Friday, January 25, 2008

Clinton derangement syndrome

I've been interested in Hillary Clinton and the seemingly irrational hatred people have toward her for a long time.

It has been interesting to watch the Democratic claws come out this election season. Given the actual evidence, I don't really understand the whole "eight years of Hillary would be like eight more years of Bill, and that would be a terrible thing" argument coming from liberals. But I've read it over and over.

I owe y'all some more issue breakdowns, but one thing that has struck me in preparing for them is how truly similar Obama's ideas are to Clinton's. I don't really get where his claims of "new ideas" are coming from. My impression is that his supporters don't know either. In fact, every time an Obama supporter tells me in a breathless tone that Hillary believes in some awful thing, I've checked Obama's website. So far Obama supporters have a perfect record of being against Hillary for supporting things Obama also supports. (There's a small sample size here, but still...)

That said, I may well vote for Obama myself. But I don't get Democrats who hate Hillary, and I wonder if sexism is behind it.

Now with Repulicans who wear Citizens United Not Timid shirts, I don't have to wonder.



Bill Baar said...

I voted for Obama for Senator from Illinois. That's before the Rezko revelations and before Obama came out for Todd Stroger here in Cook County. Both things with great meaning if you follow Cook County and Illinois politics.

Obama's this blank slate. There's the Obama you read, you hear, and who votes (present a lot of times) and they're all different. As you follow him you start to realize it. When you realize Rezko was his patron for 17 years, then he's a whole different guy.

I'm by no means a HRC hater and would vote for her over Obama, and believe she stands a much better chance against a GOP candidate as the Rezko trial unfolds. That will destroy Obama.

As for HRC, I voted for Bill twice, and just feel betrayed by him. He was a prez I had great expectations for, and that carries over to HRC.

A lot of Democrats have this sense of betrayel about Clinton, resent the sense of entitlement to the nomination she give out, and most importantly feel Obama is a much more attractive and electable guy.

They see HRC's warts, but they don't have clear sense of what a Dorian Grey candidate Obama is... Rezko hasn't fully uncovered that picture in the attic yet, but he will, and it will be ugly.

Comrade Kevin said...

Clinton's platform and Obama's platform are very similar. They only deviate from each other on a two or three crucial points, and that came out in the South Carolina debate.

I support Obama because I think we need a new direction, new leadership, and that another four years of Clinton would produce similar results I have already seen in my life. And yes, all candidates for elective office use the mantra of change without properly defining just "how", "what", and "why" they intend to do so. This year, particularly change is the buzzword and we are all hoping it is not meant seriously and not as a means to wrest our support.

I do not hate Hillary. I do not particularly like her or what she stands for, particularly because she is a polarizing candidate who would mobilize the GOP against her and that I firmly dislike her vote on the Iraq War as well as her proclivity to let the opinion polls dictate her stance on issues.

Would I vote for her if she got the nomination? Yes.

Does my dislike of her stem at all from her gender? No.

Anonymous said...

I've read that too. I feel the other way around: I like Hillary, but I don't want her to be our candidate because I think both she and Bill are too conservative. That said, if she is our candidate, I will support her. Same with Obama -- I don't want him to win, but I will support him if he does.
I want Edwards to get the nomination, because of his focus on people over money. And because I, cynically, think that a Southern White Male still has a much better chance of getting into the White House than either a woman or a black man, or a Northern white man, for that matter. And I feel it is very very important for both the Supreme Court and for Iraq that we get a Democrat, however crappy, into the White House. We need to get back to our Constitution being taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

I will not vote for Hilary. Two reasons:

1) The principles of the American Revolution loudly proclaimed "America shall have no kings" and we shed the blood of our sons and brothers to rid ourselves of dynastic rule. Modern term limits reinforce this. It would chill the blood of the minutemen of 1776 to think that their nation would be governed exclusively be two families for a quarter century. If Hilary wins this year, then we'll have gone Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton for 24 years (1988-2012), 28 years if she's re-elected. This is un-American and unacceptable.

2) It's about time this nation elected a woman into its highest office, but the first one should not get there on the strength of being married to another president. It would set a bad precedent. I'd rather see a female politician get there on her own merits, the way Nancy Pelosi or Madeline Albright did.

