Democratic Debate XXI: The Contretemps at the Constitution Center

Remember the first Clinton-Obama one-on-one debate in California? Remember how excited Democrats were about their historic choice between their first female nominee or their first black nominee, either one a shoe-in to lead them back into a glorious era of power and judicial appointments?

That was two-and-a-half months ago.

At 8 p.m. ET, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will lock horns and try to destroy each other as viable national candidates. Feed your liveblogging lust at The Corner, or The American Spectator blog.

8:04: Opening statements. Clinton claims the founding fathers would have wanted a black guy and a woman to take over and "provide the good jobs" some day. I hear the sound of Ron Paul's bullet-holed TV exploding.

8:07: But ABC is introducing each segment with quotes from the Constitution! The candidates take notes on which bits they'll disobey.

8:08: Gibson tells Obama and Clinton to suck it up and choose one another as running mates. God, they hate each other almost as much as people hate them.

8:09: "If it worked in colonial times"? Does Gibson really pine for the harmonious polity of the Adams-Jefferson administration?

8:11: Hillary Clinton gets a weird satisfaction from "holding the hands" of women she let down.

8:12: Obama, contrite: "I think there's no doubt that I can see how people were offended." His heralded comments are slowwwly unpacked and distorted for public consumption.

8:14: "I am the granddaughter of a factory worker from Scranton." Obama insulted her father! I... don't think she's making the most of this, but maybe she's learned that packaged one-liners don't work.

8:17: Clinton punts on the opportunity to call Obama unelectable: It'll be left to the HuffPost comment sections, then.

8:18: Clinton: I can win because people started hating me 16 years ago, not just this week.

8:19: Half a point for Obama for saying "there are sportsmen in my state who support me" rather than claiming (like, uh, some candidates) that he shot a bear that was trying to kill the Pope.

8:22: More weird mush from Clinton: "I'm giving people the feeling they can empower themselves."

8:23: Yes, all of these Obama stories broke in the last month. It's sort of miraculous that he's still winning.

8:24: "There is anger in the black community, where it gets expressed in the barbershop or the church." Cue 67 reporters sprinting to Obama's barbershop to look for anti-Semitism.

8:26: "9/11, which happened in my city of New York"... which she says as ads in Pennsylvania paint her as a rough-hewn daughter of Scranton.

8:28: "The church is a community that extends beyond the pastor," says Obama's focus group, which has miraculously taken control of his larynx.

8:29: I think it'll be harder for Clinton to whine that she's getting the hard first questions this time.

8:30: Are we actually going to debate whether Obama's pastor is patriotic enough for one of his parishioners to be president?

8:32: Clinton isn't nearly adroit enough to talk about "bringing people together" and bite Obama's kneecaps in the same sentence.

8:35: Both candidates are trying to talk past the media, painting them as villains trying to distract the voters by how awesome Obama and Clinton are. Gibson and Stephanopolous are making their jobs easier.

8:38: Instead of actually blogging about this idiotic question, I give you John Prine.

8:42: Shorter Obama: "Fuck you, George."

8:45: I'll be honest: When Obama counterpunched on Ayers and pointed out that Clinton's husband pardoned two members of the Weather Underground, I smiled. She deserved all that and a kick in the teeth.

8:52: What the hell is this question about Iraq doing here? I want to know what angle Barack Obama salutes at!

8:54: Clinton's Iraq solutions... basically the Bush position, plus more ire at Iraqi leaders and "diplomacy." I'm optimistic!

8:56: Obama's position: Telling generals to get ready to leave.

8:59: Should it be U.S. policy to treat an attack on Israel as an attack on the United States? That's sort of a rhetorical question, isn't it?

9:01: Clinton wants an "umbrella of influence" that extends beyond Israel, and would warn Iran that an attack on even more countries would invite destruction.

9:03: I'm either missing something or this is just the Bush Doctrine with fuzzier adjectives.

9:04: Clinton won't raise any taxes on anyone making less than $250,000? That's a hell of a pledge. She's hoping nobody holds her to this.

9:06: Well, Stephanopolous did.

9:09: Why does Obama want to raise taxes if the capital gains tax cut increased revenue? "Fairness."

9:11: Gibson gives him a chance to wiggle away from "taxes all the time, even if they don't work!" Obama hardly move on it. A new capital gains cut "might or might not" increase revenue.

9:12: "I don't want to take one more penny of tax money away from anybody." Some people wonder why she has a credibility problem.

9:24: Guns! Clinton will respect the Second Amendment by hiring more cops and bringing back the assault weapons ban.

9:27: Obama gets asked about Heller... and he "hasn't read the briefs," but "Just because you have an individual right doesn't mean the state or local government can't constrain that right." Oy.

9:32: Obama's not as good tonight at ignoring the questions and pivoting to stuff he wants to discuss.

9:35: Whereas Hillary answers an affirmative action question by talking about early childhood education. "Let's affirmatively invest in our young people!"

9:37: The gas tax moratorium? Really? Really? ... Really? Funding the highway trust fund with a tax on oil companies. They are opening Milton Friedman's grave and pissing on his corpse.

9:46: Who wants to bet the last question will be stupid?

9:47: This is not what Clinton will tell superdelegates, unless by "the White House needs a fighter" she means "the black dude who says 'you know' a lot can't win!" It's good for Obama when she gets these first, though: She's better at distorting the question and flattening his playing field.

9:49: Obama will also repeat his talking points to superdelegates! The odds, they are astounding.

WRAPUP: I don't think the 40-minute early Obama pile-on was bad for him. I think the following round, where he seemed rattled and reliant on his script, was bad for him. To believe it's worth junking the Clintons and giving him the nomination, a Democrat needs to think Obama is at least as resilient as Hillary. And he can take the attacks, but he can't get past them.

Clinton's game hasn't changed since February: It's to win enough delegates to close the gap before the convention, then convince superdelegates that Obama is unelectable. She utilized and validated a boatload of Republican attacks on Obama (Ben Smith noticed that she mentioned 9/11 three times while attacking him). She's watched with obvious surprise as Obama survived every attack, as Democrats cling tighter to him. So she's trying to convince them that Republicans will be more successful than her. It's all very meta and I'm unsure if it'll work.

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  • ||

    This might be fun.....

