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March 01, 2008

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centralcal

Some real humor from Michelle Malkin via Hotline On Call regarding the 3:00 am wakeup call:

"Responding to the release of HRC’s new TX TV ad, which asserts in no subtle terms that only she has the experience to deal with a major world crisis, and, relatedly, to keep your children safe, Slate’s John Dickerson asked the obvious question:

“What foreign policy moment would you point to in Hillary’s career where she’s been tested by crisis?” he said.

Silence on the call. You could’ve knit a sweater in the time it took the usually verbose team of Mark Penn, Howard Wolfson and Lee Feinstein, Clinton’s national security director, to find a cogent answer. And what they came up with was weak — that she’s been endorsed by many high ranking members of the uniformed military."

Gawd, I love Liberals!

centralcal

Mea culpa, Tom! I shoulda followed your link before commenting!

Hanging head in shame.

clarice

Good for Dickerson.
What does it say about this overpaid group of advisers that they cannot even have imagined this question let alone formulated a response. One gathers the strategy session was--it's getting late in the game, time to roll out a red phone ad.

Paul Zrimsek

The ad has inspired at least one Obama supporter to a fit of hysterical lunacy.

MayBee

Obama's response we have only heard about ten thousand times - if the phone rings at 3 AM we can be sure that he won't invade Iraq in 2003.

HA!

Syl

Actually I think putting out this ad was a good move on Clinton's part. It's obvious she can't attack Obama from the Left because there is no room there.

And she can't attack from the Right because this is a Dem primary. But wait...

The back and forth between McCain and Obama on al Qaeda in Iraq gave her a tiny window to attack Obama from the right, when obama was looking a little weak, and she pounced.

If we can step a little back from the Hillary Hate for a minute, we might see the opportunity this is to really hurt Obama.

PeterUK

There is already a world crisis. What are these posturing poltroons going to do about it?

clarice

Obama's response we have only heard about ten thousand times - if the phone rings at 3 AM we can be sure that he won't invade Iraq in 2003.

HA!

Double and triple HA

Syl

There is already a world crisis

No kidding. there was a sunspot that lasted less than two days and has completely disappeared. But I don't think anyone checked if it's a reverse polarity one that would put it as cycle 24 rather than cycle 23.

The sun is quiet today

Rick Ballard

"The sun is quiet today"

Damn, that Rove really is powerful.

A test for all:

Are you nine times a nitwit? (The five pieces are actually quite short.)

MikeS

This series of ads is crying out for a third episode.

When Barack finally picks up the red phone, we can hear McCain's voice as he says, "Al Qaeda is building a base in Iraq."

Foo Bar

That puts him right in line with 90% of the Congressional Black Caucus, so we needn't spend time wondering he was a heroic iconoclast or simply took the safe and conventional course of an urban liberal back in 2002

TM, Obama was already running for the Senate at the time of his Iraq speech. Did he take the safe and conventional course of someone running for Senate in a state that is 80% white, with (at the time) a Republican governor, one Republican Senator, and about half of the House reps from the GOP?

How about refining your comparison set to include only those urban black pols who had plausible aspirations for statewide office? A much smaller set, to be sure. I've got one data point for you: Harold Ford Jr. voted for the war.

boris

FuBird appears to be defending B Hussein Osama Obama from a charge of insincerity for his stand on Barack er Iraq.

Actually the only suggestion is that the Osama Obama position more likely reflects consistency within his demographic than some hyper keen foreign policy wisdom.

windansea

regarding the CW that Hillary would be easier for McCain to beat:

The newly-released February Pew poll has head-to-head match-up questions that also appear to match up well with the above analyses — and are roughly similar in their internals to the Fox and L.A. Times polls previously discussed here. In these three polls, there is a consistent pattern of McCain doing better with Democrats against Obama than he would against Clinton. The new Pew poll sheds some light here:

One-in-five white Democrats (20%) say that they will vote for McCain over Obama, double the percentage who say they would switch sides in a Clinton-McCain matchup (10%). Roughly the same number of Democrats age 65 and older say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the party’s choice (22%). Obama also suffers more defections among lower income and less educated Democratic voters than does Clinton.

