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August 18, 2007

Words of Wisdom

By Kathy G.

What Max said.

Adding, that the argument that Hillary shouldn't be the nominee because she's too "divisive" never made a lot of sense to me. I agree with Ezra that she probably wouldn't be the best choice for the nomination, because by temperament she's an extremely cautious centrist and I think we need a Democratic president who's far more willing to pursue strategies and policies that are about change.

But let's face it, by the time of the Democratic convention, the Democratic nominee, whoever it is, is going to be portrayed by the media, and is going to be seen by a significant swathe of the public, as "divisive." They did this with candidates as bland and moderate as Gore and Kerry, so what's going to stop them from viciously smearing Obama or Edwards? As Max points out, Obama will be tarred as "an Islamicist version of the Manchurian Candidate."

As for Edwards, Ann Coulter has already unveiled the ultra-classy Republican strategy of dealing with him: call him a faggot! If he's the candidate, come November '08 I predict that at least 30% of the electorate will be convinced he's gayer than Gay Gayerson at the Gay Pride parade.

And actually, I think the allegedly "divisive" Hillary has an advantage, in that she'll exceed expectations. In the fantasy world of the wingnuts, of course, Hillary is a shrieking Marxist harridan from hell, but in debates and speeches, she sounds reasonable, quietly authoritative, like a normal person. People will see this, and I think even a lot of the Republicans who are so hostile to her will calm the fuck down a little. They'll never like her or vote for her, but they may be a lot less motivated to defeat her than people think.

It leaves me with a question, though: why aren't Democrats doing more to aggressively discredit the Republican candidates? It's essential that we shape the negative narratives about those bozos right now, before it's too late. Yet none of the operatives on our side seem to be doing that. Why is it that the Republicans always seem to be thinking and planning at least three steps ahead of the Democrats?

August 18, 2007 in Election 2008 | Permalink

Comments

why aren't Democrats doing more to aggressively discredit the Republican candidates?

Because more or less everyone--including the Republicans--acknowledges that the Republican candidates suck. I think that's what is behind a number of conservatives coming out for HRC as an acceptable candidate. All the important action is on the Democratic side, the Republicans know it, and they want a voice in it.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Aug 18, 2007 10:49:10 AM

Furthermore, since Republican electoral success is predicated on anti-liberal resentiment(and not just among the Republican base), Democrats taking pot shots at the Republican contenders might actually enhance the targets street cred. Best to let them self-immolate, which they are accomplishing with admirable efficiency.

Posted by: Glenn | Aug 18, 2007 11:04:08 AM

If anyone has taken the lead on aggressively discrediting Republican candidates, it's been Edwards. Back when McCain was a viable candidate, he started calling the troop surge the McCain doctrine. To quote Greg Sargent


John Edwards has coined a new phrase that is likely to resonate throughout the Presidential campaign: "The McCain Doctrine." The phrase seeks to wrap the prospect of an escalation of the Iraq war as tightly as possible around the neck of John McCain, the most vocal proponent of a "surge" in troops."

He's also been trading blows with Giuliani -- see the Bush on steroids remark from earlier this month.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Aug 18, 2007 11:18:32 AM

The Repub priority is power, not policy. It's what they do.

Posted by: kgus | Aug 18, 2007 11:22:52 AM

Hillary Clinton may be able to take a punch and stand strong but I've never yet seen her slip a punch. She's got two traits that are a huge problem for progressivism. One, she is always in a defensive crouch ready to answer critics which may be effective for defense but it takes the sting out of any punches (or policies) she wants to throw. Two, she is very cautious with her political capital and when times get tough she is highly likely to retreat to small bore policy goals that achieve very little or worse - build a working coalition like the one that passed welfare reform and NAFTA. HRC is a good person who I voted for in the 2000 Senate race but I don't see what she is going to accomplish that will matter much in 2020. She'll be competent. Whoopee.

Posted by: joejoejoe | Aug 18, 2007 11:45:23 AM

Hillary Clinton's record shows her to be a Conservative:
- Token woman on WalMart's board.
- On Call lawyer for Rose law firm she defended corporation's rights to poison children without accountability.

And her current positions on governance puts her definitevly on the right side of Cernterist.

Her running for Executive Branch has but one purpose - to re-energize the GOP base and bring back their ability to grab power.

Another President Clinton will do far more for restoring GOP dominance after the debacle of Bush that it's impossible for me to see her as anything other than a cover GOP operative.

Anyone that cares one whit about preventing another Bush presidency in the future (if there even is another election ever again, that is) will never support ofr vote for Senator Clinton.

Look, all candidates are flawed, and I've said before that there are only about 5 actual Democrats in the whole of Congress, with the rest being on the side of the GOP leadership. As a Vermont resident, my guy is Pat Leahy, sure he puts on a good show of being a Liberal Democrat, but when you inspect his voting record, he almost always votes on the side of GOP fascism.