    Hillary is sinking. Her only shot is a knockout left-hook out of nowhere.

    Obama should deflect that and later take out the dying Bush sycophant.

    My bet is placed.

  • Elemenope||

    I'll be shocked on several levels if they take more than a few glancing "nice to know you're awake" shots at each other.

    Seriously, modern debates are like scripted tandem press conferences.

    Predictions:

    Clinton will sound confident, but slightly mean.

    Obama will sound chill, but slightly vague.

    I can be a talking head, too!

  • edna||

    open letter to hrc:

    hey hil, this is it, go for the nuts!

  • ||

    Sweep the leg!

  • ||

    This is going to be like watching a car crash.

    And like a car crash, I'll be watching with a sick sense of excitement.

  • ||

    At 8 p.m. ET, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will lock horns...



    At first I read that as lockhorns. Like the comic strip about the married couple that hate each other.

    Which lead to a mental image of a cartoon Obama and Clinton arguing over something or other.

    It could be funny.

  • ||

    Isn't it kind of a conflict of interest for George Snuffleupagus to be doing a debate with Clinton?

  • ||

    And the "Boss" has endorsed Obama..

    Springsteen is the epitome of the working class ethic - the mechanic or the factory man.

    Where McCain has John Hagee and the Christ-Nut types... the aborto-freaks.

    But the Pope is here, dammit. The pedophile vote is vague but steady!

  • John||

    Is Charlie Gibson really citing a part of the constitution that has been invalid for more than 200 years?

  • ||

    Is Charlie Gibson really citing a part of the constitution that has been invalid for more than 200 years?

    Yeah, he probably should have been clearer that was changed. Kind of sad the only specific reference to the Constitution after 500 debates was taken out of context.

  • Elemenope||

    Yes, John, he is. I wanted one of them to whip out the 12th amendment, and say "hey! John Admas tried it that way, and it really sucked! That's why we changed it!"

  • Elemenope||

    Adams, natch. Although, we could go with Adama...

  • ||

    Anyone got a link to a streaming video of the debate?

  • Elemenope||

    8:17 That was a very, ridiculously roundabout way of saying "Yes. I think Obama can beat McCain."

  • John||

    Why does this debate have the feel of a debate for Governor or Senate? The candidate, the moderators and the audience just seem out of it.

  • Elemenope||

    8:18 "Yes, yes, yes!"

    I take it back.

  • ||

    Hillary really soft-pedaled "Bittergate." She addressed it - that's what the question was about, after all - but she used a light touch, and used the opportunity to sell herself, rather than pile on him.

    I think she can read polls. I think she's figured out that it's very easy for her to provoke a backlash when she goes negative.

  • ||

    Is Charlie Gibson really citing a part of the constitution that has been invalid for more than 200 years?

    And didn't apply to party primaries?

    Are they TRYING to make the country stupider?

  • ||

    Man...this is awkward.

  • ||

    She's still using "35 years?"

  • ||

    joe-

    Hillary could tack toward an incessant pummeling of Obama - hoping he won't respond due to his "politics of hope" and thus making him look weak and defenseless.

    If I were her adviser that would be the game plan.

  • ||

    20 minutes in and not one policy question yet.

    ABC sucks.

  • Elemenope||

    Word, Admaness. Some policy, plz! Srsly.

  • John||

    Hillary made a surprisingly strong statement against Wright.

  • ||

    They're both total wrecks, and this is just an assault on Obama so far.

  • ||

    Hillary made a surprisingly strong statement against Wright.

    She basically accused Obama of thinking the same things Wright said. Good move politically, but that was really sleazy and low.

  • John||

    Is this passive-aggressive night for Obama?

  • ||

    and George Stephanopolus can go to hell

  • ||

    I don't have a dog in this fight, but this has been 30 minutes of Obama-bashing. ABC really sucks.

  • Kolohe||

    Not able to see it (apparantly the ABC affiliate here decided to go tape-delay to keep it in prime time) but I am disappointed with Gibson based on what I'm reading here. In the previous rounds, he was far and away the best moderator by avoiding inane questions and/or loaded premises, unlike Russert, Blitzer, and Cooper.

  • ||

    Hillary played her Hamas card and George pissed on it.....

  • Elemenope||

    I love how this is a question about Jeremiah Wright's patriotism.

    This is Jeremiah Wright the highly-decorated war hero...


    Ooh, let's move on to sniper fire!

    ------------

    Fuck all, where's the policy?

  • ||

    If I was in the audience, I'd be loudly booing right now and throwing tomatoes.

  • ||

    These questions suck.

    Wright? Tuzla?

    The hell.

    In other news, I just discovered I can create weird symbols with my alt key.

    ∫©√ƒ∂ƒ≈ß´®

  • ||

    Kolohe-

    I lived in Woodland Hills and Monday Night Football on ABC was never tape delayed.

  • ||

    Did I mention I've been spiking fevers lately?

  • John||

    Obama finally address the lack of substance in the debate.

  • ||

    "Fuck all, where's the policy?"


    ABC wants ratings! Not policy-shit!

  • ||

    HOLY SHIT! What is up with that woman's sweater?!

  • ||

    ABC sucks. 38 minutes and not one policy question.

  • Elemenope||

    WTF was that crap?

    "Do you believe in the flag?"

  • KB||

    you will find true love.... on Flag Day!

  • ||

    So, that bullshit about network news being more legit than cable news is exactly that, eh? BULLSHIT

  • ||

    I will vote for the largest flag lapel pin - godamnit!

  • ||

    Obama should be getting pissed at this point.

  • ||

    Obama can't tell George to shove it up his ass without sounding "elitist".

  • John||

    The overkill on bullshit issues in this debate really makes Obama look good.

  • ||

    ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!

  • ||

    OMG! Hillary needs to have herself fixed.... oh shit. It's too late

  • ||

    The overkill on bullshit issues in this debate really makes Obama look good.

    No it doesn't. Rural hick voters believe this stupid stuff.

    Oops, was that elitist?

  • ||

    I just got to watching this debate. So far they have asked Rev Wright, Hillary fibbing about her Bosnia anecdote, and flag lapel pins. These jackasses whining about flag lapel pins make me never want to wear one because I don't want to turn into an ignorant jackass like them. Or maybe instead of wearing one on my lapel, I'll just wear one on my sleeve.

