The Comeback Kid

I would prefer Obama to win the nomination, but I was happy to see Senator Clinton win in NH tonight. I have been ashamed of our media going after her for choking up at a difficult moment, as I was when they went wild with clips of the “Hillary laugh” a couple of months ago. As I said in comments to the previous post, I believe her display of emotion actually helped her, humanized her – and the laying on of attacks only generated more sympathy for her.

The nomination process shouldn’t be signed and sealed in Iowa, so I’m not unhappy with what we are seeing in NH. I do worry about McCain winning, as he is the best candidate the GOP has and the only one who could possibly win, and we don’t want a far-right (on most issues) hawk winning the presidency again. I admire McCain in some ways, but I also know he has a fiendish temper and at times a disgusting mind. (This is my favorite example: McCain, reveling in adoration at a June 1998 Republican fund-raiser and sure his joke would go no further, said: “Do you know why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly? Because Janet Reno is her father.” Funny, ha ha. Still, if there’s a pearl among the swine it’s McCain, even if the pearl has some nicks. (You’ll find lots more of what I mean if you click that link.)

Getting back to the poor treatment of Senator Clinton (I am no longer referring to her as “Hillary” since a commenter pointed out how sexist it is; when you think about it, it’s true)… Today Gloria Steinem has a thoughtful column about the bias against Senator Clinton (subscription required) – both the media’s and our own. It made me think (not change my mind, just think).

I’m supporting Senator Clinton because like Senator Obama she has community organizing experience, but she also has more years in the Senate, an unprecedented eight years of on-the-job training in the White House, no masculinity to prove, the potential to tap a huge reservoir of this country’s talent by her example, and now even the courage to break the no-tears rule. I’m not opposing Mr. Obama; if he’s the nominee, I’ll volunteer. Indeed, if you look at votes during their two-year overlap in the Senate, they were the same more than 90 percent of the time. Besides, to clean up the mess left by President Bush, we may need two terms of President Clinton and two of President Obama.

But what worries me is that he is seen as unifying by his race while she is seen as divisive by her sex.

What worries me is that she is accused of ‘playing the gender card’ when citing the old boys’ club, while he is seen as unifying by citing civil rights confrontations.

What worries me is that male Iowa voters were seen as gender-free when supporting their own, while female voters were seen as biased if they did and disloyal if they didn’t.

What worries me is that reporters ignore Mr. Obama’s dependence on the old – for instance, the frequent campaign comparisons to John F. Kennedy – while not challenging the slander that her progressive policies are part of the Washington status quo.

The key phrase: “Indeed, if you look at votes during their two-year overlap in the Senate, they were the same more than 90 percent of the time.” In other words, maybe the meme that Hillary is right of center is just that, a meme.

Again, I am hoping Obama wins, but again, I’ll support Senator Clinton if I have to. She has been so demonized by commentators on both sides, though it hurts me the most to see her savaged by the left. Despite her alleged ties to the status quo and to big business and to the “old system,” few on this planet have done more to pursue noble liberal goals. Her votes on Iraq may constitute a serious mistake, but she doesn’t deserve the kind of contempt I’ve witnessed in recent weeks. Shameful.

Onto the next primary. The weeks ahead will be interesting, to say the least.

The Discussion: 45 Comments

I dunno, man. Senator Clinton is her title, Hillary is her brand. Take your pick, either is a step up from Billary, which is the monicker her presidency might rapidly acquire.

Ooh. McCain said a mean thing, and I think it really was mean, but I wonder what mean jokes you hear from other candidates in PRIVATE. Next time, turn your mike off, dummy!

January 9, 2008 @ 3:17 pm | Comment

Richard, what you said. I feel the same way. We don’t need a coronation, we need a real contest that forces the candidates to hone their messages and their positions and allows more people to participate in the process.

I think what happened with Clinton (and exit polls will back me up) that a whole bunch of women in New Hampshire got pissed off with all the gross sexism and the piling on that HRC faced. Older women in particular thought this might be their last chance to see a woman in the White House. So a lot of fence-sitters and those not strongly committed to a candidate voted for HRC.

I’m still supporting for Edwards, but I understand the impulse.

January 9, 2008 @ 3:29 pm | Comment

Er, that would be “supporting Edwards.” No “for” necessary.

