was a wonderful orator whose voice failed to resonate with working class Americans. If he’s nominated, by the time of the election, Obama may or may not have repaired his rift with that part of the working class electorate that he and his supporters have offended. John Kerry couldn’t do it. Only time will tell if Obama can.
    And I think it’s just fine that Senator Obama has worked his way up from nothing. Unfortunately, this doesn’t tell us anything about what kind of President he might be. Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon came from poor backgrounds. They were poor presidents. Franklin Roosevelt was a patrician; he did more for the working man than any President in history. Senator Obama’s Horatio Alger story may tell us alot about his tenacity and his intelligence. It tells us nothing about whether he is capable of doing the job.
    It’s not bigoted to claim that your post was effete; it was. Your posts are invariably clever; they’re also frequently bombastic. As for criticising what people like to “eat or drink,” I’m quite sure that you’re smart enought to know that I could care less what your eat or drink. It’s metaphoric, just like your assumption that working class people prefer NASCAR to soccer. And, by the way, I know you might find it hard to believe, but working class people like art too.

    Reply

  32. Kathleen says:

    I found the debates trivial and intellectually shallow…Bruce Fein in today’s Washington Times
    expressed what I think should be THE TOPIC
    Making war difficult
    By Bruce Fein
    April 15, 2008
    Since World War II, the congressional power to declare war or otherwise authorize the initiation of military hostilities has been hijacked by the executive branch.
    Despite the original intent of the Founding Fathers, the prevailing custom is for the president to determine whether to move the nation from a state of peace to a state of war, i.e., to make intentional killings legal. In some cases, the president has acted unilaterally. President Harry Truman commenced war against North Korea in 1950 without obtaining congressional authorization. He relied on a United Nations resolution that had never been presented to Congress. When the treaty to ratify the United Nations Charter was before the Senate, however, Truman promised that, “When any such [U.N.] agreement or agreements [for military operations] are negotiated it will be my purpose to ask Congress for appropriate legislation to approve them.”
    In 1999, President William Jefferson Clinton initiated hostilities against Yugoslavia despite twin votes in the House of Representatives against declaring or authorizing war.
    In other cases, the president has obtained sheeplike congressional acquiescence to requests to authorize war. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964 concerning South Vietnam and the Joint Resolution of 2002 concerning Iraq are exemplary. Indeed, Congress agreed to place the nation on a permanent war footing in its 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force against international terrorism.
    Generally speaking, Congress has been relegated to deciding whether ongoing hostilities precipitated by presidential action should be limited or ended by a curtailment of funding. Even that option may be more illusory than real. The president can veto prohibitions on expenditures for specified war purposes, for example, a denial of funds to expand the war in Iraq to Iran. Two-thirds majorities in both chambers are necessary to override a veto, whereas simple majorities can block an authorization to initiate or expand war.
    In addition, the president may have stumbled into a military predicament with no attractive exit strategies. At present, that describes the quagmire in Iraq. An immediate or phased withdrawal of U.S. military forces would unleash a civil war there; boost the fortunes of arch-enemy Iran; and, jeopardize needed oil and gas supplies. Iraq may never be capable of defending its current political dispensation from domestic or foreign foes. The president has boxed Congress into supporting endless military stalemate in Iraq at the cost of American lives and staggering expenditures by seizing the war initiative.
    Making war easy rather than hard to initiate by substituting unilateral presidential action in lieu of wary congressional deliberation has endangered checks and balances and cherished constitutional liberties while weakening rather than strengthening national security.
    According to a recently declassified document, the Justice Department opined in 2001 that in the perpetual war against international terrorism, the military is unconstrained by the Fourth Amendment in arresting, searching or spying on U.S. citizens — a tyranny practiced by King George III that provoked the American Revolution.
    Ahemmm. George Washington was against the formation of political parties., I agree. it isn;t the number of parties, it’s the existence of poltical parties.

