Obama has repeatedly said two things throughout this campaign:
(1) That he was engaged in a new kind of politics, “The Politics of Hope”, which centers around “new rules” and “change”.
(2) That his inexperience as a candidate is mitigated by the coterie of advisors surrounding him, culled largely from Harvard, University of Chicago, and academia at large: no Washington “insiders” here, all “outsiders” bringing “change”.
Well, HillBuzz wonders how Obama maintains a “new kind of politics” when his advisors engage in backhanded shennanigans like the scandals that broke this week: NAFTAgate and Monstergate. Two different senior advisors (Goolsbee and Power), one economic and one foreign policy, said, within the span of a week, that Obama is only “playing politics” and telling voters what they want to hear now (about NAFTA and troop withdrawels in Afghanistan and Iraq), but intending to dishonor those promises if the Obama Nation makes it to Washington. He has no intention to keep his campaign promises for change, they insisted.
His senior advisors’ total and complete lack of judgement also makes HillBuzz wonder whose hands our government would fall into should the Obama Nation occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. One of the greatest shortcomings of the Bush Administration was the hubris of Rumsfeld, Rice, and Cheney, key advisors to George Dubya, who came to Washington promising change and a different kind of politics (in their case, “compassionate conservatism”, whatever that was supposed to be). Instead, Rumsfeld dusted off old war plans he dreamed of using for 8 years, Rice wholly ignored warnings of Al Queda plans because she knew better and wanted to focus on Russia, and Cheney channeled Burgess Meredith, channeling The Penguin, and apparently has plotted to take over Gotham City ever since. When your advisors have no idea how Washington works, and you have no idea how Washington works, and no one seems really concerned about the realities of governing, enormous mistakes are made.
Will America repeat all this? Fool us once, shame on Bush. Fool us twice, shame on us.
In the cases of Goolsbee and Power, the comments carried serious weight. Obama was trying to argue before the Ohio contest that he was more trustworthy than Clinton on fixing the flaws in NAFTA — and more trustworthy in general. Power’s “monster” comment cast doubt on his campaign’s contention that Clinton has been running the more personally negative campaign. Furthermore, steadfast opposition to the presence of American troops in Iraq is one of the chief points of contrast that has benefited Obama in his fight against Clinton. In recent days, news organizations for the first time have stepped up their scrutiny of Obama’s campaign, and the Goolsbee and Power flaps have provided plenty of fodder for this new attention.
CBS-2 Chicago took down its “Who Has Momentum Poll”. Thanks to all of you, Hillary Clinton won the poll with 63% of the vote, to Obama’s 37%. We at HillBuzz wanted Clinton to win with 70%, but we’ll take that 63%.
Just so you know, the Obamaniacs were also working that poll. And we still beat them by almost 2:1. Way to go, HillBuzz readers. Buzz, buzz, buzz.
(1) Sen. Barack Obama was among eight state officials and others consulted about who should be appointed to a state board that later became involved in what prosecutors describe as a fraud scheme, according to a memo from a Democratic official.
(2) The memo was discussed Monday at the trial of Antoin ”Big Tony” Rezko, a Chicago businessman who was a prominent contributor to Obama and Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Among other things, Rezko is on trial for allegedly plotting with board member Stuart Levine to split a bribe from a contractor.
(3) Prosecutors say Levine used his position on the health facilities planning board and a state pension board to pressure companies for payoffs. They say Rezko used political clout with Blagojevich to help Levine.
It has nothing to do with North Carolina, but got HillBuzz thinking. If Nutter, an African American mayor in a 45% African American city like Philadelphia, believe Hillary has a chance of winning his city, then HillBuzz thinks we should put a lot of effort into winning North Carolina.
Obama is not writing Pennsylvania off. Clinton can’t afford to write North Carolina off. There have to be a lot of people like Michael Nutter in North Carolina. If we mobilize them, and work hard, we will win.
Barack misses another opportunity. In February, he skipped a forum on Rebuilding New Orleans and last week he skipped Mississippi’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Hillary made the most of the event by delivering a 30 minute speech in Canton:
“The President did not respond to the needs of the people here in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana,” Clinton said. “We do not yet have the level of response and urgency that a national disaster, which turned into a national disgrace, deserves. I will do whatever I can to make up for lost time as your president.
