The New York Times has an article today about the strategy the Obama campaign intends to employ going forward, particularly with efforts to turn states that traditionally vote Republican blue. The first steps are putting a full-court press on states like Virginia, North Carolina, and Ohio.
All in all, an excellent strategy. However, this leaves me cold:
Recognizing the extent to which Republicans view Michelle Obama’s strong views and personality as a potential liability for her husband, Mr. Obama’s aides said they were preparing to bring aboard senior operatives from previous Democratic presidential campaigns to work with her, a clear departure from the typical way the spouse of a candidate is staffed. Mrs. Obama’s operation would include senior aides devoted to responding to attacks and challenges to her, particularly if she continues to campaign as much as she has so far.
Anyone old enough to remember back to 1992 can’t miss the irony here, particularly if they supported Hillary Clinton’s campaign for the nomination. Hillary Clinton was shredded in the first years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, and mostly because she dared to actively participate in his presidency. She was criticized for everything from her hairstyle to her infamous “baking cookies” comment. Nothing she said or did was good enough, and she didn’t accept the criticisms without pushing back hard.
Michelle Obama is a strong, intelligent, thinking woman who expects to use her abilities to help elect her husband. I would be disappointed if she didn’t. She is an asset, not a liability. As John McCain works to woo Clinton voters into his camp, I would encourage women to stop and consider what they are planning to do to Mrs. Obama and reconsider. Do they really want to align themselves with a party that sees a woman unafraid to speak her mind as a liability? Do they want to support a party that would attack Michelle Obama for daring to have strong views and the courage to speak them? Hillary Clinton’s candidacy was for ALL women, not just white women, or older white women. It was for all of us. Right?
Don’t we then, as Democrats, owe it to Hillary Clinton to stop this kind of sexist message from seeping into the campaign? Make no mistake, the Republicans are really, really good at creating these sorts of wedges. They want you to be afraid of Michelle Obama because she is a woman who dares to stand equal with her husband. If Hillary Clinton really pioneered a trail, evidence of it will include willingness on the part of women to set aside their resentment about her candidacy, support Michelle Obama’s efforts to work toward her husband’s election and vigorously reject ANY effort to paint Mrs. Obama into a box.
Larry Johnson’s ugly, smarmy efforts to smear her by rumor are just the first salvo. Just tonight, he revealed his true self in his post today when he declared his support for Bob Barr — possibly the most extreme, radical right conservative alive — a man who spent his time in the Congress laboring tirelessly to bring down Bill Clinton. As I suspected, Johnson was never a supporter of Hillary Clinton. What he is: An ugly little man at a computer using words, Memeorandum, and blog traffic to divert attention and support toward Hillary Clinton so he could work with his other Republican operatives to smear her if she won the nomination.
Now that Hillary Clinton has suspended her campaign, he will concentrate his efforts on Michelle Obama, as he has been doing in recent days. Each and every woman out there ought to be outraged about it, and join in collective unity to push back on the efforts of the Republicans to use women as a wedge to win the White House.
We are women, not wedges. We do not exist to be viewed as liabilities for our husbands. We have our own identities, and our own voices. If we take anything at all away from Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House, let it be the ability to be recognized as individuals, with our own opinions and identity. We should not, and will not, be censored because Republicans don’t like it. It’s time for them to hear things they don’t like, and deal with it, because they have some ‘splainin’ to do about the $4.59/gallon gas price I paid today, the $4.39/gallon milk price I paid, my veteran son who lives with us because there are no jobs that will pay him enough to remain independent, the 4,000+ dead in Iraq, the deterioration of Afghanistan, and the futures of our sons and daughters, which hangs in a very delicate and precarious balance.
Whether you supported Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, the attitude that women should all behave like Cindy McCain is one that we should credit Hillary Clinton for shattering. She didn’t just put cracks in that ceiling; she shattered it.
Don’t let them win this. They will use bitter, hard feelings to drive it in as a wedge. We are women. We know how to build bridges and we teach our children to use their words to say “I’m sorry”, and forgive. Let’s be the women that lead by example and move past the primaries into an understanding that whether it’s Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama, no woman should be subjected to the abuse being used against Michelle.
Thank you, Hillary Clinton, for enduring the abuse heaped on you and overcoming it. May we all be a credit to a better future, where such behavior is not only unacceptable, it is unheard of.
Her inexperience argument is a canard that should die a rapid death. Senator Obama has demonstrated his ability to mount a strong and effective campaign while not abandoning his core principles of transparency and staying focused on the issues. He has demonstrated fiscal responsibility and an ability to reach out and build a strong coalition of support around the core principles guiding the Democratic party.
Make no mistake, the nominating process and campaign is a strong indicator of where the general election will go. Let’s call the church crap a draw, given that McCain’s got Hagee and Parsley repudiations under his belt. Barack Obama will end the primary season with millions in the bank, a nice nest egg for the general election, and a strong, empowered, grass-roots base to build his general election campaign.
ANY argument which suggests that Hillary Clinton is more capable than Barack Obama to be President of this country is based on intellectual dishonesty. Let’s talk about leadership in that context.
Leadership has more than one element. It is first, and foremost, the ability to exercise good personal judgment. Second, the ability to communicate a direction in a way that attracts people to your cause; and third, the ability to move that cause forward steadily and with purpose.
Just in the context of today’s RBC meeting, let’s look at leadership. The Obama campaign asked its followers to refrain from any demonstration or en masse appearance in Washington DC today, choosing instead to focus on their 50 state voter registration drive, intended to shore up the Democratic voter base in all 50 states. His supporters are just as passionate as Hillary Clinton’s, trust me. They could have appeared in front of that hotel with their own signs, but they DID NOT, choosing instead to follow the request of Obama and work on calling voters, registering new voters, and working on other aspects of the campaign.
