Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fear and Loathing

What is up with the Obama campaign?

Given the ostensible "insurmountable" lead that he has, given all the advantages of money, delegates, money, party leadership backing, money, fawning press coverage, money and legions of adoring fans, why are they staying so relentlessly nagative not just on Hillary, but on her entire base of support? Why the obsession with forcing her out and declaring the contest over, done, finis, kaput, no more?

Because they know it isn't.

At this point in the campaign, if his win was truly in the bag, Obama should be making a wholehearted effort to try to win over his opponent's supporters, yet the exact opposite is happening. The win in West Virginia is dismissed as simply racists voting against Obama. Bloggers loudlly trumpet how they don't need no stinkin' working class. Nothing is being offered to answer the substantive complaints about his policies or campaign style. Instead, we get Edwards whoring himself for a donations list, flatly lying that Obama's policies have anything to do with even the shadow of what he himself campaigned on. Or we get Obama mouthing off to a female reporter who tried to ask about a bread and butter issue, uncaring of how he appeared to millions of people in his arrogance.

Fear is in the air.

They know Hillary's growing support makes them look bad. They know they are hemorrhaging voters with each primary. The very astute ones know that even if they can wrest the nomination win, they are sinking for the general because money does not equal votes. If it did, Mitt Romney would be the Republican nominee. So why the unrelenting hostility? Mostly because they know that they haven't won and they have boxed themselves in. Just as Obama did by race-baiting, their sneer at the hicks and the chicks mode of politics has put them between a rock and a hard place. To keep up the barrage will probably cost them votes (and the longer it goes on, the more votes will be lost), but, given her strength, if they try to be conciliatory, then she may push past them with his own wavering supporters who want to see everyone make nice.

Hillary herself is simply having fun and it does her no harm to be gracious. Even in her sharp and powerful victory speech, clearly laying out for the party and the super delegates why she is the more viable candidate in the general, Hillary repeated the message of party cohesion and identity, making clear her loyalties. Then, today, she went after Bush for his smear against Obama, demonstrating how a Democrat should speak and act when confronted by Republican mendacity. There is no conflict in her between being competitive and being a party loyalist.

When I look at Hillary and hear her talk, I am struck over and over by the incredible calm that surrounds her. She said in Texas "I'll be fine," no matter the outcome and it is unassailably true. This is someone content with who and what she is and thus can dedicate herself with joy to presenting her plan for the country.

What has vanished from her campaign, as far as I can tell, is the weight of doubt. I don't mean that they know they are going to win, but that the campaign is no longer burdened by the fear of loss or the savaging of the critics. You could see it getting chipped away after New Hampshire, more chunks dropping after Florida and Super Tuesday, a stasis in mid-February and then nothing but energy since Ohio. Whatever the outcome, Hillary is fine with it. She promotes herself, the party and, yes, even Obama, with a zest that is delightful.

The more generous and exuberant she is, the more selfish and resentful Obama's campaign becomes. It is going so far as to try to cut off funds to voices other than his own. Looked at with a cold eye, this is self-defeating behavior. So why is this happening?

To some degree, and this is more the behavior of the surrogates and hangers on than the campaign proper, they have drunk their own kool-aide and really, truly think they can create an electoral majority from Whole Foods shoppers. Within the campaign, a lot of it is political style. This is just how they operate, their mode of politics, and they will not relinquish their hatred. Mostly, though, it is recognition of the danger of the trade-offs they made in their campaign and that there is nothing they can do to prevent the contest from playing out. All they can do is try to distract.

By allowing the campaign to be personal, legitimizing the demand that "we" had to drive out a loathed "monster" opponent and her miserable supporters, the Obama camp has dug itself into a very deep hole. They appear determined to bury themselves in it.



CognitiveDissonance said...

Hand me a shovel. I'll help them.

Anonymous said...

Clinton's statement on appeasement was fantastic. I was very impressed with how swiftly and firmly she dealt with Bush's speech.

I don't sense the desperation and nastiness you sense from the Obama campaign. I suppose it's obvious that we run in different circles. :) I do think you will see increasingly nasty and/or dismissive language about Clinton's feminist supporters on the blogs and elsewhere because of the recent spate of vocal Clintonistas who have said they would vote for McCain if Obama is the nominee (despite Clinton's clear calls for party unity). That really freaks people (including me) out, though I find some of the Obama camp's responses overly hostile and/or lacking in self-awareness.

Anonymous said...

And misogynist. Some of those responses will be hideously misogynist as well. I pressed "post" too soon.

Darrow said...

"Mostly, though, it is recognition of the danger of the trade-offs they made in their campaign and that there is nothing they can do to prevent the contest from playing out. All they can do is try to distract."

