You’ll never need an enemy when Bill Clinton is your friend.
Hillary Clinton wasn’t the only member in her family whose reputation received a boost by agreeing to be the Secretary of State for the man who beat her, Barack Obama. Bill Clinton fell out of favor with a lot of core Democratic voters for his shabby, and occasionally race-baiting attacks against Obama during the hotly contested 2008 election.
Obama and his Democratic predecessor were not close in the aftermath, but in the 2012 campaign, one president reached out to the other and Bill Clinton became one of Obama’s most effective supporters and delivered a stirring speech at last year’s convention that easily surpassed Obama’s own address.
If the two men aren’t exactly friends, they learned they needed each other and both benefited from striking a truce and setting aside their differences.
Here’s one way to know the election is over and the next one is already well under way. Bill Clinton is through making nice with Barack Obama and he’s back to showing him up and cutting him down.
In remarks at the McCain Institute (that’s John McCain, the guy Obama beat in 2008) that weren’t open to the press, but Politico and The Daily Beast got the juicy parts anyway of,the 42nd President of the United States ripping the 44th for failing to act in Syria.
—”You just think how lame you’d be… suppose I had let a million people, two million people be refugees out of Kosovo, a couple hundred thousand people die, and they say, ‘You could have stopped this by dropping a few bombs. Why didn’t you do it?’ And I say, ‘because the House of Representatives voted 75% against it?’” Clinton said. “You look like a total wuss, and you would be.” (via DB)
—”If you refuse to act and you cause a calamity, the one thing you cannot say when all the eggs have been broken is, ‘Oh my god, two years ago there was a poll that said 80 percent of you were against it.’ You look like a total fool,” Clinton said. (DB)
—”Nobody is asking for American soldiers in Syria,” Clinton said. “The only question is now that the Russians, the Iranians and the Hezbollah are in there head over heels, 90 miles to nothing, should we try to do something to try to slow their gains and rebalance the power so that these rebel groups have a decent chance, if they’re supported by a majority of the people, to prevail?” (via Politico)
It’s hard to know exactly what Clinton wants the president to do about Syria. He was a little skimpy on the details but makes it pretty clear somebody needs to “do something.”
Mostly its about Clinton reviving a theme began by his wife five years ago: Obama isn’t ready to sit in the Big Chair and make the tough calls. Bill knows he could and wants everyone to know Hillary could too.
Except when he didn’t and allowed almost a million people to lose their lives. Perhaps while he sucking on the unlit cigar soaked with Monica Lewinsky’s sex sauce, Bubba forgot how in 1994 he allowed the Hutus to slaughter the Tutsis in the Rwandan Genocide.
The only thing more disgusting than Clinton’s craven opportunism is his lousy memory. There was a time when he was the one who was the “wuss” and the “fool” and he was definitely looking at the polling numbers before coming to a decision.
What’s funny only it’s not is here’s the guy who sat on his thumbs when he wasn’t getting blow jobs from chubby interns and let the slaughter in Rwanda go down and he did NOTHING. The “first Black president” knew of the plans for genocide when the Hutus massacred over 800,000 Tutsis in 100 day. Clinton chose not to get involved.
President Bill Clinton’s administration knew Rwanda was being engulfed by genocide in April 1994 but buried the information to justify its inaction, according to classified documents made available for the first time.
Senior officials privately used the word genocide within 16 days of the start of the killings, but chose not to do so publicly because the president had already decided not to intervene.
Intelligence reports obtained using the US Freedom of Information Act show the cabinet and almost certainly the president had been told of a planned “final solution to eliminate all Tutsis” before the slaughter reached its peak.
The documents undermine claims by Mr Clinton and his senior officials that they did not fully appreciate the scale and speed of the killings.
“It’s powerful proof that they knew,” said Alison des Forges, a Human Rights Watch researcher and authority on the genocide.
The National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute based in Washington DC, went to court to obtain the material.
It discovered that the CIA’s national intelligence daily, a secret briefing circulated to Mr Clinton, the then vice-president, Al Gore, and hundreds of senior officials, included almost daily reports on Rwanda. One, dated April 23, said rebels would continue fighting to “stop the genocide, which … is spreading south”.
Three days later the state department’s intelligence briefing for former secretary of state Warren Christopher and other officials noted “genocide and partition” and reported declarations of a “final solution to eliminate all Tutsis”.
However, the administration did not publicly use the word genocide until May 25 and even then diluted its impact by saying “acts of genocide”.
Ms Des Forges said: “They feared this word would generate public opinion which would demand some sort of action and they didn’t want to act. It was a very pragmatic determination.”
The administration did not want to repeat the fiasco of US intervention in Somalia, where US troops became sucked into fighting. It also felt the US had no interests in Rwanda, a small central African country with no minerals or strategic value.
William Ferroggiaro, of the National Security Archive, said the system had worked. “Diplomats, intelligence agencies, defence and military officials – even aid workers – provided timely information up the chain,” he said.
“That the Clinton administration decided against intervention at any level was not for lack of knowledge of what was happening in Rwanda.”
Clinton cared more about his blow jobs than innocents being massacred. At least when it came to Black innocents. But in Kosovo, Clinton didn’t dawdle at all. He moved quickly to intervene and save the Croats. Being born with White skin still has its privileges and one is the U.S. doesn’t dick around when it comes to saving the lives of those it considers worth it.
“It may seem strange to you here, especially the many of you who lost members of your family, but all over the world there were people like me sitting in offices, day after day after day, who did not fully appreciate the depth and the speed with which you were being engulfed by this unimaginable terror,” Clinton said during a trip to Africa in 1998 as the Lewinsky scandal was eating his presidency alive.
