Hillary Seems to Concede; Barack Obama Sizzles

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obama flag twn.jpg
Did I hear Hillary Clinton concede tonight? I think that gesture at the end of the debates, the failure to really go after Barack Obama on a number of fronts, her sitting there with a blank-ish stare for much of the time he got into a high tempo oratory zone indicated to me that she has basically given up.
I don’t like to anticipate what voters in Texas and Ohio might do — but I spent the evening with some dedicated Hillary Clinton spear-carriers, and every one of them think that she played the “good girl” tonight — not someone who was going to play rough with the person she thinks will be manhandled by McCain and the “dangerous times” we live in.
I’ve just returned from Tokyo last night — and then took a 6 am train to New York, got back to DC just before the debates — and thus, I may be seeing this all in a really distorted, bleary-eyed state.
But essentially, I think that while the party does remain substantially divided, I thought I saw Hillary concede and opt for graciousness rather than bitterness.
We need to see what she does — but I think it’s over, and Barack Obama will be the nominee for the 2008 Democratic presidential ticket. What an amazing run Obama has had thus far. I still don’t like hype or mysticism or feel good stuff — but he’s outrun, outflanked, out-campaigned, and out-managed the Clinton camp in a massive national effort.
Obama actually won this the hard way, without a good sense of the retail, interest group politics that Hillary and Bill Clinton are masters at.
So, I may be premature — but a hearty congratulations to Barack Obama. Now may be the time for magnanimity and embrace of Hillary Clinton, much of her message, her followers and some of her staff. This is not the time for strutting if in fact this first game is over.
It will be interesting to see what happens with McCain now — but Obama better not underestimate him. And by the way, Hillary is right on health care, right on the strategy to help subprime loan victims, and right on much of her domestic agenda. Obama should borrow a lot more of her stuff.
And frankly, he should grab more of the “details” of the Edwards’ policy team.
More later.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

57 comments on “Hillary Seems to Concede; Barack Obama Sizzles

  1. Kathleen says:

    I remember when health care was provided by the unions…but businesses in their effort to break the unions started to offer it… now that unions are weaker, businesses want to dump the health care.
    Stop the wars and go to single payer..not for profit health care.

    Reply

  2. Mr.Murder says:

    Obama’s sending out negative direct mail.
    So much for him being a new kind of leader and taking the high road.
    So much for the people saying he was different.

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Egads.
    There should be some sort of psychological screening process in order to….
    Oh, never mind.
    Welcome to the carnival, Saran.

    Reply

  4. Linda says:

    “Medicare for all” sounds good and progressive, but let’s be clear that those who work beyond 65 and can stay in employer-provided coverage do because it often is cheaper and better–as are retiree health benefits from the old union jobs, i.e., they cover and pick up what Medicare doesn’t cover (quite a bit even with Part D that is a giveaway to Big Pharma). And increasingly corporations are pulling out of and cutting down on their commitment to retiree health benefits.
    For others under Medicare, one has to buy an insurance policy to pick up what Medicare doesn’t cover—so there still are insurance companies very much involved. Anybody who thinks otherwise should talk to their parents or grandparents and look at the Medicare Handbook. There are large deductibles and co-pays. The government takes out of Social Security checks a basic Part B premium that is now $98 a month, and those who have Part D drug coverage pay another $30-50 a month for that, and then supplemental poilcies run $200-400 a month.
    So people better understand that “Medicare for all” is not free and does involve private insurance companies.

    Reply

  5. Will Bower says:

    To build on the comment I posted on February 22, 2008 11:46 AM:
    What some were seeing as a “concession”…
    …I’m increasingly seeing as “*Pleasant* Hillary is saying goodbye to you here tonight, Barack, before Fighting Hillary gets cracking on you tomorrow.”

    Reply

  6. California Nurses Shum says:

    Steve–
    The party will not push either President Obama or Clinton towards mandates. Please look at the California experience. Progressives, led by the California Nurses Association, helped convince the Democratic Senate to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mandate bill precisely because it puts the profits of insurance corporations ahead of the needs of most patients. Two-thirds of Americans support “Medicare for all,” which is a single-payer system, and even more Democrats do; that’s where the party will pull the next President, NOT towards mandates, which are beloved by insurance corporations because, among other reasons, it ends the possibility of genuine, guaranteed, single-payer reforms.

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  7. DP Realist says:

    No she is not right on healthcare (she is only right on intent, not implementation), she is not right on sub-prime loans, if you freeze them for 5 yrs you will get a japan style stagflation, no lending, liquidity from the Chinese, that will just sell America, not build it.

