Jerome Corsi’s new Obama book–save your fifteen bucks

The blogosphere is all atwitter about the latest Obama book just released yesterday, Jerome Corsi’s Obama Nation.  Supposedly, snarky Obamabot bookstore employees are intentionally keeping the thing hidden away, while wildfire rumors had it as number one on the New York Times bestseller list before it was even released.  Spare me the drama.  A quick glance at the NYT shows it’s not even in the top 20 non-fiction hardcovers, although it’s currently in Amazon’s number 5 position, in a list that’s updated hourly.

No, I’m not going to read it, and here’s why.  First of all the title should tell you everything you need to know about the author’s viewpoint.  Obama Nation=”Abomination”.  Hardly original and not funny.  No one is perfect, especially politicians,  but no one deserves to be demonized either, and this is clearly meant to be a demonizing book.

A little quick googling shows me Corsi was also the author of the Swift Boat attack book against John Kerry back in 2004–or rather co-author. The accuracy of that book was disputed, and this one seems to be full of factual errors, particularly about Obama’s positions, as well.  Not that Obama people don’t do the same thing–last weekend I was approached by an Obama supporter registering voters who used the “McCain wants 100 years of war” talking point.  I have read McCain’s exact words and that’s not what he said at all–he was talking about military bases.

A little more digging yields the following Corsi quotations:

  • Corsi on Islam: “a worthless, dangerous Satanic religion”
  • Corsi on Catholicism: “Boy buggering in both Islam and Catholicism is okay with the Pope as long as it isn’t reported by the liberal press”
  • Corsi on Muslims: “RAGHEADS are Boy-Bumpers as clearly as they are Women-Haters — it all goes together”
  • Corsi on “John F*ing Commie Kerry”: “After he married TerRAHsa, didn’t John Kerry begin practicing Judiasm? He also has paternal grandparents that were Jewish. What religion is John Kerry?”
  • Corsi on Senator “FAT HOG” Clinton: “Anybody ask why HELLary couldn’t keep BJ Bill satisfied? Not lesbo or anything, is she?”

If that isn’t hate speech, I don’t know what is.

To top it off, Corsi is a leading fearmonger of the North American Union conspiracy theory as well as the Amero conspiracy theory.  That’s just too tin foil hat for me.

For anyone who prefers something a little more factual, I recommend the Chicago Trib’s biography of Obama.  It doesn’t sugarcoat anything, and it’s free. Or read Obama’s own books.  I would check them out of the library though, instead of giving the money to Obama.

As a disclosure, I have to say Obama is my senator, quite a good one, and I have voted for him more than once. That doesn’t mean there aren’t serious concerns about him now.  For instance, (1) voting for the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 and voting to cut off debate on the bill, when he promised very publicly to vote against it and support Senator Dodd’s filibuster, (2) changing his position on reproductive rights and women’s health, (3) changing his position on off-shore oil drilling, and (4) statements that Jerusalem should be the undivided capitol of Israel.  If anyone is running for “Bush’s third term”, it isn’t McCain.  It’s Obama.

But Obama’s most serious problem is still his acquiescence in some of the worst misogyny ever seen in American politics.  And he hasn’t learned, either.  Listen to him speak.  In Berlin, or in the more recent speeches, whenever he starts his familiar refrain about ending divisiveness between this group and that group and the other group, one group is always glaringly left out.  Yes, gender.  Obama never talks about healing the nation’s divisions by gender.   I wonder why that is.

Obama: remaking the world is not for Woman

Would Barack Obama prefer to return to the days of yesteryear before women could vote?  Looks like it.

Obama signed the guest book at Yad Vashem, writing, “At a time of great peril and promise, war and strife, we are blessed to have such a powerful reminder of man‘s potential for great evil, but also our capacity to rise from tragedy and remake our world.”

Looks to me like women just got excluded from the Obama vision of human action in the world, both good and bad.

In the 18th century, when Thomas Jefferson wrote the words “all men are created equal” and “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” women could not vote and could not give consent.  Jefferson did not mean the word “men” to mean “men and women” or “humans”.  He meant “men”.

Gender-neutral language has been around for the last 40 years.  It is the norm these days for newspapers, law journals, psychology journals, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and countless English grammar texts, including the one I studied from as an undergraduate in 1991.  Surely Obama has some basic understanding of the idea.

Use of language that is not gender neutral is associated with promoting sexism in economic issues, like equal pay for equal work. No one disputes the role that sexist language plays in manufacturing consent to gender inequality, in maintaining and strengthening sexist values.

Obama already has enough problems with women defecting from his political party. Why would he appear to ignore the role that such women as Golda Mier, Madeline Albright, Condoleeza Rice, just to name a few well-known ones, have played in the evolving picture that is the Middle East. Why is Obama so ultra cautious not to offend Jewish voters by spending days with his careful reclarificaton of his stand on Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel but so careless with trivializing more than half of American voters?