When Clinton said those words it was a lie. He knew what was going on in Rwanda. He didn’t care.
I respect Clinton. I even like Clinton. But his failure to act during the Rwanda genocide will never be forgiven or forgotten by me. He was a coward then, he’s a coward now and he has no right to criticize Obama for not interceding in Syria while he was unwilling to do likewise in Rwanda.
Oh well, the campaign’s over. Hillary’s out of the Cabinet. Time for Big Bill to do what he does best: steal the spotlight and undercut Obama. The next presidential election is right around the corner and there isn’t an inch of daylight between Hill and Bill in their plans to put her in the Oval Office. He owes her big-time for not divorcing his cheating ass while he was still in the White House and she WILL collect.
You expect this kind of behavior from Bill Clinton. He doesn’t mean to be so bombastic. He just is. He does mean to be duplicitous, deceptive and devious. Clinton has always been a guy who after he shakes your hand, you want to count and see how many fingers you still have.
In politics, they smile in your face while they pat you on the back. That’s because they’re looking for the best place to stick the knife. Maybe Clinton is coming down so hard on Obama to prod him into taking action in Syria in a way he failed to do so in Rwanda. Maybe, but I don’t think Clinton allocates that much thought to his past mistakes. His eyes on on the future and triumphant return to the White House and this time as The First Husband.
That’s a dream for Clinton well worth the risk of pissing off Obama. However he might want to consider Obama can ether be a big help or a big hindrance to Hill and Bill in 2016.
Throwing Obama under the bus and backing it up just to be sure isn’t anything new for anybody as ambitious as The Clintons. There’s been a few bodies stacked up under wheels of the Clintoncruiser over the years and there’s always room for two more.
- Former Pres. Bill Clinton Said Obama is Being a “Wuss” and a “Fool” About Syria. No Sh*t, Sherlock. (shepherdspiehole.typepad.com)
- Obama You look like a “Wuss” – Bill Clinton on Obama’s Syria Policy (ozhassan.wordpress.com)
- Clinton Urges Syria Intervention, Regrets Not Being More of a Warmonger (comehomeamerica.wordpress.com)
Here are two good rules of thumb. When a president starts to work the list of who he wants serving in the Cabinet, it’s important to get the Secretary of State selection right. Choose a great or at least a pretty good Secretary of State, and it doesn’t matter if the Secretary of Transportation or the Interior Department is a stiff. Nobody remembers who ran the Labor Department for Bill Clinton or George H.W. Bush and nobody cares either.
The other rule of thumb is the earlier a career politician denies any interest in running for the presidency the sooner you know they’re lying through their teeth.
Hillary Clinton was a pretty good Secretary of State and yes, she’s running for president in 2016. This falls under the category of a stone-cold lock. Her prospects were boosted by the four years of image rehabilitation she underwent as the globe trotting face of President Obama’s foreign policy.
She wants to be president. She’s got the best resume in American politics (First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State) and whomever challenges her is starting as second best.
After losing the Democratic nomination to the upstart, first-term Senator from Illinois, the Clinton brand had taken a terrible hit. Hillary had run a lousy campaign and Bill, the so-called “first Black president” was stunned to be called out as a bigot for some of his remarks critical of Obama. The internecine warfare between two of the brightest lights the Democrats had to offer held a distinct possibility of fracturing the party into two camps, the Obama camp that needed to call a ceasefire in hostilities in order to focus on beating John McCain and the Clinton camp that was angered by Obama’s hardball tactics and the none-too-subtle implication they were the only thing standing between Bill’s third term.
Nobody felt sorry for Hillary and Bill. They came into the 2008 campaign with every advantages. Money, name recognition, endorsements, party organization and the whole nine yards. And they got out-hustled, out-messaged, out-campaigned and just plain outwitted by somebody who learned The Clinton playbook and beat them at their own game.
Then Obama did something as smart as it was unexpected. He asked his bitter rival to accept his invitation and serve in the hardest and most important position in his Administration. Say what you will about the job of vice-president. The most important trait for Joe Biden to show is loyalty. Hillary Clinton had to demonstrate efficiency.
Looking at the 60 Minutes exit interview Obama and Clinton held and the genuine affection and mutual respect they seem to have built over his first term, all the bad blood may not have been entirely forgotten, but it does seem to have been largely forgiven.
Last week Clinton sat for over five hours of grilling by House and Senate Republicans purportedly looking for answers of what the outgoing Secretary of State knew about the security lapses and the mistakes that led to four dead American embassy personnel in Benghazi including Ambassador Chris Stevens. But it wasn’t just an inquiry for elected officials as it was also a chance for a few likely GOP presidential candidates to take shots at the early odds-on leader in the Democratic clubhouse.
Marco Rubio couldn’t lay a glove on Clinton. Senators Rand “needs a better wig” Paul and Ron Johnson alternatingly baffled and annoyed her with their line of questioning. Johnson, a Tea Party twit from Wisconsin was so in over his head, he was tweaked by The Washington Post for “having the worst week.”
It was the Angry White Men on Capitol Hill vs. The Cooler Than Ice Clinton and she schooled them so badly all Angriest White Man of Them All, John McCain ran to Fox to whine over how the media was fawning over her performance. Hey, Johnny, you do know there’s pills you can take when you have “performance issues.” You need some Republican Viagra?
This is how you know how well-positioned Hillary is for 2016. The GOP is already sharpening their blades trying to cut her down.
