Friday, April 25

The Toughness Question

Much of DKos and other sites have gone full-on Obama as the level of rancor has reached a fever pitch. With the strike of pro-Clinton kossacks we really aren't hearing much from the other side of the argument and that just might be something we need to hear, and Obama needs to hear.

There actually are some reasons besides sexism and racism that people have been bitterly clinging to their support of Hillary Clinton, and I think it's simply the toughness question.

Does Barack Obama have what it takes to keep fighting and fighting and fighting...?

It doesn't really matter to Hillary supporters that she has continued to shift goal-posts, gone back on previous pledges, uses her fuzzy-math to claim the lead, has helped feed the fake outrage storm over his so-called elitist anti-american-secret-muslim leanings, and has fed the fires of White Wright-Panic and Affirmative Action resentment.

And there's only one reason why.

None of the under-handed dirty tricks and double-talk matters, because Hillary is showing us all something that we haven't seen from Nancy (Impeachment-is-off-the-table) Pelosi and Harry (We-just-can't-make-the-Republicans-Filibuster-the-War-Budget-Again!) Reid.

One word.


I've been a long-time Bill Clinton supporter and still feel he may have been probably the best President of the 20 Century after FDR. I think he did a massively important thing when he stood up to the Republican Congress to prevent them from gutting our budget with tax cuts, and twice shutdown the government.

They thought he would cave - like a typical Democrat - but he didn't.

Whether we Obama supporters like it or not, during this election Hillary Clinton has proven to be the Freaking Energizer Bunny of Politics.

In a way, seeing this side of any democrat is refreshing.

This carefully constructed image of invulnerability - laughing hysterically whenever she's asked a tough question, rather than grimacing and barking out a be-grudging answer or ducking the issue - is working for her precisely because it feeds into a deep seated need for Democrats to feel that someone is willing to be a full-on pit fighter for them.

We've had too many promises broken.

We've seen too many would be champions of the rule of law, such as John Conyers, eventually prove to be ineffective and deflatable. Henry Waxman and Pat Leahy had promised to dog the crimes of the Bush Administration to the ends of the earth, yet one memo from Fred Fielding claiming executive priviledge and their various investigations have crashed into a solid brick wall.

Not zesty.

We won the Congressional majority, but we still haven't stopped the war - or defunded it, in fact we have more soldiers in harms way today than we did when Pelosi and Reid were sworn in.

But Hillary? She keeps Going and Going and Going...

But she's not going to win. She simply doesn't have the numbers and she keeps bleeding supers.

And even if she does win in some magically way, what exactly are we getting?

Yes, it's clear we need Democrats who are willing to take it to the mat and then some, but the other question that needs to be asked and answered is - how much of our integrity, values and common-sense our we willing to give up in the process?

Winning isn't everything if in the process of winning you have to give up what it is your actually fighting for such as fairness, justice, integrity and truth. Do Democrats have to start operating "on the dark side" (as Dick Cheney has put it), and use any available excuse simply to get what they want?

Isn't that kind of "ends justify the means" thinking that has led the Bush Administration completely off the moral precipice with their ridiculous and endless justifications for Torture, Domestic Spying and Unprovoked War?

Here's another point that both Obamans and Clintonistas need to consider. It may be true that Obama has far less Washington experience than Clinton, but we need to consider what she's done with that experience and wonder just when have we ever seen this endless fighting spirit of Clinton's before?

As posted on Democratic Underground: When has Hillary Clinton really fought for anything except herself?

Where was her "fight" during the Senate confirmation of John Ashcroft?

Where was her "fight" during the Senate confirmation of Alberto Gonzales?

Where was her "fight" during the failed Senate confirmation of John Bolton?

Where was her "fight" when she voted FOR cloture on the nomination of corrupt corporatist Priscilla Owen, clearing the way for her confirmation to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals?

Where was her "fight" when she voted FOR cloture on the nomination of unqualified fascist Janice Rogers Brown, clearing the way for her confirmation to the DC Court of Appeals?

Where was her "fight" when she voted FOR cloture on the nomination of religious zealot and homophobe William H. Pryor, clearing the way for his confirmation to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals?

Where was her "fight" when she voted FOR cloture on the nomination of John Roberts, clearing the way for his confirmation as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court?

Where was her "fight" during the Senate confirmation of Samuel Alito?

