Thursday, February 14, 2008

And Yet, She Does Have Her Moments

Hillary Clinton in San Antonio last night:
Change is going to happen anyway. Change happens whether we like it or not. The question is not whether we’ll have change. The question is whether we’ll have progress that makes a difference .... we have hope. What we need is help. And help is on the way.
I didn't vote for her, but I couldn't agree with her more.


  1. This shows a fundamental inability on the part of Clinton to understand what type of "change" Obama and his supporters are talking about.

  2. You got to own your own sound bites. Reviving the "the cynics who disagree with us don't understand" talking point doesn't erase the fact that the supporters hold up signs that simply say "Change" everywhere you look. "Progress" gets lost.

    Again, I think it goes back to Obama's concession that he does vision, but is not as motivated by the idea of pulling the levers of government that achieve something close to that vision. He is going to need to embrace his inner-bureaucrat if he intends to govern. If he won't then he cannot be of any help.

  3. supporters hold up signs that simply say "Change" everywhere you look

    And Hillary supporters hold up signs with slogans like "Let the Conversation Begin" and simply "Hillary," what is your point? Its a sign...its hard to fit "Change American politics by no longer focusing on narrow subsets of the American electorate to cobble together barely winnable coalitions that aren't able to pass progressive legislation." Instead, it says, "Change we can believe in"

    The word Change, as used by Barack and his supporters, is more than simply changing policy, its changing divisive mindsets (perpetuated by both Republicans and Clinton-like DLC Democrats), its trying to restore the trust the American people had in their elected leaders, and so on and so forth.

    Obama's concession that he does vision, but is not as motivated by the idea of pulling the levers

    He never conceded that Mike. There is a difference between a beaurocratic middle-manager, and someone who works hard to get his policies and agendas passed.

    If Hillary is such a great manager, why is her team beset by infighting and forced resignations? She isn't a good manager of her campaign, and she wasn't in the White House as First Lady where documents disappeared for years only to suddenly reappear later on.

    You may not count this campaign as "experience" but Obama has been able to maintain one of the most impressive campaigns in recent political history. There aren't power struggles, because the candidate knows himself, and the campaign knows the candidate...that sort of thing will carry over into the Presidency.

    I get that you are a student of Krugman and believe divisive partisanship is the way to win...but that doesn't mean your belief is the written truth; there is reason to believe that a candidate who can inspire trust in the Government, rather than simply inspire hatred for the opposition, will be more successful than the alternative.

  4. Sheesh. Elections make you a bit testy.

    All I did was express appreciation for the sentiment that Clinton expressed in what is quickly becoming a battle of slogans on all fronts. Expressing appreciation is neither an endorsement of a candidate nor ignoring slogans on all sides.

    And I won't even pretend to know what you meant by calling me a "student of Krugman." I did link to him once in September 2006, on the subject of ABC's fiction fictionized account of 9/11; but that is a tenuous basis to be drawing the conclusion that I am his student.

    I find it interesting that Obama supporters throw loose charges of divisive partisanship around at people who honestly disagree with them even as they are ironically driving wedges between themselves and large numbers of Clinton supporters while there is very little difference between Clinton and Obama on the issues. I guess it's all part of what you've been calling "the game" (didn't Obama say the other night in Wisconsin that this was not a game? Or was that just a slogan, too?)

  5. Oh, and by the way, if you think that this is divisive and partisan, just wait until the Republicans get ahold of Obama in the fall. They're going to attack his record, his name, his Afrocentric church, his faith, his community organizing, his race, his wife, his kids, and anything else they can get their slings and arrows into. You ain't seen anything like what they dish out; of course, you may never see anything even during the dishing if you continue to give conservatives more benefit of the doubt than you give liberals.

  6. There you go again Mike...

    Who said the Republicans weren't going to run a hard campaign? Who said that the Republicans were better than the Clintons? Nobody.

    As for you being a student of Krugman, I said that simply because you seem to have similar mindsets, in that you embrace partisanship as a means to getting things accomplished.

    Yes, they are going to run a hard campaign against Obama, but they will run an equally hard, if not harder campaign against Clinton. Just because she's been attacked in the past, doesn't mean that future attacks will slide off of her like an egg on a teflon skillet. Her negatives are already higher than her positives...what do you think will happen when Republicans start running ads reminding the people of all the scandals of the Clinton years? Not just Bill's stuff, but Hillary got her hands dirty too.

    I'm "testy" because you keep throwing stuff out there that simply follows Clinton talking points but doesn't generally have much basis in reality. You seem to deride Obama for having slogans, but I don't see the same scrutiny for Hillary, such as her new "solutions" slogan.