Clinton’s supporters, on the other hand, disrupted the meeting (particularly the afternoon sessions), called for more division by stirring her Florida supporters with comparisons to the 2000 election, the civil rights movement, the suggestion that the compromise reached treats Florida voters as less than slaves (who received 3/5ths of a vote), aligned with slanderous and discredited characters for the sake of attention, and consistently continue to whine that the failure of her candidacy is somehow related to sexism, misogyny and unfair treatment.
The video linked above and the one embedded below are examples. Both are pathetic. I would never, ever in a hundred years do this. It’s a disgrace to Hillary Clinton. It’s a disgrace to every hard-working woman who manages to find their place in life as a self-actualized human being. As the daughter of an abusive father, I know what it feels like to be controlled by men. I also know it’s possible to be a woman in a man’s world without turning into a hater. This supporter’s hysteria and irrationality undermines Clinton’s legitimate, strong, hard-fought candidacy. I don’t hold her responsible for what one supporter says, but let’s be honest — when Clinton surrogate Geraldine Ferraro attributes her current position to nothing more than sexism, she undermines all of us who chose NOT to vote for Clinton because we did not recognize her as a strong, unifying leader. My impression of Clinton has been that she is a divider, not a uniter, and that has been obvious as the primary season has progressed. I’m a woman! I’m not anti-woman, nor do I feel bound by my physiology to vote for one candidate over another.
If Barack Obama loses in November (and the only way I see that happening is if the party is so hopelessly divided that it simply disintegrates), Hillary Clinton will lose the opportunity to advance her own agenda for women’s rights, reproductive rights, ending the war, and health care. She will have far more influence with a Barack Obama presidency than she would with a John McCain presidency.
If her motives are what she says — party unity and advancing an agenda of social reform — then it’s in her best interests to throw her support wholeheartedly behind Obama and lead her supporters to do the same. If her interests are purely self-serving, she should continue to encourage horrible behavior and paint herself as a victim. And a loser.
Clinton has the power to decide what she wants to do. Let’s hope she does it, and demonstrates leadership that is effective, outspoken and works to defeat the Republicans in November.
“The GOP, should I be the nominee, I think can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record,” Obama said. “I’ve been in public life for 20 years. I expect them to pore through everything that I’ve said, every utterance, every statement. And to paint it in the most undesirable light possible. That’s what they do.”
“But I do want to say this to the GOP. If they think that they’re going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because that I find unacceptable,” he said.
Obama praised his wife’s patriotism and said that for Republicans “to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her I think is just low class … and especially for people who purport to be promoters of family values, who claim that they are protectors of the values and ideals and the decency of the American people to start attacking my wife in a political campaign I think is detestable.”
Obama later added, “I think that the American people also would like to see some restoration of decency to this process. And when you start attacking family members, there’s a lack of decency there.”
Speaking of family members, it was also revealed during the same interview that the children would be getting a dog. Now.
Michelle Obama actually overruled her husband while on “GMA” when they were asked whether their two daughters had yet to get the dog they were promised.
She said they had agreed to get the dog a year from now, while her husband said they will have “a year to test whether they are sufficiently responsible…”
But Michelle Obama cut him off, sayingy, “They are responsible.”
He tried again by saying “Whether they are going to be responsible in the middle of winter to go walk that dog.”
“We’re getting a dog,” his wife said flatly.
“When it’s cold outside,” Obama persisted.
His wife looked into the camera and said to their kids, “You guys are getting a dog.”
When the presidential candidate again asked who would be walking the dog, the potential first lady replied, “You will. You will all be walking the dog.”
“OK. All right,” Obama conceded.
I wonder how long it will take for some sexist pig to make a big huge deal out of the fact that Michelle Obama overruled her husband on a domestic matter. Remember, it’s conversation like this that was used to marginalize Hillary Clinton during Bill Clinton’s 1992 run for the presidency.
I hope the kids get a dog they absolutely love and cherish for a very long time, too. The press should leave them alone, too. A little respect is in order sometimes.
- Jeffrey Toobin: In McCain’s Court
- Pentagon Announces Troop Deployments Of 42,000 To Iraq, Afghanistan
- Why Republicans Might Attack Iran Before the General Elections
For example, one of the strongest scenarios among neo-conservatives is based on the hypothesis that in the case of any military attack against Iran — even a limited air strike — the greatest beneficiary among the three presidential candidates would be John McCain. The reason for this is that the American people’s first priority would become national security instead of the economy, and since there might be a “perception” that McCain would deal with foreign policy issues better than economic ones, he would have a stronger chance of winning in November.
- Clinton Puts Up A New Fight
Later, when asked if she thinks this campaign has been racist, she says she does not. And she circles back to the sexism. “The manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable, or at least more accepted, and . . . there should be equal rejection of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head,” she said. “It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists.”
(My aside: No racism? REALLY? Yes, there has been sexism on the part of the media, the pundits, some Obama supporters and bloggers. But to say there’s been NO racism? That’s just a lie.)
Might he really be a “maverick” when it comes to the Supreme Court? The answer, almost certainly, is no. The Senator has long touted his opposition to Roe, and has voted for every one of Bush’s judicial appointments; the rhetoric of his speech shows that he is getting his advice on the Court from the most extreme elements of the conservative movement. With the general election in mind, McCain had to express himself with such elaborate circumlocution because he knows that the constituency for such far-reaching change in our constellation of rights is small, and may be shrinking.
Today is the day that Barack Obama will tip over the majority of pledged delegates. He will need less than 100 total delegates for the nomination. I would once again encourage the women profiled in the last article to consider the facts in the first article.