And the hits just keep coming!
First it’s the disingenuous twisting and distorting of Barack Obama’s statements about Ronald Reagan which (rightly, IMO) suggested that Reagan had tapped into and delivered upon a desire for fundamental change in a way that Bill Clinton’s presidency didn’t. At no point did Obama suggest that he thought Reagan was a “great” president, though:
“I do think that, for example, the 1980 election was different. I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that, you know, Richard Nixon did not. Um, and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like, you know with all the excesses of the 60s and the 70s, and, you know, the government had grown and grown and there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. And, I think, people just tapped in– he tapped into what people were already feeling which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepeneurship that had been missing.”
Compare that to the nonsense both Hillary and Bill are claiming he said and you have to wonder which is worse: how stupid and easily manipulated they clearly think Americans are, or how stupid and easily manipulated the press clearly is that they report this garbage unchallenged on the eve of a critical and competitive election. Ironically, the following statement can be found right on Clinton’s own website in the Press Releases section, in an article dated 12/12/07 announcing several New Hampshire newspapers endorsing her:
She is sincere and passionate about restoring fiscal responsibility, providing health care to all Americans, protecting the environment, keeping the tax burden off the middle class and earning the faith and trust of the American people.
But no president can do it alone. She must break recent tradition, cast cronyism aside and fill her cabinet with the best people, not only the best Democrats, but the best Republicans as well.. We’re confident she will do that. Her list of favorite presidents – Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Lincoln, both Roosevelts, Truman, George H.W. Bush and Reagan – demonstrates how she thinks. As expected, Bill Clinton was also included on the aforementioned list.
[ETA: Ben Smith has more on Clinton and Reagan, including her campaign’s clumsy two-step explanation which, ironically, makes reference to “damaged” audio from the original interview where it came up!]
Besides the hypocritical presence of Bush and Reagan, most notable by his absence is Lyndon B. Johnson, the president without whom, she recently suggested, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been little more than an idealistic dreamer. A cynical observer might suspect that’s because in those long-ago years, when she was less concerned with the black vote, she supported Johnson’s opponent, the Republican Barry Goldwater, who was against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and lost to Johnson by one of the largest margins in the history of U.S. Presidential elections.
But people change, right? They mature, become enlightened, evolve their thinking. Right?
Some do, of course, but this isn’t the first time Clinton has pulled something like this against Obama. In New Hampshire, a couple of days before the primary, her campaign sent out a mailer that grossly misrepresented his voting record to make it look like he was soft on a woman’s right to choose while serving in the Illinois legislature. Coincidentally, an expected victory for Obama turned into a narrow victory for Clinton which exit polls have largely explained as being a result of a surge of support amongst single women for Clinton.
Now, the truth behind that mailer has come out, and it will be interesting to see if the media picks up the ball and calls Clinton out for her deceptiveness:
Of the two dozen prominent women who signed the critical letter, e-mailed by the Clinton campaign to a list of supporters and undecided voters, three have now signed their names to another missive asking abortion rights supporters in the state to come together and take comfort in the fact that all of the Democratic presidential candidates are firmly pro-choice. One of the three Clinton supporters went even further, saying in an interview Thursday that signing the letter attacking Obama was a “mistake.”
Katie Wheeler, a former state senator, said the Clinton campaign had not given her background information about Obama’s record on abortion rights when it asked her to sign the letter calling him weak on the issue, and said that, as a result, she did not understand the context of the votes that the letter was attacking him over.
“It should never have gotten to the point where anyone thought Obama was not pro-choice,” said Wheeler, a founder of the New Hampshire chapter of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “I don’t think the Clinton campaign should have done that. It was divisive and unnecessary…I think it was a mistake and I’ve spoken to the national [Clinton campaign] and told them it caused problems in New Hampshire, and am hoping they won’t do it again.”
The Clintons are clearly playing political hardball by Karl Rove’s rules to win the nomination by any means necessary, presumably counting on everyone kissing and making up afterwards, coming together in November to support her against whomever survives the circular firing squad the Republicans are running, and quite likely, against Mayor Bloomberg.
Obama, on the other hand, is going with the very risky strategy (though consistent with his campaign’s generally positive theme) of seemingly trusting Americans to see through the bullshit and reject the status quo across the board. If it pays off, I think he rolls through the general election in a landslide, no matter whom the opposing candidate is. If it doesn’t, though, Clinton may have burned so many bridges on her way to the front of the line that she’ll not only lose another close one in November, but could very likely spark another Republican revolution like her husband did back in 1994 when the likes of Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay and friends rose to power via the infamous Contract With America.
If the thought of President Huckabee, President McCain or President Romney isn’t more than enough to pry open the eyes of Democrats and Independents alike, then the prospect of another round with the Clintons, who brought us such Reagan-lite spinoffs as welfare “reform”, “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the disastrous NAFTA agreement, should certainly do the trick.