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  8. Will says:

    hillary’s remedy for the subprime mess is horrible, will automatically hold up housing prices, reward speculators, and deny opportunities for millions of lower and middle class americans to get a home at a reasonable price. her plan is beyond terrible, it is pandering.

    Reply

  9. Mr.Murder says:

    “A point of clarification–I am all for helping those at the bottom, HRC’s proposal will NOT accomplish the goal of saving famalies homes….under any circumstances. The numbers/facts tell the real story. Hard evidence.”
    Posted by jim@r2ohomes.net at February 22, 2008 09:03 AM
    As opposed to Rezko going belly-up for public housing and Obama still taking contributions and sending public money his way?

    Reply

  10. questions says:

    OOPS! I mean “paid” under the table. Never post before the second cup of coffee!

    Reply

  11. rich says:

    […],
    how so? There is the Edwards thing: “we’re gonna be fine. As long as America’s fine.”
    Clinton borrows lines, too, suddenly speaking of ‘change’ or universal health care literally overnight. Marshall’s right:
    Candidates are constantly adjusting their rhetorical repertoire, in the fly, in real time, borrowing, improving, adding, polishing.
    Either Clinton is very very good at it; or she has excellent speechwriters who’re constantly larding borrowed code phrases and buzzwords into her campaign talks.
    Her debate response to the “can you say ‘all hat & no cattle now?” was absolutely instructive:
    All her language dealt with ‘this election is about who has accomplished anything’ ‘some are experienced’ ‘comparing & contrasting who’d ready’ –all fine, until you realize all her language a) attacked Obama right out in the open; and b) was largely false: which accomplishments would those be? experiench?–she has less as an elected official than Obama.
    That language wasn’t just one line, or a point she was trying to make. It’s all she had. (relying on clips here) It’s text. It’s context. It’s subtext. It’s the rhetorical substrate–and the direct meaning as well, though easy to overlook b/c the point is partly implied. I’m sure Clinton knows her policy–but this is a campaign, and not getting the Reagan lesson or being able to shift the conversation to positive terrain or her vision hurts her, and sunk her campaign.

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  12. Questions says:

    A late post, but here goes:
    In the debate, Clinton asked us to imagine making Social Security voluntary and we’d figure out quickly why these payments need to be mandatory. Mandates are supposed to make everyone pay in and thereby lower everyone’s payments a bit. BUT, let’s face it, some number of people skip out on Social Security even though it’s mandated and there are penalties for not paying in. We have a whole language for being “payed under the table”, for being contractors and the like. Not everyone pays in even with the mandates. I think that whenever anything expensive is required, there comes a greater and greater incentive to duck out. Mandating $13,000 dollar a year family coverage creates a really big incentive to duck out. We should think through the consequences of this issue, if indeed it is an issue. I still have way more questions than answers!

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “While Steve was hyping up Hillary a year ago, I told him Obama was going to win. This time the rich and powerful are the minority”
    ROFLMAO!!!
    How the hell did this Obama dude, a millionaire, a media fabrication, convince so many americans that he’s just one of the fellas, a poor workin’ stiff just trying to do what’s right????
    I’m tellin ya, we are a nation of gullible jackasses. The same media that sold you the bullshit about Iraqi WMDs, a Saddam/Al Qaeda collusion, and the “official story” about 9/11, is now selling you John McCain and Barack Obama. That should worry the shit out of you, if you have more than two brain cells to rub together.

    Reply

  14. ... says:

    rich
    Josh Marshall can do better then that.. poor comparision if you ask me…

    Reply

  15. Linda says:

    I’ve read everybody’s proposal, and they all are employment based, i.e., people who have insurance through their employers will keep it. Smaller employers will get subsidies or help. Universal single payer health care would do away with that. I believe only Kuchinich was for that. It’s better, but it’s almost impossible to do–might have to do one of these other plans and if it fails, then perhaps universal single payer would work, but that’s 30-40 years from now. Suggest that you read both plans on-line and not just Krugman.

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  16. gqmartinez says:

    Hillary’s proposals are “employment based”? Are you kidding me? Did you bother to read her proposal? The sad thing is, as Krugman stated, Obama and his supporters are going out of their way to squelch UHC. Mandates lower costs by spreading the risk and she offers a way to eventually go toward single payer. That Obama and the OFB are undermining that to prop him up (or tear down Hillary) is astonishing. At least if they are the progressives they claim to be.