Posted in Gender, Obama. Comments Off

Obama weasels on Palestine

Why can’t Palestine have statehood right now?

From time to time I ponder this question, usually after one of King Abdullah’s visionary speeches where he says we can solve the Palestinian question now, this year. I have never heard an answer.

This time I thought I heard on NPR that Obama had made a speech in Amman where he said Palestine couldn’t have nationhood because neither Israel nor Palestine was strong enough.  Strong enough to do what?  Push each other into the sea? That sounds like an excuse, and a poor one at that.

But paraphrasing never works for me–I need the exact words.   And a lot of people in the Middle East will be parsing Obama’s words in the next few days as he moves on to Israel.

From the Washington Post:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008; 11:36 AM:

Now, before I take some questions, I want to make a comment about the events today in Jerusalem. Today’s bulldozer attack is a reminder of what Israelis have courageously lived with on a daily basis for far too long. I strongly condemn this attack and will always support Israel in confronting terrorism and pursuing lasting peace and security.

Right now, my thoughts and prayers go out to all who were injured and to their families….


OBAMA: Well, first of all, I just want to say that the reason that I haven’t focused on the Israeli-Palestinian issue is because I’m spending tomorrow visiting Israel and the West Bank. And so I was going to save some of these comments until I actually had these conversations tomorrow. It wasn’t that we were avoiding the issue. We just came back from Afghanistan and Iraq.

It is my firm belief that it is in the interest of both the Israeli people and the Palestinians to arrive at a peaceful settlement.

It is a very difficult process. There is a lot of history that exists between those two people. That history is not going to vanish overnight. People’s memories are long. There’s been bloodshed and disputes that date back generations.

And so I think it’s unrealistic to expect that a U.S. president alone can suddenly snap his fingers and bring about peace in this region.

OBAMA: What a U.S. president can do is apply sustained energy and focus on the issues of the Israelis and the Palestinians. And I do believe that an ultimate resolution is going to involve two states standing side by side in peace and security, and that the Israelis and the Palestinians are going to both have to make compromises in order to arrive at that two-state solution.

Now, one of the difficulties that we have right now is that in order to make those compromises you have to have strong support from your people, and the Israeli government right now is unsettled. You know, the Palestinians are divided between Fatah and Hamas.

And so it’s difficult for either side to make the bold move that would bring about peace the way, for example, the peace between Israel and Egypt was brought about. Those leaders were in a much stronger position to initiate that kind of peace.

So one of the things I think the United States is going to have to do is to help build capacity, make sure that Israel feels secure. And obviously the tragedy that happened with the bulldozer does not help with their security. That breeds a sense of insecurity.

And that’s why terrorism is so counterproductive, as well as being immoral, because it makes, I believe, the Israelis want to dig in and simply think about their own security regardless of what’s going on beyond their borders. I think the same would be true of any people when these kinds of things happen and innocent people are injured.

On the other hand, I think that the Palestinians have to feel some sense of progress in terms of their economic situation, you know, whether it’s on the West Bank or Gaza, if people continually feel pressed, where they can’t get to their job or they can’t make a living, they get frustrated.

OBAMA: And it’s hard for them if they see no glimmer of hope to then want to take a leap in order to make impressions.

And so, I think what the United States can do is — is to help to create more — a greater sense of security among the Israelis, a greater sense that economic progress and increased freedom of movement is something that can be accomplished in the Palestinian territories.

And with those confidence building measures, that we get discussions back on track.


OBAMA: I’m sorry. I need you to speak up. You were speaking up very loudly when you wanted me to call on you. QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

OBAMA: Well, let me — let me be absolutely clear. Israel is a strong friend of Israel’s. It will be a strong friend of Israel’s under a McCain government — administration. It will be a strong friend of Israel’s under an Obama administration. So that policy is not going to change.

OBAMA: What I think can change is the ability of the United States government and a United States president to be actively engaged with the peace process and to be concerned and recognize the legitimate difficulties that the Palestinian people are experiencing right now.

And recognize that it is not only in the interest of the Palestinian people that their situation improves, I believe it’s also in the interest of the Israeli people, because it is going to be very difficult for Israel ever to feel secure if you don’t have some sense of opportunity and prosperity and stability with its — its neighbors.

And so, you know, my goal is to make sure that we work, starting from the minute I’m sworn into office, to try to find some breakthroughs.

Now, the other thing I have to make a point though is is that everybody’s going to have responsibilities and obligations in this process. And sometimes I think there’s a tendency for each side to focus on the faults of the other instead of looking in the mirror and saying, what can be done to improve the situation?