You hit the nail on the head with this post, Anglachel. And I was thinking tonight, after reading a number of Obamabot comments on other blogs, about how they are so blind about how what they are doing is so similar to what the Democrats had done to them in the 2000 election. They keep repeating that "it's over", "Obama won", and we are "sore losers". They act like he has 2209 pledged delegates and she's got 50 rather than it being a 50/50 race. Again, just like in 2000, when they kept asking how many times they had to count the votes! (How about if they just counted them correctly?)

Barack's and the MSM/progblogs declaration of him being the "presumptive nominee" remind me Bush's interview during the SCOTUS debacle where he says, "I'm soon to be the President". It's inevitable. Get over it. Move along.

They are demonizing Hillary about being a lying, power-mad politician who cares more about her own personal ambition than the country/ Democratic party's well-being. Her sniper-fire gaffe is trotted out again and again as proof of her not being able to be trusted. Just like Gore's "I invented the internet" meme that the Repubs used. Never mind that both stories have some basis in fact.

I could go on and on. And that, to me, is the most galling part. I'm being disenfranchised and marginalized by my own party. And when I tell them that they have driven me away - they accuse me of not really being a Democrat anyway. Or threaten me with the Supreme Court (hey, we're old granny voters - why should we care about Roe v. Wade?) and another four years of Bush. They cram this guy down our throats and then threaten us with the consequences if we don't vote for their loser. They don't even consider that he doesn't have a decent chance of winning the GE.

And missplsd doesn't see the desperation and nastiness from the Obama campaign - but how about this example from an outspoken, A-list blogger, MSNBC frequent political analyst, Obama supporter, John Aravosis' recent post:

Go away you horrible human being

Here the opening paragraph:


Good God. What is wrong with her? The Clintons and their campaign staff don't give a damn that they are now hurting our electoral chances in the fall against McCain and against the Republicans in Congress. Their campaign isn't happening in some vacuum, and they know it. Our candidates can't fundraise because of her. Obama can't focus on McCain because of her. Obama is wasting money on HER, rather than spending it on McCain, because of her. EMILY's List, and AFSCME, and the American Federation of Teachers and others are wasting their members' money on her now-failed race - money that they could be spending, should be spending, on other real races, races that haven't already lost. She can't win, the math says she lost the nomination, but she doesn't give a damn. She's going to stay in the race like some spoiled hateful egotistical brat."

Um, bitter some??? Holy crap.

Anonymous said...

Darrow, I'm sure you'll forgive me for having long ago given up on AmericaBlog. That is a disgusting post, especially for someone with credentials like that.

What I meant was that I didn't see this kind of thing from the Obama campaign -- from which I've seen no attacks on Clinton lately.

Cathy said...

You have probably written one of the "kinder" posts about the Obama folks than I have seen in awhile. You have not absolved them of ultimate responsibility but you have identified the immaturity and ineptitude driving them.

Characterizing them in that manner will also make moving them aside that much easier. That's what you do with spoiled children throwing tantrums. It's certainly easier than fearing them as the potential thugs they like to posture as their alter-egos.

Other Lisa said...

missplsd, the point is, the Obama campaign doesn't have to viciously attack Clinton - they have an entire media network to do it for them, one that includes prominent bloggers, cable news outlets, newspapers and magazines.

Obama could have said something a long time ago, and he didn't. The hatred serves his purposes. Up to a point. But as Anglachel points out, they are really digging themselves a deep, deep hole.

When I read stuff about Obama's plan to shut down other progressive organizations on top of everything else we've been discussing, I honestly wonder if the country isn't better served by his candidacy going down in flames.

We all know McCain is the enemy. But what's the best way forward when someone who is supposed to be on your side, is not?

Independent Florida Democrat said...


You are one of my favorite bloggers. I am always impressed when I visit your blog. Thank you for being a voice to those of us who have witnessed the viciousness that has been directed at Hillary Clinton, and question why a denunciation of this maltreatment of a fellow DEMOCRAT is NEVER forthcoming from the DNC. The DNC is requesting Democratic unity, but many Democrats will remember the DNC's duplicitous behavior in the voting booth.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it pretty normal for candidates to tell their supporters to give to the campaign and not to 527s in order to maintain the illusion of a firewall between the groups? And isn't this a particularly shrewd maneuver when the Democrats will oppose John "Campaign Finance" McCain? I don't see much beef in this particular story.

And Other Lisa, I can't account for why Obama hasn't spoken out about some of the horrible things his supporters and other Clinton opponents say. I imagine it's because he doesn't want to be associated with them. But Clinton isn't speaking out about some of the more outlandish things her supporters say (I remember all too well her hesitation to admit that Obama is not a Muslim on 60 Minutes...) and hasn't responded to the MSM's spurious attacks on him (e.g., Wright-gate) either. The MSM is not uniformly behind Obama, even if some of the fawning is damned near insufferable.

Other Lisa said...

