Clinton Flip-Flops on Assassination Analogies

Back in January, before the New Hampshire Primary, Senator Clinton was introduced at a campaign event with the following words:

“Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” passed the civil rights legislation.

When the press pushed back on that comment, a campaign spokesman said:

“We were not aware that this person was going to make those comments and disapprove of them completely. They were totally inappropriate.”

I guess she was against assassination analogies before she decided to incorporate them into her campaign rhetoric.

Is there nothing that she can’t rationalize?

The Spinning’s Beginning

In an op-ed published in the Baltimore Sun yesterday and augmented on the Huffington Post today, Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson argues that Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who can come away from the national election still standing.

He centers his argument on a single exchange of letters between Senator Obama and Senator McCain concerning a bipartisan effort to draft campaign finance reform laws. Unfortunately, his Huffington Post article links to a completely unrelated and somewhat bombastic series of comments relating to an exchange between McCain and Obama on the campaign trail last May, shortly after McCain paid a visit to Iraq and then argued for the ‘surge’ upon his return.

The actual letter exchange is very different than Ambassador Wilson describes.

But will Mr. Obama fight? His brief time on the national scene gives little comfort. Consider a February 2006 exchange of letters with Mr. McCain on the subject of ethics reform. The wrathful Mr. McCain accused Mr. Obama of being “disingenuous,” to which Mr. Obama meekly replied, “The fact that you have now questioned my sincerity and my desire to put aside politics for the public interest is regrettable but does not in any way diminish my deep respect for you.” Then McCain said, “Obama wouldn’t know the difference between an RPG and a bong.”

Mr. McCain was insultingly dismissive but successful in intimidating his inexperienced colleague. Thus, in his one face-to-face encounter with Mr. McCain, Mr. Obama failed to stand his ground.

What gives us confidence Mr. Obama will be stronger the next time he faces Mr. McCain, a seasoned political fighter with extensive national security credentials? Even more important, what special disadvantages does Mr. Obama carry into this contest on questions of national security?

Let’s step back and understand something here, beginning with the correct sequence of events. Letters were exchanged on February 2nd (Sen. Obama to Sen. McCain), and February 6th (Sen. McCain to Sen. Obama and reply by Sen. Obama). The exchange ended with this from Sen. Obama:

I confess that I have no idea what has prompted your response. But let me assure you that I am not interested in typical partisan rhetoric or posturing. The fact that you have now questioned my sincerity and my desire to put aside politics for the public interest is regrettable but does not in any way diminish my deep respect for you nor my willingness to find a bipartisan solution to this problem.

The Ethics Reform bill passed in January, 2007. John McCain voted for it. So who, exactly, backed down? Not Sen. Obama, who invited McCain to the table, McCain declined, and the legislation was introduced and passed with a near-unanimous majority.

Then, in a somewhat disingenuous move, Ambassador Wilson links up a comment McCain made in MAY, 2007 with this 2006 correspondence when in fact, it was related to McCain’s argument for the surge in Iraq. The comment was this one: “Obama wouldn’t know the difference between an RPG and a bong.” , which Ambassador Wilson incorrectly attributes to Sen. McCain, when in fact it was a McCain aide. The response from the Obama camp was anything but a retreat:

“America doesn’t need juvenile name-calling from Washington, we need a commitment to end this war and bring our brave troops home.”

Again, how does that equate to ‘backing down’? I would guess that Wilson is taking aim at Sen. Obama’s vote to fund the troops (including the surge), which Hillary Clinton also voted for. Here’s a news flash for Ambassador Wilson: A vote to fund the troops and pay them is hardly a vote for the war in Iraq. Even doves like me who also wouldn’t know an RPG from a bong know that much. I also know that Ambassador Wilson’s characterization of the War Authorization bill that Hillary voted for is incorrect. He may know something about diplomacy, but his knowledge of the actual facts of Senate actions appear to be a bit thin, despite the fact that it’s all in the public record right here on the Internet for anyone to see.

When the facts are considered, the air is blown right out of Ambassador Wilson’s argument, leaving a trail of ‘vapid rhetoric’ in the wake.

Folks, this is classic Clinton fighting style. Take facts, twist them around into a spin that demonizes the opponent, and then use a ‘weighty voice’ to carry them across the internet and airwaves as her proxy. This is why she cannot be the Democratic candidate — her ‘get in the gutter and fight’ tactics that Mr. Wilson admires so much are divisive, manipulative, underhanded and will guarantee John McCain the Presidency.

I have previously expressed great respect for Ambassador Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson. It’s disappointing to see him spend such a monumental store of goodwill on a dying candidacy. If this is an indication of what Senator Clinton has up her sleeve, then she really should suspend her campaign now, before she and Fmr. President Clinton tear the Democratic party apart and the country along with it.

