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I am all for a bruising primary season.  I think they make for better, tougher, battle-tested candidates; and as we all know the opposition is highly unlikely to observe Marquis of Queensberry rules when we face them in the general election.   However, its good to remember that after primaries we're all going to be on the same team, so  you might want to cut back on the horse-collars and cut blocks.  

Watching the campaign in the last few days I got the same sick feeling I got yesterday watching the Chargers upset the Colts-while losing their Starting quarterback, Superstar Running back and leading receiver-and now they get to face the only undefeated team in the NFL. (reached for comment after the game Coach Pyrrhus said "well we feel pretty good, after all a win is a win")

Specifically, I think Clinton is playing with fire by bringing up the race issue and it has to potential to burn both candidates badly:

I woke up today to this very misleading but powerful AP headline

Clinton, Obama clash over race issue

Now to be fair to Obama, the proper headline to this article should have been "Clinton Surrogates attack Obama, then blame Obama when reporters print the dumbass things they said".  But frankly the truth matters a lot less than the headline (a lot more eyeballs will hit the headline than the accompanying article--as any Kos Diarist knows) and this particular headline is deadly for two reasons:

  1. "Clinton-Obama Clash":  Well, so much for the "upbeat, positive tone" of the Democratic primary campaign.  In three little words that perception is destroyed, and instead the casual observer of politics can say "Yep, about what I expected..." and write them both off as typical politicians who will tear each other apart to climb the ladder.   This does BOTH candidates a grave disservice frankly and allows the media to go back to their favored Jerry Springer/Horse Race style coverage of the elections.  They would so much rather cover the nasty , he said/she said slapfight of a negative campaign, rather than have to actually look at Issues and policies  as they were reluctantly being forced to by the lack of anything negative to report from the Dem's campaign trail
  1. Over the Race Issue :  bad as the first three words of the (probably inevitable)headline were;  , the last four words  were far far worse, and potentially deadly to Dems, particularly if Obama become the eventual nominee: Over the " Race Issue".   See?  just like that there IS a "race issue" in this race.   The triumph of Hope in Iowa, the hope of a color-insensitive American Electorate just frayed a little; and since it's a pretty fragile thread to start with, it can't take much of that.  This is the THERE I'm begging Hillary not to go.  

Make no mistake, she actually did go there:

Hillary Clinton had said King's dream of racial equality was realized only when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Sorry, but message there was clear.  Hillary was trying to cast Obama as a charismatic and inspiring speaker, but not a politician who gets things done.  I get the analogy but besides being historically false  (I think it is historical consensus by now that but for King in the streets and Marshall in the courts, Johnson could never have gotten the VRA and CRA passed.); there are very few ways of looking that statement that AREN'T insulting to Obama, King, and a whole host of other civil rights leaders.  

If she'd stopped there and just issued a full-stop apology, I'd have had a lot of respect for her (hey, we all get carried away and her original point wasn't as malicious as it came out.)

Instead, in a shining example of why people hate the Clintons, she tried the classic Clinton two step:

  1. High minded denial, mixed with a concealed Jab at political enemies:

"This is an unfortunate story line the Obama campaign has pushed very successfully," the former first lady said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press." "I don't think this campaign is about gender, and I sure hope it's not about race."

Well, we'll pretend that Hillary, HASN'T repeatedly traded on her gender so far in the campaign, And take her at her word.  After all this race CANNOT be about race r gender if we hope to win it.   But again notice the Trademark Clinton Ju-jitsu in Blaming Obama for making a racial thing out of her negative comment about the most Iconic Black American leader ever.

And that might have been almost credible if the very same day her campaign hadn't pulled this tired old tactic:

  1. Renewed attack coupled with adamant but ridiculous denial they said/did  anything untoward :

But no sooner had Clinton said she hoped the campaign would not be about race than it got even more heated. A prominent black Clinton supporter, Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson, criticized Obama and seemed to refer to his acknowledged teenage drug use while introducing Clinton at her next event.

"To me, as an African-American, I am frankly insulted the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues — when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood; I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book — when they have been involved," Johnson said.