  • ||

    Bahaha Obama got pissed.

  • Kolohe||

    shrike-
    they used to tape delay most weekday sporting events in Honolulu (MNF, World Series, etc), but seem to have stopped about 7 or so years ago.
    However, other 'feature' programming is hit or miss on whether it's shown live or not. And you really need to avoid the internet if you don't want spoilers to 'a season finale everyone will be taking about.'

  • Elemenope||

    So, that bullshit about network news being more legit than cable news is exactly that, eh? BULLSHIT

    Um, if this were on FOX news, there would be just as little substance, but there instead of crap questions they would just be hitting them with bamboo sticks.

  • ||

    This is awful.

    I've been bitching about the CNN debates all season, but this just might be worse.

  • ||

    Adamness -
    I can't believe the disrespect you have for hardworking Americans! I am SHOCKED, sir. SHOCKED!

  • John||

    "This is why I don't vote." - Brian Griffin

  • ||

    OK, ad break.

    Maybe that was the "get the idiotic shit out of the way" segment of the evening.

  • ||

    I can't believe the disrespect you have for hardworking Americans! I am SHOCKED, sir. SHOCKED!

    I'm not running for president, so I can talk shit about the stupid hicks who believe Obama is a Muslim and hates America.

    And fuck the pope too. He should go back to the Vatican and jerk off little boys. I've been waiting all day to say that.

    Oops, was that elitist?

  • ||

    This debate is awful.

    Kolohe - (now I see the Hawaii in your name)

    Happy hour Monday Night Football in SoCal at 6pm pst LIVE was a joy. It left plenty of time to recover for Tuesday.

    Hawaii - now that would be odd live.

  • ||

    Not elitist. Blasphemous perhaps. Funny for sure.

  • Kolohe||

    "The overkill on bullshit issues in this debate really makes Obama look good."

    "No it doesn't. Rural hick voters echo chamber media insiders believe this stupid stuff."

    If you can vote, you're generally no longer in middle school. And if your *really* a rural hick, you never went in the first place.

  • ||

    The first part was elitist.

    It's tough to pull rank on the Pope, though.

  • ||

    Oh boy, what's our next Constitutional non-sequitur?

  • ||

    "I'm not running for president, so I can talk shit about the stupid hicks who believe Obama is a Muslim and hates America.

    And fuck the pope too. He should go back to the Vatican and jerk off little boys. I've been waiting all day to say that.

    Oops, was that elitist?"

    I love it - Big A.

    I even plagiarized it.

  • ||

    Why is Stephalufagous allowed to question at the debate? That seems like a conflict of interest even though I am not sure which way it tilts. What focus groups does the guy do well with anyway? Everytime I see him I am reminded of Tommy Boy:

    "you're a smug, unhappy little man and you treat people like they were idiots."

  • ||

    OMG
    I'm going to punch the next person who uses the phrase "on the ground"

  • KB||

    I have to wonder if Democrats are actually enjoying this... show... whatever you want to call it.

  • ||

    I'm going to punch the next person who uses the phrase "on the ground"

    The people on the ground are hoping for a change, my friend.

  • ||

    "...my friend."

    That's it, I'm punching John McCain!

  • ||

    How dare you dissent from St. Patraeus?

    How DARE you?

  • Kolohe||

    shrike-
    Spending every monday afternoon at hooters starting at three is more american than you mainland elitists can handle :).

    Now guam, where the game starts at 11:00 am Tuesday morning, that's weird. (During the NBA playoffs, you can see the ESPN games live, but they would show the *previous weeks* game on ABC - to keep Wednesday's game on Wednesday. So you could see the Spurs play two different teams at once - one of which had already been eliminated. All the network programming was also a week late, so you be a week behind on Lost, etc.)

  • ||

    Obama just hit that one out of the park.

  • ||

    He's sounds at least as commander-in-chiefy as she does.

  • KB||

    mmmm... carrots and sticks

  • ||

    Obama needs to pick up the tempo. That's all.

    Project confidence (not that Hillary has).

    Perception is reality.

    You can't go wrong protecting Israel!

    or buying IBM!

  • ||

    The closer we get to the election, the pit in my stomach grows knowing one of these two or McCain will be president. That's very disturbing.

  • ||

    By the way, Hillary isn't wearing a flag pin.

  • ||

    Has Petraeus replaced Chuck Norris yet?

    Petraeus destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.

    Contrary to popular belief, the Titanic didn't hit an iceberg. The ship was off course and accidentally ran into Petraeus while he was doing the backstroke across the Atlantic.

  • John||

    If the economy is the number one issues on Americans' minds, why did it take an hour to ask a question about it?

  • ||

    My wife just turned it to American Idol. I don't mind all that much. What's wrong with me?





    Don't answer that.

  • ||

    Wow, Hillary.

    Use Iranian nuclearization to bring other powers in the region under an American "security umbrella."

    She's crafty, that one.

  • ||

    "Spending every monday afternoon at hooters starting at three is more american than you mainland elitists can handle :)."

    HaHa! I love it, Kolohe!

    HA and Alaska are the two states I have never set foot in.

    But Clearwater, Florida? Home of both the original Hooters and Scientology!

    I'll let you know which one I got "full release" in later....

  • John||

    The capital gains question was the first good question of the night. And Obama will hedge with anti-corporate rhetoric.

  • ||

    Petraeus doesn't need to cut taxes, they shrink in his presence.

  • ||

    Obama is conflating capital gains taxes with hedge funds payroll (which are the same).

    He needs to distinguish the two.

  • ||

    Boo! He blew the capital gains tax question.

    The answer to that question is, "Those figures are misleading. When Wall Street knows there is a change in tax policy coming up, they time a bunch of their transactions. So, you get this spike or dip right after it goes into effect, that the levels out, and the revenues come in like you think they would.

    He just switched to popular finance-related topics, like the mortgage crisis.

    Weak.

  • ||

    Let's see here.

    The 46 minute discussion of GOP nonsense hurt him more.

    He won the exchange about foreign policy.

    She's winning the exchange about economic policy.

    I've gotta say she's ahead.

  • ||

    Obama's lucky he's fighting a corpse in the next round because he is horrible in the debates.

