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". . . the bitterest of bitter ends . . ."

That kinda says it all. There's nothing like "bitter" to get out the vote in November.

Re healthcare reform: Neither candidate's plan will make it to the finish line. Obama's plan is probably smarter, from a legislative strategy perspective, because it's better to end up with mandates in the finished product rather than demand them at the front end of the process. Ted Kennedy and John Dingell will have the final say on the blueprint for healthcare reform.


and while we're on bitter, Howard Wolfson today said Obama is not qualified to be VP.

Bluegrass Poet

Great post, Lance.

I keep looking for all this "kitchen sink" campaigning Clinton's supposed to be doing and I don't see it. I don't see that either one of them has been that dirty. Swiftboating is dirty. Like you say, 3 a.m. is just sort of boring.

But I'm with you on Harry & Louise. Remarks about Hillary getting down periodically and lashing out are abrasive and don't make me like Obama any better but Harry & Louise is not only insulting to all of us Democrats who lived through that particular incident the first time, it also gives away the store. How can I assume he'll act progressive in office when his whole campaign tells me he's conservative?

Meanwhile, Democratic voters keep turning out in record numbers and I don't think they're all crossover Republicans with an agenda.



For me, it's not about Presidential experience, else George would still be President, and I mean Washington.

It's about life experience, related experience, experience actually spent in legislating and working for a cause.

I studied Obama's resume before I endorsed Clinton. As far as I could tell, the only experience he had was planting flowers in a garden in a housing project for three years. Apart from that, he was a professor, a corporate, not trial, lawyer and then elected to the state legislature.

Even Hillary has a life experience portfolio. I've known her for thirty years (not personally, but I've worked with Marian Wright Edelman), and I understand her mind and have seen nearly first hand some of her work with poor children and families.

And yes, even then I still had obstacles to overcome before I'd endorse her and she's my Senator!

As for her getting out, three words: Al Gore 2000.

How'd that work out again?

We on the left got all over him, particularly after Bush's first term, for giving up so easily. We ought to shut up and let nature, including the violent and brutal forms that takes, take her course. These are the rules, which work for and against both sides.

For every "let's talk some pledged delegates out of voting for Obama" there's a caucus that forced people to choose between a day's pay at work and a voice in the delegate count, a choice we can pretty much correlate to that person's income and economic security. So we should also shut up about her rules, his rules and whatever rules. They agreed TO these rules, and that's that.


Who's tearing the party apart? The answer for today, it seems, is Eliot frickin' Spitzer.

Ken Houghton

I'll go with Tom Watson or James Wolcott over Fallows any day. (assuming links are not needed to either.)

Bluegrass Poet

Oh thank you, Ken Houghton. Fallows is why I stopped taking The Atlantic Monthly.

How is this stuff any way objective?

She merely has to puncture the balloon of Democratic idealism; sully the character of a good man; feed racial tensions within her party; then eke out a win with the support of unelected superdelegates and appeals, thwarting the hopes of millions of new voters who would see an inspiring young man defeated by backroom arm-twisting and arcane party rules.

Spare me the tears. My "balloon of idealism" was punctured by a rifle shot in Dallas.

I sort of like what NYCweboy had to say, too.


C'mon Lance:

“I think that since we now know Sen. McCain will be the nominee for the Republican Party, national security will be front and center in this election. We all know that. And I think it’s imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander-in-chief threshold,” the New York senator told reporters crowded into an infant’s bedroom-sized hotel conference room in Washington.

“I believe that I’ve done that. Certainly, Sen. McCain has done that and you’ll have to ask Sen. Obama with respect to his candidacy,” she said.

But of course she doesn't leave it to Senator Obama to answer the question. She follows it with this nugget:

"Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience, I have a lifetime of experience, Sen. Obama has one speech in 2002"

Set aside the laughable assertion that she has a "lifetime of experience" (which is, like it or not, derivative of her husband's political career) and a career organizer, legislator, and civil rights attorney doesn't, and unpack the underlying assertion. She wants credit for being a key advisor (though her lack of a security clearance surely limited her actual advice on commander in chief stuff, no?) on everything good that happened but doesn't want any responsibility for anything bad. Suddenly she was always secretly against NAFTA and not a word is mentioned about her single, high profile policy initiative. The utter failure of "Hillarycare" has resulted in it being a toxic issue for 15 years now. 15 years with no progress whatsoever on health care. Is that all Clinton's fault? Of course not, but it doesn't exactly support her thesis.

On the central point of being able to better withstand Republican attacks because she is "tested," again, the evidence points the opposite direction. She utterly capitulated on the Iraq war resolution because (let's be honest) she thought it was political suicide to oppose Bush at that time. Lots of people thought that and Obama's speech was an act of political courage. Which one passed the test here?

Lest you think this is ancient history, Clinton also supported the politically potent but utterly boneheaded resolution to demand the Iranian Republican Guard (Iran's armed forces) be labeled a "terrorist organization." This not only needlessly provokes confrontation with Iran, it courts acts of aggression by the Bush administration under their usual standards of broadly interpreting everything to give them the maximum possible latitude. It was the height of recklessness.

If this is what her experiences have taught her, then I question the value of those experiences.

Time to call this what it is, a personal, scorched earth campaign that will make it more likely that McCain is the next president.


Set aside the laughable assertion that she has a "lifetime of experience" (which is, like it or not, derivative of her husband's political career)

You know, you'd like to think so.

