Monday, March 31, 2008

Maya Angelou, Celebrating Women by Celebrating Clinton

For Women's History Month, the Hillary Clinton site has had some WONDERFUL pieces from some amazing women. The following piece by Maya Angelou is the last in the series. Angelou has long been a Clinton supporter, and endorsed Hillary some time ago. Angelou is a professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. She is an amazong poet...

Angelou also delivered the Inaugural Poem for Bill Clinton in 1993. It follows this one just because it is a beautiful piece, and deserves a re-read...

Celebrating Women: A Note from Dr. Maya Angelou
by Dr. Maya Angelou3/31/2008 11:45:30 AMThis entry is part of a series in celebration of Women's History Month.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits end, but she has always risen, always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you’re born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But, to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies.

Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country.

She is the prayer of every woman and man who long for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the families, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to what it can become.

She means to rise.

She means to help our country rise. Don’t give up on her, ever.

In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country a wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety, without crippling fear.

Rise Hillary.


Inaugural Poem, 1993
Maya Angelou
20 January 1993

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Marked the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.

I will give you no more hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.

Your mouths spilling words
Armed for slaughter.

The Rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A River sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.

Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.

Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more. Come,

Clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I and the
Tree and the stone were one.

Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your
Brow and when you yet knew you still
Knew nothing.

The River sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing River and the wise Rock.

So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the Teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the Tree.

Today, the first and last of every Tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the River.

Plant yourself beside me, here beside the River.

Each of you, descendant of some passed
On traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name, you
Pawnee, Apache and Seneca, you
Cherokee Nation, who rested with me, then
Forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of
Other seekers--desperate for gain,
Starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot ...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru, bought
Sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.

I am the Tree planted by the River,
Which will not be moved.

I, the Rock, I the River, I the Tree
I am yours--your Passages have been paid.

Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.

History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.

Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.

Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.

Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me, the
Rock, the River, the Tree, your country.

No less to Midas than the mendicant.

No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes, into
Your brother's face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

As Promised...

Some good news. As you probably know by now, Hillary Clinton was interviewed by the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review last week. It was during that interview that she responded to a question abt Rev. Jeremiah Wright. She responded that she would have walked out if her pastor had made such hateful comments. Naturally, the Obama people, and the MSM jumped all ove rher, even though she voiced what MANY Americans have been thinking. Anyway, the following is an editorial by Richard Mellon Scaife, and I think demonstrates what happens when people stop allowing the media and detractors to color their perspective. They begin to really see HILLARY - to see her passion, her dedication, her intellect, her politics. But enough from me - here is the piece from Mr. Scaife:

Hillary, reassessed

By Richard M. Scaife
Monday, March 31, 2008

Hillary Clinton walked into a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review conference room last Tuesday to meet with some of the newspaper's editors and reporters and declared, "It was so counterintuitive, I just thought it would be fun to do."
The room erupted in laughter. Her remark defused what could have been a confrontational meeting.

More than that, it said something about the New York senator and former first lady who hopes to be America's next president.

More than most modern political figures, Sen. Clinton has been criticized regularly, often harshly, by the Trib. We disagreed with many of her policies and her actions in the past. We still disagree with some of her proposals.

The very morning that she came to the Trib, our editorial page raised questions about her campaign and criticized her on several other scores.
Reading that, a lesser politician -- one less self-assured, less informed on domestic and foreign issues, less confident of her positions -- might well have canceled the interview right then and there.

Sen. Clinton came to the Trib anyway and, for 90 minutes, answered questions.

Her meeting and her remarks during it changed my mind about her.

Walking into our conference room, not knowing what to expect (or even, perhaps, expecting the worst), took courage and confidence. Not many politicians have political or personal courage today, so it was refreshing to see her exhibit both.

Sen. Clinton also exhibited an impressive command of many of today's most pressing domestic and international issues. Her answers were thoughtful, well-stated, and often dead-on.

Particularly regarding foreign policy, she identified what we consider to be the most important challenges and dangers that the next president must confront and resolve in order to guarantee our nation's security. Those include an increasingly hostile Russia, an increasingly powerful China and increasing instability in Pakistan and South America.

Like me, she believes we must pull our troops out of Iraq, because it is time for Iraqis to handle their own destiny -- and, more important, because it is past time to end the toll on our soldiers there, to begin rebuilding our military, and to refocus our attention on other threats, starting with Afghanistan.

On domestic policy, Sen. Clinton and I might find more areas on which we disagree. Yet we also agree on others. Asked about the utter failure of federal efforts to rebuild New Orleans since the Katrina disaster, for example, she called it just what it has been -- "not just a national disgrace (but) an international embarrassment."

Does all this mean I'm ready to come out and recommend that our Democrat readers choose Sen. Clinton in Pennsylvania's April 22 primary?

No -- not yet, anyway. In fairness, we at the Trib want to hear Sen. Barack Obama's answers to some of the same questions and to others before we make that decision.

But it does mean that I have a very different impression of Hillary Clinton today than before last Tuesday's meeting -- and it's a very favorable one indeed.

Call it a "counterintuitive" impression.

Richard M. Scaife is the owner of the Tribune-Review.

Not What I Had Planned to Write...

Today. I planned to write something positive about Hillary Clinton - her grace under fire, her courage, her continued passion to serve her country - and I will get to that. But first, it has come to my attention that the mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, has been under seige by angry Obama supporters because he supports Clinton. This, in conjuntion with the horrible events over the weekend in Texas, some illegal, of Obama supporters against Clinton supporters in the caucus process, not to mention the booing of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a woman who has served her constituency well for many, many years, as she faced the convention, are just infuriating...Why was Rep Jackson booed when she took the stage? Because she is African American, and she supports Clinton.

This has all gotten way, way out of hand. Something most DEFINITELY needs to be done, and SOON (Hello? Dr. Dean?? Senator Obama??? Hello? Anyone out there?? How about a little leadership? Oh, wait - what am I thinking? They'll do anything to destroy Clinton...) But for now, I would like to urge you to write Mayor Michael Nutter to lend him your support as he goes through these vicious attacks for supporting THE most qualified candidate. He needs to know that we are behind him as he weathers this storm. His address is:

Now for some good news - Clinton is leading Obama almost 2 -1 in KY in the polls. I just love that Bluegrass State, and not just becaues my favorite sister-in-law is from there! (Oh - and her dad is a State Representative, Democrat - cool, huh?) Let's hope THAT momentum continues!

More good news: Elizabeth Edwards said that she favors Clinton's health insurance plan! Yippee! I LOVE Elizabeth Edwards, and have a LOT of respect for her. So, this means something to me. This, along with the article in yesterday's New York Magazine about the Edwards is all very interesting, especially the timing. In the article, it detailed how Elizabeth warmed up to Hillary, and how Obama came off as being arrogant and aloof. Even worse, he fought with Elizabeth about his health care plan - fought with her about it! Well, there's a winning strategy - not. Fight with the wife of the man whose endorsement you are seeking. Ahem. Anyway, I have a good feeling about this. Is an endorsement for HILLARY forthcoming?? One can hope - maybe before the NC primary. Here is the link to the article in which Elizabeth makes this statement:,1,6541075.story

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia; TX Caucus

Mayor Nutter is one of Clinton's endrosers, fromw ay back in December. He is a HIGHLY respected politician, and is held in high regard by his constituency. Yesterday, he did an interview on ABC News with David Muir. The interview is here: But the video is even better:

Then there is this video of a Clinton delegate in Texas being called by an Obama worker in an attempt to confuse her, and get her to switch her delegate status. Apparently, this was an activity in which the Obama camp was utilizing with impunity - calling Clinton delegates and trying to get them to switch. It is pretty entertaining, especially at the end (and also a bit distrbing - how did this person get all of this information on this woman??):

And for more on the whole caucus extravaganza in TX, there is this personal account as told at on Sat., 3/29/08:

"I live in Ft Worth, TX. The day of the election, my mother was a paid election worker by the county. She reported the Obama campaign had workers electioneering INSIDE the designated area that NO electioneering was to transpire. I called the Dem county chair to go and stop it. After he left, my mom told me that the Obama campaign was at it again. She called Voter Protection @ the Hillary hdqtrs. As I was helping at MY precinct (volunteering for the HRC campaign), I noticed the Obama voters caucusing incorrectly. As I tried to advise them of the correct methods, I was called a HOST of very bad names taking shots at my ethnicity and my sexual orientation. (Being gay and Chicano, you can probably guess what I was called).
The Obama voters were very aggressive and refused to hear how the rules worked. I told them that they were going to have to caucus again today (Mar 29). They summarily said I was full of crap.

It doesn't surprise me that there will be a shortage of Obama supporters in some locales. I would tell them, "Look, we're all Democrats, yes I may be with Hillary's campaign but I don't mind information sharing."

After the name calling I received and the names that these voters called Hillary, those actions forever turned me off to Obama. His supporters were rude and cussed anyone out who tried to help them.

This happened at Precincts 1126 and 1311 in Tarrant County, @ the Unitarian Church on Sandy Lane. I filed a complaint with our local election board as how the Obama precinct captain handled all this."

James Carville on Richardson

Say what you will about James Carville, but the man certainly has a knack for saying some pretty interesting things. In this case, what he has to say about Bill Richardson, the "Judas" comment, and loyalty are mighty well said, in my humble opinion. Frankly, after hearing way too much from formerly respected senators like Dodd and Lahey this week, this was a breath of fresh air. I wish we had MORE Democratic leaders who thought for themselves and weren't afraid to ruffle some feathers. Below is an Op-Ed from by Carville:

Disloyalty That Merits An Insult

By James Carville
Saturday, March 29, 2008; A15

Last Friday the New York Times asked me to comment on New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama for president. For 15 years, Richardson served with no small measure of distinction as the representative of New Mexico's 3rd Congressional District. But he gained national stature -- and his career took off -- when President Bill Clinton appointed him U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and later made him energy secretary.