Oh, PLEASE. The 60 Minutes thing is one of the larger canards in a campaign filled with them.

She answered the interviewer, point-blank, over and over again that Obama was not a Muslim. Watch the damn segment.

You're really losing credibility with me if you take that smear seriously.

And she's been more supportive of Obama as a candidate than he has in return. You yourself mentioned her statement on appeasement.

And the best Obama can do? "You're likable enough."

p.s. if you mention the Commander in Chief threshold, I will scream.

Anonymous said...

I did watch that episode of 60 Minutes, live, and my jaw dropped at both the question and Clinton's "as far as I know." But perhaps I'm sensitive on this issue for personal reasons.

I agree that "likable enough" was similarly ugly. Both campaigns have said some nasty things. My point is that they're not being particularly nasty now, even if neither is repudiating offensive remarks from supporters or negative coverage in the media.

Anonymous said...

With MI and FL, Hillary now leads in the popular vote. Many of the votes for Obama came from independents and Republicans. The Obama faction of the Democratic vote is probably somewhere between 40% and 45%.

The way Obama and his "infrastructure" campaign now, he will face McCain with about 1/4 of the general vote. We call that: losing by a landslide.

Unless one believes that the Obamas are politically suicidal, there must be another explanation to relying of Whole Food shoppers only. Why drop Hispanics (larger numbers than AA), many blue color workers, orthodox lefties (like myself), seniors and women?

How do we explain Obama's failure to do basic arithmetics? The only explanation is hubris. Extreme arrogance and elitist attitude makes everyone not in the "camp" look unimportant, negligible, expendable and inconsequential.

There is anecdotal evidence supoorting this explanation. Obama plans on taking over the Democratic party. Anglachel cites his insistence of starving the grassroots organizations associated with the party. His loudspeaker, Donna Brazile, notified us that the FDR coalition is old hat and is being replaced by Obama's new coalition of AAs and Whole Food shoppers. Than we heard that party's organization is going to be replaced by Obama's own infrastructure that according to Matt Stoller (what school allowed this guy to graduate?) is hyper-competent.

Clearly, Obama intends to dismiss the Democratic party and replace it with the Obama party. This an obvious results of hubris, which is defined as "excessive pride, self-confidence or arrogance, often resulting in fatal retribution."

In my judgment Obama is dangerous to the progressive movement and to the country. It is our duty to make sure that his lose will be devastating and fatal.

CMike said...


Quotation marks don't belong around I invented the internet. Sure, the corporate media used that phony quote, and others, to make questions about Al Gore's honesty the central issue of the 2000 presidential campaign. But that's because the corporate media is out to promote corporate interests.

Here's the back story of the invented the internet smear. (If you don't want to read the set up, scroll down to the heading: Where does spin come from? Inventing the Internet)

In 2000 the corporate media eventually sold the public a president whose claim was "I'm a uniter not a divider." After two years the uniter ordered our armed forces into Iraq ignoring the martial dictum that "hope is not a plan." Courtesy of the corporate media, now we have "I'm a uniter not a divider 2.0." This new uniter comes right out and says that hope is the plan. Amazing.

I may seem a bit off topic in this thread but it's important to realize that Sen. Obama is not the force that is reducing our politics to absurdity - he's just a beneficiary of the corporate interests' aversion to the Clintons and Gore.

Can TV and other corporate media sell anything? There are limits, not even General Electric could foist Tweedledum Rudy Giuliani off on the public. So probably we're going to end up in January with Tweedledee John McCain installed instead.

(Please don't feed the trolls.)

rainsinger said...

Anglachel, I'd like to add my enormous thanks for your blog here, and your genuine warmth and compassion along with brilliant insights. On some other blogs/forums/sites etc, I have heard you described as 'scary smart'!

"This is someone content with who and what she is, and thus can dedicate herself with joy to presenting her plan for the country."

Indeed. I'm guessing some folks just can't stand to see someone else enjoying themselves.

I'm reminded of Ohio, when I read that Hillary had risen before 5am, to personally meet-and-greet thousands of factory shift-workers at the dawn shift-change. And in frozen Ohio in late winter too. Also, despite the bad weather ice-storms etc on the day of their primary, they still turned out for her.

I compared Hillary in the frozen dawn of Ohio's rust-belt quietly walking-the-talk with the workers, with Obama's recent photo-shoot "tour" of a Michigan plant, and was struck by the contrast of styles.

"It is going so far as to try to cut off funds to voices other than his own." Add the NARAL scandal, he has to buy, threat or bribe credibility?

Lakelobos: "In my judgment Obama is dangerous to the progressive movement and to the country."

I agree wholeheartedly. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt, even if he turned out after all to operate as a great Democrat despite everything -- The Ends Do Not Justify the Means.

gendergappers said...

As I watched last night, it was morbidly evident how the cable guys have eliminated HRC from nearly all aspects of the primary race.