A personal note to Ambassador Wilson: My own family served in the US Department of State for 30 years, and I have nothing but the utmost respect and fondness for the intelligence and passion of the US Diplomatic Corps. Your self-indulgent fact-twisting on the Huffpo piece is insulting to me on a personal level. In your haste to do Hillary Clinton a favor, you trounced all over the credibility of your colleagues. That’s truly a disappointment.

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This week in review

The ship is sinking
The ship is sinking
The ship is sinking
There’s leak, there’s a leak,
in the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge
Killers, thieves, and lawyers

Bloody moon rising with
a plague and a flood
Join the mob, join the mob
It’s all over. It’s all over, It’s all over
There’s a leak, there’s a leak,
in the boiler room
The poor, the lame, the blind
Who are the ones that we kept in charge?
Killers, thieves, and lawyers
God’s away. God’s away, God’s away
On Business. Business.

-Tom Waits

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Policy, Priorities and Management

Margaret Chiara was commended for carrying out Bush policy on firearms prosecutions in one batch of documents used to build the case to fire Carol Lam, yet in the end, it didn’t matter — she was also fired for political expediency. They can’t even come up with a reason for her dismissal that makes sense.

From Moschella’s testimony before US House Judiciary Committee:

In carrying out these responsibilities they serve at the pleasure of the President and report to the Attorney General. If
a judgment is made that they are not executing their responsibilities in a manner that furthers the
management and policy of departmental leadership, then it is appropriate that they be
asked to resign so that they can be replaced by other individuals who will.

– page 20, document 1-8

To be clear, it was for reasons related to policy, priorities and management – what has
been referred to broadly as ‘performance-related” reasons – that these U.S. Attorneys were asked
to resign.

– page 20, document 1-8

Margaret Chiara to Paul McNulty, March 4, 2007

I respectfully request that you reconsider the rationale of poor performance as the basis for my dismissal. It is in our mutual interest to retract this erroneous explanation while there is still time. Please simply state that a presidentially appointed position is not an entitlement. No other explanation is needed.

Margaret Chiara to Paul McNulty, cc: Michael Elston, March 6, 2007

Today’s Congressional events make dear that I am, indeed, among the “USA – 8”. Shortly after his opening statement, but before citing the perceived deficiencies of my former colleagues, Will Moschella stated that the two United States Attorneys not present were dismissed because of management problems. Apparently Kevin Ryan (whom I do not know) and I share the same reason for termination.

Michael Elston told me on more than one occasion, that the rationale for dismissal was on a continuum of sorts and that I am on the de minimus end after Dan Bogden. It Is abundantly clear that this regrettable situation could have been better managed if the reasons for the dismissals were initially communicated to the affected United States Attorneys.

So, l now need to know what is the management problem to which Mr. Moschella referred?

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Pat Robertson’s Hallucinations

He’s an embarrassment to Christians everywhere. This is a classic tactic used by people claiming to be Christians and prophets who are really just desperate to advance a dying agenda.

Some of his statements deconstructed:

The other thing I felt was that evil men, evil people, are going to try to do evil things to us and to others during the last part of this year. I don’t know if it’ll be in the fall or September or later on, but it’ll be the second half somehow of 2007. There will be some very serious terrorist attacks.

Translation: Give George Bush free reign to wreak havoc in the Arab world, since we know that’s the genesis of all terrorism and true God-fearing folks would support our President fully.

And then the Lord said he will restrain the evil people, but he will not restrain them necessarily initially. And, you know, He doesn’t have to restrain people. They’re evil people and they do evil things and they desire evil.

Translation: Nuke the Arabs. Nuke them now.

Question for Pat Robertson: What happened to “love your enemies as yourself”? Oops, I guess the Lord forgot to whisper that one in your ear.

Verily, I say unto Pat Robertson, may thy lips be sealed for the next hundred years, lest your false prophecy convince even one.

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Why I don’t trust them

Selective Service to test the draft, but:

Meanwhile, the secretary for Veterans Affairs said that “society would benefit” if the U.S. were to bring back the draft and that it shouldn’t have any loopholes for anyone who is called to serve. Secretary Jim Nicholson later issued a statement saying he does not support reinstituting a draft.

How exactly society benefits from taking its young men and sending them to Iraq as cannon fodder is a mystery to me.

They cannot have my son for this stupid, ill-conceived war for oil. Make no mistake: I will risk my citizenship in this great country to keep them from demanding my sons for the evil that Bush and his administration has wrought in this world.

Does anyone really believe that they are testing the draft but don’t support it? Just more lies. Damn lies.

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