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March 10, 2008

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Neil

Clinton used what Powers said to try and suggest some inconsistency in Obama's position. Does that really amount to "burned one of our own"?

I looked at what's been said and what ever my judgement about whether or not Obama has been inconsistent that doesn't diminish my respect for Powers.

And would it be so unusual for Obama to be inconsistent? All politicians have to tailor their message to particular audiences. Obama did that with NAFTA - telling workers one thing and telling the Canadian govt another.

I'm sure Clinton does the same sort of thing and if Obama points it out then that's just politics. But it does seem that Clinton just gets portrayed as a devil.

Katie

Psssst. Obama didn't do that. The Canadian government looked at the notes and found out that the person who first summarized the meeting lied.

What Obama's aide actually did was say, "Well, of course we're talking about our stances on this issue a lot, because we're campaigning in a state where it matters. But this really is our stance--sorry if you don't like it."

The, "This isn't actually our stance" bit was a lie, according to all the corrections that have come out since. :-(

Peter

Not surprisingly, it is not surprising that the Clinton campaign was so quick to burn her, considering her stances on Rwanda, Balkans, et. al, events occurring under the Clintons' watch.

For anyone who really believes in "never again" Samantha Power is someone to be believed in. Mass murder, genocide, "ethnic cleansing;" whatever we call it, it is still a reality, and often a strategic inconvenience for the US.

Hearing that Power was attached to the Obama campaign gave me one more reason to get excited about his candidacy. I only hope that the next administration listens to voices like hers more carefully, although I am not holding my breath.

mike

Senator Obama may indeed make a good president if he wins the nomination. But he needed to shed himself of Professor Power. And needs to rid himself of the other rottweilers on his campaign staff who are poisoning the political process. He should also jettison the Daley political machine hacks like Axelrod. These people may win the nomination for him through their dirty politics but if they join him in the White House as his advisors then our country is in for another Bush-like disaster.

Professor Power deserves a lot more than the non-slap on the wrist that she got. The whole incident was a setup. She decided several weeks ago that she was a liability to Obama's campaign because of her past over-the-top comments about Israel. So she does the interview with "The Scotsman", deliberately gets the 'monster' comment into the media echo chamber, then submits her resignation and becomes a martyr for the cause. Pretty slick. She may be "one of your own" but she is not one of mine. She is a neocon and should be working for Bush and not Obama.

mike

greg

Mike,

You need to educate yourself. Axelrod earned his bones in politics with the Harold Washington campaign, running AGAINST the Daley machine.

You're welcome. Don't mention it.

mike

And then after that they brought him into the fold with the rest of the crooks. Don't try to use history selectively to make a point. That is the way the Bush-istas do it.

ebw

or you could just decline to tend towards being a media outlet for one or the other campaigns, after all, don't we have some better things to do than begin and end on some grand compromise of primary electoral plans, accidents, and lowest polling denominator message?

bb

????????????????????????????????????????

"In a BBC interview last week, Power made a perfectly reasonable comment to the effect that as President, Obama would respond to events on the ground and not rely on a plan crafted in advance. This is the position any reasonable person would take - and one which a respectable Clinton campaign would have welcomed, since it is obviously her position as well"

If this is what Obama had been saying clearly (and responsibly) all along instead of playing up to the primary voters as he has been, it wouldn't have been an issue!

Politics 101.

Chuckles

So Powers takes the classy route and steps down for the campaign after she apologizes for the "monster" comment and Geraldine Ferraro gets a pass for her racist remarks about Obama? And people still think Obama's team is playing the race card? Unbelieveable. How many Clinton surrogates have showed their true racist, or at the very least racially insensitive, selvesover the past few months? Let's see...Bill, Bob Johnson, that Shaheen guy, two of her staffers and now Ferraro. Shaheen does the honorable thing but Ferraro is still her finance co-chair. I hope the super delegates are watching.

SolFo

My sentiments exactly. The thing that confounds me to no end is HOW has the narrative of the democratic primary changed so drastically in favor for Hillary? Although I like some of what Obama has to say, I did not vote for him so I hold no bias. But it seems to me that the media is afraid to actually report the news in this case because they do not want to take responsibility for telling the hard truth to the Clinton's. That for all intents and purposes (and for any other candidate - this race is over. It feels like I am in Russia where the media fears for their lives and only report lame duck news. Am I alone in this feeling?

jim

I guess I must be a racist, because I see no racism in Mrs Ferraro's comment. Taken in context it is a factual statement. The only racism in this race is obvious. If he was white, all other things being equal, he would not be getting 96% of the African-American vote. So that means he losses or ties SC, GA, AL, VA, MD, DC, MS, et al.

greg

Jim,

A) He's not getting 96% of the African-American vote now;

B) That aside, what's your basis for saying he would not be getting a large percentage of the African-American vote? The polls last year didn't suggest that he would. He didn't get most of the endorsements from the established black leadership. He must have said some things that appealed to them (and the Clinton team said some things that alienated them); and

C) Even if what you say is true, it's equally obvious and true that he would be getting a larger percentage of the white vote in SC, GA, AL, VA, MD, DC, MS, et al.

greg

Mike,

Generally speaking, it's not the losers who bring the winners "into the fold" -- unless of course you're the type drawn to Hillary's hints that she'd offer Obama the #2 slot. To the extent there was a raprochement, I would suggest it reflects more of a generosity of spirit on Mr. Axelrod's part.

