Reverse Sexism, Sarah Palin, & Gloria Steinem

[Welcome Readers from C-Span]

You know things have gone a little wacky, when a right-wing conservative is deploying Gloria Steinem (Gloria Steinem?!!??) to support the Sarah Palin pick and claiming left-wing anti-female sexism.

The charge in question belongs to Chrystia Freeland of The Financial Times.

She opines:

During the Democratic primaries, Gloria Steinem, pioneering feminist and Hillary Clinton supporter, argued that the contest had revealed that gender was “probably the most restricting force in American life”. She illustrated her point by imagining a female version of Barack Obama and contending that no woman with such a slender biography would be considered seriously for the presidency.

It is now clear that Ms Steinem was right – although proof comes not from the treatment of the Democratic lioness Mrs Clinton but from the responses, particularly on the left, to the Republican newcomer Sarah Palin. Less than 24 hours after the triumphant close of a convention that nominated a 47-year-old first-term senator as its party’s candidate to be president of the United States, Democratic heavyweights were sputtering with horror at the idea of a 44-year-old, first-term governor as Republican vice-presidential nominee.

But is that right? I mean it is certainly true that Obama spent more time in elected public office than Clinton, yes? And if the problem is that Obama was a one-term senator and Palin a one-term governor, Hillary is/was only a 1 1/2 term Senator, yes?

Ok, so if you ignore that query–or if you count being First Lady of Arkansas and of the Nation as executive experience (which to be fair, given that it was the Clintons maybe you could, maybe she did have a great deal of influence/decision making capacity which wouldn’t otherwise accrue to that otherwise ceremonial post)–then I guess you could make Steinem’s argument. Otherwise Hillary’s record is not particularly thicker than Obama’s. Been a Senator for a couple of years more and got the one main vote (Iraq) she took during that time wrong, which he got right.

The case for a thicker Clintonian resume however is not helped by Freeland later saying (dumbly imo):

“In contrast with Mrs Clinton, whose most important political decision was whom she married”

as opposed to say I don’t know, voting or not voting for a war. This person whose most important decision was whom she married is the backbone of Steinem’s argument against the “thin resume” guy. Wait, I’m confused now, anybody else?

But even if you accept GS’ premise–that no woman would ever be accepted with “so thin a resume”–the obverse of that is therefore not also true. The (unstated) corollary to the no woman could ever gain to that position with so thin a record premise is that Hillary lost the Democratic Primary because of sexism. When in reality Hillary lost the primary because she voted for the Iraq War and ran a poor campaign and never took Obama seriously (like say how Steinem refused to either).

I think Freeland in the Obama/Palin matchup is underestimating what having run in the longest national political campaign for presidency ever does in terms of that vague catchall experience. He has been in the public eye for 19 months, 20+ debates, run against (and beat) the Clinton machine/Democratic establishment (versus say the Alaska Rep. Establishment, except well maybe not totally), has had numerous meetings with the financial and foreign policy establishment/elite, done the foreign leader/delegate circuit.

While it is true as Freeland points out, Obama is running for Prez and Palin only for VP, she should mention that Prez would be if elected the oldest first term individual ever elected in US history and therefore there are legitimate questions about succession/possibility McCain dying in office. In which case the only in Palin is “only” running for VP quickly disappears.

But all that aside, I think Steinem is probably right that no woman would enter the fray in a way Obama did if Obama were a woman. Doesn’t at all explain why/how Clinton lost the Democratic Primary–other than he was there to sink her (necessary but not sufficient condition)–but Steinem may be right on that point. Also continues still to underestimate how impressive Obama has been in many regards. [He is a mixed racial self-identified black man named Barack Obama running for Prez after all…in the US mind you]. The fact that he was a man–and that he had been against the Iraq War–got him a foot in the door I suppose but doesn’t in anyway predict what he was able to do once said foot was in said door. It was all him after that point.