Obama wrote about his youthful drug use — marijuana, alcohol and sometimes cocaine — in his memoir, "Dreams from My Father

So while you are trying not to make Race an issue, you roll out your biggest possible gun in the African American community to criticize Obama on racial issues.  Gotcha.   And in that maddening way that the Clintons have; they then denied the attack ever happened the minute they saw it going over like a lead balloon:

."

Johnson later said in a statement released by the Clinton campaign that his comments referred to Obama's work as a community organizer in Chicago "and nothing else. Any other suggestion is simply irresponsible and incorrect."

Begging your pardon MS. Clinton and Mr. Johnson--but, bullshit. That's not only a bald-faced lie, but its not even a good one, and frankly, I'm insulted that you think I'm stupid enough to swallow it.  This is on the level of "who you gonna believe baby, Me? or your own lying eyes?"

Plug in the words "working tirelessly as a community organizer to help draw attention to social needs of impoverished blacks"  to Mr. Johnson's quote above.  Does it even make sense?  Of course it doesn't.  But as We've so often heard from both Clintons when caught in uncomfortable situations-"that's their story a they're sticking to it"

Okay , I can hear you say: "so Hillary's doing some hard checking on Obama and using black surrogates, so what?"

Well the What in this case is the response it is forcing from Obama and his camp,  which is to acknowledge race and accept that is it is or should be an issue:

Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Obama's wife rose to his defense over Bill Clinton's "fairy tale" comment. Michelle Obama said some blacks might be skeptical that white America will elect her husband, but advised them to look to his win in Iowa.

"Ain't no black people in Iowa," she said during a speech at the Trumpet Awards, an event celebrating black achievement. "Something big, something new is happening. Let's build the future we all know is possible. Let's show our kids that America is ready for Barack Obama right now."

"Ain't no black people in Iowa", sigh.  To me the story line from Iowa should be the miracle that after 7 years of being brutalized by their government, people are still willing to discard cynicism and vote for hope.  It should NOT be the "Miracle"  that them down home, rural white folk threw the lever for a brother from the big city.  THAT should be an  utterly unremarkable side fact, no more noteworthy than the fact that largely christian Iowans voted for Romney who is a Mormon.  Romeny has done a VERY good job defusing the religion issue, even while running against an actual evangelical minister.  And up unitl now Obama has done an equally good job running as an "American" not a "-American"  and  that is utterly critical to his, and likely our, chances of success in November

Here is the brutal facts: if Obama is "the Black Candidate" and perceived only as the champion "black" causes, he could well win the nomination, as, but he WILL lose the general election.  Call it latent racism, or appealing to a too narrow demographic, but there is no way to win if you are seen as the exclusive candidate of 10% of the population.  You cannot embrace one race, gender, or relgion, without alienating all the others to some degree.

And here's the thing:  There is no Republican who can do this to him.  Should they even try it, the GOP's deplorable record on race relations would cause such an almighty backlash that it would unquestionably sink the candidate foolish enough to bring it up.  To the republicans this is a radioactive issue.  So only Hillary, wife of "America’s first black president"  can damage Obama this way.  And this is why I’m here and now begging her not to.

Please Hillary, you might well win the nomination; and if you do, I will hold my nose, muck in and do everything I can to get you elected.  BUT you might not win, by now you must have accepted the possibility exists.  So PLEASE don’t leave all you rival and our other best hope of winning in November so badly damaged that we hand the election to the Republicans one more time.  There really are some prices that your conscience and the nation cannot afford to pay  for your ambition

Originally posted to Magorn on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 11:48 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bubble (9+ / 0-)

    She's got a cadre every bit as insular as Bush's. No message that this sort of thing is wrong and/or distasteful will get through.

  •  The goal's to make Obama "the black candidate"... (9+ / 0-)

    ...the Clinton camp wants nothing more than for such headlines to stay present throughout the primaries. I'd say more, but I wouldn't want to add to the list!

    One conversation in the real world beats one thousand diaries on the rec list.

    by haruki on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 11:51:50 AM PST

    •  My cynical theory: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Magorn, Rogneid, mamamedusa

      The Clintonites are deliberately attempting draw out the African-American leadership, especially Al Sharpton.  I know if I were running, I would want Sharpton raising hell for my opponent.

