Elections '08 Media Presidential Race

End Game

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So who’s right? And what does it mean?

Maureen Dowd says this:

.She’s been running ads about it, suggesting he doesn’t have “what it takes” to run the country. Her message is unapologetically emasculating: If he does not have the gumption to put me in my place, when superdelegates are deserting me, money is drying up, he’s outspending me 2-to-1 on TV ads, my husband’s going crackers and party leaders are sick of me, how can he be trusted to totally obliterate Iran and stop Osama?


The Democrats are growing ever more desperate about the Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.
With gas prices out of control, with the comically oblivious President Bush shimmying around New Orleans — the city he let drown — and Condi sneaking into Baghdad as rockets and mortars hail down on the Green Zone, beating the Republicans should be a cinch.

But the Democrats watch in horror as Hillary
continues to scratch up the once silvery sheen on Obama, and as John McCain not only consolidates his own party but encroaches on theirs by boldly venturing into Selma, Ala., on Monday to woo black voters.


The Democrats are eager to move on to an Obama-McCain race. But they can’t because no one seems to be able to show Hillary the door. Despite all his incandescent gifts, Obama has missed several opportunities to smash the ball over the net and end the game. Again and again, he has seemed stuck at deuce. He complains about the politics of scoring points, but to win, you’ve got to score points.

And here’s what Joe Klein says at Time Magazine:

Hillary Clinton won a convincing victory in Pennsylvania, but it came at a significant cost to the Clinton family’s reputation and to the Democratic Party. She won by throwing the “kitchen sink” at Obama, as her campaign aides described it. Her campaign had been an assault on Obama’s character flaws, real and imagined, rather than on matters of substance. Clinton also suffered a bizarre self-inflicted wound, having reimagined her peaceful landing at a Bosnian airstrip in 1996 as a battlefield scene complete with sniper fire. After six weeks of this, according to one poll, 60% of the American people considered her “untrustworthy,” a Nixonian indictment.

But that was nothing compared with the damage done to Obama, who entered the primary as a fresh breeze and left it stale, battered and embittered — still the mathematical favorite for the nomination but no longer the darling of his party.


i’m not sure that Bill and Hillary Clinton are reasonably sane human beings
, at least not when they are running for office: they become robo-pols, tireless and seemingly indestructible. Senator Clinton was on fire in the days before the Pennsylvania primary, as energized as I’ve ever seen her. She barely mentioned Obama at all but fiercely plowed her latest field — the populist granddaughter of a Pennsylvania factory worker, the daughter of a Penn State football player. As she said in her victory speech, “You know, tonight, all across Pennsylvania and America, teachers are grading papers, and doctors and nurses are caring for the sick, and you deserve a leader who listens to you. Waitresses are pouring coffee, and police officers are standing guard, and small businesses are working to meet that payroll. And you deserve a champion who stands with you.”

There was a warmth and a feistiness
to Clinton in Pennsylvania — the very qualities that Obama was lacking…..


But part of the problem with editorial writers — and, truth to tell, columnists like me — is a narrow definition of the qualifications necessary to be President. It helps to be a warrior, for one thing. It helps to be able to take a punch and deliver one — even, sometimes, a sucker punch. A certain familiarity with life as it is lived by normal Americans is useful; a distance from the élite precincts of academia, where unrepentant terrorists can sip wine in good company, is essential. Hillary Clinton has learned these lessons the hard way; Barack Obama thinks they are “the wrong lessons.” The nomination is, obviously, his to lose. But the presidency will not be won if he doesn’t learn that the only way to reach the high-minded conversation he wants, and the country badly needs, is to figure out how to maneuver his way through the gutter.

Thoughts? Opinions? Solutions?


  • I’m not sure that Bill and Hillary Clinton are reasonably sane human beings….

    I’m glad that TIME is starting to see things my way.

  • I gonna suggest Dowd needs to become more familiar with basketball (or maybe she’s referencing soccer?), “smash the ball over the net and end the game.” What the hell is that?

  • “John McCain not only consolidates his own party but encroaches on theirs by boldly venturing into Selma, Ala., on Monday to woo black voters.”

    Yeah, how dare a Republican “encroach on theirs” by venturing onto the Democratic Plantation to free blacks of feeling obligated to vote for a Democrat, when even Bill Clinton says that Obama pulled the race card on him. It seems that Dowd is pretty confident that the Democrats own black people. Maybe it is time for change.

  • “Yeah, how dare a Republican “encroach on theirs” by venturing onto the Democratic Plantation to free blacks of feeling obligated to vote for a Democrat, when even Bill Clinton says that Obama pulled the race card on him.”