I also agree with Freeland that much of the negative pushback against Palin is because she is a social conservative right-winger. That does leave open (as CF points out) the question of whether the “feminist” in this context means supporting policies that one thinks of as more pro-women which may be advocated by a man as opposed to a woman versus helping women as such, as represented by the possibility of the First Woman VP. I’m not gonna take sides on that one, just to say it’s out there.

But if the former is true, doesn’t this again undercut the thin resume argument vis a vis a Palin? I mean if it were decided that the more feminist (if there is such a thing) thing to do would be to vote Obama because of his supposedly more pro-woman policies, then wouldn’t the women (and pro-feminist men) voting against Palin be voting correctly? i.e. Voting on self-interest and policy not because of some reverse sexism?

Of course the other obvious ginormous elephant in the room that Freeland doesn’t mention–cuz it might wreck her whole theory–is that Palin got the nod because she was a woman. And only because she was a woman. And if she were a man with the kind of (*cough*…thin?) resume she has, she wouldn’t have been picked.

iow, All this episode may prove is that any campaign that picks a candidate pretty much entirely on gender and ideological persuasion while there are valid questions of suitability for the role without having clearly done their proper homework on vetting the individual in question is bound to get some stuff thrown back/blow up in their face. I’m not sure it at all proves Steinem’s thesis–which is the central point of Freeland’s article.

e.g. I can’t imagine a scenario in which John McCain had picked say Olympia Snowe as his VP and she would have been questioned by the left as “inexperienced”. They would have critiqued her–she is a Republican after all–but no sane person would have questioned her qualifications/capacity for the job. But Snowe is pro-choice, so she didn’t fit the ideological purity test necessary for McCain. If we are playing the what is good for feminism card–is it good he passed over more highly qualified women for a younger one because she looks good and people like her and he needs her so other people will like him who before didn’t? I’m just asking.

While I have some questions about the main point of the article (both Freeland’s and Steinem’s), I think Freeland makes a good point at the end. Which is whatever else, if Pain is elected, it’s good that the US finally has a woman VP. I’m still not convinced she’ll actually be the nominee by the election and I’m pretty damn sure the pure pandering of the pick is the nail in the McCain Coffin. But if a miracle were to occur, I’ll be glad we have a woman VP. I still be nervous that it’s her. But maybe she’ll change my mind.

I think the way she got there was not the best. She got (imo) an undeserved promotion, which nobody would pass up. So I don’t have anything against Palin. I think McCain was too cynical by a mile in making this pick and that of the legitimate criticisms/questions around Palin (not the family stuff) he brought that on himself and I don’t have a lot sympathy for his victim card with the media or the charge by Carly Fiorina that this is a smear campaign based on sexism. Apparently even Meg Whitman agrees.

On another note, I actually think Palin will do quite well in her speech tonight. If however they have her be the red meat/attack dog against Obama that could really backfire and bring on loads more media pushback against her. I think her speech should be about her story, her ideals, why you should vote for John McCain. And leave it that.

The real question is how is she going to show up after leaving the convention. She is gonna have the crowd on her side tonight to be sure. But what are they gonna do after that? Keep her from the media?

Update I: And even if there were rampant sexism on this one, wouldn’t by Gov. Palin’s own logic, this mean that the appearance of whining as a counter strategy only hurt their case?

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Published in: on September 3, 2008 at 3:53 pm  Comments (4)  
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Hill’s Convention Speech

Hats off to Hilldog. She brought her A Game tonight. (Text of her remarks here).

I’ve thought for a long time that what cost her the VP slot ultimately was Bill and think that’s sad he let his ego ruin her chances. That and Hillary’s predilection for yes-persons only loyal to her who simultaneously are afraid to tell her hard truths leading to group think. I’m not saying she would have been Darth Cheney Evil but that route has been tried recently from Blair House and it’s been not so good.

