Clinton's Ingenious Attack On Obama and Appeal To Swing Liberals

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Jan 23, 2008 at 07:07

At first, it seemed very strange for Clinton to attack Obama for once favoring single-payer health care, but to now pretty much favor the same type of health care plan she does. Here is a video her campaign released making this attack:

Why would Candidate X attack Candidate Y not over a policy disagreement, but for once disagreeing with Candidate X and now agreeing with her? It makes sense as a "flip flop" attack on Candidate Y, but in this case it also highlights how both candidates are against single-payer health care. So, at first, I come away from the video thinking that both Clinton and Obama are inadequate on health care.

The more I thought about it, however, the more brilliant this attack seemed. In addition to the flip-flop charge, the attack is actually a well-designed attempt to keep swing liberals from flocking toward Obama. The ad makes the charge that Obama may seem like this great left-wing progressive, but when push comes to shove he doesn't actually champion the more progressive position. It is precisely the same attack the Clinton campaign has been using against Obama on Iraq. Sure, he may have opposed to the war from the start, but what has Obama done to actually end the war that is any different from Clinton? The same thing applies to health care. Obama may sound all left-wing, but liberals should take note that he isn't any different than Clinton. In other words, the Clinton campaign is attacking Obama for being a paper tiger progressive.

Even though the attack implies that she is also a paper-tiger progressive, there is an ingenious logic behind it. It manages to incorporate a "flip flop" charge, a blurring strategy, and a claim that Obama is not a progressive leader all at once. When combined with partisan rhetoric about defeating the Republican machine, it is, effectively, Clinton's pitch to swing liberals, even though it does not paint her as much of a liberal herself. It effectively forces Obama into a position of having to take real leadership on a progressive issue, or to not appear any different than Clinton to progressives. (more in the extended entry)

Chris Bowers :: Clinton's Ingenious Attack On Obama and Appeal To Swing Liberals

This brings me to the posts Paul and Matt made last night. Clinton is effectively making the same charge we are making: if Obama wants to win swing liberals in the primary, then he needs to prove he is their champion with something more than words. And really, in the end, she is right. The main reason why many progressive bloggers didn't jump on the Obama bandwagon, or at least why we haven't done much for Obama apart from providing moral support that is generally lacking in activism, is that he hasn't used his time in the Senate to prove his progressive leadership on issues like Iraq and FISA. Had he done so, I have no doubt that his blogosphere support would have turned into something more tangible, like defending him against attacks such as these or generating positive free media buzz on his behalf. For my part, I still hope that Obama wins the nomination, but I'm not excited enough about it to do more than just say I am supporting him, and to sign petitions to help him get on the ballot in Pennsylvania. We want to see progressive leadership in the Senate, and we haven't found that from either Clinton or Obama. Until that happens, we may have preferences, but they are generally intellectual preferences rather than activist ones.

It is a smart appeal to swing liberals from the Clinton campaign. Instead of positioning herself as more liberal than Obama, she is instead arguing that his liberalism hasn't translated into real leadership, and as such is effectively no different than her. If Obama is going to deflect this attack, he needs to prove otherwise. If only there was an opportunity to do that...

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The war now will escalate - (4.00 / 1)
Personally this ad tells us as much about Hillary and the fact that she only cares about winning and power as the fact that Obama may have fudged on an issue.  Essentially she's saying that he's as slimy as she is.  I'm disgusted with Hillary and  the Clinton's  - the prospect of 4 more years of Clinton deceit makes me sick to my stomach.

I've been a Democrat for 50+ years and I WILL NOT VOTE for Hillary Clinton.  I've never seen anything like it - I know of no independent and many Dems that have told me the same thing.  Of course the Clinton's don't care about this because in their endless search for power they will throw anybody or anything overboard including the Democratic Party that gets in their way.

Even her supporters admit she has no coat tails and that down ticket candidates will suffer if she is at the top of the ticket.  While she may win the election, I doubt it, she may well loose us the House and the Senate. 

The only good news from this is that we will be done with the Clintons once and for all.

Don't lie to yourself or to others (4.00 / 2)
You just Hate Hillary Clinton plain and simple. She could cure cancer and you'd still be pissed off at her.