    Who’s this guy Woody who cites Bill Clinton to back up his opinions ? He’s never commented here before.

  • From today’s L A Times Top of the Ticket Blog, “Once Obama’s Mentor, Alice Palmer Now Campaigns for Clinton,” by Christi Parsons, who writes for Swamp of the Chi Trib DC Bureau: About the “double crossed” Alice Palmer, “the former senator who picked Obama to be her successor back in the mid 90’s. When she tried to reclaim her spot, Obama got her booted from the ballot…We’ll likely hear more about her.” Seems there are a number of other stories also about how Obama plays “hardball,” that Parsons says the media is starting to look into.

    This stuff is just starting to come out about Obama, as some Democrats are intent on pushing Hillary out. He’s had a virtual annointing early in his campaign, but if he’d been looked at closely enough (and had as much time in the political game as the Clintons) no doubt he’d have had just as much baggage revealed as them. It’s just getting interesting, as everyone but Hillary seems utterly exhausted. She seems to exude a sense, since the last debate, of “It’s about time he started getting some.”

  • Alice Palmer, incidentally, was the person who planned the Obama meet-and-greet for local Dems at Bill Ayers’ home that’s getting so much attention from media cranks…and Hillary, so I guess this is really an important endorsement that will be deserving much attention. (This picayune shit is all that the Hillary hysterics are left with as May rolls around ? Remarkable how far Missus Inevitable and her President hubbie have fallen in just a few short months.)

    What I can’t figure out is why Hillary’s constant companion and chief champion in Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, didn’t get more attention for praising Farrakhan as one of the great religious leaders of the 20th century in front of a Nation of Islam audience. Maybe because Obama isn’t the gutter politician that Hillary has turned out to be…

  • Palmer, incidentally, tried to “reclaim her spot” after she got clobbered in the primary for the higher office she sought. Having lost and wanting a do-over, after pushing Obama’s candidacy for her old seat, her last-minute petitions to get on the ballot couldn’t pass the signature challenge. I guess that qualifies as getting “booted” from the ballot – i.e. not being able to put together a qualified petition with enough good signatures from registered voters.

  • I’ll see your Alice Palmer and raise you a Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon.

    A “Hillraiser” – a major fundraiser for Hillary Clinton – said Friday he had defected to Barack Obama’s campaign. The official announcement will be made next week. Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon – who served as ambassador to Chile during the Clinton administration – had raised close to half a million dollars for Clinton’s campaign, reports Chuck Todd, who broke the story.

  • I wondered why a certain commenter showed special interest in South America.

    “Most food-themed travel shows…’Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern.’ Now in its second season, the Tuesday night program showcases the grinning chef-critic’s adventures in culinary treasures most Westerners would pass up for fear of throwing up. Bull penis soup in Bolivia? Sure.”

  • “a virtual annointing early in his campaign”

    The irony and cluelessness of applying this phrase to Obama, rather than Hillary, is mind-boggling.

  • Thanks for posting the link, Reg. I just watched it late, late last night after I got home (from a full day of book fair and bookish after parties). It’s very, very much worth watching.

  • Saw the Moyer episode, SO WHAT — the guy (Wright) knows how to present himself in different ways to different audiences. So does any “charming” dictator (NOT saying he is one) or public persona from Castro to Hugo Chavez to their predecessors, and demagogues like Farrakhan… Funny, mention Hillary and the snarky vitriol she’s accused of starts flying.

  • I’m glad WBC is willing to concede that Wright is not a dictator. It shows a magnanamous spirit and a basic understanding of English.

  • Yup, Wright sure is helping Obama every time he opens his mouth – I’m sure Hillary’s and McCain’s campaigns hope he goes on doing it. Not that Obama’s Obots are worried about what the Good Rev is saying “in English,” too busy trying to spin the meaning into something else, but it’s brilliant how instead of shutting up and going away (like his book including these “sermons,” which has been pulled from the Trinity Church website), Wright now claims that any criticism of his comments is criticism of the black church, and of his mama and papa and grandparents, too. Seein’ as that’s how they all “prayed.” Even some Obots wonder if he’s trying to sabbotage their campaign, more intent on venting his fury against the whole “system” of which Obama’s now a part.

    But thanks, Mavis, for worrying about “my” understanding of basic English. All this just shows how Obots are willing to turn black into white, night into day, no matter what the reality — so I take snide comments from you as compliments. (Clearly, he fit into the “public persona” category, not an actual dictator — but if he weren’t a “pastor” he’d have just the personality profile for the other job.)

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