January 9, 2008 @ 3:30 pm | Comment

Sam, others might have told mean jokes, but that one, from a senator in office, was too awful. I think most politicians are too smart to talk like that in any semi-public setting, and it made me question his judgment and sense of decency (Chelsea was still in high school at the time, and if anyone was deserving of admiration and not ridicule it was she).

Lisa, it’s sad to see the brief wave of hope that Edwards would soar to number one in Iowa and NH deflate. Would he run for VP again?

January 9, 2008 @ 3:48 pm | Comment

And here’s the best news of the day:

A new Datamar poll in Florida finds Mike Huckabee leading the Republican presidential primary race with 24% support, followed by Mitt Romney at 20%, Sen. John McCain at 18% and Rudy Giuliani now back in fourth place at 16%.

Two months ago, Giuliani led the GOP race. With little chance of winning the other early states, he has been campaigning nearly non-stop in Florida for several weeks.

Huckabee is now leading in national polls, with McCain nearly neck and neck. I believe it’s time to acknowledge that he has more than evangelical support. People just seem to like the guy, strange as that may seem.

If Giuliani is truly toast – a lovely idea – then McCain is going to win the nomination. None of the others can possibly appeal to the crucial independent block. McCain had been virtually written off just a few weeks ago and there were rumors of his dropping out. Fate takes some amazing twists and turns.

January 9, 2008 @ 3:57 pm | Comment

I think it might be good that Clinton won in NH. Not because she might win overall, but that it will test Obama. If he can win after having a small set-back like this then he’ll be shown to have some real character.

January 9, 2008 @ 4:06 pm | Comment

My favorite *snork* is that Guliani managed to poll exactly 1 percentage point higher than Ron Paul in New Hampshire (9% to 8%).

Richard, I don’t think Edwards can win the nomination but I wouldn’t write him out entirely. I’m still supporting him because I think his message deserves wider exposure. And I find it very interesting that both Clinton and Obama co-opted parts of it for their post-NH speeches.

And as Edwards put it, 99% of the electorate have not cast their votes yet.

Clinton’s victory could be a good thing for Edwards because it stops the inevitability of the Obama juggernaut for now. It opens the race to other possibilities.

January 9, 2008 @ 4:21 pm | Comment

Hillary Clinton is my Senator. I voted for her–once. Last year (’06) I wrote people in for the primary and the general (Hevesi and Mario Cuomo). She stands for nothing but power.

She says she has a record. What is all that experience she talks about? What are the two most important policy debates she’s been involved in? Health care and Iraq. Let’s just say her track record is not that impressive.

If you watch/read Primary Colors, you’ll remember why people love Bill Clinton, despite his tremendous flaws: Deep down, you knew he really cares about the people no one else does.

Hillary has the flaws, but does she really care about people deep down?

January 9, 2008 @ 4:36 pm | Comment

Hey Richard,

I agree that “Hillary” may seem flippant, but I don’t believe it’s rooted in sexism. As one other commenter posted, “Hillary” is her brand. I believe she’s called “Hillary” because if you refer to her simply by her last name – as Obama, McCain, Huckabee, and others are – it’s unclear whether you are referring to Bill or Hillary.

It is for this reason that I believe journalists have taken to calling her by her first name in TV talk shows and what-not. But you’ll notice in formal coverage of the campaign (ie. in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, et al) that she is referred to as Senator Clinton.

January 9, 2008 @ 4:44 pm | Comment

Josh, I’m gonna go with the counter-intuitive here. Bill Clinton needs to be loved. Luckily for him he has the gift of being charming and empathic, and he gets that love back.

Hillary Clinton is a very different person, emotionally. She’s reserved, she doesn’t show her feelings, and while she might like to have the sort of affection that Bill Clinton gets (who doesn’t want to be loved by the masses?), she doesn’t know how to get it, and the bottom line is that it’s not as important to her.

That doesn’t mean she doesn’t care about people, and though (again), she’s not my candidate, I think the MSM narrative of her being this cold, unfeeling, calculating, power-seeking bea-otch is probably an unfair stereotype.