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  17. Jacek says:

    And, I will jump into something that I am know more about than health care. Hillary’s plan to address foreclosures in the country is INCREDIBLY bad policy. The unintended repercussions from freezing interest rates has the very real effect of destroying the market for loans. Lenders have a very definite limit of funds to lend to people, and federal law requires that they maintain adequate reserves. BY selling the loans, lenders replenish their funds to make new loan commitments. By feezing interest rates, the US gov’t would basically destroy that market. By eliminating the source of funds for lenders to make loans, all of us needing new loans would bve screwed. And, oh by the way, it is completely unconsitutional (Art. I, Section 10). I like Hillary quite a bit, but this is a horrible plan that will screw over the rest of us.

    Reply

  18. Carroll says:

    health insurance employee style vrs. universal and what that has to do with corp health for what it is worth.
    Two or three years ago article in WP or NYT about how Ford’s auto production was so much more profitable in France or some European country, don’t remember which exactly, because of gov sponsored health insr and care …DESPITE… the 8 weeks of vacation given to Ford employees there every year.

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  19. LInda says:

    Threegoal,
    Has the cost to employers for healh insurance lost us jobs and competitive advantage? Just look at the auto and steel industries of the Rust Belt and how competitive we are in those areas and most heavy manufacturing areas today. That’s why Detroit and Cleveland are in such bad shape as well as Pittsburgh and Youngstown. Part of the irony is that now their biggest employers are health care and universities. And even they don’t give all their workers employer-based health insurance.

    Reply

  20. roger says:

    While Steve was hyping up Hillary a year ago, I told him Obama was going to win. This time the rich and powerful are the minority.

    Reply

  21. Tom S says:

    To continue on with the form vs. substance meme:
    A President was described as a “3rd rate intellect with a 1st rate personality.” Anyone care to guess which President that was?
    FDR

    Reply

  22. jim miller says:

    interesting article about mccain by isikoff at newsweek…gonna be real tough to overcome his own words….guess NYT was okay after all…interesting day.
    HRC trying to cheat like a clinton regarding fl/mich—unbelievable…blowback will be strong.

    Reply

  23. Threegoal says:

    I think we have to eventually end up with single payer and break free of tagging health insurance to employment. It makes each US job cost more than the same job in a national health insurance country. Wonder if that ever reduces the number of people that get hired?
    But I wonder if we have to get there via an intermediate step.

    Reply

  24. JohnH says:

    Is it time to bring David Schuster back and have him talk about McCain pimiping himself out?

    Reply

  25. David G. Stahl says:

    Steve et al:
    Forgot to mention Howard Dean. All those registration drives, putting candidates in races in Red and Blue states – showing the way in internet financing.
    Obama was helped a lot in IA by Dean’s work as DNC. All those new voters who are not tied to an established candidate. HRC missed those voters.
    Thanks,
    David

    Reply

  26. David Stahl says:

    Steve,
    Would love your thoughts on Turkey’s incursion into Iraq? Why is that happening now?
    Very interesting interview on NPR about two women in a nice restaurant over a cup of coffee discussing Obama vs HRC. The person for HRC was concerned that everyone was just jumping on the bandwagon, and does that get us the best candidate. She may have a point, but I believe politics is all about attracting the most votes, and right now energy and votes seems to all favor Obama. You point out a little bit that Obama clearly out organized HRC, which most pundits would have said was impossible. His campaign seemed to understand the delegate math better than any other campaign; and the fact that you need a PhD in demographics and political history to understand all the different ways delegates are apportioned in our country shows what a mess a two party system can make of a fledgling form of government like democracy.
    Thanks again for all your thoughtful words.
    Yours,
    David G. Sthl

    Reply

  27. JohnH says:

    The Democratic “Party does remain substantially divided.” Indeed. Between Clintons’ DLC wing and the grassroots. Obama’s genius was to be able to tap the grassroots for funds, something unprecedented. Yes, Obama took lots of funds from people paying the full $2300, but a lot came from smaller donors, too. And he distanced himself from lobbyists as well, contrary to McCain and Hillary.
    It’s far from guaranteed, but maybe the People will have a voice in Washington again. At least Obama offers that possibility, while the alternatives do not.

    Reply

  28. Will Bower says:

    Last night was just Part One of the Texas/Ohio Debates.
    I would reserve judgement until after their night in Cleveland this coming Tuesday.

    Reply

  29. DonS says:

    A quick skimming of the referenced analyses leaves me with the feeling that, once again, it will be the middle class segment, approaching retirement, that will get screwed. Premium phase outs in the 300 and 400% of the poverty line range are not comforting to those aove these limits but with all the accoutrements of middle class financial woes. And without $ numbers attached to actual premiums its hard to have any sense whatever of cost.
    “I can’t afford to retire” will continue to be the truth. Give me a single payer plan with a value added tax any day.

