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amanda

You haven't seen Hilzoy's post on Obama?

Andrew

Candidate preference is about trade-offs. You can't create a Frankenstein's monster of a candidate by picking and choosing the best aspects of each one and combining them into a whole. A shame, really.

I do think when you talk about "hope" that you are conflating two concepts. One would be what you wish the candidates to do, or attempt to do, upon being elected. The other is what you can reasonably expect them to do, or attempt to do, upon being elected.

Both wishes and expectations are predictions tempered by what the candidates have said and done.

Obama does have some flaws, such a possibly inferior health care policy, a checkered record of standing up to the energy lobby as a US senator, and supporting liquid coal development.

However, those pale in comparison to his positive attributes.

The case for Obama is that one can hope he will be a transformative figure, inspiring a new political comity that attracts moderates of both parties while energizing and elevating progressives. His rhetoric indicates that's his intent.

As a state senator he demonstrated an ability to build coalitions to get legislation passed. He did so with the death penalty reforms he proposed, which now guarantee that when police question suspects in capital crimes cases, those interviews will be taped to prevent coerced confessions. He put together a strong enough coalition in support of this that the governor signed it despite initially opposing the bill.

He supports open government and pledges to govern with transparency. His record in Illinois indicates that this is not just talk. That state was riddled with corruption when he was there. It still is, but it's getting better. As a state senator, he ethics reforms. Despite being in the legislative minority, he got them passed. Those reforms are lauded by experts as being some of the best in the nation. Obama has the endorsement of the man who founded the Creative Commons. He supports net neutrality.

I don't think the same case can be made for Hillary, given her refusal to open her own records to scrutiny. I think I've had enough of closed door government after 8 years of Bush.

Obama understands that principles are important but some kind of compromise is needed to get legislation passed. My impression is that Hillary has learned the wrong lessons from her failures. She is too quick to bring out the knives against her political allies, too ready to compromise with her opponents, and too ready to cast aside principles in order to ensure she gets re-elected.

He also drives turnout. He not only inspires the youth vote, he gets them to show up at the polls. He's building a movement.

Clinton's just getting herself elected. I have no doubt she could be a decent steward like an Ike or Truman. In comparison to Bush, that would be a relief. But there's a lot of damage to our government to repair, stewardship is not adequate.

Obama offers the possibility of much more than mere stewardship. So I am willing to take that gamble. I'll bet on hope.

zele

Lance,

Whether we support Clinton or Omama, when it comes right down to it, all we can do is hope. I will support Clinton if she gets the nomination, but I'll be hoping like hell that she will actually stand up against preemptive war, torture, and retroactive immunity for corporate law-breakers. I will be hoping like hell that she doesn't take Joe Lieberman's advice on how best to deal with Iran. Her votes (or votes not cast) and her public statements are not reassuring, but again - I must have hope.

In the meantime, I lend my support to Obama because his positions on the issues cited above are far less ambiguous than Clinton's. And I hope like hell that he is able to translate his policy positions into meaningful legislation. His chances in this regard seem to me no more or less likely than Clinton's, as I'm sure Republican obstructionists will not be vulnerable to a charm offensive from either of these "liberal Democrats."

As to your comment, "On the question of the war, I don't see any evidence that he can move faster or more effectively to bring the troops home than Clinton will be able to." Of course, given the mess we are in now it there is little evidence that either Obama OR Clinton will be able to manage a withdrawal from Iraq while simultaneously preventing an even more chaotic situation from developing. Again, all we can do is hope.

Your little detour into snarkiness, "All I've heard is that he will be able to do it with less criticism because he had the good sense not to be in the Senate in 2003." doesn't really speak to Obama's failings, but rather amplifies Clinton's. Her failure to oppose the ceding of warmaking authority to a witless warmonger whose designs were transparent is even more egregious because she was actually in a position to do something about it and did not.

Best, etc.


Dave the H.

You write: "As far as I can see one of the specific things he will do is try to get a health care package passed that won't be as good as the one she will try to get passed."

