Thursday, March 20, 2008

For those who thought "yes we can" lacked substance...

I had some fun with the US Presidential race earlier this week. But on a serious note, everyone should take the time to listen to or read this speech by Barack Obama, broken down by Joe Klein here.

I started the youtube video on Tuesday night and ended up watching all forty minutes of it. What's remarkable about this speech isn't so much the delivery or even the impact it will have on the US Presidential race. What's remarkable is that it was an oh so rare moment when a politician took a minefield of an issue and, rather than run the standard damage control, plunged completely into it. For those who believe politics has become all about sound bytes, spin, and the avoidance of controversy at all cost, this will warm your heart. It was a brutally honest and direct speech that attacked a sensitive topic with the complexity it deserved.

Complexity is something that has completely disappeared from politics. Maybe because there are very few politicians who can actually deliver direct and candid analysis that can captivate an audience. And those who have tried have usually been laughed out of town.

Whether this helps him win the nomination, the presidency, or makes him a better president remains to be seen. But, for now, it's simply worth just watching and enjoying it for what it is. And the fact that 1.6 million people have watched this video on youtube already shows that this isn't a typical speech (or a typical candidacy for that mater).

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  • Some speech, just a lot of ammunition for the Republicans.

    this was two guys, a laptop and a weekend.

    Wait till the RNC pros get working.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:55 p.m.  

  • johnny boy,

    Two guys, a laptop and a weekend to produce that crappy drive-by smear?

    It does highlight one problem though... Obama's speech is a good as long as people take the time to LISTEN and THINK; a stumbling block that highlights where the RNC might have the edge.

    If McCain wins, I will lose what little hope I have for the US of A.

    By Blogger Robert, at 7:57 p.m.  

  • in his first speech, he he smeared his granny.

    In an attempt to "fix" that problem, he came out today and smeared her entire generation.

    Great oratory, bad speech and worst of all, bad optics in his "support" for his racist Minister - yes his Minister is a racist, pure & simple.

    You can't damn racism and then hug a racist because he did your marriage ceremony.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:07 p.m.  

  • If the Republicans try to run a "Obama doesn't honor/love America" campaign, that'd be like serving it up right down the middle of the plate.

    You're going to try and beat Obama on emotion? Good grief, that's a bad strategy.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 8:35 p.m.  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Blues Clair, at 9:48 p.m.  

  • Johnny Boy and Anon,

    If you go to this link you can get Ann Coulter's weekly column for FREE!

    Not a bad speech by B. Hussein Obama... seems to have picked up a lot of good press in US of A.

    The Democrats are going have alot of fun with Senator John 'bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran, 100 years in Iraq McCain

    By Blogger Blues Clair, at 9:49 p.m.  

  • I am for the most part a small-c conservative, but Obama is the kind of politician I'd like to be my prime minister -- Democrat or no Democrat.

    He represents everything that America, and Canada, has been lacking so far.

    Too bad I can't vote in the US; I'd vote for him a million times over.

    By Blogger George, at 11:07 p.m.  

  • Too bad the speech was so long. At 10 minutes, it could be compared to Lincoln at Gettysburg.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:12 a.m.  

  • Is that the same "small c conservative" Werner Patels whose endorsement appears all over the Alberta NDP website?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:21 a.m.  

  • ...whose endorsement appears all over the Alberta NDP website?

    Yes, because a common-sense thinker will put his support and vote with other common-sense thinkers, regardless of whether they are Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, etc.

    Only fools remain wedded to one and the same ideology; in fact, ideology, and clinging to ideology, reveals an utter and total lack of independent thought and intelligence.

    The way of the future is post-partisanship, which brings us back to Obama's main point ....

    By Blogger George, at 12:37 a.m.  

  • The Clinton machine is making mince-meat out of Obama. He may be ahead in the delegate count but he won't survive until the convention. He will be destroyed by the Clintons. He was a great orator though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:44 a.m.  

