Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota set off a firestorm of outrage Friday with comments on MSNBC's Hardball suggesting that Barack Obama and other liberals in Congress are "anti-American." Wittingly or unwittingly, Bachmann assumed the mantle of McCarthyism in her comments to interviewer Chris Matthews, suggesting also that members of Congress ought to be subject to investigation to "find out if they are pro-America or anti-America." Bachmann's comments were followed by a sharp rebuke from Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation, who accused Bachmann of "channeling Joe McCarthy, channeling a politics of fear and loathing and demonization and division and distraction..., a politics at a moment of extreme economic pain in this country that is incendiary, that is so debased that I'm kind of almost having a hard time breathing."
Outrage at Bachmann's remarks is sweeping the internet at light speed, sparking a demand for congressional censure of Bachmann and boosting Democratic efforts to unseat her on Nov. 4. An online petition to censure Bachmann posted Oct. 17 has already gathered more than 18,000 signatures; and a Democratic fundraising effort against Bachmann has thus far raised more than $57,000 from over 1200 new supporters. Bachmann's Democratic opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg, is currently in a close race with Bachmann to represent Minnesota's 6th congressional district in Washington, and stands to gain a strong boost from efforts such as these now that national attention has been drawn to the need to dump Bachmann. Most recent polling shows Tinklenberg trailing Bachmann by only 4% (42-38) with 15% undecided, a hopeful picture for Tinklenberg now made a little more hopeful. A brand-new TV attack ad against Bachmann links her to the Bush administration and may be of further help to Tinklenberg.
Readers are encouraged to support these efforts against Bachmann by all means at their disposal (sign the censure petition, donate to the fund to unseat her, link to them on your blog and e-mail them to friends along with videos). Expressions of disgust may be addressed directly to Bachmann at her contact page (Minnesota 6th District residents only) or by direct e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Angry telephone calls may also be made to Bachmann's Washington DC office at (202) 225-2331, to her Woodbury MN office at (651) 731-5400, and to her Waite Park MN office at (320) 253-5931.
UPDATE: The Elwyn Tinklenberg campaign has now picked up contributions totalling an astonishing $450,000 since Michele Bachmann's comments yesterday on Hardball.
A reporter for the Greensboro News-Record was physically assaulted by a McCain/Palin supporter at a Sarah Palin rally in North Carolina on Oct. 16. Reporting from the rally at Elon University, reporter Joe Killian described the altercation on his blog as follows:
After the speech was over, I was walking around getting peoples' reactions to it when I wandered into several clusters of sign-waving Obama supporters outside the stadium area. They were surrounded by McCain-Palin folks, and both sides were yelling at each other.
I sidled up to one of the Obama supporters and asked why they were there, what they were trying to accomplish.
As he was telling me, a large, bearded man in full McCain-Palin campaign regalia got in his face to yell at him.
"Hey, hey," I said. "I'm trying to interview him. Just a minute, okay?"
The man began to say something about how of course I was interviewing the Obama people when suddenly, from behind us, the sound of a pro-Obama rap song came blaring out of the windows of a dorm building. We all turned our heads to see Obama signs in the windows.
This was met with curses, screams and chants of "U.S.A" by McCain-Palin folks, who crowded under the windows trying to drown it out and yell at the person playing the stereo.
It was a moment of levity in an otherwise very tense situation and so I let out a gentle chuckle and shook my head.
"Oh, you think that’s funny?!" the large bearded man said. His face was turning red. "Yeah, that’s real funny…" he said.
And then he kicked the back of my leg, buckling my right knee and sending me sprawling onto the ground.
This assault is a direct result of hate-based verbal attacks not only on Barack Obama and the Democrats but also on the "liberal media" at McCain/Palin events. This was no isolated incident, as attested by many recent accounts of the hate festivals these events have become. While no one in the McCain/Palin campaign told the "large bearded man" in this account to physically assault a reporter, the campaign is responsible for the hateful atmosphere at rallies which led to the incident described here.