  • ||

    Looks like Gibson is winning the debate so far.

  • ||

    Looks like McCain is winning the debate so far.

  • John||

    The media narrative will focus on the ridiculous first-half, but that was actually a pretty good exchange on Social Security. (Maybe my standards have just been lowered)

  • ||

    If you remember back, Obama was sort of awkward in the first few debates, and then gradually got better through all of those pre-Iowa debates, but then got very good at it.

    It's been, what, two months since the last debate? Seven weeks?

    I think he's rusty.

  • ||

    DailyKos is saying ABC and Hillary conspired with Sean Hannity. Or something like that.

    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/4/16/13329/3501/457/496866

  • ||

    "Boo! He blew the capital gains tax question."

    He did. He is going after hedge funds who pay themselves at a 15% payroll rate because they CLAIM capital gains instead of FICA/income.

    It is a difficult issue and one he should avoid in a public debate.

  • ||

    Fuck you, Charlie. I didn't say a small prayer.

  • John||

    You can't have a Democrat talk about guns without the phrase "common sense" being used at least once.

  • ||

    Wow -

    The God/Guns/Gays crowd is gaining clarity as these two muddle through their answers.

    Its so much easier to be a wingnut.

  • Thomas Paine||

    Who could be against common sense?

  • ||

    While this debate was apparently stacked against Obama, he's not helping his own case.

  • ||

    An hour and a half with no healthcare or Iraq.

    Un-frcking-believable.

    Not that I don't know their responses in those two issues -but

    ABC does suck - this was terrible.

  • ||

    His talking about HW Bush reads just like Zbig's newest book.

  • ||

    Hillary looked physically pained trying not to say "No fuckin' way!" while answering the question about using George W. Bush.

  • ||

    shrike, there was a tiny little bit of Iraq after the first commercial break.

  • Plato||

    "Who could be against common sense?"

    (raises hand)

  • buddyw||

    Hillary: The Super X-Presidents!

  • ||

    The couldn't have two screens and gotten the whole First Amendment up?

    This is a rinky-dink operation.

  • ||

    "A new political coalition"

    Barack Obama is pitching the super delegates on a party realignment.

    He's a transformational candidate, she's not.

  • ||

    "shrike, there was a tiny little bit of Iraq after the first commercial break."

    I missed it. I must have been on a Hooters jag - which was more satisfying anyway.

    Its easy to complain but if I were a sincerely undecided voter I would ask why I should bother.

  • paleo||

    Democrats? On my Hit&Run?

    Chelsea is pretty scary close-up

    still a two-bagger after all these years


    I am so not looking forward to 4 years of McCain, but that is what we are gonna get

    What is this delusion that Obama means "hedge funds" when he talks taxing capital gains?

  • ||

    "He's a transformational candidate, she's not."

    I fully agree. But I did not see it in the debate.

    Chuck Todd on MSNBC is there saying the same things.

  • ||

    "What is this delusion that Obama means "hedge funds" when he talks taxing capital gains?"

    My statement.

    If you worked for a hedge fund your income tax rate would be 15%.

    Is that hard to understand?

  • ||

    "sprinting to Obama's barbershop to look for anti-Semitism."

    Oy, veh ist mir!

    Obama's not an anti-semite, and Hillary just hates anyone who doesn't obey her.

    -jcr

  • paleo||

    shrike,

    only if you are the manager
    Chelsea works for a hedge fund- she ain't running it and probably pays "normal" taxes

    I missed where the Dem candidates said they wouldn't tax "mom n pop" capital gains at the higher rate

  • ||

    8:18: Clinton: I can win because people started hating me 16 years ago, not just this week.


    Line of the night, right there.

  • ||

    paleo -

    I didn't bring Chelsea up in this regard - nor does she matter.

    from Wiki -

    "Private equity funds, however, typically invest on a longer horizon, with the result that income earned by the funds is long-term capital gain, taxable to individuals at a maximum 15% rate. Because the 20% profits share typically is the bulk of the manager's compensation, and because this compensation can reach, in the case of the most successful funds, enormous figures, concern has been raised, both in Congress and in the media, that managers are taking advantage of tax loopholes to receive what is effectively a salary without paying the ordinary 35% marginal income tax rates that an average person would have to pay on such income."

    It is a legitimate issue for the thousands of hedge funds that exist and, in turn, the dozens of managers in each. Their compensation is taxed at a lower rate than any other US worker.

  • Neil||

    LOL that was awesome they really turned up the heat on B. Hussein tonoght.

    So hows it look for your boy now Joe that he has links to a 60s hippie revolutionary socialist radical??

    And the best thing was Sean Hannity got the MSM to ask the question!!

    Can you say "implosion"?

  • Neil||

    Still sure about those polls Joe?

    Yeah hes a "transformational" candidate alright, the same way McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, and Kerry were "transformational".

    The Democrats who are still enamored with this guy need to see a shrink!

  • ||

    Yup.

    Still sure.

    You didn't write LoL.

  • ||

    "And the best thing was Sean Hannity got the MSM to ask the question!!"

    I can see where you liked that.

    But Obama said he was eight years old at the time and not a supporter of this radical.

    Plus - Obama said he was friendly with "crazy radical" Tom Coburn (R) and please don't fuck him over with that!

    Pretty much killed Sean Fucking Douchebag Hannity there!

  • Neil||

    ROFL Joe maybe he still wins the Democrat nomination (they probably like 60s America-hating radicals) but in the general election? Forget it. Its a patriot war hero against guys who buddies up to radical 1960s socialists. Who wins that contest?

  • Neil||

    I bet Hillary Clinton really regrets ever even becoming a Democrat now. She shouldve stayed with the winning party (and a party that rewards and doesnt punish loyalty).

  • ||

    I bet Hillary Clinton really regrets ever even becoming a Democrat now. She shouldve stayed with the winning party (and a party that rewards and doesnt punish loyalty).

    If you're referring to Hillary as a 'Goldwater girl,' I'm sure that Barry Goldwater is spinning in his grave over what the Republican party has become.

  • Neil||

    This Weatherman story is going to be played for days and weeks all over the media. Thank GOD for Sean Hannity!!

  • ||

    Uh huh. Keep laughing.

