Threshold of Hypocrisy

Remember when Senator Clinton was talking about the “commander in chief threshold” and how she and John McCain had crossed it but Barack Obama hadn’t?

Or when Bill Clinton, campaigning for his wife, was praising John McCain to the heavens

Mr. Clinton said all three major candidates remaining in the race are talented and special people.

He did not go into detail on Sen. Barack Obama, the Illinois Senator still locked in political combat with Sen. Clinton’s wife for the Democratic nomination. Their next battle takes place next month in Pennsylvania.

But McCain, who Mr. Clinton said is a “moderate”, “has given about all you can give for this country without dyin’ for it.”

He said McCain was on the right side of issues like being against torture of enemy combatants and global warming, which “just about crosses the bridge for them (Republicans).”

That last bit took place all of three weeks ago, so I realize why it might have sunk into the memory hole. Still, I had remembered it, and also remembered that the Obama campaign might have grumbled a bit but didn’t make a Big Bleeping Deal out of it.

Yesterday, Senator Obama said this:

“You have a real choice in this election. Either Democrat would be better than John McCain,” Obama said to cheers from a rowdy crowd in central Pennsylvania. Then he said: “And all three of us would be better than George Bush.”

“But what you have to ask yourself is who has the chance to actually really change things in a fundamental way so that 10 years from now or 20 years from now you can look back and you can say boy we really moved in a new direction and we put the country on a better path,” Obama added as he wrapped up an event at Reading High School.

Obama was trying to argue that he is the better choice over Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in Tuesday’s primary in Pennsylvania. But the Illinois senator ended up mixing in praise for McCain at the same time.

The comment threatened to undercut Obama’s efforts — and those of the entire Democratic Party — to portray the GOP presidential nominee-in-waiting as nothing more than an extension of Bush’s unpopular tenure. At the very least, it provides fodder Republicans can use to prop up McCain.

Now, you and I could both argue that Obama shouldn’t have said that, although it used to be that candidates said complimentary things about their opponents on the stump, and this was considered gentlemanly, and no one took it seriously.

But today, Clinton supporters are going ballistic over what Obama said. The Clintons’ comments about what a strong leader McCain would be and how he is a moderate and not a wingnut Republican, however, were perfectly acceptable.

The mind, it is boggled.

20 thoughts on “Threshold of Hypocrisy

  1. The mind is boggled, at least by the arguments put forth in criticism at the blogs you linked in your post. My reaction is also critical but from the standpoint of hypocrisy on the Obama side of the ledger.

    My point in that regard would be how much grief was given to HRC by Obama and his supporters when she made her complimentary remarks about McCain being qualified to be CiC. (I disagree with her on that point unless “qualified to be CiC” is read to mean “likely to start more wars.”) And now that Obama has come out and said that McCain would be better than Bush (although given that McCain seems to be nothing so much as a Bush parrot on policy), some Clinton supporters are throwing it right back.

    I didn’t support either HRC or BO in the primary where I live (I vote for Edwards) and from where I sit, both campaigns have plenty of faults.

    I don’t see HRC as the demon that some Obama supporters do, and I do not see Obama as either a savior or a lightweight. I’ll vote for the nominee regardless. All this inside baseball stuff/internecine political warfare can stop none too soon for me.

  2. …yes we could argue that point, because what Obama said did stray from an important piece of his core message and gave Clinton, the MSM, and even MacStain’s handlers a free shot. We’re into the free-solo part of the climb now, and a candidate can’t afford very many bad hand holds. It may not have been a devastating blow, but it was an unnecessary distraction, not unlike the bizarre yet unanswered charges of John Kerry’s “elitism” when he went windsurfing back in ’04…

  3. What a pain it must be to run for president. If one looks cross-eyed, someone out there is waiting to pounce on that & make something out of it. This is getting so ridiculous I just want to crawl in a hole & come out after the election. Maybe I’ll just find a cave somewhere, stock up some food, take my dog, build a fire and escape for a few months. I’m sure the world will not have ended when I emerge transformed and enlightened.

  4. A McCain presidency would doom the SCOTUS to scalitotude for decades, yet it seems to be too far off the beaten path to be discussed. A McCain presidency would be wrong-minded on every issue, but might be “better” than chimpy’s, if only in some incremental level of competence.

    Bill Maherended his show this past week with a rant on elitism and bitterness that pretty much sums it up.

  5. “Scalitotude.”

    My favorite new word! (But as a concept, pretty sucky.)

    I think Obama needs a good night’s sleep. It’s like Jack K says above, he can’t afford many bad hand holds.

  6. Yet another issue where I don’t see how what Obama said could even be viewed as in any way “bad” until it is explained in very small words by the insane amongst us…

    He wasn’t “complimenting” McCain, he was taking a gratuitous shot at Bush, which is always warrented… If even a McCain presidency would be better than yours, then you must REALLY suck…

    That’s how I took what Obama said from the beginning. Didn’t even occur to me it might be seen as a compliment to Obama.

    My aching head…


  7. Hillary’s spokes-people don’t seem to get it. All over the tube this morn their ‘explanation’ of why Obama’s favorable numbers have consistently risen is because he has so much more money to spend on his campaign.