Electorally they would have been unstoppable and would have won a LBJ-like 1964-esque landslide. Off the top of my head I would say the two of them together, they would have won 38-40 states. It would have been a fantastic story and if only she didn’t have the baggage of Bill and her circle of cronies it could have happened.

I never liked disagreed massively with her reflexive hawkishness abroad and her command and control economic schemes at home, but she would have been (as she showed tonight) a fantastic campaigner/attack woman as well as a wheeler and dealer vis a vis The Congress (which she could still be in reverse to the White House), and a strong advocate for positions on health care, environment, justice issues. [Without her necessarily having to be in charge of the manner in which those policies were enacted which from my angle would have been the best of both worlds].

Update I: (Morning After)  Per Crowley’s comment that Clinton did not specifically point to any aspects of Obama’s character/readiness for the office, I think the reason for that is simple: she doesn’t believe he is ready. Never has, never will I assume.  She believes in the Democratic Party and its ideals as she said last night and she is voting for Obama based his adherence to those same values (not his personal attributes) and given what occurred in the primaries–and that she’s a Clinton–that is all (and more) that could have reasonably been asked for from her.  She is perfectly set up to be the nominee in 2012 if Obama loses without having been seen to do anything other than support him/make clear to her voters they must support him.

Published in: on August 26, 2008 at 8:45 pm  Comments (1)  
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Foreign Policy and US Prez Race

Even after tonight’s late touchdown in a 3 score down game by Camp Clinton, and as the Democratic nomination race moves inexorably to its obvious conclusion (Obama as the nominee), just a moment to say why I supported Obama.

Above all it was foreign policy concerns which are paramount in my mind as to the Presidency even more so now that I am an American Abroad. [I think domestic policy should be handled by the Congress].

Hillary Clinton has in the course of the campaign clearly signaled that she accepts the basic parameters of George Bush’s Middle East Policy (minus the surge in Iraq): her vote for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment, her comments about “obliterating” Iran, her crazed interpretation of the reality of Lebanon (with Hezbollah as some Iranian and Syrian plant), and her notion of extending American nuclear shield deterrence to Arab Sunni autocrats is all Bushian. i.e. The idea of an axis of so-called “moderates” Arab regimes against the evil Iranian-Syrian axle of evil. She is a war hawk in essence.

John McCain is sadly not McSame. That title more properly belongs to Clinton. McCain is worse than Bush. An uber-Hawk plus. Bush plus. He not only wants to double, triple, quadruple down in Iraq, he has publicly stated he will start a war with Iran during his administration, and not only that wants to start some “stuff” with Russia and China. He is the neoconservative wet dream. He is calling for the end of the entire post WWII Liberal International Order, which Bush has severely damaged but not totally destroyed. McCain would leave the US even further isolated, in debt, and reduced in its position, relying on military answers to non-military problems. His views are a menacing threat to world security in the 21st century. He is the most pro-military and pro-militaristic ethos of any US President since TR and would like his hero, embroil the US in more foreign imperial (mis)adventures. Even Bush gave up on democracy after the election debacles in Palestine, Iraq, and Lebanon, but McCain has only seen the need for more democracy.

Obama is the only candidate who has I think correctly realized that the US can not continue an occupation of the Arab heartland and the fault line of the Sunni/Shia divide and not only that but having allowed Shia to come to power keep Iran out of the bargain. Iran is the one brokering the truces between the Iraqi government and Sadr. Both in Basra and Baghdad.

His primary insight is that the US was attacked by al-Qaeda and therefore al-Qaeda represents the real threat to America and the West. I know this seems like it should be a fairly obvious notion but sadly post 9/11 in US policy circles, it has not been (and is not in the Clinton camp, much less the McCain camp).