Red-faced, racially-charged Republican rage appears to be growing at McCain/Palin rallies as Barack Obama's national and swing-state lead over John McCain continues to build. New videos from McCain/Palin events in Pennsylvania and Ohio provide an up-close look at the face of hate as McCain/Palin supporters shout abuse at reporters and at peaceful pro-Obama demonstrators. These echo written accounts from McCain/Palin events published recently in the national press.
Video from a rally in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania includes shouts of "Obama is a terrorist!" and "Obama is a Muslim!" in addition to epithets directed at pro-Obama demonstrators such as "commie faggot!" and "socialist swine!" Some even shouted, "Go back to Russia!" as though lost somewhere back in the middle of the Cold War. One man shouted "Die...! European socialists!" at pro-Obama demonstrators. When asked by the videographer if he really thought they should die, the man replied: "Everyone dies, don't they?" Asked by a pro-Obama demonstrator if a rape victim should have to pay for her own rape exam (as in Wasilla under Palin's watch as mayor), another McCain/Palin supporter shouted: "She should die!" Video from a rally in Strongsville, Ohio includes similar charges that Obama is a terrorist and that he is a secret Muslim. Asked if she believed Obama is a terrorist, one woman affirmatively replied, "He has the bloodlines"; and referred to Obama's middle name, Hussein, clearly indicating that Obama's heritage makes him suspect in her view. Video from a rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania shows a man with a stuffed monkey doll wearing an Obama sticker around its head. Once the man realizes he is on camera, he removes the Obama sticker from the monkey's head and then passes the monkey off to a child.
These video records strongly echo recent written eyewitness accounts from the national press. A McCain/Palin rally Oct. 9 in Waukesha, Wisconsin was observed by Michael D. Shear and Perry Bacon Jr. of the Washington Post, who describe intense anger toward Obama, Democrats, and the media among attendees. "I can't stand to look at him, I don't trust him. I don't like the circle of friends he keeps, I don't like his policies...," one woman said of Obama, "...I'm pissed off by it. I'm beyond mad. How is he climbing up in the polls?" Others at McCain/Palin events have shouted "treason!" and even "Off with his head!" at the mention of Obama's name, as the Huffington Post and Associated Press discuss in detail.
As Dana Milbank observes in the Washington Post, Palin's line of attack on Obama at an Oct. 6 rally in Clearwater, Florida, prompted one man to shout, "Kill him!" (a secret service investigation is currently underway in response to this incident, which is hardly good press for the campaign). As Milbank further observes, Palin's media-bashing likewise produced a hateful response from the crowd, who turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse while others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial slur at an African American sound man and told him, "Sit down, boy" (see also ABC News).
McCain appeared Friday (Oct. 10) to have finally come to realize that the anger and hate he and Palin have helped stoke might be getting a little out of hand. At a rally in Lakeville, Minnesota, McCain was booed by the crowd for suggesting a more respectful tone toward Obama, and was visibly uncomfortable when forced to correct a woman from the crowd who said of Obama, "He's an Arab" (see video).
McCain's feeble efforts at calming his crowd attest to the difficulty of getting the Hate Genie back in its bottle once it has been set free.
In a clip from their new documentary video, THIRD TERM, media group Progressive Accountability ties John McCain's actions in the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s to his current response to the US financial crisis. In his biggest scandal to date, McCain and four other Senators - known collectively as the "Keating Five" - were accused in 1989 of improperly aiding Arizona banker Charles Keating in efforts to hamper regulatory intrusions on the industry's risky investment practices. McCain, who had received over $100,000 in campaign contributions from Keating, was officially rebuked only for "poor judgment," though his true culpability in the matter may run much deeper than the official charge suggests. At the very least, McCain's history in this matter casts doubt on his claims to be a "maverick reformer," though it is a card that Democrats including Barack Obama have thus far been shy about bringing into play. More from THIRD TERM can be seen at the Progressive Accountability website. Spread it around. McCain deserves it.
