Hillary's Attacks: She Could Destroy Her VP Chances

There has been a direct correlation between Hillary's dramatic slide in the polls - first in Iowa, then in New Hampshire, and now nationally - and a strident turn to very personal attacks on Obama from her camp and from her. At one level I understand it. From being very inevitable all year, you are suddenly looking very vulnerable. That can take some adjusting.

But I think it helps her to go back to the positive tone. Or she is going to miss the boat. First, some reality check. Her lead was never real. It was based on her name recognition, especially her last name, and the fact that people - voters - were not paying attention at all.

February To September: Little Change

I still think she is a strong, smart, pragmatic woman. She is a progressive icon. I like it that she is a woman. She sure has been an excellent Senator. But in taking the nosedive towards negativity, she is doing two things. She is hastening that slide. And she is diminishing her chances of ending up on the ticket. If she is a strong, consistent second in January, she will be a strong, consistent second on February 5 by default.

John Edwards is dropping out after Iowa. So is everyone else. And all that support will get transported over to Barack. But I don't see Hillary dropping out before February 5. She will have too much money left.

If she ends up a strong second, Barack will be hard pressed to overlook her and go pick someone else to be running mate. Parallels from history are George H W Bush in 1980 and Lyndon Johnson in 1960, both of whom fought hard in the primary.

But is she goes too negative, she might come across as a Dick Gephardt to Obama 2008. Barack will be too clever by two to take the bait. But he might do a Bill Clinton and ignore all his primary opponents when it is time for him to pick a running mate. He can. His nomination victory will be so clear, he will be able to afford to pick anyone.

Hillary is a competitor. Competing is legit. But going negative is not legit. Not in the Barack era of a new kind of politics, the politics of hope. She can try and make the case that she is more experienced. She can try and make the case her policy proposals are better. But going negative and personal, that's a no no.

Draw Distinctions, Work The Fundamentals
Terry McAuliffe: E=mc^2

Picking a running mate is a deeply personal decision for a nominee to make. I have no idea who Barack will go for. But if I were Hillary, I think I would want to maximize my chances.