      •  An old law professor of mine (5+ / 0-)

        An old law professor of mine (who as it ahppens was the one who took me to the Obama fundraiser way back in '03) was once appointed to represent John Wayne Gacy on some legal appeal he had in Ill.  One day during a legal visit, gacy was extrmely angry and asked my prof, what he should do about hte terrible thing then-candidate George HW Bush said  about him in a speech.

        Gacy wanted My Prof to hold a press cofnerence denouncing Bush and the republicans and denying whatever it was Bush said.

        My prof looked at Gacy and said "John, if you really want to hurt him your should issue a press release endorsing his candidacy in the strongest possible terms"

        Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

        by Magorn on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:12:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Al Sharpton should endorse Clinton (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Magorn

        Now there would be something I'd be happy about: Sharpton endorsing Clinton...

        And if Sharpton is really pissed about this, he should do it. That would be beautiful.

    •  Why on earth ... (0+ / 0-)

      Would she want or need to do that? Like white voters don't know he's black?

      This is about black votes in SC - Obama will get most of them, but he desperately needs to minimize Hillary's black vote. That's why he keeps cycling it through the news.

      The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

      by al Fubar on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:43:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please... (3+ / 0-)

    Obama's hands aren't clean...

    Get out of the Dkos bubble...because many in the real world sees exactly what he is doing.

    I admired Howard Dean. I believed in Howard Dean. You, John Edwards, are NO Howard Dean (no matter how hard Joe Trippi makes you over).

    by GregNYC on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 11:54:01 AM PST

    •  I'm all for a dissenting viewpoint (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa

      I'm not Naieve enough to imbue my favored candidate with sainthood, but I'd love to hear specifics of what you object to. I mean that sincerely.

      I personally base my support for Obama on a brief personal encounter at a fundraising dinner back during hte Ill Senate primary.  He Impressed me than as no poltician before or since has, and for various reasons I'm pretty confident in my ability to read people.

      Still if you want to convince me otherwise, with specifics, now's the time.

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:08:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, what does Hillary gain ...? (0+ / 0-)

        From injecting race?

        She's sitting on a double-digit lead nationally, which translates fairly well to the Feb 5 states. She's expected to lose SC, so it won't be any shock when she does. She gets nothing from a quarrel about race. While Obama has to push down her black vote in SC, and  this is the quick way to do it, though it puts him at more risk on Feb 5.

        The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

        by al Fubar on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:48:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is an attack, it drives (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Magorn, mamamedusa, Virginia mom

          up his negatives.  I don't think it is a smart attack, anymore than the kindergarden thing was a smart attack, but it is an attack.

          The record is clear.  Hillary supporters have been using racist language.  If you are saying that Obama is at fault for calling Hillary on it you are nuts.  That kind of thing leads to swift boating.

          •  not a question of fault (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            al Fubar

            Obama might be right to call her on it, it will depend on who comes ahead from this debacle. He can't have her tear at his MLK/JFK type mantle that he's worked so hard to cultivate, but he might lose it also by counterattacking too hard adn being too associated with tradional black candidate mistakes, like excessively dweeling on racial issues.
            He can easily sit back and not make this an issue, this is a sort of sensitivity that can be turned off and on. Comments like this are common in modern America, the veiled racism is omnipresent, and I'm sure Obama has encountered it in his pervious campaigns.

            Now he has to decide whether he can box Hillary out of talking about race entirely and make her give up an MLK references whatsoever, or whether he has too much to lose by being seen too many times by white people talking about race, which scares white voters away. So don't make this a personal issue, it's about as personal as countering an uppercut in boxing.

            A pessimist is just a well-informed optimist.

            by Marcion on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 01:14:28 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  5 point national lead as of yesterday (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Magorn

          According to a WaPo/ABC poll.

          •  The Washington Post poll was the only (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            al Fubar

            poll among four from yesterday that didn't show her lead in double digits.  Funny you should pick that one.  The more the race issue has been emphasized by Obama's surrogates, the higher the polls go in her favor.  No one in the real word goes for being attacked as a racist or for seeing others attacked for supposedly racist comments that show no sign of racism.  The Bill Clinton fairy tail comment was obviously about Obama's spin about opposing the war for years, there is no evidence that he has been consistant in the level of   opposition that he claims, and when you listen to clinton talking about it, there is no mistake that he was talking about the war and not Obama's campaign.  When people see that someone is trying to manipulate them into seeing something that is not there, they get mad.  Obama will lose votes in the long run because of this.  He is only looking in front of his face to SC which is very poor judgement.