  • “The Clinton machine is making mince-meat out of Obama.”

    Yeah! That’s why Obama went from zero to a 10% lead in elected delegates. Boy! I can’t wait for the Clinton machine to unleash their fury.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:52 a.m.  

  • That speech, to me, was about everything that is wrong about the Obama candidacy.

    Obama very incisively identified a problem (racism, black and white) facing America as one with roots that are substantive - eg. poverty, alienation, and there was some Nafta-bashing. Fine.

    However he did not mention why he, particularly, represents a new solution to that larger problem (with the exception of his playing the mixed card at the start of the speech - incidentally before knocking Ferraro).

    If the problem of race is one with substantive roots, then why does Obama think "a new dialog" or "a new style of politics" - word magic - will change this.

    I wonder if some people are just not hard-wired to "get" Obama - because I seem to be the only one that is really turned off by him (then again, the only politician that really got me excited was Mike Harris).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 1:39 a.m.  

  • “I wonder if some people are just not hard-wired to "get" Obama”

    I wonder if some people are hardwired against Obama. Are Canadians ready for hope?

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:15 a.m.  

  • Sorry CG, I have to disagree with your title. Yes, he takes an issue and dives into it. Yes, it's an inspiring speech, and yes, he deals with shades of gray as opposed to just black and white. But substance? There's no more substance here than in the rest of his campaign. 'We have to deal with race and racial inequities.' Fine. But how? That's where the substance is, and I didn't hear much in this speech.

    By Blogger Dale, at 4:04 a.m.  

  • jimtan, I actually do think that hope is a stupid slogan, and so I am actually against hope. Hopes don't solve problems, actions do, and so if there is one thing that gets under my skin more than Obama's vagueness, it is his slogan-spewing acolytes (I don't mean to slander all Obama supporters, just the ones I dislike!).

    jimtan, have you ever done a myers-briggs? I wonder if you could boil it down to a personality type sort of thing (I tend to come out as INTJ and can't stand Obama).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 6:27 a.m.  

  • "Words have meaning" will be Obama's doom statement.

    He should have ditched the Minister because his words DO have meaning, and they meant racism every time BO sat in that church and listened to the hate speech masquerading as "liberation Theology"

    How can calling Condy Rice a whore be equated with Black Liberation ??

    BO is a great orator, but he's masked his true beliefs. The Republicans will expose him for all to see.

    It ain't gonna be pretty.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:22 a.m.  

  • Sliced & Diced . . .

    By Charles Krauthammer
    Friday, March 21, 2008; Page A17

    The beauty of a speech is that you don't just give the answers, you provide your own questions. "Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes." So said Barack Obama, in his Philadelphia speech about his pastor, friend, mentor and spiritual adviser of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright.

    An interesting, if belated, admission. But the more important question is: which"controversial" remarks?

    Wright's assertion from the pulpit that the U.S. government invented HIV "as a means of genocide against people of color"? Wright's claim that America was morally responsible for Sept. 11 -- "chickens coming home to roost" -- because of, among other crimes, Hiroshima and Nagasaki? (Obama says he missed church that day. Had he never heard about it?) What about the charge that the U.S. government (of Franklin Roosevelt, mind you) knew about Pearl Harbor, but lied about it? Or that the government gives drugs to black people, presumably to enslave and imprison them?

    Obama condemns such statements as wrong and divisive, then frames the next question: "There will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church?"

    But that is not the question. The question is why didn't he leave that church? Why didn't he leave -- why doesn't he leave even today -- a pastor who thundered not once but three times from the pulpit (on a DVD the church proudly sells) "God damn America"? Obama's 5,000-word speech, fawned over as a great meditation on race, is little more than an elegantly crafted, brilliantly sophistic justification of that scandalous dereliction.

    His defense rests on two central propositions: (a) moral equivalence and (b) white guilt.