HIs notion of a “Dignity” Promotion could become excessively idealistic no doubt, but also could be quite shrewd as a middle way between the pugnacious nationalism of Clinton (Jacksonian FP) and the insanely utopian Wilsonianism of McCain. The promotion of democracy agenda could likely end up only isolating and defeating the liberal democrats in many parts of the world–see the failure of liberals in the Middle East post-Iraq, see also the Iranian liberals not taking aid from the US for rightly feared being seen as fifth column for US. Dignity promotion could allow for a means of US aid predicated around the build up of civil society and more importantly basic requirements (food scarcity, energy prices skyrocketing) helping build resilience in communities around the world. That would need to be piggybacked on less of the anti-foreign trade/free trade talk however.

I find his being a community organizer cum politician an interesting thing, but I’m not into all the hype. I find it intriguing to watch him chart a post-Vietnam, post-Iraq liberal patriotism. Nevertheless, the guy is a politician. He’s a better political organizer than the other two to be sure; I think he also is a smarter guy and has a better sense of the lay of the land and where things need to go. It would icing on the cake to end the Boomer reign and have an election finally not decided by the concerns of the 60s/70s. I would love to see the Nixon Southern Whisper Strategy finally defeated and once and for all sent to the grave. He’s already beat it once in the Democratic Primary, now he will face a rougher version of it in the General. But the key piece is foreign policy.

Update I:  But as I’ve said before he can only go so far, particularly in relation to Israel-Palestine.  Very good article on this subject here Jonathan Steele in The Guardian.

Published in: on May 13, 2008 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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superd’s update

To quote Stephen Colbert, “I called it.”  Here.

I said that Obama passing Clinton in superdelegates would take away the final arrow in the Clinton quiver so that even her upcoming wins in WV and KY would likely be (mostly) ignored.

NyTimes and ABCNews have Obama as of today passing Clinton.

First Read has Obama within 4.  He has picked up net 7 just today.  And doing so on Friday adds further talking points for the Sunday talk shows.

And one other big superdelegate on the horizon (with himself 30+ other delegates pledged to him he could release)? [from NyTimes article]:

Appearing on MSNBC this morning, John Edwards said he was “very likely” to endorse the candidate he voted for in the North Carolina primary on Tuesday. But, the anchors asked, which candidate was it?

In his demurral, Mr. Edwards may have slipped: “I just voted — I just voted for him on Tuesday,” he said. But given Mr. Edwards’s Southern accent, that pesky pronoun may have been plural, albeit in a shortened form: “I just voted for ’em on Tuesday.”

David Schuster, an MSNBC host, attempted to ferret out the truth. “So it was a him or a her that you voted for?” he asked, interrupting the former senator. Mr. Edwards then backpedaled, saying, “No, no,” and laughing.

Obama has already shifted into general election.  If you want to see the preview of how this general will be, Obama’s strategy against McCain, the text of his speech today in Oregon here.  He looks gracious to Hillary in all his recent interviews, meanwhile she is still attacking him and is headed into further irrelevance.  The more of that she does, the quicker these superdelegates keep coming for Obama.

Published in: on May 9, 2008 at 1:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Evan Thomas reviews Nixonland

Rick Perlstein’s book Nixonland is by all accounts a masterpiece. Thomas (link here) calls it the greatest book on the 60s since George Plimpton and Jean Stein’s Edie.

Commenting on the work, Thomas writes:

So it went in Nixonland. Perlstein ends his story with Nixon’s overwhelming re-election in 1972. He only begins to tell the Watergate saga, the Greek drama of how Nixon was consumed by his own envies and dreads (and brought down by some true Franklins, men like Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, Harvard ’43, and Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, Harvard ’34). “How did Nixonland end? It has not ended yet,” are the final words of Perlstein’s 748-page book. Roger Ailes, of course, went on to create Fox News—”fair and balanced”—which routinely afflicts and outmaneuvers the old establishment press. Today’s Red State-Blue State divide is a legacy of the ’60s, argues Perlstein.

