Say Cheese

It’s Wisconsin primary day. I’ve seen poll numbers all over the map, and I’m making no predictions. Given this campaign season, a pretty even split of votes and delegates wouldn’t surprise me.

The biggest significance of Wisconsin (other than the alarming number of mounted trophy fish in the bars) is that if one candidate does end up with a significant lead over the other — or if Clinton does Better Than Expected (BTE) — it will shape the news coverage of the campaign going forward. The Big Mo, and all that. In particular, if Clinton does BTE, some probably will credit the plagiarism charge against Obama by her campaign made yesterday. See James Fallows for why the charge is so bogus and might even backfire.

On the other hand, Clinton’s plan to deal with the mortgage crisis is being ridiculed by the free-market guys, which means it’s probably very good.

And Jeff Fecke finds a good reason to oppose Obama — Ann Althouse is voting for him. That does give one pause.

Fecke also writes,

There are good reasons to support Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and good reasons to oppose them. Both candidates are flawed, and both candidates are nevertheless far better than the average Democratic candidate over the past forty-odd years.

I think reactions to Obama and Clinton often say more about the person doing the reacting than the candidate themselves. If you see in Barack Obama the Second Coming of Kennedy, Jesus, and/or Lincoln, you’re probably Andrew Sullivan or Ann Althouse — someone desperately hoping that a lone figure “unity” to our country, despite all evidence to the contrary. Similarly, if you see in Hillary Clinton the second coming of Richard Nixon, well, you’re a credulous fool who’s been suckered by Richard Mellon Scafie.

I have argued before that one person, even a POTUS, cannot heal the nation’s sick political culture. But I believe healing the nation’s sick political culture is not only possible (although not easy), I think the life of our nation depends on it. That healing will take a movement, an overwhelming crush of public opinion that will chase the wingnuts back under their rocks. I think Obama gets that; I don’t believe Clinton does.

Second, I certainly don’t see Hillary Clinton as the Second Coming of Richard Nixon. However, as Russ Wellen says,

Were Hillary’s vote for the resolution authorizing the invasion of Iraq her only flagrant foreign policy misstep, we might be inclined to overlook it. But she not only supported it, she was the only Democrat to accept all of the Bush administration’s claims at face value. …

… Hillary also supported military aid, including missiles capable of being nuclear weaponized, to countries like Israel, Pakistan, and India, all of which had failed to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty. At Foreign Policy in Focus, Stephen Zunes compiles the whole dismaying chronicle of her martial heart as a presidential advisor and as a senator.

But we’d be remiss if we failed to single out two instances in which Hillary’s overcompensating to prove herself tough on defense went well beyond the bounds of decency. One, she refused to support the international treaty to ban land mines. Two, she voted down a Democratic resolution restricting U.S. exports of cluster bombs to countries using them against areas populated with civilians.

One doesn’t have to be duped by Richard Mellon Scafie to find that worrisome.

11 thoughts on “Say Cheese

  1. I don’t tend to support or oppose any candidate based on who says they’re voting for them. I do have several problems with Obama, and they’re based on what he’s done in this campaign.

    1) enlisting a rabid homophobic nut to campaign for him
    2) his supporting the false and dangerous idea rightwing that social security is severely broken and needs a massive fix
    3) his putting Jim Cooper as his point man on healthcare, when “no Democrat did more to destroy our chances in that fight [the health care reform issue in 1993/94] than Jim Cooper”

    These are extreme rightwing positions, and are dangerous to our party and our country. They are what trouble me about Obama, not someone’s claim that he’s running a “cult” or someone else saying they’re voting for him.

  2. Well, I wi don’t thinkwe can get over our sick political culture by nominating a politician who uses Rove tactics on a fellow Democrat.

    I used to be only mildly anti-Hillary. I’m at the point now that I’m not sure I can vote for her even with the alternative being McCain. I can gete past her R-lite votes on defense and terroism issues, and her committment to a staff of incompeent synophants, but now she is poisoning our interparty discourse with the same cynical, direspectful dishonesty that has been characteristic of Republicans for years.

    I really don’t want our party to sink to their level.

  3. QQ — yes, I agree, those are the sorts of issues we need to be looking at, and if Clinton were not at least equally compromised in other areas those might be deal breakers for me, too.