    •  She brings up racial issues then blames Sen. Obama (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      soros, mamamedusa, catchaz
      Yesterday, in response to a question about Senator Clinton's controversial comments on Dr. Martin Luther King, Senator Obama said: "Senator Clinton made an unfortunate remark, an ill advised remark, about King and Lyndon Johnson. I didn't make the statement. I haven't remarked on it and she I think offended some folks who felt that somehow diminished King's role in bringing about the Civil Rights Act. She is free to explain that, but the notion that somehow this is our doing is ludicrous."  

      This is his first mention of Hillary's gaffe.  He didn't respond to it (jump head first into the race issue) until she blamed his campaign for the "distortions"!

      History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. --Maya Angelou

      by IET on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:13:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hitchens on Hillary: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RFK Lives
  •  Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    al Fubar

    If you think Hillary is playing too rough, wait until the General election.

    Bush? He can't run one country and you expect him to run two?

    by ScrewJack on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 11:55:55 AM PST

    •  The difference is that we expect... (6+ / 0-)

      this type of slime from the Republicans...not from members of our own party.

      "Change We Can Believe In" Obama '08

      by bigpappa10834 on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 11:58:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Magorn

        But I wouldn't worry too much about it. Either Obama will hold his own against it or he won't. Hillary isn't going to mind people holding their noses as long as they vote for her.

        Bush? He can't run one country and you expect him to run two?

        by ScrewJack on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:00:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, Obama will hold his own... (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bailey, Magorn, Rogneid, mamamedusa, haruki, Hope08

          and if she does become the nominee, I will hold my nose and vote for her...but she needs to be careful...she is doing this at her own peril if she becomes the nominee because she can't afford to alienate Black voters. She'll need every single vote she can muster, especially if John McCain is the GOP nominee. I have family in S.C. and they are telling me that the AA community is pissed at the Clintons right now.

          "Change We Can Believe In" Obama '08

          by bigpappa10834 on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:07:32 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  its not simply about "holding your own" (0+ / 0-)

          its about morals!  Do we want or need our own BushCo in the party?  No frickin way!

          A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user. - Theodore Roosevelt

          by MadAsHellMaddie on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:23:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  even the GOP would not stoop as low (0+ / 0-)

      as she has.

      A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user. - Theodore Roosevelt

      by MadAsHellMaddie on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:00:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OH YES (0+ / 0-)

        they will and then some. They fight dirty. DIRTY. Remember swift boats? Remember Limbaugh? "take the bone out of your nose" comments.

        They'll go after drug use, race whatever they can to make Obama lose. Don't underestimate them.

        Bush? He can't run one country and you expect him to run two?

        by ScrewJack on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:01:50 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  what HRC has done is more that dirty or DIRTY (0+ / 0-)

          there is not much left to do that she hasn't already done.  and the GOP and use it against HRC if she gets the nod.

          A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user. - Theodore Roosevelt

          by MadAsHellMaddie on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:24:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  You HAVE read the "Obama the Muslim" E-mail? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Empower Ink

        No they will fight , especially behind the scenes, as dirty as possible.  What the Republicans don't realize is that they have forced the nation to become much better critical thinkers in the last 7 years, and a lot of their tired old attack tactics won't work becasue we know to look for the man behind the curtain now and take ANYTHING a republican says with a grain of salt.

        We're not as hardened agains the Dem message, that's why friendly fire attacks are so damaging.

        Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

        by Magorn on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:16:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Too late, (8+ / 0-)

    Hillary has crossed over where no true liberal democrate would ever go.  Hillary is who Hillary is and no amount of bs is going to change that.

    go raibh maith agat

    by jersy on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 11:57:09 AM PST

  •  Race is the undertow in this election (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ScrewJack, mamamedusa

    We've all been polite about it, although we know within the party and between the parties, its a real issue, unfortunately.  Is HRC and/or Edwards splitting the Democratic party or is it rank-and-file Democrats? Who's not to say that some of Hillary's and/or Edward's support comes from Democrats with inarticulated issues with race?  