The weirdest thing this election cycle has been to see Hillary Clinton take up the populist “anti-elitist” (and shades of anti-black) rhetoric of Nixon. She really does believe that the Republicans have won that argument and there is no way forward except for Democrats to join them–merged with more liberal policy.** But strategy and campaign style, she is Nixonian. Particularly odd given it is occurring at the very point that Republicans realize they have to run a (so-called) maverick/independent (whose really just a conservative) to win the presidency and Newt Gingrich is saying the Republicans are headed for massive electoral defeat in the Congress. She has returned to her Goldwater-girl roots.

For the Boomers they are seared and grooved essentially into this pattern and which side of that divide they stand on (the Goldwater-Nixon-Reagan) or the left-wing variant. It’s been so intriguing to watch assorted figures from the latter group make an appearance (the Jeremiah Wrights) while at the same time seeing the formation of new coalitions, a way out of this logjam.

But to be fair to Hillary every individual is massively shaped by his/her generational upbringing and there is simply no way she could see this differently. Obama must be simply another in the long line of McGovern, (Ted) Kennedy, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry: an elite liberal effete America-hater who will be ground up by the right-wing Nixon racist middle America.

That’s why I simply like to see her exit stage-left. There is no other frame for her to understand what is occurring. And Obama might lose. No doubt it. I think he’s got a very strong chance of winning, but he could lose. Jim Pinkerton, for whatever this is worth, thinks Obama will lose 40 states on the back of anti-Jeremiah Wright and anti-Bill Ayers Archie Bunker-esque campaign slogans.

But what is clear, to bring tie this back in, is that Obama (even in that scenario) is the new Goldwater. That is whether he wins or not, he has remade organizationally, stylistically, rhetorically the electoral foundations. It just may take the electorate an extra 4 years (a la Nixon) to catch up to that reality.

The difference between the two men (Gold, BO) is that Obama happens to stand on large issues (war, health care) with majority opinion. So it will be a question of whether the issues and superior organization will triumph or whether the Nixonian marketing of liberals has just enough left to eek out one more victory.

** Edit: On second thought, Nixon by today’s Republican standards would be considered quite a liberal. Nixon (as opposed to Goldwater and Reagan) accepted the Welfare State and even built upon it (e.g. he created the EPA). So maybe Hillary is then completely Nixonian–including her hardline plus realist foreign policy streak on Iran.

Update I:  An article on Clinton as a conservative populist from the ever-sharp Jon Chait at TNR.

Key quotation:

Conservative populism and liberal populism are entirely different things. Liberal populism posits that the rich wield disproportionate influence over the government and push for policies often at odds with most people’s interest. Conservative populism, by contrast, dismisses any inference that the rich and the non-rich might have opposing interests as “class warfare.” Conservative populism prefers to divide society along social lines, with the elites being intellectuals and other snobs who fancy themselves better than average Americans.

Published in: on May 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Memo to Hillary Clinton Updated

Update I: Apparently someone didn’t get the memo. From an interview with Clinton this morning in the USAToday:

“I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article “that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

“There’s a pattern emerging here,” she said.

Pattern would be correct, namely she is now openly running a campaign even a Republican couldn’t get away with. On the bright side, she “only” called all black people lazy (er 92% of them)–at least she didn’t call them uppity. Heh.

That should seal the deal on her (not) getting Senate Majority Leader. On second thought, maybe not.

Update II: To give a more charitable interpretation as Yglesias calls for, Clinton does now represent and is the de facto leader of a large, though not majority building (as she claims) wing within the Democratic Party and the broader electorate. It’s been almost weirdly beautiful to watch her “find her voice”–when she’s not being too crash and stereotypical about it (i.e. shots at the bar). And Democrats have in many respects lost this vote particularly by appearing as “eggheads” or the so-called wine track liberals.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out relative to Obama. McCain has the war hero image but is actually an, er, elite and his economic and health care policies are not aimed at this crowd. He’s no Sam’s Club Republican iow. But Obama will be labeled with the image of the Stevenson-Dukkakis-Tsongas-Kerry tradition though his policy proposals–economics, health care–would seem more helpful relative to this voting bloc.