They’re going to need bigger and sharper knives. You can’t buy the kind of positive p.r. Hillary Clinton is enjoying as she goes into a relatively brief political hibernation and she rests, recharges and begins to assemble the team and strategy she will need to follow the historic presidency of the nation’s first Black Chief Executive with the first woman to serve in that role.
The rehabilitation is over. The reputation has been restored. Clinton steps away from the spotlight knowing when she returns there isn’t another likely candidate with a resume of accomplishments or popularity to match her own. Now she can take some time to write a book, make some money on the lecture circuit, buy a whole new closet full of pantsuits and once she’s tanned, rested and ready, start laying the groundwork for achieving the dream she never quite gave up on.
- Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s Lovefest on ’60 Minutes’ (familysurvivalprotocol.com)
- President Obama and Secretary Of State Clinton On ’60 Minutes’ (theobamacrat.com)
- The Hillary Clinton Guide to Being a Powerful Woman When You’re Surrounded By Men (jezebel.com)
Well, that was 90 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. Neither will Barack Obama.
The only explanation I have for President Obama’s debate performance tonight is either he wants to build up Mitt Romney’s confidence or he wants to inject some suspense into the race.
Either way, it was the worst speaking performance I’ve ever heard Obama give. He was lethargic, lifeless and he looked tired. Maybe he wanted to hurry up and get out of there so he could celebrate his 20th wedding anniversary with Michelle. That’s all I can figure out as a reason he looked so disengaged.
Obama being bad doesn’t mean Romney looked good. All he had to do was to look like he belonged on the same stage as the president and not come off as overly robotic. Romney won the debate thanks to Obama’s listlessness and a moderator that went from respected journalist to tired old man right before a national audience’s eyes. If you wanted to compare Jim Lehrer‘s god-awful moderating skills with Clint Eastwood’s meltdown call it Trouble With the Debates.
Big Bird won. Lehrer lost. He looked like a NFL replacement ref. Romney bullied him and then Obama joined in for the fun. What a total botch as a moderator! Lehrer said he picked the questions. He needs his ass kicked. Nothing about women’s reproductive rights. Nothing about domestic spying. Nothing about the DREAM act or illegal immigration. Nothing about poverty or unemployment. Nothing about the environment. Romney punked Lehrer constantly. That’s something he learned from Newt Gingrich. Grab ‘em by the throat and let ‘em know who’s running the show.
Any Obama supporter that tells you he “won” the debate is delusional or lying through their teeth. The president looked tired. He seemed listless, lifeless and totally disengaged. He was boring, his answers rambled and he spent far too much time looking down at his notes.
Obama looked like he couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there as if he rather be spending his time celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary with Michelle. Can’t say I blame him for that, but holy guacamole! did he lay an egg tonight.
Easily the worst performance Obama has ever had in a debate. He looked like a man who hadn’t been onstage in four years. He was bad, bad, bad. Obama enjoys the competition of basketball and doesn’t want the other players to take it easy on him. He knows he stunk up the gym by clanking jumpers, laying up bricks, dribbling the ball off his foot and his shoelaces were untied.
It was not your finest hour, Mr. President. Not by a damn sight.
Romney “won” not because he said or did anything remarkable. He didn’t. All he had to do was not eat his foot or set his tie afire after the lousy last few weeks he’s had. Did he “reset” the race in the way Chris Christie said he would? Ehhhhhh....
Romney had a good night because Obama had a bad one. How in the hell does Obama not include a “47 percent” reference in a domestic policy debate? That was a missed opportunity that Obama probably won’t get a second chance at. Take the shot, Mr. President!
To go back to the NFL reference, Obama played cautious and safe. He had a lead and Romney needed a touchdown to win and a field goal to tie. Obama wasn’t going to give up a long bomb score, but was content to let Romney throw underneath the coverage as time ticked away.
I don’t know where those “zingers” were Romney was supposed to be zapping Obama with. He was a little flat and very professorial, but the president was even more so. Romney pivoted back to the middle and acted as if that’s where he has been the entire time. If Obama was for more teachers, so was Romney. At least he was in October. In June, Romney said “he (Obama) wants another stimulus, he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”
Now if I know Mitt was talking out the side of his neck and I didn’t go to Hah-vard, why doesn’t Barack Obama know that–and throw that bald-faced lie right back into Romney’s face?
I’ll tell you why. Because Obama practiced for this debate with John Kerry standing in for Romney. Is there a more wooden speaker than JOHN KERRY??? :roll:
I don’t want to hear what Obama agrees with Romney about. If I want to know what he believes I’d vote for him, Obama needs to debate with Bill Clinton. Clinton loved a good fight. Obama hates to get in a fight.
If Obama had come out with the idea of knocking the snot out of Romney he could have ended the election tonight. But he didn’t do it and now he’s probably going to wake up tomorrow to a race that will be a statistical dead heat. And he will have no one but himself to blame.
I heard one pundit say he determined who won the debate by who showed they wanted it more. Romney wanted it more than Obama.
Romney kicked a field goal. Not to win, but a tie was good enough for him to declare victory. One lousy performance does not lose a presidential race. Obama is still in the electoral vote driver’s seat, but the popular vote is not yet quite buckled in yet. By trying to appear oh-so-presidential, Obama projected how seriously he takes the job. Romney was more geared up for the fight to take his job.
I cautioned against overconfidence for a reason. The debates won’t change all that many minds, but they can fire up or turn off a candidate’s base. Obama gave his nothing to fist bump about while Romney stopped the wheels from falling off his bandwagon. Obama hasn’t won this thing yet and Romney hasn’t lost it. The polls and the pundits are having their say, but what matters most is the voters’ final say.
