Wednesday, January 30

:: Temper, Temper

Barack introduces a new campaign theme: arrogance.
Barack keeps making rookie mistakes. Oh, let us count the ways:
  • the multiple "do-overs" (meeting with dictators; violating Pakistan's borders; single payer health care; and so on).....
  • the hypocrisy (condemning Edwards for 527 support even though he get 527 support; condemning Hillary for taking money from Hsu when he as taken money from Rezko; condemning everyone for letting lobbyists help his campaign even though he does the same; condemning the Clintons for raising the "race card" while he's campaigning as the second coming of MLK down south; condemning Clinton for not standing up for principles when he ducked four abortion votes to avoid criticism; saying you oppose entrenched Democrats but embracing Ted Kennedy"; and so on).....
  • the coded sexism (Hillary was holding "tea parties," decrying racism, anti-semitism and homophobia but omitting misogyny, Hillary won a "beauty contest" in Florida).....
And then there's the arrogance. The first famous instance was Barack's sarcastic "you're likable enough" in the New Hampshire debate. His rude body language - turning his back slightly to Hillary and only conversing with John Edwards during the South Carolina debate - was less noticed. Comparing himself to MLK certainly offended me - Barack hasn't put in a fraction of the work and has taken none of the risks that man did.

But Barack has outdone himself in the last two days. We know about his snub of Florida's voters, who had the audacity to not vote for him. In a move seemingly designed to alienate the 850,000 people who voted for Hillary - voters he would need to win the general election - he declared that respect for the Party's arcane rules about the timing of primaries was more important than letting Flordians' voices be heard.

Dumbest of all (arguably, I admit) is what the media is calling "the snub." This refers to the incident before the State of the Union Address, when Barack purposely turned away from Hillary to avoid shaking her hand. I read about it, I saw the series of New York Times photos, and thought it was petty, but not a big deal. Then I looked at the video footage I found here.

The video footage captures the incident much more clearly than the overhead photos. Check out the rude look on Barack's face, and how close he was standing to Hillary when he turned his back.

A different angle, with silly football game graphics. But Hillary nails it with her response. She strikes like a cobra (in other words, she's the opposite of John Day-Late-And-A-Dollar-Short Kerry.

Whoopie is not happy. (But really, how can anyone stand to watch this show??? Yikes, how annoying they are).

The comments from Obama supporters about "the snub" are really funny. These are from Marc Ambinder's blog at The Atlantic, which used these videos - so the evidence was right there..... but look at what these geniuses came up with:

There's the "he was just being polite" approach: And seriously, Obama wanted to give Hillary and Kennedy space. This is more a polite gesture than some dramatic moment. - Posted by mikeVA

There's the "she started it" approach: Also, HRC is capitalizing on this moment. She reached for TED KENNEDY'S hand, NOT Obama's. - Posted by jsc2008

There's the "its all a conspiracy" approach: "There are some in the media who are actively trying to slander Barack Obama as an ungracious boor snubbing poor innocent HIllary. The only person in the media who is giving this its proper context is Maureen Dowd,who gives the whole story in her Wednesday column...The rest of the media is involved in an insidious, under the radar campaign to stop Obama's momentum with a manufactures controversey. These corporate media institutional vioces must rescue Hillary for the sake of their profits for the next 4 years that will be much higher under the circus of Billary than the unity of Obama." - Posted by RKA

That last one was particularly good... and they're still spinning.


RS said...


I think some of your angst against Senator Obama is misplaced.
His "present votes" on anti-abortion legislation were part of a strategy by IL Planned Parenthood, e.g. see here:

As for Senator Obama's support from 527 groups, he didn't receive any initially. His campaign tried to stop Vote Hope, but said group refused to listen ("we want to level the playing field.") Freedom of expression and all that...

As for Florida, the DNC ruled that the candidates cannot campaign there. So effectively that contest was all about name recognition - which undermines the entire primary process. Blame the Florida primary organizers, and maybe Howard Dean/the DNC (the Republicans were smart in only stripping half the delegates). Isn't that what a beauty contest is all about - superficial beauty, something folks are born with and have not earned? [Not saying Senator Clinton has not earned her name-reputation. But Floridians hadn't seen or heard Senator Obama, so the contest was inherently unfair.]