Well, it's true that Clinton's proposed health care package is more inclusive than Obama's.

But the last time I looked, should Obama become president, Clinton will still be in the Senate, and could very well be instrumental in passing any health care package.

And I don't get the sense that Obama won't work with a Democratic Senate to re-shape any health care proposal; what he's running on now is not set in stone.

Kim

Amanda: Obama understands that principles are important but some kind of compromise is needed to get legislation passed. My impression is that Hillary has learned the wrong lessons from her failures. She is too quick to bring out the knives against her political allies, too ready to compromise with her opponents, and too ready to cast aside principles in order to ensure she gets re-elected.
Excuse me, but there are contradictory statements being made. You say Obama understands the need for compromise and that he'll build coalitions and then you blast Clinton for being too ready to compromise with her opponents. Huh?
This is the basic problem i have with the arguments being made for Obama. When Clinton tries to reach across party lines she is deemed a triangulator but when Obama does it, he's a uniter and healer.

Queequeg

This is the basic problem i have with the arguments being made for Obama. When Clinton tries to reach across party lines she is deemed a triangulator but when Obama does it, he's a uniter and healer.

Oh. My. God.

I never quite could put my finger on what was bugging me about Obama supporters' attitudes about Clinton. That crystallizes it perfectly. Thank you, Kim.

Let's repeat it one more time.

When Clinton tries to reach across party lines she is deemed a triangulator but when Obama does it, he's a uniter and healer.

Andrew

Excuse me, but there are contradictory statements being made. You say Obama understands the need for compromise and that he'll build coalitions and then you blast Clinton for being too ready to compromise with her opponents. Huh?

Compromise isn't some monolithic noun. There are different types of compromise As Hilzoy notes, Joe Lieberman's version of compromise is essentially agreeing with whatever Republicans say. Hillary's record indicates she does a lot of this. For instance, voting yes on the bankruptcy bill.

Obama, for the most part, gets legislation passed by getting people to agree with his position, rather than proposing a policy and altering the bill to reflect the opposition's will.

So yes, there's compromise and then there's compromise. Hillary's record is of triangulation.

(NB. You misattributed the original quote.)

lina

It's true that Obama was not in the U.S. Senate when he spoke out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq, but he was getting ready to run for the U.S. Senate, and the politically expedient thing to do at that time was to jump on the jingoistic bandwagon. He did not. Twenty-three Democratic Senators also did not. Dick Durban did not. Bob Graham, chairman of the Senate Intel. Committee, did not. Furthermore, Graham had been looking at that intel for a decade.

Did Obama turn into one of the sheep by funding the war after he got into the Senate? Yes.

But did he show superior judgment prior to letting Bush/Cheney commit the biggest geopolitical strategic blunder in U.S. history? Absolutely.

Re healthcare reform: Neither candidate's plan as currently presented will survive the sausage factory. Ted Kennedy (among others) will have to sign off on anything that goes through his committee.

But if the person at the top of the ticket is someone who has shown he can get votes in red states, there is a better chance of getting enough of a majority in the Congress to actually get healthcare reform passed.

fasteddie

I like them both and will vote for either against any Republican.

They both have strengths and weaknesses. For me, it came down to voting against continuing political dynasties. I'm not interested in another Bush Administration, or another Clinton Administration, or another Carter, Ford, Nixon or Johnson administration for that matter.

huh

This is an interesting post. As you accurately point out, one can never be *sure* about what a candidate will do once in office. We are all in a position of having to *hope* that the eventual President does the right thing – regardless of who that is – and so if you are looking for absolute assurance, that’s not available from anyone. And perhaps Obama’s youth calls for an even greater leap of faith.

