Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Too Obvious For Them

It's a bit disconcerting to see Taylor Marsh, one of Hillary's strongest blogging allies, and Big Tent Democrat (another solid Hillblogger) over at Talk Left, discuss the events of the last 48 hours. It's clear Taylor smells an obvious rat in Denver.

Once HRC endorsed Obama, the Clinton camp immediately worked to help me get access to Obama's people. Meanwhile, the Obama team reached out to me at the same time, through the Clinton camp. As most know, I was the first to do hard reports on Obama, with many tough posts all primary season. The Obama team has been nothing but accessible and worked to give me everything I've asked for so far.

So, Big Tent Democrat, whose writing I appreciate very much, is off the mark on this one. The truth is that some HRC supporters wouldn't listen if Obama showed up on their doorsteps carrying an equivalent to the political clearing house check. The other truth is that Obama has a larger field to convince than the remaining HRC supporters who are willing to cut off Lady Liberty's nose to spite democracy's face.

So this "tensions boil" baloney is only managing to do one thing: help John McCain, who continues to put out ad after ad targeting the junior high division of HRC's former supporters.

And yet both of them magically fail to miss the point: There are plenty of voters who are going to vote McCain regardless of what Hillary says, they wanted a woman in the White House. But it's the Clinton surrogates who should know better who are making the most egregious attacks. This are people Hillary can certainly control, people like Howard Wolfson and Paul Begala.

And Clinton's not making any effort to stop them. The point is that the attacks against Obama and the Democrats by the Village and the GOP are being fed by Hillary's own people while Hillary merely denies any involvement.

Hillary: Live And Let Die

Yesterday I talked about how Clinton's surrogates were pressing the attack on Obama over being "snubbed" for Veep and McSame's boys and the Village Idiots were following suit.

Today as the convention opens the attacks from Clinton surrogates are officially getting worse. Howard Wolfson brings the Big Dog into the fight.

There is still work to do on the Bill Clinton front. He feels like the Obama campaign ran against and systematically dismissed his administration's accomplishments. And he feels like he was painted as a racist during the primary process.

Senator Obama would go a long way towards healing these wounds if he were to specifically praise the accomplishments of the Clinton presidency in a line or two during his speech on Thursday. That should be painless---he isn't running against the Clinton legacy anymore, and it would probably be a good idea to remind voters that the last time Democrats were in charge of the White House, we had peace and prosperity. Similarly, he could thank President Clinton for all of the work he did throughout his life to bridge the divides in our country. This is a cause near and dear to the president's heart.

President Clinton has his part to play as well. He needs to offer a strong argument in favor of Barack Obama's candidacy on Wednesday night, and remind everyone why he is one of the most gifted campaigners in our generation between now and November.

What both Clintons say about Senator Obama--and what Senator Obama says about both of them during this week--can go a long way towards tamping down whatever disunity still exists between the two camps and their supporters. And more importantly, it will encourage Senator Clinton's supporters to vote for Senator Obama.

The Clinton versus Obama storyline is irresistible to the press corps--and the McCain campaign. It is incumbent on both sides in Denver to do what they can to tamp that down.

Of course, it hasn't occured to Wolfson in the least that his column (in The New Republic no less) is feeding the press corps and McCain exactly what they want to hear, and he's saying that the fault lies not with the Clintons but with Obama.

Obama hurt the Big Dog's feelings. Bill's not a racist, Obama needs to take that back and soon or the message is clear: Hillary voters won't back him. The Clintons have chosen Live And Let Die.

The Clinton camp continues to officially deny the story, but they are saying and doing nothing to contain Clinton insiders from spreading tales that the Clintons are secretly pissed at Obama.

The irony of Howard Wolfson saying that both camps need to "tamp down" the fight he himself is goading on is rich indeed. But this has been par for the course since the announcement of Biden this weekend. The press is indeed "eating it up".

As Democrats arrived here Sunday for a convention intended to promote party unity, mistrust and resentments continued to boil among top associates of presumptive nominee Barack Obama and his defeated rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

One flashpoint is the assigned speech topic for former president Bill Clinton, who is scheduled to speak Wednesday night, when the convention theme is "Securing America's Future." The night's speakers will argue that Obama would be a more effective commander in chief than his Republican rival, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

The former president is disappointed, associates said, because he is eager to speak about the economy and more broadly about Democratic ideas -- emphasizing the contrast between the Bush years and his own record in the 1990s.

This is an especially sore point for Bill Clinton, people close to him say, because among many grievances he has about the campaign Obama waged against his wife is a belief that the candidate poor-mouthed the political and policy successes of his two terms.