So, for example, I think with respect to the Palestinians, obviously it is very important to resolve the internal differences between the Palestinians. It’s going to be very difficult for the Israelis to resolve a significant peace agreement if they don’t know who they should be dealing with and who can actually enforce an agreement. But I just use that as one example.


What a cop-out.

This is the same politician who stood in in front of a crowd in the Chicago Hyatt on Super Tuesday, having won considerable victories in the primaries,  and said,

“Maybe this year we don’t have to settle for politics where scoring points is more important than solving problems.

Maybe this year we can finally start doing something about health care we can’t afford.

Maybe this year we can start doing something about mortgages we can’t pay.

Maybe this time, this year can be different.”

That night, the crowd screamed “Yes, we can.”

So now what does Obama propose for the Middle East?

Maybe this time we’ll be willing to work for Palestinian statehood?

Maybe this time America won’t demand that Israelis and Palestinians skip hand in hand singing Kum Ba Yah before they’re willing to lift a finger to support any actual movement toward that two state solution?

Maybe this time, this year, Palestine will declare its independence?

Maybe this time America will be first in line to give official recognition to the new nation of Palestine?

Nope.  If Obama was president he would be having a goal to be making sure to be working to be starting to be trying to be finding …..Uff da!  So many verbs, you forget was he started out to do.  Funny that a savvy politician who also happens to be a lawyer would talk that way.

So let’s take Obama’s arguments against Palestinian statehood and see where they lead.

1.”Palestine can’t be a state because Israel had some Palestinian guy run amuck in a bulldozer today.”

Ridiculous.  Did America wait until all its tea was safe before declaring independence?  Did we wait til all the redcoats were out?  No way.  It was Nike thing.  We just did it. We still have people run amuck in Amercia every day, from 9-11 to the shoe bomber to random crazy people exhibiting road rage during rush hour.  That doesn’t mean America can’t be a nation.  In fact, it is BECAUSE America is a nation that it is more capable of dealing with acts of violence.

2. Palestinians can’t get to their job or make a living.

Well, if Palestine was a separate nation they would still be crossing borders to go to work, wouldn’t they.  You don’t have to be particularly friendly with a country to declare your own independence.  It would be nice if Palestine and Israel could be just like America and Canada where you just show your driver’s license to cross the border (or is that all changed now?) but the U.S. has not always had friendly borders.  What about Mexico? There was that Pancho Villa guy.  And the Alamo.  And there was the invasion of Veracruz by the marines.  Still that didn’t keep America from being a country. Maybe the incidents even ended sooner because America could act in an official capacity as a government.

And as far as needing economic stability to be a nation, we in America went through an economic depression in the 30′s without losing our nationhood. In fact, it was the federal government that started the WPA, CCC, and all the other alphabet soup agencies to put people to work to rebuild the nation’s parks and cities. Once people were working, the nation started pulling out of it’s economic problems.  That’s exactly what Palestine needs.  A New Deal.  Jobs, a la Tammany Hall or the Kingfisher.  Patronage, with the U.S. quietly holding the purse strings.  Okay, I’m putting a little negative spin on it, but the U.S. needs to be involved in Palestine’s economic recovery.  If we don’t, all the crazies from Iran will be right there with their big fat oil money.  Let them keep Gaza and run it into the ground; America needs to be front and center with Palestinian statehood.

Obama is WRONG.

Obama is saying no, when there is not any reason to say  no.  This is called a “self-fulfilling prophecy”.  He is claiming Palestine can’t be a nation until they do a bunch of stuff that other nations never had to do. Obama is setting Palestine up for failure. No we can’t, says Obama.

Listen to these words instead:

Time is now of the essence. It is vital that the year 2008 does not end as the year 2000 did: With progress cut off, the sphere of agreement collapsing and years of expanding violence to come.

We need to ask ourselves, how much further ahead would we be today, if these last eight years had been years of peace and stability? If, all this time, a sovereign Palestine had been building and thriving? If extremists and external forces had not had this issue to manipulate? If global investors and customers had been able to approach our region with even greater business confidence? If the Middle East were, already, the united economic powerhouse it can and should be – a regional community, speeding growth, ending poverty, creating jobs and securing the future, the future for which our young people are preparing so hard?

Let us not stand here in eight years, or even one year, thinking, ‘if only’. We can begin a different future, right now.

The words are from King Abdullah, of course.

Right now.

Forget capacity building and all those other stalling tactics. That can be done any time.

We need a sovereign Palestine right now.

Why Jesse Jackson is after Obama’s nads

So Jesse Jackson Sr. really said he was after Obama’s nads. While wearing a microphone and getting ready to tape the O’Reilly show on Fox Channel. And surprise, surprise, surprise, the mic was turned on and an old media hand like Jackson didn’t even notice it and didn’t even watch what he was saying in front of one of the country’s most notorious conservative pundits.