In The News

The Humbling Of Eliot Spitzer The New Yorker still remote, in the way of capitals, like Brasília or Canberra ....... Albany is the arbiter in New York’s ceaseless upstate-downstate tug-of-war, which simultaneously pits rural Republicans against big-city liberals, and Rust Belt Democrats against supply-side suburbanites. ...... Albany is home to what may be the most dysfunctional state government in the nation. ....... promising to put an end to that dysfunction. ..... Albany has in many ways become more dysfunctional than ever. The addition of an aggressive personality with an ambitious agenda has, perversely, gummed up the works. ........ a progressive’s Rudy Giuliani ... a front-runner in the first-Jewish-President race ...... Lou Dobbs spent a month ridiculing him on CNN. ...... only twenty-five per cent ....... Spitzer doesn’t have the collaborative temperament or the tactical elasticity to be a governor. ....... He unfolded a tattered highway map. “I’ve had this in my briefcase going on nine years now. It’s from back when I was driving myself around, campaigning for attorney general, in ’97, ’98.” ...... The map was dense with gubernatorial significance and opportunities for Spitzer to demonstrate a prodigious grasp of policy detail. ........ deep-set eyes whose intensity can give the extremely mistaken impression that he wears eyeliner. ....... fidgety, in keeping with his reputation for impatience and hyperactivity ..... acuity for brisk small talk: sports, kids, Bruce Springsteen ...... He had recently looked at his State of the State speech from last January and concluded that he’d accomplished three-quarters of what he’d hoped to do. ....... Like politicians everywhere, he seemed frustrated that the media was so focussed on the tumult—that his message wasn’t getting out. ....... a fast and thorough absorber of information. He remains the capable and diligent student he was in school. (His sister remembers him doing his homework with his tongue sticking out of the side of his mouth.) On television, he speaks in long, complex sentences and hews to a rigorous line of logic, and when you tell him things he remembers them. ........ learn when to let an opponent take a round, when not to antagonize people, when not to act as though he needed to prove that he’s the smartest man in the room. ........ “ ‘Ignore most of the advice we’re giving you.’ ” ...... Ignore all the politics. Ignore the screaming and shouting. ....... Eight other states had similar policies. ...... immigrants’ vital information would be added to the Department of Motor Vehicles database, an essential investigative tool for law enforcement. ....... “Even Joe Bruno, of all people”—as Spitzer put it on NY1—said that he could see the merits of it at first, as did the editorial boards of most of the newspapers in the state. ......... characteristic display of excessive rhetorical aggression ....... “He is wrong at every level—dead wrong, factually wrong, legally wrong, morally wrong, ethically wrong,” at which point the story moved to the fore. ........ Spitzer seemed to be relishing the opportunity to re-state the virtues of his proposal ....... James Tedisco ..... “Osama bin Laden is somewhere in a cave with his den of thieves and terrorists, and he’s probably sabering the cork on some champagne right now, saying, ‘Hey, that governor’s really assisting us.’ ” ....... “If it’s right, it’s right. We’d done the work; let’s move on it.” ....... literal-minded ...... A close friend suggested that he bring more “poetry” to governing. ...... “Well, I’m not sure if the poetry is the speech, or if the poetry is the reality that suddenly Stewart Airport is open and transportation from there will permit business to thrive in the Hudson Valley.” ...... Alexander Hamilton, Theodore Roosevelt, and Al Smith .... invest, the way Hamilton did; make sure the rules are enforced, the way T.R. did; and make sure everyone has a chance to play by those rules, which is what Al Smith stood for ........ make the workings of Albany more transparent ...... “Spitzer lunges. He seems not to be a person of strategy. ...... “Politics is like trench warfare. Defense wins. We don’t have the political equivalent of a tank that lets you roll over the opposition. The question for Spitzer is, can he develop the tank?” ........ a lawyer, a logician, a tactician, a policy fanatic, but not a deep thinker or a self-doubter ........ “Let me ask you: is my life much more boring than people presume? And don’t you think most lives are?” ........ His stock “stupid story about missing class” ...... he is a bully, which encompasses not just professional aggression but also what many regard as a preening rectitude and a tendency toward intellectual arrogance. ....... He gets up at five in the morning to jog ..... His first thought upon waking each day, he says, is a wish for two more hours’ sleep. ........ Bernard built a half-billion-dollar real-estate empire, consisting primarily of residential apartment buildings in Manhattan. ....... The Spitzer clan is eccentric only in its heightened devotion to attainment and argument. ...... During a dispute at a conference several years ago, the California attorney general challenged him to a fight, saying, “Let’s go—I’m from Oakland,” to which Spitzer replied, “Come on—I’m from the Bronx!” ........ demanding father, and he expected his children to come to supper with a topic for debate and a well-researched argument. “Conversation was a competitive sport” ...... (The potential first Jewish President was not bar mitzvahed.) ...... a lesson in tactics over strength ...... As a sophomore, he won, precociously, the presidency of the student government, but he has always claimed that he was not interested in politics—just policy. ....... While at Harvard, Spitzer met Silda Wall, a fellow-student, on a ski trip to Vermont. Wall was from North Carolina and had recently been divorced, after a brief marriage to another law student. ........ They live in one of Bernard Spitzer’s buildings, on Fifth Avenue at Seventy-ninth Street, a half block from the home of Michael Bloomberg ........ (Spitzer established a fake sewing shop in Chinatown, as a front). ....... spent the next several years travelling around the state in a mini-van, cultivating support for another run. ....... Spitzer’s tenure as a state attorney general may be the most heavily chronicled of any in America’s history. He reimagined the office ......... With great gusto, he went after big polluters, pharmaceutical companies, gun manufacturers, and, most notably, the financial industry, where various harmful and fraudulent practices had taken root—insincere equity research, shady market timing, bid rigging. ....... Spitzer’s modus operandi was to build a case against his targets, then push the most egregious allegations in the media, which put unbearable public pressure on the targets to settle. And settle they almost invariably did. ........ the widespread public disgust engendered by their greed. ....... —the regulatory turf battles, the legal dekes and dodges, the mutating rationales— ....... one cog in a sprawling and intransigent political mechanism ...... “Day One, everything changes. Day Three Hundred, nothing moves.” ....... squalid statehouse wranglings ...... fits of pique worthy of “Mean Girls” .... a web of purpose and allegiance that can be hopelessly complex ....... the State Senate—which they have controlled for all but one of the past sixty-nine years ........ The Republicans, therefore, are desperate, and in their desperation they have apparently settled on a sand-in-the-gears strategy. ...... resolved to depict him as angry and unstable ....... the entrenched Democrats are uneasy, too. Spitzer has made them so, both in his challenge to the status quo and in his mishandling of his relations with them. The political system in Albany favors stasis ...... They dole out what are known as “lulus,” or payments to legislators for extra duties that can be, let’s say, undemanding. ...... seeing to it that incumbents win more than ninety-five per cent of their races. ....... determinedly stubborn and patient. His modest manner disguises a canny parliamentary style. The contingencies can get so intricate and self-annulling that very little gets done. ......... Spitzer’s first hostile act as governor ... “Like Rip Van Winkle,” he pronounced, “New York has slept through much of the past decade while the rest of the world has passed us by.” ..... Bruno and Silver, the presumably somnambulant collaborators ..... comportment was not high on Spitzer’s priority list. To break the stagnant culture of Albany, he intended to do away with the rhetoric, as well as the practice, of accommodation. He would relish the disjointing of noses.

