Okay, so Hillary Clinton is a fighter who won't quit, and all Americans love a fighter, whether it's in an Olympic sport, a firefight in Afghanistan, a new iteration of "Survivor," a sparring match with Bill O'Reilly, or gun-mongering in Indiana.
The media-circus' ring-masters have confirmed that Hillary is a fighter -- as tough as any man!. And who would know better than the ring-masters themselves after she showed them deftly but definitively last Sunday that George Stephanopoulos is an intelligent mouse, sitting or pretending to stand?
It's enough to make you forget what Hillary Clinton is fighting for and how she has retarded both racial and class justice by her surge in Indiana and North Carolina.
But it's enough to remind me that Obama, with one stone - a clarion call, as only he could make it, for class-based rather than race-based affirmative action - could wound the two vultures of racial and class resentment that Clinton has roused and sent to feed on him.
First I need to give the media ring-masters their due by assuring them we viewers all look forward to the day when a political leader turns the tables on the set of Meet the Press or Fox News Sunday.
We look forward to the moment when the guest starts lobbing hard questions at Stephanopoulos about how he differs from his father, a Greek-Orthodox priest, or at Chris Wallace about what he learned from his father's disgrace in court at the hands of Gen. William Westmoreland, or at Fox News' Nick Cavuto about how his adolescence in some Republican madrassah taught to scream at and dress down strong, decent Democrats like Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin during what Fox still quaintly calls interviews.
"But... I'm not a public figure," the astonished media mouse will protest.
"You are now," the politician will answer calmly, "and it's time the American people were told who elected or anointed you to do what you're doing here today and what you had to do to get to that important chair you're sitting in before millions of us."
But while we await that day (I no longer know anyone who isn't waiting for it), let's indeed look at what Hillary Clinton is fighting for. She is fighting for the votes of hard-pressed, white working-class Americans, not for their wellbeing, which almost everything she has done in this campaign degrades.
Of course, without their votes, Clinton couldn't attend to their wellbeing at all. Only naifs like Obama still believe the 1960s anti-war slogan, "There is no way to peace: Peace is the way." Right?
Clinton knows, in her fighter's gut, what all Americans have been taught, 24/7, for seven years: that war is the way to peace, that threatening to "obliterate" Iran is the best way to show that she has what frightened, angry people now think it takes to save the Judaeo-Christian Holy Land from fanatical Islam.
Clinton knows that she can get these folks' votes not by telling others that they're clinging to guns and churches in frustration; she can get their votes by trading on what's all-too true in Obama's remark and telling the frustrated directly, as in her mass mailing in Indiana, that Obama is two-faced on hand-gun bans. She knows that she can get these votes by proposing summer gas-tax relief she cannot deliver at the federal level.
Leadership matters, in politics and in the news media. When it's good, people are more effective and trusting. When it's bad, appealing to their lower viscera, they're more fearful and destructive. Clinton is winning her targeted white working-class by dragging that class down. She is muddying its sightlines to the connections between personal struggles and public solutions.
In George Bush's America, this whipsawing back and forth between pandering and lashing out is what being a true, fighting American has become. It's what the media-circus' stand-up guys admire and what they really think is the only way to win in this fallen world.
By my reckoning, not one of them has noted two big ironies in today's primaries, and their silence as well as their noise makes them complicit in what Clinton is doing to win.
No one has noted, first, that when Obama said that frustrated people "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment," he could have added just as truly that many develop cravings for junk food, trash TV, and so-called "extreme" fighting, which approximates gladiatorial combat in decadent, ancient Rome.
Had Obama noted this, of course, he'd have lost ground even more quickly and irredeemably than he has -- not because it isn't true, but because the truth hurts. Only faux-populist conservatives pretend not to notice the epidemics of obesity, road rage, broken health, and public sexual degradation behind their lapel flag pins, but it's also true that people mired in trouble don't need to be reminded of it by Obama any more than they need to be pandered to by false promises from Clinton. They'll chose the pander every time, though, if no good leaders are showing them a credible way out.
The second irony no ring-master noticed is that every kind of escapism ascribed to frustrated, white under-employed or over-worked people is present among millions of frustrated non-whites. What we used to call the ghetto has no shortages of bad churches, of guns, of junk-food diets and obesity, of trash TV and variants of "extreme" fighting or road rage.
Obviously, candidate Obama couldn't make this link between poor, black Southside Chicago and rural or rust-belt Pennsylvania and Indiana. He wasn't going to fold race into class.
Obama's biggest weakness, I noted here in February, is that some of his backers are silent, too, because linking race and class might really threaten their own prerogatives. No, they're not self-righteous, snotty McGovernites, as the faux-populists charge; they're just innocent and ignorant of reality.
No media ring-master made the link between destitute Pennsylvanian whites and ghetto blacks, either, because the inner-city isn't in play electorally and so isn't of interest, except as a silent foil for racists angry at being reminded of the inner city in their own homes and hearts. That's the ur-story I told here before after the Pennsylvania.
To link the two inner cities of the American edifice would be to link race and class in ways that acknowledge the whole truth and make it possible to re-imagine and reform the whole structure, starting, for example, with affirmative action that's less race-based and more class-based.