    (a) Moral equivalence. Sure, says Obama, there's Wright, but at the other "end of the spectrum" there's Geraldine Ferraro, opponents of affirmative action and his own white grandmother, "who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe." But did she shout them in a crowded theater to incite, enrage and poison others?

    "I can no more disown [Wright] than I can my white grandmother." What exactly was Grandma's offense? Jesse Jackson himself once admitted to the fear he feels from the footsteps of black men on the street. And Harry Truman was known to use epithets for blacks and Jews in private, yet is revered for desegregating the armed forces and recognizing the first Jewish state since Jesus's time. He never spread racial hatred. Nor did Grandma.

    Yet Obama compares her to Wright. Does he not see the moral difference between the occasional private expression of the prejudices of one's time and the use of a public stage to spread racial lies and race hatred?

    (b) White guilt. Obama's purpose in the speech was to put Wright's outrages in context. By context, Obama means history. And by history, he means the history of white racism. Obama says, "We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country," and then he proceeds to do precisely that. What lies at the end of his recital of the long train of white racial assaults from slavery to employment discrimination? Jeremiah Wright, of course.

    This contextual analysis of Wright's venom, this extenuation of black hate speech as a product of white racism, is not new. It's the Jesse Jackson politics of racial grievance, expressed in Ivy League diction and Harvard Law nuance. That's why the speech made so many liberal commentators swoon: It bathed them in racial guilt while flattering their intellectual pretensions. An unbeatable combination.

    But Obama was supposed to be new. He flatters himself as a man of the future transcending the anger of the past as represented by his beloved pastor. Obama then waxes rhapsodic about the hope brought by the new consciousness of the young people in his campaign. Then answer this, Senator: If Wright is a man of the past, why would you expose your children to his vitriolic divisiveness? This is a man who curses America and who proclaimed moral satisfaction in the deaths of 3,000 innocents at a time when their bodies were still being sought at Ground Zero. It is not just the older congregants who stand and cheer and roar in wild approval of Wright's rants, but young people as well. Why did you give $22,500 just two years ago to a church run by a man of the past who infects the younger generation with precisely the racial attitudes and animus you say you have come unto us to transcend?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:39 a.m.  

  • Am I the only one who doesn't find Obama inspirational and quite boring? I'm tired of hearing about him.

    Funny, one of the most inspirational people I've ever heard is Maya Angelou. She marched with Martin Luther King, she's been through all the hell that blacks went through. She was a close friend of Cora King and she supports Hillary Clinton.

    When asked why she didn't support the black canadidate - she said she had a brain and could think for herself and finds Hillary to be the better choice.

    It seems to me that when you put someone on a high pedestal, expect too much you are usually let down.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:29 a.m.  

  • Jimtan,

    You know much about U.S. politics?

    If you think the slight delegate lead that Obama has and will likely carry into the convention is going to carry the day, you're uninformed or naive.

    The Clintons have Obama in their sights. Obama has become the black candidate for the democratic nomination - something the Clintons have been trying to do ever since he's become a threat to them. The republicans won't get a chance to go negative on him next fall because the Clintons beat them to it.

    Obama's support in the polls in going down. His support from white supporters is 37%. His candidacy is melting before our very eyes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:10 p.m.  

  • There will always be naysayers. I believe I heard one of the best speeches ever because it came from the heart.

    I went on the internet and listened to famous Martin Luther King and J.F. Kennedy speeches and Obama's speech is up there in quality and content.

    By Blogger LeDaro, at 12:19 p.m.  

  • I agree with Blue Liberal, it don't matter that he's a good orator or a thoughtful person or a very good presidential candidate.

    The Clintons will destroy him like they destroy anybody who's stands in the way of their political ambitions and standing.

    And Jimtan, the Clintons have months of time to do this in, this will be like shooting fish in a barrel for them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:48 p.m.  

  • Antonio over at fuddle-duddle, has a post on Barack's speech. When I read it the first time, I thought it was harsh and missed the mark. On second thought, I agree that it is a strategic mistake for Obama to plunge head-long into the race issue. The Clintons now have him where they want him.