Bush Says Iran Still a Danger Despite Report on Weapons New York Times
Romney: Religion address won't be 'a JFK speech'
Will Clinton's Obama Attacks Backfire? TIME She even went so far as to dig up a kindergarten essay of Obama's entitled "I Want to Be President" to accuse him of lying about not having a lifelong lust for the Oval Office. ....... started running for president the day he arrived in the U.S. Senate ..... the Iowa caucus — where voters are famous for their distaste of negative campaigning ..... the negative stereotype of Mrs. Clinton as a cold and calculating person ...... make Mr. Obama seem to be the less shrill and more emotionally mature candidate ...... Clinton is "the one who made it personal by calling him naive — that was the first personal attack in the campaign ..... Barack will always respond swiftly and forcefully with the truth when attacked ....... "Edwards has been a pretty harsh critic of the Clinton campaign himself, so one could argue that when everybody goes negative no one gains from it" ....... the first press plane of Clinton's campaign ..... her choice surprised me — she might be emphasizing the wrong thing. ...... "This series of slurs doesn't serve HRC well," said Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary under Bill Clinton, in a blog post. "It will turn off voters in Iowa, as in the rest of the country. If she's worried her polls are dropping, this is not the way to build them back up." ...... the biggest downside to Clinton's negative attacks is that the press seems to be focusing on nothing else ..... they're more about going negative than the substance of the attacks
Was Bush Behind the New Iran Report? Bombing Iran, it seems, is now off the table. There's no other reasonable take on the latest National Intelligence Estimate that concludes Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. ...... an explosive, 180-degree turn on Iran like this one ...... explode is what the hawks in and outside the Administration are about to do ...... will accuse the intelligence community of incompetence, pointing out that as late as 2005 it estimated "with high confidence" that Iran was building a bomb. ....... explained its reversal by hinting that new intelligence had surfaced. ...... the Bush administration has finally concluded Iran is a bridge too far ....... in private, the Gulf Arabs have been reminding Washington that Iran is a rabid dog: Don't even think about kicking it ..... The truth is that Iran is a black hole, and it's entirely conceivable Iran could build a bomb and we wouldn't know until they tested it. .... Armageddon is postponed.
Why Venezuelans Turned on Chavez a president who, in nine years, had never lost an election ..... thousands of university students, who, dormant until this year, clogged the streets to protest the reform in the weeks leading up to the vote ..... an abstention rate of 44% suggests some of Chavez's traditional support base didn't show up to vote .... a man whose political raison d'etre is defined by alleviating poverty. ..... Most chavistas who celebrated early in front of the Miraflores presidential palace abandoned the party when the voting results were announced at 1 a.m., leaving a sparse crowd with long faces milling about in a sea of empty rum and beer bottles. ....... a giant projection screen showing the president conceding defeat. ....... did Chavez sacrifice measures that could have helped the poor because he insisted on a political power grab? ....... they hit the streets in advance of the referendum, leading tens of thousands to protest in Caracas and thousands more in other cities throughout the month of November. ...... he and his allies still have wide-reaching powers that include control over the legislature, the judiciary, the state oil company and nearly every state government
Putin's Reaganesque Victory Putin's party appearing to have won two-thirds of the vote. ..... Putin's managed election victory has caused so little public discontent ...... Putin remains the overwhelmingly popular leader in Russia today. ....... In Chechnya, the breakaway province bombed and bludgeoned into quiescence by Putin since taking office in 2000, some 99.4% of the vote went to his party. ....... few doubt that United Russia would easily have won even if the election had been free and fair. ....... a majority of voters appear ready to give their president a blank check. ....... in the sense that he has made Russians feel good once again about their country, his appeal is Reaganesque. ....... Reagan's own popularity — even among many Democrats — owed less to his specific policies (tax cuts, arms buildup) than to his overall success in restoring Americans' national pride and optimism. ......... Yeltsin is remembered at home for ushering in an era of economic and social catastrophe, rampant kleptocracy and a series of geopolitical humiliations at the hands of the West. ....... Putin has had few reservations about standing up to the West
Russians accept election result without protest Reuters
Facebook grooming us for intrusive marketing? CNET News.com the old story about the frog placed in a pot of water that was slowly heated up, until it was cooked ..... even deeper levels of intimacy yet to be invented ..... Coke and Overstock.com have quit the Beacon program.
Bhutto, Sharif sit down in Pakistan Los Angeles Times vowing to muster a "people power" movement that would take to the streets to challenge any election they deem unfair ...... Bhutto said the street demonstrations could be modeled on the peaceful 2004 Orange Revolution that overturned what was widely seen as a fixed vote in Ukraine. ......... Monday's gathering for dinner and a joint public appearance at Bhutto's Islamabad home was still a step toward unity between two longtime political enemies. ..... "These elections will be massively rigged because Mr. Musharraf's survival lies in rigging it," Sharif said. ...... The country's election commission disallowed him from running as a candidate Monday, citing his criminal convictions for attempted hijacking and tax evasion. ..... But Sharif will have trouble appealing the ban in court, because he has said he does not recognize the legitimacy of the post-Nov. 3 judiciary.
Clinton aide says the reference to Obama's kindergarten essay was ... USA Today "Oh, that is so silly. I have to say, I really wonder at the end of the day -- he put out an attack on her, trying to say that she had some 20-year-plan. And at the end of a long thing, as a joke, the campaign put out that he always wanted to run -- from kindergarten. It was a joke. And then the spin machines here are so hyped up here about Sen. Clinton and her campaign that someone would pick up on a joke like that and treat it as though it was serious."
Hillary attacks, Obama counts the ways Canada.com "Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant: No matter how friendly and even-tempered the beast, one is affected by every twitch and grunt." So said Pierre Trudeau to Americans during a speech at the National Press Club in 1969. ........ Hillary Clinton's national lead over Barack Obama. The numbers: Clinton, 39%. Obama, 24%. ..... last month's numbers: Clinton, 50%, Obama, 22%. The numbers don't suggest Obama is gaining so much as they show Clinton may have peaked, about two months too soon. .. Not surprisingly, Clinton has stepped up her criticisms of Obama, shifting from policy to the personal. .... The next four weeks should be fun.
Most 'Superdelegates' Remain Uncommitted The Associated Press 765 superdelegates, mostly elected officials and other party officers, who are free to support anyone they choose at the convention, regardless of what happens in the primaries. ...... Hillary Rodham Clinton leads Barack Obama by more than a 2-1 margin among those who have endorsed a candidate. But a little more than half of those contacted — 365 — said they haven't settled on a Democratic standard bearer. ...... Clinton has the endorsement of 169 superdelegates. She is followed by Obama, 63; John Edwards, 34; Bill Richardson, 25; Chris Dodd, 17; Joe Biden, 8, and Dennis Kucinich, 2. ........ Clinton's high negative numbers among likely voters have many party insiders skittish. ...... Superdelegates are the ultimate party insiders, including all Democratic members of Congress, as well as a number of other elected officials and members of the Democratic National Committee. They will attend the convention next summer with about 3,200 other delegates ....... 33 of the 49 Democratic senators, who are all superdelegates, remain uncommitted
AFSCME backs Obama, breaks for national endorsement Chicago Sun-Times The Illinois chapter of the country's major government-employees union broke with its national organization Saturday to endorse Barack Obama for president. .... Obama knows how to bridge partisan differences to get results, Bayer said.
Dishonesty dogs Clinton race Boston Herald