In addition, female Democrats look at the race differently depending on the matchup. While 93% of women in the party say they would vote for Clinton over McCain, just 79% say they would support Obama over McCain.

A quarter of Democrats (25%) who back Clinton for the nomination say they would favor McCain in a general election test against Obama.

http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=11267

hit and run

Foo Bar:
I've got one data point for you: Harold Ford Jr. voted for the war.

Ford voted for the war and lost his Senate election. Obama was anti-war and won his election.

So you're saying it was safer for a black politician aspiring to be Senator to be anti-war?

Syl

A test for all:

Thanks for the link, Rick. Good slap-yourself-in-the-forehead stuff there!!

Terrence Berres

"Reagan was not awakened when the US splashed a couple of vexatious Libyan jets, but his reputation for toughness held up OK."

"But"?

Cecil Turner

Did he take the safe and conventional course of someone running for Senate in a state that is 80% white . . .

This remains a nonsensical argument. You appear to be saying that his internal polling should've driven his position to support the war, which is neither plausible nor persuasive. In the first place, he was at the time running for the Democrat nomination for the Senate. And if you'd bothered finding the complete article you cited, you'd note that it specifically noted his efforts to consolidate his base and enhance name recognition amongst black voters:

Obama appears to be consolidating his base in the African-American community. Despite being known to just 54 percent of black voters statewide, he holds a 32 percent to 3 percent lead over Washington.
The idea that an anti-war position impairs his political chances is hard to swallow (even if you ignore the history of anti-war protesters parleying their notoriety into political capital, and the demographics of that particular senate seat).

Regardless, that doesn't answer the mail. TM's claim is not that Obama's political self-interest should've made him oppose the war. It's that he's perfectly in line with the rest of the urban black liberals. And he self-evidently was. Whether that's because his deep-seated view of the US military's disproportionate threat to black soldiers, or that US policy was based on oppression of persons of color, or whatever, is irrelevant. A betting man in 2002 could've predicted Obama's war position . . . and that would've emphatically not have been based on his superior military judgment or strategic acumen.

Foo Bar

H&R:

1) You have to distinguish between what looked like the politically safe vote as of fall '02, with 9/11 fresh in the everyone's minds and Bush riding high in the polls, and what turned out to be (justifiably) politically rewarding years later, after virtually no WMDs, escalating violence, etc (particularly by '06, when Ford ran).

2) Obama had quite a string of luck in that Senate race, with Blair Hull in the primary and Jack Ryan in the general both going down in flames after unsavory domestic revelations.

3) In any case, Ford ran very competitively in that race.

4) In any case, I'm not saying it was the obvious political call to support the war (as MayBee has pointed out, Durbin voted against). I'm saying it was not clear one way or the other, which is why Obama deserves credit for his judgment (under the stipulation that it was correct to oppose, which I acknowledge most here would not agree with).


Foo Bar

TM's claim is not that Obama's political self-interest should've made him oppose the war

OK, then what did he mean by "safe" when he wrote simply took the safe and conventional course ?

Syl

Obama actually 'splains his vote...

Someone at TalkLeft found this:

From a New Yorker article in October 2006:

[Question:] Where do you find yourself having the biggest differences with Hillary Clinton,
politically?

[Obama:] You know, I think very highly of Hillary. The more I get to know her, the more I admire her. I think she’s the most disciplined—one of the most disciplined people—I’ve ever met. She’s one of the toughest. She’s got an extraordinary intelligence. And she is, she’s somebody who’s in this stuff for the right reasons. She’s passionate about moving the country forward on issues like health care and children. So it’s not clear to me what differences we’ve had since I’ve been in the Senate. I think what people might point to is our different assessments of the war in Iraq, although I’m always careful to say that I was
not in the Senate, so perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn’t have the benefit of U.S. intelligence. And, for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices. So that might be something that sort of is obvious. But, again, we were in different circumstances at that time: I was running for the U.S. Senate, she had to take a vote, and casting votes is always a difficult test.