So, when asked on Good Friday about Richardson's rejection of the Clintons, the metaphor was too good to pass by. I compared Richardson to Judas Iscariot. (And Matthew Dowd is right: Had it been the Fourth of July, I probably would have called him Benedict Arnold.)

I believed that Richardson's appointments in Bill Clinton's administration and his longtime personal relationship with both Clintons, combined with his numerous assurances to the Clintons and their supporters that he would never endorse any of Sen. Hillary Clinton's opponents, merited a strong response.

I was fully aware of what kind of response calling someone a Judas would evoke.

Certainly, it didn't take long for the resign-renounce-denounce complex to kick into high gear.

In a bit of bloviation that brought joy to my heart, Bill O'Reilly pronounced himself "appalled."

Keith Olbermann, about two degrees shy of the temperature necessary for self-combustion, quipped, "So if he's Judas in this analogy, who's Jesus?"

Even Diane Sawyer took the analogy to the extreme, questioning, "Are you saying that he made a deal of some kind when you talk about 30 shekels?"

Others opined that my remark was "tactless" and "ugly."

Heck, I give myself some credit for managing to get the Clinton and Obama campaigns to agree on something -- that neither wanted to be associated with my remarks.

I know enough to know that comparing a former Cabinet secretary and sitting governor to Judas is inflammatory and provocative. I expected the coverage that it evoked.

Was it a desperate gambit for attention? Was I just trying to prove my point that both Samantha Power's resignation from the Obama campaign for calling Sen. Clinton a monster and the Obama campaign hysterically promoting Geraldine Ferraro's misguided statements were equally silly and superficial?

Not really. I was saying what I felt as an individual who -- with no encouragement from the Clintons but as someone who is proud to consider himself a friend of theirs -- thought that Richardson had done something deeply disloyal.

Earlier this month I decried the political environment in which, by whining about every little barb, candidates seem to be trying to win the election through a war of staff-resignation attrition. Politics is a messy business, but campaigning prepares you for governing. It prepares you to get hit, stand strong and, if necessary, hit back. I've worked on enough campaigns to know that the most aggrieved candidate rarely emerges victorious. And for all of the hypersensitivity we're seeing this cycle, this campaign has not been particularly negative or nasty compared with previous elections.

Fully aware of this supercharged environment in which the slightest slight is elevated to the most egregious insult, I waded in -- okay, dove in -- by demonstrating what constitutes a real insult.

I believe that loyalty is a cardinal virtue. Nowhere in the world is loyalty so little revered and tittle-tattle so greatly venerated as in Washington. I was a little-known political consultant until Bill Clinton made me. When he came upon hard times, I felt it my duty -- whatever my personal misgivings -- to stick by him. At the very least, I would have stayed silent. And maybe that's my problem with what Bill Richardson did. Silence on his part would have spoken loudly enough.

Most of the stuff I've ever said is pretty insignificant and by in large has been said off the cuff and without much thought to the potential consequences. That was not the case in this instance. Bill Richardson's response was that the Clinton people felt they were entitled to the presidency. In my mind, that is a debatable hypothesis. But, even more than that, I know that a former president of the United States who appointed someone to two Senate-confirmed positions is entitled to have his phone calls returned.

If Richardson was going to turn on the Clintons the way he did, I see no problem in saying what I said. Because if loyalty is one virtue, another is straight talk. And if Democrats can't handle that, they're going to have a hard time handling a Republican nominee who is seeking the presidency with that as his slogan.

James Carville, who managed Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign, is a political commentator for CNN.

Is This A Pattern...

of Obama's? To say one thing in private, and another in public? I would contend we have certainly seen a lot of that this campaign season, but it seems this is not new to Obama. Below is a letter from Senator John McCain to Obama from February, 2006. All I can say is, WOW!

McCain Releases Letter to Obama
February 6, 2006
Washington D.C. ­– Today, Senator McCain sent the following letter to Senator Obama regarding ongoing Congressional efforts towards bipartisan lobbying reform. The following is the text from that letter:

February 6, 2006

The Honorable Barack Obama

United States Senate


Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Obama:

I would like to apologize to you for assuming that your private assurances to me regarding your desire to cooperate in our efforts to negotiate bipartisan lobbying reform legislation were sincere. When you approached me and insisted that despite your leadership’s preference to use the issue to gain a political advantage in the 2006 elections, you were personally committed to achieving a result that would reflect credit on the entire Senate and offer the country a better example of political leadership, I concluded your professed concern for the institution and the public interest was genuine and admirable. Thank you for disabusing me of such notions with your letter to me dated February 2, 2006, which explained your decision to withdraw from our bipartisan discussions. I’m embarrassed to admit that after all these years in politics I failed to interpret your previous assurances as typical rhetorical gloss routinely used in politics to make self-interested partisan posturing appear more noble. Again, sorry for the confusion, but please be assured I won’t make the same mistake again.

As you know, the Majority Leader has asked Chairman Collins to hold hearings and mark up a bill for floor consideration in early March. I fully support such timely action and I am confident that, together with Senator Lieberman, the Committee on Governmental Affairs will report out a meaningful, bipartisan bill.

You commented in your letter about my “interest in creating a task force to further study” this issue, as if to suggest I support delaying the consideration of much-needed reforms rather than allowing the committees of jurisdiction to hold hearings on the matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. The timely findings of a bipartisan working group could be very helpful to the committee in formulating legislation that will be reported to the full Senate. Since you are new to the Senate, you may not be aware of the fact that I have always supported fully the regular committee and legislative process in the Senate, and routinely urge Committee Chairmen to hold hearings on important issues. In fact, I urged Senator Collins to schedule a hearing upon the Senate’s return in January.

Furthermore, I have consistently maintained that any lobbying reform proposal be bipartisan. The bill Senators Joe Lieberman and Bill Nelson and I have introduced is evidence of that commitment as is my insistence that members of both parties be included in meetings to develop the legislation that will ultimately be considered on the Senate floor. As I explained in a recent letter to Senator Reid, and have publicly said many times, the American people do not see this as just a Republican problem or just a Democratic problem. They see it as yet another run-of-the-mill Washington scandal, and they expect it will generate just another round of partisan gamesmanship and posturing. Senator Lieberman and I, and many other members of this body, hope to exceed the public’s low expectations. We view this as an opportunity to bring transparency and accountability to the Congress, and, most importantly, to show the public that both parties will work together to address our failings.

As I noted, I initially believed you shared that goal. But I understand how important the opportunity to lead your party’s effort to exploit this issue must seem to a freshman Senator, and I hold no hard feelings over your earlier disingenuousness. Again, I have been around long enough to appreciate that in politics the public interest isn’t always a priority for every one of us. Good luck to you, Senator.


John McCain

United States Senate

Open Letter from Former Admirals and Generals

If you have not yet given a donation to Hillary Clinton, PLEASE consider doing so NOW! Thank you!!

Press Release from the Clinton Campaign (


Open Letter from Former Admirals and Generals Supporting Hillary Clinton
The challenges facing our nation today are among the most difficult of any time in our history. We are fighting wars on two fronts. Our credibility and leadership in the world have been eroded; our alliances are frayed; our armed forces are under strain.

As retired flag and general officers, we have devoted our lives to our country. We have hundreds of thousands of men and women on the front lines that have done the same. At this critical time in our nation’s history, our men and women in uniform deserve better than a presidential debate mired in trivia. The stakes are simply too high. As we are poised to choose our next Commander-in-Chief, we should not allow the media to divert attention from the real issues. What matters is who is ready and inspired to lead -- who can be Commander-in -Chief on Day One.

It is imperative that our new President knows how and when to use force and diplomacy judiciously, to know how to deploy the olive branch and the arrow. The President needs to be ready to act swiftly and decisively in a crisis. And we think our next President must restore our moral authority and leadership around the world with the courage to meet with our adversaries when appropriate, and the wisdom to pursue diplomacy wisely.

It is especially important to understand the military and diplomatic challenges facing us in Iraq, and to end the Iraq war responsibly and safely. It is also important to rededicate ourselves to winning in Afghanistan, the forgotten front line in our fight against terrorism.

In these critical areas, it is clear to us that Senator Clinton is the candidate best qualified to be our nation's next Commander-in-Chief.

We believe that she has real understanding of the military through her diligent service on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She has worked tirelessly to ensure our men and women in uniform are properly trained and equipped to be sent to battle. And she has fought to make certain that they are treated with dignity when they return home. We have personally and closely observed her respect for our armed forces, and she has earned their respect. And ours.

We hope that as a country, we will now turn our attention to the critical issues that will determine the future of our great nation.

General Wesley Clark

General Henry Hugh Shelton

Admiral William Owens

Lt. Gen. Joe Ballard

Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy

Lt. Gen. Donald Kerrick

Vice Admiral Joseph A. Sestak, Jr.

Major General Roger R. Blunt

Major General George Buskirk, Jr.

Major General Paul D. Eaton

Major General Antonio M. Taguba

Brigadier General Michael Dunn

Brigadier General Evelyn "Pat" Foote

Brigadier General Virgil A. Richard

Brigadier General Jack Yeager

Brigadier General John M. Watkins, Jr.