Published in: on May 7, 2008 at 10:37 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Liveblogging Dem Primary

Update XIII: 1:11 PM EST.  Clinton does win it.  But loses the night.  I’m signing off.  Peace.

Update XII 12:25 EST. Maddow just went integral–she talked about Clinton as “post-rational.” I think she means pre-rational. She should consult the pre-trans fallacy.

Update XI 12:14 EST. Funny Moment. Russert just said the Clintons were like the “Adams Family” (and then the Roosevelts). It took me a second to realize he meant John and John Quincy not Wednesday, Cousin It, and Uncle Fester. Although maybe the latter is more appropriate?

Update X: 11:57 PM (EST)–These are nights when I’m glad I live on the West Coast. It’s just finally getting totally dark here, only 9 pm. But Russert just said a very shrewd thing. Clinton stays in wins WV next week, then stays in another week wins KY, Obama wins Oregon at which point he will have crossed the threshold whereby he has won the majority of the pledged delegates (primaries and caucuses). That allows Clinton to get out on a high note, on a win, the same night Obama gets to claim victory–via the pledged delegate count. Perfect scenario.

[I should also say the Gary Mayor does looks not great. But the Clinton-verse bloggers, small though they are, are living in a different universe. It hasn’t set in yet that it is over as of tonight. e.g. Here. ]

Update IX 11:44 PM (EST):

Gary is still out. And word from the Mayor on MSNBC was that he was essentially predicting massive massive turnout for Obama. Chuck Todd made an interesting watch for “irregularities” in that vote line that was well said. Perhaps The Resurrection Plan is back in effect. It is near-Chicago after all. [That was when the Mafia had dead people vote for JFK in ’60 in Chicago].

Hold onto your hanging chads. It’s down to 18,000 with 9% remaining pretty much all apparently in Gary.

With 28% in Lake County, Obama is winning 75-25. He needs about 60% to cover the difference. Wow.

Update VIII: 11:20 PM (EST). Best Line of the Night from Poblano:

9:40 PM. Isn’t there something ironic about a candidate who’s only remaining path to the nomination to insist that all votes are counted in Florida and Michigan giving a victory speech before all votes are counted in Indiana — and three of the four major networks say the race is too close to call?

Short answer: Yes.

Little longer: Rachel Maddow contra all the other MSNBC guys (Buchanan, Eugene Robinson, David Gregory, Olbermann, and Matthews) thinks Clinton is going scorched earth–which is why she has raised Michigan and Florida. I think Terry McAuliffe (Clinton’s Co-Chair) raised the bar from needing 2,025 to 2,209 delegates earlier in the night when he thought she was going to have a good night. That formulation I think changes. She is going to meet with her superdelegates tomorrow. They better tell her to face reality.

Update VII: The Obama MI-FL “well seat ’em” meme is already out. Ask and you shall receive. The Obama Camp is playing the magnanimous way–which is smart for tonight. If she tries to hit him

Olbermann just raised the Huckabee parallel possibility. i.e. West Virginia and Kentucky could be like Huckabee’s wins even after he was mathematically eliminated. Further argument to that point here on TPM.

Russert just mentioned Clinton may have loaned herself more money.

This is moving quickly to a wind up. But Clinton needs to stay in, according to Kos, because Obama can’t lose big in WV next week after becoming the nominee. Not good optics.

Harold Ford Jr., who predicted that the winner of North Carolina would be the nominee a month and half ago, also raised the Unity Ticket theme. (more…)

Published in: on May 6, 2008 at 5:00 pm  Comments (5)  
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Judgment v. Experience

One thing, not getting much play, coming out of this upcoming election I would hope for is better relations between the Executive and the Legislative.