    Antonio's analysis is spot on.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:04 p.m.  

  • “jimtan, have you ever done a myers-briggs? I wonder if you could boil it down to a personality type sort of thing (I tend to come out as INTJ and can't stand Obama).”

    All human beings are bias, because of their genes and life experiences. We show maturity when we analysis a situation within its context, and shake off our prejudices. That is, we give a guy a break.

    I’m a business school type. I drill down into details. Slogans mean nothing without execution. Personality is detrimental unless it is a source of strength.

    Obama has shown ability and execution. He has created a powerful group of advisors and managers. His organization and fund raising may be without precedence. Contrast with dion.

    Obama has risen from humble origins. He has shaken off the hate that is the heritage of blacks and aborigines, without disavowing that heritage. Indeed, he has accepted that heritage. It would have been so easy for Obama to become just another cosmopolitan and fly above the clouds.

    Contrast with harper who can’t shake the left-right ideological divide.

    A personality type is merely an analytical insight. It is not an excuse. Can you (Hose) shake off your prejudices and see with new eyes?

    “You know much about U.S. politics?”

    I know this. Obama leads by @160 elected delegates. That’s only 566 delegates left to be elected. So, Clinton needs to take a 28% margin in April just to catch up. Clinton has only won by that margin in individual small states.

    Florida and Michigan have @310 delegates. However, it doesn’t look like there will be a revote. Even in a revote, Obama can offer to lost all remaining contests by 17% points (Florida’s margin) and still remain barely ahead.

    Obama’s problem is that he needs the super delegates to make the number 2024, without Florida and Michigan. Right now, CBS estimates that with the committed super delegates, Obama is just 400 short.

    So, Obama should accept the results from the Florida and Michigan vote if the loss is only 17%. The additional elected delegates (plus the majority of Edward’s delegates) would put him over the top without the need for any additional super delegates.

    Clinton should do he decent thing after the Pennsylvania vote. She should concede if she couldn’t win by 20% points.

    I hope that this has been helpful.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 1:44 p.m.  

  • Ok, first, Calgrit? Friends don't let friends read Joe Klein. He's got all the political insight of toast, and is a laughingstock among pretty much every American blogger of note.

    Second, yes, it was an incredibly inspiring speech, especially because it wasn't what people would have expected.

    A standard political response would have been a "Sista Soulja moment", where a Dem tosses blacks overboard the second they start sounding anything but ridiculously grateful for the treatment they've received over the centuries.

    That isn't what Obama did, and that is what impressed me.

    Third, Krauthammer is racist scum, a man who screamed abuse at a rabbi that dared to wish for peace between Israel and the Arabs. The sooner you clean that space-hogging copy-and-paste off your site, the better.

    And finally, Antonio is completely off the mark, as are most of the "ooh, Clinton will destroy him!" stuff that's being bandied around by various crypto-supporters of Clinton. There's really no way Clinton can take advantage of this without it backfiring tremendously on her. If she runs against African-American anger, she'll get creamed in the general when they stay home. That's why she's staying the hell out of this one, at least for the most part.

    (The Republicans can play it up all they want, they couldn't care less about black voters, but Clinton isn't that dumb.)

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 9:18 p.m.  

  • Oh, and as someone who does know a fair bit about American politics? JimTan is far closer than Blue Liberal.

    (Which makes sense, because BL is pretty much just reciting talking points.)

    It'd take a miracle for Clinton to win it now, considering that revotes in MA/FL are almost certainly dead. That's why her supporters sound so desperate online. They know that it's probably over.

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 9:20 p.m.  

  • "If she runs against African-American anger, she'll get creamed in the general when they stay home. That's why she's staying the hell out of this one, at least for the most part...Clinton isn't that dumb."