Rear Admiral Roland G. Guilbault

Rear Admiral Stuart F. Platt

Rear Admiral David Stone

Bill Clinton and The Recent Controversy

Jamison Foser of had this EXCELLENT piece yesterday. TO have access to the links referred to in the article, go to

The media proved Bill Clinton right

Speaking in North Carolina last Friday, Bill Clinton talked about a potential general election matchup between Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Bill Clinton's comments were quickly distorted by several news reports; here's what he actually said:

BILL CLINTON: I believe those are the three reasons you ought to be for her: She'd be the best for the veterans, she'd be the best commander in chief, and she would certainly be the best at managing this economy. And finally, according to the evidence today, she's also the most electable. She's running ahead of Senator McCain in Ohio; her opponent's running behind. She is ahead in Florida and Arkansas, a state that voted for me twice, 'cause I was the governor -- they sort of had to, I guess -- and voted for President Carter once. They haven't voted for another Democrat in 44 years. This week's survey in Arkansas: Senator McCain is leading Hillary's opponent by 16 points; Hillary's leading him by 15 points. So she can win this election. And, and, we need to change the direction of this country.

But it won't be an easy race. John McCain is an honorable man, and as all of you know, he has paid the highest price you can pay for the United States, short of giving your life. And he and Hillary are friends; they like and respect each other. They have big disagreements on foreign policy and economic policy, they have taken reluctant Republican senators all over the world to prove that global warming is real but there is a way to deal with it that grows the economy and doesn't shrink it. And we now have a bipartisan majority in the Senate to do something about this. That's the kind of leadership this country needs.

And I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who love this country and were devoted to the interests of the country, and people could actually ask themselves, who's right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics. So that's my argument for her. She'd be the best for veterans, the best commander in chief, the best for the economy, and is the most electable.

You can watch video of Clinton's comments here.

Clinton's comments were quite clear: The former president simply said that his wife is the best candidate on the issues, and that it would be "a great thing" to have an election about those issues rather than one about "all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

Those last comments -- about how great it would be to have an election about issues rather than "all this other stuff" -- are most easily read as a critique of the news media for obsessing over candidates' haircuts and houses and earth tones and sighing and middle names and how many buttons are on their suits and whether they'd be fun to have a beer with. That's the nonsense that has defined our politics for the past decade thanks to the news media, and Clinton seemed to be making what should be the obvious point that it would be better to focus on candidates' foreign policy views and economic policies than on what they like on their cheesesteaks or whether they "look French."

If, as seems obvious, Clinton was tweaking the news media for focusing on trivia and nonsensical phony controversies rather than on important issues, many journalists quickly -- and unwittingly -- proved his point.

MSNBC's Alex Witt, for example, described Clinton as having "raised the issue of patriotism" in his comments, instructing viewers to "[l]isten carefully to what he says here." MSNBC then played a short excerpt of Clinton's comments, while an on-screen graphic read: "RACE & THE RACE."

Now, go back and read Clinton's comments. Watch them again. He didn't say anything about "race." Nothing at all. Not a word. In portraying Clinton's comments as having something to do with race, MSNBC was inventing a controversy where none existed -- and, in doing so, grossly misleading its audience. Nor was Witt right to say Clinton "raised the issue of patriotism." He hadn't done so -- he hadn't suggested that anyone lacks patriotism, or that anyone is more patriotic than anyone else. It just didn't happen.

But that quickly became conventional wisdom among the news media.

Maureen Dowd, displaying a stunning lack of self-awareness, wrote:

On Friday in Charlotte, N.C., Bill Clinton, the man who once thanked an R.O.T.C. recruiter "for saving me from the draft" during Vietnam, sounded like Sean Hannity without the finesse.

Extolling John McCain as "an honorable man," and talking about McCain's friendship with his wife, the former president told veterans: "I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

Some people consider the Clintons to be the "stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

Yeah, and others think Maureen Dowd is the stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics. Those people are right. As Bob Somerby explained in March 2007:

In Dowd's work, John Edwards is routinely "the Breck Girl" (five times so far -- and counting), and Gore is "so feminized that he's practically lactating." Indeed, two days before we voted in November 2000, Dowd devoted her entire column, for the sixth time, to an imaginary conversation between Gore and his bald spot. "I feel pretty," her headline said (pretending to quote Gore's inner thoughts).That was the image this idiot wanted you carrying off to the voting booth with you! Such is the state of Maureen Dowd's broken soul. And such is the state of her cohort [Ann Coulter].

And now, in the spirit of fair play and brotherhood, she is extending this type of "analysis" to Barack Obama. In the past few weeks, she has described Obama as "legally blonde" (in her headline); as "Scarlett O'Hara" (in her next column); as a "Dreamboy," as "Obambi," and now, in her latest absurd piece, as a "schoolboy" (text below). Do you get the feeling that Dowd may have a few race-and-gender issues floating around in her inane, tortured mind?

The New Republic's Marty Peretz jumped in, agreeing with Dowd's interpretation of Clintons' comments:

What Bill Clinton was saying in full consciousness is that yes, John McCain loves America and that, yes, so does Hillary. And that Barack Obama does not. What else could he possibly have meant? And that nasty little line about that other kind of politics (Obama's) intruding on our lives! None of this is a slip. It is deliberate. It is also ugly, very ugly. If Clinton gets nominated and gets elected, we will rue the day we ever met her ... and him.

Chris Matthews agreed that there was only one possible interpretation of Clinton's comments:

MATTHEWS: There's only one way to read that. He's saying that if you pick these two people, you get two people that love their country. If you don't, you don't get two people that love your country. You get this other guy, Obama, who has all this other stuff, as if that other stuff is Obama's problem. He's getting pretty tough here, isn't he, in these last efforts to hold onto reality or something like a Clinton reality?

I'm not sure which is more troubling: the possibility that Peretz and Matthews are so slow they really cannot imagine any other possible interpretation of Clinton's comments? Or the possibility that they know perfectly well that other interpretations exist, but are dishonest enough to pretend they don't?

Whatever the reason behind Matthews' comments, Jill Zuckman of the Chicago Tribune disagreed with him: "I don't believe that he's trying to suggest that Senator Obama is not a patriot. I think what he's saying is Senator Clinton and Senator McCain like each other and they have policy disagreements."

Freelance writer and political consultant Steve Benen agreed with Zuckman and wrote in a post on his blog, The Carpetbagger Report:

There's just nothing striking about the comments. He said Clinton and McCain are patriotic Americans who can face off in a campaign about issues. It wasn't a shot at Obama; it wasn't about Obama at all. I suppose one, if they were really anxious to parse the words and raise a fuss, could make a variety of inferences, but there's really no rational need to do so. At face value, his comments were harmless.

And syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, in a post on National Review Online's blog, The Corner, wrote that she was present for Clinton's comments and "[i]n no way did I interpret Clinton's remarks as questioning Obama's patriotism." Parker elaborated:

Clinton was making the case for his wife's electability against McCain, who last time I checked is the presumptive Republican nominee and her challenger should she win the Democratic nomination. He may have intentionally bypassed Obama in his leap to match Hillary against McCain, but he didn't say anything that could be construed as questioning Obama's patriotism. The sequence went as follows: He noted that Hillary polls ahead of McCain in Ohio and Florida and also that McCain leads "Hillary's opponent" (I quit typing here and don't recall exactly which states he mentioned in that part of his comment.) His point, obviously, was that Hillary should be the nominee and, in that case, she and McCain would face each other in the final contest.

Slate's John Dickerson likewise saw that Clinton's comments were innocuous:

Clinton appears to be imagining a post-nomination world and characterizing the debate among two senators (Hillary and McCain) as respectful because -- as he had just finished explaining to the crowd -- his wife and McCain had traveled the world together working on the issues like global warming. When he refers to "the other stuff that always seems to intrude," it's plausible to assume -- if you strip him of the horns and pitchfork for just a moment -- that what Clinton was talking about was the "stuff" that intrudes in general-election fights -- swift-boat ads and Republican claims that Democrats aren't patriots.

Still, major news outlets persisted in portraying Clinton's comments as controversial -- some by misleadingly cropping Clinton's statement. NBC's Today, for example, played a clip of Clinton saying only: "And I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who love this country and were devoted to the interests of the country." They carefully clipped Clinton's comments to hide the fact that he was talking about the importance of having an election about issues rather than "other stuff" -- clipped it so viewers would have no idea what he was really talking about.

Days of media obsession about Bill Clinton's comments -- featuring reporters ignoring the plain meaning of what he said and reading into his remarks things that he plainly didn't say -- perversely prove Clinton's point. This is exactly the kind of "other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics." This is the kind of nonsense the media want to talk about instead of meaningful issues.

And some of them, deep down inside, know this is a problem.

Here's Chris Matthews, for example, earlier this week:

MATTHEWS: It's not important what the politics of the Clinton family is now; it's what [sic] important to the country. And I really think we got to stop talking about this as if this were a sitcom. We had eight years of this sitcom: What are the Clintons up to? How do they relate to each other? What do they feel today? Mika, it's a sitcom -- and it's gotta end. We gotta focus on America. We're stuck in Iraq; 4,000 people are dead now because of decisions made by politicians like the Clintons. We've gotta focus on what matters and stop this sitcom approach to politics. It doesn't matter what happened on the phone between Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson. What matters is what Bill Richardson has to say about the future of the country. Bill -- Governor, why is it important to have Barack Obama our next president? That's a question.

That was on the March 24 edition of Morning Joe. Matthews didn't seem to understand that he and his colleagues are the ones responsible for the "sitcom approach to politics." But at least he understood that this approach is hurting America. Then, on that evening's broadcast of his own show, Matthews devoted a six-minute segment to speculation about Hillary Clinton's motivations and preferred outcomes in the event that she loses the Democratic nomination for president.

This is hardly the first time Matthews has lambasted the media for behaving like ... well, like Chris Matthews.