PG said...


Is there more about Obama's connection to Rezko -- as opposed to simply how bad a guy Rezko is -- that isn't in, say, Rezko's Wikipedia article? I mean, let's assume the worst and suppose it comes out that Rezko ordered hits on people: for those who are voting for Obama, what would that change in your opinion of Obama?

I agree with both of your points in the abstract, but in reality:

1) It would be dumb not to pick the best candidate simply because she is in the family of a previous president.

2) Most political firsts by women have been made by the family members of politicians. See Indira Gandhi, Bhutto, the first women to enter the U.S. House and Senate, et al. I wouldn't want the people of Burma to hold it against Aung San Suu Kyi that she is the daughter of a prior leader.

What specifically rasps me about Clinton is that she cites time during which her only occupation was being First Lady as time that counts for her resume.

Bill Baar said...

Is there more about Obama's connection to Rezko -- as opposed to simply how bad a guy Rezko is --

Judge just imprisoned Rezko as a flight risk after the Feds found Nadhmi Auchi wired $3.5 million to friends of Rezko. I have links to varisous stories on it here and here on our group blog Illinoize.

Rezko's friend, classmate from IIT, and Iraq's minister of electricity under Bremer's CPA said he escaped prison in Iraq the Chicago way and PM Maliki has said that Chicago Way involved Blackwater security.... Blackwater now with a training center in northern Illinois.

JFK reckless hung with Frank Sinatra and mob associates and Obama shares that habit of reckless associations too.

PG said...


Why did you quote that part of my comment and then not actually respond to it with, say, some facts not included in the Wikipedia article about Obama's connect to Rezko? Instead, there was more trashing of Rezko and his friends, which was exactly what I tried to forestall by coming up with a worst-case-scenario in which Rezko was actually a murderer.

PM Maliki has said that Chicago Way involved Blackwater security.... Blackwater now with a training center in northern Illinois.

If this is all connected to Obama, at least the Huffington Post guy who was worried about a Blackwater assassination attempt on Obama should he become the Democratic candidate can stop stressing.

Unless there are two factions within Blackwater.

Duh duh duh!

Sorry, it was getting a little Bollywood flick for a moment there. Let's have a wet white sari interlude to cool off.

Bill Baar said...

Why did you quote that part of my comment....

I figure people can scroll up and read the rest. No need to repeat, just the gist of what I'm responding too is enough.

Illinois figures were shaking down Iraqi allies during reconstruction and Sen Obama has was too money unexplained associations with this crowd he needs to clarify.

When Nadhmi Auchi starts depositing millions in Rezko's accounts to cover folks who put up Rezko's bail I'd say things are starting to look pretty bad for an Obama who aspires to be President in War Time.

Profiting from America's allies during war time may not compare you to your suggested worse case, but it's not going to be good.

PG said...


I understand that you're saying that there's a lot of negatives about Rezko and his friends that have received little publicity. What I am asking is whether there is anything about Obama's connection to Rezko that isn't already on, say, Wikipedia? Are you alleging that Obama was not merely a friendly acquaintance and onetime beneficiary (Obama donated to charity all the money raised through Rezko upon Rezko's indictment), but someone with actual knowledge of and possible participation in Rezko's illegal actions?

If it's just that Obama wasn't super-careful about his circle of acquaintance and fundraisers, OK, I think that point has been made. But that point doesn't really go any harder against him in direct relation to the level of Rezko's wrongdoing, unless you claim that Obama knew about the wrongdoing. If you don't know that X is a criminal in the first place, it's no worse to have associated with an X who is a murderer than an X who is a pickpocket. The association becomes more morally culpable with the worsening of the crime only if you knew or had reason to know of the crime.

Suppose I run for office in India and a doctor who works in a hospital that my dad helped to start does a get-out-the-vote on my behalf. All I know about this doctor is that he seems like a nice guy, he is good at his job and he's helping me out. I have dinner at his house a few times.
Then it turns out he's part of a big kidney-theft ring.
Was I negligent in my choice of associates? Sure. Was I any more negligent than if it turned out this guy was a run-of-the-mill tax-collection briber? (Part of India's problem in collecting taxes is that people routinely bribe the tax officials.)
I don't think so, unless there were obvious signs this guy was a potential kidney thief (e.g. he referred to poor patients as "organ troves").