    That's one view, another is the political truism that when your opponent is messing up, just stay out of the way. I'll repeat what I said earlier,(and I'm no big fan of the Clintons, but like anyone else, I marvel at their political ruthlessness), the only way they can win is if Obama becomes damaged goods, politically speaking. The Clintons are masters at political or even non-political character assassination. Clinton wants the nomination, Obama's in the way, any fallout from the deed such as loss of African-american support is something to be managed later. They're doing what they gotta do. And there aren't too many people in the business better at taking out political opponents better than them I'm afraid.

    If his opponents were anyone other than the Clintons, I'd grant you that the race would be over. But this one is far from over.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:43 p.m.  

  • Oh and Demosthenes, I do second your take on Joe Klein.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 p.m.  

  • Oh, Dear God!

    I agree with JimTan.

    I'm not sure if I should now expect the Apocolypse, or maybe buy a lottery ticket.

    Obama SO OWNED THIS. Hillary, as usual, looks like a shrill shell of a politician (which, given the generally-accepted definition of a politician, is pretty damn sad).

    Would have LOVED to have been a fly on the wall during the Richardson/Clinton call.

    By Blogger Candace, at 4:28 a.m.  

  • jimtan, I don't dislike Obama because I am prejudiced, I dislike him because he skirts the issues (I probably am somewhat turned off by speeches about change/hope/puppies, when I think about it - most of the orators that get to me speak in terms of honour/duty, eg. Winston Churchill).

    His speech was hardly "courageous" (if what he was saying was actually controversial don't you think he would have alienated... you know... anybody) and was highly empty because it simply explained that racism is bad (slow clapping), without any solutions.

    If racism is a major problem in America, why is Obama the guy to solve it? Incidentally he sort of made Ferraro's case for her by starting his speech off emphasizing his race.

    On the other subject: while I agree that Obama is very likely to win, Clinton is not dead. Her asking price on intrade is over 20 bucks, so she has an outside chance. She needs to do well in the upcoming primaries (one poll had her within 1 point of Obama in North Carolina), and win over the superdelegates and pledged delegates (who can shift as well). How? By winning the popular vote.

    I do think it will probably take a do-over in Florida and/or Michigan, which is looking less and less likely.

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 7:40 a.m.  

  • bluelib: thanks for the agreement on Klein, but I still think Clinton's pretty much done. You're mixing things up at this point: it's Clinton that's in the way of Obama, not the other way around. Yes, both the media and public seem to think that the Clintons have these amazing political powers that will save her from the spectacle of pitting both African-Americans and the Democratic grassroots against superdelegates who just want all this to end.

    But honestly. If they had those kinds of powers, Obama wouldn't have gotten this far in the first place.

    Nope, when you've got your own staffers saying you have a 1-in-10 shot, you're done. At this point, you're just poisoning the well for a 2012 run.

    Hoosier: InTrade is a gimmick, and market fundamentalism is just a sick joke in the first place in this post-Stearns world. She's done.

    (And Obama starting off a speech about race by pointing out his bi-racial background? Quelle Horreur!)

    By Blogger Demosthenes, at 2:19 p.m.  

  • “Incidentally he sort of made Ferraro's case for her by starting his speech off emphasizing his race.”

    Ferraro’s assertion was that Obama had an easy ride in the Democratic primary because of his race. It ignores the man’s achievements (many) and ability to organize (impressive). It ignores the resonance of Obama’s message with ordinary Americans in this time and place.

    Of course, you (Hose) are not prejudiced like Ferraro!

    “Clinton expressed disagreement with Ferraro's comments, and said, "It's regrettable that any of our supporters — on both sides, because we both have this experience — say things that kind of veer off into the personal."

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:36 p.m.  

  • Ferraro's point got mangled by her own stupid statements, as well as some media manipulation. Her point was that people are voting for the idea of a black president (I would say they are voting for an essentially post-racial president, and that is where Obama's unique appeal lies) because they believe it will end racial division in America.