It's blogs like this that counter their disgusting love affair with BO. Thanks Anglachel.

FOX News continues to be the exception. Did anyone else see Riley interview with two women [one black, one white] who made it clear that we are serious about HRC be given a fair shake? They gave an e-mail addie at gmail for contact.

Also, I agree, please don't feed them. It's obvious these trolls are attention freaks and delight in dragging some of us down into the underworld with them.

Ignore them - the Force is with us!

Anonymous said...


The reporter asked HRC, what, 10 times? She was increasingly miffed at why the question was being repeated. She kept trying, as ANY human would, to answer with a slightly different phrase until the person understood. The fact that the BO camp made such a big deal out of this and focused on her last answer rather than the first one shows that it was a set-up. If you START with ill feeling, you will find the proof of what you want.

Just more hatred-baiting aimed at destroying the reputation of a woman who has worked hard for the party and women's and AA causes for decades.

Darrow said...

CMike said: "I may seem a bit off topic in this thread but it's important to realize that Sen. Obama is not the force that is reducing our politics to absurdity - he's just a beneficiary of the corporate interests' aversion to the Clintons and Gore."

No, Sen. Obama IS part of the force that is "reducing our politics to absurdity". He's not just the beneficiary - his team is active in promoting the Obama brand.

Check out "Brand O":

"The Machine Behind Obama's Mystique -- Barack Obama's campaign may claim to be about a new brand of politics, but behind the scenes, the machine that has carefully controlled Brand "O" is anything but."

..."The Obama candidacy and campaign, while undeniably substantive, are the result of a very intelligent strategy driven by old-fashioned product marketing techniques and political machinery. That the strategy has been both innovative and successful does not change the fact both components of Obama's campaign are very calculated. Contrary to the brand ID of effortless authenticity, Brand "O" has been masterminded by some very smooth operators who are among the usual suspects in political media consulting."

Obama isn't just taking advantage of the corporate interests' aversion to Clinton and Gore, he and his team are marketing what people think is a whole new brand but is actually a repackaging strategy. The Business Week article: "The Secret Side of David Axelrod" says: "The master of "Astroturfing" has a second firm that shapes public opinion for corporations." Hm. Imagine that.

Obama is no innocent recipient of corporate interests. He is proof that marketing works.

Horselover Fat said...

Can we just say Obama came so far so fast by having the wind at his back, backed by various powerful and wealthy elites? Some of whom didn't do their due diligence and vet the guy to realize what they were signing up for?

They may have thought they were getting an amiable and cooperative front man, such as Ronald Reagan for his California backers. Instead, it turns out the guy has an independent streak and wants to be a player.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

The marketing works on people whom you'd think would know better--I have largely abandoned several former favorite blogs because they've been assimilated into the Oborg Collective.

I only recently turned against the Precious; I simply held back from endorsing him because the emerging cultlike aspects of his campaign disturbed me. Even then, I could not understand why so many other people whom I thought belonged to the reality-based community were swooning over a candidate in whom I saw little substance.

The Obama campaign has taught me that the metaphoric Kool-Aid comes in many flavors, not all of which are right-wing.

alibe said...

It is annoying that missplsd (brain) has 5 posts that we have to wade thru to get to the intersting, insiteful, intelligent posts. What is this trolls problem? I "guess we run in different circles" he/she says. I guess so. We run in circles that know the difference between the truth and pretend.

orionATL said...

i think the obama campaign has understood from the beginning that his was a long-shot candidacy -

that obama was a political wizard of oz, a powerful-appearing apparition which masked an experientially small politician with a megaphone hiding behind a sheet.

i suspect their key strategy all along has been to bluff clinton with the appearance of overwhelming support for obama and thereby pressure her out of the contest.

if i am recalling correctly, the obama campaign have been insisting since mid-February,

with extraordinary assistance from both the corporate and the web-log media,

that senator clinton leave the campaign and give the nomination to senator obama.

i think, i hope, that the obama campaign may have misjudged senator clinton's toughness and determination.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

I will find it interesting to see which one of their favorites--McSame or The Precious--the Corporate Holodeck Media chooses when the time comes.

orionATL said...

a post that aligns with anglachel's is

"clinton election juggernaut accelerates' by bringiton.

it was posted may 16 at corrente.

less related but very, very interesting is a post on the skilled, slick marketing of obama.

the author is "new hampster", herself a marketeer.

the article is entitled "the brand called obama"

it was posted on may 16 at no quarter.

CMike said...


Perhaps we'll see. If Sen. Obama were to get the nomination I'm guessing the corporate media will turn against him. At that point we would see how smooth the sailing for Sen. Obama would continue to be - I'm guessing he and his operation would find themselves tossed on tempest seas.

