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April 20, 2008

Comments

Derek Rishmawy

I'm sorry, but if this guy thinks that Clinton has thrown the sink at Obama, I think he's kind of out of it. She has been holding back so much. She hasn't been able to say what she's wanted to say the whole time because its the primaries and its all within the party. The fact of the matter is that if Hilary really went for it, she'd be saying loud and clear that she doesn't think he's electable. She'd say he's too far left for most people other than the hard left which makes up a large part of the Democratic base. There's a ton of stuff that the Clinton attack machine could have gone after except for the fact that up until the Jeremiah Wright thing broke, criticizing Obama has been off-limits and because she doesn't want to get labeled a racist.

I'm saying this, not as a conservative, but merely as a political observer. Quite frankly, if Obama cannot handle a few uncomfortable questions in a single debate, I really don't know how he's going to handle the general election against the Republicans.

Beyond that, I find it interesting the way that Obama supporters paint the race. They always set it up so that a vote for Obama is a vote for newness and a sign of clear reflection upon the issues of the day and that a vote for his opponent is a sign of intellectual gullibility or a fuzziness in moral thinking. It can't possibly be a clear disagreement on policy or a reasoned judgment on a particular candidate.

This whole dismissal of the "cultural identity" winning out, (I assume in reference to the fallout over Obama's "bitter" comment), is to me illegitimate or a bit confused. I actually think its quite proper to look at a candidate and ask the question, "Is this a person who will represent me and reflect my values in the way they govern?" Part of what goes into that question is the issue of identity. Now, it doesn't necessarily mean that you vote for someone just like you, but it does make sense to vote for someone who at least is kind of like you or at the very least doesn't look down on you and your values or mock them privately while pandering to them on the campaign trail. (Not to say that Clinton doesn't too.)

Mike

When Sullivan refers to the "kitchen sink" he is speaking not of content, but of a political strategy. While the strategy has been used much in the past, it founds its greatest expression with Karl Rove.

I think Sullivan is correct because if you watch the tenor and flow of the Democratic campaign, once issues and questions about Obama arose [legitimate ones, I might add], the Clinton campaign strategically chose a specific course of action. This can be best seen in last week's televised ABC debate, which spent the first 45 minutes focusing and rehashing issues that have been beaten to death in the media for nearly a month. No discussion of substantive issues, just personal attacks. While questions of character must be asked, to set aside discussion of substantive issues to join in a specious smear campaign is most definitely "throwing the kitchen sink."

What I think Sullivan is getting at in the article is the Pennsylvania primary will be an opportunity to chose something different, that's all.

In the end, I don't think we've heard enough about the issues. I fault the media and the campaigns for either sidetracking the discussion, or allowing the discussion to be sidetracked.

Derek Rishmawy

Yeah, my thing with "the issues" is that Obama and Clinton aren't too far apart from each other. They're both ideologically to the left of center, have committed themselves to pulling out of Iraq by a certain date, regardless of the situation on the ground, favor nearly identical healthcare plans, repeals of the tax cuts, tax increases, (which will now be much harder to pull off since their pledges to not raise taxes on households over under $250,000. Oh, and incidentally he will be doing that if he raises the capital gains tax and ups the cap on personal income tax), etc. There are few substantive policy differences. At least, in comparison with the Republicans.

Also, on the debate, I don't think that they were mere personal attacks. They were issues that raise the question of "judgment" and ideology. I mean, if Obama wants to campaign on judgment, then his ties with Wright, the unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers, etc, will open him up to charges of exhibiting quite poor judgment. Also, probably did seem all-of-a-sudden simply because these questions haven't been asked previously because the media has been so in love with him.

Also, Obama hasn't exactly been Mr. Above-the-Fray either. He's been running some very hostile attack adds and has made some very divisive and abrasive "old-style" political comments himself about both Clinton and McCain. Honestly, aside from online giving, and Obama's assertions about the subject, I have seen no real sign of this "new poltics." One, sign of it might be a willingness to actually sticking to his promise to accept public financing if the Republican candidate would too. McCain has said he will accept that challenge, and now Obama wants out.

Derek Rishmawy

I misspelled a couple of word above. I just wanted to acknowledge my momentary illiteracy.