Clinton vs. Obama Washington Post Clinton has launched a more aggressive and personal attack against Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) after a new poll shows her losing ground to him in the Iowa caucus race. ........ the character problem is with Clinton ...... "the military still largely deals with mental health issues in an ad hoc way, often relying on the judgment of combat-hardened commanders whose understanding of mental illness is vague or misinformed." ......... Hillary isn't going to win the battle for "good character" -- any more than she'll win for being the nicest person in the race ..... "Clinton take my advice. The last thing you want to do is challenge someone's honesty especially when you are the public face for dishonesty in a politician... Hyprocrisy thy name is Clinton and it won't play in Iowa." ....... While certainly not an Obama supporter; I would opine that Obama has more character and integrity in his little finger than Mrs. Clinton has in her entire body." ....... why she is wasting her time in Iowa
With One Month to Go, the Battle Lines Are DrawnNew York Times never been a presidential campaign quite as challenging to track as the 2008 race, given the sheer number of candidates and the shifting calendar of nominating contests ........ Iowa has become the prime battle ground for Democrats, while New Hampshire has become the main stage for Republicans. ...... All three are planning to spend most of December here. ....... Steve Hildebrand, who works for Mr. Obama as the campaign director for the first four states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — is relocating to Iowa from campaign headquarters in Chicago on Dec. 11 ....... there is another outcome that aides to Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards (and Mrs. Clinton) have begun to think about these days — that Mrs. Clinton may come in third. ....... a third-place showing by Mrs. Clinton would be a game-changer ..... weakened, if not shattered. ...... 48 percent of Iowa Democrats said that Mrs. Clinton told voters what she thought they wanted to hear rather than what she believes; 38 percent of New Hampshire Democrats said the same thing. (Nationally, 32 percent of Democrats expressed that view in a Times/CBS News poll taken in July.) ........ McCain is making only a token run in Iowa, looking to New Hampshire as the state that could save his candidacy.