Kucinich and Gravel are the only actual Democrats in the presidential race. Polling the Will of the American People indicates that these two represent the People more than any other, yet neither are 'electable'.

As with the previous President Clinton (1992-2000), more right-wing legislation got passed into law than the previous 12 years of the First Bush (1980-1992). Again because the Clintons are NOT Democrats, but moderate Republicans.

A second Clinton presidencty will be an even bigger disaster than the first, if for no other reason than she will restore credibility to the GOP.

Posted by: Comrade Rutherford | Aug 18, 2007 11:48:09 AM

"Why is it that the Republicans always seem to be thinking and planning at least three steps ahead of the Democrats?"

But not just steps but DIRTY steps...y'see.
Maybe that's the rub.

Posted by: has_te | Aug 18, 2007 11:48:28 AM

The big difference is that the Democratic base will stand united before any of the other candidates. That won't be true of Hillary Clinton, and no matter how many people post 70% base approval ratings of Clinton, it won't change that. There is a huge difference between majority support (even overwhelmingly so) and unified support.

Let me spell it out for you. Is there really anyone here who thinks that Hillary Clinton's general election campaign WON'T go out of it's way to alienate the Democratic base? After FISA, and all of the other things the Democratic party will do between now and November of next year, do you think the base will be strong and unified enough to endure a General election campaign by Hillary? I really, truly doubt it. this isn't 1996, the Democrats don't have decades of good will to hold them together through an antagonistic nominee's campaign. We have a decade and a half of betrayal and triangulation tearing us apart. If you don't think Hillary will do a whole hell of a lot of further than division, you're kidding yourself or you just don't remember the '96 campaign.

Posted by: Soullite | Aug 18, 2007 11:51:34 AM

"why aren't Democrats doing more to aggressively discredit the Republican candidates?"

Because the Democratic Leadership are on the same side as the GOP. Look at the DLC, they espouse the exact position of the right-wing GOP. The DNC espouse a right-of center position. Only Kucinich and Gravel come even close to the actual values of the Democratic party.

This nation has moved so far right over the last 30 years that right-winger John Aravosis is now a 'progressive'.

Posted by: Comrade Rutherford | Aug 18, 2007 11:51:53 AM

The Republican party understands human nature. The Democratic party likes to pretend that human nature is what they want to believe it to be. That's why the Republican party is always two or three steps ahead of the Democrats. That, and they have a unified base of support. They can afford to ignore their base on an issue or two, because they have a dozen other issues they will toss them red meat on. The Democrats take the party base for granted on ALL issues, and as such what few attempts they make to throw some red meat only come off as pandering.

Can any of you ever imagine the Republican party supporting the gun control equivalent of the FISA amendment? Think of your answer. That's why they win so often and we have such a hard time even shoring up our own supporters.

Posted by: Soullite | Aug 18, 2007 11:57:52 AM

The big difference is that the Democratic base will stand united before any of the other candidates. That won't be true of Hillary Clinton, and no matter how many people post 70% base approval ratings of Clinton, it won't change that. There is a huge difference between majority support (even overwhelmingly so) and unified support.

So it's true because you say so even though the evidence says you're wrong?

Posted by: Phil | Aug 18, 2007 12:08:27 PM

One, she is always in a defensive crouch ready to answer critics which may be effective for defense but it takes the sting out of any punches (or policies) she wants to throw

Wait,wait,wait,wait...so you're argument against Clinton is that she can't throw a punch?

I think Barack Obama disagrees with you on that point, whether you thought the comments were true or not.

Posted by: Phil | Aug 18, 2007 12:10:52 PM

You misunderstand the argument against Clinton. I won't go into why you do this. Here's the problem with Clinton. It's not her ability fight. It's not whether any Democrat will face a barage of attacks. It's that she starts from a deficit. The negatives for her are based on hardened believes of who she is. The case against her- in other words- is simple human nature, which progressives have a hard time understanding. People have a 15 year history of how they view Clinton. What you are asking them to do is to overcome this in a few months of campaigning. However good she is as a campaigner- she's not that good. No one is. No one can be. So- she's not just dealing the the attacks from the right. She's dealing with entrenched perception of who she is. That's what you are asking us to ignore. It doesn't matter if this is fair or if she's tough- she won't overcome it no more than anyone can overcome their reputation if its 15 years in the making.

Posted by: akaison | Aug 18, 2007 12:38:44 PM

Let me emphasize a point here- you are asking us to overcome something that is "in addition to" all the shit that we will face anyway. And for what? For a candidate who is promising us Clintonism when we have moved on as a party to green pastures? I don't get it. I don't get the inertia that exists in the mentality of the progressive communities. I don't get why voters aren't able to see out sid eof themselves long enough on teh Democratic primary side to question the value of thinking toughness is enough. People got to like you too.