Syl

This alligns with my notion that Obama didn't show either good or bad judgment, he simply lucked out.

hit and run

Foo Bar -- it was more opportunistic snark than an argument. Actually, I kinda like Ford. I lived in TN until 2005. I didn't vote for him, but I could have and still respected myself in the morning.

boris

safe and conventional course

Within his demographic. Nobody is buying the argument that it would have been "safer" to pander outside his demographic.

hit and run

oops, bad dates above alert.

Cecil Turner

OK, then what did he mean by "safe" when he wrote simply took the safe and conventional course ?

Dunno. Could be any of:

  1. Didn't have to engage brain and actually consider the matter (just go with his prejudices);
  2. His close friends and supporters would applaud;
  3. Wouldn't have to explain it in cocktail parties;
  4. Wouldn't harm his standing with political allies;
  5. Wouldn't harm his chances in the upcoming.
IMHO, all are true. You appear to have some qualms on number five, but there even your argument is unpersuasive. Pandering to the black vote would almost certainly gain him some votes. The measure of merit to claim it was "courageous" would be some indication that an anti-war vote would lose him more than it'd gain. And I see very little evidence of that (especially considering that an early vote amongst the party faithful is more important than a late one . . . since if he fails to secure the nomination, the rest is irrelevant).

Foo Bar

(1) through (3) are silly enough that they dismiss themselves on their own. (4) or (5) refute what you said when you wrote

TM's claim is not that Obama's political self-interest should've made him oppose the war

Cecil Turner

(1) through (3) are silly enough that they dismiss themselves . . .

Persuasive. (You gettin' tired?) Because "safe" was the most important word in that statement, and thus must carry all the meaning? Nonsense.

(4) or (5) refute what you said when you wrote

Yet another faulty converse argument. A vote against AUMF was safe, not least because it could easily have been spun as a vote against giving the President the authority to go to war on his own. Many folks made that argument at the time, and Obama made the point himself later:

If it had come to me in an up-or-down vote, as it came, I think I would've agreed with our senior senator, Dick Durbin, and voted it down. And the reason is, not that I don't think we should have aggressive inspections, what I would've been concerned about was, a, um, carte blanche to the Administration, um for, a doctrine of preemptive strikes, that I'm not sure sets a good precedent. [hand transcription, emphasis added]
That doesn't mean a vote gainst AUMF was unsafe (merely uninspired, IMHO), or that political calculation would make that the only logical choice (as you appear to want us to believe). Even if Obama had had to cast that vote himself, rather than merely opine about it. Neither position was going to hurt him, but "anti" allowed him to garner a little limelight and pander to his base. The "safe" aspect of the vote was not the determinative factor.

Cecil Turner

Oops. "That doesn't mean a vote gainst AUMF was unsafe (merely uninspired, IMHO) . . . "

Should be "That doesn't mean a vote for AUMF was unsafe (merely uninspired, IMHO) . . ."

MayBee

If Obama opposed the war in 2002 and it turned out to be a rousing success by Spring 2003, all he had to do for 2004 was praise the beautiful success and jump on the bandwagon.

Look at the 45 Senate Dems that voted against the 1991 Gulf War resolution. I don't remember any big speeches afterward saying how wrong the war had been. They just picked up their flags and started waving along.

Foo Bar

(You gettin' tired?)

No, just selective enough (sometimes) not to spend time refuting points whose weakness should be obvious. Look, TM is clearly contrasting "safe and conventional" with "heroic and iconoclastic", which refers to the overall climate of the times and the implications for his political career, not e.g. what it was going to be like for him at cocktail parties or how hard he'd have to think.


Yet another faulty converse argument. A vote against AUMF was safe

I didn't say (4) and (5) refute the idea that opposing the AUMF was safe. (4) and (5) refute your earlier claim regarding what is what that TM meant, i.e. your claim that TM was not saying that Obama's political self-interest should have led to war opposition. Interpretations (4) and (5) clearly mean that TM was saying that.

that political calculation would make that the only logical choice (as you appear to want us to believe)

No, I don't mean to be going that far. As I said in an earlier comment, it wasn't obvious one way or the other. I only object to the idea that early and vocal opposition to the war was completely predictable.