Some senior Democrats close to Obama, meanwhile, made clear in not-for-attribution comments that they were equally irked at the Clinton operation. Nearly three months after Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the nomination contest, these Obama partisans complained, her team continues to act like she and Bill Clinton hold leverage.

Make no mistake, the Village will make sure the message from Denver is all about Bill and Hillary, not Obama's positive message. The Clinton camp is doing stop the damage here that will continue long after the last balloon drops in Denver.

The Village too is quick to blame Obama for the rift as well, and goes straight back to the whole nature of the Obama camp being uppity and presumptuous. "How DARE that boy go after Bill!"

The Clintons are playing us for fools. Plan 2012 is in full effect right now, and unless Obama stands up to the Clintons and calls them out, he will lose in November. The neglect to round up Clinton surrogates and to stop the "voters on behalf of Hillary" on the attack is a conscious choice on the part of Bill and Hillary. They could stop them if they wanted to. They refuse to do so at every turn, proclaiming only unity.

They will continue to proclaim unity right up until McSame ends up in the White House. Then the campaign for 2012 begins in earnest as the Clinton folks turn on Obama like a pack of animals.

When will Obama call the Clintons out, before or after America is saddled with a McSame presidency?

Cross posted at BooMan Tribune.

Well Here's A Possible Sign Of The Village's Intentions

Every now and then they let you see their poker hand while they are reaching for the Cheetos. Guess who Bill Kristol is pimping for McSame's Veep from his NY Times column? Go on, guess.
So what’s to be done? McCain could well decide the obstacles to Pawlenty and Romney aren’t insuperable, and pick one of them. He could choose a different Republican governor or ex-governor, senator or congressman. Or he could decide that Obama’s conventional pick of Biden allows him to seize the moment by making a bold choice. He could select the person he would really like to have by his side in the White House — but whose selection would cause palpitations among many of his staffers and supporters: the independent Democratic senator from Connecticut, Joe Lieberman.
Now, picture every neo-con wingnut crackpot in America simultaneously doing THIS.

"Joe Lieberman? ARE YOU MAD?!?"

Oh, but it gets better.

Now as a matter of governance, there’s no reason to think this would much matter. McCain has made clear his will be a pro-life administration. And as a one-off, quasi-national-unity ticket, with Lieberman renouncing any further ambition to run for the presidency, a McCain-Lieberman administration wouldn’t threaten the continuance of the G.O.P. as a pro-life party. In other areas, no one seriously thinks the policies of a McCain-Lieberman administration would be appreciably different from those, say, of a McCain-Pawlenty administration.

Would McCain-Lieberman have a better prospect of winning than the more conventional alternatives? If they could get over the early hurdles of a messy convention and an awful lot of conservative angst and anger, I’ve come to think so.

Obama and Biden will try to frame the presidential race as a normal Democratic-Republican choice. If they can do that, they should win. That would be far more difficult against a McCain-Lieberman ticket. The charge that McCain would merely mean a third Bush term would also tend to fall flat. And an unorthodox “country first” Lieberman selection would reinforce what has been attractive about McCain, and what has allowed him to run ahead of — though not yet enough ahead of — the generic Republican ballot.

A Lieberman pick should help with ticket splitters. But can such a ticket hold the support of pro-lifers, conservatives and Republicans? If you’re conscientiously pro-life, you will have reservations about a pro-abortion-rights V.P. If you’re a proud conservative, Lieberman hasn’t been one. If you’re a loyal Republican, you’d much prefer someone from within the ranks.

But if you’re pro-life, conservative and/or Republican, you certainly don’t want Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid running the country. If a McCain-Lieberman ticket is the best way to thwart that prospect, you could probably learn to live with it — even perhaps to like it.

And Hillary supporters could protest Obama’s glass ceiling by voting for John McCain and the Democratic Party’s 2000 vice presidential nominee.

"Oh. Well why didn't you SAY SO EARLIER!?!?"

"...we are watching you, you liberal New York Times Pinko Commie."

(Man, that was a four prairie dogger. Damn you Bill Kristol.)

Obiden Party!

Courtesy of Cincinnati Blog, those of you in the Cincy area, there's an Obama watch party for Thursday's big speech. In NKY the party's at DownUnder in Covington (underneath the Obama campaign office there) and in Cincy the party's on Fountain Square where you can watch the speech on the big screen.

Party starts at 8. You may even find a Zandar there.

Half To Full

Lost in the shuffle of this weekend came this story that the Democrats have restored full voting rights to Florida and Michigan ahead of the convention today, at Obama's request.