Obama was certainly not the "Daley machine" candidate when he ran for the Senate. In any case, there's no such thing as a "Daley machine" anymore. They're still a powerful family, but as a native Chicagoan who grew up under the original Richard J. Daley regime, I can tell you, it's nothing like what it was. Not at all. If you think otherwise, you have no clue what the original "Daley machine" was all about.

Zathras

Hillary Clinton is who she is, a creature of the permanent campaign. She has been an active participant in election campaigns -- her husband's, her own, and those of other Democratic candidates -- almost every two years since the 1970s.

Of course, all the people working for her campaign now are as much creatures of the campaign culture as she is -- if she owes her position in public life to that culture, they owe their livelihoods to it. Neither she nor they are unique in American politics in this respect. She is, at most, a little more dedicated to the campaign culture than the average elected official, and the people who work for her now might well be working for Sen. Obama if Clinton were not running.

There was an age when policy experts, and even real heavyweights like Dean Acheson, could play major roles in election campaigns. What many such people now do not understand is that the campaign business has evolved. Campaigning now is a much more intense, and also a much more specialized activity. The demands it places on the time and self-discipline of people engaged in it are far greater than they used to be. It is a full time profession.

The great burden this evolution has imposed on our government is that candidates once elected can never leave the campaign behind them (to be precise, they can; it's just that the pressures on them not to are overwhelming). Foreign policy professionals, though, need to recognize another important consequence of modern campaign culture -- they cannot do what Acheson did in his time. They can advise the candidate, help with speeches, be consulted by campaign aides to ensure that statements issued in the candidate's name are not factually wrong. But they are not trained political operatives; they need to keep their distance from day-to-day campaign activities, not because these are unworthy of them but because as specialists in another field foreign policy professionals are likely to screw things up. In particular, they need to be extremely careful with what they say to the press, and these days that includes the foreign press.

In Obama's place I would never have allowed Samantha Power to leave in response to demands from the Clinton campaign; that was a mistake on his part. What I would have done is remind Power, in private and in public, that she is there to help with foreign policy, not to muck around commenting on the campaign to the press; no matter what kind of national treasure she thinks she is, she needs to mind her place and shut up.

I don't like the culture of the permanent campaign. I think it makes getting policy right vastly more difficult across the board, even when it services candidates who care about doing this. But it is a fact of modern American political life, and people who expect to help guide policy, especially foreign policy, after the election is over need to understand what it means for them.

waka waka

Hear hear! You've captured my newfound revulsion to the Clintons in a nutshell. And to think how much I adored and defended them for so many years. I feel DIRTY!

Rick Taylor

The same thing happened to me, except this switched me from supporting Hillary for the nomination to supporting Obama. Not that it matters, the primary is over in my state (and I was close to the line to begin with), but maybe there are more people like me out there.

Z

I lost all respect for her, too.

BP

But you have to admit, Powers calling Clinton a "monster" is a pretty strong insult. Whereas Wolfson likening Obama to Ken Starr . . . well, I'm sure most Democratic voters would see such a comparison as a relatively innocuous comment. So it's entirely reasonable that Powers had to resign while Wolfson did not. Isn't it?

Dirk

Kudos Marc ... the thought of losing someone like Power to the private sector over this makes me sick.

mere mortal

I have also said that despite my support for Clinton I had no problem with Obama and thought he would be a fine President were he to win the nomination. I no longer believe that.

What pushed me over the brink was the Obama campaign's treatment of Samantha Power.

To burn a well-respected, decent, intelligent Democratic Party foreign policy advocate by forcing her to resign from his campaign (to avoid a momentary embarassment) made it clear that Obama does not have the character or judgement to be president.

/snark

Ok, are you willing to admit how stupid your post was, yet?

When was it that we Democrats lost our fight, and became permanent victims?

The mewling, crying, and pouting that has accompanied every dust-up between the Clinton and Obama campaigns has been simply embarassing.

So, if Clinton somehow wins the nomination, stay at home and pout, so we can let the Republicans finish off what may yet be salvaged of functioning, effective, national government.

Idiot.

As for myself, I'll do what I do every time. I'm going to the station and pulling the D lever.

smaug

Let's not go overboard on praise of Power -- her "monster... Ergh!" comments were reckless to say the least. Her book is excellent, but she is more a centrist than a left-liberal on foreign policy.

That said, the only charitable thing you could say about the Clinton campaign conduct re Power is that maybe they are too incompetent to understand her points in the BBC interview and Obama's point in the Feb. CBS interview.

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