Monday, April 14, 2008

Hillary STILL Doesn't Get It

In all of the hub bub of late about the Obama 'small town America is bitter' comments, Senator Clinton has continued a long standing narrative which has not served her well in the Democratic nomination.

This narrative is the construct of Mark Penn, who was demoted for meeting with Colombians who favored a trade agreement which Senator Clinton did not approve of. But the entire pundit universe and much of the Clinton campaign thought that Penn should have been completely sacked months ago for determining to define Senator Clinton as the candidate of experience and strength. 2008 is the mother of change elections, and Penn's experience message doomed his candidate when a change candidate became a viable alternative. Yet with the latest controversy, Hillary has demonstrated that she still does not get the fundamentals of this election. Given the choice between strength and experience in maneuvering the levers of power on the political machine in Washington, or a candidate who vows to change the fundamentals of that machine, the change candidate wins every time.

Senator Clinton is now painted in a box, hoping and praying that all the planets align to suck the Obama campaign into a black hole. Her only hope will destroy Obama and split the party, so the Clinton people have glommed onto the Obama bitter quote and tried to make hay from it.

In doing so, Clinton reiterates her political strength and experience, as a hard hitting campaign fighter who knows the ins and outs of campaigning. In fact Clinton eerily echoed the ultimate Washington insider, John McCain, by calling Obama elitist and out of touch. As Josh Marshall points out, she is making the very same arguments which solid liberals have defended her from for decades as the right attacked the Clintons for being out of touch.

Out of this kefluffle, it is Obama who looks to be the candidate of change, by telling the real truth which is plain for all to see. What a refreshing change by a front running presidential candidate. The McCain and Clinton campaigns filled the airwaves with the candidates enlightened understanding of the heroic, stoic and stead fast small town American heroes who were the targets of a dastardly Obama smear, and Americans just rolled our eyes at the craven spectacle of it all.

After years of hearing happy talk and fantasy based reality on a daily basis from the current resident of the White House, and demonization of Bush's political opponents, we are offered a choice. More of that snide, politically calculating condescension and meaningless happy talk which has been a very prominent feature of McCain and Clinton over the last several days, or an honest perspective. It is particularly notable when that honesty is regarding an obvious truth, yet the Clinton/McCain camps act like Obama has been caught on tape cursing out a nun.

We can choose to continue to be talked to like little children who our leaders expect will throw a tantrum if we aren't coddled and cooed at. Or we can learn to live with, if not appreciate, it when someone says something that honestly reflects upon us, warts and all, while searching for the best way forward.

One other thing Hillary would do well to recognize is that she should be appealing to Democrats in order to get the Democratic nomination. Echoing McCain may not be the best way forward. Besides, Democrats in particular are bitter, and for good cause. We have watched our treasury be looted by the wealthiest among us, we have seen the constitution trashed and we have seen the nation taken to war based upon lies. We have seen our government officially condone the torture of captives for the first time in our nations history. We have witnessed the spoiling of the Justice Department perverting our legal system for political power. We have watched this nation dragged down the tubes by an abomination of a President and his Republican toadies in Congress. We have been tarred as unpatriotic, spiritually dead and pro-terrorist. We had our President impeached for a personal transgression which seems positively silly in comparison to the Bush criminal enterprise, and we fought for President Clinton's very political survival against those and many other unfair attacks. Just try telling us that the Clintons were not bitter during and immediately following impeachment, and they should have been. Bitterness has it's place.

So your freaking right that many many Democrats are bitter, and Hillary's happy talk just reminds us of the smarmy condescending self righteous attitude which we have come to find so irksome! Following the recent attacks on Obama, the only thing Clinton has going for her in comparison to the last 7 years is her ability to complete an entire sentence coherently.

Am I, and millions just like me bitter? You bet!

Usually I can understand the sentiment behind Obama's rhetoric, but this one has me stumped. The only explanation I can see is that he is opposed to guns and religion. He sees those as bad things that people cling to as crutches when times are hard. I can understand his comments on people being bitter, but why the insult to guns and God?

Maybe Obama thinks I'm clinging to my guns and religion because I'm bitter about being punished with offspring. ;-)
First, let me thank you Jeff for leaving a comment. It was a long dry spell. If I had certainty about my blogging future after the upcoming layoff, I might try to raise the profile of WDL... but that is neither here nor there.