  • Neil||

    Ok Joe explain to me why being hitched to the Weatherman and 1960s radicalism isnt going to hurt Obama greatly?

    Remember John Kerry and Jane Fonda and his speech in front of Congress and being associated with that radical pacifist group? Its going to be like that.

  • Elemenope||

    Ok Joe explain to me why being hitched to the Weatherman and 1960s radicalism isnt going to hurt Obama greatly?

    Honestly, the whole "when that shit was going down, I was like eight years old" response was fairly good as a deflection; makes people who bring it up sound silly.

  • ||

    Obama is a "transformational" candidate alright, like Lenin without most of the violence or the paper trail. Also his foreign aid giveaway that he has alluded to is very troublesome. Also his foreign policy IS Zbigniew Brzezinski's foreign policy. To think Obama is going to make any great improvements to this country is absurd, the only thing that people could really say is he won't fuck it up as bad as McCain or Hillary but that is nowhere near a given either.

  • ||

    Lenin

    Let's steal his corpse and make him president. How much worse could he be than these three clowns?

  • ||

    John Kerry and Bob Shrum aren't going to be involved in reacting to the b.s. attacks.

    That's what's different.

    Oh, and the president's approval rating is over 20 points lower.

  • Neil||

    Sorry Joe but you had two clean shots at George W. Bush and lost. He isnt on the ballot this time, John McCain is. Your not going to be able to run against him. McCain isnt associated with Bush in the public mind.

    Doesnt seem like the attacks are B.S. since Obama got kind of rattled there!!

  • ||

    Sounds like the debate didn't really change much.

  • ||

    Your not going to be able to run against him Wanna bet?

  • ||

    HA! What word have I been using for the past two months?

    counterpunching

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0408/9601.html

  • ||

    I'm late to the party, but it seems the boomers still found a way to make it about the '60s, against all odds.

    Christ, this is stupid. It would be like me running for public office in the 2030s and my opponent tries to make it about the Cold War, even though I was in third grade when the wall came down.

  • ||

    I think the story tomorrow is about how awful the debate was.

    ABC shit the bed. Their own crowd heckled the hosts.

  • ||

    joe, I'm to see how they make it about themselves when say, Bobby Jindal (b. 1971) runs for office.

    "Governor Jindal, when you were a sperm your mother may have known a 60s radical!"

  • ||

    Er, "runs for President".

  • ||

    And Kneel Bob, you're (notice the apostrophe, that makes it "you are" rather than "your" which is a completely different word) a dipshit*.

    Obama has never looked "rattled" responding to attacks, hes almost always kept his temper cool. His policies are liberal and therefore suck 80% of the time, but he has the best temperament of the Big Three.



    *Before you even start, I'm not a costal elitite by any stretch of the most fevered right-wing populist imagination. I'm Yuengling-drinking a gun owner and even George Allen by his own admission would say I live in the "real world".

  • Random Wikipedia Quotes||

    "According to family lore, Jindal adopted the name 'Bobby' after watching The Brady Bunch television program at age four."
    --
    "Bobby was the 'safety monitor' at his school and occasionally gets the other siblings into trouble.

  • ||

    I just watched as much of Anderson Cooper as I could take and still keep my dinner down. What a bunch of bias BS was being spouted by that fat-A$$ Candy Crawley and David Gergan. Where in the he// has the concept of fair reporting gone? Those idiots sat there parsing everything Hilary Clinton had to say and putting the most inane spin on it as I have ever seen. That makes CNN look as stupid as they truly are. You are an embarrasment to journalism. If this is the best you can do on coverage of the debate you need to just give it up.

  • ||

    Clinton's husband pardoned two members of the Weather Underground,

    You know, there are so many things I despise bubba for, that I'd completely forgotten about that one. Was he wearing a Che t-shirt when he signed the pardon?

    -jcr

  • ||

    You know, there are so many things I despise bubba for, that I'd completely forgotten about that one. Was he wearing a Che t-shirt when he signed the pardon?



    Probably not. He was probably just getting sucked off.

  • ||

    ROFL Joe maybe he still wins the Democrat nomination...

    Ok Joe explain to me...

    Sorry Joe but you had two clean shots...


    Neil, I detest Obama's candidacy probably as much as you do. But please, for the love of God, learn that commas are used in forms of address -- like the one I just used after your name.

    You're otherwise leaving your text ripe for misinterpretation. At the very least, you present a temporary road bump to your readers, which is not what you want if your intent is to efficiently convey your thoughts.

  • ||

    There's exactly one thing that Obama could say that could tempt me to vote for him: if, just once, in one of these debates he would turn to Hillary and say "Do you really believe that the American People are willing to vote for an evil, power-hungry, lying bitch like you?"

    -jcr

  • ||

    Isn't it kind of a conflict of interest for George Snuffleupagus to be doing a debate with Clinton?

    Nah, that rat jumped off the Clinton ship back when Bubba got busted lying about the fat chick.

    -jcr

  • ||

    those kicking and screaming that ABC blew this debate are absolutely correct. over an hour before anyone moved to the issues. apparently flag pins are more important than education, waterboarding, China, and on and on.

  • Edward||

    "Opening statements. Clinton claims the founding fathers would have wanted a black guy and a woman to take over and "provide the good jobs" some day. I hear the sound of Ron Paul's bullet-holed TV exploding."

    The deluded or shamelessly lying Ron Paul claimed the founding fathers wanted a "robust Christian nation." What a stupid old fuck.

  • ||

    We would have gotten a more substantive, informative debate with Arianna Huffington and Glenn Reynolds as the moderators. And that's a terribly sad observation to make.

    Just imagine how much better, more worthwhile tonight would have been with a genuinely smart, thoughtful moderator, like Virginia Postrel, and a real debate format.

  • ||

    There's exactly one thing that Obama could say that could tempt me to vote for him: if, just once, in one of these debates he would turn to Hillary and say "Do you really believe that the American People are willing to vote for an evil, power-hungry, lying bitch like you?"

    Actually, that's one of the few ways Obama could blow the nomination. Short of a total meltdown, OMG-did-he-really-say-THAT moment, he should have this wrapped up. "Bitter" isn't going to lose it for him.

    But, yeah, it would be great to have that level of candor for once.