    If we don't confront the our internal demons now, at these very viable times, then when will we turn a historical corner, united?

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect -- Mark Twain.

    by dcrolg on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:00:09 PM PST

  •  Did anyone really expect this to be clean? (5+ / 0-)

    For months now, the Clinton and Obama camps have been trading blows back and forth daily. It's a race. Both seem to think that the other would be a bad President. They really want it. This is what happens. I hope it doesn't go the way of Bradley vs. Gore or the California candidates in 06.  Asking Clinton not to fight back when Obama and Edwards call her corrupt or racist or someone who only drank tes is a waste of time. Asking Obama not to call Clinton a racist or corrupt is also basically a waste of time.

    Hillary Clinton's Liberal Ranking http://www.dailykos.com/story/2007/8/10/122232/619

    by tigercourse on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:00:14 PM PST

    •  Is this a great country, or what ...? (0+ / 0-)

      The first black and the first woman with a good chance to be president are squared off, and they are both tough politicians.

      The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

      by al Fubar on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:54:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think they should all stop it (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think Hillary's comments about MLK were insulting to him or to civil rights leaders or even to Obama.  She was trying to build herself up as someone who couldn't claim the mantle of MLK, but who could at least claim the mantle of LBJ and that we needed her to actually get things done.

    It may have been a slam on the idea that hope trumps action, but that's a fair critique against Obama's message, not his race.

    On the other hand, I think Johnson's remarks were stupid, and that the Clinton's have been doing themselves no favors in damage control here, and that Obama's supporters are gleefully race-baiting us into a very bad situation in the primaries for all the reasons you suggested.

    I want everyone to knock it off and talk about substantive issues pronto!

    Stephanie Dray
    of Jousting for Justice, a lefty blog with a Maryland tilt.

    by stephdray on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:00:22 PM PST

    •  But why? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RFK Lives, mamamedusa, Virginia mom

      But what was the reason for bringing up MLK at all?  In the course of a campaign, he's pretty much a non-sequitor.  In my opinion, Hillary wanted to draw some sort of direct parallel to the rhetoric of MLK and to Obama and her method of doing it was really pretty crappy, at the end of the day.

      •  Because she's ceding Obama as inspirational (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Marcion

        She knows that in South Carolina it's all about the black vote.  So she was trying to address that.

        She was saying, "Ok, he's very inspirational in this community, and I can't be that.  I can never be someone like MLK.  But what I can be is someone like LBJ and that's why I think you should vote for me."

        She is allowed to say why she thinks she'd be a better President than Obama.  In retrospect, I bet she wishes like heck that she chose another analogy.

        Stephanie Dray
        of Jousting for Justice, a lefty blog with a Maryland tilt.

        by stephdray on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:45:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes (0+ / 0-)

          She is allowed to say why she thinks she'd be a better President than Obama.  In retrospect, I bet she wishes like heck that she chose another analogy.

          I bet you're right on this score.  :-)

        •  She probably does ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          stephdray

          But Obama has been playing with some dynamite, because he is trying to drive Hillary's black vote in SC as close to zero as he can. If race had not been injected, Hillary might have pulled in a significant number of black voters - certainly not a majority, but enough to make his win non-overwhelming.

          Obama desperately needs a big SC - and big attention paid to SC - because he is still down by double digits nationally, 3 weeks out from the quasi-national primary on Feb 5.

          The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

          by al Fubar on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:59:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, maybe he's the real calculator here then (0+ / 0-)

            Because he has kept the Clintons off message for days now with this BS, and while I think it's dirty dirty stuff and I worry about it backfiring in the General Election, I won't be sad to learn that Obama can break some legs politically.