  7. You are entitled to call them as you see them.

    I am entitled at once to disagree you and shrug off a partisan branding of your making and reject the notion that I belong to a school of thought against my will.

  8. I belong to a school of thought against my will

    I think you are very willful in embracing partisanship.

  9. Demonstrating once again that the only truly new thing about this election is the unmitigated hubris of the more strident Obama supporters. While I didn't support Clinton, I'm happy again to be the "third way": a part of the problem.

    Recently I overheard another Obama supporter tell someone from a state who hadn't held their primary yet and who was torn between Obama and Clinton that it really didn't matter at this point. Shrunken to the point of irrelevance by inordinate pride. Geez, Louise.

  10. Change? What change? It's all hogwash! If you believe that Obama has some special ability to bring change to Washington, you're living in a fantasy world. With the endorsement of Ted Kennedy, the most entrenched member of the Washington old boy's club, the only change on the agenda is from a white face to a black one. And that simply isn't enough change on offer to gain my support.

    "You know, change is going to happen anyway. Change happens whether we like it or not. The question is not whether we’ll have change. The question is whether we’ll have progress that makes a difference .... we have hope. What we need is help. And help is on the way."

  11. FYI - This isn't a land slide by any stretch of the imagination! Out of the nearly 20 million people to vote so far in the Democratic Primary, Obama has a lead of 66,000 votes. Democrates couldn't be more divided.

  12. In voting for Obama myself, I am guilty of subscribing to what Anon describes as a fantasy. But my fantasy is a bit more chastened and contrite than that of supporters who seem to stray away from the the realities of party politics and government bureaucracy. I think we should give him a chance and see how he does, but not at the expense of making others feel like if they aren't quite as enthusiastic or somehow uncritical or they don't deny and minimize their concerns about him then they have failed a movement purity test.

    There were two reasons I almost voted for Clinton instead, neither of which have much to do with Clinton: one was the movement naiveté and obnoxiousness of some Obama supporters (but it's not fair to hold them against him) and the other was what I see as the Democrat doomsday scenario in the fall (Bush starts a war with Iran or heightens a terrorist alert in order to bolster McCain's "foreign policy experience" and veteran status over Obama's community organizer background; I took my own leap of faith at this point in the voting booth).

  13. Anon,

    Fine, lets assume "change is hogwash" but you could easily say that about any of the candidates slogans.

    Is Hillary ready to lead on day one? Sure, but so is everyone else so long as they have good people surrounding them in cabinet positions and on their staff; a President's job is to make decisions, but its the work of the staff and cabinet to implement those decisions. If Hillary is going to somehow change this, I'd be interested to know how.

    Then, Hillary became the "change" candidate because she's been "makin' change for 35 years", the first thought that entered my mind when she said this is that she was a Taco Bell cashier for 35 years...but that is neither here nor there.

    But now, change isn't important because change happens inevitably. While certainly true in the philosophical sense that nothing stays constant, the types of change offered by various candidates do matter.

    John McCain will be a change over the Bush administration, but not to a good enough degree so as to change the course of our nation.

    Hillary Clinton will be a change over the President in terms of policy, but as we've seen with her staff decisions, she generally puts loyalty above competency, and her leadership style encourages infighting and division within her staff...which could very well lead to problems in the White House.

    Obama offers the potential for change, in the sense that he doesn't start off with higher negatives than positives, and therefore the chance of the Country moving towards his leadership is greater than that of Hillary.

    Despite recent political history of a nation divided 50/50, it hasn't always been like this. There have been numerous Presidents throughout the 20th Century who have been able to capture the imagination (or at least the trust) of the American people to the point that they were able to win by massive margins. Perhaps Obama won't be able to do this, but there is a better shot at it than with Hillary.

    Now, as for the whole "post-partisan" thing. That is really a message designed more at getting Independents and Republicans voters to buy into the campaign. Does Obama think he is going to win over the Right Wing Media? No, and nobody is pretending that he will be able to (accept some of his critics). But it is possible, and it has been done before, to neutralize the rightwing media and organization, by going over their heads to the American people.

    Look, "change" by itself is a meaningless word because it can mean anything to anyone. Change, in the context of the Obama campaign, is about moving away from constant spin (see: Mark Penn) and having at the very least the feeling of honesty and integrity. Its about not micro-targeting various voter interest groups, and instead delivering a message designed to appeal to all of America (to a certain extent, there will always be some micro-targeting, but the Penn strategy is based almost entirely on it).

    Its about inspiring people to believe we can get over the partisan divisions, the racial divisions, the economic or social divisions...even if we may not entirely, the more people believe it can be done, the more it can be done. There is no law of nature saying that the nation must be split 50/50, it just so happens that it has been for recent history; we can move past it, we won't necessarily, but trying isn't a bad thing.