Tag Archives: Bill Clinton

Obama-Bayh ’08, on Wednesday? (updated)

According to the Billerico Project, Barack Obama is going to name Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind) as his choice for Veep. According to Billerico, Obama will be in Indiana, has cleared his schedule for Wed., his campaign has told the press to stay around.  And the timing makes sense, John McCain has erased the Obama bump from his trip abroad through cleverly juvenile and baseless attacks, and starting Thursday, folks will be tuning into the Olympics and away from the campaign until the Dem’s start their convention in Denver in a couple weeks.

So, the time is now.

Evan Bayh is an effective politician if somewhat lackluster on the stump. Got good marks as governor, and was a Hillary supporter to the end. So a Bayh nomination must be seen as a nod to Hillary’s folks, some of whom remain sorely on the sidelines.  Bayh is a young 53 who helps Obama’s new generation message, even tho he has held elected office since he was 30, and because of his dad, has been in politics since he was born.

Bayh also has strong midwestern support and the idea here is that his coattails will dove tail nicely with Obama’s in Illinois to create a critical mass of support in the rust belt (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.  Could work.

Here’s my concern. Bayh is a centrist, was a leader of the DLC, voted for the war in Iraq, is considered a fiscal conservative. His nomination gives a strong message to the netroots and youth (millennial voters) that the campaign has decided it can take them for granted, a mistake.

The Bayh nomination also signals that Obama could be doing more than merely tacking to the center for tactical reasons. Obama’s change of heart on FISA and off shore oil drilling could be signs of a centrist presidency, along the lines of Bill Clinton.    The man with hope has become the man from Hope.

We should savor the irony thru our tears.


update: Bayh says no announcement tomorrow


Clinton Paranoia Revealed in RFK Assassination Memory Interview

The thing that bothers me the most about Hillary Clinton’s interview with the South Dakota Sioux Falls Argus Leader was not so much the reference to RFK’s assassination, which strikes me as yet one more desperate attempt to rationalize her doomed candidacy.  Clinton’s aren’t dumb, and since she made a similar reference before, of course she meant to stir up concerns about Obama. 

The thing that bugs me most is that the broader tone of this interview makes me want to rethink the Clinton presidency from a new perspective, regrettably one which has the Clinton’s seeing their opponents through a very paranoid lens.   The epiphany has to do with the subtext of the Argus Leader interview.  Clinton’s paranoia was quite obvious in this interview, that her candidacy was somehow doomed from the start because she has been singled out unjustly and done in by some wily press/ right wing conspiracy.  The Kennedy reference was just an example of her lashing out in this broader context.


Facts and accurate historical references had very little to do with Clinton’s comments. In fact the historical reference to Bill’s ’92 campaign was incorrect (Clinton was the only democrat running a nationally organized campaign in ’92; his opposition was scattered (Tsongas, Harkin, Kerry were never real threats) and he had the nomination sewn up by June), and the Kennedy reference failed to contend with the fact that Robert Kennedy didn’t get into the race until March and that Humphrey’s subsequent nomination was the result of decisions made in smoke filled rooms by party hacks, not primary victories (ie., different rules then).

And now, days after this interview, she is blaming Obama for making hay over it.  The problem here is that Clinton’s victimhood has a sadly nostalgic tone to it, to a time when her enemies really were enemies. Richard Mellon Scaife was a real enemy of the Clinton’s, as was Rush Limbaugh, Rupert Murdoch and all the guys at Fox Noise.  The problem is this “woe is me” narrative doesn’t stick against Obama or even Keith Olbermann.  Rather, her accusations, and Bill’s, raise questions and invite some serious revisionist scrutiny of an awful lot of shinanigans back during the 90’s in which democrats and progressives bent over backwards to give the clinton’s the benefit of the doubt, much of which she is placing back in doubt.  It is important to reexamine Clinton’s “reinventing government” initiative, NAFTA, welfare and immigration reforms, which all triggered sharp right ward ticks in the populace.  It is important (perhaps) to reexamine the Mark Rich pardon, the sudden appearance of Rose law firm records, an so forth, from a principled position of appropriate ethics in government,  as opposed to a Rush/Matt Drudge right wing pile on.

The sad thing here for me is that in these desperate days of her candidacy Hillary is revealing a seedier side to both Clinton’s that also existed no doubt during the Clinton heyday. 





Hillary Tells Supporters How/ When She will Drop Out

All signs from last evening’s WV valedictory address by Hillary Clinton suggest she will remain in the race until the final primary June 3. Then, she will talk to her superdelegates and funders one last time, and finally after a few more days, perhaps, she will drop out and support Barack Obama and a unified democratic convention.

I say this because:

1) Her speech softened her negative stance towards Obama

2) She and Bill cannot keep pouring money into the campaign. They may be millionaires, but $20 million already is a lot of money even for them.

3) Hillary made a few points about why she continues. Each point will be satisfied when the voting ends:

She is not a quitter

Her insistence that everyone must be given opportunity to vote: an appeal to suffrage

Her candidacy takes the cause of women beyond where it has previously been. Her poignant anecdote about the ederly WV woman who was born before women had the vote and who lived to cast her vote for Hillary. The pont of this story had a beginning, middle and end. In the beginning, women couldn’t vote; in the middle, women could vote but had no cedible candidate for president; at the end, a vote was cast for a credible female candidate for president; the story, as Hillary told it, did not nd with a female president, only wth a female candidate for president, who went farther than any woman before her.

This story told me Hillary will get out.

Other factors have to do with the rules committee meeting on May 31. At the meeting, a decision will be made regarding the MI and Fla delegations. Quite frankly, she loses whatever they decide.