We are going to to have the first member of Congress as President since Ford and the first senator since LBJ whoever of the three candidates wins.

We have had a string of governors (and one VP) most of whom have been arrogant towards and combative with the Congress, even when the Congress was their own party: e.g. Carter, Clinton between 92-94, and George W. Bush 2000-2006. Not to mention when the other party held power: e.g. Clinton 94-2000, Dubya 2006-2008.

That’s one point. Second point, shifting gears a bit.

When Clinton talks about her experience cum talent I find it interesting.

If you take her experience, it is mostly legislative. Again I’m sorry, but I can’t count being First Lady of Arkansas or the US as executive experience.

Her most executive like experiences are of course her Health Care proposal and her White House Run. (I guess you could include her Senate runs but she never had stiff competition). Both of those have been total disasters.

Even though Barack Obama has been an actual elected legislator longer than Clinton (though not longer in the federal legislature), for the moment let’s grant she is a better legislator/parliamentarian than Obama. I’m not actually sure she is, but I’ll play along for the moment.

What that means which is a point others have mentioned is that Hillary Clinton would have been a colossally wonderful Prime Minister. Again recall the president she most cites is LBJ–the last wheeler and back bench dealer to be president.

If the US were Canada or Great Britain, she would be Prime Minster in a heartbeat and a fantastic one I would imagine. She loves bureaucracy, partisanship, and power. PM written all of that. But the US Executive is not a Prime Minster-ship. The closest the US has to a PM I suppose is Senate Majority Leader (and House Speaker), which is why I still think that is what her experience most suits her for and for which she would be most effective. I would never want Obama as Senate Leader or Whip or Speaker or anything. He totally flub up in that role.

I’ve never really trusted Hillary Clinton’s judgment, so on that front, nothing else to say but that.

That kind of analysis won’t fit on a 30 second commercial, but it’s too bad the discourse won’t allow Obama to make that kind of argument and neutralize her “experience” argument. The most he can say is that there is the right and the wrong kind of experience (his life versus Washington) which only goes so far. Too bad he can’t say, she’d be a wonderful Senate Majority Leader and that not be interpreted as a put down or worse misogynistic.

–That said, on the horserace side, this is quite accurate:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has just days left before his fifth attempt to finish off Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), and he looks like he knows what we do — that more than likely he will fail again. With more states won, more pledged delegates, more of the popular vote and, reportedly, a majority of silent superdelegates locked up, Obama wants to move on to battle John McCain. A story in The New York Times this week characterized the candidate as bored. The word wasn’t in quotes, but Team Obama had clearly described him as fatigued or weary. Very much the opposite of fired-up and ready to go.

And:

Obama resists political decisions — like denouncing Wright — until it is almost too late. He and his team intend to remain pure. They don’t leak, they don’t like framing stories, and their use of surrogates is pitiful. The entire campaign is a daunting experiment, since this process is not pure, and likely never can be.

But for Obama to win now, and again against McCain, he must want this badly enough for people to know it. He must accept that style often trumps substance. He doesn’t have to be a fighter like Clinton, or a breathless, jump-from-your-chair populist like John Edwards, and he doesn’t have to be an angry black man. Obama is capable of his own passion and purpose and he needs to remember where he left them. If he doesn’t begin hurling fusillades of economic details at these blue-collar white voters, with I-am-bursting-with-excitement-about-helping-your-economic-outlook enthusiasm, they will never give him the time.

He would get the fire back once he shifts into general election mode–with a suitable rest period. But the longer this goes on, the worse it looks for both of them. Clinton’s numbers in the recent polls are overly inflated because for her to become the nominee would come at the price of breaking the Democratic party and while all the news cycle is on Obama, it would immediately shift back to her and her numbers would skyrocket. Not to mention the VRWC would just as quickly turn on her again as it has embraced her (in a weird way) of late.