Anyone running for President has some power-seeking jones in them. You would have to in order to put yourself through the process. Is HRC a bigger, colder power-seeker than say, John McCain? Barack Obama? John Edwards? Rudy Guliani for crissakes?

I don’t see how there’s any real evidence to support that. I think people buy into this caricature of her that’s been promoted by the MSM and the RNC that is fueled by rank sexism and by the fact that she doesn’t have a cuddly personality.

Look at what happened to Gore in 2000. Not the sexist part, obviously, but because he is a more reserved intellectual type of guy who isn’t so good with the glad-handing and is smarter than the vast majority of the people covering him, he got shanked and slimed and pounded on.

The MSM hates HRC.

My favorite catchphrase to come out of this is “The Tweety Effect” – e.g., the gross sexism and weird obsessive behavior exhibited by pundits like Chris Matthews actually motivated people to vote for HRC in response.

I kinda buy that.

January 9, 2008 @ 4:52 pm | Comment

I like that Lisa and wholly agree. I feel bad for her; she is not instantly lovable like her husband and everyone keeps holding her up to the standard he set for likeability. She’ll never meet it.

Cam, here is my own response from the Obama thread to the commenter who brought up this issue:

About “Hillary.” Thanks for pointing out that I and others use her first name – I hadn’t given it much thought to be honest. I do it, I think, because it instantly identifies her, like when we all called Bush “W,” especially when he first came into the national spotlight. That designation made it clear we were talking about GWB and now GHWB. “Clinton” refers to Bill Clinton for me and probably always will.

I thought about it later, about how unlikely it would be for us ever to call a male candidate for president by his first name. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. If we don’t do it for men but do it for women, then I think there’s sexism involved, even if its intent is not malicious. If we need to distinguish her from Bill, HC or Sen. Clinton will work fine.

January 9, 2008 @ 5:09 pm | Comment

@ Richard and OLisa

I don’t get it. Romney is similarly cold and calculating and he gets torn to shreds and all the reporters go “I guess the secret that all of the candidates hate Romney is out in the open now” with glee in their voice. And no one says a peep. But if it’s poor Hillary, who send Americans to die in Iraq because she was afraid to look soft in an election, it’s awful and sexist.

Say what you want about Romney, he never coldly sent people to die for something he knew was wrong. And do you still feel sorry for her after she implied that electing Obama was inviting an attack from Al Qaeda? Because I doubt you felt bad for Cheney or Rudy when they made those types of comments.

January 9, 2008 @ 5:21 pm | Comment

“Romney is similarly cold and calculating and he gets torn to shreds and all the reporters go “I guess the secret that all of the candidates hate Romney is out in the open now” with glee in their voice. And no one says a peep.

I never heard about this. I never heard about this. What are you referring to? What glee? Seriously, I have no idea what this is about Any link?

About Clinton sending people to die – well, the majority of Americans, hoodwinked and fooled, including John Edwards and many other splendid people, went along with the invasion as well. So did some of the best liberal bloggers like Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, Mark Kleiman and countless others. America was sold a bill of goods and some of us tragically fell for it – at least for a while. Are all of them guilty of participating in the deaths of US soldiers? That seems to me like a gross over-simplification and to single out Clinton is appalling but typical. Nearly all of our leaders in government passed the same resolution.

It’s funny (strange): I’m not a Hillary supporter by any stretch of the imagination. I just believe in stepping back from the emotional clutter and trying to see things as much as they really are as possible. Hillary isn’t my cup of tea, but she is no mass murderer and no monster.

January 9, 2008 @ 6:16 pm | Comment

Josh: “Romney is similarly cold and calculating and he gets torn to shreds and all the reporters go “I guess the secret that all of the candidates hate Romney is out in the open now” with glee in their voice. And no one says a peep.

Richard: I never heard about this. What are you referring to? What glee? Seriously, I have no idea what this is about.”

This is news to me, too. Romney gets some ribbing for his hairdo and his he-man-like posture, but the gentle mockery is nothing, nothing in tone or scope like the vicious attacks Hlllary has endured since day 1 of Clinton’s presidency.

January 9, 2008 @ 6:53 pm | Comment

apparently a high school student wrote this.

I’m amazed.

January 9, 2008 @ 7:09 pm | Comment

“I thought about it later, about how unlikely it would be for us ever to call a male candidate for president by his first name. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.”