But if we have to guess, let’s make it an educated guess based on what past there is. I see plenty of reason to prefer Obama based on past history. While he was speaking out against the Iraq War she was authorizing it. Sure he wasn’t in the Senate at the time – but if you recall the post-9/11 sentiment of the country, coming out against the war was a tough position to take at the time. Getting beyond the vote, Clinton didn’t even start advocating against the war until it became popular to do so. Clinton voted for Kyl-Lieberman, Obama didn’t (you can hit him for being on the campaign trail if you like – but at least he didn’t foster it). Obama voted against FISA, Clinton didn’t. Sure both candidates will have a hard time getting troops out of Iraq, but Obama’s promised measures on this score are a fair bit less ambiguous than Clinton’s. So if we have to hope on the Iraq War, why not lean towards the candidate that has been consistently working on the side to oppose Bush.

On health care, many have said that Clinton’s plan is better. Krugman argues strenuously in her favor. But on their face, healthcare mandates would seem to be much harder to pass politically than the plan Obama has proposed. Surely Clinton doesn’t have a good reputation for cooperating on health care policy and it extends beyond Hillarycare. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/opinion/05brooks.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=cooper+concerns&st=nyt&oref=slogin. Is Obama’s plan less *universal* - probably so – but in light of Clinton’s past troubles with health care, it seems easy to suppose Obama will have an easier time getting something passed. And if the plans are both improvements, doesn’t that count for a lot.

From a practical perspective, Obama is consistently polling more electable than Clinton in a general election against McCain. Obama’s pulling his support from independents, Clinton from establishment Democrats. Surely those establishment Democratics can be expected to line up behind Obama faster than the independents will turn to Clinton. If you compare the favorable/unfavorable attitudes Obama and McCain consistently out-pace Clinton.

But the best and, IMHO, most important reason to place trust in Obama over Clinton is that Obama has been demonstrably more honest and straight forward for a long time. I could come with a dozen examples. The candidates agreed not to campaign in Florida and Michigan – but it’s Clinton on the Michigan ballot, not Obama. Clinton’s campaign lies are legion. Hilzoy has a run down of jus some of them here. http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/01/lies-and-democr.html#more. And yet by contrast, I see a willingness to Obama to tell people things they don’t want to hear even if it hurts him. I watch Obama telling Detroit they have to get more competitive. http://www.newsweek.com/id/91579. I see Obama talking about merit pay for teachers to the teachers themselves. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/10/AR2007071001304.html. Now whether you agree with these positions or not, is not the point. And the point about the war is the biggest one of all. The point is that Obama unlike Clinton has been consistently willing to make the hard choices and not go along with the crowd, even when it hurts him to do that. And that kind of willingness to make the hard decisions is what we are going to need in a President. That kind of character is what we ought to be looking for in a candidate.

So you are right – we are left only to hope. But I sure do see a lot more reasons to hope with Obama as the nominee than I do with Clinton.

scott

I guess I find your hope/expectations meme kinda incoherent, especially between Clinton and Obama. With Gore in 2000, he'd actually been inside the administration, and you could extrapolate semi-plausibly what he could do and would do based on that. Both Clinton and Obama, however, have spent their careers as senators in opposition to either the majority or to a President wielding a veto club and effectively shutting a lot of legislative possibilities down. With either one, all you can do is "hope" based on their general approach to issues, temperament, how they campaign, etc. You can't extrapolate any plausible expectations vs. hope from what a couple of talk-shop senators have done. I don't perceive Hillary as having an advantage on that, and, no, I don't compare Hillary's experience (especially after 1994) as a ceremonial First Lady to Gore's as Vice President of the United States. Pick another reason not to prefer Obama because this ain't it.

Chester

I agree with the other comments on the problems of framing the decision in these terms.
I'm giving Obama the edge in pushing for a more transparent government and for being opposed to torture.

Apostate

I think Andrew is incorrect on this point:

"Obama, for the most part, gets legislation passed by getting people to agree with his position, rather than proposing a policy and altering the bill to reflect the opposition's will."

The opposite of this happened with that energy/nuclear waste bill. Sorry, don't have the time to hunt up the link, but he worked to pass a bill which was EXACTLY the will of the big bad corporation (who happens to be a major campaign contributer). No principled stands there at all.

Apostate

What I don't understand is why Obama supporters act like he's not a politician. They seem to think he's a social worker of some sort.