Thanks to a strange act of usefulness by a supermarket tabloid, millions of Us Weekly readers this week are being treated to a glimpse, based on actual facts, of what a crude and spiteful individual Sarah Palin actually is. Based on audio recordings and coverage in the Anchorage Daily News that many in the Lower 48 might otherwise have missed, Us Weekly tells its loyal millions about how the governor of Alaska phoned into a radio talk show and giggled as a morning DJ launched into a series of tasteless and puerile attacks on the president of Alaska's state senate.
On the morning of January 15, 2008, Palin phoned into the Bob & Mark Show at KWHL 106.5 in Anchorage. Early in the conversation, DJ Bob Lester referred to state senator Lyda Green as a jealous woman and a cancer. In fact, as Palin was fully aware at the time, Green is a cancer survivor. Rather than suggest that perhaps Lester was going a little too far with his remarks, however, Palin played along as Lester intensified his attack on Green. When Lester questioned Green's motherhood, asking Palin if she thought Green even cared about her own kids, Palin laughed; then laughed again as Lester declared: "Lyda Green is a cancer and a b*tch"; then laughed again as Lester made fun of Green's weight with a reference to Green's "big and cushy" chair in the state senate. In audio, Palin is clearly relaxed and enjoying Lester's jokes at Green's expense, hardly "caught off guard" as she would later claim. Finally, when Lester suggests a visit for himself at the state capital, Palin responds: "I'd be honored to have you."
"She came off looking immature herself, almost high-schoolish. It was conduct unbecoming a governor. She should have thought twice about appearing in such a sophomoric venue. Not much good can come of it."
"The governor's appearance on KWHL's 'The Bob and Mark Show' last week is plain and simple one of the most unprofessional, childish and inexcusable performances I've ever seen from a politician.... Anchorage DJ Bob Lester unleashed a vicious, mean-spirited, poisonous attack on Senate President Lyda Green last week while our governor was live on the air with him.... It was conduct unbecoming a human being, never mind a governor."
Following Palin's pick by John McCain as Republican vice-presidential running mate, Alaska state senator Lyda Green - also a Republican - had the following to say to the Anchorage Daily News (Aug. 29, 2008) on Palin's readiness to serve:
"She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"
Far from distancing herself from the Bob & Mark Show, meanwhile, Palin appeared again with John McCain on the show Aug. 29.
In his choice of Sarah Palin as vice-presidential running mate, John McCain has once again demonstrated a stunning lack of intellectual depth as well as of political judgment. The only comparable recent case I can think of offhand is that of Harriet Miers, whose 2005 Supreme Court nomination by George W. Bush failed due to her total lack of relevant experience or knowledge, a major embarrassment to the Bush administration and a highly negative reflection on Bush's own decision-making skills. John McCain's choice of Palin is a clear attempt to pander to woman Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton in the primaries and whom McCain hopes will now vote for him insead of Obama. The problem for McCain is that, beyond pandering value, Palin brings as little to recommend her for the vice-presidency as Harriet Miers brought to recommend her for the Supreme Court.
Elected governor of Alaska less than two years ago, Sarah Palin has scarcely half the experience in that high office that Barack Obama has in the US Senate. Previously, Palin was the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, a town with a population of less than 8000 (while Barack Obama served a constituency of 210,000 as an Illinois state senator). Wasilla is the adopted hometown of the Idaho-born Palin, who attended and played basketball for Wasilla High School and was elected Miss Wasilla before placing second in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant. Palin has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and worked as a sportscaster before entering local politics in Wasilla.
McCain's choice of Palin for VP is as hollow and ill-conceived as Bush's choice of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. As the running mate of a 72-year-old presidential candidate whose mental acuity seems to fade almost by the day, Sarah Palin could hardly be expected to step in and take over as president should something timely happen to McCain. With precious little experience even in state politics, Palin has zero experience in national politics and zero background in foreign affairs or national security. Finding Republican women governors and senators with more experience than Palin would have been easy for McCain; finding one with less experience would been the difficult task
Palin also enters the presidential race with a ready-made scandal brewing in her home state. Accused of using her position to force the firing of a state police officer (and ex-brother-in-law) for strictly personal reasons, and of firing her public safety commissioner for refusing to participate, Palin is currently under investigation by a bipartisan Alaska legislative council for abuse of power. I look forward to seeing more on this in the national media over the weeks to come.