    Where I am skeptical is that I do not believe that mere dialog can transcend America's race relations, especially when the supposed messiah is beholden to many of the entrenched interest groups that promote the status quo.

    For instance, teachers unions that oppose charter schools and vouchers (don't like that these policies help the rich - fine, make them exclusively available to poor people) - policies that offer what is essentially a less intrusive free market version of busing (allowing poor African Americans to attend schools outside their own school districts). For instance, affirmative action can be de-racialized, by switching - as the Florida university system does - to quotas based on school district or income. Alternately you could go a different route and find ways to better integrate schools - my point is that the status quo is rooted in policy, not a lack of goodwill.

    Obama's platform does none of this - he proposes more money for schools (Bush doubled federal spending on education - US performance on the PISA dropped), but he doesn't propose changing the way schools actually operate in a way that can better educate people, solve the black-white achievement gap and improve America's economic competitiveness.

    It is, just like Clinton, more money and that's it. So when a candidate proposes to change nothing, but gets tagged as a uniter, surely you can forgive people for saying he has gotten a free ride, in that people have assumed he is a great uniter that will solve racial disharmony in the US forever (unless you buy into the notion that Obama represents a new brand of politics - that remains to be seen, Obama's brand of politics can only survive with a sympathetic media - as evidenced by his recent fall).

    See the problem is that Obama doesn't come close to addressing inequality - the only issue that gets resolved by a candidate like him is white guilt (if anything, white guilt is a good thing - because it is one of the few things that gets white Americans to care about African Americans). Of course it is apparently racist to deny this, according to Jimtan, because it would deprive upper middle class white people of their best shot at easing their guilty consciences.

    Racial divisions in the US are not just a feel-good problem, they have real consequences. If you ride the bus in Indianapolis (which is 70% white), there is usually barely a single white person there. Given that African Americans are politically marginalized it should come as no surprise then, that Indianapolis has crappy public transit, as well as major traffic problems, as fearful whites (many of them the same upper middle class liberals that love Obama - many of whom, ridiculously, think they will be robbed on the bus) drive to work in their SUV's (never mind the environmental impact of that).

    Similarly, racists don't need segregation any more - downtown public schools are overwhelmingly black, while more affluent suburban schools are not. That would probably explain the preponderance of well-off but mind-numbingly stupid people I have to teach. But when you have an education system that panders to the already-rich a lot of smart poor people fall behind.

    Moreover, because students don't need to worry about their financial futures, the students we do get overwhelmingly study the humanities, or other low-utility subjects. Anything class involving math or science is overwhelmingly populated by immigrants. I have nothing against immigrants, but if you look at the rate of economic growth of China and South Korea, the source of highly intelligent foreign immigrants is going to start to dry up - while America's best and brightest are predominantly lawyers (a job that creates virtually nothing economically). America needs to harness the energies of its hungry, aspiring poor.

    So yes, Obama has been given a free ride, because nobody has asked him about how he is going to address the problems he identified so boldly in his speech. It is presumed that he will solve the problem because of his race - and if the problem is primarily white guilt, then yeah, he'll solve that. But if the problem is an America in deep decline vis-a-vis China, riven by inequality, while destroying the planet, then I fail to see how Obama offers more than Clinton or McCain (and can certainly see where he offers markedly less).

    By Blogger french wedding cat, at 10:07 p.m.  

  • Demosthenes said "Oh, and as someone who does know a fair bit about American politics?"

    Eleanor Clift, an impartial American pundit writing for Newsweek magazine wrote this yesterday:

    "Hillary has every right to stay in the race. If Obama's candidacy implodes, with or without her help, she'll be on hand to pick up the pieces. There will be more twists and turns before the race is settled by the superdelegates, probably some time in June."

    Obama may still win this, but only if can go toe to toe with Clintons and prevail. As Clift says there is a lot of time left in this game, he may yet regain the momemtum he had. Obama disciples: do not count your chickens before they are hatched.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:01 a.m.  