GMax

Wow Foo you are flogging a really dead horse here. It was heroic to be a Democrat from a very blue state to be against the War? Especially when you did not think it was likely the War would even be around by the time the Party was ready to nominate you?

If you believe that, you need to try it on the folks over at the DUmp or maybe HuffPo. If they salute it, come back and report that you have found one other believer.

/sarcasm

Cecil Turner

Look, TM is clearly contrasting "safe and conventional" with "heroic and iconoclastic" . . .

But you're insisting "heroic" only refers to his political fortunes, which is not on. Personally, I'd be a lot more impressed if he'd taken a position that his wife and minister had disagreed with. At least that would've shown some personal fortitude. The idea that he was going to be ostracized or disadvantaged by arguing against the AUMF is simply hard to buy . . . anyone he was talking to was likely to agree with him on the point.

Interpretations (4) and (5) clearly mean that TM was saying that.

No, they don't. If only one course were safe (politically), it might. If both are safe, neither really factors into political self-interest. I maintain both positions are safe, and hence neither provides a significant political impetus on that basis. Dunno what TM meant, but your attempt to manufacture a contradiction here is faulty logic.

I only object to the idea that early and vocal opposition to the war was completely predictable.

"Completely" predictable? If one were unaware of BHO's position, and was asked to determine what it was based on the votes of the Congressional Black Caucus and the senior Senator from Illinois, the predictive value would seem to be quite adequate. Seems to me the claim that he showed remarkable courage (of any sort) is debunked . . . or at best unproven.

Foo Bar

Look at the 45 Senate Dems that voted against the 1991 Gulf War resolution. I don't remember any big speeches afterward saying how wrong the war had been

Do you remember Lauch Faircloth defeating Democrat Terry Sanford in '92 partly on the basis of his vote against the '91 invasion? Faircloth's cochair planned to make his vote "the issue", according to the link.

Foo Bar

they don't. If only one course were safe (politically), it might. If both are safe, neither really factors into political self-interest.

Yes, I suppose a close reading of TM's sentence under the assumption that he is contrasting the safe and conventional choice of opposing the war with the safe yet unconventional choice of supporting it, he is not necessarily implying political expedience.

I may have made the "mistake" of remembering other times TM has discussed this topic, e.g. here in which he asks "Did he show good judgment about the war, or about his own political base?"

boris

he is not necessarily implying political expedience

Well duh.

Fubird finally gets what I tried to tell him in my first post after his embarrassing faux pas:

FuBird appears to be defending B Hussein Osama Obama from a charge of insincerity for his stand on Barack er Iraq.

Cecil Turner

Yes, I suppose a close reading of TM's sentence under the assumption that he is contrasting the safe and conventional choice of opposing the war with the safe yet unconventional choice of supporting it, he is not necessarily implying political expedience.

Bzzzt. You claimed my options 4 and 5 refuted my statement (on TM's intent). No need for assumptions or mindreading TM here. The argument is faulty, and no such refutation exists.

Moreover, speaking only for myself, there is no need to demonstrate political advantage to Obama to refute the point that his position is heroic. One merely needs to show no significant risk attaches to Obama's position. If Obama faces no significant risk, his position can't be "courageous," "heroic" or similar. I maintain that is correct, and any attempt to portray it otherwise is revisionist.

kim

I like 'casting votes is always a difficult test'. Let's hope he's not actually required to make executive decisions if he thinks voting is a difficult test. I know, maybe he'll just defer to Michelle.
=========================

boris

FuBird's apparent logic was "absense of heroic implies craven".

kim

It seems clear that the rightness or wrongness of a vote is secondary to the political implications of it. In profiling his courage, I see a solid backbone of jaundice.
==================

Syl

I know, maybe he'll just defer to Michelle.

Won't that be lucky for us all. Yikes. I saw her interviewed (before the season's heat got going) and she said she knows nothing about economics but she knows what 'feels right'.