            Stephanie Dray
            of Jousting for Justice, a lefty blog with a Maryland tilt.

            by stephdray on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 01:03:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  More Hitchens: (0+ / 0-)

    What do you have to forget or overlook in order to desire that this dysfunctional clan once more occupies the White House and is again in a position to rent the Lincoln Bedroom to campaign donors and to employ the Oval Office as a massage parlor? You have to be able to forget, first, what happened to those who complained, or who told the truth, last time. It's often said, by people trying to show how grown-up and unshocked they are, that all Clinton did to get himself impeached was lie about sex. That's not really true. What he actually lied about, in the perjury that also got him disbarred, was the women. And what this involved was a steady campaign of defamation, backed up by private dicks (you should excuse the expression) and salaried government employees, against women who I believe were telling the truth. In my opinion, Gennifer Flowers was telling the truth; so was Monica Lewinsky, and so was Kathleen Willey, and so, lest we forget, was Juanita Broaddrick, the woman who says she was raped by Bill Clinton. (For the full background on this, see the chapter "Is There a Rapist in the Oval Office?" in the paperback version of my book No One Left To Lie To. This essay, I may modestly say, has never been challenged by anybody in the fabled Clinton "rapid response" team.) Yet one constantly reads that both Clintons, including the female who helped intensify the slanders against her mistreated sisters, are excellent on women's "issues."

  •  Hitchens sums up: (0+ / 0-)

    Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don't show her enough appreciation, and after all she's done for us, she may cry.

  •  Lesson: don't bring a knife to a gunfight (5+ / 0-)

    First, an observation: Neither the MLK/JFK/LBJ comments, nor the "fairy tale", nor Johnson's "neighborhood comment" were explicitly, or even strongly implicitly about race.  Indeed, all three are perfectly defensible as the truth (begin flames, happy to defend).

    Second, all three provoked the Obama campaign to turn it into a racial issue.  Which is exactly what they had to avoid.  Because for good or ill (ill), white america does not want to hear black people complaining about racism.  It makes them defensive. Sealed off.  It separates.

    Third, did the Clinton campaign do all of this deliberately, in order to lure the less experienced and savvy Obama campaign into flipping the race switch?  I think almost certainly yes.  You don't have Johnson come out to remind blacks that the Clintons are long-time street fighters for the community without knowing that he's going to leverage his status as a shaker in the black community to cut Obama down to size without knowing that the Obama camp will be outraged.

    Fourth, can I condone it?  Do the ends justify the means?  Oh, how I wish I could be Kant, but I can't.  I came into this thinking that Hillary was our strongest candidate, because she's a ruthless leg-breaker, and the republicans need to have some legs broken.  And now, taking it all in, I'm willing to accept that her Dem opponents may have to take a fracture or two along the way.  

    •  They aren't racist comments (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bailey, Magorn, mamamedusa, blindyone
      just racially incensitive.  But as mentioned before, he didnt take the bait.

      Yesterday, in response to a question about Senator Clinton's controversial comments on Dr. Martin Luther King, Senator Obama said: "Senator Clinton made an unfortunate remark, an ill advised remark, about King and Lyndon Johnson. I didn't make the statement. I haven't remarked on it and she I think offended some folks who felt that somehow diminished King's role in bringing about the Civil Rights Act. She is free to explain that, but the notion that somehow this is our doing is ludicrous."  

      History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. --Maya Angelou

      by IET on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:17:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think Obama is well aware (0+ / 0-)

      I guess she'll keep crying when she gets attacked.  Obama can play hardball as well.  I think dkos needs to buck up for the coming battle...

  •  the once transcendent campaign (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    al Fubar, stephdray

    has been brought back to reality.

    y'all took the bait.  rookie mistake.

    c'mon let's sweat, baby!

    by CC Music Factory on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:15:56 PM PST

  •  Wow, no one's diaried about THIS yet! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    al Fubar, stephdray, Moresby, NY Writer

    Please. Hillary mispoke on the MLK thing. Even if she was doing a "race-baiting" strategy, does it really make sense she'd dis MLK? I mean, come ON.

    I'm really, really, really, really tired of people taking off-hand comments by Clinton and Obama surrogates and saying it "proves" they're employing some kind of race or gender-based strategy.

    Can we please stop assuming the worst possible motives about both of them, and calm down?

    Explore "Brent's Brain" at http://www.brenthartinger.com

    by BrentHartinger on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:17:53 PM PST

    •  if she's serious... (0+ / 0-)

      Then YES, she'd "misspeak" about MLK in order to tar Obama, and then apologize for it afterward.  And good on her for it.  Speaking as an Obama supporter, I want the knives out.  Because the GOP will run a FAR more racist campaign than Hillary is doing, and if Obama can't even survive it from her, he's not going to survive against the Republican slime.