Judith

I look at these two people as I would any prospective employee because that is what they are. Nope, I dont hire the one I hope will do well in the job if I have a candidate who has proven to have done the job well before. Just plain common sense.
I'd hire HRC.

Chester

Neither one has been President before.
If I look at them as prospective employees, then Clinton the policy wonk would be a great senior manager. Obama would be a better CEO, setting the direction of the company and inspiring the workers.

Andrew

The opposite of this happened with that energy/nuclear waste bill. Sorry, don't have the time to hunt up the link, but he worked to pass a bill which was EXACTLY the will of the big bad corporation (who happens to be a major campaign contributer). No principled stands there at all.

Notice the caveat of "for the most part." In fact, I alluded to that very issue in my first comment.

Like I said, our candidates aren't Frankenstein creations built entirely out of the qualities and positions we deem ideal. Obama's positives outweigh the moments where he slips and to a much greater extent than Clinton's. Reason enough for me.

He isn't perfect on every issue every time. Clinton is even more imperfect.

Apostate

Obama's positives outweigh the moments where he slips and to a much greater extent than Clinton's. Reason enough for me.

He isn't perfect on every issue every time. Clinton is even more imperfect.

That may well be true. On the other hand, once he has spent as much time in Washington as she has, he'll porbably have just as spotty a record.

It's hard pleasing everybody AND getting things done. It's doubly hard when you're a Democrat against Republicans -- they really don't want to see anything positive done if it's being done by the 'wrong' party.

I like the way Judith put it -- I, too, would hire HRC, unless Obama struck me as way smarter. He doesn't (he's smart, just not smarter than her).

Judith

Yeah, a CEO just like George. Thanks but no thanks.

Judith

Apostate - thanks for the comment. To me this is a no brainer. The country is seriously in the red and we have a GOP running things into the ground.

It isnt personal - this is simply practical.

zele

Judith,

The practical choice is the Democratic candidate over John McCain. I hope that the internecine squabbling that we see here and in other forums does not translate into petulant Clinton supporters or Obama supporters who refuse to get behind the eventual candidate.

Kim

To Andrew: You mention Clinton's bankruptcy bill vote as an example of her triangulation. A little clarification: She did vote for the 2001 bill (as did most of the Senate), but added many consumer protection amendments on to the original bill. She did NOT vote for the more pernicious 2005 bill. Nor did she vote for it. Bill Clinton had his heart surgery on that day and she did not attend. She said afterwards that she would have not voted for the final bill.

Kim

"Nor did she vote against it" is what i meant to say

Chris the Cop

Lance, as a regular reader of you blog, would you please stop dancing around the topic and just admit you would prefer Hilary? Nothing wrong with that, but just admit it.

Anyway, if I had to pick betweeen the two, my reaons for chosing Barack would be he's more easily electable (although it really won't matter - a Democrat will be the next president.); there isn't a whole lot of difference between the two on most of the issues - they're both liberal Democrats. Because Hilary is hated-absolutely hated-by a significant percentage of the electorate. The membership of the Klan could double overnight and there would still be fewer people who despise Obama than Clinton. That hatred will impede her ability to promote an agenda.

That said, if what Clinton's and Obama's ideas re: what they want to accomplish aren't that far apart, Obama would get it done with less effort, compromise and bloodshed.

actor212

The best argument I've heard for prefering Obama that's based on anything close to facts is that he will help elect more Democrats to the House and Senate in the red states

He won't, as a perusal of any map of any state he's run in will show.

Obama only shows strength in districts where Democrats are already running strongly, like urban areas or counties with large colleges.

Other counties, Clinton wipes the floor with him.

You could make the case he'd bring states like Kansas, possibly Montana with him, but those are states that are already turning blue but also have strong conservative "Reagan Democrat" populations.

Hillary's voters, in other words.

actor212

Obama would be a better CEO, setting the direction of the company and inspiring the workers.

And yet, the most successful CEOs are the ones who can tell you precisely the name of each employee that reports to him or to his subordinates and can detail the processes of developing his business, and can put a hardhat on and work the factory floor.