Who cares.

Oh and just maybe, maybe, maybe, he said something bad about faith-based initiatives, and about Obama’s father’s day speech telling black men to take care of their children, and maybe hint, hint, hint, he even said the n-word.

That Fox teaser tape is cut up so weirdly who knows what’s really on it or what the context was. And we have one that’s even worse than the one we released, says Fox, tease, tease. But Jesse did apologize, and Obama accepted the apology. And Reverend Jackson’s son, Jesse Jackson Jr., issued a surprisingly strong statement that he was outraged etc. Not surprising. Relations within the Jackson family have been strained since the Rev. Jackson admitted to having an out of wedlock child a few years ago. And how can he be a real father involved in the child’s life when he is already in a marriage relationship? Perhaps Obama’s comments about black fathers taking care of their children struck a nerve.

But we have already seen so many stories of power, politics, money and betrayal.

Who cares.

This is your Bill of Rights on the Senate floor turning into toast

This is your bill of rights:

This is your bill of rights on the Senate floor July 9, 2008:

The bill that was supposed to protect us from terrorists allows the government to search our homes, our cars, our offices and keep searching them without a warrant until,… well, they have 7 days to tell the FISA court they are spying on you, then the FISA court has 30 days to review it and decide if it’s proper, then if it’s not proper the government has another 60 days to spy on you while they appeal it. In the meantime if they find what they’re looking for–and they don’t have to tell anyone what or who they are looking for–then they might stop on their own. Or not.

For those 97 days, no one is watching them to make sure they aren’t just targeting you because you are the wrong political party, or the wrong religion, or have a girlfriend or a boyfriend–or the other way round if you are gay–or maybe you have a blog that talks about tolerance and peace, or maybe they really meant to spy on the guy next door or someone with a similar name, and went into your house by mistake.

While they are watching you, no one is watching them.

That’s not supposed to happen. They should have a warrant.

Here’s the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

What is the big problem with getting a warrant already? Someone explain to me how spying on Americans without a warrant is supposed to protect us.

Posted in Election 2008, Obama. Tags: , , . Comments Off

Obama backpeddles on abortion

What about all those times Obama voted “present” on abortion legislation when he was a state legislator? Although the local NOW chapter has called him to task for the votes, his supporters would have you believe he was in favor of a woman’s right to choose. Always the mantra to former Hillary supporters who talked about breaking away from the democratic party was “McCain will overturn Roe v Wade, but Obama won’t”.

Those who had hoped Obama would be a genuine alternative to either Bush or McCain have already been disappointed several times this week. First there was Obama’s reversal on FISA and retroactive immunity for telecom companies. Then Obama appeared to be running for Bush’s third term when he announced new faith-based initiatives–tax money to support churches’ social programs.

Now Obama is reversing himself on abortion, taking the position of the most conservative justices on the court, Scalia and Thomas, that a woman’s emotional wellbeing cannot be considered in allowing abortions after 22 weeks.

Speaking to reporters on his campaign plane, Obama said mental health exceptions—which are a real battleground issue in the abortion debate–can be “rigorously” limited to only those women with “serious clinical mental health diseases.” He said mental health exceptions are not intended permit abortions when a woman simply “doesn’t feel good.”

“It is not just a matter of feeling blue,” Obama said.

Here’s the problem with that, and why Obama’s remarks are so startling. Obama is trying to restrict abortions after 22 weeks to those women who have a serious disease or illness. But the law today also covers some women who are in “mental distress,” those women who would suffer emotional and psychological harm without an abortion.

This standard has long been understood to require less than “serious clinical mental health disease.” Women today don’t have to show they are suffering from a “serious clinical mental health disease” or “mental illness” before getting an abortion post-viability, as Obama now says is appropriate.

And for 35 years—since Roe v. Wade—they’ve never had to show that.

Posted in Obama, Public Policy. Comments Off

Everybody look what’s goin’ down

It isn’t often I get a song stuck in my head. When I do it’s usually something dumb like the dwarves song from Snow White [Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go...] Today I have been humming dark fragments of something from the sixties as I go about my chores.

[There's battle lines being drawn

Nobody's right if everybody's wrong]

As I dump coffee grounds into plastic container for composting–a little trick I learned from reading liberal blogs–I think about the nice response I got from Senator Dodd’s office today–a nice thank you email with another ‘donate’ button to help him oppose FISA. Has the anti-FISA noise become just another revenue generating machine?

[Paranoia strikes deep

Into your life it will creep]

I take the container to the front door and dump the coffee grounds into the cucumber bed beside the fence. Is someone tapping my phone right now? What about all the phone calls I have gotten from friends in the middle east. Was someone listening? What might they look like? Would they be in a white panel truck?–no, that’s the movies, they would be in a gray office with optical cables running in and out. There would be some kid with pimples munching a donut and scratching as he listened to some guy in a faraway land telling me he wasn’t married yet and was I married yet?