In September 2006, Matthews declared: "The news media ... sucks lately in covering the Iraq war ... We don't cover a war our guys are fighting? ... I watch the news and I don't see the war anymore. It's been taken off television. And Bush must love it, because certainly Karl Rove loves the fact that the Iraq war has gotten boring for the American people. ... I have been a voice out there against this bullshit war from the beginning."

In January 2007, Matthews followed up by saying media coverage of the war is "all about vague heroism and the medals people win. But there's nothing about what is going on in our military hospitals now. Why don't we focus on the cost of this damn thing?"

But Matthews wasn't using his own television shows -- he hosts two -- to give viewers regular, detailed, thoughtful segments about the costs of the Iraq war. Instead, he was calling Al Gore fat and leading inane segments in which he and his guests imagined poodle-skirt-wearing presidential candidates in high school.

And yet it doesn't even cross Chris Matthews' mind that when Bill Clinton talked about "other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics," maybe -- just maybe -- he was referring to the mindless chatter and sophomoric insults that Matthews and his colleagues inflict on the nation on a daily basis.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Response To DNC Fund-Raising Letter

Dear Dr. Dean and the DNC:

You have GOT to be kidding me. You have GOT to be kidding that you are asking me for money after the way you and Donna Brazille have acted during this primary season. After you and Brazille made clear you are endorsing a less qualified candidate (whose ONLY legislative claims came as a result of others' hard work with his name slapped on it by Kingmaker Emil Jones), an arrogant, sexist, homophobic, cheating (can he come up with ONE policy of his own without copying Clinton's??), incredibly prejudiced (have you SEEN his pastor's sermons?? But hey - what do I know - I'm just "a typical white person.") liar whose surrogates have trashed, lied, and demeaned not only a great candidate, but a great president; whose surrogates have made a laughing stock of the caucus system by locking out the supporters of the other candidate, who have intimidated, threatened, and run off supporters to ensure their candidate's success with NOT SO MUCH AS A WORD FROM THE DNC ABOUT THEIR TACTICS, over a MUCH more experienced candidate who actually KNOWS policy, who actually HAS worked to help those less fortunate than her, who actually HAS worked to help our men and women in uniform, who has a long-standing record of standing with those who are most often disenfranchised? After participating in, and endorsing, the most sexist, even misogynistic, rhetoric I have seen on a national level, by a Party that claims to support everyone? After allowing, and participating in, the most BIASED and one sided media coverage I have seen since Bush 2000? AFTER DISENFRANCHISING OVER 2.2 MILLION DEMOCRATS IN THIS PRIMARY SEASON IN AN EFFORT TO PUSH YOUR CANDIDATE ON US, like BUSH WAS PUSHED ON THIS COUNTY???

I was so proud and happy when you took over the DNC, and now I can scarcely believe what you have done with my Party. You and Donna Brazille have trashed it - have made it a MOCKERY - have forsaken MILLIONS of Democrats - AND WOMEN - all to push the empty vacuous, say anything to get over, suit who is the least qualified candidate besides George W. Bush to run in MY lifetime (and I am almost 50) over one of the MOST qualified candidates in my lifetime. What you and Brazille have done during this campaign is simply reprehensible. So, no - not just no, but HELL NO - I will not support the DNC at this time.

Dr. Dean, you and Donna Brazille have not just lost my donations, you have lost the respect of a lifelong Democrat. It will be a long, long time before that respect can be regained, if ever.

The Rev. Amy

Pundits v. REALITY

The following is from Peter Daou, Hillary Clinton's Internet Director (

Campaign 2008: Pundits Versus Reality
by Peter Daou3/28/2008 11:18:45 AM

Hillary Clinton will lose New Hampshire and the race will be over
Hillary Clinton wins New Hampshire, defying the predictions and the polls

Hillary Clinton will lose the big states on Super Tuesday and the race will be over
Hillary Clinton wins the big states on Super Tuesday – and wins them by double digits

Hillary Clinton will lose Texas and possibly Ohio on March 4th and the race will be over
Hillary Clinton wins both Texas and Ohio on March 4th – and she wins Ohio by double digits

Despite Hillary Clinton's big victories on March 4th, "the math" works decisively against her and the race is essentially over
The math is simple: neither candidate has reached the number of delegates required to
secure the nomination and either candidate can win

Barack Obama is substantially ahead in the pledged delegate count; pledged delegates are the only measure of success; therefore the race is essentially over
The candidates are within fractions of one another on delegates; Barack Obama needs super delegates to win; and a marginal pledged delegate lead does not determine the outcome

Barack Obama is substantially ahead in the popular vote; Florida and Michigan don’t count; therefore the race is essentially over
The popular vote is virtually tied; half of Barack Obama's narrow vote advantage is from his home state; and his lead excludes Florida and Michigan

Once the remaining states vote, Barack Obama will be substantially ahead in delegates and votes and the race will be over
The race is a dead heat now and no one knows where things will end up after millions of remaining voters in the upcoming states make their choice

Hillary Clinton's situation is dire; her campaign is struggling; her supporters are disillusioned and desperate
Hillary Clinton and her supporters are calm, confident, and focused heading into the key
state of PA, where she is running strong

Hillary Clinton’s campaign lacks significant grassroots energy; only one candidate has mobilized supporters to take action for the campaign
Hillary Clinton’s supporters across America have written letters, blogged, donated tens of millions of dollars, volunteered millions of hours and made millions of calls

There is a loud and growing chorus of voices asking Hillary Clinton to withdraw from the race
Precisely the same number of voters (22%) think Barack Obama should drop out of the
race as Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton is the candidate running a negative, divisive campaign; she is throwing the "kitchen sink" at Barack Obama
Barack Obama has been throwing the sink, the stove, the plates and the garbage can at Hillary Clinton, attacking her integrity and character every day

For Hillary to win the nomination, super delegates will have to "overturn the will of the
The will of the people is split and both candidates need - and are making their case to -
super delegates

Hillary Clinton is threatening to poach pledged delegates from Barack Obama
Barack Obama is reportedly already trying to poach pledged delegates from Hillary Clinton

Florida and Michigan’s voters won't be heard and their delegates won’t be seated all
because of complicated procedural roadblocks
Barack Obama is intentionally disenfranchising voters in two critical states for purely political reasons, namely, that he'll lose his small advantage if they count

Every single word or action from Hillary Clinton, her campaign, her surrogates and her supporters is part of a calculated and cynical political strategy
Hillary Clinton is a loyal Democrat, a lifelong public servant, a tireless and
tenacious candidate, and is fighting hard - and fair - to win with the help of millions of dedicated supporters

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Petition To Seat MI and FL Delegates

Senator Clinton has added a petition at her site to have the delegates from MI and FL seated. Here is the link:

This is the text of the petition, just so you know:

"Millions of people in Florida and Michigan went to the polls to make their voices heard in the Democratic Presidential primary. They deserve to have their votes count.

Add your name to show your support for seating the Florida and Michigan delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this August."

Senator Clinton also urged people to vote Democrat in November, no matter WHO the nominee was. She said that while there are big differences between her and Obama, they "paled in comparison" to the differences between the Democrats and John McCain (though many on the blogs are arguing whether or not Obama is even a Democrat). And that is the thing about Clinton: she is a Democrat through and through. No matter HOW the media is treating her, or leaders in the DNC, her loyalty is to the party, and to the country. Her graciousness is rather amazing, considering all of the abuse she has been taking...She is, without a doubt, a class act.

Oh, and as usual, Mr. Ditto went on ABC News last night and said ALMOST the same thing. I'm not kidding. Mr. Whatever She Said. The one who stole her Economics Stimulus package from last week, and didn't even bother to change the title even a little bit like he has in the past. I guess since the MSM has not challenged him on his cheating, plagarizing, and complete lack of poliicies, he KNOWS he can get away with this. Then he can have his hatchet people attack her, and Bill, the only two term Democratic president in 40 years, and the MSM will give HIS people the last word. I mean, really - comparing Bill Clinton to McCarthy with Obama standing there, arms folded? That was way, way beyond the pale.

So, no - while I appreciate Senator Clinton trying to hold the Democrastic Party together, Obama, along with his lapdog, the DNC, have done everything in their power to destroy this party - I cannot vote for this man. I refuse. He embodies way too much I find offensive, not the least of which is his arrogant, sexist, boorish behavior toward Clinton; his surrounding himself with sexist, homophobic, hate mongering power hungry sycophants, who will hurt whoever gets in their way, using baseless attacks to diminish and demean with reckless abandon, and seeming glee; his stealing policy positions from the most talented candidate the Democratic Party has produced in quite some time, and calling them his own; his siding with the Bush Administration too often (I mean, really - the CHENEY Energy bill???), his inexperience, and his underhanded, mudslinging, snake in the grass campainging, while claiming the high road; and his outright lies (even his books are more creative writing than non-fiction, like the one on his father? Ha - what a joke THAT is...), are just SOME of the reasons why. Nope - can't do it; won't do it. Clinton is the best candidate, the best choice this country has. Had she gotten the states she rightfully won in the first place (MI and FL), had Obama's surrogates not overrun the caucus proceedings in several states, had the MSM actually done it's frikkin' job, Obama would be a mere afterthought. So, yeah - I'll be writing Clinton's name in if the DNC continues to wreck this party, but I sure won't be voting for Obama if the DNC gets its way.

Add to that the each day new and CONSTANTLY changing story of Obama's relationship with Rev. Wright (who is moving into his $1.6 MILLION retirement home), which just makes my head SPIN - "he's my spiritual advisor!", "Gee, I had no IDEA he said those kinds of things even though I've been going for 20 years," "I'm not going to disavow him!," "well, if he hadn't retired, I would have left the church (AFTER 20 years!) - etc., etc., etc., and it just begs the question - what WON'T this guy say to get over?? Apparently, nothing. Absolutely FREAKIN' nothing. Like I keep saying - he is just another George W. Bush. Ain't no way, NO WAY, he's getting MY vote...