Where was her "fight" when she skipped the Senate debate and confirmation vote on Michael Mukasey?

Where was her "fight" against the Military Commissions Act?

Where was her "fight" during this summer's vote on the Iraq War Supplemental?

Where was her "fight" during the vote to extend FISA?

Where was her "fight" during the Walter Reid scandal?

Where was her "fight" during the debate on Telecom Immunity?

Where was her "fight" when she SKIPPED the Senate vote to strip TelCo immunity from the FISA bill?

Where was her "fight" on the possible impeachment of Dick Cheney?

Where was her "fight" on the possible impeachment of George Bush?

Where was her "fight" against the myriad scandals surrounding the current administration?

Where was her "fight" when she campaigned for Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont?

Where was her "fight" when she proposed legislation to ban flag burning?

Where was her "fight" when she voted FOR the 2001 Bankruptcy Bill?

Where was her "fight" when she voted FOR the USAPATRIOT act?

Where was her "fight" when she voted FOR the renewal USAPATRIOT act?

Where was her "fight" when she voted AGAINST an amendment to prevent the use of cluster bombs against civilian populations?

Where was her "fight" when she voted FOR the Iraq War Resolution?

Where was her "fight" when she voted FOR the Kyl/Lieberman amendment?

For some reason, Hillary Clinton only seems to be "a fighter" when she's fighting to feed her own naked ambition. Is that really what we want in a president?

It may be fair to say that we have seen Hillary the head-strong my-way-or-the highway pugilist at least once before: During her ill-fated Universal Health Care project.

What Hillary supposed learned, what she supposed discovered from that experience was how to accommodate, negotiate and reach across the isle. This is why she can now sit down with Richard Mellon Scaife and not involuntarily flinch from the squick factor.

There's another name for this tendency: Blind Bullheaded Ambition.

That kind of ambition and bullheadedness is likely why she voted for the Iraq War (showing she wasn't the typical squishy democrat on defense), and continues to defend that vote to this vary day.

Toughness is important, but so is Judgment.

On a variety of issues they break even. One might argue that Hillary's heath care plan has advantages over Barack's, and that his support of Nuclear Power is troubling considering the lack of a plan for long-term waste disposal.

But Barack has certainly shown better judgment when it comes to numerous issues - particularly Iraq, ethics reform and tracking down lose nukes - while Clinton has become even more Hawkish than the biggest neo-cons with her proposal for a nuclear umbrella over the middle east.

Clinton has clearly shown that she cares more about saying what people want to hear, than saying what they need to hear. This is a trait she shares with George W. Bush.

It's also clear she would be a far better President than George W. Bush could even dream of, but is that good enough? If we can do better, shouldn't we?

We democrats and the nation should realize that we need more than an unrestrained angry rampaging bull in the china shop of our foreign policy, domestic security and financial well-being.

We need a grown-up.

We need someone who can do more than rattle sabers and exploit fear to make cheap political points, but actually knows how to work with, deal with and find common ground with people whom they might otherwise have deep seated differences with. People like, ironically enough, Reverend Wright. People like William Ayers. Barack has said that he'd be willing to sit down and negotiate with those people that we don't like, such as Ahmadenijad as well as those that we do like - that he can bring disparate people together to meet common goals, rather than simply try to crush them, or "obliterate them".

We can do better, we have to.

Shunning and disavowing people we disagree with is not how you bring people together and solve problems, you have to engage them and challenge them - not simply walk away and expect them to come crawling apologetically to your feet.

Barack needs to make the argument that his wide and varied aquiantences are not a detriment, but an asset. He needs to rise to Clinton and the medias ridiculous arguments, all of them, and beat them back to where they belong - in the garbage. And do it with a smile.

Barack has the judgment, he has the rabid support of the people, but what he also needs to show is that he can go toe-to-toe with one of the toughest democratic politicians and political machines of a generation and not just barely survive it, but learn from it.

He needs to use this experience to Toughen Up, but do so without losing his integrity or his argument that he represents a shift away from the "old-time politix".

This is truly a clash of generations, the tried and true vs the new and dynamic. He needs to make that argument, and he needs his surrogates and supporters to continue to support this meme - it's time to put away the dirty tricks, the fear-mongering, the politics of division of the past and move forward with clean - but well worn and hard-working and fully engaged - hands.


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