Quite frankly, its pretty dumb to complain about one candidate drawing contrasts with another candidate. I don't know how you expect people to win elections if they can't say why they are better than their opponent. Furthermore, no one made Obama lie on national TV about his stance, no one made Obama attack progressives who have been fighting for Universal health care since he was working part time in the state senate, and no one made Obama attack Edwards and Clinton from the right on Universal health care.

I love how you brush over the fact that Obama flip flopped and lied about his position. If roles were reversed you'd be hanging Clinton out to dry.

If you don't want a democrat in the white house then thats YOUR PROBLEM. Go ahead and vote for the GOP in November or stay home (if Clinton wins). But don't blame Senator Clinton if  she loses. Blame morons like yourself who lack the perspective to realize that a moderate like Clinton is infintely better than a republican like Mitt Romney or John (George Bush II) McCain.

[ Parent ]
Thank you ! (0.00 / 0)
I'm glad to see that somebody else around here is calling out blind Hillary-hatred when they see it.  There are so many intellectually dishonest arguments leveled at Hillary Clinton its hard to keep track. 
At the end of the day, Obama is a politician too and for his supporters to think that he is more "pure" than she is or that Hillary's tactics of contrasting the issues is "evil" or "monstrous" is simply naive and/or dishonest

[ Parent ]
:rolleyes: (0.00 / 0)
There go the Hillbots again...

Go for the symptom NOT the cause...  Mark my words -- all this will end in tears... end in tears.

[ Parent ]
Obama-ites (0.00 / 0)
I haven't visited MyDD lately but my guess is there are fewer "Hillbots" than people say. There are many times more Obama-ites Clinton supporters in the blogosphere.

Banned for posting five straight diaries.

[ Parent ]
SCOTUS (0.00 / 0)
Is it worth the prospect of having Ginsburg's and Stevens' replacements being Alito2 and Alito3, ensuring several decades of conservative domination of the SCOTUS?

[ Parent ]
In other words... (4.00 / 1)
Hillary is saying that because Obama's just as much of a paper tiger progressive as she is, they might as well vote for her--if this is what they're looking for, or if they see no better alternative--since she's been one longer than him.

Well, I suppose that if Obama continues to only speak like a progressive (and even then in a very inconsistent and self-contradictory way) but not act like one, she may indeed be brilliant. But she should be careful about what she wishes for, because if Obama finally realizes that the ONLY way he can win this is by distinguishing himself from her substantively (as opposed to rhetorically), and that the ONLY way for him to do this at this point is by BEING more progressive than her (i.e. an actual progressive), and finally starts behaving like one, well, she's going to have to scramble to catch up, and then HE will be the one in a position to accuse her of being a progressive come lately.

So it's brilliant only if he fails to respond to it. Otherwise, all bets are off. And, in a way, she did Obama, and us, a favor, by forcing him to do what I believe to be the only thing that can win this for him. And such pressure is probably the only thing that could prompy the naturally moderate and cautious Obama to take a chance and live up to his rhetoric.

If Hillary's ploy works, she wins the nomination and hopefully the election, and we get a semi-progressive president. If it backfires, we get a genuinely progressive Obama who I think suddenly increases his chances of getting the nomination, and if he wins the general, a more progressive president. Had she not done this, then either she or Obama would have won the nomination, and possibly the presidency, as semi-progressives at best. This way, at worst, we get a semi-progressive nominee and perhaps president, which is no worse than what we would have gotten before. But we now also have a chance of getting a genuinely progressive nominee and president, if Obama does the right and I think smart thing. Let's hope that he's a poltically smart--and principled--as he's presented himself as.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

That sounds about right (4.00 / 1)
I hope it backfires, and that Obama stands up and does something. That would be pretty sweet. Otherwise, it looks like this ploy from Clinton will indeed work.

[ Parent ]
This Hillary strategy is something that (0.00 / 0)
Obama getting back to DC to fight telecom immunity wouldn't cure.

He'd surge among liberals and back up his "No more playing the politics of fear" message.

John McCain won't insure children

[ Parent ]
To use a military term she has outflanked him (4.00 / 1)
He's running on a platform of essentially promising to transform politics, "giving us" a "new kind of politics" ending "partisan bickering".

She shows he really isn't as progressive as he's made himself out to be - that video shows he has abandoned a progressive ideal. She has created doubt.

She questions his stance of being anti war against his record since he got to the Senate. She has created doubt.