  • ||

    Oh, and Neil -- as a former Republican turned into a libertarian by events in the last decade or so -- you're not helping your cause by posting this crap. You're fast approached Donderoooooo levels of unlikeableness here.

    Unless you're a Democratic plant, or doing a piece of performance art, in which case, strong work! Bravo!

  • ||

    Just imagine how much better, more worthwhile tonight would have been with a genuinely smart, thoughtful moderator, like Virginia Postrel

    We may need a review by the judges, but I think that comment calls for a drink according to the H&R Drinking Rules ...

  • ||

    I can't tell the difference between Neil and Edward. Their names are as generic as their vitriol.

    But, what can I say? Trolls all look the same to me.

  • chulo||

    Edward, what are you going to whack off to once Ron Paul's name goes off the media radar?

  • ||

    Quote of the Night...by a former constitutional lawyer, and for some their hopeful future president.

    "Just because you have an individual right doesn't mean the state or local government can't constrain that right."

    WOW!

  • Demopiate||

    Choices always were a problem for you.
    What you need is someone strong to guide you.
    Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow,
    what you need is someone strong to use you...
    like me,
    like me.

    If you want to get your soul to heaven,
    trust in me.
    Don't judge or question.
    You are broken now,
    but faith can heal you.
    Just do everything I tell you to do.
    Deaf and blind and dumb and born to follow.
    Let me lay my holy hand upon you.

    My God's will
    becomes me.
    When he speaks out,
    he speaks through me.
    He has needs
    like I do.
    We both want
    to rape you.

  • Demopiate||

    Barack Obama, why don't you come save my life.
    Open my eyes and blind me with your light
    and your lies.

  • ||

    "Just because you have an individual right doesn't mean the state or local government can't constrain that right."

    That's not actually a controversial statement. Any Constitutional scholar would agree with that. See "Fire in a crowded theater" or "Church of the Pre-Pubescent Boys."

    The question is, what kinds of contraints? In our legal system, laws that constrain a Constitutional right are subject to a strict-scrutiny test, which is pretty darn demanding, but still allows - I don't want to use the buzzword "common sense" - a degree of constraint.

    It is precisely because Barack Obama is a Constitutional scholar, and you're not, that you disagree on this.

  • ||

    So, we got to hear Barack Obama talk about lapel pins again.

    A partial list of issues they just didn't have time to get to:

    The financial crisis
    The collapse of housing values in the US and around the world
    Afghanistan
    Health care
    Torture
    The declining value of the US Dollar
    Education
    Trade
    Pakistan
    Energy
    Immigration
    The decline of American manufacturing
    The Supreme Court
    The burgeoning world food crisis.
    Global warming
    China
    The attacks on organized labor and the working class
    Terrorism and al Qaeda
    Civil liberties and constraints on government surveillance

  • Anonymoose.||

    "Just because you have an individual right doesn't mean the state or local government can't constrain that right."

    That's not actually a controversial statement. Any Constitutional scholar would agree with that. See "Fire in a crowded theater" or "Church of the Pre-Pubescent Boys."

    The question is, what kinds of contraints? In our legal system, laws that constrain a Constitutional right are subject to a strict-scrutiny test, which is pretty darn demanding, but still allows - I don't want to use the buzzword "common sense" - a degree of constraint.

    It is precisely because Barack Obama is a Constitutional scholar, and you're not, that you disagree on this.

    There aren't laws that prevent you from yelling fire in a crowded theater. There are laws that prevent you from causing a panic but it has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

    Your and Barack's argument is completely void.

  • ||

    No wonder Philly's air pollution index was "High" yesterday.

  • ||

    There aren't laws that prevent you from yelling fire in a crowded theater. There are laws that prevent you from causing a panic but it has nothing to do with freedom of speech No, but the law constrains your speech nonetheless. In the case of the First Amendment, content-neutrality is part of the strict scrutiny test.

    Any other questions?

  • Fluffy||

    I have always found the "fire in a crowded theatre" argument to be absurd.

    Considering the fact that it was offered in defense of the imprisonment of Eugene Debs, I suppose that isn't surprising.

    What's surprising to me is the durability of the argument. It's as if 80 years later we were lauding the acumen of arguments offered by the Sacco and Vanzetti prosecutors. The Debs prosecution and imprisonment were corrupt and tyrannical on their face, and the obsequious court rulings that allowed it to continue were similarly despicable.

    The argument is absurd because if it's not my theatre, I don't have the right to yell anything at all. If it is my theatre, I do in fact have the right to yell "Fire" in it, and if my conduct causes a panic I should be civilly and criminally liable for the disordered way in which I run my theatre and not for my speech per se.

    The argument is also absurd because, leaving aside questions of property for a moment, even if I were to yell "Fire" in a public commons, it is perfectly reasonable for me to do so if I actually believe there is a fire, even if that belief turns out to be incorrect.

  • ||

    He's a transformational candidate, she's not.

    I keep hearing this, but I don't get it. As far as I can tell, he's business-as-usual with better marketing.

    How is he transformational?

    His policy ideas are standard-issue lefty liberal and he has no particular record of bipartisanship, so there's not going to be a political transformation.

    His associations with racialist loudmouths pretty well preclude any kind of racial/cultural transformation.

    His off-the-rack campus-liberal squishy-Marxian views on class preclude any kind of social/cultural transformation.

    Where's the transformation going to come from?

  • Fluffy||

    By the way, since Joe is the resident Democrat around here, let me just say that I offer you my condolences for the shabby way in which ABC ran the debate last night.

    I wonder if guys like Gibson are ever ashamed of what they have done to contribute to the debasement of public debate in this country.

    I'm sure that even a policy debate would not address the types of fundamental questions that I personally would want to see addressed, but even a debate dominated by the type of wonkery that carries deeply encoded statist assumptions would be preferable to flag pin shit.

    And is it just me, or has the recent kerfuffle about Obama's "elitism" finally exposed the fact that the media doesn't associate "elitism" with wealth, but with being able to speak as if you have at least a 9th-grade education?

  • ||

    Apparently, the argument is so bad that you fall into a variation of "the Nazis built highways" to refute it.

    It doesn't matter what the argument was used to defend in the past. That has nothing to do with its validity. It's either true, or not true, on its own merits.

