You are hereBlogs / Barbara Gordon's blog / Obama v Clinton(s)

Obama v Clinton(s)

By Barbara Gordon - Posted on 25 January 2008

I read two solid commentaries on the Obama/Clinton feud today.

The first is a piece by EJ Dionne that notes just why the feud is so depressing for Democrats.

She argues that the campaign Obama is running, his central aim, is no different than the aim Bill Clinton had in 1992 when he ran for the same office. Both promise/d a new kind of politics, a fresh vision, a time to depart from the old. Clinton's vow to do so is what breathed new life into his party. And now, only fifteen years later, he's tearing down a similar vision with the most underhanded of tactics:

The worst thing about all this is what both Clintons are doing to their own legacy as pioneers of an approach that rejected, as Bill Clinton said in a 1991 speech, "the stale orthodoxies of left and right." The great asset shared by both Clintons is their willingness to bring fresh thinking to old problems.

"Our new choice plainly rejects the old categories and false alternatives they impose," Bill Clinton added in that 1991 address in which he offered a long list of new ideas. "Is what I just said to you liberal or conservative? The truth is, it is both, and it is different. It rejects the Republicans' attacks and the Democrats' previous unwillingness to consider new alternatives."

Pretty good stuff, still. Why should either Clinton attack Obama for facing some of the same truths that both of them taught their party so long ago?


A Slate article by John Dickerson offers a suggestion as to how Obama can put take the upperhand in this ongoing feud and move forward. He argues that it's time for Obama to stop complaining about the Clintonian tactic and make an offensive move of his own:

Obama's response to the Clintons has been to punch and counterpunch. He's not superb at it. He seems to struggle with his irritation at having to engage in this at all and then sometimes seems afflicted with a wicked case of staircase wit, issuing comebacks a little late—after he's thought of a good one—even as the Clintons have moved on to calling for an elevated debate. There is still every possibility that the Clintons may fall of their own overreaching, but that's a risky strategy for Obama.

Obama could change the tone by talking about policy ideas, but his biggest, boldest idea is that he's going to change the tone of the debate. So, whatever alchemy he was going to employ when he became president to solve Washington's most intractable problems, he should probably employ now to help himself. I'm not setting the bar too high for him. This is the bar he has set for himself.


I have to hope Obama finds an effective way to counter. So far, any comments he's made have been used by the Clinton camp to push the notion that Obama is an inexperienced whiner who can't handle the criticism that comes with the big stage. Their tactic has been powerful. Obama had been rocketing upward in national polls as recently as two weeks ago. But since the feuds started, he's dropped and then plateaued while Clinton has begun a slow ascent. With SuperTuesday only ten days away, and Obama trailing in every major state, he has to make a move now to have any chance to remain viable after the 5th.



I'm sorry, but here is the truth.  I've been reading the boards.  Some said that this is what it takes low blows to win elections, that people want the Clintons back in office because deep down people like this stuff, that the doodee (not the cream) floats to the top of the political toilet, that the Democrats and the Republican politicians are part and parcel floating next to each other, and that the Clintons will do and say anything, absolutely anything, to float their way back into the top of the White Bowl.

Obama is running on platform to change American politics, to try to take it out of a back alley street fight and add some rules against biting, groin shots, head butts and the like.  The Clintons are doing everything they can to drag Obama back into that alley.  This latest Clinton move today is really low.  Hillary says Bill says he's sorry that "maybe" he went overboard in beating on Obama.  It's professional alright.  Professional wrestling.  After all the Clinton distortions of Obama's statement about Reagan and falsely accusing Obama of making up fairytales about his superior record on the Iraq war, now Bill says he's sorry.  Only he doesn't say it.  His wife does.  Tag team!

What makes me really sick is that the Clintons are race baiting to try to divide the electorate in South Carolina to scaremonger the white vote away from their opponent.  The Clintons would love for this election to be about race and gender, old identity politics, vote for your own and screw the rest who aren't like you, because there are more women likely to vote for the Clintons than blacks likely to vote for Obama.  The white women versus the blacks.  Great.  This sounds like race baiting in the old segregated South that the Clintons so rail against.  Now that's selflessness for you!  And to those who say they are no better than the Republicans, I agree that the Clintons give Karl Rove a run for his money.

You know how we know for sure the Clintons are the wrong choice?  Because the New York Times endorses them.  In a totally vapid and insipid piece, the NYT said they endorse the Clintons because, among other things, Hillary got it wrong on the war but somehow she is more right on the consequences of withdrawal.  What the heck are they talking about?  