It could have been Obama's way out of the race trap set for him by the Rev. Wright-mongers. When Fox News' Wallace asked him to name an issue on which he's willing to buck liberal Democrats, Obama could have said, with perfect justice, that it's time to really mend affirmative action, as Bill Clinton promised but failed to do.
Some of the white working people he's been losing would have seen past his blackness; blacks wouldn't have abandoned him, nor would idealistic, upscale whites. Hillary Clinton would have had to defend openly the racialized preferences she has never challenged. That would have cost her votes while Obama advanced the national discussion and opened a lot of cankered hearts.
He found his moxie against phony gas-tax relief; why not against the color-coding of class injuries that are now very widely shared across race lines? I'd love to have seen the expressions on Chris Wallace's and the other media ring-masters' faces.
In today?s New York Times, we learn from here that?
WASHINGTON ? Defying President Bush, House Democrats are preparing to forge ahead with a war spending measure that would include extended unemployment assistance and new educational benefits for returning veterans.Cue the predictable Repug umbrage?
After a meeting Monday evening of House Democratic leaders, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she hoped to bring a $178 billion measure to the floor this week. What could be a contentious debate on the matter is likely to be held on Thursday, aides said.
?The Democrat leaders of the House and Senate are attempting to jam a 200-plus-billion-dollar spending bill through the Congress with absolutely no oversight or scrutiny by a vast majority of members, senators or their constituents,? Representative Jerry Lewis of California, the senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said in a statement on Monday. ?Never in my 30 years in Congress has there been such an abuse of the processes and rules of the House.?Oh, that?s rich (and the ?Democrat? leaders also ? nice touch, scumbag).
Lewis has received $88,252 from Wilkes and his associates. He is the third-highest recipient of campaign contributions from Brent Wilkes trailing only Cunningham and John Doolittle, who is a self-professed friend of Wilkes.And by the way, Doolittle decided last January not to seek re-election under suspicion of numerous questionable dealings; he gave up his seat on the Appropriations Committee in April 2007 ?in the wake of FBI agents searching his house in a congressional influence-peddling investigation? (one particularly odorous moment with Doolittle was the time he tried to remove FDR from the dime and replace him with Ronald Reagan ? former Philadelphia Daily News columnist Pete Dexter called Doolittle ?a lying, unprincipled, crooked piece of human garbage,? and that?s good enough for me...Doolittle is also being investigated for alleged ties to Jack Abramoff, of course).
5/6/08 1:24 p.m.: Jutia Group initiates content agreement with Mount Vernon Research’s Smart Profits Report publication. “We are excited about this new content pact with Mount Vernon Research. They are a premier investment service group with a focus on quality independent research. This agreement will greatly enhance our ability to bring diversified content to our [...]
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Terry McAuliffe is on a roll today, telling MSNBC:"She loves to sit, throw 'em back. So to me this is nothin' new. We all hear about the story that she and John McCain actually had a shot contest, I think in the Ukraine or somewhere around the world. And[...]
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Remember how last week the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana's onerous voter ID law?
Oh, it's working. Stopped a bunch of 80 and 90 year old nuns from voting.
That should make those good Catholic boys, Roberts, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito, very proud. They all supported the Indiana law, of course.
Best headline from Fired Up! Missouri: "Sisters of St. Mary's Convent Foiled in Plot to Steal Election Through Vote Fraud"
John Gibson said I was one--that is how it really happened. Listen to his radio show the other day. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. I am on Soros' payroll, apparently, and part of a vast left-wing scheme to destroy McCain (as well as all else that is good and decent, I assume).
That is what my new book, The Real McCain, is about. Murky conspiracies. Not, you know, reporting the facts and stuff.
It all started when I worked for this fine company last year and the beginning of this year. Not to mention the wealthly liberal guy who owns my publishing company. Hell, I might even start a War On Christmas when nobody is looking!!
I used to enjoy going on your show, John. Where does all the hate come from? Why no love? I mean, can't we all just get along?? In fact, in the spirit of kindness, if you get me the address, I'll send you a signed copy of the book which broke that story you were talking about on your show(you know, where McCain called his wife a very bad word that rhymes with "runt").
Oh and one more thing. If you can find a way to help get me on Soros' payroll, that would sure be swell. I could use the cash...
How awesome is Howard Dean? Answer: Very Awesome.
In a lesson for how Democrats should act if they go on FOX, Dean appeared on FOX News Sunday (May 4, 2008) to do the job that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were unwilling to do — call out FOX for being “shockingly biased” towards republicans, refuse to be drawn into FOX’s obsession with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and not allow FOX to lie in their efforts to protect the channel’s official candidate: John McCain.