In Contrast...

To Hillary Clinton being endorsed by a major LGBT organization, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for any such endorsements for Obama. See, not only does Obama have Donnie McClurkin, the gospel singer/minister, working on his campaign (you know, the "reformed" homosexual who now preaches that homosexuality is wrong), he has another Pastor Problem: Senator Reverend James Meeks.

Yep - James Meeks, the State Senator from IL, a close, personal friend, of Barrack Obama, the man Obama went to see for a Bible Study after he was elected to the IL Senate. James Meeks could be called a character, if his speech wasn't so virulent, hateful, and prejudiced. There are all kinds of YouTube videos of Meeks going off on white people, talking about "house n******s," and pretty much the same thread as Pastor Wright. But Meeks is also homophobic to the EXTREME - he HATES gay people. Hates us.

So - when is Obama going to be called to task for all of these people who are not just associates, but long-time friends of his? William Ayers" Tony Rezko? Wright? Meeks?? Just how many chances does he GET to have relationships with people who spout vitriol, or break laws? All I can say, and you know it is coming, is that if Clinton had one - ONE - person like this in her life, the MSM would be NON-STOP attacking her for it. Non - STOP! Yet, Obama gives a speech, and now eveyrone acts lke NO ONE has EVER brought up the issue of race relations EVER!!!!! Wow. Truly astounding. Before I forget - check out to see more on Meeks. It is under "Terms of Endearment..." and is well worth it.

One last thing - to revisit this stupid Bosnia thing, in case you didn't read the WIlson piece, or anything Larry Johnson has written on this: there is no doubt that the pilots, the helicopters, the soldiers, and Clinton's personal agents, were told SOMETHING was going on when she was landing. It was a FREAKIN' WAR ZONE, after all! It makes me SICK that because she messed up the name, that her VAST experiences, and her experiences in difficult areas, are being discounted as essentially not happening at all.

Once again, the MSM has been an all-too willing partner in this illogical assumption. It is OUR responsibility to hold the Fourth Estate accountable, and we clearly need to do so. They have lost all semblance of neutrality, or even true journalism. We have suffered through almost eight years of a DISASTROUS president because of this complete and utter lack of true, professional journalism. When liberals have to turn to FOX NOISE and Joe Scarborough to get the least virulent spin on Hillary Clinton, you KNOW we are in upside down world...So - hold your media outlets accountable! Email them! Call them! Write them! Tell them their one-sided, biased coverage is unacceptable, and will not be tolerated!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Joseph Wilson, "Smears and Tears..."

I think this article by Joseph Wilson, which appeared in yesterday's Huffington Post, is a must read:

Joseph C. Wilson

Smears and Tears: How Obama's National Security Week Turned Into the Mendacity of Hype
Posted March 26, 2008 | 01:21 PM (EST)

The past week marked the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War and the milestone of the 4,000th American soldier killed in that disastrous adventure. Commemorating and underscoring the urgent need for a new policy direction, Senator Clinton delivered a serious and detailed address clearly setting out her vision for and commitment to ending the conflict. Her approach includes a direct critique of the most glaring failures of the Bush administration: its unwillingness to use political pressure and intense international diplomacy to effect a resolution of the outstanding differences that have driven the region into a proxy war within Iraq with the United States manning and supporting combatants on all sides. For years American generals have been telling the administration, the Congress, and the public that Iraq is not a situation that lends itself to a military solution and will only be resolved politically. While the focus of American opprobrium has been on the Iraqi government for its failure to find those solutions, Senator Clinton, in her speech, is the first presidential candidate to spell out in a precise plan the elements required for an international effort, including co-opting and controlling the enablers of the ongoing violence in Iraq, to promote political reconciliation and reform.

My wife, former CIA agent, Valerie, and I accompanied Senator Clinton to Philadelphia the day after her speech. Valerie pointed out in her comments how, in the run up to the invasion, the administration lied to the Congress and the American people about the nature and the seriousness of the weapons of mass destruction threat posed by Saddam Hussein. The Bush administration's willful twisting of intelligence was crucial to manipulation of the press, the public and the Congress. Not until months later, after the invasion, did the facts of the administration's distortion of intelligence slowly begin to trickle out, partly as a result of my own efforts in a New York Times opinion piece in July 2003.

Understandably, Senator Obama's speech on race relations overshadowed Senator Clinton's policy pronouncements. While laudable in intent, Senator Obama would never have made the speech had his relationship with fiery pastor Jeremiah Wright not become a public relations nightmare for him. Among other things, Wright preaches that the United States government unleashed the HIV virus in Africa to kill blacks. (Having worked in Africa for much of my adult life, including with one of the early AIDS researchers, Dr. Jonathan Mann, I can safely say that there is absolutely no evidence to sustain Wright's reckless charge.) Obama had no choice but to address his 20-year close relationship with a man he still considers, as he made clear in his speech, a mentor.

In the immediate aftermath, the Obama campaign dispatched several foreign policy surrogates to blitz the airwaves, supposedly to offer alternatives to Clinton's recommendations. But that's not what happened. Instead, Hillary was subjected to yet another round of personal abuse, denigration and ridicule rather than a serious debate of the issues. The real subtext of the Obama campaign was to attack Hillary in order to distract from Obama's association with his anti-American preacher. National security went un-addressed. Rather than filling in his largely absent record, Obama had his surrogates engage in what can be termed the mendacity of hype.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, an otherwise serious person, made the extraordinarily silly comment belittling two-term Senator Clinton by comparing her experience to that of Mamie Eisenhower and his own travel agent after offering an analysis of the situation in Iraq and the path to a resolution that essentially mirrored the basic points Senator Clinton made in her speech. Brzezinski was not asked and did not explain why Obama early embraced him as an adviser and openly praised him, but recently has coldly distanced himself because of Brzezinski's controversial views on Israel.

Nor did Brzezinski address the bloody issue of mercenary forces like Blackwater, which Obama states should be allowed to remain part of our military force in Iraq -- a position challenged by Senator Clinton, who has called for phasing them out. In place of practical policies, Brzezinski offered his vague "sense" that Obama is a person who understands change before it takes place and is therefore capable of making "transcendental" decisions, whatever that might mean. For a man with a reputation as tough-minded, Brzezinski retreated into cloudy abstraction in his defense of Obama, who, according to the Senator, he, Brzezinksi, knows hardly at all.

Senator John Kerry, another Obama surrogate, offered the startling observation that Obama is better equipped than anyone else to bridge the divide between the U.S. and the Muslim world and end Islamic extremism and terorrism -- "because he's a black man." There is absolutely no empirical evidence to sustain that claim, the notion that a single individual, even one with a resume filled with appropriate experience, would be able to halt terrorism because of the color of his skin. It is patently absurd. But Kerry presented nothing to back up his astounding racial reasoning. And the Obama campaign was remarkably silent on Kerry's racialization of the foreign policy discussion.

Next, Governor Bill Richardson, who campaigned on his resume as a foreign policy practitioner, "agonized," he explained, before putting his faith in a "once in a lifetime leader" and endorsed Obama, repudiating his own rationale of experience as a prerequisite for being President. Rather than state why he believes Obama has superior national security credentials and positions, he opted to complain instead about James Carville comparing him to Judas Iscariot. Since Richardson made foreign policy the centerpiece of his campaign -- a direct consequence of President Bill Clinton's appointments -- and of the salience of foreign policy as an issue in the election, he owed an explanation of how Obama's foreign policy would make us stronger and more secure that Clinton's. But, preferring to defend himself against the charge of having betrayed the Clintons he neglected to discuss such policy.

Then, there was retired Air Force General, Merrill "Tony" McPeak, whose media appearance last week consisted of making the outrageous charge that Bill Clinton was using "McCarthy-like tactics" simply because he mentioned, in the event of a Hillary-McCain match-up, that Hillary and McCain are good patriots and that the campaign should be devoted to a substantive debate of the issues. Even the right wing National Review's Kathleen Parker, who was at the event, felt compelled to correct the record. "Bill Clinton was saying that Hillary and McCain are both good patriots who love their country, not that all those unmentioned are something else."

Bill Clinton, of course, was not using "McCarthy-like tactics," but the Obama campaign was eager to smear him. Which was guilty of "McCarthy-like tactics"? Attack the character of your adversaries; demean them; turn them into caricatures; while lying about someone, claim they are liars.

Finally, the Obama campaign pushed a compliant press corps, all too eager to do its bidding rather than maintain its standards of objectivity and skepticism, into hyping a mini-pseudo-scandal: whether Hillary "misspoke" about being under sniper fire when she paid a visit to Tuzla in Bosnia in 1996. In fact, the then-First Lady was told the plane was diving to land to avoid possible sniper fire. Whether there was or not is irrelevant. Anybody who has been involved in these situations, as I have, knows this. The threat was apparently real enough for U.S. military on the ground, the pilot and her security detail to engage in evasive procedures. That should have been the end of the matter. But the cable TV talking heads nattered the Obama campaign talking points endlessly.

Obama's week of rolling out national security surrogates and talking points was not a pretty sight and turned out to have almost nothing to do with bolstering his thin credentials. His distracting efforts were a clear attempt to deflect attention from them, in fact. In response to Hillary's detailed, substantive speech on Iraq, Obama replied with ad hominem insults. Instead of presenting his own plan, his campaign indulged in character assassination.