How did she and Bill meet, again?

And then there;s that whole career, ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, running a foundation for families and children with Marian Wright know, getting her hands dirty with poor families.

What did Obama do again? Plant flowers in a project in Chicago for three years while gladhanding Tony Rezko? Then move on to his lucrative corporate law job and teach a couple of night classes to bored law students?

Lose an election for Congress?

You know, the stuff that counts...


Lots of people thought that and Obama's speech was an act of political courage. Which one passed the test here?

Words, words, words, to quote Hamlet. When push came to shove, he voted down Feingold's withdrawal motion. I think we can close the door on his anti-war chops right there, but let's not forget he has voted for every funding bill since 2005!

How did you put it again? Oh...right...he "thought it was political suicide to oppose Bush at that time"

Like when he said during the Senate campaign in 2004...there's "not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage"


Lest you think this is ancient history, Clinton also supported the politically potent but utterly boneheaded resolution to demand the Iranian Republican Guard (Iran's armed forces) be labeled a "terrorist organization."


The vote Obama ducked, don't forget.


thanks actor212 - I am with ya on that.

Lance - Cripes. How can you write so well and yet miss so much? Obama cant take a shot at Mccain - his head is so far up the guys behind he can taste...well, you know the rest.


actor212 --

Your comments are more than a little disingenous. "Planting flowers?" What insulting nonsense. You should be ashamed.

On the "not that much difference" quote, Obama was lending his anti-war cred to Kerry in response to a question about the differences between Kerry and Bush. Obviously, Kerry was in a tough spot (as will be Clinton) because he had voted to authorize the invasion but now had to figure out a way to position himself so that people would believe he would exercise different judgement. The part of the quote you omitted is "“On Iraq, on paper, there’s not as much difference, I think, between the Bush administration and a Kerry administration as there would have been a year ago. .. [then your bit] .. The difference, in my mind, is who’s in a position to execute.”

Yeah, "getting her hands dirty with poor families". Was this in between representing corporate clients at the Rose Law Firm and serving on the board of Wal-Mart?

Finally, saying he ducked the vote is just a lie. The vote was moved up by leadership once they found out it wouldn't be close. He had already issued a statement in opposition and stated his intention to vote no. He missed a vote that wasn't close. Here is his statement he issued at the time:

"Senator Obama clearly recognizes the serious threat posed by Iran. However, he does not agree with the President that the best way to counter that threat is to keep large numbers of troops in Iraq, and he does not think that now is the time for saber-rattling towards Iran. In fact, he thinks that our large troop presence in Iraq has served to strengthen Iran - not weaken it. He believes that diplomacy and economic pressure, such as the divestment bill that he has proposed, is the right way to pressure the Iranian regime. Accordingly, he would have opposed the Kyl-Lieberman amendment had he been able to vote today."

You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own facts.


With respect to how long the campaign has to go on. Keep in mind that much of running for office revolves around money. The longer this goes on, the more money both candidates have to spend. From the standpoint of winning the general election, that is money that is being squandered. . .

As for HRC's experience argument, Patrick Healy points out in the NYT (Dec. 26, 2007) . . ."during those two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.

And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled."

If this is right, I think it's reasonable to question how close she actually was to the policy making during her husband's tenure....


huh, No way would I argue the level or even the effectiveness of her experience in the White House can't be questioned. It just can't be dismissed out of hand. The scope of her "official" role had to be severely limited. Bill Clinton had to avoid looking as though his was a co-presidency or that he was letting his wife run the show. And naturally after she became a lightning rod she had to keep a lower profile. But to say that she wasn't an important adviser to the President or that she didn't have a hand in some, if not all, policy areas is to say that the Clintons have a very different kind of marriage than the one we know they have.

The competence of her advise is debatable, the fact of it isn't. And it's experience, experience Obama does not have. How much that counts, for her or against him, is open to argument. By the way, as James Fallows accidentally points out, Bill Clinton himself gives Obama and his followers the way to deflect the argument or turn it back on her.

Vir Modestus

It would be wonderful if the contest for the Democratic nomination lasted all the way to August, all the way to the floor of the convention. What drama! McCain would hardly be able to make a single news cycle from now until they meet in Minneapolis. It would be great if:

Obama would focus his campaign on why HE is the one best positioned to beat McCain, be the president we need and propel the change that is necessary.

Clinton would do the same. How SHE would be the best president, bar none, beating McCain and setting this country to rights.

But if they spend the spring and summer tearing each other down, we're going to have Bush III come into power in the guise of John McCain. If both democratic campaigns don't get their shit together and remember the end game, then We the People are hosed.

The Countess

While I'd vote for either Clinton or Obama, I prefer Clinton, especially since health care is likely to be a priority with her in office. I would like to see Universal Health Care in American, and she's more likely to push it. Our health insurance really sucks, and I need good health insurance.

Chuck Butcher

Ifind the experience thing to be pretty thin gruel, I'd rather have judgment than experience at getting it wrong. Hilary's judgment is not only questionable regarding Iraq and Iran and her WH health care debacle, there is the little issue of the underlying stuff of the Republican attack of the 90s. It isn't that there is nothing there, the Republican crap wasn't there and that is a different thing.

If you blow off a person's behaviors you wind up with something imaginary. On policy alone I'm no fan of either, that doesn't sit well with messianic thinkers in either camp. No, I'm not undecided and it isn't Hillary.

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