Like, say, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

Joel Patterson

"It's true that Obama was not in the U.S. Senate when he spoke out against the invasion and occupation of Iraq, but he was getting ready to run for the U.S. Senate, and the politically expedient thing to do at that time was to jump on the jingoistic bandwagon. He did not."

In an Illinois Democratic Primary, there wasn't that much to be gained by supporting the war.

Apostate

Zele: The practical choice is the Democratic candidate over John McCain. I hope that the internecine squabbling that we see here and in other forums does not translate into petulant Clinton supporters or Obama supporters who refuse to get behind the eventual candidate.

I'm more concerned about this from the Obama-supporting side than the Hillary-supporting side. People who didn't vote for Obama in the primary simply prefer Hillary. Many Obama-supporters HATE Hillary.

This divisiveness was best demonstrated by Michelle Obama having to "think about" supporting Hillary if she's the nominee, and Bill Clinton unreservedly willing to support Obama if he's the nominee.

And Hillary is supposed to be the divisive one.

In any event, looks like she's going to lose. Too bad -- she's brilliant.

actor212

And I don't get the sense that Obama won't work with a Democratic Senate to re-shape any health care proposal; what he's running on now is not set in stone.

Which would basically make him a failure.

actor212

Oh wait, I misread that. Mea culpa.

Joel Patterson

Good post, Lance. I voted for Hillary, primarily because I thought about how 47 million Americans do not have coverage, and she's promising to cover them. Now, while people like Rob Farley and Scott Lemieux and lina will say that Congress is going to do all kinds of things to a new healthcare law so you can't expect her to achieve what she's promoting, it seems to me that since Obama's opening position in the negotiations with Congress asks for less he will undoubtedly get less. Moreover, he only had about 1 year to play poker and basketball with the white old men of the Senate and get to know them, then he started his exploratory committee for the Presidency, so he's more likely to be blindsided by some demand from a Senator or Congressman. (And lina, it's not just Ted Kennedy who has to approve the law, it will undoubtedly go through Max Baucus' Finance Cmte.)

Obama's campaigning has already made it harder to get healthcare reform to everyone simply because he's made the claim that people can't afford mandated care. (Of course, they can--the feds are going to subsidize it, but it's not in his interest to say that) Dredging up the old Harry and Louise images for his flyers pretty much signaled to me that Obama, and Obama's team, don't see Universal Healthcare as a key result of their "movement."

And that's a very pessimistic and disappointing attitude for a progressive candidate.

sfmike

They are both representatives of ruling class gangsters or neither one of them would be in their current positions. So my greatest hope is that whoever gets elected manages to make the world a better place in ways that are peripheral, which is really how the world improves. When Carter was president, for instance, yammering on about "human rights," he was pilloried for his vicarish, lecturing ways, but in the world at large, there were actual repercussions for good. At American embassies throughout Latin America which people had avoided for decades because of their long history of supporting local dictators and death squads, politically at-risk people were suddenly appearing at the back doors of American embassies for protection. And they actually received it.

To be really honest, Hillary's New York gangster advisers/benefactors strike me as stuck in time and so does she. Obama does not project that, which is why young people are attracted. And they are the ones we are leaving with this huge mess on their hands, financially, environmentally and every which way.

Oh, and speaking of stuck in time and young people, do see "Across The Universe" which has just come out on DVD. It's Julie Taymor's female-centric remake of the movie "Hair" with Beatles songs, and instead of being embarrassing it's really extraordinary.

Ken Houghton

Gee, this looks just like the knockdown-dragout Tom and I are having in public.

I saw Hilzoy's post, and Patrick's, and Tom's (including a couple he's still writing), and multiple others.

All of them get undermined by two things: (1) Michelle Obama's declaration that she "will think about" supporting the Dem nominee if it's not The Smoking Man and (2) the "incrementalism" argument (common to Patrick and Cass Sunstein) depends upon starting from a position and getting to compromise.

p m

You're asking for proof of something that will happen in the future, right? If something is only possible -- maybe even reasonable to expect given what we know now -- but not absolutely iron-clad, that'd be a hope or fear, depending.