::shudder::

MayBee

Foo Bar, from http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110002460>WSJ:

[regarding 1991 vote] But only 10 Democrats voted in favor. By our count, 63 current members of the Senate voted on the Gulf War resolution either in the Senate or the House. Here's how they break down in terms of their votes in 1991 and 2002:

* 34 voted "yes" both times, including five Democrats and 29 Republicans. (Two of the Republicans, Alabama's Richard Shelby and Colorado's Ben Nighthorse Campbell, were Democrats in 1991).

* 15 Democrats voted "no" both times.

* Only two senators who voted for the Gulf War cast "no" votes this morning: Jeffords and Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who chairs the Intelligence Committee. (Graham's objection appears to have been that the resolution didn't go far enough; the Orlando Sentinel notes that he "had tried unsuccessfully to broaden the resolution to allow Bush to attack terrorist groups such as Hezbollah.")

* 12 of today's senators--11 Democrats and one Republican (Grassley) voted "no" in 1991 and "yes" in 2002.

So, it was not a kiss of death in 1991 by any means. Although it was sucessful and quick, the man it ultimately hurt was Pres GHW Bush.

kim

Syl, sic semper tyrannis. I'm beginning to think that by getting rid of Hillary we are jumping out of the frying pan, and into the fire.
======================

bgates

I only object to the idea that early and vocal opposition to the war was completely predictable.
(i) Sometime in the next 30 years, an American military action will be taken under the direction of a Republican Commander-in-Chief.
(ii) Disapproval of any such action among the Congressional Black Caucus (and, during an election year, those vying to join that august body) will run in excess of 80%.

I'm also going to predict that this year's World Series will be won by a member of Major League Baseball.

PeterUK

"I like 'casting votes is always a difficult test'"

"What would you like for your last meal before you vote? Remember men some of us won't be coming back".

clarice

PUK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

kim

Oh, the agony.
=========

windansea

I know, maybe he'll just defer to Michelle.

“We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” Faced with that reality, she adds, “many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.”

windansea

the above from Byron York

hit and run

Syl's New Yorker quote from Obama:

perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn’t have the benefit of U.S. intelligence. And, for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices.

Wow....good catch.

And compare to Obama's words on Hillary's 2002 vote today...

"Real change isn't voting for George Bush's war in Iraq and then telling the American people it was actually a vote for more diplomacy when you start running for president," Obama said. "The title of the bill was `A Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.'

Ooops, I meant "contrast".

Oh, and in that same article, Obama says...

"Real change isn't about changing your position to fit the politics of the moment. And that's the choice in this election,"

Talk about the pot calling the kettle....er....sorry, can't use that one with Obama. We'll call it projection.

clarice

Yes, syl's was a great catch--this, too, is sitting in the AT blog line.

clarice

SNL is fab--a great cartoon on about Obama shipping off Sharpton and JJ to dumps around the world to get them away for the suration of the campaign.LOL

Tom Maguire

From Foo Bar;

TM, Obama was already running for the Senate at the time of his Iraq speech. Did he take the safe and conventional course of someone running for Senate in a state that is 80% white, with (at the time) a Republican governor, one Republican Senator, and about half of the House reps from the GOP?

Pretty god one. However! Carol Moseley Braun, the former Senator who lost to Fitzgerald in 1998, was considering a run in 2004 and was the front runner in a very crowded Dem field until she dropped out in January 2003. She was also, dare I add, "an outspoken war critic".

SO in a crowded field led by an anti-war black woman,he may have figured he needed to stay with her on that issue. In fact, I notice that in Obama's 2000 primary run against Bobby Rush, the Sun Times didn't note any policy differences between Rush and his opponents, sort of like with Hillary.

My guess - Obama's preferred tactic is to minimize policy differences and win on his pleasing personality. So far, so good!