On to the question you raise. First I would appeal to you to consider Obama's explanation on this. He has said that it was "inartful" and that he "mangled" his verbiage. But he also says that the basic message is consistent with what he has said all along, and let me tell you how we Democrats (and Obama is currently trying to win *Democrats* votes in order to be nominated) can see where he is coming from, had he not mangled his meaning.

The Republican play book in the last several elections has focused heavily on what we Dems call the 3 G's. God, gays and guns. The people they appeal to with this cultural focus vote against their own economic self interests by voting for Republicans.

The mangling came when Obama said these people were clinging to God, and guns because of their bitterness over their economic situation and the fact that our government has actively promoted policies which have drained jobs overseas. He would have been entirely correct in stating that these people have voted based upon the three G's despite all of the damage those votes have done to the other, and far more important issues, decided by the outcome of those elections.

I'll be sure to tell your offspring that you're bitter about having been punished by them the next opportunity I get! >=)
My interpretation of Obama's comments is pretty similar to bhfrik's, but I see it in a less anti-Republican light! I think he was basically trying to say that people have issues that they feel strongly about that are comfortable to them, and when they're frustrated, they have a tendency to strengthen their support for those issues because that's what feels right to them. There's a clip from years ago when Obama was on Charlie Rose that has him saying basically the same thing but wording it much better. His mistake in this case was making it sound like he was equating religion, guns, and bigotry, but that's entirely inconsistent with his usual message. Considering that he admitted to mangling what he was trying to say, I'm willing to disregard this as just a mistake in wording.
First Obama says I'm punished with offspring and now you are saying it (because I quoted Obama). That's just the liberal way of thinking. I'm not a liberal so don't see it that way. :-)

Regarding Obama and religion, the question remains: Why does he criticize people for finding comfort in religion? Obviously, because that draws votes away from him. Religious folks don't like to vote for abortionists, gay agenda advocates, and other anti-religion types.

I think what Obama meant was what you said: other issues are far more important than God. I disagree and will vote for someone who shares my viewpoint. Not that I want to live in a theocracy, but I want my representatives to be God-fearing to inspire them to make moral choices. I see finding comfort in religion as a good thing.
Oh come on... Obama said he wouldn't want his teenage daughter punished with an unwanted child. It's just silly for you to compare your situation with what he was talking about, unless your child was born out of wedlock by a 12 or 13 year old mother, which I know is not the case. In fact it is silly for the right wingers to be all freaked out about this quote because we all know that if they found out that their daughter were pregnant, out of wedlock in Jr. High School that they would hardly be overjoyed at the blessing of a baby soon to be brought into their family!

Obama did not criticize people who take comfort in religion. And I rather do suspect that our takes on the appropriate level of Godliness we expect in our public servants differ widely. I would just remind you Jeff, knowing how much you care for constitutional principal, that it is my position which is that embraced specifically by the constitution: That there be no religious test to hold public office.
I was joking, as were you, about babies as punishment. Didn't you see the emoticon?

If Obama wasn't criticizing people who take comfort in religion, why did he apply that designation to bitter people? It is like saying "bitter people go to church." Technically, that doesn't mean all churchgoers are bitter, but it casts aspersions. Obama is giving people an excuse to look down on religious folks and wonder what they are bitter about. That give me serious doubts about whether Obama will defend religious freedom when he is elected.
What got me defensive about the punished with a child business is that the right wing has used that quote to unfairly attack Obama. I apologize for misreading your sentiments in this case.

In the same vein, I'm not certain it is fair to hold forth on a quote which he has since apologized for, saying that he mangled the verbiage. Any candidate you have the chance of voting for this fall will have quotes which they have repudiated or may be taken out of context in order to give the wrong meaning. I believe Obama is a Christian, and I know for a fact that he is far more comfortable in talking about his faith and his testimony than John McCain is. I would encourage you to try to be fair on this, give Obama the benefit of the doubt on what he has said and how he characterized it later, and what he actually stands for. Don't let the dirty politics spread by the Clinton campaign cloud your mind in regard to a decent and Christian man.
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