Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Unbelievably, Clinton Is Pushing the "Obama Cult" Smear. And She'll Sue If Necessary to Win. Is This Who You Want for President?

Read this astounding article from the highly reliable Times of London. Please: read it.

Then ask yourself: is this a person with ethics? Who plays fair? Is this a person who can heal wounds, bridge division, and lead the nation forward after the darkness of the Bush years? More practically, is this a person who seems capable of running a winning Presidential campaign?

Or does this sound like a desperate person, at the helm of a sinking ship, representing the failed policies of the morally bankrupt, appeasement wing of the Democratic Party, finally reaping the just electoral rewards of twenty years of putting triangulation and preemptive capitulation ahead of principle?

Please, read the whole article -- it contains much more than just the following quote -- but I'll give you a teaser. Remember how Paul Krugman called the Obama movement a "cult"? Turns out the Clinton campaign is busily promoting that whole meme -- and, as an extra, also is willing to sue Obama in order to win:

"Clinton’s camp has been circulating stories criticising the “cult” of Obama in the hope of portraying “Obamania” as a mass delusion. Media Matters, a watchdog organisation sympathetic to Clinton, compiled a report headlined, “Media figures call Obama supporters’ behaviour ‘creepy’, compare them to Hare Krishna and Charles Manson followers”.

It was forwarded by Sidney Blumenthal, a top Clinton adviser, to select reporters. The campaign entered a nasty phase last week with the determination of Clinton’s team to revive delegates from the “ghost” primaries of Michigan and Florida, by legal action if necessary."

_ _ _ _ _

I shouldn't be surprised anymore that it took a British paper to break this, or that the fundamentally lazy, go-along American media, who rely on "access" rather than investigation for their stories and so never want to alienate anyone as powerful as Clinton, haven't picked it up -- or that many supposedly competent journalists and pundits, like Robert Samuelson, are still embarrassing themselves today by using terms like "hypnotized" and "mass delusion" to describe Obama's supporters even AFTER the story above came out. Clinton's willingness to break the rules she personally agreed to -- in a signed pledge -- when it comes to Michigan and Florida, and to rely on unelected SuperDelegates to override the voters' choice, are old news. And I'm certainly not shocked at Clinton being willing to Swiftboat any opponent, even a fellow Democrat, even if it damages the party's chances of winning in November: it's becoming increasingly clear that her defining characteristics are ego and a sense of entitlement, and she (and Bill) have been on the attack ever since it became apparent that she wouldn't be handed the nomination that she deeply, truly believes she, and she alone, deserves. She started trying to unfairly corner the nomination two whole years ago (and more here), and lately she's falsely accused Obama of everything from laziness, to plagiarism (then lied about it, blatantly claiming they didn't actually hold a press conference to spread that rumor!), to refusing to debate her (after 18 Democratic debates already, and two more in the works), to being unqualified to be Commander in Chief.

And I should be reassured that we voters don't seem to be falling for Clinton's distortions and negativity anymore: in Wisconsin, for example, when [a]sked which candidate attacked "unfairly," twenty-six percent of voters said "only Clinton," while only six percent said that of Obama. Obama seems energized, not demoralized, as if the more Clinton attacks him, the surer he is that she's on the ropes. Sometimes even the mainstream media catches on, as Dana Milbank apparently has:

In the lavatory aboard Barack Obama's campaign plane, a cartoon shows the Clintons attempting to roast Obama in a cauldron. Bill stirs, Hillary adds salt and pepper. But Obama is smiling, and all that emerges from the pot are bubbles labeled "Hope."

But despite those hopeful signs, and despite my relative cynicism about politics in general and the Clinton machine in particular, I'm still frankly stunned by the sweeping Times piece, which everyone who claims to care about the character and competence of the next President -- every sincere patriot who's currently leaning towards Hillary -- should, in good conscience, read this and think hard before pulling the lever for her in a primary.

The whole, wide-ranging article is a must-read. It implicates every issue at stake in this primary, including Hillary Clinton's character, her ability to run a successful campaign, her ability to attract and retain competent subordinates (as every President must do to have a successful Administration), her electability. It sheds a lot of light on the Superdelegate/ Michigan/ Florida controversy, and the possibility of Clinton instigating legal action that could lead to the nomination being decided by the Supreme Court. Again.