“There will be one person in the White House that will be responsible every single day to give me a report about the progress we are making in rebuilding and getting people back in their homes, fixing the infrastructure and dealing with nsurance claims.”
She said she had worked with the state’s congressional delegation to secure funding to rebuild the area. She also said she voted for drilling in the Gulf of Mexico so the area could have more money to in turn make the coastline stronger.
Clinton also said she would work to make health care accessible to everyone, and would fight for the SCHIP program and for lower gas prices. She said she would work to bring the economic polices of her husband back to Washington.
It’s no wonder Obama is avoiding the Gulf Coast other than putting on blockbuster rallies where he can speak on his own terms. Near the University of Chicago, the Obama family mansion sits safely nestled on a finely manicured lot along a magnificent row of 2 and 3 storied brownstones.
A stark and disturbing scene exists within a 10 minute radius of Obama’s haven where the remnants of urban decay are rampant. Chicago is infamous for its failed public housing system. The buildings were too neglected to be saved. The city decided to tear down the projects brick by brick before there was adequate replacement. Thousands upon thousands of displaced poor people were pushed out. Some of the remaining projects exist as transitional living spaces until the City catches up. It is said that some of these buildings now hold 3 times the amount of people than originally intended. And outside churches are boarded-up, weeds push through concrete cracks, playgrounds are left broken and empty, liquor stores trump supermarkets, check cashing signs twinkle in mass and broken glass litter abandon parking lots.
In Obama’s own backyard exists a tragic story of decay, neglect and poor people.
A hardworking former First Lady known for her world travels and tireless championship of the sick and poor runs for president against a Republican war hero. 2008? Try 1952. HillBuzz hasn’t read this book yet, but it certainly sounds interesting. And, it apparently has a cameo by a “precocious 5-year old Hillary Rodham”. The first break HillBuzz gets, we’re going to check this out. Maybe on the drive to Pennsylvania one of these coming Voluntourism Weekends.
If anyone has read this, please send us a review to HillBuzz@gmail.com – we’d like to see how this story turns out!
UPDATE: The author of this book, Robin Gerber, contacted HillBuzz via email (on the internets, that series of pipes and tubes), and told us HillBuzz readers would definitely enjoy the book. Sounds like a great first candidate for a HillBuzz book club. Checkout Robin’s website: www.robingerber.com
It is a time of turmoil, with the nation mired in an unpopular war in Korea and with Senator Joseph McCarthy stirring up fear of a lurking Communist “menace.” Racial discrimination is rampant. A woman’s place is in the home. And when a shocking act of God eliminates the Democratic presidential nominee, the party throws its support to an unlikely standard bearer: former First Lady and goodwill ambassador to the world Eleanor Roosevelt.
Captivating and fast-paced, Eleanor vs. Ike pits the unforgettable Eleanor against the enormously popular war hero Gen. Dwight David (“Ike”) Eisenhower. But while the opponents promise “an honest campaign,” their strategists mire the race in scandal and bitter innuendo. Suddenly Eleanor finds herself a target of powerful insiders who mean to destroy her good name—and Ku Klux Klan assassins dedicated to her death—as she gets caught up in a mad whirl of appearances and political maneuvering . . . and a chance encounter with a precocious five-year-old named Hillary Rodham.
We at HillBuzz have noticed Obama has a problem with the truth (or, as one Clinton supporter would phrase it, “He can’t handle the truth”. Thanks, Jack). His surrogates claim Clinton is the negative one, and their candidate is a saint or, more apt, the “Pope of Hope”. HillBuzz found some research on this subject, detailing all the rotten things His Hopefullness has done to Clinton in the past year or so. These facts are inconvenient to Obama’s arguments, to be sure.
For those of you not from Chicago, Obama is really playing by the Daly Playbook here (where you Tonya Harding someone in the kneecaps and pretend you have no idea what happened).