[There's something happening here

what it is ain't exactly clear]

Am I doing something worth wiretapping or is my life on the wrong track? I am reminded of a pastor who was able to get a copy of the FBI record on him from back in the 60′s and was terribly disappointed to find they only had two pages. Is this blog worth surveilling?

[It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound

everybody look what's going down]

This week Barack Obama had time to make a comment about a singer who substituted the lyrics of the “black national anthem” for the star spangled banner at the opening of a mayor’s state of the city address. But he didn’t have time to explain his changed vote on FISA, leaving three of his staff members to give on online explanation to the blogosphere instead.

When Obama’s surrogates unleashed a vicious misogynist attack machine against Hillary Clinton, Obama didn’t take any time to explain that he really thought women were important, and he wasn’t really sexist and he wanted their votes. But this week, in the wake of controversial remarks by Wesley Clark about McCains’ military service, he had plenty of time to reassure veterans: “No one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides,” Mr. Obama said. “We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform. Period. Full-stop.” Too bad Obama didn’t think it was important to make a comment like that about demeaning comments against women after one of his surrogates played rapper Jay-Z’s “99 problems” at a campaign event. Or make a statement saying the safety of all women was important after making that “typical white woman” comment where he dismissed his grandmother’s right not to be physically threatened at a bus stop because of the color of her skin.

[It starts when you're always afraid

You step out of line, the man come and take you away]

I think of the woman in front of me at an Obama rally who screamed “Yes we can” during his speech.

Obama’s official constituent email statement about FISA says, “While I recognize that this compromise is imperfect, I will support this legislation…

Yes we can…compromise our freedoms. Yes we can…accept laws that are imperfect–and disastrous. Yes we can…enact the Bush agenda.

Oh, the song….it’s Buffalo Springfield’s “For what it’s worth” written by Stephen Stills.

[What a field day for the heat

a thousand people in the street

Singing songs and carrying signs

Mostly say, hurray for our side]

[Stop, children, what's that sound, everybody look what's goin down]

Barack Obama sends me a feedback form

A while back I signed up to receive emails from most of the candidates. Most have stopped sending me emails by now, as their campaigns closed down. This week however, I got an email from Barack Obama. So what did he say? The nomination is in his pocket? He has done the math and it all adds up?

No. He says, “This is a pivotal moment in the election..” And he says “We have three more contests to go, and we’re going to fight for every delegate….” And he sends me a donate button with a link to his donation machine–but all the candidates do that. Then he sent me a feedback form and and asked me to take a survey.

A while back the Clinton campaign sent me a survey. Very simple it was. Name, zip code, write what you want. And a link to their privacy policy so you know what they do with the information.

The Obama survey is three pages. First page: name, address, email, date of birth, occupation, gender, …if you don’t think that’s nosy, looks what else they want to know…

Are you registered to vote?

Politically, what do you consider yourself to be?

In the past, how have you voted?

How often do you attend religious services?

Those aren’t required fields, and they certainly aren’t questions I would answer without knowing who is going to have access to the information and what they are going to do with it–and why on earth they are asking for the information in the first place.

But what about it? Should I complete the form? And if I do, what should I tell them?

Assassination! Assassination! Eeeek! Now, what was the question again?

The continuing fervor over Hillary Clinton’s mention of the RFK assassination puzzles me. I have already pointed out that it is not the Clinton campaign that is spreading cries of “Assassination!” all over the mainstream media. I don’t think it’s the McCain people either.

And I certainly interpreted the RFK assassination reference as a memory key about primary election dates for those of us who lived through those troubling days of losing JFK, RFK, and MLK, our cultural heroes of the sixties. The Argus Leader editors interpreted it that way too. So did RFK’s son. The memory of those times is something that ties us boomers together.

Why then was the Obama camp excited enough to issue a press release? And send their own reporters to the taping of the Olberman hissy fit at MSNBC? And have their main media consultant hand carry the Olberman videotape to the other mainstream news sources on a three day weekend.  And have their candidate mention Robert Keennedy several times in a commencement speech–isn’t he supposed to be worried or something?  Why are the obamabots going ape in the online forums?

Possible reasons:

Possibility #1: Obama and is genuinely concerned that he will be the target of an assassin.

But ALL the candidates have been threatened. McCain by immigration foes, Obama by white supremacists, and Clinton by an O’Reilly blogger. And those are only the threats that have been made public. The secret service probably has a drawer full of them.

So what would make Obama think he owns the assassination trademark?