I hear people refer to Giuliani as ‘Rudy’ all the time. Including in one of the posts above. And like George W. Bush, there’s another influential person who came before her bearing her name, making it useful to come up with some form of address which clearly separates the two.

Senator Clinton works fine, but to me, she’s still Hillary.

January 9, 2008 @ 7:16 pm | Comment

Qin, whatever works for you. It’s not a huge deal for me, but it was interesting when I thought about it, only because…I had never thought about it before. I always call him Giuliani, by the way, and never felt comfortable hearing him referred to as Rudi.

January 9, 2008 @ 7:19 pm | Comment

heh. Here’s an interesting take on Senator Clinton: two X-chromosomes do not a feminist candidate make!

January 9, 2008 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

I’m thrilled with the results of NH — for both parties. It bursts the inevitability bubble on the Dem side and it solidifies the Repub stable.

I don’t believe it turned on Sen. Clinton’s tearful moment. I currently reside near NH — in Maine– and I was raised on the east coast (though I lived a long time in CA before my extended stay in China).
Those people are very independent, issue-oriented, analytical, disdain the touchy-feelie and have a staunch history of previewing the choice of candidates. I think here the message is clear: it’s going to be close.

It’s the media that has escalated the campaign hyperbole. Because the campaigns started so early, they have had to bounce up headlines with salacious stuff. This morning’s headline on Yahoo: Comeback Kids Create Chaos! Kids? Chaos? One Caucus and one Primary! We’ve got a long way to go in the next month..and probably even beyond.

Close contests are much more productive than routs in surfacing character, platform and the pressure cooker stamina that it takes to lead a nation.

@Richard – I don’t think anyone would have any trouble knowing who you are talking about in a Clinton vs Obama context. But I also find that if you point out a sexist language issue, the kneejerks tend to lean on it. It’s a revealing point. I appreciate your sensitivity to it. You’re right. It’s not that big a deal… just something to note.

I find it interesting that a racist remark is immediate anathema (publicly) but there can accptably be chuckleheaded corroboration of a sexist remark (targeting any gender).

There’s going to be a lot of veiled and not so veiled sexism as this campaign unfolds, for the reasons that Steinem so even-handedly points out in that editorial that is still today the #1 emailed article in the Times. It’s one of those things that has to — dare I say it — change.

January 9, 2008 @ 10:38 pm | Comment

Comeback Kids Create Chaos!

Not to mention – Holy alliteration, Batman. That headline is a drink away from Stix Nix Hix Pix.

Sometimes I refer to Hillary Clinton as Hillary, but usually it’s her full name. Am I, what, internalizing the patriarchy’s sexism? I doubt it.

And I’m sorry Richard, while I’m sure that Steinem article makes a lot of good points, this gem gave me pause:

“Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life.”

Really? Really?? Not race? Not class? And then she went on to establish a hierarchy of oppression, and that’s when I stopped reading.

January 10, 2008 @ 12:58 am | Comment

So Hellen, sexism is the final frontier and the entire national political structure is out to get Hillary? A black man still leads the Dem delegate count heading into a deep South state.

And yet a few polls I’ve read list Condeleeza Rice and Jean Kirkpatrick as being much more desirable female candidates.

No one “deserves” to be the US President, that is Hillary’s problem.

January 10, 2008 @ 1:09 am | Comment

I do agree with Ellen that it is a lot easier to get away with sexist remarks in the public sphere than racist ones. I’d add to that homophobic remarks (trying to paint Edwards as effeminate is a good example).

You can argue about which is worse, sexism or racism, but that’s pretty unproductive – how about, “they’re both bad”?

What a lot of people missed with all the talk about the historic nature of Obama’s showing in Iowa is that regardless of what you think of HRC, a female presidential candidate of her stature is also historic in this country. I read somewhere that the US has a worse track record of electing female politicians than Zimbabwe!

Here’s a link, but not to the the BBC article it cites

January 10, 2008 @ 1:45 am | Comment

Really? Really?? Not race? Not class? And then she went on to establish a hierarchy of oppression, and that’s when I stopped reading.