The fact is that Sen. Obama and his campaign have used numerous, often false, talking points and negative attacks against Sen. Clinton for many months. Some of these attacks easily cross the line that Hart has drawn and some are exactly along the lines of what Markos and Aravosis claim the Obama campaign has not done. I simply don’t have the time to chronicle it all (one could easily write an entire book about it) – so here’s just a sample list and an approximate timeline of such attacks – with URLs added to the dates providing backup details. These are clear examples illustrating the fundamental driving force that has characterized the Obama campaign since at least late Fall 2007: say or do anything to get elected. In some of these cases, Obama subsequently withdrew, apologized for or distanced himself from the attacks, but I don’t have time to note all the details in this post (you can find such details in my previous coverage).
I. A few examples of attacks that John Aravosis claims the Obama campaign never indulged in
“Past or Present Scandals”
Summer 2007: Obama campaign urges press to look into Bill Clinton’s “post-presidential” sex life (a favorite topic of Republicans)
August 2007: I’m not sure if Aravosis considers this a “present scandal” (I don’t), but the Obama campaign contacted the press to tie Norman Hsu to Sen. Clinton – even though Hsu was a donor and fundraiser to/for Sen. Obama as well
December 2007: Obama surrogate once again raises Bill Clinton’s sex life and ties it to Sen. Clinton’s electability
December 2007: Sen. Obama explicitly questions Sen. Clinton’s electability using approval ratings and her negatives (he’s of course done this on many occasions)
January 2008: Sen. Obama paints Sen. Clinton as divisive and questions whether people who vote for him will vote for her in the general election
February 2008: Sen. Obama talks up Sen. Clinton’s negatives by falsely caricaturing her as a person whose “natural inclination is to draw a picture of Republicans as people who need to be crushed and defeated” and then adds about himself “I’m not a person who believes any one party has a monopoly on wisdom”.
“What a Clinton run for the presidency will do to Democratic congressional races and governor races across the country”
December 2007: Sen. Obama unfavorably compares Clinton and Bush eras
February 2008: Obama campaign repeatedly attacks Clinton Presidency and paints Clintons as harbingers of Congressional losses in elections (The latter was a particularly deceptive and amusing attack – almost like they were asking for George Bush to remain in office since Bush was instrumental in Democrats taking over Congress in 2006).
Needless to say, the above list is not comprehensive by any means.
II. A few examples of attacks that Gary Hart described as providing “ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party’s nominee”
February 2007 onwards: Obama repeatedly claims Sen. Clinton lacks judgment when it comes to national security and foreign policy (this is really no different from Clinton claiming he is short on experience).
June 2007: Obama campaign peddles false story that the Clintons were trying to profit from 9/11
June 2007: Obama campaign circulates borderline racist “D-Punjab” attack against Sen. Clinton
October 2007: Due to a flagging campaign, Sen. Obama and his campaign/surrogates falsely paint Sen. Clinton as a liar, basically adopting the fraudulent words that Bill Bradley used to trash Al Gore in 2000 – words that were subsequently picked up by George Bush and the GOP and used very effectively against Al Gore in the 2000 general election. This is one of the classic examples of “providing ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party’s nominee” – after all, these words were used by Bush and the GOP to significantly tarnish Gore. Even more audacious, if you will: Sen. Obama’s character attack on Sen. Clinton was over a stance she took that was essentially identical to the stance Sen. Obama took in his own book.
November 2007: Sen. Obama uses GOP “crisis” rhetoric on social security to bolster his false attacks on Clinton and gets called on it by Paul Krugman and many in the blogosphere. His response? “So the notion that somehow because George Bush was trying to drum up fear in order to execute [his] agenda means that Democrats shouldn’t talk about it at all I think is a mistake.” (I expect that this argument or defense will likely never be offered by Sen. Obama or his surrogates as a defense of Sen. Clinton’s positions).
November/December 2007: Obama campaign uncritically pushes baseless smear story by right-wing fraudster Bob Novak alleging that the Clinton campaign was about to peddle some below-the-belt story about Sen. Obama
December 2007: Obama campaign mimicks media’s (and GOP’s) fraudulent attacks on Al Gore (in 2000) – in order to attack Sen. Clinton.
December 2007 onwards: Obama campaign launches false attacks on Sen. Clinton’s healthcare plan using the worst kind of Republican talking points – and by borrowing Harry and Louise type ads from the 1990s. This is another one of the many classic examples of “providing ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party’s nominee”. In using this tactic yet again, the Obama campaign effectively borrowed the tactics used by the GOP that helped defeat the Clinton healthcare plan and partly led to the defeat of Democrats in Congress in 1994.