Here is the plain truth the NYT acts like doesn't exist.  Hillary Clinton totally screwed up the most important vote of her career in an admitted gigantic error in judgment.  She was a sheep.  The self-proclaimed "workhorse" didn't even read the National Intelligence Estimate at the time, not even after the most senior Democratic Senator in military affairs personally asked her to.  Unbelievably, Hillary Clinton still can't admit she made an error, much more a gigantic one.  

Hillary is still spinning her reasons for voting for the resolution by saying she didn't vote for war - she says she just voted to authorize Bush to use force.  She is in denial about the fact she didn't vote for another resolution that said exactly that.  As for her plans to disengage in Iraq, they are no better or more clear than Obama's.  And unlike Hillary who has burned every bridge with the Republicans (the latest NBC/WSJ poll today shows Obama beats McCain and Hillary does not - I wonder why), Obama could reach across the aisle and grab someone like a Colin Powell to be Secretary of State.  After all, Powell said "you break it, you own it."  Another run at Secretary of State could be Powell's chance to "fix it", at least a little.  

So, back to the truth about the NYT with a little rant thrown in.  Hey NYT, not only do you not walk on water.  You often act like morons.  Absolute morons.  Don't believe me?  Well, here's the proof.  You were stupid enough to buy into the Administration's phony made up stories about WMD in Iraq.  And don't tell me everybody was fooled.  They weren't.  McClatchy's wasn't fooled.  The UN Weapons Inspector wasn't fooled.  The vast majority of other nations in the world which would not go along with us into Iraq like they did in the early 1990s weren't fooled.

And worse of all NYT, you didn't even give it a college try to find the truth - your reporter Judith Miller was doinking one of the Administration's biggest felon lying lips Libby as she published whatever he and the Administration told her.  Get real NYT.  Wake up.  It's obvious, NYT, why you forgive Hillary Clinton for making a gigantic mistake about the war and can't give Obama credit for having the foresight to be against the war from the start.  You, NYT, can't come to terms with your own gigantic failure in blindly reporting lies about the war.  That and the fact that you are scared of change.  Those are the reasons, you self-absorbed, conceited institution.  

There is definitely an element of truth to the comments of many posters in this thread.  In some ways, the NYT is one of the biggest pieces of doodee that rises to the top of the Democratic Party.  (Caveat: while the NYT is a big stupid, conceited piece of turd, Fox News is an even more arrogant, evil turd that intentionally distorts the news to benefit rich people, crazy neocons and their billionaire owner directly at America's expense).

Sorry to get so scatalogical, but you can't describe poo otherwise.  Obama is essentially asking the Democratic Party, CAN WE FLUSH ALREADY?  All of the posters on this thread are ready to push the knob on the toilet.  If the Democrats don't, the Clintons are going to be floating around us for quite a while.

"What makes me really sick is that the Clintons are race baiting to try to divide the electorate in South Carolina to scaremonger the white vote away from their opponent.  The Clintons would love for this election to be about race and gender, old identity politics, vote for your own and screw the rest who aren't like you, because there are more women likely to vote for the Clintons than blacks likely to vote for Obama."

It's ironic that Hillary spent nine months saying this would be a nice, sensible discourse about policy and issues. Then, when it came to the final stretch, and it became apparent that issues weren't going to cut it, she called in Bill for some old fashioned mud-slinging.

You're absolutely right. The Clintons have realized that if they can drag Obama out of the sphere of rhetoric and intelligent discussion, and into the back alley dogfight, then they've got the nomination won. And right now they've cornered him back there, and the approach seems to be working for them.

I swear if it comes down to Clinton v Romney I'll up and move to Canada.

The new wave of Clinton supporters has me completely baffled. When and if the conversation can be maneuvered beyond base expressions of sentiment or entitlement, (time for a woman, it's her turn, etc), meaningful dialogue is next to impossible as almost every discussion devolves into returning an unending volley of talking point sound bites. Any attempt to explore the differences in the candidates real experience, (that in elected public office), is met with intangibles such as exposure to presidential environment while serving(sic) as first lady. Contrasting the candidates voting records on key issues more often than not yields but the meager complaint about Senator Obama's 'present' votes. With a constituency comprised of such pod-voters it is small wonder that Senator Clinton relies on the former President and underhanded tactics in her bid to occupy the White House. Her only strength appears to be the weakness of the DNC in perpetuating 'us vs them' politics.
When we see some real maturity in persons trying to achieve presidenthood, that is the one that land slide votes will happen. All we have seen for going on 40 yrs except the Reagan area is inmaturity. Most of the canidates sound like college kids trying to get most popular in class, and most possible to achieve and win.  What really needs to be said and I am going to say it. We the baby boomers have started to put indepedants in office everywhere. When true independants become nominees, which is already started, then; WE the boomers will change things. Unless of course Jesus comes back first, which then it will not matter will it?   Because HE will straighten out all the political correct butts and make them wish they had listen to us true Americans.