    Reply

  30. Will Bower says:

    Last night was just Part One of the Texas/Ohio Debates.
    I would reserve judgement until after their night in Cleveland this coming Tuesday.

    Reply

  31. Linda says:

    Nicholas,
    You are absolutely correct, but the best ideas don’t often happen. Both Clinton’s and Obama’s plans help smaller employers with subsidies and probably an ability to pick the federal plan–so they don’t have to negotiate. Is this fair? Well,yes partly because some small employers do go to the trouble of learning about health plans and offer them to their workers and even pick up a portion of the premiums. Another option is that small and medium employers can be grouped together to spread risk. Often they are priced out of the market because one child of one employee is diagnosed with a very expensive chronic condition. All these small and medium size employers want their workers to be covered.
    Nobody really wants to see the U.S. as the only major industrialzed country without universal health care. It’s hard to have liberty and pursue happiness if one is sick and uninsured, and it doesn’t promote life either but leads to early and unnecessary death.
    As for employer-based coverage, I will throw out the idea of very dirty little secret about every single large research univesity where the advisors to all the candidates get their paychecks and excellent employer-provided health coverage. They work for nonprofit institutions, and there isn’t one of them that can stand up publicly and say that there is universal coverage in their institutions or even the public health and hospital parts of them. They either have part-time lecturers who are not researchers who are not covered or teaching assistants who aren’t covered, or janitors or food service workers who are not covered. Of course, the President of the university and the deans are covered. They are overhead on federal grants and contracts, but so are the janitors. And these institutions get a lot of federal grants and contracts where health and other benefits are allowable costs. So IMHO, even those who are making the proposals and providing the expertise to the candidates are working in places where the situation is less than perfect.
    Can the US do better? Yes, we can!

    Reply

  32. Nicholas says:

    Steve, While I would like Obama or Clinton to listen to you on foreign policy and national security issues, I hope that Obama does not adopt any of Hillary’s ideas on health care or housing finance.
    Hillary’s universal health care is not universal. It is an overlay on the current employment based health care funding system that is a relic of World War II. This system is broken. It is far more expensive for the outcomes achieved than true universal health care.
    IBM and Procter & Gamble may offer excellent plans to their employees. They have the HR staffs and consultants to negotiate effectively with major health care companies on behalf of their employees.
    Most private sector jobs and almost all new private sector jobs are in small and medium sized businesses. These employers do not have the resources or expertise to design a health plan and to negotiate with Aetna or United Healthcare. Why dooes anyone expect someone who owns an auto body shop to understand health plans?
    Healthcare is effecively a monopoly. When there is a monopoly in the marketplace we usually depend on regulation to protect the consumer.
    Does this mean that the only solution is government managed universal health care? I do not know. At the least, the government should set minimum benefit and service levels for any company that wants to offer health plans. We also have to decide how to cover pre-existing condtions that health plans try to exclude.

    Reply

  33. Robert Nelson says:

    Obama’s momentum is too great, agreed.
    Hillary for Majority Leader of the Senate? I think all can agree that Harry Reid has been almost a complete disaster for the Dems since he took over. Clinton could be the Robert Wagner to Obama’s FDR.
    Richardson for VP, Clark for Sec. of Defense, Edwards for Attorney General.

