Commentary Magazine


Posts For: February 21, 2008

She Made A Point

Without being mean or self-indulgent she essentially said she has a life, a full life and she is grateful for where she is. The contrast with Obama was plain for those who wanted to see it. He could not for the life of him describe a moment of crisis which he had managed, nor express a sense of gratitude for what he has been given (yes, given – a wonderful, safe and vibrant country). She certainly came off sympathetically, but the contrast came too late in the game.

Without being mean or self-indulgent she essentially said she has a life, a full life and she is grateful for where she is. The contrast with Obama was plain for those who wanted to see it. He could not for the life of him describe a moment of crisis which he had managed, nor express a sense of gratitude for what he has been given (yes, given – a wonderful, safe and vibrant country). She certainly came off sympathetically, but the contrast came too late in the game.

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Hillary Knocks It Out of The Park

For the first time in nineteen Democratic debates, Hillary Clinton achieves a real grace note, describing herself as “blessed” and saying she wants to help people achieve what she has been able to take for granted. The debate ends on an unexpectedly high note.

For the first time in nineteen Democratic debates, Hillary Clinton achieves a real grace note, describing herself as “blessed” and saying she wants to help people achieve what she has been able to take for granted. The debate ends on an unexpectedly high note.

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Just A Teenie Weenie Bit

That’s all the progress Hillary will admit is occuring in Iraq. So before there is any more, let’s bring the troops home. Obama is more candid and acknowledges progress on the ground, but that is just a “tactical” victory he explains. Right.

That’s all the progress Hillary will admit is occuring in Iraq. So before there is any more, let’s bring the troops home. Obama is more candid and acknowledges progress on the ground, but that is just a “tactical” victory he explains. Right.

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Hillary Plagiarizes!

She says she hears health-care horror stories and “it is personal for me.” That was John Edwards’s mantra. (He is the son of a mill worker, in case you didn’t know.)

She says she hears health-care horror stories and “it is personal for me.” That was John Edwards’s mantra. (He is the son of a mill worker, in case you didn’t know.)

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Oh Just Say It, Girl

Why won’t she say Obama is not ready to be commander-in-chief?  Dunno, but she won’t and there’s not going to be much reason why Democratic voters should conclude that she has the upper hand on this issue. I suspect John McCain will say it.

Why won’t she say Obama is not ready to be commander-in-chief?  Dunno, but she won’t and there’s not going to be much reason why Democratic voters should conclude that she has the upper hand on this issue. I suspect John McCain will say it.

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Maybe He’s Sick

But Obama is not lighting the world on fire. He seems less polished and forceful and never really explained why he stole his friend’s speech. (It may be disorienting for him when the crowd isn’t chanting.) Had Clinton been more aggressive and forceful from the get go she might have made some headlines.

But Obama is not lighting the world on fire. He seems less polished and forceful and never really explained why he stole his friend’s speech. (It may be disorienting for him when the crowd isn’t chanting.) Had Clinton been more aggressive and forceful from the get go she might have made some headlines.

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“That’s Not What Happened”

Barack Obama looks down angrily when Hillary Clinton says he shouldn’t be borrowing lines from Deval Patrick. This is telling. He really doesn’t like being criticized. Not that anybody does. But he’s showing some prickliness, and that is something Republicans can use to their advantage if they do it cleverly.

Barack Obama looks down angrily when Hillary Clinton says he shouldn’t be borrowing lines from Deval Patrick. This is telling. He really doesn’t like being criticized. Not that anybody does. But he’s showing some prickliness, and that is something Republicans can use to their advantage if they do it cleverly.

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“Change You Can Xerox”

OK, she may still fancy a third Clinton term.

OK, she may still fancy a third Clinton term.

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John King Tries To Throw Hillary A Life Line

Please say Obama is all pluff, he implores. She fuzzes it up and attacks Goerge Bush but manages to get out a mention of the Obama spokesman who could not name any accomplishment and offers that “actions speak louder than words.” Obama comes back with a list of some things he has done (e.g. transparency in spending) and it sounds moderately plausible. I suppose she is looking to make a career in the Senate.

Please say Obama is all pluff, he implores. She fuzzes it up and attacks Goerge Bush but manages to get out a mention of the Obama spokesman who could not name any accomplishment and offers that “actions speak louder than words.” Obama comes back with a list of some things he has done (e.g. transparency in spending) and it sounds moderately plausible. I suppose she is looking to make a career in the Senate.

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She Won’t Attack Him

I’m telling you, she’s signaling she wants the Vice Presidency.

I’m telling you, she’s signaling she wants the Vice Presidency.

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Hillary Seems Confused

If you are ahead you can pander about getting people out of mortgage obligations and dump on the Bush administration’s tentative steps to improve border security. When you are behind, you draw distinctions between yourself and your opponent and put your opponent on the defensive. Is it an impossible task and is she incapable of doing so without appearing to be the Wicked Witch? I guess so.

If you are ahead you can pander about getting people out of mortgage obligations and dump on the Bush administration’s tentative steps to improve border security. When you are behind, you draw distinctions between yourself and your opponent and put your opponent on the defensive. Is it an impossible task and is she incapable of doing so without appearing to be the Wicked Witch? I guess so.

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En Pointe! En Garde!

Hillary Clinton just came out for “smart fencing.” Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., are thrilled.

Hillary Clinton just came out for “smart fencing.” Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., are thrilled.

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Lou Dobbs Just Had a Heart Attack Too

Hillary Clinton said the Bush administration is too tough on the border fence in Texas.

Hillary Clinton said the Bush administration is too tough on the border fence in Texas.

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John Derbyshire Just Had a Heart Attack

Barack Obama  said George W. Bush hasn’t developed a close-enough relationship with Mexico.