Thus her persistence has to do with process; once the process ends, so will her candidacy.

It will be a unified convention, featuring Bill Clinton.

WV Primary Coverage Could Help Frame Post-Clinton Legacy

The West Virginia primary today is all show and no substance. it will do nothing to change the direction of the race. All the media will be there tonight covering the spectacle of Hillary’s grandiose, double digit victory, but even it, will be hard pressed to make much of it.  Hillary will take a victory lap, talk about how she has the coalition required for victory in November, and hopefully not much will be made of that either. 

Obama will graciously acknowledge Clinton’s victory, refer to her as a formidible opponent, appeal to her supporters and hopefully too, take some shots at his McBush opponent this fall.

In other words, we know the narrative and the candidate’s role for the evening. The question is whether the media will play along, or will they shamelessly promote the idea that the race is still a contest, that Hillary is still a candidate worth covering as such.  Since the horse race is over, I hope the media take’s its prime time role tonight to begin a process of revising the Clinton’s legacy.

This is the far more interesting angle, for me. The time is right, in this pre convention period, for the media to reframe the race, and for the Clinton legacy, to undergo some important revisionism.

Finally, after about 10 years, democrats are taking  closer look at the Clinton duo and beginning to reconcile a recognition many had back in 1992 that they were an imperfect vehicle for progressive dreams. Not since their McGovern days were they truly liberals. Perhaps not even then.

Liberal democrats winced and pretended Bill really was one of them. Bill had some liberal ideas, who was all to willing to horse trade them away. He always sounded to me more committed to “reinventing government” and welfare reform which embraced the pro market mantra that the market was better equipped to handle social problems than government.  This was Reaganesque. His claim that the “era of big government is over,” was a Milton Friedmanesque statement, and the press has rarely vetted it as such. 

I think the Obama candidacy is giving spirited progressives the chance to reclaim some of their ideals, and to pack them into the imperfect vessel of a new candidate, one perhaps with a vision closer to their own.

Richard Mellon Scaife and Hillary Clinton, Redux

Last weekend, Richard Mellon Scaife, publisher of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in the Pennsylvania Primary.

So Richard Mellon Scaife has paid huge amounts of money for evidence that Hillary is a lesbian, and is perhaps the biggest financier of the “right wing conspiracy” that came a few votes shy of removing Bill from office.  He is the right wing loon who has spent well over 200 million dollars to back nearly every cause that Hillary would say is an anathema to her 35 years in public life.  

Almost every newsworthy right winger of the last 30 years has been recipient of Scaife funding. This includes hundreds of millions of dollars to right wing causes through 3 foundations, Carthage, Allegheny, and the Sarah Scaife Foundations.  

Scaife alone is responsible for making it possible for right wing ideologues to translate the 1971 Powell Memo into the conservative revolution.

Back in 1994, according to an old Salon article, Heritage Foundation president Edwin Feulner Jr. told a meeting of supporters in 1994 that 20 years earlier,

 “Dick Scaife had the vision to see the need for a conservative intellectual movement in America. These organizations built the intellectual case that was necessary before political leaders like Newt Gingrich could translate their ideas into practical political alternatives.” 

These organizations include Heritage, the Hoover Foundation, American Enterprise Foundation, Cato, and more. Scaife veterans then filled the ranks of the Reagan and W Bush administrations and have distorted how the world and many Americans now view American democracy.

The damage is severe.  When Keith Olbermann asked Hillary about the Scaife endorsement this evening on Countdown, Clinton laughed and said she believed in “deathbed conversions.”  No conversion. The damage is institutional, long term, and it’s hardly  laughing matter.

What if Patty Hearst Supports Hillary Clinton?

I’m not saying she does, because I do not know, but what if Patty Hearst supported Hillary Clinton. Would make sense because Bill gave her a full pardon, sort of out of the blue, before he left office.  Might it have been that Bill was a Jon Waters fan and like Patty in Serial Mom? or perhaps Bill is a dog lover and likes that Patty Hearst now breeds dogs.  Or, might it be because Bill is a sympathizer of the SLA– the Symbionese Liberation Army back in 1974.  The SLA tried to feed the poor afterall. in fact that is why they said they abducted patty Hearst, to get her dad– media mogul and son of William Randolf Hearst (aka Citizen Kane) to give free food to the poor.

On second thought does it really matter if Patty Hearst supports Hillary Clinton (she might!). or the real reasons why Bill slipped her a pardon?

I think not. But I do think she is way more important a cultural figure than Bill Ayers.


Would Tim Russert Nail John McCain like he Nails Hillary Clinton?

It is being reported in HuffPo that Tim Rusert “nailed Hillary Clinton” yesterday on Meet the Press. Sounds “R” rated. Apparently he showed video proving she repeatedly misrepresented her 1996 trip to Bosnia.

Clinton has said, on multiple occasions, that her plane had to make a “corkscrew” landing due to danger and that she had to run off the plane because there could be sniper fire. These statements were false, and Russert has video of Clinton repeating these statements four different times.

Here’s my question. Would Tim Russert show the same disdain for John McCain’s serial misrepresenting of Vicki Iseman and the lobbyists in his campaign; his violations of public finance laws; his fiery temper and misogynist remarks to his wife; claims that he assaulted a fellow member of congress; his misrepresentations of sunni and shiite, and so forth; his “straight talk” with the press, and so forth.

I think the mainstrean press’ reputation is on the line this election season along side the reputation of the candidates. The cherry picking of targets to ask the “tough questions” too often based on gender,  and the nauseating chuckle at being “in the bag” for McCain, ought to be up for serious scrutiny.