And if Obama was really so concerned about the dangers of publicity, why didn’t they go quietly to the FBI, or to Hillary’s camp and ask her privately to stop–after all, the RFK reference has been a staple in her canned remarks for some time. Why issue a public press release?

Possibility #2: The Obama camp is threatened by what Clinton was saying and wants to take attention away from it, like a mother bird that pretends to be wounded in order to lure predators away from the nest of hatchlings . “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”, they say. “The real show is up here”. “Assassination!” “Assassination!”

So what was Hillary Clinton saying, again? Well, she makes a pretty good case against the people who are trying to strong-arm her into dropping out of the race.

Hillary was saying…

Hillary Clinton is ahead in the popular vote, depending on how you count Michigan and Florida, and she claims more people have voted for her in the primary than have ever before voted.

Hillary Clinton says she can win the electoral college. She has a map. She says that an aggregation of polls, leaked from Karl Rove’s office, shows Clinton beating McCain, and McCain beating Obama. She says she does well in states with primaries, while her opponent does well in states with caucuses where activists, not ordinary voters, control the outcome. “It’s not the math”, she says. “It’s the map”.

And then there’s those superdelegates. Their whole reason for existing is to save the Democratic party from another embarrassment like the 1972 election, where McGovern carried only two states. Show me your map of how Obama can win the electoral college, Hillary tells the superdelegates.

So another more ominous scenario emerges. For the sake of party unity, Obama could have quietly supported Clinton–who a year ago was the heir-apparent to the Democratic nomination–and gotten the VP slot for himself. But he decided instead it was his year to make a bid for the presidency. What if he has put himself forward before all his ducks are in a row? What if he is successful in winning the superdelegates, but not the electoral college? The first black man to run for the presidency, and he ends up splitting the Democratic party and losing to McCain? Not a good scenario for the Democrats or for Obama. Oh, he’d keep his senate seat. Maybe they could even give him Nancy Pelosi’s chair.

But the Republicans would be laughing–all the way to the bank—again.

The Clinton camp claims that every time a pundit publicly calls for Hillary to leave the race, her contributions start to dry up. She has until August for her campaign to repay her $20 million personal loan.

You would think that if she is really toast, as her opponent claims, that he would just leave her alone and let her try to recoup her loses. But they aren’t doing that. The Obama camp is fighting, and fighting hard. Assassin, schmassassin.

In the meantime, Hillary continues to gain speed while being outspent three to one, four to one, five to one.



“Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain!”

Assassination in context–transcript: Hillary Clinton interview with Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial board

The following is a transcript of an interview with Hillary Clinton and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial board on Friday May 23, 2008. This fifteen minute segment contains the “assassination” reference as well as a discussion of why Clinton stays in the race and her strategy for winning the general election.

The tape segment can be downloaded from the Argus Leader |here|.

I understand it’s customary to “clean up” the vocalized pauses and crosstalk that occurs in normal conversation to make a transcript more readable, but since there has been some controversy about whether certain comments in this interview “open a door wide into the soul” of Senator Clinton, I have left them in for accuracy and for the amusement of any soul-augurers.


HILLARY CLINTON: I think, if you look at this campaign, ahh, starting in late February, moving forward, ahh, I’ve done much better, ahh..The longer this campaign has gone on, the better I’ve done…which I think is an interesting observation. I lead in the popular vote. More people have voted for me, not only more than my opponent, but more have voted for me than, ahhh, anyone who’s ever run for the nomination of a political party in our country, ahh, and…there are a lot of people who really believe in me and support me because they think I would be the best president. And I think…

Having the campaign go on until the people in South Dakota actually get to vote, ah, is a very important part of democracy. I readily accepted Senator McGovern’s offer that Senator Obama and I appear side by side. I have accepted that. I have urged that. I think that the people of South Dakota deserve it. He doesn’t seem to want to debate me or even appear on the same stage with me, which I think is kind of strange since he’s certainly have to do that in the fall, I would expect, if he is our nominee. Ahhh, so, I feel very good about my campaign, I’m very grateful for the support that I’ve received against pretty daunting, ahh, ahh, you know, mountains to climb, ahh, because people have been declaring it over for many months, and…voters seem to have a different idea and keep coming out and voting for me and… I hope to do well here in South Dakota.

ARGUS LEADER: The reports this morning and over night were that, uh, your campaign had certain contacts or overatures to Mr. Obama’s campaign in, …in the past 24 hours, and were working on some sort of deal for your exit.

HILLARY CLINTON: That’s flatly untrue. Flatly, completely…untrue.

ARGUS LEADER: No discussions at all?

HILLARY CLINTON: No discussions at all. At ALL. And…now, I can’t speak for the seventeen million people who voted for me, uh, uh, I have a lot of supporters, uh, but it is flatly untrue, and it is not anything I am entertaining. It is nothing I have planned. It is nothing I am prepared to engage in. I am still, you know, vigorously, uh, you know, campaigning. I am happy to be here, looking forward to campaign here, going to Puerto Rico tomorrow. I expect to be back here before the election.