The trouble with the future is, nothing comes with a guarantee.

Anyone who's reading the fine print in a health care policy proposal of a candidate who is promising universal health care by the end of her 2nd term in the White House -- in 2016 -- and basing this year's primary vote on that should be advised to reread the paragraph just above this one.

The only thing worthy of being considered as evidence, not hope or fear of some future possibility, is what has already happened.

You can have a nice long discussion about the candidates' respective elective and legislative records to date. I tend to favor the Hilzoy argument here, but I'm guessing you'd already read similar material before posting this, and are not impressed.

Or you can consider the evidence of the primary race itself. Consider which of the two candidates had the advantage early on, and how that changed and why that changed. Imagine (even if you don't "hope") Obama making a move like this on the national electorate. That exponential orange curve hasn't peaked yet, and who knows how high it'll go before it does?

Obama has already run a campaign for the ages. No matter what happens at the convention, or with the super-delegates, or the Michigan and Florida mess, anyone and everyone who dreams of challenging the inevitable in the US presidential primary system will be rewinding this one and taking notes. And he's done this without altering or packaging his (political, sure) persona one bit -- the speeches sound just like the one at the convention in 2004.

But at every step he's brought more and more people with him. People are lining up for hours to sit in arenas to hear him speak like this about ending Bush's policies, and changing the way the country sees itself. He's making America a liberal country again, and making it okay for liberal haters to love every minute of it. I think he's still being underestimated -- he's already far surpassed the level of support he had just last week on Super Tuesday.

If you'd sat down sometime in 2005 or so and written out a scenario whereby a people-driven movement could reclaim power from the people we all love to hate, what would it have looked like? Wouldn't that have been "hope", back then?

And now look how far we all are along.

Jack Roy

Hmm. Interesting challenge to clarify our thoughts.

I'll condense to two points. First, as a president, I have drastically fewer doubts about Obama's foreign policy instincts than I do about Clinton's. It's not just that he didn't have to vote in 2003. He did oppose the war then. He did oppose Kyl-Lieberman last year. And during this campaign he's been vocal about rejecting the "mindset" that got us into the war. Clinton, to contrast, voted for the war and Kyl-Lieberman and during the South Carolina debate (IIRC) opened up her foreign policy comments with a note about how we have to be vigilant against our very-real-enemies. Now that this misadventure is played through, she's as willing as possible to end our involvement in Iraq, but Clinton makes me suspicious that she's more interested in insulating herself politically from charges of weakness than in making the right decision when it comes to future choices. Out of a principle of parsimony, I'm skipping domestic issues, but I note that domestic concerns are under the joint jurisdiction of the White House and the Congress, while foreign policy matters are far more subject to unilateral executive decisions; while I'm not so worried about a loose cannon president proposing reckless policies in, say, tax policy, I'm rather more concerned when it comes to Pakistan.

Second: As a candidate, it's hard to judge these things, but I suspect Obama is a better top-of-the-ticket Democrat. He hasn't just been pushing more people out to vote. He's been getting out record numbers of voters, doing so among the young voters everyone since 1972 hoped they'll be the first to turn out but noone was ever able to do before, attracts also moderates and independants and Republicans, and has been performing especially well in the states where down-ticket Dems might need a boost. Not to take anything away from Clinton; were it not for Obama, she'd be the ones setting these records. But in Virginia, Colorado et al., Obama outpolled the Republican field. As much as his critics complain they don't know if he can take a punch, he's been the recipients of attacks, which sort of... slide off him. (The rap on Clinton, to contrast, sort of persists about her---often for reasons that are totally unfair, I'll agree, but we are talking about what potential president will be better able to implement an agenda, not a decontextualized question of individual justice.) I don't pretend to know whether that's going to continue for the rest of the election, but again: He's done what many, many Democrats have tried to do, viz. turn out new young voters, and he's the first to be able to do it. Maybe we should give it a chance for the rest of the way.

hilzoy

Lance: A couple of points. First, I think Obama has a very good record of actually getting stuff done. (Better than Clinton's; in odd moments, I've been comparing the legislation the two of them have gotten passed, and he beats her, as best I can tell.)