    If it is my theatre, I do in fact have the right to yell "Fire" in it Not under our legal or constitutional system, you don't. If your speech on your property puts others in danger like that, you run afoul of all sorts of laws. You might as well argue you have the right to shoot people on your property.

    it is perfectly reasonable for me to do so if I actually believe there is a fire, even if that belief turns out to be incorrect. And you wouldn't be. That's not what the "fire in a crowed theater" argument is about.

  • ||

    RC Dean,

    The term "transformation candidate" has a specific meaning in political science. It refers to a candidate that can change voting patterns. Think of how Reagan was able to gain the votes of union-types who'd always voted Democrat. McCain might qualify as such a candidate, too.

    It really has nothing to do with whether you like him.

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    I used to bitch about Wolf Blitzer and Campbell Brown, but last night was a new low.

    I wonder if guys like Gibson are ever ashamed of what they have done to contribute to the debasement of public debate in this country. No, they actually think they're doing the country a service with this shtick.

    "Asking the tough questions." "Hitting the candidates where it hurts." "Illuminating important facets of the candidates."

    David Brooks has a column today congratulating Gibson and Stephanopolous. He gives them an A.

    The journalist's job is to make politicians uncomfortable, to explore evasions, contradictions and vulnerabilities...We may not like it, but issues like Jeremiah Wright, flag lapels and the Tuzla airport will be important in the fall.

    The modern American big media type actually believes that the most important story is about how the heroic journalist got a politician rattled. That's what's "important."

    Sigh, WE MIGHT NOT LIKE IT. Oh, horse shit.

  • ||

    Gotta love the passive voice in that last sentence, huh?

    "XYZ will be important in the fall."

    Yeah, because the public is clamoring to hear more about flag pins.

  • Fluffy||

    Not under our legal or constitutional system, you don't. If your speech on your property puts others in danger like that, you run afoul of all sorts of laws. You might as well argue you have the right to shoot people on your property.

    Joe, you misread my sentence.

    Yes, you do in fact run afoul of all sorts of laws. But the laws you properly run afoul of are the laws regarding your duty of care to your patrons, and not your speech per se.

    After all, if I yell "Fire" in that theatre but it does not create a hazard or panic, my liability is nil. Actors do so all the time.

    Holmes chose to frame this as if your speech was being limited, and he cynically did so in order to justify non-analogous limitations on speech.

    And while you are correct that the fact that this argument was invented in order to carry out an unjust prosecution does not definitively tell us that the argument is invalid, surely it informs us that we should employ greater than usual skepticism. And historically the argument hasn't been treated with skepticism. It's been treated with something more like relief: "Whew! Somebody clever finally thought of an argument that lets us ignore the first amendment. Gosh, that's a real weight off our shoulders! Thanks bud!"

    And you wouldn't be. That's not what the "fire in a crowed theater" argument is about.

    That's exactly what it was about. Debs thought there was a fire so he yelled "Fire". The state did not think there was a fire, and was annoyed at the fact that Debs' yelling might interfere with its purposes, so it sought to declare his speech a "clear and present danger" to the community that was not protected by the first amendment. If you do in fact think that it's OK to yell "Fire" if you personally think there's a fire, then the case was wrongly argued and wrongly decided.

  • ||

    But the laws you properly run afoul of are the laws regarding your duty of care to your patrons, and not your speech per se.

    I understand that Fluffy.

    I wasn't defending the use of the argument to advance the Debs prosecution.

    My point is a small one - that the government can, in fact, enforce laws that constrain your rights. Obama's statement to that effect has been met with shock and derision, but he's absolutely right. Our legal system has long recognized that there are circumstances that allow the limitation of Constitutional rights, within a pretty strict and tightly-defined set of boundaries.

    His statement, by itself, is neither controversial, nor in conflict with constitutional law.

  • Fluffy||

    Yes, his statement is noncontroversial and in accord with current case law. That is definitely true. So I understand your point more precisely now.

    I just don't consider being "noncontroversial" to be the same as being "correct". But that is because I dispute the current orthodoxy and reject certain existing precedents. I wasn't arguing with the historical record of Constitutional law; I was arguing with his endorsement of that record.

  • ||

    That's not actually a controversial statement. Any Constitutional scholar would agree with that.

    That's true. But to throw it out there without any qualifications is pretty chilling.

    The term "transformation candidate" has a specific meaning in political science. It refers to a candidate that can change voting patterns.

    Even using that definition, what voting patterns is Obama going to change? Even with his gift of gab, I don't see an off-the-rack lefty-lib really changing the playing field, especially one with his baggage (Rezko, Wright, the campus radical circles he seems so comfortable in, etc.).

  • Fluffy||

    RC Dean,

    Actually, one of the ways in which this election cycle is generating some sympathy on my part for Obama is the media approach to:

    the campus radical circles he seems so comfortable in, etc.

    I think that I do not have to blush before any man in my obvious disdain for collectivism. But just in the course of having a normal life with a normal amount of intellectual curiosity, I have been friends with people of all sorts of ideological perspectives. Am I somehow politically suspect because I don't immediately socially shun someone if I determine that they are a Chomskyite?

    And I certainly have a much more limited social circle than Obama. If I had a less parochial life history and career, I'm sure I too would know all sorts of unsavory writers, think tank guys, professors, community activists, etc.

    Basically the only way to avoid this "Obama trap" is to be a blithering idiot like W, spending half your life hanging out drinking your dad's money - or to demonstrate absolutely no intellectual or personal curiosity about any subject whatsoever, like McCain.

  • ||

    But to throw it out there without any qualifications is pretty chilling.

    The devil is definitely in the details here.

    Even using that definition, what voting patterns is Obama going to change?

    The electoral map, for one. And by making inroads into Republican constituencies, especially towards the upper end of the income- and educational-scale.

    I don't see an off-the-rack lefty-lib really changing the playing field Once again, it's really not about your feelings about his political ideology. Who would have thought that an off the rack, corporatist, anti-union Republican like Reagan would win over union voters?

    Oh, and could you please repeat the talking points a few more times. I'm pretty sure you missed "lapel pin."

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    The heart of the Republican social organization is homogeneity. They treat the word "cosmopolitan" as a slur. They really would only associate with people very similar to themselves, if given a choice.