      Republican speech rules: No words with three syllables or more, except America, president, and terrorists.

      by Leggy Starlitz on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 01:16:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe it's the craziness of the moment, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bailey, Magorn

    take a look at this, and the comments, and it's not just me.

    A lot of us were thrilled when Bill won. (me included--I was starry-eyed and voting in my first election) We dismissed all the "scandals" as Republican fabrications, or, if they had any truth to them, it didn't really matter, because these people were our dirty fighters. They were our tough guys. We could forgive anything as long as a Democrat was in the White House, however he got there. After all, the alternative was worse, and I still believe that. However, some of us have forgotten that maybe, just maybe, there are other, better ways to win and to govern. And in light of everything that's happened recently, I am starting to wonder if there wasn't more truth to some of those old scandals than people would like to admit.

    Clinton's my second choice (still), but for reasons that are rather more cynical than why I support my first choice. They are starting to sound much more like justifications these days than anything else. It's easy to say, when things are going downhill and Republicans are in charge, that it's their fault and we'd do better. But if the ball comes into our court, we have to do better...

    Is it January yet?

    by JMS on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:19:12 PM PST

  •  It's a game of chicken (5+ / 0-)

    Obama clearly went in with a well defined strategy of not allowing Hillary to bring up race, either obliquely or directly, in any way that would benefit her. And race topics are very important to a Democratic candidate, so if you cut off a Dem from being able to rally Arican Americans with references to MLk, etc., that does take away one available weapon in the toolkit. Obama wanted to make any comment with a racial undertone off iimits, which, again, are bread and butter in democratic primaries, particularly in states with large black voting populations.  Clearly somebody was scanning every statement by every Hillary surrogate for anything the slightest bit controversial which could be useful to Obama. Some of the controversies have been pretty absurd, like the MLK comment, which contains a very

    Now Clinton is trying to do the same thing, to scare Obama away from the racial ground by showing that if his campaign becomes mired in that, he will become the Black candidate and about as viable as Al Sharpton. I don't really see what else she can do in the situation, cede the implication taht she's  a closet racist and never mention any black issue again?

    Now that Obama is getting blowback which is turning negative for him, he might agree to demilitarize the issue, which would be best for both sides, but there would be no reason for him to give up unless pressed by Hillary. Seems like pretty standard political manoevering, and plaintive appeals to decency and racial harmony within the party are a part of the game as well, a final salvo at Hillary prior to a compromise solution being reached.

    If Obama supporters really want for this not to become a critical issue, than next time you hear something that might be construed with a little imagination to be a racist slur against Obama, just let it go. So simple. If not, the wars will continue until it is clear that one of the two candidates is being damaged disproportionately to the other one.  

    A pessimist is just a well-informed optimist.

    by Marcion on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:24:18 PM PST

    •  Good analysis ... (0+ / 0-)

      But Hillary doesn't really need to scare Obama away from anything. She's ahead by double digits nationally, which translates pretty well to the Feb 5 states.

      Obama is in a scramble, because his Iowa mo came up short - and Hillary probably needled him to pull him offsides.

      The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

      by al Fubar on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 01:05:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Would It Make a Difference (0+ / 0-)

    If the diarist knew that the reason all of this is news is that the Obama has its fax machines working overtime sending out materials to news organizations about Clinton's racial crimes?  Some people who are "around" Clinton have made a couple of bad remarks.  But it is the Obama camp that is making sure that this becomes the theme of the campaign.

    Obama, save me from your followers.

    by bink on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:26:28 PM PST

    •  well, obama is a rookie. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      al Fubar, stephdray

      this may work back home in chicago, but it's not what you need for a national campaign. not many people want a president whose inclination is to claim racism when people won't do what he wants them to.

      Hillary 2008 - Flying Monkey Squadron 283

      by campskunk on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:42:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  do you believe this? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bailey

      Do you think that But for Obama's fax squad the scandal hungry campaign media would just be what? ignoring this?  Please.  TO me that smacks a little too much of the whole "vast RightWing conspiracy" excuse Hillary proffered for all the Clinton-ra scandals.  