Second, he is also very good at spotting things before they become problems. His work on non-proliferation shows this, as does the fact that he was on avian flu before it was famous, but there are also things like: when the Blackwater thing erupted last fall, it came out that Obama had previously introduced legislation to set up a legal framework governing them, so that they could be tried for stuff like that. It's pretty striking, if you read his record looking for that stuff.

Third (and relatedly), as far as I can tell, he really gets the idea that in foreign policy, it's a really, really good idea to address problems early. (I mean, how often have you read an article about some region in crisis the gist of which is: boy, if only we had been paying attention, we could really have done something, but now we're screwed.) During the 109th Congress, he got one (1) bill that he sponsored enacted (Clinton had none), and it was on the Congo, which everyone ought to be paying attention to but no one does. Ditto nonproliferation.

Fourth, read his tech policy. :)

Exiled in New Jersey

Haven't we been here before? Wasn't his name 'Carter?'

Brave Captain of Industry

What the key point is here is that other than one GW Bush, these two are the least qualified candidates for President since JFK, at least in conventional terms.

In the business world, this would be seen as a catastrophic failure of succession planning. Wouldnt it be nice if our Presidents actually had training and skills in some concrete areas of administration, or planning, or accounting, or some other evidence that they have run vastly complex enterprises and managed hundreds of direct reports ?

Shrub has ruined the idea of a CEO President for a long time to come, but that does not mean the idea is not sound on some level. And on those measures, Obama has shown better communication and image skills as well as an impressive academic resume and a reasonable tenure as a state senator. He also has led a well organized and tight campaign, which aint a small thing: see Gore, Al, for the way not to do it.

For every Lincoln, you probably will have several shrubs and Carters- and if you look at what Lincoln brought to the table, it would seem that Obama brings some of it too.

Judith

zele - Obama says that about his supporters. I find it quite amazing that he would do so.

lina

In a general election, Hillary would win only the states Kerry won in 2004. Obama could also win Colorado, Missouri, Iowa and Virginia.

Chester

Joel, I have mandated care here in Massachusetts and I'm middle class and I can't afford it. The "poverty" line for subsidized coverage is very low. I glad Clinton thinks it will be ok to garnish people's paychecks. I don't. Since neither plan is a single payer one, neither plan will do a decent job.

Ken, Michelle Obama did not exactly say that and who cares anyway? Comparing spouses, Bill is without a doubt more a liability to Hillary.

Dawn

Hillary, Dodd, and Hagel already put forth a bill for an Infrastructure Bank last August:

His “new” proposal for a national infrastructure bank is one that Hillary proposed August 8, 2007. [“I’m proud to co-sponsor Senator Dodd and Senator Hagel's National Infrastructure Bank Act that we just introduced to establish a federally-backed independent bank that will evaluate and finance large infrastructure projects by subsidies, loan guarantees, and bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.” Rebuilding America speech, 8/8/07; S. 1926, 8/1/07]

Scout

I'm getting really sick of the Us vs Them mentality that is currently running amok in almost every blog comment section. The Hillary supporters are downright nasty about Obama and the Obama supporters are only a wee bit nicer about Hillary.

When it comes right down to it, I think 99.8% of us will vote for the eventual Dem nominee, so why can't we keep things a bit more civil during the primaries? I know it's close, but geez, people, get a grip. Let's stop eating our own and leave that crap to the idiot Repubs.

Now that I have that off my chest, here is why I eventually decided on Obama. I'm a pragmatist. And while I actually do find BO inspiring and charismatic, the real reason I am behind his candidacy is that I know in my heart of hearts he is more electable. And that alone trumps ANY policy issue on the table. We simply cannot take the chance on getting Grampa Insane McCain anywhere close enough to steal this because if he does, the great American experiment is toast.