    If anything, the argument "he moves in a lot of circles, he doesn't dismiss people because he objects to their beliefs" is going to be yet another knock on him among the Republican base, not a defense.

  • ||

    Joe:

    I appreciate your responses and agree in most instances that their are certain instances where there is constraint of an individual rights.

    Let me get this out of the way first, because it was in your first response. Just because some is a "scholar" of something, doesn't mean they are right, nor a good one at that.

    Democrats, like Obama (and Clinton for that matter) believe the statement about constraint of an individual's rights more than you give them credit for. This is the basis of their Robin Hood schemes. I'll force you, the individual at gun point (via the IRS) to foot the bill for someone elses retirement. I'll force you at gun point (via the IRS) to pay for someone elses healthcare, no matter how irresponible their lifestyle might be...and so on.

    My point wasn't about movie theatres or fires. It was about the insight into the political philosophy of the candidates.

  • ||

    I also now realize that you might think I am off topic with respect to the individual's rights. The problem, I see, however has to do with gun ownership, and larger issues like freedoms which are protected under the constitution.

    Obama's answer in the context of those statements, to me implied a maligned viewpoint.

    And furthermore, gangs now have ways to get guns even if the laws are tightened. Do you know what they do know? They recruit a young 18-19 yr without a record, to go in and buy a series of guns. He them distrubutes them accordingly. These "constraints" that Obama refers to, WILL NOT, solve the problems of gun violence.

  • The Democratic Republican||

    It's so fun watching joe defend his boyfriend Barack and his beloved Cleptocrats.

  • NoStar||

    If Hillary came out and reasserted herself as being a Goldwater-girl, she could rally Ron Paul supporters to herself and rake in the money bombs. Or not.

  • ||

    My point wasn't about movie theatres or fires. It was about the insight into the political philosophy of the candidates.

    And, once again, Obama's answer - the words "the government may constraint constitutional rights" - tells us nothing about his philosophy, except that he accurately understands this aspect of ConLaw.

  • ||

    He said the quote in the context of restraining the right to bear arms, by the American citizen. ConLaw Prof, Lecturer, or whatever he has, or has not claimed to be is irrelevant. Obama wants WAY more government constraint on YOUR life. That Sir, is a fact...and just by the virtue of him saying it with such confidence assures me that he's not someone I could stomach voting for!

  • B||

    Hey asshole, I have news for you. A man's very close 20 year association with a virulent bigot and his association with an unrepentant terrorist for the purpose of furthering his political career are issues, whether you say it is or not. And to the idiots who, after 20+ fucking debates can't quote Obama's and Hillary's bullshit positions on health care and Iraq verbatim, I can only say one thing: you are too fucking dumb to be voting.
    And I just fucking love the people who claim Stephanopoulus shouldn't be allowed to participate because he worked for the Clinton's. I wonder, will you be raising this same objection when he is questioning McCain? Will you also demand Russert and Chris Matthews recuse themselves from the proceedings? I highly fucking doubt it.
    It is fucking amazing how Obama's supporters get their panties in a fucking bunch, but in the same fucking sentence claim this pathetic pussy has what it takes to talk to America's enemies face to face. He cries over an ABC debate, but he would be brilliant when confronting the leader of Iran? Hahaha, give me a fucking break. The arguments of Obama and his lickspittles following a debate in which he was slaughtered show what a total stuffed shirt the worthless fuck is. The media doesn't bow down to him for 90 minutes and him and his piece of shit supporters go apeshit. What a worthless turd.

  • B||

    I just love Obama's quip about how sportsmen support him when answering a question about guns. I wonder if he can say the same about people who wish to carry concealed in order to protect themselves from serious bodily harm or death. It amazes me that whenever Democrats speak about gun rights, they always mention the right some random person has to shoot a fucking duck, yet they are strangely silent about my right to shoot some fucking psycho who is trying to tear my fucking head off.

  • B||

    "20 minutes in and not one policy question yet"

    Yeah, why and the hell aren't they asking them about Iraq or healthcare or taxes or Social security, because as we all know they have not given the same fucking answer to questions about those same fucking topics over the past 20+ debates. Oh, wait...
    Hey, Adamness, if you need the moderators to ask the same policy questions yet again so that you can hear the same bullshit answers then you are too fucking stupid to be determining who the next leader of the United States is. Even Barack "all my friends are either bigots or terrorists" Obama said he was rethinking doing another debate because the topics of importance have already been over-discussed.
    The only people I hear bitching about this debate are Obama supporters who are pissed that the media finally took off their kidgloves in regard to him, and his performance was so abysmal, he made James Stockdale in '88 look like Clarence fucking Darrow.

  • B||

    "Not that I don't know their responses in those two issues -but

    ABC does suck - this was terrible."

    Then why the fuck do you, and the rest of the American Public need to hear the same bullshit answers again? It's been 20+ fucking debates and these idiots have said the same fucking thing about these issues over and over. If you don't know their positions yet on Iraq and healthcare A) you are dumber than dirt B) need to visit their fucking websites. It is refreshing to hear different issues discussed for once. It just so happens the topics discussed made Obama look like shit, so of course it is beyond the pale. And since Stephanopoulus asked a question suggested by Sean Hannity, it can't possibly be relevant.
    I just love how anything that makes the left feel uncomfortable is a distraction from the real issues. A man's close 20 year association with a bigot so vile he makes David Duke look like Gandhi is an issue, an so is his chumminess with an unrepentant terrorist for the purposes of political expediency. And you better get fucking used to it now, because commercials featuring "Rev".(he must have gone to the same seminary as Al Sharpton) Wright and David Ayers, as well as the comments he gave in San Francisco will absolutely be saturating the airwaves in the fall. You better hope his response is not as ineffectual as John Kerry's was to the Swift Boat Vets, or Obama may not even win Minnesota.

  • B||

    "The heart of the Republican social organization is homogeneity. They treat the word "cosmopolitan" as a slur. They really would only associate with people very similar to themselves, if given a choice."

    This is without a doubt the dumbest thing I think I have read by joe on this site. I just love it when the those on the "tolerant" left make sweeping generalizations like this while decrying homogeneity. Hey, pot, meet kettle. joe, you are undeniably one of the dumbest fucks to ever post on this message board.

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