  4. Yeah, and Ann Coulter said she would support Clinton if McCain got the nod as the Republican candidate. That’s good for a laugh, but I would not hold it against Senator Clinton.

    No matter who gets elected in November, no matter what they say, the first item on the agenda is: maintain power in 2012. (I phrase it that way because McCain reportedly will not go for a second term, but he will want to see his policies continue.BTW, that makes his VP selection a HUGE issue.)

    All the Democratic candidates made health care front-and-center planks in their platform. Failure to deliver huge progress on health care in the first term might mean – no second term. So I can’t buy into the notion that Obama is married to a right-wing agenda to sabotage universal health care. I read the link associated with the previous comment, which quotes Cooper, not Obama. For ANY candidate, how much are we going to rely on the statements of second (or third) tier hacks. Regarding a ‘homopohbic nut’ in Obama’s campaign, has Obama supported any homophobic legislation, made homophobic comments? On Social Security, the ‘fix’ I have heard from Obama is to raise the cap which has protected the top income brackets. Clinton has not been specific at all about a fix for the projected shortfall in 2017 (last I heard) when $$$ out will exceed $$ in thru SS deductions. I am open to other ideas, but I have not heard specifics from the ‘experience’ candidate.

  5. Hillary’s campaign took a cheap and unnecessary shot with the plagiarism accusation against Obama.. And it does tend to accentuate an air of desperation because they didn’t distance themselves from the accusation in case it goes wrong. The accusation also lost a lot of its power to damage by the knowledge its source. Isn’t it a basic political tactic that when you smear someone with wear gloves to avoid getting it on yourself?

  6. OT – Odd, I could’ve sworn you did link to me but now that link is no more – did I get the boot? Was it a mirage? In any event, I thought I’d check. Please let me know, and thanks.

  7. I have argued before that one person, even a POTUS, cannot heal the nation’s sick political culture. But I believe healing the nation’s sick political culture is not only possible (although not easy), I think the life of our nation depends on it. That healing will take a movement, an overwhelming crush of public opinion that will chase the wingnuts back under their rocks. I think Obama gets that; I don’t believe Clinton does.

    That paragraph nails why I’m supporting Obama in this election. It might not be a very likely outcome, but it’s a possibility.

    It’s possible that Clinton could accomplish something similar inadvertently (if a bunch of wingnuts went a little too crazy and a little too overboard and caused a massive collapse and feeding frenzy), but Obama has a chance of pulling off the real deal.

  8. There will be no United States of America if McCain wins. I will vote Democratically no matter who is the nominee. I am juggling too many things in my life right now (and getting very old, too) to waste my time overanalyzing who is worse–Hillary or Barack. In my mind, it’s a no-brainer if you hope to see the USA survive another decade.

  9. See, I don’t get why people find this so hard. These aren’t deal breakers. If there was a viable alternative to the two parties, something that would allow a third “good” party to actually get in, or a GOP that wasn’t hopelessly wretched, they’d be deal breakers. But there isn’t, and any Democratic candidate is immensely better than any GOP candidate nowadays. That includes Obama and it includes Hillary.

    I just want them to change what they’re doing and stop doing these really bad, GOP-inspired things. And frankly, I think breaking our social security system is really bad. Sadly, going to war for dubious reasons isn’t as bad, because we’ve been doing it for so long in so many places; we can handle that. It kills a lot of people, makes other not trust us for obvious and legitimate reasons, and costs tons of money, but that’s what we do. Stopping doing that would be great, and maybe someday we’ll grow up and do it. But it’s ongoing. Breaking the most important social program, one that works wonderfully well compared to the vast majority of public and private programs, is something new. It’s been threatened, but it hasn’t been done (unlike our warmongering). It’s a new wrinkle that would destroy a great part of what we are; it would also kill any chance of national healthcare (and puting a healthcare killer in charge of your healthcare proposals would only help in that goal). We don’t need that; it’s going to be hard enough to grow up as it is.

  10. QQ, I think you’ve gone off the rails a bit when you say Obama will “break” social security. If you check out his web page, he’s not saying anything about privatizing it or doing anything even remotely resembling what the Right wants to do. His big proposal is to increase revenue by raising the cap so that upper-income wage earners are paying more into the system, which is something I’ve been saying for a long time.

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