David Axelrod, the top Obama political strategist, for one, knows better. After all, he and his wife were direct beneficiaries of Hillary Clinton's personal kindness and public policy experience when, in the midst of the impeachment trial of her husband, she travelled to Chicago to support Susan Axelrod's efforts to raise money for her foundation, Citizens United for Research on Epilepsy (CURE), established by her after one of the Axelrod children was afflicted with the malady. As reported in the New York Times in April, 2007 (with thanks to eriposte of the Leftcoaster blog for his research):

"It was January 1999, President Clinton's impeachment trial was just beginning in the Senate and Hillary Clinton was scheduled to speak at the foundation's fund-raiser in Chicago. Despite all the fuss back in Washington, Clinton kept the appointment. She spent hours that day in the epilepsy ward at Rush Presbyterian hospital, visiting children hooked up to machines by electrodes so that doctors might diagram their seizure activity and decide which portion of the brain to remove. At the hospital, a local reporter pressed her about the trial in Washington, asked her about that woman. At the organization's reception at the Drake Hotel that evening, Clinton stood backstage looking over her remarks, figuring out where to insert anecdotes about the kids. "She couldn't stop talking about what she had seen," Susan Axelrod recalled. Later, at Hillary Clinton's behest, the National Institutes of Health convened a conference on finding a cure for epilepsy. Susan Axelrod told me it was "one of the most important things anyone has done for epilepsy." And this is how politics works: David Axelrod is now dedicated to derailing this woman's career."

Senator Obama and his campaign should get back to defending his policy positions and record rather than diminish a good person and an accomplished public servant. They know better.

Lies, Lies, and More Lies...

So the Obama campaign has been HAMMERING Clinton for misspeaking about Bosnia. Because that has never happened to ANYONE else,especially when tired and sleep deprived, to say the wrong thing. Well, I guess not if you're DATA or someone like that. But it happens to normal people. Never would know it from the Obama camp. So, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, so below are some of Obama's lies (

But if you don't want to take Clinton's word for it, I recommend the following piece, which I saw at Part One is, in essence, Obama v. Obama:

Fact Checks
Just Embellished Words: Senator Obama’s Record of Exaggerations & Misstatements
Once again, the Obama campaign is getting caught saying one thing while doing another. They are personally attacking Hillary even though Sen. Obama has been found mispeaking and embellishing facts about himself more than ten times in recent months. Senator Obama’s campaign is based on words –not a record of deeds – and if those words aren’t backed up by facts, there’s not much else left.

"Senator Obama has called himself a constitutional professor, claimed credit for passing legislation that never left committee, and apparently inflated his role as a community organizer among other issues. When it comes to his record, just words won't do. Senator Obama will have to use facts as well," Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said.

Sen. Obama consistently and falsely claims that he was a law professor. The Sun-Times reported that, "Several direct-mail pieces issued for Obama's primary [Senate] campaign said he was a law professor at the University of Chicago. He is not. He is a senior lecturer (now on leave) at the school. In academia, there is a vast difference between the two titles. Details matter." In academia, there's a significant difference: professors have tenure while lecturers do not. [Hotline Blog, 4/9/07; Chicago Sun-Times, 8/8/04]

Obama claimed credit for nuclear leak legislation that never passed. "Obama scolded Exelon and federal regulators for inaction and introduced a bill to require all plant owners to notify state and local authorities immediately of even small leaks. He has boasted of it on the campaign trail, telling a crowd in Iowa in December that it was 'the only nuclear legislation that I’ve passed.' 'I just did that last year,' he said, to murmurs of approval. A close look at the path his legislation took tells a very different story. While he initially fought to advance his bill, even holding up a presidential nomination to try to force a hearing on it, Mr. Obama eventually rewrote it to reflect changes sought by Senate Republicans, Exelon and nuclear regulators. The new bill removed language mandating prompt reporting and simply offered guidance to regulators, whom it charged with addressing the issue of unreported leaks. Those revisions propelled the bill through a crucial committee. But, contrary to Mr. Obama’s comments in Iowa, it ultimately died amid parliamentary wrangling in the full Senate." [New York Times, 2/2/08]

Obama misspoke about his being conceived because of Selma. "Mr. Obama relayed a story of how his Kenyan father and his Kansan mother fell in love because of the tumult of Selma, but he was born in 1961, four years before the confrontation at Selma took place. When asked later, Mr. Obama clarified himself, saying: 'I meant the whole civil rights movement.'" [New York Times, 3/5/07]

LA Times: Fellow organizers say Sen. Obama took too much credit for his community organizing efforts. "As the 24-year-old mentor to public housing residents, Obama says he initiated and led efforts that thrust Altgeld's asbestos problem into the headlines, pushing city officials to call hearings and a reluctant housing authority to start a cleanup. But others tell the story much differently. They say Obama did not play the singular role in the asbestos episode that he portrays in the best-selling memoir 'Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.' Credit for pushing officials to deal with the cancer-causing substance, according to interviews and news accounts from that period, also goes to a well-known preexisting group at Altgeld Gardens and to a local newspaper called the Chicago Reporter. Obama does not mention either one in his book." [Los Angeles Times, 2/19/07]

Chicago Tribune: Obama's assertion that nobody had indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing 'strains credulity.' "…Obama has been too self-exculpatory. His assertion in network TV interviews last week that nobody had indications Rezko was engaging in wrongdoing strains credulity: Tribune stories linked Rezko to questionable fundraising for Gov. Rod Blagojevich in 2004 -- more than a year before the adjacent home and property purchases by the Obamas and the Rezkos." [Chicago Tribune editorial, 1/27/08]

Obama was forced to revise his assertion that lobbyists 'won't work in my White House.' "White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was forced to revise a critical stump line of his on Saturday -- a flat declaration that lobbyists 'won't work in my White House' after it turned out his own written plan says they could, with some restrictions… After being challenged on the accuracy of what he has been saying -- in contrast to his written pledge -- at a news conference Saturday in Waterloo, Obama immediately softened what had been his hard line in his next stump speech." [Chicago Sun-Times, 12/16/07] 'Selective, embellished and out-of-context quotes from newspapers pump up Obama's health plan.' "Obama's ad touting his health care plan quotes phrases from newspaper articles and an editorial, but makes them sound more laudatory and authoritative than they actually are. It attributes to The Washington Post a line saying Obama's plan would save families about $2,500. But the Post was citing the estimate of the Obama campaign and didn't analyze the purported savings independently. It claims that "experts" say Obama's plan is "the best." "Experts" turn out to be editorial writers at the Iowa City Press-Citizen – who, for all their talents, aren't actual experts in the field. It quotes yet another newspaper saying Obama's plan "guarantees coverage for all Americans," neglecting to mention that, as the article makes clear, it's only Clinton's and Edwards' plans that would require coverage for everyone, while Obama's would allow individuals to buy in if they wanted to.” [, 1/3/08]

Sen. Obama said 'I passed a law that put Illinois on a path to universal coverage,' but Obama health care legislation merely set up a task force. "As a state senator, I brought Republicans and Democrats together to pass legislation insuring 20,000 more children. And 65,000 more adults received health care…And I passed a law that put Illinois on a path to universal coverage." The State Journal-Register reported in 2004 that "The [Illinois State] Senate squeaked out a controversial bill along party lines Wednesday to create a task force to study health-care reform in Illinois. […] In its original form, the bill required the state to offer universal health care by 2007. That put a 'cloud' over the legislation, said Sen. Dale Righter, R-Mattoon. Under the latest version, the 29-member task force would hold at least five public hearings next year." [Obama Health Care speech, 5/29/07; State Journal-Register, 5/20/04]

ABC News: 'Obama…seemed to exaggerate the legislative progress he made' on ethics reform. "ABC News' Teddy Davis Reports: During Monday's Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., seemed to exaggerate the legislative progress he has made on disclosure of "bundlers," those individuals who aggregate their influence with the candidate they support by collecting $2,300 checks from a wide network of wealthy friends and associates. When former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel alleged that Obama had 134 bundlers, Obama responded by telling Gravel that the reason he knows how many bundlers he has raising money for him is "because I helped push through a law this past session to disclose that." Earlier this year, Obama sponsored an amendment [sic] in the Senate requiring lobbyists to disclose the candidates for whom they bundle. Obama's amendment would not, however, require candidates to release the names of their bundlers. What's more, although Obama's amendment was agreed to in the Senate by unanimous consent, the measure never became law as Obama seemed to suggest. Gravel and the rest of the public know how many bundlers Obama has not because of a 'law' that the Illinois Democrat has 'pushed through' but because Obama voluntarily discloses that information." [ABC News, a=href"">7/23/07]

Obama drastically overstated Kansas tornado deaths during campaign appearance. "When Sen. Barack Obama exaggerated the death toll of the tornado in Greensburg, Kan, during his visit to Richmond yesterday, The Associated Press headline rapidly evolved from 'Obama visits former Confederate capital for fundraiser’ to ‘Obama rips Bush on Iraq war at Richmond fundraiser' to 'Weary Obama criticizes Bush on Iraq, drastically overstates Kansas tornado death toll' to 'Obama drastically overstates Kansas tornado deaths during campaign appearance.' Drudge made it a banner, ensuring no reporter would miss it." [, 5/9/07]

LGBT Endorsement

This is good news, and sums up nicely Clinton's support over the years (from

Liberty City Democratic Club Endorses Hillary Clinton
Philadelphia, PA – The Liberty City Democratic Club, a key LGBT political group in Pennsylvania, overwhelmingly endorsed Hillary Clinton for President with two-thirds of the members voting for her.

This club’s endorsement further demonstrates Hillary Clinton’s strong support in the LGBT community. The Liberty City endorsement follows a string of endorsements from grassroots LGBT groups like the Steel City Democrats, the Houston Stonewall Democrats, Dallas Stonewall Democrats, and 27 of the 39 members of Board the National Stonewall Democrats.