January 2008: Sen. Obama accummulates an extensive record of using often false, right-wing/GOP talking points to criticize progressives and fellow Democrats including Sen. Clinton.
January 2008: Sen. Obama paints Sen. Clinton as divisive and questions whether people who vote for him will vote for her in the general election. This is another one of the many classic examples of “providing ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party’s nominee”. In using this tactic yet again, Sen. Obama effectively adopted a longtime Republican talking point used against Sen. Clinton by the GOP – one that will be particularly damaging to her in a general election setting, coming from a fellow Democrat.
January/February 2008: Obama campaign and surrogates break Gary Hart’s cardinal rule yet again by participating in one of the ugliest smear campaigns against a fellow Democrat ever – by falsely painting the Clintons as race-baiters or racists (NOTE: Also see this post about whether Sen. Obama’s advisors and surrogates speak for him).
November 2007: Obama mocks and minimizes Clinton’s experience as First Lady – a standard right-wing attack that we can expect even more now if Clinton becomes the nominee.
November 2007/ January/February 2008: Sen. Obama paints Sen. Clinton as being unprincipled, poll-driven and calculating (very effective lines of attack used by the GOP) while he himself out-spent Clinton on polling and demonstrated enough “calculatio
n” and “lack of principle” to keep us busy.
January / February 2008: Obama campaign paints Sen. Clinton as someone who would say or do anything to get elected – another one of the many classic examples of “providing ammunition to the opposition party that can be used to destroy your party’s nominee”. Indeed, Sen. Obama’s positions and claims (some of which are linked to here) have made it clear he was very much guilty of exactly what he accused Sen. Clinton of.
February 2008: Sen. Obama falsely caricatures Sen. Clinton as a person whose “natural inclination is to draw a picture of Republicans as people who need to be crushed and defeated” and then adds about himself “I’m not a person who believes any one party has a monopoly on wisdom”.
March 2008: Sen. Obama claims that although he does not measure experience using longevity, if longevity is the metric to judge experience McCain would win on experience (undermining Sen. Clinton’s statements about her years of experience). Obama campaign also puts out a memo in which they refer to McCain’s history of “straight talk and independent thinking”, which, along with Obama’s character attacks on Clinton, will no doubt be used by McCain and the GOP against Clinton if she becomes the nominee.
March 2008: An Obama advisor refers to Sen. Clinton as a “monster” and is forced to resign.
(If the above list is not enough to show that Markos’ statement was also false and delusional, then nothing is.)
Suggestion to Markos, Aravosis and Hart – I’m happy to see you passionately defend the candidate you are supporting but please don’t continue to propagate deeply offensive myths about this campaign.
P.S. The above list is only partial due to time limitations and I am not focusing on numerous other incidents and examples, including the many occasions where Sen. Obama repeatedly distorted Sen. Clinton’s claims or made false statements about her positions, and his borderline sexist comments about Sen. Clinton. As an aside, one of the things that I find ridiculous is the sentiment of some Obama supporters who believe that the Democrats are bound to lose in Nov 2008 if he is not crowned king, er, nominee, even before everyone who wants to vote has voted in the close Democratic primary. That is simply anti-Democratic and anti-progressive, is opposed by a majority of the Democratic voting population and is largely no different from the Republican efforts to shut down the Florida recount in 2000 and the Ohio recount in 2004.
Chelsea Clinton says, “If we work hard, we will win.” She’s right.
There is a very good chance we can stop Obama and win the nomination for Hillary if we do the following things:
(1) Win Pennsylvania on April 22nd
(2) Win Indiana on May 6
(3) Win NORTH CAROLINA on May 6
(4) Prepare for revotes in Michigan and Florida (and win those for Hillary in June)
If we take North Carolina from Obama, this race is over. If Hillary holds all the states she is favored to win, and also snags North Carolina from Obama’s column, then we win.
RCP poll average for North Carolina: BHO: 47.3 HRC 38.5 (difference of 8.8 points)
Rasmussen: BHO: 47 HRC: 40 (difference of 7 points)
PPP: BHO: 47 HRC: 43 (difference of 4 points)
This means we have a shot at North Carolina.
Let’s prove Chelsea right. Let’s work hard, and let’s win.