First, Dean smacked down Chris Wallace’s (and the Right’s) misinformation campaign to rewrite McCain’s comment that he wouldn’t mind if American troops stayed in Iraq for 100 years. Wallace brought up an ad featuring McCain’s quote:
WALLACE: Governor, why are you distorting what McCain actually said?Nailed it. Americans do not want US troops in Iraq for 100 years — period. The vast majority of the world (including Iraqis) don’t want the US to stay in Iraq for 100 more minutes, let alone 100 more years. And to compare Korea or Germany, with their largely ethnically/religiously homogenous populations, with Iraq and its history of ethnic/religious divisions is either disingenuous, naïve, or just plain ignorant. Also, McCain has said he doesn’t want to leave Iraq until the US “wins” and there’s no more violence. Judging from the past few years, does that look like that’s going to happen anytime soon?
DEAN: Well, I'm not. –snip- I've said publicly that John McCain said that he wants to keep our troops in Iraq for up to 100 years. He himself said that some of that could be occupation like South Korea or Germany.
But the fact of the matter is, first, that anybody who thinks that we can keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years without them being victimized by roadside bombs, suicide bombers and militias I think is wrong and needs their judgment — to look carefully at their judgment.
And secondly, Americans don't want our troops in Iraq for 100 years, no matter what they're doing over there. We can't afford that. We need the money here at home for our jobs.
Next, Dean squashed Wallace’s attempt to rewrite another of McCain’s misguided statements by attacking an ad which uses a clip of McCain saying “Americans overall are better off because we have had a pretty good, prosperous time.”
WALLACE: But, Governor, you edited out what John McCain said in the very next sentence. Let's watch that.
MCCAIN (video clip): But let's have some straight talk. Things are tough right now. Americans are uncertain of this housing crisis. Americans are uncertain about the economy.
WALLACE: When there are such real big differences between the two parties this year, and there certainly are, why misrepresent what McCain is saying?
DEAN: And, Chris, if you had gone on to play that thing that you just played, you would have seen him say again at the end, "but Americans are better off than they were," and they are not.
Gas prices have gone from $1.10 a gallon in December of 2001 to about $3.50 now. The average American income was $49,000 in 2001. In 2006 it was $48,000. That is unprecedented. Never have we had a president where the average American income dropped $1,000 in the first six years of their term.Slam! McCain doesn’t deserve a cookie or a free pass because he isn’t so blindingly clueless as to not realize that “things are tough”. McCain still believes that most Americans have prospered under the Bush administration — that makes him out of touch.
And what McCain is offering is four more years of George Bush. He wants to extend the Bush tax cuts. Of course, he was opposed to that two years ago. –snip-
He has no economic plan. He has no plan for getting us out of Iraq. And I don't think our ads misrepresent anything.
DEAN: First of all, I'm not going to get into the Reverend Wright at all. I think we've spent enough time on Reverend Wright. –snip-The Republicans are the racist party, and they continually try to win elections by playing to the racist fears of their constituents. The non-stop attacks on Obama through Rev. Wright are further proof. And just because Obama had previously said that Rev. Wright is a “legitimate political issue” doesn’t give the media the right to beat the story into the ground, dig it up, then beat it some more.
Chris, the Republicans — for the last 30 years, the Republican book is to race bait and to use hate and divisiveness. In 2006, the American people said no to that, and I think they're going to say no to that in 2008.
It is true that the economy, the war and health care are more important to the American people. They are tired of the divisiveness of what the Republicans have done to them, and that's why the Republicans are in trouble, deep trouble. –snip-
WALLACE: Governor, are you suggesting that bringing up Jeremiah Wright is race baiting, and hate and divisive?
DEAN: Yeah, I am suggesting that kind of stuff. I think when you start bringing up candidates that have nothing to do with the issue — when you start bringing up things that have nothing to do with the candidate and nothing to do with the issues, that's race baiting, and that's exactly what it is, just like Willie Horton was race baiting so many years ago.
I think we're going to take a — we're going to turn the page on this stuff. I tell you, you know, there's a lot of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats on issues, but the biggest issue of all is we don't use this kind of stuff. We never have used this kind of stuff, and we're not going to start now.
America is more important than the Republican Party, and that's the lesson that the voters are about to teach the Republicans.
DEAN: We stayed off FOX for a long time because your news department is, in fact, biased. –snip- There are some things in the news department that have really been shockingly biased, and I think that's wrong. And I'll just say so right up front.
Thanks, Dean, for showing Democrats how it’s done when you go on FOX. About freakin’ time.
Despite Dean’s great performance, he said some things I definitely take issue with. More on that tomorrow…
You can read the transcript of the interview here.
As you’ve no doubt seen and heard by now, Mildred Loving, of Loving v. Virginia, which struck down anti-miscegenation laws, died yesterday. Mildred and her husband, Richard, were a brave, strong couple, who took on an unjust system and won the[...]
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Guest post by GreyPolls in Indiana close at 7 pm ET and, in North Carolina, at 7:30 pm ET.Post your spread for both Indiana and North Carolina. The person who correctly predicts both races will receive Sydney Blumenthal’s new book, The Strange[...]
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What are these Villagers drinking? Digby’s got it.That’s right. Politics is really all about an image we form in our minds of politicians having sex. According to Wolff, it’s all anyone ever talks about in private.Now, I don’t know about you, but among my friends, this just doesn’t come up. Even among my female friends, [...]
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