January 10, 2008 @ 7:59 am | Comment

@ Richard

Someone already mentioned that everyone calls the fine former mayor ‘Rudy’, which means even if you don’t like it, it’s not a gender issue.

Over the course of yesterday I got so irritated with HRC that I put up a post with video of the ‘cry’ and of her implying that an Obama presidency could invite an Al Qaeda attack. Here.

I’ll add the podcasts where people pile on Romney later, but remember, he’s less mentioned than Hillary because he’s not as big a name.

January 10, 2008 @ 8:08 am | Comment

I saw the Clinton quote, Josh, and I didn’t hear a word about how Obama’s victory might bring an AQ attack. I thought it was a stupid thing for her to say, playing the fear card, but I missed the Obama reference. Please remember, I am for Obama – I endorsed him here, I have now sent money twice to his campaign and I celebrated his victory in Iowa. But a big portion of this bog is dedicated to pointing out media trends, in both China and the US, and I know a pile-on when I see one and I hated the way the media ganged up suddenly – I was equally sickened a few weeks ago when the big cable news stations kept playing clips of “the Hillary laugh.” That plain sucks.

The fact that some papers refer to “Rudy” in headlines does not alter the argument that constantly referring to her as Hillary is sexist and demeaning. Practically no respectable media would refer to him as Rudy except for headline writers trying to save space, and the pundits (Maureen Dowd uses “Hillary’ all the time as she attacks her – Hillary becomes demeaning; if she said Senator Clinton her columns would have quite a different tone; this is strategic and intentional on Dowd’s part). Congratulation on joining in the pile-on. If only we could elect our officials without this kind of circus.

This thread reminds me of what happens nowadays when I point out any aspect of China that has improved. Immediately the vultures come out to say I am pro-CCP. I’m not pro-CCP and I’m not pro-HRC, but I think both should be viewed with some perspective other than our blind rage and preconceived notions.

January 10, 2008 @ 8:38 am | Comment

Richard, MoDo (ah, a sexist and demeaning diminutive!) is an op-ed columnist known for her polemical style. She also calls Rumsfeld Rummy and Wolfowitz Wolfie. Are we really expecting her to follow the AP stylebook (“Mr.” Bush and “Senator” Clinton) to the letter?

No, I get it. The media is biased in its depictions of female politicians. Maybe it’s because of entrenched patriarchal norms or the white male ownership of the media or whatever, there are a myriad reasons. I get it, especially in light of the media reaction to her “crying” and the implication that it helped her with women voters (who are, of course, so fickle!) But I hate that Steinem (and others) seem to be propping Hillary Clinton up as some sort of martyr for the feminist cause, because gender discrimination is (apparently!) the last bastion of oppression in America. That sets my teeth on edge.

Especially since I’ve heard campaigners and supporters of the Clinton campaign refer to her as “Hillary” themselves.

January 10, 2008 @ 9:09 am | Comment

No, no Nausicaa! I expect Dowd to use Hillary and Rummy and I don’t expect her to go by the AP stylebook – that’s why I said the one place you’ll hear these nicknames is among the pundits. Just know that when she applies these nicknames it is always to express contempt of some kind for her subject. Dowd has a nickname for everyone she wants to write about with contempt, that is her signature. It is definitely demeaning when she does that, and she wants it to be, and that’s her privilege as a columnist.

Steinem may be going overboard, but having read her periodically over the past many years (so many!) this column is totally in keeping with her worldview, which I have t at time s felt was over the top, especially back in the days when she was editing the now-defunct Ms. magazine. I liked her section in the column, however, where she states, “What worries me…” I think her points are fair.

It is great to see you back. Even if we don’t see eye to eye on this one.

January 10, 2008 @ 9:20 am | Comment

It’s good to be back, Richard. 🙂

January 10, 2008 @ 9:26 am | Comment


It’s fair enough that you think that many people come in with pre-conceived notions about HRC. However, I actually liked her when I voted for her against Rick Lazio in 2000, and a New Yorker and political junkie have followed her closely through sources like The Politicker (NY Observer’s excellent, long-standing insider blog).

The fact is that from day one as Senator, Ms. Clinton has tirelessly worked to cultivate her hawk credentials despite having one of the more liberal constituencies in the nation. Her goal was always the presidency, which is fine, if you look out for your voters’ interests along the way.