He’s still a better general election candidate than her, but not as much as he was before.  As I predicted, the real time for the superdelegates to join in and coalesce around a candidate was Wisconsin.  It was the one election where he won both his constituency and hers.  The edge going likely to his being on a roll then, her lackluster performance, and Wisconsin’s embrace of progressive politics historically.  But that time has past and now it’s trench warfare.  Clinton loves it and Obama is bogged down.  I can appreciate and admire that he is a real human being–and that Clinton gets off on all this is a scary piece of evidence–but be that as it may he choose to run for office and sad as I am to admit, lot of people are dumb and have to be given the dog and pony show.

To knock her out.  Her already has beaten her, just not totally defeated Clinton.

But maybe the superdelegates will finally get the memo from Joseph Andrew.

Published in: on May 1, 2008 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Why Hillary Can’t Win

Karen Tumulty from Time in this piece lays out three scenarios for the Democratic Primary.

1)Obama wins NC and Indiana, superd’s flock to him, Clinton is forced out (or into irrelevance as Obama begins his general election campaign.  The Huckabee-ization of the Clinton campaign in other words).

2)Party leaders end it June. 

All the contests take place, the superdelegates are forced by Dean, Pelosi, and Reid to make up their minds.  No chance Obama loses in this scenario–a forced unity ticket with her on the bottom perhaps, but scenario two is also an Obama win (more on why in a sec). 

3)A Brokered Convention delegate floor fight.    This is the only scenario in which Clinton can win the Democratic nomination. 

But a brokered convention means a loss for the Democrats against McCain period.   With only two months after a convention, McCain will be able to run a biography election, which he will win.

So she can only win the Democratic Primary through the convention, but winning through the convention guarantees (I maintain) a loss in the General.  She can’t run in the General without winning the nomination obviously.  So….up proverbial river sans paddle. (more…)

Published in: on April 25, 2008 at 9:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Foreign Policy Dingalink

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In this episode of Bloggingheads Bob Wright and Mickey Kaus (especially here Bob) talks about his foreign policy depression relative to the three prez candidates.

McCain: Crazy. Neocon. Crazy. In an age of terrorism where non-state actors want large top-down bureaucracies like a the US military to invest themselves in a foreign country and then bleed them dry–recall Bin Laden’s theory: Plant the flag of al-Qaeda somewhere and the US invade–does that sound good with McCain in the Oval Office? Did I mention he’s a crazy saber-rattler who would be the most objectively pro-military ethos candidate since TR?

Clinton: Hawk. Uber-hawk. Her likely Sec State (Richard Holbrooke) wanted simply to invade Iraq minus UN vote. Now is talking about some crazy ass nuclear shield for Saudis and Egyptians. And is taking her foreign policy cues from Charles Krauthammer. I guess being forced via the Democratic primary (and US electorate) into arguing for a withdrawal from Iraq she feels exposed as some nutty left winger, so she has to go to the right of Bush on Iran.

Obama: Is now pinned in on foreign policy and won’t be able to do much because he’s got the lefty tag. Already seen in Obama’s very hard line stance against Hamas. More, they discuss how Obama has not yet figured out how to be a teacher (as opposed to a professor) on the trail.

My way of putting it is this. When McCain’s on TV I only want to shoot the television (or computer) screen. When Clinton is on, I want to shoot myself.

As an American living abroad and because of my political inclinations, I vote heavily based on foreign policy. Obama’s anti-Iraq war because it undercuts Afghanistan (which had been my position back in ’03), sold me. I didn’t need anything else to vote for the guy. The non-Boomer, audacity of hope, multi-racial, first true media age candidate, experience living abroad, all that is just sorta icing on the fp cake.

The rest of the traditional Dem policy (healthcare, environment) I realize needs to happen though I don’t totally agree with their way of going about it but at least they are doing something about it–McCain’s proposals on both are so completely inadequate.

But I agree with Bob. Depression on foreign policy.

Published in: on April 23, 2008 at 10:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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