The snub etc.: could Senator Obama have wished Senator Clinton? Sure. But I don't know the detailed personal history between the two Senators, and I suspect neither do you. For all I know, Maureen Dowd's story may be on the money. I am willing to give Senator Obama the benefit of the doubt here. It is a competitive race, and people get angry/red-faced/emotional often enough, on all sides.


Nina Miller said...

RS, that's a lot of explanation... I think you misunderstand the situation with the Illinois votes. Voting present was a strategy designed to save state Senators from catching flak from their constituents or future political opponents. It furthered pro-choiceness only in that it gave cover to some Senators who otherwise would have voted anti-choice. That was the strategy. Think about it - otherwise there would be no reason to vote "present" - Barack would have simply voted pro-choice. But he didn't, because he wanted to be able to say that he didn't actually support the pro-choice position on those bills, while still doing nothing to help the anti-choice legislators.

The problem with that for primary voters who care about choice is obvious. We want a champion who will stand up to relentless pressure from the right, not someone who is nervous about offending certain people.

If Barack is the nominee, part of his strategy will be to try to turn a few of the Southern red states. The only way to do that will be to lean heavily into the "Christian" vote. Wait and see whose issues get silenced in order for that strategy to work. Or better yet, don't wait for it - choose Hillary instead.

The point about 527s is that Obama was a hypocrite. He knew Edwards couldn't do anything to stop them, but he blamed Edwards for them anyway. Now that he is in that position, he states what Edwards did - he has no control over them. The problem is not that the 527s support Obama; the problem is that he's being hypocritical.

As for Florida, they get the same barrage of television, print and internet coverage as the rest of us. I live in DC, where the candidates haven't campaigned either, but I know plenty about the race. To say this is all "name recognition" is silly. In addition, the fact that the delegates don't count doesn't negate the fact that so many more Democrats supported Hillary over Barack. You can't wave a magic delegate wand and make a million people disappear.

RS said...


Read the explanation given by Pam Sutherland of IL PP - they convinced Obama to cast a "present" vote on anti-abortion legislation so *other* lawmakers would feel safe doing so. Not to save Obama's hide. Since it was a discussion between Obama and Planned Parenthood, I'd take their view of the story.

FL and MI were anomalies - see the states where campaigning took place. The results were always very close - or lopsided in Obama's favor. I stick with my argument that Senator Clinton got runaway victories in these two states because of sheer name recognition. DC is not like the rest of the country - politics is *the* way of life in DC!


Nina Miller said...

As it happens, some of the people posting here know Ms. Sutherland and her colleagues personally. Pam has said on a number of occasions that the strategy was to deflect criticism. There would be no reason for Barack himself to vote present in order to convince others to - that doesn't make sense. For this to make sense, all of the pro-choice legislators would have had to vote "present" so that no one could be singled out. In fact, that would have been a great strategy and might have prevented future bad bills from coming to a vote.

Barack didn't vote pro-choice for a reason, and it wasn't so that a different legislator could point to Barack and say "he did it too." Why would a legislator care about that? What does it do for him? Nothing.

The fact is that Barack was counting on a lot of support from black ministers, who can be quite bad on choice and gay rights issues. He didn't want to have to choose between the (white) liberal base in his district and his (black) minister suppporters - so he split the difference.

Barack voted present because he was cross-pressured. I don't think anyone can really argue with that.

Nina Miller said...

And about FL and MI - you could just as easily say that Iowa and SC were anomalies, and in fact I think that is much more likely. Iowa had only 100k Dems voting; Hillary was never expected to do well; Barack was the beneficiary of underperformance by Edwards. South Carolina's lopsided support for Edwards was due entirely to the large share of the vote that was African-American. If you look at the results broken down by race, you will see that Hillary won among white voters. Only a relative handful of states / CDs have such large blocks of Af-Am voters. When you add Latino voters into the mix, as with Nevada and Florida, you see how differently things turn out. States/CDs with such large Af-Am voting blocks (percentage-wise) are the anomaly, not the norm.

Full of nervous energy today, I am.

RS said...


Apparently the strategy on anti-abortion legislation was to get as many legislators to vote "present" as possible.

Maybe you should ask Ms Sutherland to explain this quote: "[Senator Obama] was willing to vote 'no', and was always going to be a 'no' vote for us."

If Senator Obama was not a strong advocate for Planned Parenthood, they wouldn't support him - would they? It's not like they have any other agenda to compromise on.

Anyway, it looks like Senators Obama and Clinton are tied after Super Tuesday... Do you still think FL and MI are not the anomalies?