Playing the media the way the Clinton campaign has done is unacceptable. I hate -- we all should hate -- the kind of cynical, amoral politics that would take a fresh new statesman who has the rare ability to give people hope again, and distort that quality into something Mansonesque. Practically speaking, if Obama does win the nomination, it also hands the Republican smear machine a built-in attack point (McCain's already borrowing Hillary's talking points verbatim in attacking Obama).

And as to "legal action" by the Clinton camp: do we really want to nominate a candidate who's willing to let the Supreme Court choose our President -- again?

[I]t has already been reported that Sen. Clinton will demand that the convention seat delegates from Michigan and Florida, two states whose delegates have been disqualified by the party for holding January primaries in defiance of party rules. The candidates agreed not to campaign in those states. But Sen. Clinton opted to keep her name on the Michigan primary ballot, and staged a primary-day victory visit to Florida, winning both of those unsanctioned primaries. Her campaign is arguing that the delegates she won in each state be recognized despite party rules and notwithstanding her commitment not to compete in those primaries. Of course. "Count every vote."

As the convention nears, with Sen. Clinton trailing slightly in the delegate count, the next step might well be a suit in the Florida courts challenging her party's refusal to seat Florida's delegation at the convention. And the Florida courts, as they did twice in 2000, might find some ostensible legal basis for overturning the pre-election rules and order the party to recognize the Clinton Florida delegates. That might tip the balance to Sen. Clinton.

We all know full well what could happen next. The array of battle-tested Democratic lawyers who fought for recounts, changes in ballot counting procedures, and even re-votes in Florida courts and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 would separate into two camps. Half of them would be relying on the suddenly-respectable Supreme Court Bush v. Gore decision that overturned the Florida courts' post-hoc election rules changes. The other half would be preaching a new-found respect for "federalism" and demanding that the high court leave the Florida court decisions alone.

Would the Supreme Court... take the case...?

Heaven help us if Hillary drives us to that. Too much is at stake for us to tolerate that kind of self-centeredness. Please: read the whole Times of London article. Then think. Hard. (Hat tip to Jack and Jill Politics and Think On These Things.)


egalia said...

Rupert Murdoch's paper is smearing the Clintons? duh. Did you actually read the article? The cult meme originated with the media, NOT the Clintons.

If Sen. Clinton's campaign sent media stories out about the Obama cult, that does not mean she is Satan. The only thing that is "unbeliebable" is your embrace of tabloid ghetto journalism.

Anonymous said...


Actually, Murdoch and Clinton are engaged in an intricate dance; just check the photo and follow the first link here (or google "Clinton Murdoch fundraiser"). Clinton will take help from anyone, and all the Republicans want Hillary to be nominated, both because she's more beatable than Obama and because, if she did become President, she's more pro-corporate.

As to whether there's really an Obama "cult", you can just search for Obama's name on this site, and follow the comments. No one here has ever pretended Obama's the messiah; he's not perfect. But he's one holy heck of a lot better than Clinton, which is the real question voters face -- and if he inspires people (e.g., Hawai'i's caucuses having five times the turnout they did last time!), good for him, and the country.

Finally, what's "ghetto journalism" supposed to mean? Should I be offended? But thanks for visiting.

JSN said...

The Ted Olson article is laughable. He sorely wishes Bush V Gore is used by the Democrats, to give it some post-facto justification.

This is nothing like the election, this is the inner workings of the Democratic Party. I wish the parties were more open, and there were more of them (Schulze or Tideman voting, not that crap IRV, is the way to make that happen), but that's not the issue here.

Anonymous said...

Good piece, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hillary is a doodyhead

Veronica said...

Wait a minute you naive cool aid drinking Obama followers... Obama's speeches are very messianic sounding sounding just like Jim Jones. That scares the heck out of me! What does Obama stand for and what has he accomplished? It's hard to say... even die hard Obama supporters can't honestly say why they support Obama. Hope and all these other buzz words are just mesmerizing the masses. Wake up, you people are as easily influenced as the Manson girls.