Don’t book that January trip to Washington for Obama’s second inauguration. Not just yet anyway.
- Chris Matthews Explodes Over President Obama’s Empty Podium Performance at First Presidential Debate (themoderatevoice.com)
- Mitt “Mass Debater” Romney wins; Big Bird loses (egofactor.wordpress.com)
- Maddow: No Winner In This Debate, But There Is A Loser – Jim Lehrer (mediaite.com)
- Those old Obama debate blues (salon.com)
There is no difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. That’s the story for those voting third-party and bless ‘em. They have the luxury to think that.
I know better.
There is no difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. That’s the story for those cynics who will stay home and sit the election out.
I know better.
Staying home on Election Day will never be an option and voting for overreaching third-party candidates isn’t either. Nothing against those that do because I did it myself when I voted for John Anderson, but I knew Reagan was going to kick Carter’s butt and had the presidency in the bag.
But that was then and this is now. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I sat on my ass and let Romney waltz into the White House based upon my lazy indifference.
The professional pundits of the Washington press corps sniffed Obama’s DNC speech was “dull,” “workmanlike” and a “failure.” They miss the point. Obama knew his speech wasn’t better than Clinton or Michelle’s. It didn’t have to be. All it had to be was better than Romney’s and he did it with something Romney doesn’t have and can’t buy: droll wit.
Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years: ‘Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!’
The president was only half-joking. The Republicans do seem to think like Robitussen, there’s nothing that can’t be fixed with more tax cuts.
I’m sorry for those folks who feel Obama didn’t deliver on the hope and change they were hoping for. I think they have to take into account the enormity of the mess he had to clean up and the fierceness of the opposition to his presidency he faced. Sure he’s made some bad mistakes, but I can’t think of a Chief Executive in my lifetime who hasn’t made me cuss them out multiple times.
Obama came up short on a lot of important issues, but before anybody switches to Mitt, I would appreciate if they could explain to me exactly how Mittens will make things better? Nothing about his campaign or personality indicates he identifies with the problems of anyone but the wealthiest and most privileged Americans.
This is a reason Mittens is so doing so atrociously with African-Americans. Many of us have already figured out he has no use for us and is incapable of relating to issues of importance to Blacks. Accordingly, the majority of Blacks have no use for Mittens.
Maybe we are simply ahead of the curve. Maybe we’re the canaries in the coalmine. Maybe the rest of America might want to try to figure out why Romney is like a dull knife that just ain’t cuttin, talkin’ loud and sayin’ nothing. Or maybe some of us see Romney for who he is. A rich guy who can’t identify with people who have to work for a living and has no understanding of what that means. Whenever someone tells a kid who wants to go to college or start a business to borrow the money from their parents, that should tell you all you need to know about them.
It certainly tells me if next year Mitt if it left up to him who sits on the Supreme Court, which government program benefiting the middle class family the most or whether there’s a war with Iran, how he decides is going to be brutal, cruel and nasty. All his life Mitt has shown a willingness to shove aside a previously held belief when it becomes inconvenient. That shouldn’t inspire confidence in his character. A man who will say anything to get elected will do everything the billionaires and businessmen underwriting his campaign want him to do once he’s in the White House.
If you haven’t demonstrated you have steel in your spine when you’re running for president, it’s too much to assume it will show up once you are.
I’m not naïve. After four years on the job Obama is obliged to obey his own set of masters. There are rich people and special interests that have their calls returned first and fast when they call on the president. The Obama who spoke in Charlotte was a grayer, more sober and less confident in his own charisma and talents Obama than the one who ran for president four years ago. Now it’s as he said, “I’m the president” and instead of answering questions about Reverend Wright, Tony Rezko or William Ayers, now he has to answer for the state of the economy, the lack of jobs and his inability to successfully negotiate with Congressional Republicans.
A President Romney can’t fix the problems of the economy and gloomy job numbers any easier than President Obama has. He will have better relations with the Republicans on the Hill because they figure he will be following their directives, not the other way around. And he will. When Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Jim DeMint say, “Jump Mitt, Jump!” Jump, he will. The only questions are for how long and how high.
Rubber Stamp Romney would be far weaker and less effective than Obama. What his presidency would mean to anyone who isn’t part of Romney’s diversity-free America isn’t hard to figure out. Four years of neglect and contempt interrupted by occasional actions of malicious hostility.
On one side there’s Obama. On the other there’s Romney. If you want me to believe there’s no difference between them, you’re going to have to first convince me there’s no difference between going forward and going backwards.
- Romney Rips Paul Ryan: Calls Running Mate’s Vote For Defense Cuts ‘A Big Mistake’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Obama widens lead over Romney despite jobs data: Reuters/Ipsos poll – Reuters (in.reuters.com)
- Here It Comes …. (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- Why Can’t We Be Friends? by Martha Thomases – Brilliant Disguise (mdwp.malibulist.com)
Going into their convention, Democrats had a disadvantage the Republicans did not. The GOP base is fired up to vote against Obama. The Democrats need to get theirs fired up to vote for Obama. The advantage Democrats have is it is easier to get people to vote for someone than against them. But too much of the Democratic base hasn’t been engaged thus far in the president’s reelection and that could imperil it.
Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton delivered show-stopping speeches to set it up for President Obama to make the case he deserves four more years. The speculation was which Clinton would show up in Charlotte. Would it be Bad Bill looking to stick a shiv in the back of the guy who blocked his wife’s bid for his old job or Good Bill rallying the faithful to help Obama join him and Harry Truman as the only Democratic incumbents to win a second term since FDR?