Posted by: akaison | Aug 18, 2007 12:41:53 PM

I think the last point is right on time. After all the disasters and trauma the country has endured from the GOP and its enablers, the best that the Dems will offer is "Back to Clintonism!"?

The party of the future must have a candidate of the future, not the past.

Posted by: WB Reeves | Aug 18, 2007 1:19:49 PM

i am not knowledgeable about politics.
i simply dont understand it...so my comments should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
but i feel that all of the democrats have sold out.
except for dennis kucinich.
i was especially saddened, when obama was asked a question about barry bonds, and he couldnt give a straight answer.
why? because he did not want to offend anyone.
watching him twist like a reed in the wind,
spoke volumes, in my opinion.
....hillary is masterful at doing that all of the time.
she and her husband are such consummate politicians, that i believe it actually works against them.
with their consummate instincts comes a chilling disingenuousness.
they actually no longer appear human. (to me)
it is as though they have ceased being real people.
they are more like a dynamic duo from the pages of a comic book.
she looks like a robot, dressed in a dusty pink suit and a cameo, to increase the illusion of human accessibility. it doesnt work.
...just like mccain looks like a robot with a perpetual smile and a voice that repeats the same message, just like a record being played on a slow speed.
...and john edwards...the same. the same mantra, that sounds static and unoriginal by the thousandth speech.
..richardson appears as a robot that was created with a bear cloning, but he didnt get the bear's intelligence.
and the rest of the array, the same.
meanwhile,
....the only candidate who speaks with truth and conviction is dennis kucinich.
he appears human. he still has a heart.
a real smile. the capacity for tenderness, sincerity, anger and laughter.
he doesnt "play" politics as the secretive, nefarious, high-stakes game that it is. so i suppose he cannot be taken seriously.
he is still "corny" enough to think that politics still has something to do with people.
it is very unfortunate.
watching them now, at these ridiculously staged debates, is like watching a line of robots.
they look and feel like they have all ceased being human.
..........sorrowfully, i wouldnt be surprised if we end up with another republican president.
i hope that it wont happen, but nothing would surprise me.
meanwhile, we are still in iraq.
politics often equals a path of broken promises.

Posted by: jacqueline | Aug 18, 2007 1:32:12 PM

and also,
i really envision this scenario...
that at the next debate,
kucinich walks behind each of the candidates,
flips a switch...
and they all freeze like statues
with polite, frozen smiles
and frozen grimaces of righteous indignation.
and there will only be one living, real person
on the stage,
with a wonderfully, mischievous twinkle in his eyes!
....
and then he can do the same thing
at the next republican debate.
and i hope he does mccain's switch first...
as he is an especially exhausted and exhausting robot.
and then mitt romney...
as he is a particularly uninspiring, over-produced and unoriginal model.
and rudy, who simply makes too much noise.
the less heard from all of them,
the better...
in my unknowledgable opinion.

Posted by: jacqueline | Aug 18, 2007 1:43:41 PM

i am very sorry to write three posts in a row,
but as i think about this,
perhaps someone could tell me why
dennis kucinich
is not taken more seriously as the candidate of choice for the democratic party?
are his liabilities any greater than the candidates he is running against?
dont his positions on the war, the environment, health care, the patriot act, education...more honestly reflect the directon and ideals that the majority of democrats believe in?


Posted by: jacqueline | Aug 18, 2007 6:06:01 PM

why aren't Democrats doing more to aggressively discredit the Republican candidates?

Anyone with an ounce of brains knows the answer to this question. The Republican candidates are doing a heckuva job discrediting themselves.....

Posted by: SparksNV | Aug 18, 2007 6:06:53 PM

Wait, you didn't get the Giuliani=Crazy, Romney=Pod Person memo?

Posted by: Anthony Damiani | Aug 18, 2007 7:22:29 PM

Democrats are saying plenty of negative things about the Republicans for now. Going full-out now would only weed out the most vulnerable rather than letting one of the weaker ones get the nomination.

I see the Hillary haters on the left are still no better than the Hillary haters on the Right; just different made-up stories. Don't forget she murdered Vince Foster, folks!

The idea that Clinton won;t do pretty much the same things as the other leading candidates isn't based on what she and the other candidates are promising, nor on their records. That Clinton is more cautious may be a good thing, may make her more effective instead of less. It's working well for her right now.

Soullite, as I keep explaining to you, Clinton's approval rating among Democrats isn't 71%; that's her *net* approval after you subtract the disapprovals. Her approval rating among Democrats is actually in the mid-80s. Her negatives among Democrats are lower than any other candidate. You need to relate your views to facts.