I’m sorry that you believe my views are based on a passing interest, but I am perfectly capable of deciding that I find someone to be a phony all on my own. I came to that conclusion about John Edwards a long time ago, and I don’t hear anyone in the media parroting that line.

From what I understand you are an Edwards guy at heart, but can live with Obama as a good alternative. I know you were just sticking up for a candidate whom you thought the media was beating up on unfairly. As you know I live in China and get my news from the newspapers and podcasts. If they are unfairly beating up on her, that’s fine.

Independent of the pundits’ analysis, I have grown to strongly dislike her based on her poor record of standing up for my views and those of my fellow New Yorkers.

January 10, 2008 @ 9:30 am | Comment

Fair enough, Josh. And it’s fine to dislike her. I just hate clusterfucks because they can make people irrational, like the Swift Boat Veterans and the onslaught of mass insanity they ignited.

I still have deep problems with your earlier remark, “Say what you want about Romney, he never coldly sent people to die for something he knew was wrong.” Do you really in your heart of hearts believe Hillary intentionally and knowingly and coldly sent people to die? I won’t even say that about Bush or Rumsfeld. That’s one hell of a statement.

About Edwards, the media have indeed seized on the idea that he is a phony. You can find lots of the coverage using google. Also, you can read up on how many pundits have slammed him as a phony and a hypocrite for making his fortune off of dubious class action lawsuits. Seek, and you shall find. I don’t agree with this charge – but the media, including the NY Times, has been making this charge loud and clear for some time.

Update: Just found the Quote of the Day from an article everyone in this thread should read. Someone who really doesn’t like Hillary Clinton rallies to her defense::

As it turns out, my sudden, almost primal defensiveness about Hillary Clinton may not have been unique, but part of a larger wave of sentiment that swept her to a surprise victory in New Hampshire on Tuesday night. Others like me, who were “not Hillary supporters, but …,” were downright mortified by the eagerness with which cable news networks, the New York Times, the Boston Globe and even her opponents felt free to declare Clinton yesterday’s news. Their dismay and disgust may have been just the boost she needed to pole-vault to today’s triumphant headlines, as not liking Hillary took a back seat to hating those who would summarily eject her from a race even more. On Tuesday, New Hampshire voters served up a major “Fuck you” — not to Barack Obama, whose numbers were terrific, and who gave a great concession speech, but to those who revealed their pent-up resentment of Hillary and showed her the door way, way too soon.


January 10, 2008 @ 10:32 am | Comment


On the comment that I made: I know it sounds harsh, but the 2 premises are
1. She knew the war in a Iraq was not the best course of action (something that is wrong)

2. She knew it would cause American deaths.

If you agree with these premises then you implicitly agree with my conclusion, however coarsely worded. I guess you can say I’m giving her judgment the benefit of the doubt with number 1.

Secondly, I will never understood why the press thought Iowa’s results would mean a 25 point swing in one week for NH voters. If anything they overstated Obama’s victory so much that some independents went for McCain thinking it was the only real race.

January 10, 2008 @ 2:54 pm | Comment

HRC authorized the President to use force if necessary in Iraq. I was one of those people out there protesting in February ’03 against any preemptive strike on Iraq; I and a lot of other people felt that from all available evidence, there were no reasonable grounds to attack a country that had not attacked us.

I’d characterize HRC’s decision at that time as a political calculation (one that most politicians in Congress made as well). Cast your minds back, folks. America was still in the grip of post-9/11 paranoia; anybody who questioned the White House narrative was a “traitor,” “weak,” “un-American,” etc.

So while I in no way supported the decision of HRC and so many other political figures like her, I do understand it to some extent. It wasn’t a blank check to start a war; it was a CYA move to look tough and strong and avoid the un-American, Commie, wimpy, traitor label.

And okay, maybe some of these politicos actually believed the load of crap being pitched by the White House, the cherry-picked intelligence and the outright lies.

But what’s important to remember is that “use of force” authorization didn’t have to lead to war. Anyone with a read on the true nature of Bush/Cheney knew that it would. I knew the attack was coming and that nothing but nothing would stop it.

But let’s be clear here. It wasn’t HRC who “coldly sent people to die for something (s)he knew was wrong.” It was the Bush Administration that made that decision.

