Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Maureen Dowd is Generic Cheerios (JM)

Two Against One

Who thinks this is going to be an article about how Hillary has the unfair advantage of Bill, while Obama only has the entire fawning press corps.

by Maureen Dowd

Hi, Maureen. Ooh, something new to add to the rich dialogue on politics our country is currently having? Hmm… oh you’re going to write about how Bill is helping Hillary a lot and Obama is hope. Haven’t heard about this yet, I look forward to some enlightenment.

If Bill Clinton has to trash his legacy to protect his legacy, so be it. If he has to put a dagger through the heart of hope to give Hillary hope, so be it.

I find the line “dagger through the heart of hope” to be amongst the most manipulative and disingenuous things I have ever read. Campaigning on hope is, essentially, campaigning about nothing. Hope has to refer to something. If it’s a reference to the fact that Barack Obama would be the first African-American president, that’s fine. Of course, over half of our population has been waiting on the “hope” of our first woman president too. But I suspect it is something quite different than this, it’s this idea that Obama represents a new type of politics. It is a politics that vows to not take a clear position, one that will unify people under the banner of unity. Well good, I look forward to eight years of being brought together in the name of electing Barack Obama to office. When supporters of Obama decry Hillary for “saying there’s false hope” and for attack hope they infuriate me. It is a form of politics that is both vapid and cultish and gives me no actual reason to vote someone while not allowing the opposition to actually contrast their philosophies and positions. And now, I step down from my soap box and return to something we can all love, mocking Maureen.

If he has to preside in this state as the former first black president stopping the would-be first black president, so be it.

Look, this is an unfortunate situation, but the “former first black president” is the husband of the “would-be first female president”. I respect Bill’s willingness to fight for his wife, I think the fact that he is willing to have his legacy tainted by McJournalists like you in order to support his wife, might be the most notable thing he has ever ever done. Moreover, I think that if a person genuinely believes in an individual’s candidacy-be they former president or not-they have a right and probably an obligation to do what they can in support of that person.

The Clintons — or “the 2-headed monster,” as the The New York Post dubbed the tag team that clawed out wins in New Hampshire and Nevada — always go where they need to go, no matter the collateral damage. Even if the damage is to themselves and their party.

Hillary you should just quit! You are destroying the hope of all Obama’s supporters. Hillary’s supporters don’t hope, they actually breathe methane and live on dry ice. Stop killing hope, the Democratic Party is Obama’s. He has earned it with all of his years of work.

Bill’s transition from elder statesman, leader of his party and bipartisan ambassador to ward heeler and hatchet man has been seamless — and seamy.

Alliteration is not an argument.

After Bill’s success trolling the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, Hillary handed off South Carolina and flew to California and other Super Tuesday states. The Big Dog relished playing the candidate again, wearing a Technicolor orange tie and sweeping across the state with the mute Chelsea.

I must admit, I wish I had been in Vegas watching Bill work the casinos, that was probably Darrell Hammond-style hilarious.

He tried to convey the impression that they were running against The Man, and with classic Clintonian self-pity, grumbled that Barack Obama had all the advantages.

Yes, indeed, classic Clintonian self-pity, right up there with that classic Ernest Hemingway fear of penguins, Margaret Thatcher love of Elmo and Nanny from Muppet Babies hatred of Jews. Classic…

When he was asked yesterday if he would feel bad standing in the way of the first black president, he said no. “I’m not standing in his way,” he said. “I think Hillary would be a better president” who’s “ready to do the job on the first day.” He added: “No one has a right to be president, including Hillary. Keep in mind, in the last two primaries, we ran as an underdog.” He rewrote the facts, saying that “no one thought she could win” in New Hampshire, even though she originally had had a substantial lead.

Two things here: 1) Bill Clinton is so absolutely correct it’s ridiculous. Standing in his way?!! Screw democracy, get out of the way, Obama’s a coming! 2) And talk about factual manipulation Maureen. Since you have decided to look back before it seemed like Hillary had no chance in NH why don’t we all take a little trip in the wayback machine, shall we:

Scene (Britain, 1689):

Lord John Thistlebottom: Why Humphrey, do you ever think we’ll see a woman president?

Earl of Humphrey: Lord John, you have said some crazy things in your time, but this takes the cake. I think we will far sooner see a Scotsman scientist than a woman president.

Lord John Thistlebottom: Oh Humphrey, you’ve got a Paki’s wit.

So there Maureen! No one expected Hillary to win. My point is that timeframe matters. Hillary was an absurd, absurd underdog on election day, it seemed like she had no chance in hell of winning.