It appears that the Clintons main attack is twisting Baracks’ words. For example, they are criticizing Barack for his statement that once Republicans were the main vehicles of change in America. They are using it as a means of confusing democrats into believing that Barack is more of a republican than a true democrat. Here's the problem… anyone with even the slightest bit of education knows that it was the republicans not the democrats who pushed for the abolition of slavery. This is why upon being freed, many blacks (those who were not harassed and threatened for wanting civil rights as Americans) registered themselves as republicans. It is later, when the economy was faced with recession that many blacks became democrats as they observed that persons within the Democratic Party such as Carter actively strove to assist them economically, as well as support their fight for equal rights. The problem, sadly enough, is that many Americans do not know this and thus will be swayed by these misinformed statements. Another sad detail is that those who believe such things and succumb to said dirty politics are often too lazy to research and acquire knowledge for themselves.

It worries me that women would do something so illogical as to change their vote based on the public acting skills of a politician. Hillary should win an Oscar for best supporting actress for the press conference performance where she took advantage of women's instinctual need to comfort and nurture.

The argument I have heard most from Clinton supporters is that they can't wait for Bill to have a say in the white house. As a woman I bring this to your attention, when has any woman given power turned it over to a man? Lets be honest, there is no way Bill is "coming back". Hillary will be in office, another thing that worries me as she has often proved herself to be pretentious and pedantic. Not the right equation for change as you can imagine. What will other countries think of us if we elect a president who cries and uses underhanded methods of advancement? What could be expected of such a “leader”? What do we really value in our culture? Even if Bill is given power, that would mean that Hillary were a puppet. Do we really need another puppet in office, easily swayed by the opinions of all who come forth with a stronger voice? It pains me to say this as I have always been a staunch Clinton supporter, I expected more from them. However, as a person who firmly believes in fair competition, I cannot consciously trust anyone who utilizes such repugnant campaign tactics to rip their own party apart. I never thought the day would come when the Clintons would disappoint, but alas that day is here.

Never in my life have I been excited by a political figure. That is not until now. I do truly believe that Barack Obama is the leader this country has been looking for. I do truly believe that he is the one who will take us forward and counter the damage created by those who have held us back. It pains me to say that if Barack Obama does not win the primary, I will vote republican. I trust Romney far more than I trust Hillary as her position and accent change with the demographic.

By the way, since when does serving as first lady give one “presidential experience”? But then again, what do I know; I'm only a college student.

Why don't the democrats see an opportunny when it presents itself???  Who needs another term with slick Willy?

I'm reading the latest book on President Ford-- maybe one of the most decent people to ever in the oval office.  You should hear what he says about Bill.  The man has no moral compass.  Why do the democrats fall for his crap all the time?

Jill, it's beyond me why the Democrats would want to run the single most polarizing figure in American whom 50% of Americans have said they would not vote for under any circumstances (Gallup poll).

College Student, I agree with you. This election has some implications that should really concern women. What happened to feminism? You can now qualify for president by playing housewife in the White House for a few years? You can ride your husband's coattails to public office? And how ironic that for eight months, in debate after debate, she insisted, "Bill's not the one running." And yet in the end, when she realized couldn't get it done on her own, she let him loose to try to win the election for her. If she were to become the first female president - by these means - it would indeed be a sad commentary on how much more progress women need to make in this country.

As far as your comment on Romney v Clinton goes, if it comes down to those two I'll pray for Bloomberg to enter. I don't trust Romney as far as I can throw him (and trust me, that's not very far), and I can't support Clinton(s) after the way her campaign has been managed.



I agree with all of the comments on this board.  How rare!  Especially the one about the Clintons getting desperate and showing their true colors.  When things got tight they relegated their campaign manager, already a slime, for an even bigger one: Bill himself.


By the way, my post is now a diary: 

IF YOU SUPPORT OBAMA OR HAVE ANY DOUBTS GO TO i know it sounds ignorant and a small minded site but it is very accurate in it's facts!!!

Please check this out and ignore the racial remarks left by the small minded people who don't know any better and don't add to them if you feel the same!

Thank You Fellow Americans

As best as I can tell that is not a real site.

Perhaps it has been taken down because it was full of the same falsehoods that we've seen circulating in viral emails.

Follow RFO:

TwitterCafe PressFacebook




RFO Gear

Subscribe to General RFO Newsletter

General news and announcements for We will never share or sell your email address.