      Yes there WAS a cabal of black-hearted ultra-cons who were bound and determined to attack them, but she never realized that the Stonewalling ways of her hubby's Whitehouse were only feeding the beast.  In the end it all came out, all the documents were wrested away from them, and they contained...NOTHING, not one thing that the brightest minds of the hard Right could use to so much as indict them on.

      Same thing here.  Maybe her Dr. King attacks were innocent of racial overtones and just an interesting academic point.  Maybe.  But then dragging out Robert Johnson to hit Obama's teenage drug use, (and then to deny bald-faced, that he did did it) the very next day isn't helping.

      Knowledge is power Power Corrupts Study Hard Be Evil

      by Magorn on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:42:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama loses ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    al Fubar, stephdray, NY Writer

    this debate even if he/his surrogates have a point.  It undercuts the "transcending race" theme of his campaign.

    All sides should dump this silliness, and get back to something that will actually move votes.

    Like, um ... the economy.

    This stuff just turns off voters on all sides.

    I am neither bitter nor cynical but I do wish there was less immaturity in political thinking. -- FDR

    by Moresby on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:37:39 PM PST

    •  how has he taken the bait? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mamamedusa
      when her "distorted" comments were made including the MLK gaffe, Obama made no comments on them!  How has he taken the bait?

      History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. --Maya Angelou

      by IET on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 12:48:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  His surrogates ... (0+ / 0-)

        Have been whipping up the media frenzy.

        The best fortress is to be found in the love of the people - Niccolo Machiavelli

        by al Fubar on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 01:06:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  every time Obama and race are mentioned (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          al Fubar

          He loses white votes. He has to be really careful about how long he let's this go on before shifting the strategy. It can be useful if used in moderation, particulary in SC, but I think it will hurt Obama more than Hillary in the long run. If he gets to be seen as the Black Candidate he's finished, while for her, slightly higher negatives are nothing, she's already in the stratosphere of negativity.

          A pessimist is just a well-informed optimist.

          by Marcion on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 01:18:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You are falling in line with the propaganda that (0+ / 0-)

    the press and the Obama campaign wants you to.  It is obvious to anyone who listens to the actual comments made by Clinton and her husband  that there was no racism in the comments.  So yes someone is twisting things.  If it isn't Obama, then who is it?  Everyone knows that the Clintons are not racists, and a true look at their comments show that quite clearly.  That leaves the motivation to someone else, who is it then?  What does clinton have to gain by appearing racist?   I thought people on here were smarter than this than to be taken in.  I sure have had my eyes opened in the last couple of weeks to who really posts here.

  •  You don't get the analogy (0+ / 0-)

    I admit that CLinton has muddie the waters because she feels she was attacked for criticizing MLK -- so, she's empahsisizng the MLK bit, now.

    However, I think you are wrong -- you don't get the analogy.

    Here's what you said:

    "Make no mistake, she actually did go there:

    Hillary Clinton had said King's dream of racial equality was realized only when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964

    Sorry, but message there was clear.  Hillary was trying to cast Obama as a charismatic and inspiring speaker, but not a politician who gets things done.  I get the analogy "

    First off, you provide some sort of quote ABOUT what Clinton said -- but, it is not what she actually said.

    If you bother to read what she said (or listen), and turn off the anger, you might realize that she was trying to do one thing -- contrast Pres. Johnson (LBJ) with Pres. Kennedy (JFK).

    Here's what she actually said:

    "I would point to the fact that that Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do"

    Clinton didn't say that the dream was realized by LBJ -- she said "it only began to be realized." If you think about that, she's saying that legislation was not the realization -- that there was much hard work ahead.

    More importantly, though, is what her main purpose was in making that statement. She wasn't diminishing MLK's role. She was diminishing JFK's role. She said JFK was merely "hopeful" of passing civil rights legislation, but that Johnson (the consummate legislator) got it done. Her analogy was that Obama is like JFK, talking about "hope". She makes herself into LBJ, who was the President that got it done.

    So, I submit that you do not get the analogy, at all. Or, at least, you didn't. Perhaps, you do now?

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 02:41:19 PM PST

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