He said of Obama: “I hope I get a chance to vote for him some day.” And that day, of course, would be after Hillary’s eight years; it’s her turn now because Bill owes her. “I think it would be just as much a change, and some people think more, to have the first woman president as to have the first African-American president,” he said.

Do you think that this is somehow wrong?

Bad Bill had been roughing up Obama so much that Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina suggested that he might want to “chill.” On a conference call with reporters yesterday, the former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a national co-chairman of the Obama campaign, tut-tutted that the “incredible distortions” of the political beast were “not keeping with the image of a former president.”

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was just so terrible as a Senate Majority Leader that I am inclined to do the opposite of whatever he suggests. And evidence that a national co-chairman of Obama’s campaign “tut-tutted” Hillary is some how not persuasive. I also find it hard to believe that Rep. Clyburn suggested that Hillary “chill” but that sentence was so poorly written I might be misunderstanding what you are trying to imply.

Jonathan Alter reported in Newsweek that Senator Edward Kennedy and Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois congressman and former Clinton aide, have heatedly told Bill “that he needs to change his tone and stop attacking Senator Barack Obama.”

They both did not say that sentence. Who is this a quote from? This is either sloppy or misleading journalism. Probably both. In fact, with a little bit of the deep digging we like to call journalism here, that is quote from the Alter piece that is manipulatively placed here to make it seem like a quote from both Teddy Kennedy and Rahm Emanuel.

In the Myrtle Beach debate Monday night, Obama was fed up with being double-teamed by the Clintons. He finally used attack lines that his strategists had urged him to use against Hillary for months. “It was as though all the e-mails were backed up,” said one.

When Hillary tried once more to take Obama’s remarks about Ronald Reagan out of context, making it seem as though Obama had praised Reagan’s policies, he turned sarcastic about getting two distortionists for the price of one.

First of all Obama’s comments were really really politically stupid. The problem is the he is so enamored with seeing himself as the grand unifier that he hardly seems like the standard bearer for a party or an ideology. Yes, Hillary is playing some politics with his really silly Reagan comment. Get over it. If Obama can’t handle this, he is going to be annihilated in the general.

“I can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes,” he snapped at Hillary, obviously entrapped and pysched-out by the Clinton duo.

Yes, we get it. Hillary has Bill and Obama has a throng of nutbars yelling “Stop standing in the way of hope!”

On a conference call with reporters yesterday morning, Obama did not back off from his more aggressive, if defensive, stance. The Clintons, he said “spent the last month attacking me in ways that are not accurate. At some point, it’s important for me to answer.” Recalling that Hillary had called mixing it up the “fun” part of politics, he said: “I don’t think it’s the fun part to fudge the truth.”

I guess you don’t need to fudge the truth if you refuse to say anything.

Bill has merged with his wife totally now, talking about “we” and “us.” “I never did anything major without discussing it with her,” he told a crowd here. “We’ve been having this conversation since we first met in 1971, and I don’t think we’ll stop now.” He suggested as First Lad that “I can help to sell the domestic program.”

It’s odd that the first woman with a shot at becoming president is so openly dependent on her husband to drag her over the finish line. She handed over South Carolina to him, knowing that her support here is largely derivative.

It’s a very weird situation. I agree. However, a lot of pundits have argued that Bill has been more of a detriment. But what should she do Maureen? Tell Bill to go sit at home? Oh, I know. They should get of the way, because hope is coming!

At the Greenville event, Bill brought up Obama’s joking reference to him in the debate, about how Obama would have to see whether Bill was a good dancer before deciding whether he was the first black president.

Bill, naturally, turned it into a competition. “I would be willing to engage in a dancing competition with him, even though he’s much younger and thinner than I am,” he said. “If I’m going to get in one of these brother contests,” he added, “at least I should be entitled to an age allowance.”

Bill, you are such a horrible person. How dare you turn Obama’s joke in to a joke about a dance competition.

He said, “I kind of like seeing Barack and Hillary fighting.”

“How great is this?” he said. “Neither of them has to be a little wind-up doll who’s supposed to behave in a certain way. They’re real people, flesh and blood people. They have differences.”

And if he has anything to say about it, and he will, they’ll be fighting till the last dog dies.

I think there are legitimate positions on both sides of this issue. Too much divisiveness could be quite devastating to the Democratic Party. However, it seems like Obama’s side of the issue is that any criticism at all is an affront to hope and politics as usual. It’s frustrating and simply won’t play in the general. If you think John McCain won’t attack Obama’s experience, voting record and rhetoric then perhaps there is a bit too much “hope” in the Obama camp.


Brian said...

In the age of shrinking sound bytes, political journalism is quickly becoming creative writing

Jonathan said...

Sir, I challenge your use of the word creative.