But this is part of an ongoing effort, to, you know, end this before it’s over, and you know I’m very heartened by, you know the strong support that I’ve shown in Kentucky and West Virginia just in the last two weeks, ah, they sure don’t think it’s over. The people who are here in South Dakota looking forward to vote–they don’t think it’s over and I sure don’t think it’s over.

Neither of us has the number of delegates needed to be the nominee, and every time they declare it, it doesn’t make it so. Neither of us do, and I’ve never seen anything like this. I mean, I have perhaps a long enough memory that, uh, many people who finished a rather distant second behind nominees, ahh, went all the way to the convention. I remember very well 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, where some who had contested in the primaries, you know, were determined to carry their case to the convention. I’m ahead in the popular vote. Less than two hundred delegates separate us out of four thousand four hundred. Michigan and Florida are not resolved. No one has the nomination. So I would look to the , uh, uh, camp of my opponent for the source of those stories.

ARGUS LEADER: Well, I was just going to ask. One presumes…


ARGUS LEADER: (crosstalk)….where it originates…

HILLARY CLINTON: I think so. But that’s been the pattern for quite some time now. I’m…Honestly, I just believe that this is the most important job in the world. It’s the toughest job in the world. You should be willing to campaign for every vote. You should be willing to debate any time, any where. I think it’s an interesting juxtaposition, ahhh, where we find ourselves and,…I have been willing to do all of that, during the entire process, and people have been trying to push me out of this ever since Iowa, ahh…


HILLARY CLINTON: I don’t know,…

ARGUS LEADER: ….why?…..

HILLARY CLINTON: ….I don’t know….I don’t …I find it curious, because…it is unprecedented in history. I don’t understand it, you know between my opponent and his camp and some in the media there has been this…urgency to end this, and you know, I … historically that makes no sense, so I find it a bit of a mystery..

ARGUS LEADER: You don’t buy the unity argument?

HILLARY CLINTON: I don’t. (crosstalk)….because again I’ve been around long enough, uh,… my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary, uhhh..somewhere in the middle of June..


HILLARY CLINTON: (crosstalk)…right?… We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June, in California, ah, I…I just don’t understand it. There’s lots of speculation about why it is, but ah,…

ARGUS LEADER: What’s your speculation?

HILLARY CLINTON: You know, I don’t know. I…I…I find it curious and I don’t want to, uh, attribute (laughs) motives or uh, strategies to people because I don’t really know…ahhh…but it is a historical curiosity to me.

ARGUS LEADER: Does that have anything to do with gender?

HILLARY CLINTON: I don’t know that either, I don’t know. You know, I’m not one to speculate on that because I …I think that uh, I want to be judged on my own merits and I think I am. But, uh, others have.

ARGUS LEADER: It sounds like what you’re saying, then, to those who are looking forward to voting on June 3 is that there will be a competitive race on the day that they vote.

HILLARY CLINTON: That’s right, that’s right,…well, if I have anything to do with it….

ARGUS LEADER: (laughs)

HILLARY CLINTON: And the other thing that I want South Dakotans to really think hard about is…winning in November. The electoral map is…the target here. And consistently over the last weeks, I have had a considerable lead, in that electoral college calculation, over my opponent, and…

A source that is perhaps suspect to all of us as Democrats, but seems to have a pretty good track record, Karl Rove does a rolling assessment, and ABC News got a hold of his maps and his calculation last week, and it coincides with everything that I’ve seen from every other source. If the election were held today, I would win. I would beat McCain, and McCain would defeat Senator Obama. I was just in Florida…. Every poll for the last three, four months,… I defeat Senator McCain, McCain defeats Obama. In the battleground states that we have to win, and in the anchor states that any Democrat must win, ah, I’m ahead. So if South Dakotans are concerned, as I am, that we place our best candidate, our stronger candidate, against Senator McCain in the fall, the evidence is overwhelming.

Now if you look at the states that I have won, it totals 300 electoral votes, give or take. Now some of those states a Democrat is not likely to win. We can compete, but it’s tough. But states that I’ve won that I know I can win, like Arkansas, and West Virginia, like Kentucky, like Florida, like Ohio–where again I defeat McCain, and McCain defeats Obama–are states that we have to win, if we’re going to be successful. Senator Obama has won states totalling about two hundred seventeen electoral votes, far below the threshold of what we need–two hundred seventy–and the Rove analysis, which is, as I understand it, a calculation based on every public poll available, because there’s a theory that apparently he subscribes to, as do others, that any one poll is not as good as averaging all polls. And polls within individual states that are done locally, as well as national polls that go into those states, will give you a better picture.