It took 48 minutes for him to say it, but Clinton left no doubt he’s all in with Team Obama and squash any speculation he wasn’t. Obama and Clinton have had a prickly relationship, but with his ringing endorsement of the embattled president and shredding of the Republicans, Clinton is poised to become a significant asset to Obama’s campaign.
Michelle Obama’s job was tougher than the one Clinton had. He had to say the things about the opposition in the way a former president can that a current one can’t. Bill had to draw the distinctions between Obama and the Republicans. Michelle had to reach out to disillusioned and disappointed Democrats to remind them, yes, there is are good reasons to show up and vote for her husband.
More than a few amateur psychologists such as D’nesh D’Souza have attempted to put the president on the couch trying to figure out why he hates America so much. He doesn’t, but they are too full of hate for him to realize it. With the First Lady, they can’t question her “Americaness” so they hit on her as being “angry.” The go-to move for right-wingers too lazy or too stupid (or both) to understand the Obamas is to write him off as uppity and her as angry.
Stereotyping Michelle is a way to minimize her intellect and beauty. She has been hammered by her critics as snobbish, materialistic, bossy and nosing into the dietary habits of American’s children. It’s amazing how low they will go not to take Michelle seriously. She has more grace, charm and smarts in one finger than most of the haters do in their entire flabby bodies.
She is also thought of as being the true liberal in the marriage or at least more than her husband. That’s a sentiment shared by Salon’s Joan Walsh:
There are Democrats who believe Michelle Obama carries the torch for liberalism, and reminds her husband what he came to Washington to do, when his Beltway advisers may be telling him something different. Tuesday night she spoke to those Democrats, who may not be as enthusiastic or optimistic as they were in 2008. She told them she loves her husband even more than she did four years ago, because of all that he’s done for the country – and maybe helped them to love him a little more, too.
All the professional and amateur “fact-checkers” will comb through every last word of their speeches looking for exaggerations, half-truths, and outright lies of a Paul Ryan level, but a fact is not the same as the truth and what Michelle Obama said about character and what Bill Clinton said about the economy Obama inherited was the gospel truth.
The First Lady said, “I have seen firsthand that being president doesn’t change who you are – it reveals who you are.”
President Clinton said, “President Obama started with a much weaker economy than I did. No President – not me or any of my predecessors could have repaired all the damage in just four years.”
Today is the last night of the Democratic National Convention with Joe Biden and Obama himself ringing down the curtain with perhaps the two most important speeches of their political lives. What they say doesn’t have to be as good as what Bill and Michelle said, but it would go a long ways to waking up the base if it’s every bit as good
If the Democrats don’t come out of their convention energized and mobilized to send Mitt back to one of his six homes it won’t be because the Big Dog and the First Lady didn’t do their part.
Motivation? Yeah. They built that.
- Michelle Obama’s message: The president is just like you (thegrio.com)
- DNC Dispatch: Bill Clinton Shows Dems How it’s Done (wnyc.org)
- What if Michelle Obama ran for office? (politico.com)
Sometimes the best way to make a comeback is to never go away. Hillary Clinton’s bounce back from wandering in the wilderness to my best bet to win the Democratic nomination in 2016 is a resurrection of Biblical proportions.
Clinton has emerged as one of the most formidable and accomplished politicians in American politics. After the bitterly fought election of 2008, her stature had been diminished and the Clinton brand name had lost a bit of its luster, tarnished somewhat from the campaign and the fatigue with Bill Clinton.
America needed a break from the Clintons. By settling into his post-presidential life, Bill has largely put the taint of his sexual indiscretions and impeachment behind him. The committed Clinton haters will never give up that hate, but their numbers are dwindling.
A 2011 Gallup/USA Today poll of America’s Most Admired People placed Hillary Clinton at Number One (in a tie with President Obama. George W. Bush is at second place and Bill Clinton at third). I don’t think that’s an accident. Hillary is no longer thought of as simply another former First Lady. She’s grown far beyond that.
Clinton was a respected U.S. Senator. She’s worked hard as Secretary of State and from all outward appearances, been loyal to President Obama. Whether or not she thought her reputation needed rehabilitation, Hillary has thrived when she accepted Obama’s offer to join his administration.
While she has said she will not return as Secretary of State if the president wins reelection, nobody should believe she’s going to retire from politics. If Obama wins, there’s nobody in the Democratic Party better positioned to succeed him in 2016 than Hillary Clinton (sorry, Joe Biden). If Romney wins, she becomes the Democratic front-runner in 2016 (sorry, Joe Biden and Andrew Cuomo).
If Romney loses, there’s going to be a pushback from the moderate wing of the Republican Party. The far-Right of the GOP has pushed Romney to take positions that makes him less palatable to independents. I can see someone emerging to pull the Republicans back to the center and away from the challenges posed by a Tea Party favorite such as Senator Rand Paul and that person could well be Jeb Bush.
George Bush’s reign of error made the Bush brand toxic in 2012 (can anyone recall any Republican presidential candidate praising Bush 43?) and the party is desperately trying to avoid any mention of the Bush years. Voters needed a break from the Bush family and by 2016, another time will have passed to forgive, if not necessarily forget, the bad old days of Dubya and Evil Dick Cheney.
I’m predicting a Clinton vs. Bush: Round Two in 2016. It would be a contest of epic proportions. But it sure wouldn’t represent any sort of drastic, dramatic change in American politics. If you loved Bill and George Sr. and Jr., you’ll love Hillary and Jeb.