I think Sen. McCain and the corporate media started to turn on Obama a bit too soon, just before the Texas and Ohio primaries. The Obama campaign has been struggling ever since, though the media efforts have returned to trying to drive Sen. Clinton out of the race.

alibe said...

In response to Ivory Bill
I think the corporate media and the monied interests have nearly won. They own two of the three horses left in the race. Only Hillary stands in the way of a guaranteed win. The media will be happy with McCain, but my guess is that they really want Obama. Sounds strange but I believe Obama, who is not a Democrat, but plays one in this contest, is the one they can depend on to destroy the Democratic party and to pander to his corporate backers and will gladly thow any and all progressive interests under the bus. Just like Bush was able to throw the true conservative interests of his followers under the bus, (hence a deficit that balooned as far as the mind can imagine), Obama will be able to do that with liberal interests. The left is bamboozled and will not be able to muster the strength to oppose Obama because they will be too busy rationalizing why they supported this fool. Obama will be able to call on the poor and middle classes to sacrifice to save the country (as we will be in dire economic straits). This sacrifice will only extend to the Democratic base. The monied will always escape the sacrifice. He can keep us schmucks in line, for the most part...they think.. Something McCain will not be able to do. That is why I will vote for McCain over Obama if Hillary has the nomination stolen. Better to deal with the devil we know from a Democratic Party that is still intact.

Horselover Fat said...

Word, Alice!

orionATL said...

if you want to know why all the fear in the obama camp

and why the strenuous effort being made by by them to stampede superdelegates in their direction

go the the tables and charts at

i often select the page within this site entitled:

"Election Results by State Summary Page"

but there are others pages as well that are very informative.

the point made by the table on the "election results by state.." page is that

the vote difference between senator obama and senator clinton is very, very small. it's insignificantly tiny.

what has happened to the democratic party this year is that a clever operative, david axelrod, understood he had a chance of winning the democratic nomination on a series of technicalities -

technicalities arising from the idiosyncratic structure of the democratic party's nominating process,

a structure that will be DISBANDED immediately after the nominee is chosen and NEVER USED AGAIN.

think about that for a second,

an inexperienced, somewhat effete democratic candidate, who should never have been given serious consideration has gamed an eccentric nominating system and is on the verge of seizing the nomination from a much more experienced and much more politically robust candidate.

but time is the enemy of this attempted coup. the fundamental fear in the obama camp is that time will run out on them and the tide of superd's will begin running back toward senator clinton.

that's why the tactical decision to declare obama the winner on may 20, before all the primaries have been completed.

check out those tables and charts. see for yourself just how numerically close things are.

and note that ALL of senator obama's small numerical advantage came from his gaming the caucuses in january and february.

Unknown said...


I've been reading your journal and I just want to say THANK YOU to you and everyone here.

I lost all my usual haunts to the disgusting Obamabots, luckily I found some sanity here.

go Hillary go
she's doing much better in Oregon today and headed for another wipe out in KY.

Susan Kraemer said...

Pimping my diary here on

Why An Eco Superdelegate Has A Difficult Decision

bottom line, the better candidate eats kitties...of course, but you knew that!

But if you are interested in the nitty-gritty of exactly why her clean energy plan is so much better, you might want to check this out.

To my knowledge nobody has delved into the comparisons in the media.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

I'd just like to point out that missplsd seriously injured her/his credibility in this thread. He/she asserted that Hillary insinuated that Obama was a Muslim by hedging her "no" answer with "as far as I know."

I've seen the FULL 60 minutes interview several times (but couldn't find a link to the FULL interview just now), but here's a basic paraphrase of how it went down:

Interviewer: Is Obama a Muslim?

Hillary: No.

Interviewer: But there's so much talk about it. Is Obama a Muslim?

Hillary: No. He said he's not and I take him at his word.

Interviewer: But there are so many rumors. Is Obama a Muslim?

Hillary: Look - he's not a Muslim as far as I know.

This is the kind of underhanded crap that just solidifies my resolve to write-in Hillary in the Fall election.

You're not doing your candidate any favors missplsd by coming here, to a forum that's hyper-aware of all the issues, and trying to spread a "i invented the internet" sort of mischaracterization about Hillary.

orionATL said...

well said,

cb turtle.

well done!

Hank Gillette said...

orionatl said:

an inexperienced, somewhat effete democratic candidate, who should never have been given serious consideration has gamed an eccentric nominating system and is on the verge of seizing the nomination from a much more experienced and much more politically robust candidate.

Boo hoo.

How dare a candidate actually organize his campaign around the rules and compete in all of the states? I'm Hillary Clinton, damn it, and the nomination was mine. Everyone said so. No one told me I'd actually have to get organized and compete after February 5.