She mentions Rezko's name and the MSM picks up the ball she lobs and suddenly millions of Americans outside of Chicago can see that he sure has participated in some"old kind of politics". She has created doubt.

By responding as he did at the debate - he is engaging in some "partisan bickering"allowing John Edwards to look - for want of a better word - like the only adult on that stage.

When he hinself fed into the myth of Reagan he created doubt.

Some of his behavior (acting inevitable after Iowa in NH) and some statements ( you're likable enough Hillary) convey something besides "Hope" - more doubt is created.

She has outflanked him.

She has made SC almost irrelevant, meaningful but not definitive.

Edwards is really the only one who can take Hillary head on without losing credibility.


[ Parent ]
Obama (0.00 / 0)

What do you make of this Chris?  At the very least he is beginning to start saying the right thing in reference to your post. 

The poll results in here are Interesting...

And to those who said Obama couldn't take a hit, you've been proven wrong.  Whether he wins or loses, he has shown he will fight back when attacked. 

[ Parent ]
Like her baiting him into slashing back in NH (0.00 / 0)
This is what the Clintons did in NH, and Obama did start hitting back.  it caused a drop in his support from young people and independents.  I do think Matt's analysis on this is probably correct, although it's a bit convoluted for people who respond to beer and GAP ("nice pants") ads.

And what the hey--if a few hundred thousands or milions fewer people vote because of the negatives all being driven up, so what?  A Hillary victory (at least for the nomination) makes it all worthwhile.  And, as I said before, since she is a lightening rod for all the crazies in the GOP, people will come out to vote against her even if they don't like Huck McRomney, and to harrass her endlessly if she does win.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
You make an interesting point (4.00 / 1)
I don't think Obama answered the question well at the debate. It seemed to be one of his weakest moments and showed lack of political seasoning or acumen. To play for the high stakes of the presidency, you should be sharp enough to know when not to say "never."

Actually, though I'm completely committed to Clinton by now, finding out that he was once for single-payer made him much more palatable to me if he should emerge as the nominee. However, his weakness in being able to parry in the debate worries me.

The country desperately needs a Democrat elected president in 2008, and I want to see a tough fighter and politician as our nominee.

Obama has not clearly defined himself to people like me -- progressive voters not really familiar with him or his record before the primary season.

Electibility (4.00 / 1)
Remember, though, in the general election no one will be voting for electibility.  If one's first impression of Hillary's performance in the debate was "she's annoying" and the second was "but at least she'll put up a fight in the general", remember that it is only the first impression matters in the general.

[ Parent ]
In a way, they will (0.00 / 0)
A lot of swing voters will go with the candidate they sense is more "tough" and more willing to fight. Unless something changes in Obama's demeanor or performance, it's Clinton in a landslide. (Really, it's Edwards, but between HRC and BO it's clearly Hillary). I think that's why Edwards and "other" supporters are unexpectedly gravitating to Clinton and not Obama. It's the single biggest problem Obama has right now, and I don't know if it's fixable.

[ Parent ]
My impression from the debate (4.00 / 1)
was that Clinton was tough, knowledgeable, full of energy and enthusiasm, and willing to fight for progressive policies, especially health care.

I found Obama annoying, evasive, somewhat unsure of his message, and a bit aloof.

Edwards had a great night -- I found him both tough and appealing. Best I've seen him to date.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say.

[ Parent ]
I've always found (4.00 / 2)
Clinton to be a bit too willing to fight fellow progressives and use what I saw as Republican tactics against them, so I see it through a different lens than you do.

I thought she had a good night but sometimes she engaged in the politics of pile on she used to complain of. Her attacks of Obama, while totally politics as usual, still seemed to be distortions of his record and his statements. And her attacks of Edwards for having trial lawyers donate to his campaign was quite disingenuous as she has trial lawyers donate huge sums to her, too, and as Edwards pointed out, trial lawyers are not the same as corporate and defense lobbyists. She did however make detailed and critical analysis of current policy and future plans that I can respect and admire.

I thought Obama wasn't perfect, but he seemed to calm himself later on and keep his composure and he tried to show policy differences and defend them in earnest. He did not go on the attack when he should have early on and he did not defend himself well enough, but he got back on message later and overall looked more willing to combat what he saw as lies and rumors about him than I have seen before.