    Reply

  33. Dan Kervick says:

    Actually, WigWag, I have criticized Dowd numerous times in blog comments, though perhaps not on this site. I also wrote a very negative response a couple of weeks ago at TPM Cafe to Olbermann’s anti-Clinton “Special Comment”. I find his approach to be embarrassingly melodramatic and way over the top.
    I’m 48, so not quite old enough to remember Adlai Stevenson personally. But I do think it is off-base to compare someone with Adlai Stevenson’s patrician background, the wealthy grandson of a Vice President, to a self-made man like Barack Obama who has pulled himself up from humble roots by hard work and a track record of excellence as a student, a teacher, a community organizer and a State Senator. About the only things they have in common, other than being from Illinois, is that both went to Ivy League colleges and then to Harvard Law School. However, Stevenson failed some classes at Harvard and dropped out, while Obama was stellar and became editor of the Harvard Law Review.
    The polls actually haven’t shown much movement at all in the head-to-heads. It’s rather incredible that while Obama and Clinton have been punching each other bloody, and leaving the field to the Republican’s chosen candidate, McCain has made only a modest gain, and hasn’t been able to pick up more ground. Once Huckabee pulled out of the race, McCain received a predictable boost. And when the Democrats have a candidate, that candidate will receive the same kind of boost.
    You are right that it’s not bigoted to resent those who mock your religious or cultural views. But it is bigoted to resent and mock people because their language is “effete”; or you don’t share their tastes in food and drink; or they are too “artsy”; or prefer soccer or playgoing to NASCAR.
    As far as the gasbag stuff goes, I guess I’m guilty. However, I never claim to be anybody’s champion or represent anybody but myself.

    Reply

  34. ... says:

    there is piling on and then their is piling on, lol..

    Reply

  35. Sue says:

    Wow, Dan Kervick criticizing someone for being a “gasbag.” How ironic is that?
    You tell him, Wigwag!

    Reply

  36. WigWag says:

    Tintin, you are absolutely right, Clinton and Obama are very close in foreign policy, too close for comfort. Bill Clinton’s domestic and economic policies were great. I for one, did better when Clinton was President than at any time in my life. Lot’s of people I know feel the same way. But President Clinton’s foreign policy was only marginally better than Bush’s. Bush got us into Iraq, Clinton got us into a war with Serbia. All for no good reason, no vital interest of the United States was at stake in either Iraq or Yugoslavia. In both situations, we made things worse, not better (just look at what’s happening in Kosovo now if you need proof). My fear is that when it comes to foreign policy and defense policy, Obama, McCain and Clinton are just not that far apart despite their differences about Iraq (and yes, Iran).
    Questions, you say “Class isn’t about lattes and Chardonnay, it’s really about job security and health insurance and access to services. You’re right, but it’s also about gun policy, protection of religious liberty, equality before the law for all people, tax policies that help working class people, not just poor people or upper middle class people, etc. References to lattes and chardonnay are metaphoric. You do know what a metaphor is, don’t you?