Palin's lack of experience will of course become apparent when she has to face Joe Biden in the vice-presidential debate scarcely a month from now - hardly enough time for her to make up for the vast knowledge gap between herself and her Democratic opponent. While it will be a little sad to watch poor Sarah get disassembled by Biden (certainly far less satisfying to watch than McCain being taken apart by Obama), it will be a reflection on McCain's judgment America needs to see.
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The general election campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain has now officially begun, and as McCain stumbles out of the starting gate, early momentum strongly appears to be with Obama. On the Republican side, worries abound as to whether McCain himself is up to the challenge he faces, as neoconservative columnist William Kristol observes in today's New York Times. "With the battle against Hillary Clinton behind him, everything seems to be going swimmingly for Obama...," Kristol unhappily writes, "...Meanwhile, the McCain campaign dog-paddles along."
McCain's problems, however, don't end with his lack of speechmaking prowess, as Pulitzer-winning political journalist Thomas B. Edsall observes at the Huffington Post. Here, Edsall quotes congressional scholar Thomas E. Mann of the Brookings Institution on McCain's political problems including the lack of a clear rationale for his campaign:
"McCain continues to embrace Bush policies on the most important issues, relying on a reputation for independence and moderation that could be lost in the heat of battle with Obama and the Democrats.... At the end of this long interlude, the only rationale for his election that has emerged is that Obama cannot be trusted to lead the country at a time of great danger because he is too inexperienced, naïve, liberal, elitist, and out of touch with American values. 'Elect me because the other guy is worse.' Not much of an argument in the face of gale-force winds blowing against the Republican Party."
"...In reality there is only one candidate. Barack Obama. In November he will win or he will lose.... John McCain is relevant only in so far as he is not Barack Obama. The Senator from Arizona is incapable of energizing his party, brings no new people to the polls, and has a personality that is best kept under wraps. And while his strong suite is experience, especially on military matters, it was gained almost entirely in Washington, a city that 80% of Americans now believe has miserably misled and mismanaged the nation."
The first days of the 2008 general election campaign following Barack Obama's nomination victory this week appear thus far to strongly favor the young senator from Illinois. Streaking out of the gate Tuesday night as polls closed in South Dakota and Montana, Obama celebrated victory with a rousing speech that more than befit the historic occasion of his night as America's first African American presidential nominee. Republican nominee John McCain, meanwhile, gave an ungracious, pandering, and downright ugly speech in which he refused either to congratulate Obama himself or to recognize the significance of his victory for African Americans, choosing instead to begrudge Obama his "eloquence" and pander to angry Clinton supporters by suggesting that Obama owed his victory to "pundits and party elders." McCain's speech was widely panned by conservatives and liberals alike, who found fault with far more than the harsh, lime-green background against which we were treated to McCain's pasty visage and smarmy grin (see video). Conservative commentator Fred Barnes of FoxNews said that McCain's speech was "painful" to listen to, while on CNN Republican media consultant Alex Castellanos remarked: "Last I checked this was not a speech-making contest.... Thank God." CNN's Jeff Toobin said more bluntly of McCain's speech: "That was awful.... That was pathetic." Politico's Jonathan Martin asks, "Is there a way John McCain can win the presidency without giving another speech?" As McCain's lobbyist problem continues to haunt him, meanwhile, Obama has set a new course for the Democratic Party he now leads by declaring for the first time that, like his primary campaign, his Democratic National Committee will no longer accept campaign contributions from Washington lobbyists. As McCain fumbles, bumbles, and stumbles, Obama strides proud and strong toward the Oval Office. Offhand, I'd say this looks like a damn good way to start a general election campaign.