    Reply

  34. Linda says:

    http://www.sharedprosperity.org/hcfa/news_release.pdf
    First here’s a link to Lewin Group’s analysis of Jacob Hacker of Yale’s health reform ideas that pretty much are similar to most of Obama’s, Edwards’, and Clinton’s health plan proposals. It’s the best analysis I’ve seen, and the point really is that they all are very similar. Mandates or not is an important but really minor point compared to the overall approach. Mandates may be difficult to sell politically and are difficult to enforce. It became an issue because the candidates had to differentiate themselves in some way, and Clinton made too much of it, especially implying that Obama didn’t care and wasn’t for universal coverage.
    Indeed Kuchinich was the only candidate for a universal single payer plan that would be the best, i.e., no employer-provided coverage, everybody in the same plan. There is just no practical and pragmatice way to get to that, i.e., get rid of employer-provided coverage. And it would be attacked as “socialized medicine.”
    Hacker is a very good health economist, and the Lewin group has done some excellent cost-analysis.
    I do need to point out that Krugman who is loved by progressives (and some by me though he is getting boring to read) is not a health economist at all and was really stuck on this minor difference and for mandates. Getting a mandate from the voters in one way to use that word. But another way to use it is the sense of “mandate” vs. “choice”—and in that sense, it is more difficult to sell politically.
    In either mandated or choice situations, some uninsured will remain, and regardless of how they are fined or treated, we aren’t going to make it a capital offense and refuse them emergency care. The fewer uninsured there are and the more people have coverage, the fewer will use emergency rooms as their primary care. This will lower costs and make ERs less crowded. So there always will be some “hidden tax” of the uninsured.
    Another issue someone mentioned above is the idea that those 50 and older should pay higher premiums. and that is not in anyone’s plan. The way it will work is that there will be two rates only: one for children and one for everyone in adult ages (can be defined as starting at 18-24) to 65. This is called community-rating that was the rule until around the 1970s-1980s when there mainly was non-profit Blue Cross-Blue Shield. The premium for adults meant that younger people paid more and older people paid less than their actual cost. That’s what insurance is about spreading the risk, and it’s also what a social contract is about and why it is called “community rating.”
    If one starts saying younger people pay less, then the next step is to say that’s fine, but some younger people cost more, i.e., they have chronic illnesses that are costly–diabetes, HIV-AIDS, spinal cord injuries–so they have to pay more. Then it gets worse to the point where we are making people with well-controlled asthma pay more—and then we say that mental health care costs a lot, and they should pay more. And then people who have substance abuse problems, smokers, and the obese should pay more. We all either are in those categories or have people we know and love who are. If everybody deserves adequate health care, we have to include everybody as a social contract. Hopefully with adequate care and prevention available, we will do better with all the above conditions.
    We already have been there and done that with cherry-picking by insurance companies, and this has not worked as we all agree and know.
    A small but clear part of what Obama has been saying (and which I like) is that he intends to bring all players and the public to the table and have full discussion of the issues and educate people about the options for health care reform. Just reading the above comments from very intelligent people who have latched onto some erroneous ideas is reason for me to think that is a very wise way to handle this. These are very complex issues and need that kind of exposure rather than sound-bites, Harry and Louise ads, etc. Not only does a new health reform plan have to be drafted as legislation but it also has to be sold and understood by the public and Congress. In addition, ERISA will have to be revised to have the employer-based plans mess with the health reform legislation. That will be one of the most complex and largest legislative issues that this country has undertaken.
    As for Steve’s slight bias, it comes from having Laurie Rubiner who was with Clinton on her initial health plan in 1993 and beyond and then went to New America. Rubiner, like Clinton, started with no professional background in health care—and now has a lot of knowledge but it is not as broad as those who studied and worked in the field for decades and were entirely left out of the process with the 1993-94 health plan that was developed by a small group of select experts behind closed doors. That was a stupid and very bad planning and political decision as only maybe 10% of the health care community was involved. It alienated many in the health care community and produced an overly-complex and ridiculous plan that never could pass.
    And BTW, in terms of transparency, the Clinton Administration and Library has yet to make records of those deliberations public even though it was over 15 years ago—just as the Clintons have refused to release their income tax returns.
    ABC-Washington Post polls out today for both TX and OH show the same patterns of Clinton slowly losing support and Obama slowly gaining it. In TX it is now Clinton 48% and Obama 47%. In Ohio a few weeks ago Clinton had a 2:1 lead. She now is at 50% with Obama at 43%. So the trends are very clear–and with Teamsters and Change to Win now for Obama, that should help Obama in OH.
    I grew up in Youngstown–so that’s my litmus test. Voters overall there are Democratic 6:1. I will watch closely what Youngstown does on March 4. For me it’s not over until the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) switches from endorsing Clinton to Obama. It isn’t over yet, and I don’t think anyone is conceding at this point.

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  35. Bill R. says:

    Steve, Your comments about the Obama campaign being competent are on the mark. I think you dismiss the Obama “vision thing” too readily however. That brings those crowds, but from the beginning whenever he has given his speeches and soaring rhetoric he always hands out volunteer cards to these same crowds. Thanks to that he has a one million strong small contributor base, most of whom are not maxed out. His ground game organization has overwhelmed Clinton in nearly every state. The use of resources has been clearly much more capable. (The article with MSNBC this morning about Clinton’s Jan. finances is quite telling.) So in terms of message, financing, organization he has built a national organization from scratch that is superior to the Clinton machine. He is now poised to have a big victory on Mar.4 which will effectively end the contest. John McCain is trying to get Obama to go public financing because McCain knows he can’t compete. As for policy, no one ever won an election based on superior position papers. That said, he has a strong stable of advisors in every department and his capacity to articulate “substance” is not lacking when called upon.