Edwards was by far the best, attacking Obama sparingly, Clinton less so, and defending himself without being defensive. He took control when he was given the chance to speak and he made sure the moderators knew he existed. I hope it wins him votes in South Carolina.

[ Parent ]
Why? (0.00 / 0)
I can understand that you feel he hasn't defined himself... but Hillary has SHOWN she isn't a progressive... time and time again.  I don't understand the committed rationale to Hillary IF progressive creds are a main concern...  You have one who is an unknown and one who ISN'T... Personally, I'd go with the unknown rather than the one who ISN'T.

[ Parent ]
Progressive is as progressive does (0.00 / 0)
This is a disconnect between a lot of my progressive friends and me (as well as with your point of view).

Over the years, I've found Hillary Clinton to be both pragmatic and progressive in the FDR mold, if you will--practicing the art of the possible, and fighting to remain in the game even against formidable opponents.

On economic policy alone, I think she stands head and shoulders above Obama and will be able to enact an agenda that will help the middle and lower classes much more than Obama would be able to do.

So far, Obama has struck me as waffling. I don't see the progressive message coming through at all.

Now why is my perception different from so many other people whose opinion I respect? I don't know, perhaps as an amateur student of history and economics and the radical left, I have developed an appreciation for those who can deliver.

I'm not sure Clinton can deliver on her policy proposals, but I feel they are much more carefully developed than Obamas. I am much more sure that Obama will not be able to implement as far-reaching progressive economic and legislative policy as Clinton.

To some he may seem to talk a good game, but his rhetoric does not seem all that uplifting to me. My worry is that he will turn out to be another Jimmy Carter -- well-meaning, but ineffective.

Clinton's foreign policy also seems solid to me. Kerry and Edwards also voted for the Iraq war, and the issue of whether one should apologize seems to me fairly ephemeral. The question for me is whether the next president can stabilize the international situation and summon the support of allies and countries in the region so that withdrawal can be managed effectively. I just don't see Obama being able to muster the kind of credibility that Clinton could.

I am sure you disagree with my perception, but that is my reasoning.

If Obama turns out to be the nominee, I hope that I have misjudged him, and I will certainly support him.

[ Parent ]
hmm (0.00 / 0)
See, I think Hillary will do ANYTHING to get elected (as she is proving now) and will follow Bills example in waffling and changing to fit the press. 

Hillary hasn't REALLY gotten anything done... She is riding Bill's coattails; her big legislation during the Clinton WH was soundly defeated. Even in the senate, the main legislation she has passed has either been conservative in nature or something so universally popular the GOP couldn't afford to oppose it.  But I just don't see how she can deliver on her promises (and frankly given her inability to tell the truth, I don't trust her either) and get legislation passed unless we have a 60 seat majority. 

Now that being said, thanks for your post.  I respect your rational point of view, even though I disagree with it strongly.  If Hillary wins the nom, then I will support her... but as Bowers has said about Obama... Nothing she has done will inspire me to stongly support her.  She'll have my vote (although the more crap I see her do the more my emotions take over and I question that vote) but I probably won't do much above that.  I just lived through 8 years of arrogance in the WH... I fear that Hillary will give us at least 4 more...

Of course, I give the caveat... if she does win and heals th rifts with Obama and picks him as VP, I will do everything within my power to get her elected (that's not saying much I know but I will go out an actually campaign for her)

[ Parent ]
That's bad? (4.00 / 1)
>> I think Hillary will do ANYTHING to get elected

GOOD!  That's what we need. I'm tired of our people bringing knives to gunfights.

[ Parent ]
Please no! (0.00 / 0)
If Obama were to get on his belly and crawl to Hillary his future would be over.  Better to let her run and loose and run again in 4 years.

It ain't gonna happen - the Clintons remember their enemies, unless they are Republicans, and will punish all who oppose them.  So he won't be asked - there are all kinds of people already fawning for that job already.

[ Parent ]
I tend to think you're right, even though I'm an Obama supporter. (4.00 / 1)
In a lot of ways, I think Clinton would be a better president, especially in the critical first year.

I think Obama would be a better party-builder though.  I think he could create a new, modern, appealing image of the party for a new generation and the vaguely-conservative Gen X as well.  Just rebranding us among Gen X alone is enough to provide large and lasting political benefits.