from Paramendra Bhagat
to Barack City ,
date Dec 4, 2007 1:21 AM
subject Let's Deliver NYC to Barack on February 5

Goal: Deliver NYC to Barack on February 5.

He has to have a good January for NYC to be able to deliver. But then
we focus on things that are in our control.
Method of communication: I think this is the best way. Some of the top
40 volunteers and staffers are on this private list. If any of you
feel like I need to add more people, email me their email addresses
and a brief sentence on why. Anyone can send a message to all 40
(keeps it non-hierarchical) by sending an email to
barackcity@googlegroups.com but members receive only one digest email
a day, so no flooding. The group is online at
http://groups.google.com/group/barackcity Archives can be accessed
only by members. I think this is the most efficient way to

I am under no illusion that 40 or 400 volunteers will decide whether
or not Barack will carry NYC on Feb 5. Most people who will vote for
him on Feb 5 will do so owing to the larger drama that will unfold in
January, and the ensuing media coverage. Most people's direct and sole
contact with Obama 2008 will be through BarackObama.com. So I am not
saying we are Da Bomb. But I do think we will be the straw that breaks
the camel's back. Besides, my gut says February 5 will be the day he
will seal the nomination. We have put so much work into this for over
a year now. Why will we want to not reap the reward, the reward of
being able to say we were there not just on the first day, but also on
the final day!

I think meeting people in the city one on one is key. Winter is no
excuse. Do it underground. Come to think of it, that is the only true
public space in the city. I want a small, attractive, colorful flyer
that has only three things on it. (1) February 5 NY primary. (2) Vote
for Barack Obama. (3) Visit BarackObama.com. The downtown Manhattan
office should keep stacks of them. Neighborhood team leaders should be
able to come and pick up a whole lot of them. Local volunteers should
be able to get them from the local team leaders. 20 seconds per person
to make small talk and hand over the flyer.

Can we set up at least one neighborhood group for every township in
the city? Can we create visibility? How many volunteers can we get out
for this? 5,000? 25,000? How many of those flyers can we give out?
50,000? 150,000? 500 volunteers giving out 50,000. That is so
realistic. 100 per volunteer. The best way would be to spend a minute
or two to actually connect with the potential voter.

This is in addition to all that we are already lined up to do, like
phoning voters most likely to vote. That is a whole different
operation. Talk about calling people up, is it possible to be able to
"outsource" it? Why can't people call up from home in the evenings
after work? Why does it have to be from the office?

Plus, how can we make it easier for people to find out where to go on
Feb 5? What location?

Winter has set in. But still, why are there so few NYC events on MyBO?
We should have a victory party for each January victory. That is when
the top volunteers bond.

Looking forward to hearing from you. After all, we were responsible
for the largest rally in US presidential campaign history. We did it.
We can do it again on Feb 5.

Like my fellow Buddhist Richard Gere would say, One Small Human Being
Paramendra http://democracyforum.blogspot.com



bcj said…
I've had so many thoughts on the entire Hillary subject I don't know where to begin. I would hope that if Barack is successful in beating the "Clinton Machine" that he would select someone other than Hillary. I believe there are dramatic differences in position between both and a partnership with her would go against everything we are trying to change. I believe Edwards in fact would be a good running mate. I also wonder if there is a chance that Gore would surface. That would be a perfect mix (IMHO).

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