I've certainly heard the argument that politicians should be held closely accountable for the sources of their campaign funds, and even heard that it's hypocritical for a politician to vote for Sarbanes-Oxley, which holds corporate executives strictly liable for misstating finances even if they did so in good faith, while not wanting to be held similarly accountable for the pattern of donations to her campaign.

But such a requirement of accountability would make it even more difficult for politicians without their own money (i.e. those other than the Bloombergs and Romneys) to compete in our current system. I'm in favor of public financing and a cap on spending, but most people aren't and there's a First Amendment issue involved.

Requiring a huge national campaign with millions of donors to know the source of every dollar and to be able to verify that it's not "tainted money" would cripple such a campaign. It would take a large staff just to investigate campaign donors, even if only investigating those who donated over $100.

Certainly there is a moral obligation to return or charitably donate -- to disengorge, essentially -- funds from questionable sources as soon as the fact of questionability becomes known to the campaign. I don't think there can be a feasible obligation for the campaign to be performing the investigation, however.

Bill Baar said...

What I am asking is whether there is anything about Obama's connection to Rezko that isn't already on, say, Wikipedia?

Yes, a great many unanswered questions. Rezko was Obama's patron and mentor for over 17 years.

Rezko wove a hugely complicate series of relationships between Illinois and the middle east. The trial is expected to take three months and Democrats outside Illinois are largely clueless about the scene back here in Chicago.

It's not the donations that will be the problem. It will be the long standing friendships with some very creepy characters, and people associated with the looting of Iraq.

My betting is in three months Democrats will have to dump Obama at the convention.

It all depends on the talk from a man in an orange jump suit now in the Fed Correctional Center in downtown Chicago tonight. He's the guy who'll complete that wikipedia entry.

PG said...


Thanks for the clarification. "It will be the long standing friendships with some very creepy characters, and people associated with the looting of Iraq."

Are you asserting that we do know the extent of these friendships, or that we do not know that either? For example, would you feel confident in asserting that Obama's friendships with these "very creepy characters, and people associated with the looting of Iraq" are such that he could have been reasonably expected to know that they were engaged in these activities during the course of the friendship? Or are these friendships more on the scale of Ken Lay's friendship with the Bush family, where the Bushes were highly unlikely to have been so intimate with Lay as to have known what he was getting Enron into?

You seem to be asserting that there are aspects of Obama's friendship with Rezko that will come out during the trial itself. Unfortunately, evidence law requires that questioning at trial be relevant to the matter at hand. To my knowledge, the only thing in the indictment that relates to Obama was the potential violation of election law through the use of a strawman donor. This is a wrongdoing committed by Rezko, not Obama, and on a comparative basis is a problem that Clinton also has through Hsu. The conservative blogs made much of this last fall.

The grand jury was the point at which to ask far-ranging and potentially irrelevant questions. If Obama-damaging stuff beyond the strawman donor didn't come out then, it's unlikely to come out at trial. I doubt the prosecutors want to muddy their case by politicizing it unnecessarily. (For one thing, it would be very stupid to antagonize any Obama supporters on their jury to the point that they end up with a hung jury.)

Therefore if Obama is going down for his friendship with Rezko, it is going to be based on the information we already have about that friendship.

Anonymous said...

It's all guilt-by-association crap. Rezko is a bad guy who was involved in Illinois politics. Obama is an Illinois politician. Of course they were going to run into each other! And Rezko has a reputation for looking for up and comers -- Obama being a prime example.

Your argument as you've outlined it, Bill, is:

Rezko is a bad guy
Rezko did bad things with other bad guys
Rezko and Obama knew each other
Obama must have known that Rezko was a bad guy who did bad things with other bad guys
and therefore, Obama must be a bad guy

It just doesn't hold up. There's no evidence that Obama knew anything about what Rezko was up to, or that he did Rezko any favors, or that he had anything to do with any of these other people Rezko was involved with. There's some evidence that Rezko saw Obama's potential as a politician and was trying to suck up to him, but that's it.