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  36. rich says:

    Josh Marshall at TPM notes Sen. Clinton’s done some borrowing of her own:
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/179614.php
    ___________
    Bill Clinton, 1992:
    “The hits that I took in this election are nothing compared to the hits the people of this state and this country have been taking for a long time.”
    Hillary Clinton, tonight:
    “You know, the hits I’ve taken in life are nothing compared to what goes on every single day in the lives of people across our country.”
    Marshall:
    “Just to be 100% clear, there’s nothing in the least wrong with this. And it’s a great line. But I think it shows the silliness of the ‘plagiarism’ charges based on a few borrowed lines. Politicians borrow good lines and catch-phrases. Happens all the time. There’s nothing wrong with it. ”
    ________

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  37. rich says:

    Steve
    “Did I hear Hillary Clinton concede tonight? I think that gesture . . .the failure to really go after Barack Obama . . . her sitting there with a blank-ish stare ..”
    Going through the motions a bit, and perhaps trying to strike a balance rather than stick with full-bore attack mode.
    ” ..but I think it’s over, and Barack Obama will be the nominee . .”
    You’re right. The writing’s been on the wall since before Wisconsin in the aftermath of ‘super’ tuesday; events just had to play out, firming reality up by drawing us a picture.
    ” . . I spent the evening with some dedicated Hillary Clinton spear-carriers, and every one of them think that she played the “good girl” tonight .. ”
    I dunno. She aimed for balance–maybe; but the ‘Change you can Xerox’ hit continued a core & wrongheaded attack strategy. It displayed the aggressiveness that strongly belies her “spear-carriers’ ” notion “that she played the ‘good girl.’ ” (spin, mayhap)
    It was smart to tone it down, but it was too-little, too-late and showed a real lack of agility. An attempt at balance that didn’t work, perhaps.
    “I still don’t like hype or mysticism or feel good stuff — but he’s outrun, outflanked, out-campaigned, and out-managed the Clinton camp . .”
    It’s the diff between a campaign speech and a policy speech. I guess in a debate some don’t want to mix the two, but it worked for Ronald Reagan, right?
    Be cautious about believing the memes there’s no substance–Obama’s no policy lightweight. The ‘mysticism’ & ‘hype’ are externally applied. Not an internal characteristic.
    Supporters aren’t somehow suckered by that, but look for the direct meaning in the language–which is there–and at policy stances. It’s there, but people have to, you know, do their reading.
    Clinton’s health care was lifted from Edwards, early on. And mandates are one thing–but are both meaningless in practice, and a burden to boot, if red-tape, insurance legalese, and lack of affordability remain obstacles. (Obama’s made that point: mandates w/o affordability = problem.) Without resolving those, the health care problem goes from ‘lack of access’ to a prison. Forced participation; enforced poverty & debtor status; enforced ordeals. The market isn’t working; neither is our health care system–which has ‘third-world’ status in many respects.

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  38. Nobcentral says:

    I’m with Steve on this one. I think Obama was very presidential and devestating on the issues. HRC seemed to concede. I’m happy for that. The writing is on the wall and she should go down gracefully instead of trying to take down the entire party with her.
    To the person who thought the “xerox” line was powerful – are you smoking crack? Not only was she booed heavily on that issue, but Obama hit is out of the park. Her petty negative attacks in the last week were like throwing an 85 mph fastball down the middle of the plate to a steroid infused Barry Bonds. She set up some of Obama’s most powerful moments when she pushed the plagiarism and all talk, no action lines.
    As to the rest – I hope she becomes the next Senate Majority Leader. She’s a better policy wonk than anything. And I think she could be historically good in that role.

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  39. jim@r2ohomes.net says:

    A point of clarification–I am all for helping those at the bottom, HRC’s proposal will NOT accomplish the goal of saving famalies homes….under any circumstances. The numbers/facts tell the real story. Hard evidence.

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  40. ... says:

    With respect to this very correct 12:21 A.M. observation:
    To SomeCallMeTim — there were excellent staff scattered through the campaigns. It would be a mistake to exile them or disown them. Huge mistake.
    The Clinton “spear-carriers” were clearly mistaken in their hostility to or suspicion of people who were not familiar members of their tribe when the original action teams were constituted at the inception of the Clinton campaign. Let the record reflect that. Bias towards the familiar can be costly.