HILLARY CLINTON: Now does that mean that my opponent can’t win? Of course not. But does it mean, based on what we know now, if you were a South Dakotan who would your better bet be, to actually win the White House? It would be me. And I think that that’s a very important piece of information. And it’s one of the reasons that I am competing and continuing to compete because my goal here is to win in November. I respect Senator McCain. He’s a friend of mine. But I do not believe he has the right ideas for our country, and I do not believe he should be the president after George Bush. It would be like a continuation–economically, and in Iraq–of Bush’s policies. So I think Democrats need to think very carefully about this vote in South Dakota.

ARGUS LEADER: Are you saying that you don’t think Obama can win?

HILLARY CLINTON: No, I’m saying he can win..

ARGUS LEADER: …the states you’ve been in…so strong in…



HILLARY CLINTON: Well, let me say it this way

ARGUS LEADER: West Virginia…

HILLARY CLINTON: Based on the evidence now, and the the margin of my victory over McCain and McCain’s victory over Obama, he will have a much harder time. Of course he can win. Anything can happen in politics.

ARGUS LEADER: If he were the nominee, would you campaign for him in those states?

HILLARY CLINTON: Absolutely. Absolutely. I have said I would do anything and everything I am asked to do. I am a Democrat, and an Amercian, and I think the damage that George Bush has done to our country is considerable, therefore we must have a democratic president. I think the odds are greater that I woud be that president than my opponent. That doesn’t mean he can’t win, that doesn’t mean I won’t move heaven and earth and do everything I can, if he is the nominee, to help him win. But I ..I’m a real believer in evidence-based decision making, and if you look at the evidence, as this campaign has gone on, I’ve gotten stronger and stronger. If you look at where I get my votes, it’s primarily from primaries, and that’s where I get my delegates. If you look at where he gets his, it’s primarily from caucuses, which are not representative and are largely uh, driven by the most activist members of our party . I believe I have a stronger base to build on, to acheive victory in the electoral college, uh, and I’m going to do everything I can do to make that case. If I make it, I will be the nominee and I will win. If I’m not successful making it, I will do everything I can to elect a Democratic president.

ARGUS LEADER: It sounds like your strategy to win is essentially… rests now on Michigan and Florida.

HILLARY CLINTON: No, Neither of us has the delagates we need.

ARGUS LEADER: Well, he’s closer than you are.

HILLARY CLINTON: He’s slightly closer than I am. Slightly. I mean, less than 200 out of 4400. One of us has to get to 2, 210, and neither of us is near there yet. He keeps saying “oh, but I’ve gotten to two thousand twenty-five”, but that excludes Michigan and Florida. I don’t think it’s smart for us to have a nominee based on 48 instead of 50 states. Hopefully Michigan and Florida will be resolved on May 31st, when the DNC rules committee meets. But even then, we still have to convince superdelegates. Now, superdelegates are in this process for a purpose. Their task is to exercise independent judgment. And the independent judgment they should exercise is: who is the stronger candidate to win in the fall. And if they exercise that independent judgment, they should look at all the evidence, and they should make their conclusion. I’m waiting to see the electoral map that leads my opponent to the 270 delegate number. That’s all I ask, and that’s what a superdelegate should ask. Show me the map. It’s not the math, it’s the map. And I can show you the map about how I’d put together a majority of 70 electoral votes.

ARGUS LEADER: In your mind what would a fair resolution to seating the Michigan and Florida delegates?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, in my mind, it would be fully seating the delegate, and here’s why, Even…though…they moved their dates, I think there were extenuating circumstances for both. The case is clearer for Florida. Florida has a Republican governor, a Republican legislature, and I mean huuugge majorities in both, not just a close divide. They determined they were going to set their date to benefit Republican candidates, and Democrats really had no choice in the matter. They could have said “we’re going to be pure, we’re not going to participate”–they never could have afforded to run a primary in Florida. That would be…prohibitive. So they did go along with it. But I think there were very understandable reasons why they did. And..1.7 million people showed up. It was a totally level playing field. We were all on the ballot. There was little or no campaigning, so nobody was in there. The voters took it very seriously because they thought it was important, and they voted. And the idea that voters should be punished, for what was, at worst, an acquiescence…


UPDATE: The Argus Leader has a transcript available–without all the “unmm’s” and “you know’s” that conversational speech has. Unfortunately it’s not in HTML form–you have to download it and open it with Word. So you can’t read it if you’re in the public library and you can’t read it if you don’t have word on your computer. The link to download is at the upper right corner of the page |here|.

Updated Update: I have gotten a Microsoft Word program running (curse Word 2007/Vista!) and have downloaded and posted the transcript from the Argus Leader |here|.


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