Now that I've lost, let's change the rules so I can win.

orionATL said...

hank gillette -

are you one of the new obama hires?

what shift have you been assigned?

nothing you said above,

from the juvenile sarcasm of "boo hoo"

to the end of your comment

challenges my argument that the nomination for president of the united states from the democratic party

was gamed to induct a grossly inexperienced young politician into presidential politics.

dorm lounge, sports-teeveee-watching sarcasm is no substitute for a solid argument.

Other Lisa said...

Nah, I think Hank is giving it away for free. The new paid guys have been ordered to make nice.

Miss Malevolent said...

Missplsd, this is in response to your comment about the, "as far as I know" supposed gaffe Clinton made in regards to Obama's religious heritage.

If you watch the tape he kept asking her over and over again as she responded in the negative..."no, no, no" and finally with incredulity she said, "as far as I know" which I took to mean, "You keep asking me the same thing over and over again, is there something you know that I don't?"

Now if it had been me instead of being courteous to the reporter I would've said, "Why do you keep asking me the same question over and over again?"

Instead she thought, "as far as I know" would squash it. Instead those five little innocuous words have been analyzed and taken out of context so horribly to the point of absurdity.

How many times have people said when questioned about something, "As far as I know, he/she doesn't do this or that."

So does that suddenly mean that they do whatever it is you said they didn't? Ridiculous and one of the most glaring examples of why I have ZERO respect for Obama's campaign, his staff and a lot of his supporters...because of the obviousness of this reaching to paint Hillary as a racist control freak when she is just a passionate woman who really believes she can set this country on the right track.

Anonymous said...

Miss Malevolent, and others -

I accept your explanations for Clinton's "as far as I know," and I agree that the interviewer was aggressive, trying to push her into saying something incendiary. Nonetheless, my hairs went up when I watched that interview -- not when I read anti-Clinton media spin about it, but when I watched it live. As I said, I may be hypersensitive about this issue for personal reasons, but that doesn't make my initial, visceral response a smear or political contrivance.

My point was not that Clinton is a racist or that she is exploiting fears of Islam. My point was merely that, like Obama, she isn't always accountable for the offense she and her surrogates have caused people -- even people who are generally inclined to support her. How difficult would it be to put out a press release the next day saying something along these lines:

In response to some aggressive questioning, I said that Sen. Obama was not a Muslim 'as far as I know.' Some have interpreted this as my having telegraphed some doubt about Obama's Christian faith or allegiance to our nation's shared system of values. Nothing could be further from the truth. I abhor the right-wing attack machine that has worked to distort both my and Senator Obama's records. It seeks to exploit hatred of religious minorities for political gain.

I think countering this kind of bigotry would have been the right thing to do. I feel similarly about her (perhaps accidental) apposition of "hardworking Americans" and "white Americans." If that's not what you meant, why not get out ahead of the story and say, "Wait, hold up! I misspoke!"

In general am saddened to read so little condemnation of racism and religious bigotry on the pro-Clinton blogs, just as I am saddened that the pro-Obama blogs fail to recognize -- and often reproduce -- misogyny. I understand that you don't get why those "five little innocuous words" would provoke an immediate, personal response in some of us, but simply telling us that we're wrong -- or worse, that we're "hate-baiters" -- is not at all helpful. A little sensitivity could go a long way.

Finally, since I have been limited to one post per day, I'd like to comment briefly on the celebration of the Fred Siegel piece in the comment thread of "Ponies, Cows..." I hope that most of you are not comfortable jumping into bed with Giuliani henchman Siegel. He is no great ally to the progressive causes you endorse (if the casual reference to Malcolm X's "ideology of hate" wasn't an indication). In particular, the claim that Obama's race insulates him from criticism is a retread of the conservative myth that "political correctness" has given women and minorities a free pass. As we know, that couldn't be farther from the truth.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

missplsd, why don't you do a little experiment. Go to all the pro-Obama blogs and catalog the number of times a sexist epithet is used to refer to Hillary. Then go to all the pro-Hillary blogs and catalog the number of times a racist epithet is used to refer to Obama. See if it's really as even as you claim. As for Anglachel's blog, I have never read a single post or comment that uses racist language or innuendo to refer to Obama.

This means something.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anglachel said...

Sorry, missplcd. You had your substantive post for the day. Your link posts have been informative, so are allowed to stay. You made an extremely bad impression on me when you began posting and I'm not going to cut you slack until I see a pattern of constructive posts. That doesn't mean agreement - that means thoughtful engagement.


sassysenora said...