    Reply

  37. WigWag says:

    Dan Kervick, you need to read the polls more closely. The most recent Washington Post poll (that shows Obama leading Clinton by about 10 points among Democrats) also shows that more than a third of Democrats said they might not support the party’s nominee in the fall if it is not their top choice. Now polls come and go and it would be idiocy to assume that 30 percent of likely Democrtic voters will vote for McCain in November. But it doesn’t have to be 30 percent; if even 5-10 percent more Democrats than is typical cross over to vote Republican in this election, the Democrats can kiss the Presidency good bye. This is true for whichever candiate is nominated.
    As for the national polls that show Obama beating McCain, two things are apparent; 1) All the national polls show Obama slipping and McCain gaining. In other words the big “mo” is on the McCain side; 2)Polls of the popular vote mean nothing. I am sure you remember your college political science class. It’s the electoral vote that counts and almost every state by state poll shows Obama losing the electoral vote.
    As for the “faux man-of-the-people gasbags and jackasses like O’Reilly, Beck and Hannity” I don’t like them much either but your criticism of them is hypocritical. Where are your complaints about Dowd and Kristof or about Matthews and Olbermann? Their sexist rants against Hillary Clinton have been rampant throughout the Campaign and you and your fellow Obama supporters have remained silent because you were delighted with the temporary tactical advantage that it gave to your preferred candidate. The only time you every criticize MSNBC or the New York Times is when they lob minor criticisms Obama’s way. So spare us the obligatory criticism of Fox News. We know they’re vile but we also know how selective in your criticism you are.
    As for the way many of us feel that Senator Obama and people like you are cultural elitists, your post proves my point. Not only is the language effete, but your criticism characterizing people who feel the way that I do as biogted, is telling. It’s not bigoted to resent those who believe our religious or cultural views are anachronistic, it’s sensible. And it’s sensible not to support a party led by people who want to marginalize those views. Neither you nor I know how many people feel as I do about this and we don’t know what might happen between now and election day to change those views. But if the election is close (and it probably will be)you and Senator Obama may come to regret your ready dismissal of people who could have been allies but instead have become opponents. A relatively small number of voters could have a very large impact in this election.
    You say, “the idea that this minority represents a large number of Americans is an illusion made up of smoke and hot air.” That’s exactly what people like you once said about the Reagan Democrats. I think there is ample evidence that this group won’t vote for Obama. And, if they’re antagonized they can easily stop voting for Democrats in the House and Senate. How poor your memory is. Don’t you remember that Democrats just regained control of congress because Reagan Democrats came back? And in the last presidential race, this group didn’t vote for Kerry. Candidates like Obama never do well with working class people. I presume you’re old enough to remember Adlai Stevenson. Stevenson, the last Illinois Democrat to run for President reminds me alot of Senator Obama. He was a perpetual presidential candidate and he never won.
    By the way, all the biographical information about your summer vacations during college is much more than we needed to know. But I did like your quote “…the reputation of these decent people is sullied by that vocal hate-filled minority with massive chips on their shoulders, who imagine they speak for the majority in America, and hold themselves out as their representatives, but whose chief virtue is that they are exceptionally loud.” Have you looked at yourself in the mirror recently?

    Reply

  38. Chris Brown says:

    I think a better spot for Clinton would be the Supreme Court, where her lifetime appointment would enable her to shed her DLC triangulation proclivities and where she could honestly apply her impressive intellect.
    I also believe that when the nominee is selected democrats will close ranks. McCain has lots of baggage he’ll have to answer for during the general election and I just don’t think his cultivated boy scout persona will hold up.

    Reply

  39. Ben Rosengart says:

    Dan Kervick, you rock! Hilarious response.
    Steve, everyone I know is saying the real loser of this debate was
    ABC, and the real winner was … absolutely nobody. It’s very rare
    for everyone I know to all say the same thing. IMO that’s the story
    you should be covering.
    Someone remind me again why the League of Women Voters no
    longer controls these debates? Can we get them put back in
    charge somehow?

    Reply

  40. questions says:

    Dan Kervick,
    Lovely response! I think what it gets at is a faux class divide we have been compelled to subscribe to. Class isn’t about lattes and Chardonnay, it’s really about job security and health insurance and access to services. It’s also about things like which roads get repaired. A local politician here noted that roads in her lower income ward were repaved much more slowly than roads in wealthier neighborhoods. The result is that lower income people, whose cars are older and in poorer condidition, have that many more repair problems. The front end goes, the tires and rims go, the shocks go…Four or five hundred dollars a pop for the bigger jobs. This is where we live the class divide. But if we’re honest about it, then we’re going to have to spend money on road repair and cleaning up toxic waste and improving schools…. Much easier to say, “Oh those effete snobs who can’t just have a cuppa joe.” Of course, isn’t this just what Clinton was playing at with the alcohol and duck hunting nonsense?
    (Also note how the “middle class” has wandered up to 250,000 dollars a year. I thought the middle 50% was between 45K and 90K. I don’t know the significance of this yet. I’m working on it!)