Barack Obama won a symbolic and powerful endorsement today from Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. In his youth a member of the Ku Klux Klan and an ardent segregationist, the 90-year old Byrd has spent the past forty years of his fifty-year Senate career working for racial reconciliation, an effort certain to echo in news of his endorsement today of the man who may be this country's first African American president. Byrd's endorsement comes as Obama's second superdelegate endorsement of the day, shortly following that of Washington state Democratic Party chairman Dwight Pelz.
"I believe that Barack Obama is a shining young statesman, who possesses the personal temperament and courage necessary to extricate our country from this costly misadventure in Iraq, and to lead our nation at this challenging time in history...." Byrd said in a statement today, "...Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support."
Coming a week after West Virginia's primary and just a day before the Democratic primary in neighboring Kentucky, Byrd's endorsement is certain to be a lead item in this evening's news; and could give Obama a last-minute boost in Kentucky as well as in Oregon, whose primary ballot deadline is the same day. In any event, the Byrd endorsement brings Obama one superdelegate vote closer to wrapping up the Democratic nomination. Much obliged, Senator!
UPDATE: Following endorsements for Obama by Washington state Democratic Party chairman Dwight Pelz and Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, new superdelegate endorsements for Obama were announced today by Kansas state Democratic Party chair Larry Gates and Alaska DNC members Cindy Spanyers and Blake Johnson. This brings Obama's daily total to five superdelegates today, while Hillary Clinton has received none.
If Hillary Clinton was expecting her West Virginia win to stem the tide of superdelegates to Barack Obama, she must be a little disappointed this morning. Obama has picked up four more superdelegates since West Virginia polls closed yesterday, beginning with Lauren Wolfe and Awais Khaleel of the College Democrats of America late last night, followed by US representative Pete Visclosky of Indiana and Democrats Abroad chairperson Christine Schon Marques this morning (see New York Times). While Clinton and her supporters play with the illusion of having changed the game in some way, Obama strides toward the nomination, his delegate lead over Clinton barely dented. Only on Planet Hillary have the West Virginia results made the least difference to anyone. Here on Earth, we all know that Clinton won in West Virginia by pandering to the racial and cultural fears of voters who still think that Obama is a Muslim who wants to be president so that he can take their guns away and force them to convert to Islam; and many of whom probably wouldn't vote for Clinton in November even if she were the nominee (see Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, New Yorker). In the lead-up to the West Virginia primary both Clintons criss-crossed the state shamelessly playing to every fearful prejudice one cares to mention, painting their opponent as an outsider, a city-slicker, a college boy, someone who is "not like us" and who doesn't "share our values." Essentially in many respects, Clinton and her surrogates are now running a Republican campaign against Obama. Superdelegates will also note that while Democratic voter turnout has been massive in other states, yesterday's in West Virginia was relatively unimpressive, awarding Clinton considerably fewer popular votes than she was expecting, and reinforcing the perception that the nomination race has run its course and we have a winner (see MSNBC). No game-changer here, folks.
New poll numbers released today by the Portland Tribune show a commanding Oregon lead of 20 percentage points for Barack Obama among likely Democratic voters in advance of that state's primary election next week (Obama 55%, Clinton 35%). With 52 delegates in play, Oregon offers to place Obama significantly closer to locking up the Democratic presidential nomination, with some suggesting that following his expected Oregon win Obama will immediately be able to claim victory on the basis of having won the majority of pledged delegates (the latter suggestion does not include pledged delegates from Florida or Michigan, which remain in dispute while Democratic leaders insist that these two states will in no event be allowed to decide the nomination). Obama's standing in today's Oregon poll numbers from are up considerably from yesterday's by SurveyUSA, which gave the Illinois senator an 11-point lead over his opponent (Obama 54%, Clinton 43%). Given these new poll numbers in addition to announcements earlier today of four more superdelegate endorsements for Obama, tonight's results from West Virginia will not leave Obama supporters without something to celebrate.