I’m still supporting Edwards, by the way.

January 10, 2008 @ 3:23 pm | Comment


Edwards WROTE the authorization. Even if Biden says he only passed three bills and they were all related to the postal service.

January 10, 2008 @ 5:18 pm | Comment

Here’s my two New Zealand cents:

It’s very telling that your media would turn such inane things as a laugh or apparent crying by Hillary Clinton into a Major Issue, as if either event had anything at all to do with America’s future. In other words: America’s political discourse is in a very sorry state indeed.

Richard, you said: “Do you really in your heart of hearts believe Hillary intentionally and knowingly and coldly sent people to die? I won’t even say that about Bush or Rumsfeld.”

Bush and Rumsfeld absoulutely did knowingly and coldly send people to die. That’s what you do when you start a war. They knew they were lying when the presented their “case” for war. They knew young Americans would die in an unjust and unjustifiable war when they sent your soldiers in to Iraq. They did knowingly and coldly send people to die. And they should both be in the Hague facing a war crimes tribunal right now, considering the number of civilian deaths they have personally and knowingly caused and will continue to cause. Senator Clinton knowingly and willingly took part in the authorisation of an illegal unjust war. An overwhelming majority of people in the Western world with access to more or less free press, and large numbers of people without such access, were opposed to the Iraq war because we saw through the Bush/Cheney admin’s naked lies- and a large number of those people were both uneducated and thick as pigshit. How could Senator Clinton, as highly educated and brilliantly intelligent as she obviously is, fall for those lies? She did not fall for anybody’s lies, that is not possible. She deliberately, knowingly, willingly, signed up for the mess that is the Iraq war. She has blood on her hands.

Having said that: If I were eligible to vote, I would spoil my ballot. No candidate is going to make any meaningful difference to either America or the world. The best you can hope for is a change of skin colour or gender in your president, and that just ain’t enough.

January 10, 2008 @ 5:26 pm | Comment

Don’t forget Tony Blair, Bush’s English buddy. They are two cheeks of the same buttock; together with Rum & Dick, they should all stand trail at the Hague facing a war crimes tribunal together with Henry Kissinger.

January 10, 2008 @ 5:56 pm | Comment

Chris, I think you know that no one detests Bush and Rummy more than I do. Hate them. Totally. And not blindly or irrationally, but for their very specific crimes against humanity. However, I do think they honestly believed they were going to win the war quickly and with very, very little loss of life for a very noble goal (in their own twisted eyes). Greed and vengeance were part of it, big parts – but if you look back at Paul Wolfowitz’s record on Iraq from 1991, you will see he fervently, passionately and totally believed in the goodness and the necessity of the invasion. As did Armitage and Perle. So while I despise them, I also believe they did not think they were committing murder, but liberating a tortured and oppressed people. And for a few days, those heady days after Baghdad fell, it actually appeared they were right. A tragedy and a crime, that they screwed up so royally, and probably 40 percent of this blog is dedicated to pointing out their sins and their stupidities and their sleaziness. I do not, however, believe they knowingly and intentionally committed murder, with no sense of remorse at the dreadful consequences of their actions and that’s what constitutes cold-blooded murder; neither Hillary nor Edwards nor Biden nor even Cheney can be placed in the category of cold-blooded murderers. Of course, now I leave myself open to defending the war, which is exactly what I am not doing. I’m just saying, when you call them cold-blooded murderers you lose credibility, and give ammunition to the right-wingers.

I hate George Bush with a passion I’ve never felt for any public figure in my life. But I honestly do not believe he feels no remorse for what his war has led to.

January 10, 2008 @ 6:24 pm | Comment

And there is the difference between Senator Clinton and Bush & Company:
The neo-cons were dumb enough to believe the rhetoric.

I hate to tell you, but that leaves Senator Clinton in an more morally precarious position.