    Reply

  41. Tintin says:

    Wigwag, frankly I find this…
    But many of us would rather give the Republican Party another
    look before we align ourselves with the likes of Obama and
    Kervick.”
    …and this…
    “Can we really be so sure that the neoliberal interventionists
    running an Obama foreign policy will be so much better than the
    neoconservatives who will run a McCain foreign policy?”
    …nothing short of astounding. Let’s start with the fact that
    Obama’s and Clinton’s positions are virtually identical on
    substance. For proof of this, one need look no further than the
    fact that Clinton (whom, for the record, I don’t despise) has
    been unable to point major and substantial differences in her
    and his positions. Even on foreign policy.
    So, if you’re worried about “neoliberal interventionism” with him,
    you should be worried about it with her.
    McCain has been much more militarily aggressive than either
    Clinton or Obama on Iraq and doesn’t feel we’ve any mistakes
    except not having sent in enough troops to begin with. She
    clearly believes the war was a huge mistake and has said so.
    McCain has also been much more bellicose on Iran (“Bomb,
    bomb, bomb Iran”) than either of the two Democrats.
    And then, of course, there are all the domestic issues…
    Point is, if EITHER Clinton or Obama gets the nod, their
    respective voters must vote for the person with the D after
    his/her name. For one thing, there just isn’t that much
    difference between the two, and a good bit of difference
    between them and McCain and the Republican Party.

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag, I just don’t think the data bear out this supposed great rift in the Democratic Party. Polls show a small percentage of Clinton supporters who claim they might switch to McCain, and a small percentage of Obama supporters who claim they might switch to McCain. The numbers seem about what one would expect given that the campaign is still going on, and there are a lot of hurt feelings, hot tempers and sour grapes involved. Meanwhile, national polls show Obama beating McCain, despite the edgy feelings.
    Obama’s comments about bitterness etc. were indeed revealing. The public response has been just as revealing. While a lot faux man-of-the-people gasbags and jackasses like O’Reilly, Beck and Hannity might be up in arms about some imagined insult to ordinary Americans and workers, most of the heat is in the loud and Foxified right wing. Meanwhile, it turns out that a lot of actual ordinary Americans on the Democratic side, and in the center, have no problem with the notion that they are bitter, pissed off, mad as hell, or whatever.
    You know, I have just about had it with the small but loud minority of cranky, contemptuous and morally superior poseurs who spew hatred at the college educated, and then claim those educated people are the “arrogant” ones. Most of the people pushing this bigotry are themselves college educated, and are just demagogues who have found a following among that small, selfish and petulant minority who imagine themselves to be more “ordinary” or “real” Americans than everyone else.
    And the idea that this minority represents a large number of Americans is an illusion made up of smoke and hot air. When I was in college, I worked summers and breaks in a warehouse in my home town, driving a fork truck, baling paper mill hemp, stacking pallets and loading steaming hot container trucks. The people I worked with were middle aged full-time employees, and I had many hours of lunch room conversation with them. Contrary to some stereotypes, these guys were not filled with envy and disdain for me. They didn’t mock me for being liberal, or liking fancy drinks, or appreciating the arts and math, or eating quiche or whatever. They used to ask my brother and me all the time about how we were doing in school, and what we were studying. When we got good grades, we got pats on the back and “good for you”‘s. One guy named “Eddie”, who had come from a very rough background and never had the opportunity to go to college himself told me one day, “Education is the most important thing in the world. Keep working hard.” I’ll bet you most of the college educated people in the country can tell you similar stories. That’s because most Americans are decent people, and they pull for each other.
    But the reputation of these decent people is sullied by that vocal hate-filled minority with massive chips on their shoulders, who imagine they speak for the majority in America, and hold themselves out as their representatives, but whose chief virtue is that they are exceptionally loud.
    I do drink Chardonnay from time to time. I don’t drink lattes because they are too fattening. But if I want to enjoy a damn latte some afternoon, I’m going to do it without fear of the assholes and self-styled defenders of the common man who whine and bleat about the latte-drinkers of the world. If you are really a member of that small, pea-brained fellowship of the miserable, and have have a problem with foamed milk and fermented grapes, you can stick it.