“We are proud to endorse Senator Hillary Clinton in this important primary cycle,” said Matthew Woodcock, Endorsement Chair of the Liberty City Democratic Club. "Her record of accomplishment is proof positive that she'll be a fighter for the LGBT community in the White House and that's what we need. We need her experience working for us."

Hillary has been a longtime ally of the LGBT community. She fought against the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) both times and has worked on legislation that would promote equality for LGBT Americans. As President, Hillary will work to ensure that gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships have the same legal rights and responsibilities as all Americans. She will also work to end discrimination in adoption laws, sign hate crimes legislation and ENDA into law, and put an end to the failed policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

“I am honored to receive the support of the Liberty Democratic Club,” said Clinton. “LGBT Americans have been a part of this campaign from the start and I look forward to working with members of the Liberty Democratic Club to ensure that their voices are heard in this important Pennsylvania primary. We need to end the divisive politics of the current administration. As President, I will do just that and will continue fighting for equality for all Americans."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Since the MSM Is Not Doing Its Work...

There is an outstanding piece by MBolack at NoQuarter today on Barack Obama and all of the issues that have come up about him. Rather than reprint it here, go to the link provided below (when I reprint, the links do not come up, and each item has a number of links to back up each point). It is well done. And something the freakin; media SHOULD be doing.

No, instead of actually looking at the increasing number of Obama's red flags, the media is focusing TODAY on Clinton mis-speaking about a particular trip she took. Because this never happens to ANYONE, apparently, that they inadvertently say the wrong thing. Anyway, in case you have seen this "much ado about nothing," here are the facts: Factcheck: Hillary and Bosnia
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Hillary recently misspoke about her trip to Bosnia. She accurately describes the trip in her book, Living History:

'Due to reports of snipers in the hills around the airstrip, we were forced to cut short an event on the tarmac…' "Security conditions were constantly changing in the former Yugoslavia, and they had recently deteriorated again. Due to reports of snipers in the hills around the airstrip, we were forced to cut short an event on the tarmac with local children, though we did have time to meet them and their teachers and to learn how hard they had worked during the war to continue classes in any safe spot they could find. … We were then off to the fortified American base at Tuzla, where over two thousand American, Russian, Canadian, British, and Polish soldiers were encamped in a large tent city." [Living History, p. 343]
Contemporaneous news accounts confirm that Hillary’s trip to Bosnia was a dangerous situation:

Hillary’s trip to Bosnia marked the first time since Eleanor Roosevelt that a first lady traveled to a potential combat zone. Accompanied by singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow and comedian Sinbad, Mrs. Clinton traveled to this northwestern Bosnian town on a morale-boosting tour for the 18,500 U.S. troops participating in the NATO-led peacemaking operation. She heard a poem of peace from a Bosnian girl and praised U.S. troops for 'showing what American leadership is.'…This trip to Bosnia marks the first time since Roosevelt that a first lady has voyaged to a potential combat zone. During World War II, Roosevelt toured the devastated streets of London and the southwestern Pacific, bringing cheer to U.S. troops. [Washington Post, 3/26/96]
Hillary was 'protected by sharpshooters' in a 'military zone' when she visited troops in Bosnia. "Protected by sharpshooters, Hillary Rodham Clinton swooped into a military zone by Black Hawk helicopter Monday to deliver a personal 'thank you, thank you, thank you' to U.S. troops. 'They're making a difference,' the first lady said of the 18,500 Americans working as peacekeepers in Bosnia. Mrs. Clinton became the first presidential spouse since Eleanor Roosevelt to make such an extensive trip into what can be considered a hostile area, though others have visited hot spots…" [Charleston Gazette, 3/26/96] (

Of course, Obama is doing what he WANTS to do, which is to distract from the level of EXPERIENCE Clinton has over him in foreign affairs, and to diminish the amounts of violence she has encountered in her work around the world. It is more of his petty churlishness, and I, for one, am sick and tired of it. I just do not understand how NOTHING is sticking to this guy! He gives a speech last week to staunch the damage of his hate-mongering minister, and now people act like NO ONE else has tried to do work on race relations before him. Are you kidding me??? If you LOOK at his record, LOOK at his constant flip-flopping, LOOK at how the media is treating him, it really makes you wonder WHY. WHY is the MSM still giving him pass after pass after pass?? It is disturbing to say the least.

Oh - one note about his church - I read an excellent comment yesterday at in which someone said that if they had gone to a church service in which the minister was attacking women, or gays, or blacks, s/he would have walked out and NEVER RETURNED - not become a member for over 20 years, and contribute a ton of money!! I thought that was an excellent point.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Emil Jones, Bill Clinton, and McCarthy

OK - I am still a bit under the weather from my recent surgery, still on drugs, and more than a little nauseous, so allow me to direct you to a couple of good pieces at and

I have mentioned the big article regarding Emil Jones, the "Kingmaker" of Obama, here before, from a Chicago-based paper. Looks like other people are finally taking a look (long overdue). This is from No Quarter, and there is more at the
Now there is Emil Jones. Just who is Emil Jones, you ask? The Times UK tells us who Emil Jones is.

The Times article today — “Barack Obama: toxic mentors start to corrode pristine campaign” — begins with a story about the close relationship between Emil Jones and Barack Obama, and expressions about the nature of that closeness:

Long before Barack Obama launched his campaign for the White House, when he was considering a run for the US Senate in 2003, he paid an intriguing visit to a former Chicago sewers inspector who had risen to become one of the most influential African-American politicians in Illinois.

“You have the power to elect a US senator,” Obama told Emil Jones, Democratic leader of the Illinois state senate. Jones looked at the ambitious young man smiling before him and asked, teasingly: “Do you know anybody I could make a US senator?”

According to Jones, Obama replied: “Me.” It was his first, audacious step in a spectacular rise from the murky political backwaters of Springfield, the Illinois capital.

The exchange also sealed an intimate personal and political relationship that is likely to attract intense scrutiny amid the furore over Obama’s links to some of Chicago’s most controversial political and religious power brokers.

Obama has often described Jones as a key political mentor whose patronage was crucial to his early success in a state long dominated by near-feudal party political machines. Jones, 71, describes himself as Obama’s “godfather” and once said: “He feels like a son to me.”

Here is how Jones operates in the Illinois state legislature, and in his own life:

For almost a year Jones has used his position as leader of the state senate to block anticorruption legislation passed unanimously by the state’s lower house. He has also become embroiled in ethical controversies concerning his wife’s job and his stepson’s business.

Following a long section about the rise of Barack Obama to frontrunner status in the Democratic presidential primary, the article gets back to the late arrival of scrutiny of Obama, and more about Jones’s scandals:

[Clinton campaign members] believe he will come to be seen not as some Messiah but as an unusually gifted political hack who has made compromises with dodgy associates, just like most other American politicians.

That intensifying scrutiny may soon lead to Jones’s Illinois door, and to further uncomfortable insights into the unflattering political realities that accompanied Obama’s climb from obscurity.

At one point during Obama’s 2003 Senate campaign, Jones set out to woo two African-American politicians miffed by Obama’s presumption and ambition. One of them, Rickey “Hollywood” Hendon, a state senator, had scoffed that Obama was so ambitious he would run for “king of the world” if the position were vacant.

When Jones secured the two men’s support, Obama asked his mentor how he had pulled it off. “I made them an offer,” Jones said in mock-mafioso style. “And you don’t want to know.”

Jones is now at the centre of a long row over his attempt to block proposed laws cracking down on his state’s “pay-to-play” tradition – whereby companies hoping to win government contracts have to contribute to the campaign funds of officials.

Jones’s staff say he blocked the bill because he intends to produce something tougher. No proposals have appeared.

Cynthia Canary, an activist against corruption who is fighting to have the laws passed, says Obama had little choice as an Illinois politician but to deal with an ethically dubious regime. “You hold your nose and work through the system,” she said.

Yet she also thinks America is being done a disservice by those who portray Obama as somehow above the uglier wheeler-dealing of politics. “He’s a pragmatic politician, and in the end if you think that he’s superman, your heart is going to get broken.” has a lot more on all of this - Jones, Rezko, and others. Gee - if only the MSM had bothered to look at CHICAGO media all along, maybe this race would have been entirely different!

OK - then there is the attack by Retired General McPeak, equating Bill Clinton to MCCARTHY, while Obama stands by - saying nothing like usual. Hey, you can call Hillary all kinds of names, and he'll just stand there. Or attack Bill, call him a racist, then like McCarthy, and Obama will just cross his arms, and stand there. Yeah. Okay. Here's more from Senator Obama, Have You No Decency?
By Larry JohnsoncloseAuthor: Larry Johnson Name: Larry Johnson

"Leave it to Barack Obama, in a further sign that his campaign realizes they are in deep trouble, to unleash the ghost of Joseph McCarthy, a red-baiting Republican who smeared honest Americans by accusing them of being communists. As a side note, does anyone remember who worked for McCarthy besides Roy Cohn? Yep, Robert F. Kennedy. So, since Obama has been compared to RFK are we to assume that, like RFK, he is the one who would work with someone like McCarthy in order to further his political career? Just asking.

But back to the McCarthy charge. It is the Obama campaign that is pushing the bizarre interpretation of Bill Clinton’s innocuous remark. Bill Clinton :

. . .praised McCain as an “honorable man,” who has “paid the highest price short of giving your life.” He mentioned that though Hillary and McCain disagree on many issues, they’ve worked together successfully on others. In that context, he said it would be great “if you had two people who really love this country and ask who’s right on these issues” instead of all the non-essential clutter that now distracts in politics.