I think he would be infinitely stronger downballot.  The advantage of Obama is that I think he translates into ten or twelve extra House seats, and three extra Senate seats, and some state legislative and city bonuses as well. 

As long as he did reasonably well his first two years, and didn't pull a Clinton93 or a Carter, (both of which I don't think he would, cause he's got all of Daschle's people and all of Daley's people on board with him), I think we'd actually ride into the midterm pretty strong too (another huge Senate cycle).  I think putting Clinton on the ballot is just waving a huge red flag in front of an otherwise historically demobilized conservative electorate, and I think we lose an awful lot by doing that.  More than we gain by having her in office that first year instead of him.

[ Parent ]
You see, (0.00 / 0)
I've been waiting for a long time for universal health care.

A long time. Not as long as African Americans had been waiting for voting rights, which they finally got with a combination of a persistent and strong civil rights movement that lasted several decades (led with courage by many before MLK) and an effective and courageous, though flawed, president (LBJ). But a long time, still.

I believe that Hillary Clinton will get that through Congress.  It would be monumental. A change in the lives of real people who don't have any voice in this society; and an advance for doctors and hospitals, who are under economic pressure to give less than equal care to the un- and under-insured. The people who it would help the most need action, effective policy implementation, not rhetoric, or a "reasonably well" managed first term.

Obama, who lacks the critical political skills to get a comprehensive and universal program through Congress, might be appealing, but that appeal wears off quickly without concrete accomplishment.

Universal health care alone -- a struggle which has been ongoing since the FDR administration -- would validate a Hillary Clinton presidency.

I love Edwards on the stump, but I don't think he has the weight politically -- in Congress and within the political establishment -- either to get the nomination or to pass crucial bills like health care.

I've been around long enough to see a lot of hopes dashed by less-than-effective politicking (and cries for revolution). I want my kids and their kids to live in a country with national, universal health care and a sound economy.

[ Parent ]
Counter-Attacks? (4.00 / 2)
Essentially, Obama may be more progressive than Clinton, but he's not effective.  He hasn't done anything.

What are possible counter-attacks?

We can talk about what Obama should have done earlier, but in terms of things to do now:

1- Stepping up on Iraq.

2- Stepping up on FISA.

3- Turning the argument around on Clinton and arguing that the big difference is that not only is he to the left of her, but that she would actively advance portions of the conservative agenda--mainly foreign policy.  Yes, Clinton is effective, but what would she be pushing as President?

He just doesn't show (4.00 / 2)
The ability to quickly turn around an argument on someone else, like Clinton does. His actions are deliberate and thought out and take a long time, like his words, from what I see. He responded to Clinton's attacks at the debate after taking time to think and strategize and plot out his words carefully. It's good to be ready but he didn't have a great contingency plan for the Rezko attack or the present votes attack, and he made himself look foolish and defensive on those. I thought the debate performance on his part was very good, especially in the second portion, but he just needs to improve his wit...a lot.

[ Parent ]
Agreed (0.00 / 0)
He doesn't think well on his feet. And I was surprised that he didn't have a better response prepared n the Rezko attack, which he should have know might be coming.

[ Parent ]
I can only think (4.00 / 1)
He felt Clinton wouldn't pull Rezko out or something. My only guess is that the time between when the story first flared up and its use now lulled him into a false sense of security.

Now, the thing that shows this failing to me most of all was the point where Hillary said that she couldn't have a debate with Barack because he doesn't "take responsibility" for his votes. That's a softball to be honest and he just stared at it as it struck him out. I mean, come on, Senator, just remind her that she has yet to take responsibility for voting and speaking in lock step with the Bush administration on the AUMF resolution. Remind the voters that she has yet to adequately explain why she voted to label the IRGC a terrorist organization, giving pretext for further war. Remind people of the "Obama's not 100% pro-choice" mailer in NH! There were so many options I remember screaming at the TV when he stumbled into another criticism by Edwards instead of taking Hillary on.

I think when given time he made some good points and answered some criticism later, but the portions where Hillary took it to him certainly showed he has more work to do.

[ Parent ]
He needs... (0.00 / 0)
I still think he needs to point out she never admits she wrongs, never apologizes for her mistakes and is constantly distorting the facts.  We just had a President who did that for 8 years... ask yourself, Do you really want 4 more years of that?  He pulls it off right, its a slam dunk.