    Reply

  43. questions says:

    Why could neither candidate respond to the capital gains rate cut/revenue increase question? Isn’t this pretty basic? And why isn’t there some kind of mind reading machine so that we could measure just how much Obama and Wright and even Clinton love their country? And why didn’t the moderators wear flag pins? These are things I want to know!
    Maybe the captcha issue is actually a sincerity check? You only keep trying if your REALLY want your post up…….

    Reply

  44. WigWag says:

    “There is going to be a huge backlash against this abortion. And Clinton is going to take much of the blame herself for having steered into this campaign into the swamps inhabited by the right wing tabloid echo chamber. I never thought there was much of a chance that Clinton would get the VP nod, but she pretty much killed her chances last night. I don’t know who she thought she was appealing to last night, but it wasn’t Democrats.”
    As usual, Dan Kervick is both provocative and wrong. Steve on the other hand, happens to be right; the Democratic Party is split just about down the middle. The way it’s looking now, Obama just might squeeze out a modest victory in the delegate count which will take him to the nomination. But the damage done to the Party by Senator Obama and his supporters like Dan Kervick, is real and will be lasting.
    I laugh when I hear pundits say that once the nomination fight is over, Clinton supporters will forgive and forget and return to vote for the candidate whose position on the issues most coincides with theirs. (And I doubt that if Clinton happens to get the nomination, Obama supporters will return in mass to vote for her)
    This nomination fight has revealed massive fault lines in the Party that will not easily be mended. African Americans support Obama largely out of enthnic loyalty as many other enthnic groups have done. Chardonnay sipping so called “progressives” like Dan Kervick support Obama because, the Senator has forgotten where he came from and has become one of them. I get it, Dan Kervick doesn’t think Senator Obama’s comments about bitter people in small towns is all that revealing. It may not matter to him or even to most Democrats, but it matters enough to have an impact on a close general election. It’s not so much the comment that’s important but what it reveals about who Senator Obama and his supporters are. It merely confirms what many of us “unwashed” Democrats have suspected all along.
    Working class Americans, whose lives improved dramatically during the Presidency of Bill Clinton, have watched how the media elites and college boys like Mr. Kervick treat Senator Clinton and her supporters. They think we’re too dumb to realize that we have choices and they assume that we will naturally drift back to vote for Senator Obama once the anger of the prirmary fight has subsided.
    But many of us would rather give the Republican Party another look before we align ourselves with the likes of Obama and Kervick. And many of us will be giving Senator McCain a long hard look.
    As Steve has mentioned in many posts, Senator McCain has done much in his career to reach across the aisle and often takes a nuanced view of complex political issues. While he is wrong about Iraq, until he had to turn to the right to secure his party’s nomination, he was a pretty reasonable guy. Can we really be so sure that the neoliberal interventionists running an Obama foreign policy will be so much better than the neoconservatives who will run a McCain foreign policy? At least with McCain we will have a President with the experience to form his own foreign policy judgements.
    And perhaps if McCain is elected, the right wing zealots in the Republican Party will be marginalized and working class Democrats can find a home with the Republicans. It’s simply unclear at this point if working class Democrats will be better off in a party led by McCain (which may or may not continue to be dominated by right wing nuts) or a party led by Obama that finds their values ananchronistic.
    The point is that this rift in the Democratic Party is not insubstanital, it will not be easily healed and the effects of this rift might even outlast this election.
    One thing that might help is if people like Dan Kervick found a way to tone down the arrogance. But, of course, I realize this is unlikely, it’s just who he is.

    Reply

  45. JoeCHI says:

    It’s HILARIOUS that the media, both new and old, are in such an
    uproar over the debate. Clearly, they are all in shock over the fact
    that Obama received his first serious level of scrutiny in the entire
    campaign season.
    Snap outta it!
    Don’t blame Clinton or ABC because Obama failed to perform well
    on a level playing field. Tonight is just a glimmer of what’s ahead
    for any Democrat heading into the general with a media darling like
    McCain.
    What did Obama think he was running for, anyway? Prom King?