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  41. luko says:

    I support HRC (for the record) and my take is she truly aspires to do the right thing by the Democratic party. Yes, she is going to campaign in TX, OH, and perhaps PA as well she should because she believes she would make the better president, but she will stop short of taking the fight all the way.
    I think your glasses are a little too rose colored if you think Obama aced this thing. He is uncomfortable talking details and it showed. That doesn’t mean he had a bad debate, or that he can’t be a good president. But this was not the slam-dunk for him some are trying to make it out to be.
    As for healthcare…yeah, mandates suck but wtf are we supposed to do when people who choose for whatever reason to be uninsured show up at the hospital? Everyone needs to be in the pool or else those who feel they are least at risk will opt out, and we will have to pay for them anyway. That is the “hidden tax” she is talking about.
    To close, it appears to me she pretty much said she will let voters decide, and that she is through trying to “contrast” (her euphamism for go negative). Lets see if this is how her campaign is run the next couple of weeks.
    Regards.

    Reply

  42. bob h says:

    The gravitas-challenged Obama leaves me cold, but there is reason to think he could have a successful Presidency because he will likely have a Congress with bigger majorities than today. “Change” will be easier, and “bipartisanship” might be less crucial in such circumstances.
    We should do everything we can to make sure that Democratic Senate majority in particular is enlarged.

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  43. francois beaudin says:

    I think that M. Obama is the right guy for the job, he clearly appeared to be more in control and relax. I think for the citizens of this big village that is earth now this gentleman is a breath of fresh air. hoping that he will stay the way he is now because power corrupt people lot of the time hope this time it won’t. good luck M Obama from afar

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  44. Pat says:

    I’ve seen a lot of phony politicians, but this guy is the biggest. I’d HATE for her to accept a spot on his ticket.

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  45. Robert Morrow says:

    The conservative base is very unhappy with McCain. Obama will probably wipe the floor with the Republican party this fall like it was a dirty mop. Obama is smelling like a winner.
    If it was Hillary, it would be a death struggle to the end on Nov. Election Day. Looks like I may have an extended vacation this summer.
    By the way, Obama is drawing HUGE crowds down here in Texas. 17,000 a few nights ago in Dallas, at Reunion Arena – with others left milling outside. Tonight in Austin, I guarantee you there will be another whopper rally at the State Capitol here in Austin, event begins at 9PM Central.
    Ben Barnes, the ultimate insider Texas Democrat, personal friend of the Clintons for decades, as well as most connected moneybags Demo fundraiser in Texas, ENDORSED Obama today.
    That goes along with a slew of other blue chip Demo endorsements for Obama in Texas. I don’t believe this BS about the Texas primary being a dead heat. Obama is winning or momentum is so strong he should win 55-45%.
    Reporting from Texas, where it is all Obama, all the time. Also, every major Texas newspaper in the state endorsed Obama.
    Not bad for a rookie. I think he matches up very well against McCain.

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  46. Vote_4_Hillary says:

    Pay close attention to what Hillary said. In her opening statement, she said that she “resolved” early in life that she was blessed. She made a similar statement in her closing statement when she referred to her “faith and her upbringing.”
    People who are spiritually evolved, which I believe the Clintons are, process thoughts in paradoxes. Paradoxes confirm reality. In the past, Bill has referred to being reality based.
    Because a paradox appears to be diametrically opposed to what it actually is, be cautious about counting Hillary out. There could be radical changes in the near future in Hillary’s favor.
    Wait until the final script is written. Watch the polls over the next few days. Also watch and see if other events occur that sway the election.

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  47. Mr.Murder says:

    Steve, many items to try and recall at this hour.
    First, in approach and phrasing, to me Obama basically won, Hillary defined he positions well, but he kept going past that point, especially in making a pitch to Latino voters on more than one occasion.
    He let her go first, she defined out of Iraq. So, he decided to avoid that and leave ambiguous room there. It gave him upper hand in making a pitch specifically to Texas voters on almost every close.
    The efforts to draw distinction were more tame than before, because it appears the gig is up.
    Obama did good to campaign vs. McCain as well, it was his fall back position when he might have otherwise lost traction at key times. No matter how different or perhaps short of reaching Hillary’s mark some items could be though to be, they were all light years of Captain Queeg and his hundred years or war. Very adept fallback.
    So instead of really going after one another they redrew the lines. He did so better IMO. I’m no fan of his policies and could have picked several apart, but it was clear tonight was as much about presentation value and style.
    Both had similar ideas, one made them more specific to the coming vote in Texas.
    The areas they agree upon seem to be major items for steering the platform, but the minutiae of health care is too important for most of the persons around me who listened to call those positions the same.
    There was enough for room for either to be the blank slate onto which you would attach the emotion of signifying who won or lost by addressing a particular pet cause.
    Perhaps we’ll discuss that tomorrow on a new thread. I’ve got to see more of what others think, but tonight was a dozy, I’m spent, and a person across the street from a friend I was visiting whom the both of us knew had a seizure.
    It’s still about health care.
    Others made up their mind otherwise, again I’d like to delve into that but take downs or forensics are for future immediate threads.
    Until then, I’d seriously look Krugmans’ way on any talk of the substance of policy. What matters immediately is how you feel, and like myself, you appear to see the results favoring the same person.