[ Parent ]
It's not about thinking on your feet (0.00 / 0)
It's about thinking ahead. The Rezko issue is all over the Chicago newspapers and has been for some time.

His campaign team should have a simple, easy to understand comeback. Rezko absolutely appears to be a slum landlord who used public money to great personal benefit. Just throwing dirt back at Hillary doesn't answer the doubt in people's minds.

Obama apparently has some former Clinton advisers working for him. Those advisers ought to know that the Clintons play for keeps and should have advised him accordingly.

[ Parent ]
Agreed (0.00 / 0)
He's what, the hedgehog?  Not the fox?

[ Parent ]
Look to the future (0.00 / 0)
The counter-attack that I would prefer is for Obama to claim that Hillary Clinton got fooled on Iraq and she's going to get fooled into a war on Iran.  Obama should claim that he is guaranteed to not get us into any more stupid wars, but that HRC can't make the same claim.

You shouldn't be a step behind your opponent, always replying.  A candidate should try to own the terms of debate.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
Exactly my point (4.00 / 1)
Obama's too deliberate and Clinton's campaign is just passing him by. It's as though he does everything, including speak and think, in slow motion, meanwhile Clinton is just hitting him back whenever he finishes his points.

[ Parent ]
FISA (4.00 / 2)
FISA is the issue he should show leadership on.  It is immediate (TPM just posted it looks like immunity is in) and consistent with his stated positions.  It would also work wonders to do something at first glance at odds with his post-partisan message but in reality makes the point he has try to make, you still need to stand firm on certain core principles even as you politely look for commonality across ideologies.

#3 he should be doing, anyway. 

Iraq is both too messy and too late, imho.

[ Parent ]
funny (0.00 / 0)
i don't disagree with any of your analysis, but the effect of this ad on me is is to make me think it is possible that obama might actually want single-payor.

end the blurring--vote steve novick for u.s. senate in oregon

MIGHT (4.00 / 1)
That's the first part of the attack that probably works for Clinton -- he MIGHT want single-payer. He MIGHT not. That's the implication.

[ Parent ]
And if he wants it (4.00 / 1)
Why isn't he willing to say so, and to fight for it? Why does he have the weakest health care proposal of the three?

The unwillingness to fight for something you believe in is something many of us have been criticizing the Congressional Democrats for. Why vote for someone who has preemptively caved?

If that's the definition of "transformative" and "post-partisan", no thanks, I'm not buying.

[ Parent ]
i do get it (0.00 / 0)
i was just describing the effect it had on me. it made me hopeful that he might actually want single-payer.

with clinton i have no hope whatsoever...

end the blurring--vote steve novick for u.s. senate in oregon

[ Parent ]
What she is doing is confirming Richard Wirthlin's discovery (4.00 / 1)
about why people voted for Reagan( later internalized by the GOP about how to prevent people for voting for the Democratic candidates detailed in Lakoff's book "Thinking Points"): a candidate at all costs must appear authentic, consistent in rhetoric with the reality of the candidate himself/herself that will convey trust allowing the voter to vote for the candidate. When you can show that the candidate in inauthentic - that the rhetoric does not match the reality then doubt is sown and trust has lessened. When you can't trust  candidate you can't vote for a candidate.

For the progressives that have sided with John Edwards that Obama needs now in his (Obama's) corner the information that she is hammering that he isn't as progressive as you think he is sows that doubt, it may even loosen a few Obama supporters away him depending on how committed they were and how strong their progressive identity is.

Combine that with the Rezko lobb she threw and suddenly his campaign rhetoric about a "new kind of politics" is attacked at it's strongest point. Whatever is the end result the news that is out there about the ties between Obama and Rezcko is the most usual kind of "old politics" and presto she's rocked his campaign's entire foundation all in one week.

The nastiness of the campaign between the 2 camps does threaten us in November.

I'm sticking with Edwards because I think he is the true progressive in this race and because the days between now and Feb5th are going to memorable and critical for what finally comes down about how the public perceives both Clinton and Obama.

Attack him at the strongest point (0.00 / 0)
I seem to remember someone else doing that last time around.  Let's see--something about a boat, a fast boat . . . what was it again?