Philip Schrameijer

Hi there, sorry to interrupt,
I am Philip Schrameijer (a sociologist of 63, specialized in health-issues) living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I follow the primaries daily because I’m very much concerned which candidate will be president of the most powerful country in the world. The environment, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, possibly against Iran and – God forbid – other countries of the ‘axis of evil’, such as North-Korea, concern me deeply. The future of the world might well be at stake.

Whom you will vote for tomorrow will affect my life and even more the lives of my children. Yet I’m powerless, since I cannot vote myself, nor help anyone campaigning.
So I’ve decided to do the only thing I can think of, which is to write to you and a few other people to whom I – being Dutch - am distantly related.

I’ve had the same concerns before, when I knew the kind of person George W. was: someone who has bungled everything in his life and could be counted upon to mess up the presidency as well. Little did I know he would do it on the scale he has. Spending trillions on a senseless war, reversing the small steps set in motion by the Tokio agreement in order to save the earth, causing the credit crisis, which will all but ruin the global economy – to mention just a few.
Sensible people could see it coming and yet the American people were misled and voted for this man twice!

Please don’t do something like this again! Please vote for a Democrat this time. And if you do: vote for Obama, who’s been outspoken on the war from the beginning and who is no vehicle of old politics and special interests such as the multi-millionaire Hillary Clinton. Truly: how can anyone expect her to do anything for the working classes, when she and her husband made
$ 105.000.000 over the last eight years. And not doing themselves what they urge others to do, which is giving away 10% of their income.
Why vote for her, when the alternative is someone like Obama who has no ties to special interests and who will be able to bridge the gap between rich and poor, black and white, young and old.

Please be sensible and go out and vote for Obama tomorrow. I will feel so much better knowing I made only one person vote for him who otherwise wouldn’t have. Make my day, please.

Thank you,
Philip Schrameijer,
Amsterdam

Friar_Tuck

I disagree with Darek about Hillary. She is not acting like a noble sacrificial party loyalist. The only way she has gotten anywhere is with ad hominim attacks on Obama's character, as well as a lot of racist shanigans

Derek Rishmawy

Dear Friar Tuck,

I think you've misunderstood my claims. I am not advocating for St. Hilary the Noble here. I've always thought she was a liar and a person of low moral character. That said, I am simply saying that she has not gone as hard as she could have. Maybe in the last week or so. You're right, if she was a noble sacrificial party loyalist, she would have ducked out a few weeks ago. She hasn't. Why? Because she is a Clinton. The Clintons have a nearly unlimited thirst for power. That being said, as a party pragmatist, she has not gone full-bore against him, but has saved a lot for the more private campaign taking place behind the scenes for superdelegates. She has not wanted to burn her political bridges by smearing him too badly in case she loses. Realize, I'm not saying she's noble, I'm saying she's smart enough to know she'd lose substantial standing as a power-broker within the party if she's perceived as having screwed this up for the Democrats.

Also, I'd like to point out again, that St. Obama's hand's aren't exactly spic 'n span. He's been extremely aggressive lately in going after Hilary and in his repeated misrepresentations of and attacks on McCain.

As for the "racist shenanigans", this race has been so hyper-sensitive on the point of race that its sickening. Bill's remarks were stupid, to be sure, but Ferraro's have been echoed by black observers as well. (And note: it wasn't even a negative comment. She said the same thing about her candidacy as a woman.) As for the Jeremiah Wright thing, it hasn't been so much the Race issue, but the perceived Anti-Americanism and fringe beliefs. (Although I've been kind of annoyed at the misunderstanding of black liberation theology when its mentioned, even if I don't buy it.) And, again, I love that almost nobody in the mainstream media commented on Obama's use of the phrase "typical white person" a few weeks ago and other racial stereotyping his campaign has been guilty of. (If a white person, especially McCain or Clinton, said the phrase "typical black person"...I shudder to think at the outcry.)

My point is that up until a few weeks ago, Obama has had it very, very easy. The media took a few weeks off of sucking up during the Wright thing, but then got back on the job after the race speech. This has not even been close to suffering the worst scrutiny and attacks that will likely happen once he's the presumptive nominee and heat is on.

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