Mason

Jimmy Carter, bless his twisted soul, was a sort of proto-clinton, just another example of the left reacting *fearfully* to the right, compromising away values *hoping* to create some fruitful relationship with the right.

If being complicit in the attempt to shrink responsive & truly representative government to the size that even the dimmest president can drown it in a bathtub is the only *hope* or *strategy* we have i don't want either.

Haven't we been disappointed by these politics for too long?

Like many of your respondents Lance, i find Obama to be wise and governing well and understated about it. Since you feel the same about Clinton, good for you!

By the way, i came to you kingdom here via: http://lancemannion.typepad.com/lance_mannion/2005/07/the_race_is_not.html

One needn't "look into the soul(s)" of Putin, Musharraf, Rove, Cheney, Bush, Clinton or Obama to ascertain if they desire the best for business as usual.

Surely your point in that post was not merely that media should read more scripture?

Oh well, now you're editing this blog entry talking about how we are going to afford paying even for good government. This *is* a slippery slope....

at this rate who knows what you may wind up voting for in your old age!


-mason

Judith

Chester, you are wrong to correct Ken's comment re Michelle Obama. She did indeed say she would have to "think about" supporting HRC - something about not liking her "tone" and "policies" (which is funny since Obama has stolen a few of those offending "policies"). Please see today's NY Time's write up on Michelle. Personally, I am not sure I liked her tone. ;-.

Chester

Judith, I can't find a transcript of the GMA interview. This was on salon.com:

"Roberts: "Could you see yourself working to support Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination?"

Obama: "I'd have to think about that. I'd have to think about policies, her approach, her tone."

That's not everything that Obama had to say on the subject. As Roberts followed up, Obama immediately softened her previous comment.

Roberts: "That's not a given?"

Obama: "You know everyone in this party is going to work hard for whoever the nominee is. I think that, you know, we're all working for the same thing. And, you know, I think our goal is to make sure that the person in the White House is going to take this country in a different direction. I happen to believe that Barack is the only person who can really do that." "

I'm not all that interested in parsing it really. I think Bill has said worse and he's a professional politician.

wasab

"Obama could also win Colorado, Missouri, Iowa and Virginia."

You have to look at the breakdown of the votes in those states.

I do know that in Missouri Clinton won all the rural districts while Obama won heavily in the cities based on the AA vote.

Would Clinton be able to pick up the AA vote if she was the nominee? Would Obama win over rural voters if he were the nominee?

Judith

Chester - she had to be pressed before she relented on the voting part, but she did not withdraw her nasty personal comments. Bad manners. I am unimpressed. I used to really like her and identify with her - not any more.

snow-moon

Has anyone written about Obama versus Hillary in terms of the expanded powers of the presidency-- post-George W Bush?

The Presidency is no longer what it was in the 90s when Bill was in office.

Hillary might actually be able to muscle her health care plan into being in a way that couldn't have happened during the Bill Clinton years-- before the metamorphosis of the presidency toward a unitary executive mode of governing.

I don't hear anyone campaigning on turning back the clock-- to pre-Bush II presidential power.

What will Obama do with this power?

What will be the role of a Vice President-- after Dick Cheney?

What exactly are we electing-- in 2008-- in terms of real power? ( Look at all that Bush has gotten away with in the last seven years!)

Who do you trust more with this much power-- considering both the candidates and their potential cabinets?

I suspect I know how each of you might answer, but I don't believe that everyone is considering just how much change has already occurred-- in the job descriptions of all who will occupy the executive branch.

(And it wasn't 9/11 that changed everything. The Party that has been planning this power grab for decades will not easily surrender. What do we need now- an appeaser? or a fighter.)

amberglow

I want to know why Obama talks big and transformational and for "change" and about the "broken system" and against "the old way" of doing things, etc, but all his proposals are small and incremental and in many cases weaker than Hillary's --which aren't bold either--and his entire Senate record is that of a follower instead of a leader, and totally status-quo as well.

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