Learning from Rove may get her the nomination, maybe even the Presidency, but it had its downside, as I recall.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
After Wirthlin discovered why people voted for Reagan even when (0.00 / 0)
they didn't agree with him, they burned that discovery into their DNA as a Party--

From George Lakoff's book Thinking Points, How to Communicate Our Progressive Values:

Richard Wirthlin, chief strategist for former President Ronald Reagan, made a discovery in 1980 that profoundly changed American politics. As a pollster, he was taught that people vote for candidates on the basis of the candidates' position on issues. But his initial polls for Reagan revealed something fascinating:Voters who didn't agree with Reagan on the issues still wanted to vote for him. Mystified, Wirthlin studied the matter further. He discovered just what made people want to vote for Reagan.
Reagan talked about values rather than issues. Communicating values mattered more than specific policy positions. Reagan connected with people; he communicated well. Reagan also appeared authentic he seemed to believe what he said. And because he talked about his values, connected with people, and appeared authentic, they felt he could trust him.
For those four reasons - values, connection, authenticity, and trust- voters identified with Reagan; they felt he was one of them. It was not because all his values matched theirs exactly. It was not because he was from their socioeconomic class or subculture. It was because they believed in the integrity of his connection with them as well as the connection between his worldview and his actions.

What the GOP intrinsically understood was it is the candidate and not the issues that people are voting for and in order for the GOP to win they have to portray the Democrat as a joke, a flip/flopper, someone who the Nation cannot trust.

They realized that if they could create doubt about a candidate it lessons trust, and when you can't trust a candidate you can't vote for them

She is creating doubt about Obama's authenticity and integrity as a candidate with the ad about single payer and the crack about Rezco.

Classic Wirthlin that Lee Atwater and Rove consider gospel.

Because it works.

[ Parent ]
The attack on the frame is simple (4.00 / 3)
although Obama is supposed to have superior judgment, his self-proclaimed strengths are being painted as no better than Hillary's worst points.

Framing is being largely ignored, but it is what is is driving the narrative. Like Bush in '00, who we dumbly painted as too stupid to breathe, Hillary's expectations are low (and the rec list at dKos isn't helping). But Obama's expectations are stratospheric. His image of transcendence and perfection ("The One") is even self-corrupting. Any real world flaw is disproportionately damaging. The opposite is true for Hillary. She is so vilified by both the right and the Obama camp that any almost anything she does impresses the voters.

I suspect this will continue to play out thought the fall, and leave the GOP wondering why they didn't see the truck that ran them over.

The only way for Obama to combat this is to use textbook damage control, face his weaknesses head on, and say, "Yes, I was in favor of single payer, but determined that it was not politically possible, so I moved on the the best possible alternative."

That's exactly what he's been saying. (0.00 / 0)
"If we were starting from scratch, I'd be for single payer.  But we aren't."

He's said it over and over. 

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Obama's supporters (0.00 / 0)
understand this, and are open to (and even attracted by) his style of nuance. But this is about framing. Obama's body language says, "no," and his response in the SC debate says, "no," he didn't support singe payer. The details are too complex for casual observers to decode, and even if they weren't, Obama still does not win the sort of "I was for it before I was against it" muddle that results.

Even with a full understanding of what he means, his problem remains that his best attributes are too easily confused with Hillary's worst.

[ Parent ]
UGH...that is NOT the complete speech (0.00 / 0)
It is the edited one that makes Clintons points....Nice job giving Hillary and the DLC some free publicity on a progressive site, to spread her friggin lies.
Find the WHOLE friggin speech post it and see if you all come to the same conclusions. I would do it but I am at work and can't find this now.

Context (0.00 / 0)
Yes, I am sure immediately after that clip, Obama said, "wait a minute, you know all that stuff I just said about single payer?  I didn't mean it.  I actually don't support that."

[ Parent ]
Even More Ingenious than You Think (4.00 / 1)
I think it's even better than you give it credit for, Matt.  You presume that this video only seeks to argue that Obama isn't any more progressive than Clinton.  I'd argue that, when combined with her Reagan/Republican ideas attack, it's actually designed to make him look LESS progressive than Clinton. 

A lot of this stuff makes him look less progressive after he was elected than maybe when he was running for a particular office.  But the Reagan crap makes it look like he's trimming his language before he's even elected.  Several times in the campaign he's run to Clinton's right.