January 10, 2008 @ 9:03 pm | Comment

I’m really disappointed, Josh. Okay, she’s a cold-blooded murderer. As are so many countless others who believed the rhetoric – including the NY Times and the WaPo and many of the best liberal bloggers, as I mentioned above. Yes, they were wrong, and looking back they were totally sucked into the post-911 neo-con hype, excerbated by the likes of Judith Miller and Elizabeth Bumiller. Some of them, like the WaPo editorial board, should really be ashamed of themselves for continuing to this day to be fooled by the bush BS. But they were not guilty of cold-blooded murder. Senator Clinton’s husband, remember, was equally convinced that Iraq had a secret weapons program, and for good reason if you remember Saddam’s brinksmanship with the weapons searches back in the late 1990s. Of course, Clinton (Bill) wasn’t reckless enough to drag the country into a hopeless war, but don’t pretend that the Iraq threat was something dreamed up by the Bushies. Exploited by them and hyped and lied about and brought to a horrific conclusion, for sure. But if you are saying all those decision makers who believed Iraq was a threat were conscious murderers, then you are indicting a lot of people, and it’s talk like this that gives liberals a bad name. That kind of rhetoric comes across as truly unhinged.

January 10, 2008 @ 11:03 pm | Comment

Oh dear…..

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the Country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed.” Abraham Lincoln

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” Thomas Jefferson
“No government ought to be without censors & where the press is free, no one ever will.” Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Washington, September 9, 1792Thomas Jefferson

“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step over the ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! — All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a Thousand years. At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
Abraham Lincoln

Blair, Bush, Cheney, Rummy, & Kissinger – Off to the Hague War crime tribunal for crime against humanity and the US Supreme Court for treason.

“Once lead this people into war and they will forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance.”
“No nation is fit to sit in judgment upon any other nation.”
President Woodrow Wilson,

January 10, 2008 @ 11:08 pm | Comment

Did Hillary really win New Hampshire?

January 11, 2008 @ 5:52 am | Comment


I make a clear distinction: For people who really believed going to Iraq was the best decision, then they have moral justification for their opinions/votes (even if I believe they were wrong).

For those of us who always believed that the war was wrong, as Bill Clinton recently claimed he did, then supporting a policy that cost lives is morally reprehensible. If you are of the opinion that Senator Clinton believed that we needed to go to war then her judgment is poor but he moral standing is not in question.

Personally I neither believe that she thought it was the right policy decision, nor accept the Clinton-ism that authorizing the war is the same as supporting the use of force.

My question for you, Richard, is: do you think she believed war was the best option? If you do not then I think that we essentially have the same position, rhetoric aside. If you think she believed it was the best policy then we have an honest disagreement about what she was thinking at the time, something that we can obviously never prove.

I hold people who I think should have known better to a higher standard, because I KNOW the Wolfowitz honestly thought it was the right policy. He was wrong, but it doesn’t make him inherently immoral.

January 11, 2008 @ 11:51 am | Comment

I think we’ve exhausted the topic Josh and now we’re just parsing. Bottom line: Calling her a cold-blooded murderer is wrong.

January 11, 2008 @ 12:48 pm | Comment

I never called her a murderer. I said:

“Say what you want about Romney, he never coldly sent people to die for something he knew was wrong.”

In this thread you used the word “murder” or “murderer” nine times, and I never did. sending soldiers to a war knowing some will not come back is not murder. That is your word, and while I love your blog and respect all of your opinions, I do not like my comments to be mis-characterized.

I feel that I have explained my views and you yours.

January 11, 2008 @ 12:58 pm | Comment

For those of us who always believed that the war was wrong, as Bill Clinton recently claimed he did, then supporting a policy that cost lives is morally reprehensible. If you are of the opinion that Senator Clinton believed that we needed to go to war then her judgment is poor but he moral standing is not in question.

Trouble is, Josh, 75% of Americans polled thought the invasion was the right thing to do, and those in Congress who did not vote in favor of H.J. Res. 114 represented districts with strong anti-war sentiments. Of course, politicians do not always vote in the interests of their constituents, but that is what they are supposed to do as our representatives. However, on a matter as serious as war, I would expect members of Congress to act as human beings first, vote their consciences, and accept the consequences in the next election.

January 12, 2008 @ 7:53 am | Comment

Obama is an inspiring orator and political visionary, but let’s not forget what mess the American electorate got itself into the last two times they chose vision over experience at the other end of the political spectrum: GWB. For this reason alone, I am hedging my bets with Hillary.

January 13, 2008 @ 5:06 am | Comment

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