Barack Obama  said George W. Bush hasn’t developed a close-enough relationship with Mexico.

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The Nice Debate

Well, this is a very friendly and nice exchange. Obama and Clinton are agreeing, agreeing, agreeing. He speaks, she nods. She speaks, he nods. Maybe she is going to be his vice president.

Well, this is a very friendly and nice exchange. Obama and Clinton are agreeing, agreeing, agreeing. He speaks, she nods. She speaks, he nods. Maybe she is going to be his vice president.

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In A GOP Primary…

Hillary Clinton would be winning. She sounds sane and sober, and aware that the President of the U.S. does not go rushing to meet with the newest dicatator. (Oh and there is Florida and all those delegates too who may not been keen on tea with Raul.) Obama tries to dodge by describing the need for “preparation” before a meeting but sticks to his favorite platitude about negotiating with our enemies.

Hillary Clinton would be winning. She sounds sane and sober, and aware that the President of the U.S. does not go rushing to meet with the newest dicatator. (Oh and there is Florida and all those delegates too who may not been keen on tea with Raul.) Obama tries to dodge by describing the need for “preparation” before a meeting but sticks to his favorite platitude about negotiating with our enemies.

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“Washington Is the Place Where Good Ideas Go to Die”

Obama loves this line. It’s become a signature of his. It sounds good, but actually, if you think about it for a while, it doesn’t make much sense.

Obama loves this line. It’s become a signature of his. It sounds good, but actually, if you think about it for a while, it doesn’t make much sense.

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Hillary: Microtrending

In her opening statement, Hillary Clinton shows the influence of her chief strategist, Mark Penn. She says something about child health, something about veterans’ care, and my guess is throughout the debate she will attempt to make other targeted points to different Texas audiences. Penn is the author of a book called Microtrends, in which he claims that the secret to success is to find small markets, target them, and try to corner them one by one. So if you hear her talking about oil lease insurance for suffering Bay City wildcatters, you’ll know why.

In her opening statement, Hillary Clinton shows the influence of her chief strategist, Mark Penn. She says something about child health, something about veterans’ care, and my guess is throughout the debate she will attempt to make other targeted points to different Texas audiences. Penn is the author of a book called Microtrends, in which he claims that the secret to success is to find small markets, target them, and try to corner them one by one. So if you hear her talking about oil lease insurance for suffering Bay City wildcatters, you’ll know why.

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Let’s Start The Bidding

Hillary Clinton suggests “discriminating against sick people” (i.e. using standard healthcare rating methods to set prices for premiums) is akin to unconstitutional racial discrimination and should be banned. Somehow I suspect discriminating against smokers will still be legal.

Hillary Clinton suggests “discriminating against sick people” (i.e. using standard healthcare rating methods to set prices for premiums) is akin to unconstitutional racial discrimination and should be banned. Somehow I suspect discriminating against smokers will still be legal.

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Not A Bad Match Up

Republicans worry that Barack Obama will be a more formidable opponent than Hillary Clinton. The latest Fox poll suggests that is so, but that John McCain starts from a very competitive position him. The bad news for Clinton: she is the only one in negative territory on the favorable/unfavorable ratings (she is at 45-51% while Obama is at 54-33% and McCain is statistically no different at 52-33%). McCain would, according to the poll, beat Clinton by 3 points and lose to Obama by 3 points, but those numbers are all within the margin of error.

So the bottom line: Clinton has higher negatives, but McCain is competitive against both. Moreover, McCain gets a higher percentage of his party’s voters than either of his opponents get of their voters, so perhaps the GOP is more enthusiastic about their near-nominee, even before a nudge from the New York Times (or a ham-handed attack from Howard Dean), than the media coverage might suggest.

And a final thought on the New York Times story today: Who says McCain’s coziness with the media didn’t pay off? Aside from the fact he literally is raising money on the Times, the vast majority of the mainstream media, not to mention both liberal and conservative bloggers, took his side or at least were highly critical of the Times. Isn’t that the opposite of what the talk show hosts are saying (i.e. it never pays to cultivate the media)? I doubt any other Republican would have been as effective or adept at beating back a potentially very damaging story in less than 24 hours. (The news cycle pace still stuns me.) One of the other GOP contenders — you know, the mayor — certainly was not.

Republicans worry that Barack Obama will be a more formidable opponent than Hillary Clinton. The latest Fox poll suggests that is so, but that John McCain starts from a very competitive position him. The bad news for Clinton: she is the only one in negative territory on the favorable/unfavorable ratings (she is at 45-51% while Obama is at 54-33% and McCain is statistically no different at 52-33%). McCain would, according to the poll, beat Clinton by 3 points and lose to Obama by 3 points, but those numbers are all within the margin of error.

So the bottom line: Clinton has higher negatives, but McCain is competitive against both. Moreover, McCain gets a higher percentage of his party’s voters than either of his opponents get of their voters, so perhaps the GOP is more enthusiastic about their near-nominee, even before a nudge from the New York Times (or a ham-handed attack from Howard Dean), than the media coverage might suggest.

And a final thought on the New York Times story today: Who says McCain’s coziness with the media didn’t pay off? Aside from the fact he literally is raising money on the Times, the vast majority of the mainstream media, not to mention both liberal and conservative bloggers, took his side or at least were highly critical of the Times. Isn’t that the opposite of what the talk show hosts are saying (i.e. it never pays to cultivate the media)? I doubt any other Republican would have been as effective or adept at beating back a potentially very damaging story in less than 24 hours. (The news cycle pace still stuns me.) One of the other GOP contenders — you know, the mayor — certainly was not.

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