  • The New York Times reporting what Bill Clinton said Friday in North Carolina: "Extolling John McCain as “an honorable man,” and talking about McCain’s friendship with his wife, the former president told veterans: “I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics.”

    Clinton hardball politics which will continue unabate until June.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:26 a.m.  

  • Antonio makes a good point on his blog. Bill Richardson is supporting Barack Obama but his state New Mexico supported Clinton.

    Doesn't that set the precedent for allowing superdelegates to make their own decision as opposed to following their constituents' choice?

    And as Steve V. said in the combox at Fuddle-Duddle, why on earth can't they do a re-vote for Michigan and Florida. Those are important states, why are they being disenfranchised because of a poor decision made by the state DNC executive?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:27 a.m.  

  • An ominous dark cloud on the horizon for someone who's apparently got the race all sown up:

    "Polls in Pennsylvania and nationally show that Obama's otherwise-thoughtful speech last week failed to solve the political problem Wright created. Whites are shifting to Clinton or, in hypothetical general election matchups, to McCain."

    March 23, 20089, New York Daily News

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:54 a.m.  

  • (The Nation) This column was written by John Nichols.

    What is the proper word for the claim by Hillary Clinton and the more factually disinclined supporters of her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination - made in speeches, briefings and interviews (including one by this reporter with the candidate) - that she has always been a critic of the North American Free Trade Agreement?

    Now that we know from the 11,000 pages of Clinton White House documents released this week that former First Lady was an ardent advocate for NAFTA; now that we know she held at least five meetings to strategize about how to win congressional approval of the deal; now that we know she was in the thick of the manuevering to block the efforts of labor, farm, environmental and human rights groups to get a better agreement. Now that we know all of this, how should we assess the claim that Hillary's heart has always beaten to a fair-trade rhythm?

    Now that we know from official records of her time as First Lady that Clinton was the featured speaker at a closed-door session where 120 women opinion leaders were hectored to pressure their congressional representatives to approve NAFTA; now that we know from ABC News reporting on the session that "her remarks were totally pro-NAFTA" and that "there was no equivocation for her support for NAFTA at the time;" now that we have these details confirmed, what should we make of Clinton's campaign claim that she was never comfortable with the militant free-trade agenda that has cost the United States hundreds of thousands of union jobs, that has idled entire industries, that has saddled this country with record trade deficits, undermined the security of working families in the US and abroad, and has forced Mexican farmers off their land into an economic refugee status that ultimately forces them to cross the Rio Grande River in search of work?

    As she campaigns now, Clinton says, "I have been a critic of NAFTA from the very beginning."

    But the White House records confirm that this is not true.

    Her statement is, to be precise, a lie.

    And we must all now recognize that when Hillary Clinton speaks about trade policy, she begins with a lie so blatant - that she's been "a critic of NAFTA from the very beginning" - that everything else she says must be viewed as suspect.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 12:37 p.m.  

  • (CBS) It was supposed to be an example of Hillary Clinton's battle-tested experience:

    "I remember landing under sniper fire," Clinton said at a recent campaign event.

    It started when, in a recent speech, Clinton spoke of her visit to Tuzla, Bosnia, in 1996 as first lady.

    The brutal war was over, but hostilities continued. And though the trip was exactly 12 years ago Tuesday, the memories seemed etched in Clinton's mind.

    "There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base," she said.
    Problem is: that's not how it happened at all. And we should know: CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson and a CBS News crew accompanied the First Lady on that Bosnia trip.

    Compare that to Clinton's account...

    "I remember landing under sniper fire," she said. "There was no greeting ceremony and we were basically told to run to our cars. That is what happened."

    But there was no sniper fire either when Clinton visited two army outposts, where she posed for photos. And no sniper fire back at the base, where she sang in a USO show starring Sinbad and Sheryl Crowe.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 2:13 a.m.  

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