Check out Alegre’s piece and hear his remarks for yourself. Yet Obama and his crew, frantic to shift public attention away from the racist mentor of Barack Obama–Jeremiah Wright–immediately began accusing the former President of the democratic equivalent of consorting with a Nazi. How Bill Clinton retains his sense of humor in the face of such a despicable insult is beyond me. You can tell this attack has gone off the tracks when folks as diverse as Bill Richardson and Kathleen Parker (who wrote in the conservative National Review) defended Bill Clinton.

We have learned some very unflattering things about Senator Obama’s lack of character and courage. He was standing next to retired US Air Force General McPeak, when the General unleashed the McCarthy charge:

President Clinton, talking to a group of veterans yesterday in North Carolina, and he said something that frankly astonished me. HE said in promoting his wife’s candidacy: [QUOTE] I think it’d be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who love this country and were devoted to the interests of the country and the people. And the people could actually ask themselves who’s right on these issues instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself in politics. [/QUOTE CLINTON]

Well, let me say first, we will have such an election this year. [APPLAUSE] Because both Barack Obama and John McCain are great patriots [CHEERS] who love this country and are devoted to it. So is Hillary Clinton. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat wrong. And so as one who for 37 years proudly wore the uniform of this country I am saddened to see a president employ these kinds of tactics. He should know better because he was the target of exactly the same kind of tactics when he first ran 16 years ago. They had no place then. These tactics have no place in American politics. They had no place then … they had no place then and they have no place now. I am happy and proud to support a candidate who loves his country so much that he would never play that kind of divisive tactics (sic). And now i would like to present to you America’s next Commander in Chief … Barack Obama …

So, what did Obama do? He praised McPeak:

OBAMA NOW: Let me just say that not only do I consider General McPeak a friend and an adviser but I just think that he looks and sounds like Clint Eastwood is cool. [HUH?] Yeah … that’s what you want a general to look like and sound like. [SMILES BIG] Yeah …. uh …. you know, if you mess with him, you’re in trouble. So, yeah, uh, he … General McPeak has been traveling on my behalf and I’m just thrilled.

The wild accusations hurled by the likes of Joseph McCarthy were rendered inert when the likes of Joseph Welch and Edward R. Murrow challenged the drunken bully from Wisconsin. Joseph Welch, the Army’s top attorney, achieved fame for telling McCarthy:

You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

Welch’s question of McCarthy is still germane and needs to be asked of Senator Obama. Obama promised a new style of politics. Yet, since January, he has been tossing one insult or accusation after another at Bill Clinton. Obama has suggested Clinton achieved nothing of importance during his tenure and that the Republicans were the party of ideas. Obama gave tacit approval to let his surrogates accuse Bill Clinton of racism. And now Obama stands by silently while a top military adviser accuses the former President of acting like Josephy McCarthy.

Senator Obama, where is your sense of decency?"

No freakin' kidding. Where indeed?!?!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Joe Wilson on National Security

This piece was at on 3/21/08:

Obama's Shallow Credentials on National Security Are Dangerous for the Country
Expert Guest Post by Joseph C. Wilson

The Clinton campaign ad featuring a 3 a.m. telephone call as a metaphor for experienced leadership in foreign policy has generated considerable comment, but much of the reaction is from people who have never been involved in foreign policy and certainly never had to field such a call in a crisis situation. Some of the responses are from advisers to the Obama campaign who know better but are actively diminishing the importance and realities of presidential engagement for immediate political advantage.

To begin with, there are such 3 a.m. calls.During my long career as a diplomat, including crises and military actions in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, I have been on the receiving end, the sending end, and the development of options that led to some of those late night calls. The president's role in crisis management is direct, critical and reflects the exercise of leadership in its most fundamental and powerful form. That capability is not intuitive; rather, it comes from years of experience, training and exposure to the complexities that are in inherent in international relations.

On August 3, 1990, while serving as acting Ambassador to Iraq, I received a middle of the night call from then President George H.W. Bush's Middle East adviser, who informed me that Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait. While the president had not personally called me, it was clear to me from that moment on that he was directly responsible for every significant decision made and engaged in marshaling the forces of the U.S. government and the support of the international community in what ultimately became Desert Storm.

In 1995 and 1996, while serving as Political Adviser to the Commander in Chief of U.S. Armed Forces, I was directly involved in the diplomacy associated with the movement of troops from Western Europe to Bosnia in support of the efforts of President Clinton and his special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, to implement the Dayton Accords and bring an end to the Balkan genocide.

In 1998, as Senior Director for Africa in President Clinton's National Security Council, I helped orchestrate six phone calls, some late at night, directly from President Clinton, three each to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles, and Eritrean President Afwerki, to stop the air war between the two countries. Two of Barack Obama's senior advisers, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, were also involved in that effort, and could attest to the importance of presidential involvement if they would choose not to remain silent as a ploy to protect their candidate's slender credentials.

In each of the three cases, there was a critical common denominator: direct presidential engagement. During the Desert Shield part of the first Gulf War, then President Bush personally chaired many of the National Security Council meetings and made nonstop calls to foreign leaders to assemble the international coalition and secure the U.N. resolutions that provided the legal underpinning for the military action.

In former Yugoslavia, President Clinton played a similar role, reaching out to friends and allies, to adversaries and belligerents, in order to reach agreements that permitted the deployment of an international peacekeeping force.

And in the Ethiopian-Eritrean conflict, the aerial bombings of Addis Ababa and Asmara ceased thanks to the personal efforts of a President.

Contrast the above examples with the last seven plus years of George W. Bush and the conclusion is inescapable: presidential leadership is critical and should be tempered with experience and capability.

Former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson
Senator Clinton has a long and well documented history of involvement in many of critical foreign policy issues we have confronted and will continue to confront as a nation. Critics can quibble about the details of the health plan she fought for in the 1990s, or whether hers was the decisive or merely an important voice in the Northern Ireland peace efforts, but there can be no denying that she has been in the arena for a generation fighting for what she believes in, gaining experience and developing leadership skills. She has traveled the world and met with international leaders both as the First Lady and as a respected senator on the Senate Armed Services Committee. As NSC director on Africa I experienced her direct positive involvement in U.S.-African relations; it was she, as First Lady who advanced through her own travel, then urged and made possible President Clinton's historic trip. In the Senate, she has aggressively exercised her oversight responsibility and held the Pentagon's feet to the fire on plans related to withdrawal from Iraq, shaped legislation requiring reports to Congress, and cosponsored legislation with Senator Byrd to deauthorize the war with Iraq. She has exercised the levers of power because she knows how to do so. That is not a small thing; it is not a campaign theme. It is simply true and goes to the heart of whether she, or anyone, is prepared to be the president to manage at once two wars and a global economic crisis.

Senator Obama is clearly a gifted politician and orator. I disagree profoundly with his transparently political efforts to turn George Bush's war into Hillary Clinton's responsibility. I was present in that debate, in Washington, from beginning to end, and Obama was nowhere to be seen. His current campaign aides in foreign policy, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, were also in Washington, but they chose to remain silent during that debate, when it mattered.

Claims of superior intuitive judgment by his campaign and by him are self-evidently disingenuous, especially in light of disclosures about his long associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Tony Rezko. But his assertions of advanced judgment are also ludicrous when the question of what Obama has accomplished in his four years in the Senate is considered.

As the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee on Europe, he has not chaired a single substantive oversight hearing, even though the breakdown in our relations with Europe and NATO is harming our operations in Afghanistan. Nor did he take a single official trip to Europe as chairman. This is the sum total of his actions in the most important responsibility he has had in the Senate. What are his actual experiences that reassure us that when the phone rings at 3 a.m. he will know what to do, which levers of power to pull, or which world leaders he can count on?

Obama has stated that he will rely upon his advisers. But how will he know which ones to depend upon and how will he be able to evaluate what they say? Already, one of his chief foreign policy advisers, Samantha Power, has been compelled to resign for, among other indiscretions, honestly revealing on a British television program that Obama's public position on withdrawal from Iraq is not really his true position, nor does it reflect what he would do. Her gaffe exposed a vein of cynicism on national security. How confident can we be in his judgment? In fact, the hard truth is that he has no such experience.

Obama has tried to have it both ways on the issue of national security. On the one hand, he claims his intuition somehow would make him best equipped to handle the difficult challenges that face the next president. On the other hand, he tries to ridicule and dismiss as relatively insignificant the idea that actual experience with and intimate knowledge of foreign affairs and leaders, the U.S. military, the intelligence community, and the intricacies of diplomacy matter. He has even suggested that talking about the problems of national security amounts to exploitation of "fear." One of Obama's fervent supporters, a Harvard professor named Orlando Patterson, who has no expertise in foreign policy, wrote absurdly in a New York Times op-ed that the 3 a.m. ad wasn't about national security at all, but really a subliminal racist attack. Delusions aside, sometimes a discussion about national security is about national security.

There will, in fact, be 3 a.m. phone calls for the next president. They are not make believe. I have been there for such calls. The next president cannot be afraid or hesitant of handling the enormous national security crises that President Bush will leave behind. One thing is certain -- the calls will come. Obama has only an abdication of his chief senatorial responsibility as a basis for assessing what his judgment might be if and when the phone rings. Which of his shifting coterie of volatile advisers would he turn to? Will it be the one who repudiated his withdrawal plan, exposing his real intention, prior to being forced to resign? Or will it be those advisers who remained silent until politically convenient -- several years and several thousand lives after the shock and awe invasion, conquest and disastrous occupation of Iraq?

The calls are real and experience is real, too. The campaign might be treated as a game by the media, but those calls are serious, deadly serious.