Anglachel, thanks for the post.

missplsd, i've never posted here (just found the site because a link from another site) but i just wanted to tell you that i'm a Clinton supporter but i understand what you're saying about the 60 Minutes interview. i think that many Clinton supporters are very sensitive to this because clinton's response was severely edited, played on YouTube, and badly misreprented ad nauseum by many Obama supporters and the MSM.

when i saw the interview, i was angry at the reporter for being so agressive. i would have answered like Clinton. i thought she was essentially saying "geez, i've told you point-blank several times already that he's not a Muslim and you keep asking me the same question. what do you want me to say? i don't have any information that would suggest he's a muslim." then that got twisted to being an attack on Obama when, in fact, she was ardently defending him. and then the whole thing got a lot of traction and was used in a very unfair and hurtful manner against Clinton.

but i can relate to you because i had a similar thing happen when Obama gave his race speech. i thought it was good but not nearly as great as the MSM or some Obama supporters i know (including my husband) thought. when i heard Obama talk about his grandmother and her reaction to blacks without any explanation of WHY his grandmother had said those things (i think she had been threatened or attacked by blacks when she was fairly old and was afraid because of the danger), my heart sunk. it felt to me like he was attacking his grandmother and being very insensitive to her (because how's she or ppl who love her going to feel about him saying those things on national TV) or people like her? it seemed like he was all-too-happy to throw his grandmother under the bus in order to save Rev. Wright.

i know that my reaction was because i have severe PTSD because of attacks from men (more of them white than black or brown) but that was my immediate, viceral, and very strong reaction. when i said that, my husband started screaming in my face that i was a republican tool, that i was a racist (i who have had many more friends of color than he ecer has), etc. i got the same reaction from other Obama supporters (except none of them screamed in my face, though a couple did yell at me) who said that i must have been parroting republican talking points, that i was awful, etc. well, how could i have been parroting anyone when that was my immediate, visceral reaction? (not to mention that i don't read the blogs or columnists that i was accused of parroting.)

just to be clear, i'm sure Obama loves his grandmother. i don't think he meant to throw her under the bus. but it has bothered me ever since that speech because i think it indicated a profound insensitivity to women and how we react physiologically when we're attacked or threatened with attack. i think it showed that Obama is much more sensitive to men and attacks - even verbal ones - against them than he is to women and attacks - even physical ones - against them. it's still a very deep sense that i have and i'm going to keep it even if Obama supporters keep calling me a racist and a republican tool because of that feeling. actually, i think when they do that, it intensifies the feeling instead of dispelling it.

i agree that we all need to speak up against injustice, whatever its form. and to try to be sensitive to the perspective of others and not immediately assume that they're bad people or trolls just because we disagree with them.

Anonymous said...

i agree that we all need to speak up against injustice, whatever its form. and to try to be sensitive to the perspective of others and not immediately assume that they're bad people or trolls just because we disagree with them.

Sassysenora, thank you for your thoughtful response. I agree wholeheartedly.

I hadn't previously thought about Obama's remarks about his grandmother that way, but I understand where you were coming from, and I will try to be more attuned to that kind of language in the future. I'm sorry so many people misinterpreted your concerns and further insulted you by finger-pointing and name-calling.

Sorry, missplcd. You had your substantive post for the day. Your link posts have been informative, so are allowed to stay. You made an extremely bad impression on me when you began posting and I'm not going to cut you slack until I see a pattern of constructive posts. That doesn't mean agreement - that means thoughtful engagement.

Fair enough. I'm sorry. I thought I was thoughtfully engaging; it's hard to tell what you will perceive as constructive.

For those of you who missed my post, I basically said the following:

1. I didn't intend to imply moral equivalence between the pro-Obama and pro-Clinton online communities. I just meant that both depressed and alienated me.

2. I agree that Obama blogs (commenters mostly) have been much worse than Clinton blogs (bloggers and commenters) in terms of offensive language and prejudice. But I hold any community of which I'm a member to a higher standard: not just avoiding vulgar terminology, but actually trying to respect and empathize with others and speaking out against prejudice and injustice, whether it's something that touches you personally. This includes respecting others' feelings even when you hadn't previously identified a particular incident as something that might upset someone.

3. Here at Anglachel's Journal, I have been concerned about some commenters' willingness to embrace the notion that Obama doesn't experience racism in order to make two unrelated points, (1) that Clinton isn't racist and (2) that Clinton experiences sexism. In particular, the thrust of the Wilentz and Siegel pieces is that his blackness actually confers on Obama a privileged form of political citizenship. I hope some of you actually see this claim for what it is: the willful blindness of people with privelege to the enduring power of structural oppression and offensive language. (And you should know that there are people who make similar false claims about Clinton's gender.) I am sad -- not angry, but sad -- that no one here has thought to respond when someone quotes Siegel's conclusion that Obama's blackness is a "cover for his political failings."