So I think she's actually hoping to make folks wonder if he will be AS progressive as she is on domestic issues. I think her line on universal healthcare the other night bolsters the case that this is what she's trying to do - she said that if you don't start out with a plan that provides universal healthcare, you'll never get there.  In other words, Obama has already given away ground and he's not even in office yet.  And notice she also called universal healthcare a core Democratic value. 

I think what Clinton is going for is that if you think both of them will have to compromise their campaign stances, then he might end up further to the right, given that on a lot of issues that's where he's started out. 

D'Oh (0.00 / 0)
I mean Chris, not Matt.  Had read a Matt post before this one.  My apologies.

[ Parent ]
Chris, (4.00 / 1)
Voters back candidates for a great many reasons beyond their present ideological positions.  I don't think all of those who support Obama would characterize him as the most left-wing progressive of the three candidates.  I'd put him down as the best on foreign policy and the least progressive on domestic policy.  I think Obama's appeal is that some people think he can bring about a process where there will actually be forward movement on a progressive agenda. Obviously, others - especially Paul Krugman - think he's giving away the store and his approach won't work.  Another area of Obama's appeal is that he is bringing young voters into the process while a Clinton victory will leave us with a Democratic Party of geezers.  Also, if you talk to people in other countries, they are much more open to an Obama White House than one occupied by any of the other candidates.  Anyway, at this late date as I've said in many (too many) comments, we're looking at a Clinton nomination and we will never know whether Obama could have pulled off a general election victory and put together the kind of coalitions that would have moved the progressive agenda forward.  I think it's way too late in the game for a fight over "swing liberals" (if they even exist).  I guess I just don't think ideology is driving voters' choices. 

Geezers (0.00 / 0)
Having grown up with Reagan, it's so weird to hear Hillary Clinton, who is still relatively young as presidential politics goes, referred to as a geezer.  Heh.

[ Parent ]
I wasn't referring to Hillary (0.00 / 0)
as a geezer, I was talking about the voters she attracts.

[ Parent ]
She is as old as the young voters' parents (0.00 / 0)
Even older, for an 18-21 year old.  As I've been saying, to many younger people this all sounds like their parents' fighting, and they hate it.  That's why Obama's appeal to a new kind of politics (post-Clintons vs Bushes, post attacks to the death) was  so seductive, and even to a geezer like myself.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Ingenious attacks (0.00 / 0)
None of this matters.

Obama win's SC by a huge number and the headlines will be about that win and momentum.

Zogby poll today:
Obama 43
Clinton 24
Edwards 15

Polling on Jan. 22nd
Obama 39
Clinton 22
Edwards 18

Zogby say;s their is movement towards Edwards.

If Edwards finishes 2nd and Clinton 3rd. that will be damaging to Clinton.

[ Parent ]
Obama Is Running As A Repug Lite (0.00 / 0)
I voted for John Edwards in early voting in Florida.  I don't care for Hillary or Obama.  Neither one will make a good progressive president.  Obama is pandering to the repugs, and the Clintons and surrogates are race baiting.  Neither Obama or the Clintons are very inspiring.  The only candidate who has lead on all progressive issues and who is the most inspiring for what americans neeed now, today, not tomorrow is JRE.

The biggest problem (0.00 / 0)
The biggest problem, as I see it, is the way Obama tried to explain his way out of Hillary's accusation that he supported single payer.  The fact is, according to this clip, he did support it.  And it isn't suprising - He was running as a progressive in a state where single payer is a good thing to run on.

However, when he gets called on it, he acts as if he didn't really support it.  He says that ideally, he would have supported it if you could, "start from a clean slate", but that isn't the case.

The truth is, he probably DID support it then and now realizes - possibly correctly - that you just can't pull off single payer.  So he has adjusted his views.  This is a *perfectly reasonable* expanation.

INSTEAD, he claims he *never* said he supported single payer.  Why can't he admit that he has changed his mind?

Too wonky (0.00 / 0)
This ad is far too wonky. I just can't see it resonating. It certainly doesn't hit me in the gut.

The truth about Saxby Chambliss

Clinton's attacks may or may not be effective, (0.00 / 0)
but I'm inclined to see things the same way as this HuffPo column by Art Levine

As she said early on, she's "in it to win it".  One concern I have about the Clintons is that its too much about winning and too much about them.  I hope I'm wrong.


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