Clinton will be 68 in 2016 and younger than Romney will be then. She’s redeemed her slightly tarnished image. She can raise money. She’s a formidable campaigner. She’s married to a guy who knows how to win. Why shouldn’t she take a couple of years off and in four years, the Democrats will be begging her to run to replace Obama or take on Romney.
Bill wants this to happen. George Sr. and Karl Rove want this to happen. Even if Romney wins and runs for a second term, I expect Jeb Bush to challenge him for the nomination.
It would be the ultimate triumph of status quo, business as usual, politics, and the final throwdown between two political dynasties and I am absolutely convinced that is exactly what is coming America’s way in 2016. Hillary can write her own ticket and if she wants to, she’s a lock to make history in four years by adding “President of the United States” to her resume of accomplishments.
Love her, like her or loathe her, but you can’t stop her.
- Hillary Clinton most-traveled secretary of state in US history – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Jeb Bush: Reagan ‘would have a hard time’ in today’s GOP (thehill.com)
- The Hillary Switcheroo (thedailybeast.com)
Did anyone really think winning a second term would be easy?
If you’re paying any attention to the polls and the news and the pundits you would think the election was already over and Barack Obama should be choosing the words for his concession speech. And let’s not mince words: Obama had a terrible May and the news for June isn’t starting off any better with Mitt Romney and the RNC raising $76.8 million in May clobbering the president and the Democrats’ $60 million (my $25 bucks is in there somewhere, but they’re back begging for more).
There’s no spinning this as anything but bad news for the Democrats. They knew after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling they would be behind a fundraising 8-ball, but they probably weren’t expecting to be this far behind already. the only good news is with five months to go, there’s still time to get their base motivated and active. The bad news the Republican base already is.
If elections were won in June there would be no reason to vote in November. They aren’t and running from behind is a place Obama has been before. No incumbent president has won reelection with the unemployment rate over 7 percent. Right now it stands at 8.2 percent which is not good news for Americans looking for work or for the president’s chances of keeping his job either.
It was never going to be easy for Obama. Hope and Change has run headlong into Disillusion and Reality. No one man no matter how much he inspires or how much difference he said he would make can change the way politics work in America by himself. Not everybody wants things to change. When they don’t they push back against it and the Republicans have kept a united force against the president since he first took office.
The gloomy mood for Democrats deepened this week as the special election in Wisconsin to recall Republican incumbent Scott Walker fell dismally short and instead emboldened gleeful conservatives.
The recall flopped as most voters stayed home and most that bothered to show up backed the favorite son of the Koch Brothers over Tom Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor Walker had beaten before to win the job in the first place. The recall was backed by Walker’s enemies on the Left and wasted precious time, money and effort in a long-shot bid to oust an unpopular incumbent; though not as unpopular as they had hoped.
This was the equivalent of wanting a “do over” and because the election results don’t go the way you want doesn’t mean you’re gonna get a second bite of the apple.
Recalls should be reserved for high crimes, misdemeanors and illegalities in office. Scott Walker may be a dick with ears, but that’s not a good enough reason to overturn the will of the majority of Wisconsin voters.
I’m hardly surprised Walker won and Obama stayed out of the recall. The Left will barbecue the president’s butt over it, but this smelled like a loser from the jump. They should have known when Russ Feingold, a hero of progressives declined to run against Walker, he was trying to tell them something.
Yes, there will be an insufferable amount of giggling coming from fatheads like Limbaugh and Faux News, but c’est la vie. If you try to kill the king, you’d better take him down because if you don’t he’s going to make your lives hell on Earth and if anybody thinks Scott Walker will feel humbled or chastised by the recall, they’re high on crack. If anything, if he could run for the GOP presidential nomination he’d have a good shot at it as a bona fide conservative rock star.
Way to go Wisconsin labor and liberals. Now we’re already hearing Romney has a good shot at taking Wisconsin away from Obama in five months. Such are the perils of overreach.
Elections have consequences and if the political winds were once blowing in Scott Walker’s face, they definitely are at his back now.
Though Obama chose not to throw his support behind Barrett, Bill Clinton threw his weight behind him, but that wasn’t enough to fire up the Democratic base, another worrying sign for the fall.
Bill being Bill means though he says he believes Obama will win by five or six points made headlines by going “off-message” and praising Romney for his time at Bain Capital at the same time when the Obama campaign has blasted him for killing jobs, not creating them. The former president joined another Obama surrogate, Newark Mayor Cory Booker in undercutting the president by criticizing the attacks on Romney’s time as a vulture capitalist.
This snafu has delighted Republicans and dumbfounded Democrats wondering why Clinton and one of the party’s brightest rising young stars can’t seem to get on the same page as President Obama.
For Booker it may simply be inexperience as a campaign surrogate on this level. But there’s no such thing as Bill Clinton misspeaking or going off message. Bubba is one of the sharpest mind in politics and he doesn’t simply have brain farts where he says something off-the-cuff he has to back pedal from later. Clinton says what he means even if he doesn’t always mean what he says.
This is just his way of tweaking Obama to remind him how much the current president needs the former president to have his back if he wants to follow his footsteps to a second term instead of Jimmy Carter to one-and-done.
Never mind that. Let Bubba be Bubba and enjoy his little joke. Ultimately Obama’s fortunes will rise and fall not on who endorses him, but if voters believe he’s done a good enough job for a second term.
There’s still plenty of time and it’s too early to get worried. Obama could use a few wins, but with the Supreme Court on the verge of handing down its decision on healthcare reform, the signature achievement of his presidency, things may get worse before they get better.