After all the party threats of punishment for Florida and Michigan for holding primary elections before the rules permitted them, the Democratic convention credentials committee today voted unanimously to restore full voting rights to the Florida and Michigan delegations.

The party's rules committee already had gone half-way, agreeing to give the delegates from the unruly states half-votes at the convention. But with this vote today, all the delegates will get full votes.

"The only way we will be successful is if we are unified as a party and all Democrats know we are full partners," said Chris Edley Jr., a credentials committee member from California.

The move does, however, raise the question of how the party might enforce its primary calendar going forward. Michigan, with its Jan. 15 primary, and Florida, with its Jan. 29 primary, violated a ban against pre-Feb. 5 primaries for most states.

Sen. Barack Obama, who will accept the party's presidential nomination here this week, has called on the party to reexamine how its primaries are conducted.

This is a good thing, because Obama's going to need all the help he can get having fallen into a dead heat with McSame.

Legolas! What Do Your Blog Eyes See?

"I see the David Neiwart of the Tribe of the Lake of the Firey Hound is mobilizing for war against the Village Scribe Ron Fournier, good friend Zandar."
Before I joined the ranks of dirty foulmouthed hippie bloggers, I was your basic mainstream journalist. I started in newspapers in 1978 at small towns in the Northwest, where the rule of thumb is that most everyone in the newsroom is a jack of all trades. I was a news reporter, a photographer, a music and movie critic -- but more than any other job, I was a news editor.

I started out ripping newswires back when it was fed to us by ticker tape, and by the early '80s was pulling news from the wires by computers. In those days, there were two competing news services -- United Press International and the Associated Press. But about the same time UPI was in serious decline, and most of the newsrooms where I worked did not carry their services. By the 1990s UPI for all intents and purposes was nearly dead (and when Rev. Sun Myung Moon bought them up in 2000, it was a fait accompli) leaving the field to the AP.

In all those years ripping wires, I and the editors I worked with operated with at least a modicum of confidence that the AP was providing them with balanced, evenhanded and reasonably accurate news. Sure, it was bland work, and far too often relied on simplistic "he said/she said" journalism as a means of achieving a facsimile of balance. There wasn't a lot of great investigative work, but there was some. Mostly, we counted on AP to provide us with the news like a basic meat-and-potatoes diet.

Which is why Ron Fournier's unimstakable bias in his reportage on the 2008 presidential campaign is such a profound betrayal of the AP's mission. As a monopoly -- every single daily newspaper in the country now relies on the AP for its basic news services -- the AP has a profound and unmistakable duty to avoid even the appearance of bias. Fournier's reportage some time ago began reeking of bias, made worse by his dalliance with the McCain campaign last year and his footsie-playing with Karl Rove. And his recent work attacking Barack Obama makes the stink worse than meth lab's.

Our protest of Fournier's work, and our demand that he be removed from the presidential campaign, isn't simply a matter of crying because our ox has been gored. Rather, it's about recognizing the profound impact that biased reporting like Fournier's has on the nation's political discourse -- and how seriously it damages the AP's reputation as a reliable source of solid reportage.

Nerdy Tolkien stuff aside, it's important to note that Fournier probably deserves the smackdown this time. Then again, he and colleague Nedra Pickler are usually in trouble with one side or the other, always being accused of bias either for or against the GOP, depending on which side is mad at them at the time.

Still, the Village is the Village, and it's good to see people taking them on. At times they are very much part of the problem.

Or It's Robert Ludlum's Latest, One Of The Two

The son of an infamous Nazi doctor wants his father declared dead.
A son of notorious Nazi doctor Aribert Heim was quoted as saying Sunday that he wants his father declared legally dead so he can take control of his money and donate some of it to help document the suffering that occurred at a former concentration camp.

Ruediger Heim told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that his father -- dubbed "Dr. Death" and atop the Simon Wiesenthal Center's list of most-wanted suspected Nazi war criminals -- should officially be declared missing and then dead.

He reiterated he has not had any contact with his father since he fled Germany in 1962, save two short notes in his family's mailbox.

"Between 1962 and 1967, two notes appeared in our mailbox. There was a single sentence written on them, 'I am doing fine.' But if those letters were really from my father, I do not know," the paper quoted him as saying.

Heim also said that he has no idea if his father, who would be 94, is alive or dead.

Of course, there's always the possibility he's just trying to get his father declared dead to get access to a safe deposit box or two (possibly filled with the lost notes for Project Albatross, maybe.)


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