Hillary Clinton's last-ditch effort to appeal to "hard-working white Americans" appears to be bearing ugly fruit even as West Virginia primary voters go to the polls today. As the Washington Post reports today, "racist incidents" experienced by Barack Obama volunteers in the recent primary states of Pennsylvania and Indiana include verbal attacks and vandalism. Meanwhile, the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the New Yorker report a similar atmosphere of hostility toward Obama in the current and upcoming primary states of West Virginia and Kentucky, based not only on the Illinois senator's race but also on the false belief that he is a Muslim and the xenophobic perception that he is somehow not a "real American." The ignorance and hate revealed in these reports is nothing short of astonishing.
From Pennsylvania, one Obama volunteer interviewed by the Washington Post reported "dispiriting" responses from white voters, including one who said, "Hang that darky from a tree!" Another Pennsylvania volunteer was told in Pittsburgh that "white people look out for white people, and black people look out for black people." Yet another was told of Obama by a Clinton supporter: "He's a half-breed and he's a Muslim. How can you trust that?" Likewise citing long-discredited claims that Obama is a Muslim, the mayor of Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania, explained his support for Clinton this way:
"Barack Hussein Obama and all of his talk will do nothing for our country. There is so much that people don't know about his upbringing in the Muslim world. His stepfather was a radical Muslim and the ranting of his minister against the white America, you can't convince me that some of that didn't rub off on him.... No, I want a president that will salute our flag, and put their hand on the Bible when they take the oath of office."
Reporting from West Virginia, the Financial Times likewise observed an atmosphere of hostility toward Obama tinged with racism and xenophobia. "I heard that Obama is a Muslim and his wife's an atheist," one voter told FT while another insisted, "I want someone who is a full-blooded American as president." Another West Virginia voter told the Los Angeles Times that the Illinois senator's surname alone was cause for disqualification: "Obama just doesn't sound right for an American president." The New Yorker reports a similar atmosphere in Kentucky, including the following statement from a Clinton voter:
"I really don’t want an African-American as President.... I think he would put too many minorities in positions over the white race. That’s my opinion."
One should never assume, of course, that all who vote for Hillary Clinton do so for the reasons given by the "hard-working white Americans" cited here; nor should one assume that all are as shockingly ignorant and hateful as these. It is a troubling realization, however, that such backward attitudes remain in 2008 as a major issue in a presidential campaign. As troubling is the Clinton campaign's very evident effort to exploit such attitudes for political gain. This alone, in my opinion, disqualifies Clinton as a candidate for president.
Even as the Hillary Clinton campaign awaits a likely primary win in West Virginia today, a stream of superdelegate endorsements for Barack Obama continues to flow unabaited, indicating that today's primary results stand little chance of changing the direction of the race for the Democratic nomination. Obama has picked up four new endorsements this morning alone, from Colorado governor Roy Romer, District of Columbia Democratic party chair Anita Bonds, US Representative Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin (see HuffPo, MSNBC, RCP). This brings his total to an estimated 28 superdelegate endorsements since last Tuesday's primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, further extending his new superdelegate lead over Clinton as well as his overall delegate lead. Meanwhile, according to the Washington Post, Maryland pledged delegate Jack B. Johnson has also jumped Clinton's sinking ship and swam over to Obama. Selected in consultation with the Clinton campaign by the Maryland Democratic State Central Committee, Johnson endorsed Clinton nine days before Maryland's February primary. Now, however, Johnson says he will urge Governor Martin O'Malley and Senator Barbara A. Mikulski to release all of Maryland's Clinton delegates to Obama for the sake of party unity. "I cannot in good conscience go to the convention and not support Barack," Johnson commented in an interview, "[Clinton] ran a great campaign, but she fell short of the line."
I would expect more such news throughout the day today as well as in the days to come. Whatever the results from West Virginia today, the writing seems to be on the wall for Hillary Clinton.
For a presidential candidate supposedly prepared on "day one" to deal with the tough foreign-policy challenges America faces, Hillary Clinton's recent remarks on Iran have shown her to be as tactless and irresponsible as our current excuse for a president. Asked Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America what she would do if Iran were to attack Israel, Clinton immediately dispensed with any diplomatic option and suggested that America would simply "obliterate" Iran and its population if it were to even consider attacking Israel (see Los Angeles Times). Reminscent of nothing so much as Bush's "bring 'em on," Clinton's apparent attempt to show how tough she is only demonstrates that she is perhaps as intellectually unprepared to represent America on the world stage as that idiot still missing from his village in Texas.