- Why Scott Walker’s victory in Wisconsin isn’t bad news for Obama’s re-election (thegrio.com)
- More Bad News for Obama: Romney/RNC Outraises Obama/DNC in May (slog.thestranger.com)
- Mitt Romney and RNC clobber Obama and DNC with cash raised in May (twitchy.com)
- Why Obama should worry (macleans.ca)
Waiting on a flush-and-fill and oil change today, I had time to read an article in New York magazine by Jonathan Chait on the dissatisfaction many liberals feel toward President Obama. Chait’s conclusion? Liberals are dissatisfied because they are incapable of feeling satisfied.
If we trace liberal disappointment with President Obama to its origins, to try to pinpoint the moment when his crestfallen supporters realized that this was Not Change They Could Believe In, the souring probably began on December 17, 2008, when Obama announced that conservative Evangelical pastor Rick Warren would speak at his inauguration. “Abominable,” fumed John Aravosis on AmericaBlog. “Obama’s ‘inclusiveness’ mantra always seems to head only in one direction—an excuse to scorn progressives and embrace the Right,” seethed Salon’s Glenn Greenwald. On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow rode the story almost nightly: “I think the problem is getting larger for Barack Obama.” Negative 34 days into the start of the Obama presidency, the honeymoon was over.
Since then, the liberal gloom has only deepened, as Obama compromise alternated with Obama failure. Liberals speak of Obama in unceasingly despairing terms. “I’m exhausted [from] defending you,” one supporter confessed to Obama at a town-hall meeting last year.
“We are all incredibly frustrated,” Justin Ruben, MoveOn’s executive director, told the Washington Post in September. “I’m disappointed in Obama,” complained Steve Jobs, according to Walter Isaacson’s new biography. The assessments appear equally morose among the most left-wing and the most moderate of Obama’s supporters, among opinion leaders and rank-and-file voters. In early 2004, Democrats, by a 25-point margin, described themselves as “more enthusiastic than usual about voting.” At the beginning of 2008, the margin had shot up to over 60 percentage points. Now as many Democrats say they’re less enthusiastic about voting as say they’re more enthusiastic.
The cultural enthusiasm sparked by Obama’s candidacy drained away almost immediately after his election. All the passion now lies with the critics, and it is hard to find a liberal willing to muster any stronger support than halfhearted murmuring about the tough situation Obama inherited, or vague hope that maybe in a second term he can really start doing things. (“I’m like everybody, I want more action,” an apologetic Chris Rock said earlier this month. “I believe wholeheartedly if he’s back in, he’s going to do some gangsta shit.”) Obama has already given up on any hope of running a positive reelection campaign and is girding up for a grim slog of lesser-of-two-evils-ism.
Why are liberals so desperately unhappy with the Obama presidency?
Chait’s argument is, sentimental journeys aside, liberal disenchantment with Democratic presidents has always been present since the glory days of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal. That means every Democrat who won the White House (Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and Obama). All of them took fire from their Left flank.
The entire article is worth reading in full as Chait recalls the way Obama’s Democratic predecessors have left liberals unsatisfied.
Things were so much better when Bill Clinton sat in the Oval Office, right? Right?
Bill Clinton’s election, following a dozen years of Republican presidencies, ushered in buoyant hopes of renewal. But liberals experienced his presidency as immediate and almost continuous deflation and cynicism. Clinton did enjoy one major triumph in his first year, when he passed a budget bill that raised the top tax rate, expanded the earned-income tax credit, created a new national-service program for graduates, and reformed other parts of the budget. This was the progressive apogee of the Clinton administration. Liberals at the time viewed it as a sad half-measure. The focus was on deficit reduction, not public investment, and each iteration of the legislation that worked its way through the congressional machinery emerged less inspiring than the last. “The Senate’s machinations on President Clinton’s budget plan have left many Democratic House members feeling angry and betrayed,” noted a New York Times editorial.
The rest of Clinton’s first two years consisted of a demoralizing procession of debacles and retreats. A series of Clinton appointments—Lani Guinier, Zoe Baird—came under conservative fire and were withdrawn in a panic. He steered his agenda toward right-of-center goals, like the North American Free Trade Agreement and a crime bill, serving only to alienate his liberal allies without dampening hysterical attacks from conservatives and the business lobby. Health-care reform collapsed entirely, in part because liberals refused to support a compromise final measure. Six months into Clinton’s presidency, after he had abandoned his effort to integrate gays into the military, Bob Herbert summarized what had already settled as the liberal narrative: “The disappointment and disillusionment with President Clinton are widespread … He doesn’t seem to understand that much of the disappointment and disillusionment is because he tries so hard to be liked by everyone.” Hardly anybody contested that portrait.
Surely the revered iconic, John F. Kennedy is deserving of the Left’s love?
But what about John F. Kennedy, the liberal icon? Kennedy’s reputation benefited from a halo of martyrdom, deepened by liberals’ rage against Johnson, which retroactively cast Kennedy as far more liberal than he actually was. In reality, Kennedy’s domestic agenda slogged painfully through a Congress controlled by a coalition of Republicans and conservative southern Democrats. He campaigned promising federal aid for education and health insurance for the elderly but didn’t get around to passing either one. The most agonizing struggles came on Kennedy’s civil-rights agenda. His soaring campaign promises quickly grew entangled in a series of bargains with Jim Crow Democrats that liberals justifiably saw as corrupt. Kennedy understood he lacked the votes in Congress to push the civil-rights legislation he promised. He placated James Eastland, a powerful Jim Crow senator from Mississippi, by nominating the arch-segregationist judge William Harold Cox to the federal bench. Civil-rights leaders viewed Kennedy’s machinations with something less than unbridled gratitude. Martin Luther King Jr. said that Kennedy “vacillated” on civil rights. When he set up a meeting with activists, Kennedy was surprised to be “scorched by anger,” as G. Calvin Mackenzie and Robert Weisbrot wrote in a recent history of the sixties.