WBR, most voters would be very happy to go back to Clintonism now. The only one of the three leading candidates talking about anything really new for the future is Obama, and one must question his ability to deliver on those parts of his vision.

Posted by: Sanpete | Aug 18, 2007 7:33:03 PM

In the fantasy world of the wingnuts, of course, Hillary is a shrieking Marxist harridan from hell, but in debates and speeches, she sounds reasonable, quietly authoritative, like a normal person. People will see this, and I think even a lot of the Republicans who are so hostile to her will calm the fuck down a little. They'll never like her or vote for her, but they may be a lot less motivated to defeat her than people think.

I’m not so sure I’d agree with Kathy there don’t exist Republicans — or at least independents who normally lean Republican — who will vote for Hillary Clinton. I know, because I’m one of them. Reasons:

1) Although I disagree with Clinton on plenty of issues, and I was never a huge fan of her husband, the fact of the matter is any honest person has to admit the competence and normalcy of the Clinton years — when our biggest problem was oral sex — is looking mighty attractive right now. There’s no guarantee the Mrs. will perfectly emulate the Mr., but I reckon their philosophies and levels of intelligence are broadly similar.

2) The lurch to the right on the GOP side would be comical if it weren’t so scary. If you’re a moderate/centrist who normally votes Republican, the fact is you now probably disagree with mainstream GOP elite opinion on as many issues as you do with the Democrats. I mean, there used to be a branch of the Republican party that was non-nativist, pro-immigrant, pro-diplomacy, and pro fiscal rectitude. Plus, even from a conservative, pro-business perspective, it’s obvious that the healthcare sector is screwed up (and that Republicans have essentially given up working on domestic policy issues). Moreover, from a hawkish perspective you can (and I do) make the argument the country would be made safer by taking resources from the Iraq fiasco and shifting them to Afghanistan. Anyway, with John McCain basically being run out of the GOP by the brain dead, and with the rest of seven dwarfs jumping all over themselves to pander to Jefferson Davis’s descendants, there’s really no place to go but to abandon the party of Lincoln for a cycle or two, and help the opposition save the country.

3) Again, even if you add up the tally of issues and find you disagree with Hillary on as many issues as you do with, say, Fred Thompson, at least with the former you’re getting somebody from a party that doesn’t seem, at least, to be actively trying to subvert the smooth functioning of government. I mean, I recognize there are limits to the ability of the public sector to solve all our problems. But I also recognize there are limits to our ability to deal with problems without the involvement of a competent public sector. As long as we must have a government, we might as well have one that works. I get the feeling that an unofficial but tacitly recognized position widespread in GOP circles is that government — outside of the national security apparatus — is for losers. I just don’t think the country will be a decent place to live — and won’t have a prayer of success in an increasingly competitive global economy - if this attitude is allowed to reign for very much longer.

I write these words as person who — honest to goodness — has voted GOP six presidential elections in a row — going back to the Gipper in ‘84 (when I turned eighteen). For all the angst she causes liberals, Hillary Clinton has positioned herself — pardon the expression — as the best man for the job. She just seems to have more gravitas than any candidate on either side of the aisle. I’m predicting a landslide next year for the Democrats.

Posted by: Jasper | Aug 19, 2007 12:28:34 AM

The Democrats have become weak, sniveling cowards. They need to take issue with Republican policies and explain why they're bad for Americans. People know the truth when they hear it.

The Democrats are so worried that they will be called weak on crime, weak on fighting terrorists, and unpatriotic. They should all wake up and recognize that no matter what they say or do the Republicans will still call them unpatriotic, weak on crime and weak on terrorists.

Someone should have the balls to reveal that the biggest emphasis to fighting terrorism should be at local law enforcement level. Clearly, attacking Iraq will allow big oil to get control of more big oil. And letting the big bogey man, BinLadin, get away allows them to trot out that bogey man every time they need a diversion from the scandals about their corruption or gross mismanagement.

Those candidates should call it like it is and the first one to do it will be the next President. People are dying to hear the truth.

Posted by: Judith Krain | Aug 19, 2007 2:28:37 AM

I'm doing my part.

I'll take this as a call to arms and start doing some heavier lifting.

Posted by: Cola Johnson | Aug 19, 2007 3:21:56 AM

Soullite, as I keep explaining to you, Clinton's approval rating among Democrats isn't 71%; that's her *net* approval after you subtract the disapprovals. Her approval rating among Democrats is actually in the mid-80s. Her negatives among Democrats are lower than any other candidate. You need to relate your views to facts.
46% of the base will not vote for Hillary I would assume that most of that 46% disapprove of Senator Clinton in some fashion.

Posted by: Don | Aug 19, 2007 6:43:15 AM

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