But no, I am not at all sold that his anti-war position was not conventional calculation for his situation.

kim

Yeah, just exactly what did he mean by having 'the benefit of US intelligence'?
===============================

Foo Bar

SO in a crowded field led by an anti-war black woman,he may have figured he needed to stay with her on that issue

Obama was not going to go through with his run if Moseley-Braun ran:


Meanwhile, Obama and other Democrats are nervously watching Moseley-Braun, who continues to be coy about her intentions. If she does enter the primary, Obama has indicated that he will not run

kim

Didn't want to change the Mosely-Braun schtick, huh?
=========================

Foo Bar

Just so we're clear on what TM's "minimize policy differences and win on personality" theory would imply for Obama strategically given that he was not going to go through with his run with Moseley-Braun in the race, consider that none of the other Democratic Senate candidates had taken a strong stand on the war prior to the invasion. As of March '03, Obama was exhorting his opponents to take a stand on the war.

So with nobody other than Moseley-Braun taking a stand in fall '02 and Obama only running if she doesn't, his move under the "minimize differences" strategy would have been to lay low on the issue like the other Dem candidates. That's not what he did.

boris

That's not what he did.

So he may have expressed a sincere conventional opinion within his circle. One he admits was based on less intelligence information than most other Dem candidates.

BFD.

The context I infer from your insistence on this point is based on the notion that nasty dominant Republicans, using the politics of fear, were enfocing conformity with their warmongering agenda. Only brave Obama was standing up against the stampede of the spooked herd.

Poppycock.

Syl

Poppycock, indeed.

Obama wasn't in tune with Americans. Two days after Sep 11th, there was a poll in the WaPo which showed more than 70% of Americans thought Saddam had something to do with 9/11.

And that's because of years pounding the notion of Saddam as a bad guy (which he was) into the brains of Americans.

But Obama, knowing full well he wasn't privy to any of the intelligence, ignored all that and was against the war anyway.

If those stockpiles had been found, he'd be singing a different story. Nevermind that Obama dismissed all those other important reasons to take down Saddam that were there in the AUMF as well.

MayBee

Is Obama anywhere on record supporting the post-9/11 attack on Afghanistan before we went?

Syl

Good question, MayBee.

zeppotronic

So, was I the only one watching that Hillary! ad with the phone ringing at 3 AM (and ringing, and ringing) thinking, "somebody answer the damn phone already!" ??

Tom Maguire

So with nobody other than Moseley-Braun taking a stand in fall '02 and Obama only running if she doesn't, his move under the "minimize differences" strategy would have been to lay low on the issue like the other Dem candidates. That's not what he did.

As Boris noted, there is no reason to doubt Obama's sincerity; I just don't think he deserves any great props for coming to the same conclusion most utterly conventional libs (e.g., Pelosi and Susan Sarandon, or plenty of folks I meet at dinner parties) came to.

As to then exhorting his opponents to speak up, well of course - why give them a free pass to await developments?

Foo Bar

As Boris noted, there is no reason to doubt Obama's sincerity

Hmmm... someone voting for entirely sincere reasons doesn't worry about showing good judgment about his political base, doesn't try to take the "safe" course, doesn't try "to minimize policy differences and win on his pleasing personality", doesn't try to figure out what he needs to do based on the field of opponents, and doesn't formulate his anti-war stance based on "calculation for his situation" (as opposed to what's good for the country). So I am not sure that was your original position.

"I'm not questioning Obama's sincerity" would have been an equally good response to my original point about his plans to run for Senate, but instead I received the apparent Moseley-Braun beatdown.

Advice: it's prudent to look over one's shoulder while backpedaling so as not to trip over abandoned arguments ;).

Anyway, I'm enjoying the blog very much as usual.

Cheers.

kim

So, just exactly what did he mean by 'having the benefit of US intelligence'?
====================

boris

doesn't try "to minimize policy differences and win on his pleasing personality"

BS Fu. Arguendo the reason for doing so is not to win over the opponent but to woo the opponent's voters. The Carol Moleley-Braun voters are clearly willing to vote for a black anti-war candidate. Having the same policy works for those voters whether CMB stays in the race or not. Your "counter example" is no such thing, it just fits the same pattern a little differently.

So much for your prideful chink in the armor, fly in the ointment, turd in the punch bowl. Just another example of FUBAR logic not thinking it all the way through.

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