    Reply

  46. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve, I agree that Obama will have to find a way of working with Clinton and her supporters, but I just think that’s going to turn out to be a much easier thing to do than might currently seem to be the case given the intensity of the Democratic campaign. I read recently that John McCain has a ZERO rating from Planned Parenthood. How many of Clinton’s supporters are going to be drawn to that? Once Democrats turn their attention to their Republican opponent, worries about significant defections from the Democratic side will evaporate. The loser’s supporters will lick their wounds for a couple of weeks, and then remember why they really don’t like Republicans very much.
    It doesn’t seem to me that Clinton’s supporters care all that much about the Vice Presidency. They want her to be President. If she is not going to be President, I suspect more of her supporters would prefer to have her as a powerful Senator, rather than twiddling her thumbs in the Vice President’s residence with the VP consolation prize. Dick Cheney is an anomaly. Most VP’s just aren’t very important figures in the broad scheme of things.
    By the way, on the question of the nuclear security umbrella, I though both candidates did well to steer away from specific commitments and keep things on the level of broad and vague intimations of retaliation. A debate is no place to be throwing out major strategic commitments on the nation’s nuclear deterrent.

    Reply

  47. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for your note Cee. I think Obama had his good moments last night, but his own facility with policy detail is weaker than I would personally prefer.
    I have no idea whether Bill Clinton has taken money from the broader number of nations that Hillary Clinton mentioned — but that doesn’t matter. They are critical to our security as well as Israel. I don’t care who firms in these states may be supporting or not.
    But the narrative until last night was that Obama was closer to the Arab states and Hillary closer to Israel. This got flipped, at least optically, in last night’s debate.
    All the best,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  48. Cee says:

    Steve,
    Did Bill Clinton also take funds from the people who Hillary wants under her security umbrella?
    Obama did fine and said what he needed to say.

    Reply

  49. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for the comments Dan, TinTin and others. Because I’m
    still on Saudi Arabia time, I crashed the moment the debate
    ended, as said, i missed the first half hour or so — which seems
    to have been irritating to many watchers. I didn’t hear the spin
    or response from either side last night — and only commented
    on what I heard last evening.
    To tell you the truth, just commenting on policy substance — I
    was a bit disappointed that both hyped the “social security in
    trouble” narrative — as this just simply isn’t the case. It’s a
    fixable problem — and Barack Obama’s approach, or Hillary’s
    on other fronts, would be OK. But the challenges to the nation’s
    coffers are not social security — but health care/Medicare.
    I liked Hillary’s response on the gun question and liked the tone
    of Obama’s commentary at a macro level on foreign policy —
    but didn’t like his dominant focus on Israel as opposed to a
    comprehensive regional strategy when talking about the Middle
    East.
    I will get my hands on the transcript of the early session though
    to get a better sense of the tone and apparent shallowness that
    some perceived in the debate. My email is full this morning
    from a listserve I’m on of people furious with the lack of follow-
    up by Gibson and Stephanopolous and apparently a roster of
    unimportant or trivial questions.
    So whatever really happened, there were many that I’m
    connected to who saw the same trends you posters did.
    Off to NY. Thanks for the commentary. I just got a note from
    John Zogby that his polls show Obama and Clinton deadlocked
    now in Pennsylvania.
    Dan Kervick (I think) wrote that given the heights at which
    Clinton started this race over Obama, he has — on a relative
    basis — vanquished her and her team. There is some truth to
    that, on a relative basis. However, at the end of the day — I still
    see a party divided pretty much close to a 50/50 line, with
    Obama having the tilt — and the resulting score is what will be
    remembered and is what mattered.
    So, I respect Dan’s point — but think that the perspective he has
    won’t be the one that carries forward. That’s why in my
    estimation, Obama has to work with Clinton at some point,
    behind the scenes, to offer some kind of arrangement and
    graceful exit — and onramp to another political spot for her —
    or this won’t end.
    Obama is smart. He started with the Daley Machine, then added
    the Daschle machine, and then added the Kennedy Machine.
    He will need the Clinton machine, which will be for sale at a
    slight, but not great discount from current levels…
    More later.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  50. Tintin says:

    Yes, the untold shame of these whole debating season is the
    piss poor questioning. All the “gotchas”…all the lack of
    substance. No real follow-ups. And we’ve had 20-21 of these
    things–more than with any other election in our history!
    The first half of this debate was an abomination of bad
    questioning.
    I actually don’t blame Clinton, as bad as her tactics are. She’s
    trying to win by hook or by crook. I blame the questioners
    whose job it is to extract substantive answers from the
    candidates.
    One could argue that they are simply following the news and the
    candidates are making the news. But this is nonsense. Not
    every “story” is reported on by the press. Editors make
    judgments all the time about what is and isn’t newsworthy. They
    can do the same when they question the candidates. They’re
    already deciding WHICH questions to ask–why not ask good
    ones that get to the heart of what their readers want to know?

    Reply

  51. Dan Kervick says:

    David Brooks loved the debate. The National Review loved the debate. FOX loved the debate.
    But Democrats are furious at the quality of last night’s debate, and its morbid descent into triviality, gossip, irrelevance and stupidity. ABC is being ridiculed for its utter contempt for the real concerns of the American people, and the decision of the moderators to opt for tabloid tomfoolery. What we saw is two wealthy media honchos, with apparently nothing to lose or fear in this life, wallowing in the fake politics that is driven by entertainment values, and leaving the real world behind.
    This country is in the midst of a financial crisis and is poised on the edge of economic disaster. People are worried about losing their jobs and their homes. They’re worried about their sons and daughters; nephews and nieces, grandsons and granddaughters who are in Iraq. They are worried about how we are going to recover at home and abroad from possibly the worst presidency in US history. And what do they get from ABC? Flag lapel pins? The Weather Underground? Scary negro bogeymen?
    There is going to be a huge backlash against this abortion. And Clinton is going to take much of the blame herself for having steered into this campaign into the swamps inhabited by the right wing tabloid echo chamber. I never thought there was much of a chance that Clinton would get the VP nod, but she pretty much killed her chances last night. I don’t know who she thought she was appealing to last night, but it wasn’t Democrats.

    Reply

  52. Tintin says:

    Thanks, Steve. Here are my thoughts about your thoughts.
    “…what is absolutely clear is that Obama’s possible win will not
    be one in which Clinton was vanquished.”
    Yes, but what’s odd is that it certainly FEELS as though she’s
    been vanquished, especially given where she started out. Also,
    given the overwhelming turnout he gets at rallies and the huge
    fundraising numbers he’s been putting on the board, not to
    mention all the states he’s won, you’d think that he’d have an
    even bigger lead in delegates.
    I think a lot of this is due to the strange way in which delegates
    are awarded by the states. Normally, I’m in favor of proportional
    outcomes, but a lot of these state primaries feel like
    heavyweight boxing matches: the winner gets $5 million and
    the loser gets $3 million…for losing. Dems should probably
    break down and just start counting and totaling the popular
    vote. Isn’t that a whole lot easier for everyone to understand?
    “He is going to have to accomodate her franchise in some
    important way — and his team had better be thinking about
    that, or they will probably suffer a very serious political
    insurgency that undermines them in the coming battle with John
    McCain.”
    Unfortunately so. It is disgusting to me that any Dem (or other)
    who wants to see a change in direction in this country won’t
    simply go to the polls and pull the lever for the candidate with D
    next to his or her name. Unfortunately, we have a binary choice.
    That’s the reality. Anyone who doesn’t vote for the D is giving
    the R a one-vote advantage. That isn’t politics, philosophy, or
    ethics–it’s simple arithmetic.
    I know there are passionate Nader supporters. But until he
    forms a REAL third party–with candidates up and down the
    food chain and folks who have actually won and held office–in
    short, a party with a real constituency–then a vote for Nader is
    headed for the “circular file.” Worse, it’s a one-vote advantage
    for McCain. Don’t see any way around this.

    Reply

  53. Jay says:

    It may be that he looked like that because the first 30 minutes were a pile on about every stupid issue that doesn’t effect the lives of Americans and it was clearly intentional. I’m not sure how Clinton can look good at a debate when she admits she’s a liar. That would seem to be too big a weight around your neck to overcome. But maybe you missed that too.

    Reply

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