I also had hoped that one of you might have criticized two commenters' choice to refer to Clinton supporter "Inkognegro" -- a cute pun -- as "Inky Negro," no matter how much you disagreed with his comments. I thought that was insensitive at best.

sassysenora said...


thank you for your reply. i wanted to post because it seemed to me that a few of the people here were acting (although in a MUCH more civil and decent manner) much like the obama supporters had with me. because something had hurt you in a way they couldn't understand (and , in this case also because they had been hurt by the unfair way Clinton's response had been characterized), they ASSUMED that you were motivated by a desire to unfairly hurt their candidate. but i understand how clinton's statement could have hurt someone. the hurt isn't rational. you owned that. i hope i owned it with what obama said. but it still hurts and we aren't choosing to react that way in order to harm anyone else. we aren't saying we were hurt in order to harm anyone else. we are trying to share our experience and perspective in order to try to build bridges with the other side so that, at least, we can agree to disagree without shutting the other person out or hating the other.

although i'm a clinton supporter (and i take it you're an obama supporter), i, too have been dismayed by the invective and hate that seems to be regularly and blithely hurled about on both clinton and obama blogs, especially from many of the commenters but also from some of the bloggers. (unlike you, i've thought the Obama bloggers have been a lot worse than the Clinton bloggers. but i understand how an Obama supporter could honestly see things differently.) i only posted here because this site seemed relatively civil. (thanks, Anglachel!)

i, too, have been saddened by this election. i've winced at some of the things that both candidates have said. i've been saddened and sometimes repulsed by the media and what many of the candidates' high-profile official and unofficial supporters have said and done. (and, in most cases, left struggling with the issue of "how responsible is the candidate and her or his campaign for this?" if the candidate is never accountable, it encourages a race to the bottom,, adopting a marketing strategy of having non-attributable others say and do the things that they'd like to do but know they can't. but, realistically, no one can always control her or his supporters. so i try to apply the same standards to Obama as i do to Clinton. mostly i end up feeling alienated from politics and the electoral process.)

i stopped reading blogs sometime before Super Tuesday. (that was before i'd decided who to vote for and when many Dems seemed happy because both candidates were so excellent - even if not as wonderful as their candidate - that we were all going to celebrate whichever candidate was nominated and sail together blissfully to a landslide victory in November.) periodically, i'd try to find a relatively civil blog where Dems actually talked (and listened) to each other. instead i found a plethora (i wish i could say myriad but most were depressingly similar) of blogs where ppl called each other names, disparaged the others' supporters (not the specific ones who did something worthy of scorn but her/his unnamed supporters in general), and pointed fingers about which candidate created this awful mess and these deep divisions. i'd hoped that, at least occasionally, Clinton and Obama supporters could discuss the policies of both candidates (beyond something to the effect of "my candidate is great. your candidate sux.") as well as alternatives to those policies. obviously, i'm not going to get anything approaching that.

i'm very sad, too. i guess i'm a dinosaur. i think that's why i need to leave the Dems. i hate howard dean for the way he's dealt with the election. i hate the whole DNC/DLC split in the party. but mostly i hate that we can't even talk to each other anymore.

i haven't read the siegel or wilentz articles you refer to. it would be interesting to talk about our (most likely) different perspectives about the articles. i don't think this is the proper forum. but if i see someone calling inkognegro "Inky Negro", i will say something. that's awful. my guess is that i'd strongly disagree with what s/he was saying but that's no reason to attack her/him personally or try to use her/his race as some kind of insult.

Anonymous said...

I hope it's okay if I use my Tuesday comment now. :)

Thanks again, sassysenora. I find your kindness and sensitivity really refreshing, and I agree with you. I especially appreciate your focus on the question "how responsible is the candidate and her or his campaign for this?" While I share your concern about not letting candidates off the hook for the work of their surrogates, and I wish both candidates would speak directly to the kind of vitriol their supporters are spewing at each other, it's important to keep in mind that some jerk posting on a blog somewhere doesn't represent his/her candidate.

Just to clarify two things, both of minor importance:

1. I didn't mean to imply that the Obama bloggers were no worse than the Clinton bloggers. Many of them are worse. I just wanted to specify that most of the really awful things I read -- the stuff I would describe as "much worse" than anything I see on Clinton blogs -- are in comments to the blogs. There are some Obama blogs I just won't read anymore, however, due to both sexist language and intense hostility. (A commenter on one blog I read recently said that many of these people were actually Republicans trying to divide Democrats, and I believe this is possible, though I'm not sure. I've definitely heard some disgusting things from committed Democrats in my time.)

2. I am not actually an Obama supporter or a Clinton supporter, just a curious and concerned observer who wants a Democratic president. (I once supported Kucinich and then supported Edwards, and since his departure from the race, I have been observing the primaries from the sidelines.) I doubt I will vote for either candidate in the general election, but if New York comes into play, I will vote for the Democratic nominee, whoever s/he is. (The irony is that I am not even a registered Democrat and have never before voted for a Democratic candidate for president. I am a third-party registrant in a safely blue state so I've never faced the tough choice between principle and results.)

In any case, I just wanted to thank you for giving me some hope about the state of progressive politics after this hard-fought battle.