Nor has Clinton's absurd remark escaped the attention of America's overseas allies or of the world press. "While it is reasonable to warn Iran of the consequence of it continuing to develop nuclear weapons and what those real consequences bring to its security," leading British diplomat Lord Mark Malloch-Brown gently commented, "it is not probably prudent ... in today's world to threaten to obliterate any other country and in many cases civilians resident in such a country." Reaction in the Middle East was not so gentle, as comments in the Saudi-based Arab News show:
"This is the foreign politics of the madhouse. It demonstrates the same doltish ignorance that has distinguished Bush's foreign relations. It offers only violence where there should be negotiations and war where there could be peace. At a stroke, Clinton demonstrated to everyone in this region that if she were the next occupant of the White House, Iraq-like death and destruction would be the order of the day."
Calling Clinton "the war chick," the Asia Times commented likewise as follows:
"When that phone rings at 3am at the White House, what does a true red-blooded Madam President do? She calls her generals and orders them to 'obliterate' Iran. In other words: she orders the killing of 70 million people.... Hillary's positioning spells Imperial Washington in all its glory - and hubris. Not only McCain; a president Hillary will mean more wars in the Middle East."
Stateside, meanwhile, columnist Robert Scheer had the following to say on Macho Girl's threat to "totally obliterate" the Iranian people should their government unwisely choose to attack Israel:
"Seizing upon a question of how she would respond to a nuclear attack by Iran, which doesn't have nuclear weapons, on Israel, which does, Clinton mocked reasoned discourse by promising to 'totally obliterate them,' in an apparent reference to the population of Iran. That is not a word gaffe - it is an assertion of the right of our nation to commit genocide on an unprecedented scale.... It is bizarre that a politician who bought into the phony threat about Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass destruction arsenal now plays political games with the alleged threat posed by Iran."
This latest display of diplomatic ineptitude by Clinton follows previous foot-in-mouth episodes including that absurd claim to have faced sniper fire in Bosnia which made her the laughing stock of the world press. Trying to appear tough, she succeeds only in making a fool of herself. Judging from her latest remarks, the only thing Hillary Clinton appears prepared to do on "day one" if elected president is to be as big a potential global disaster as her swaggering predecessor.
In an unusually harsh editorial attack on Hillary Clinton from a newspaper that once endorsed her, the New York Times yesterday accused Clinton of running a "mean, vacuous, desperate" campaign against Barack Obama in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, the editorial argues, "Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves" for her slim margin of victory in Pennsylvania, since it is they who "went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead...."
"...On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad - torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook - evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. 'If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,' the narrator intoned.
"If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: 'We would be able to totally obliterate them.'
By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don't like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama."
Meanwhile, Hillary is getting some mean, vacuous, and desperate help in North Carolina from the lynch mob also known as the North Carolina Republican Party. Against protest from both John McCain and the Republican National Committee (but not from Hillary Clinton), the state GOP is running an attack ad against Obama and his political allies in North Carolina featuring more clips of controversial statements by Obama's former minister, Jeremiah Wright, clearly designed to play on the racial fears of white voters (see New York Times, ABC News). Since the present battle in North Carolina is not between McCain and Obama, the purpose of this ad could only be to help Clinton now at the Democrats' expense in November. As we know, Republicans in other states have sought to help the Clinton campaign in the primaries both to drag out the Democratic nomination process and because they would rather run against Clinton than Obama in the general election.
McCain and the RNC have both denounced the ad and asked the state GOP to withdraw it, calling it offensive, degrading, and inappropriate. "There’s no place for that kind of campaigning," Mr. McCain himself said, "The American people don't want it, period." The Clinton campaign meanwhile has remained silent, happy for any help in winning the nomination now even if it means the Republicans win in November.