If Jimmy Carter was a bigger loser than Obama and Lyndon Johnson a bloodthirsty warmonger because of the debacle that was the Vietnam War, surely liberals can take heart in the presidency of FDR’s successor, “Give ‘em Hell” Harry Truman?
Harry Truman has become the patron saint of dispirited Democrats, the fighting populist whose example is invariably cited in glum contrast to whatever bumbling congenital compromiser happens to hold office at any given time. In fact, liberals spent the entire Truman presidency in a state of near-constant despair.
Republicans took control of Congress in the 1946 elections and bottled up Truman’s domestic agenda, rendering him powerless to expand the New Deal, as liberals had hoped he would after the war had ended.
Liberal columnist Max Lerner decried Truman’s mania for “cooperation” and his eagerness “to blink [past] the real social cleavage and struggles,” attributing this pathological eagerness to avoid conflict to his “middle-class mentality.” (Some contemporary critics have reached the same psychoanalysis of Obama, substituting his bi-racial background as the cause.) The New Republic’s Richard Strout lamented how “little evidence he has shown of being able to lift up and inspire the masses.” The historian Richard Pells has written that in the eyes of liberals at the time, “the president remained an incorrigible mediocrity.”
Chait asserts that when it comes to getting down to the job and getting things done, Barack Obama is second only to FDR for what he’s accomplished in his first term.
Part of the reason Roosevelt’s record looms so large from a distance is because historians measure these things differently from political activists. Activists measure progress against the standard of perfection, or at least the most perfect possible choice. Historians gauge progress against what came before it.
By that standard, Obama’s first term would indeed seem to qualify as gangsta shit. His single largest policy accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act, combines two sweeping goals—providing coverage to the uninsured and taming runaway medical-cost inflation—that Democrats have tried and failed to achieve for decades. Likewise, the Recovery Act contained both short-term stimulative measures and increased public investment in infrastructure, green energy, and the like. The Dodd-Frank financial reform, while failing to end the financial industry as we know it, is certainly far from toothless, as measured by the almost fanatical determination of Wall Street and Republicans in Congress to roll it back.
Beneath these headline measures is a second tier of accomplishments carrying considerable historic weight. A bailout and deep restructuring of the auto industry that is rapidly being repaid, leaving behind a reinvigorated sector in the place of a devastated Midwest. Race to the Top, which leveraged a small amount of federal seed money into a sweeping national wave of education experiments, arguably the most significant reform of public schooling in the history of the United States. A reform of college loans, saving hundreds of billions of dollars by cutting out private middlemen and redirecting some of the savings toward expanded Pell Grants. Historically large new investments in green energy and the beginning of regulation of greenhouse gases. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act for women. Elimination of several wasteful defense programs, equality for gays in the military, and consumer-friendly regulation of food safety, tobacco, and credit cards.
Of the postwar presidents, only Johnson exceeds Obama’s domestic record, and Johnson’s successes must be measured against a crushing defeat in Vietnam. Obama, by contrast, has enjoyed a string of foreign-policy successes—expanding targeted strikes against Al Qaeda (including one that killed Osama bin Laden), ending the war in Iraq, and helping to orchestrate an apparently successful international campaign to rescue Libyan dissidents and then topple a brutal kleptocratic regime. So, if Obama is the most successful liberal president since Roosevelt, that would make him a pretty great president, right?
The answer for many liberals to that question would be a resounding “NO.”
Which leads to the question. Are Obama and his six Democratic predecessors all spineless, unprincipled compromises with no sense of core beliefs and all too eager to crumble before conservative opposition or are the expectations of liberals for our presidents to faithfully execute our expectations completely untethered to reality?
If it’s not them, it has to be us.
Democrats hope they can harness the Occupy Wall Street movement and turn it into support for Obama’s reelection and Democrats getting off the mat after the 2010 Republican ass whupping. That’s an understandable thought and one I briefly held myself, but the differences between OWS and the Tea Party are too stark for a George Soros to co-opt and underwrite the movement as the Koch Brothers have. There aren’t the same opportunities to harness that rage into votes.
It’s hard for me to believe Republicans will find Newt Gingrich, a consummate Washington insider and a guy whom the longer you know him, the less you like him, any more ideologically “pure” Newt’s pretty feisty now as he works Obama over, but not so much two years ago when he was standing in the White House driveway with Michael Bloomburg and Al Sharpton as part of an “education tour” at the president’s behest. Mitt will be waving that picture around at a Iowa debate in the near future.
People typically seem to prefer status quo politicians who nibble around the edges instead of transformative figures who take whole bites. The election of Reagan after the Carter years is a rare exception to this rule.
There’s a reason why a conservative like Ronald Reagan won election by such overwhelming margins while a true liberal like George McGovern were crushed in humiliating defeats.
Liberals keep looking for their own Reagan. They haven’t found him or her yet and as long as they demand perfection they never will.
- Can Liberals Ever Be Happy? (politicalwire.com)
- What Liberal Revolt? (andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com)
- Good Read: “Are Liberals Really Abandoning Obama?” by Rakim Brooks (foleysfolly.com)