    Might they consider why he has so much more money? He’s not independently wealthy – as is Hillary – so something else must be going on? Yeah, people like him better, trust him more, and finally because they want a Dem in the next WH (and they can’t stand Hillary) he gets the dough.

    Have to wonder if Hillary’s operatives really believe their ‘explanation.’

  8. McCain being an improvement on Bush is like saying that the torture America does is better than the worst depredations of our opponents. It’s damning with faint praise, and the first word – damning – is the one that should be emphasized.

  9. I’m sad to say that in light of their ever increasing connections to corporate America, and to people like Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife and the way they have campaigned this time around, I have had to personally write off the Clintons as Republican-Lite. If she were to become the D nominee, I would vote for he, but I would definitely hold my nose. If Obama becomes the nominee, however, I will vote for him with a pride I haven’t had in a presidential nominee since Jimmy Carter.

  10. The attitude seems to be that to defeat McCain, we must destroy McCain. I disagree & I think it’s bad strategy. Here’s how you defeat McCain.

    McCain was against torture before he voted in favor of it. If he was free to choose, McCain would not torture, but he needs the neocon support. So he changed his position.

    McCain was against the Bush tax cuts he now supports. He took a stand of principle, and was vocal with the reasons he opposed the tax cuts. But now he needs the support of the wealthy Republican faction that is afraid the good times are over. So he changed his position.

    McCain was outspoken in his criticism of pandering to the religious right. But for this election, he’s sucking up big time -including the endorsement of Pastor Hagee which he aggressively courted. Turns out some of Hagees statements are pretty hateful. But McCain has not renounced the endorsement because he needs the evangelicals to turn out in big numbers.

    So you give the man his due. If he COULD, he would be a highly prinicpled and unortodox president. But he has sacrificed his principles for the Republican nomination. That’s truly sad & sadly true.. John McCain the ‘maverick’ is not running.

    Do not attack McCain the man!

    Attack his position on the war.
    Attack his position on the economy.
    Attack his position on Health Care.
    Show how McCain comprimised his principles for the nomination of his party – and is not the radical he wants to pretend he is.

    If/when the media can portray Obama as abusing an old man in a mean and false way.. we are in trouble in this election. Obama can be fierce as hell on issues and facts, but he MUST look like he respects McCain though he disagrees devoutly.

  11. The thing I find most annoying about the recent Clinton campaign ploys is the way they insult my intelligence. Does she really expect us to have forgotten that last month she told us that McCain had real experience and Obama was just a speech? Does she really expect us to believe that SHE thinks that Obama is “cheering on” McCain?

    There are plenty of legitimate arguments she could be making to earn the nomination, but this game of twisting and flogging every soundbite in what is clearly an insincere way is just, well, tawdry.

  12. 25% of Clinton supporters said they would vote for McCain if Obama got the nomination. I am sure they are not outraged.

    Technically, he is right about McCain being better than Bush, ever so slightly, since he comes without the Big Dick. Mccain has sold his soul, if he gets elected and double crosses, well, we already know he is not healthy, it should be easy to arrange something

  13. I’ll just copy & paste what I said over at Lance Mannion’s in response to the same story, to save myself the typing:


    I saw Obama make that speech in person during his whistlestop tour in PA on Saturday, and the reporter is quoting it out of context. The line about George Bush was clearly meant to slam Bush, not praise McCain. Obama went on to talk about the failed presidency of George Bush, and emphasized, in great detail, that McCain was going to pursue the same policies, or worse.

    To the crowd watching the speech, I can assure you it was plain as day what he was saying, and there was absolutely no mistaking what his message was: if you want more of the same, vote for McCain.

    Having seen Obama deliver the speech live, I was really pissed when I later read the dishonest spin the reporter put on it, trying to suggest that Obama was saying that McCain was somehow an acceptable choice in November.

    When your choice is to believe the candidates or believe the press, your first choice shouldn’t be taking the press’ word for it. Surely we’ve all been burned enough times to know that.

    I will add: if the Clinton folks are now trying to score points out of this, then they are being just as dishonest at that reporter. It was eminently clear what Obama was saying.

  14. The Clintons haved focused solely on winning the nomination. In their effort to destroy Obama, they may end up destroying the Democratic Party. Hillary must find something to run on other than her ‘vast’ experience to defeat McCain. If he distances himself from Bush – which given the idiots 28% approval rating these days – he would be beyond stupid not to do, it’ll come down to experience. Hillary loses; we lose.

  15. It’s an interesting thing, Gypsy… a lot of reporters are reporting words and not impressions these days. I remember having finally seen Bush give the “if you’re concerned about World War III” speech about a possible nuclear Iran, and that smirk/laugh combination was meaningful, but ignored. I’ve heard that’s relatively common… that if you see Bush speak more often, you realize that what’s reported isn’t entirely accurate, because it only focuses on the words, as if the way the words are spoken doesn’t come into play. I’m torn just a bit between being impressed that the Clintons noticed this enough to take advantage of it, and appalled that they’re saying it’s fair game.

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