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  48. anatol says:

    I don’t think that was a concession – I felt that was a very powerful closing that has made an impact. She gave the talking heads something to talk about for days with her being in the positive light, without giving them an opening to badmouth her, as they usually do. The best hit on Obama came earlier – the change you can Xerox moment. A great one-liner.
    Of course the next few days will show if Steve is right on concession issue, but I doubt that.

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  49. Sheila says:

    Steve, you said: “What an amazing run Obama has had thus far. I still don’t like hype or mysticism or feel good stuff — but he’s outrun, outflanked, out-campaigned, and out-managed the Clinton camp in a massive national effort..”
    Obama hasn’t had to “run.” He’s just lifted his feet and the media, especially CNN and FOX, has carried him through all the hurdles. They never mention her name without a qualifying “bitchy…squawky…cold…mean-spirited…” whereas Obama, like MLK, has a dream — a vision — he is change, brilliant, presidential.
    I don’t have a problem with Obama. I don’t have a problem with Hillary. I have a problem with the media.

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  50. Steve C says:

    A great article until this howler:
    “right on the strategy to help subprime loan victims”
    You mean the strategy whereby subprime loan rates are prevented from adjusting upward past their introductory rate, destroying the subprime loan market in the process?

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  51. Ben D says:

    Steve,
    I must also ask why you say Hillary is right on health care? Her mandatory coverage, where insurers can’t charge me a different rate from a 50-something seems a horrible idea and an unfair inter-generational wealth transfer. Please direct us to why this isn’t so bad. Oh, but I’m also getting rather fed-up with Obama taking on much of Edwards’ populist rhetoric, which is as dangerous in an unravelling world economy as bombing Iran. Given McCain’s willingingness to support sound but unpopular policies despite any political costs to him (See the surge, immigration and torture), he is looking better and better to me vs an emerging say-anything Obama!

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  52. Steve Clemons says:

    thanks dan — just for the record, i agree that the five year freeze on rates is a bad, market-scaring proposal. but the housing bubble was engineered, and the banks and regulators had complicity in letting it run as long as it did — there is nothing wrong in extending it for some on the lower end so that those who can can try to work out the situation.
    best, steve

    Reply

  53. Dan Kervick says:

    I accept that the argument about health care mandates is substantive, and there is much to be said for the mandates position. But living just north of the Massachusetts border it is hard to ignore what a mess the mandates have become down there. And Massachusetts is one of the more liberal states in the union. I suspect Obama is right in thinking that mandates are a no-go politically at the national level, and that pushing them as part of the reform proposal will expose a big soft spot to the enemies of health care reform.
    And I agree with Jim on Clinton’s proposals on foreclosure and interest rate freezes. Voodoo economics.

    Reply

  54. Steve Clemons says:

    thanks jim — but i’ve written why i think she’s right about the health care mandate. I realize that some see it differently. Linda, who posts here a lot and is an expert, sees this differently from me. But don’t scoff…this view is one that is gaining traction on most sides of the health care debate — among some republicans, some libertarians, and many progressives. She is right — and if and when Obama is president — i think the party will push him toward mandates.
    To SomeCallMeTim — there were excellent staff scattered through the campaigns. It would be a mistake to exile them or disown them. Huge mistake.
    best, steve

    Reply

  55. jim@r2ohomes.net says:

    “right on health care” come on? garnishing wages will pass which congress? In your “right” scenario have the republicans been abducted?—talk about false hope….please!!!!
    “right on subprime…” more false hope my friend…victims of the subprime loans were put into unafgfordable loans…thus adjustable arms dont impact them…why? they lose their home in the first 12 months..nothing to do with adjustable’s—all about liar loans…
    “false hope solution 2” 90 day foreclosure freeze…interest doesnt stop accruing under this plan…wages dont increase under this plan….payments dont impactfully reduce under this plan….more false hope….
    Where Am I?

    Reply

  56. SomeCallMeTim says:

    **some of her staff**
    Sure, some. But many people actually kind of like HRC, and if HRC loses–and who knows?–it will be in no small part because of the company she keeps rather than herself. I’m not sure Obama should adopt that problem.

    Reply

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