In humble attempt at casting this in the tradition of Socrates, a (slightly altered) quote:

"The unexamined vote is not worth casting."

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hillary's Earned Opposition: "Obama is a Reaganite"

I believe the Clintons have, in many ways, been earning the negative opposition they are facing. As I noted here, this opposition, and the inseparable sentiments about her husband, are enough to bring into question: 1. her ability to win the election in Nov., if nominated over Obama; 2. her ability to build support for the Democratic party and not quickly lose the opportunity for the party to move forward a progressive agenda over some number of years; and 3. perhaps most importantly, her desirability as a President, given the nature of the negative and disingenuous statements by her and Bill of recent (and this does not even touch on the myriad incidents and sordid history of their past years).

The example I'll discuss here is again, just one of the reasons why the Clintons have earned this opposition, and centers on an attack about two weeks ago, leveled by the Clintons on Obama for his "Reagan statement." In the South Carolina debate, as well as in paid advertisements, the Clintons denigrated Obama for his comments about Ronald Reagan. The terrible irony is that Bill Clinton, as detailed in this Washington Post article, praised Reagan in numerous ways during his run for the White House in 1991-1992. He said things praising Reagan's work on the Cold War, esteeming his "rhetoric in defense of freedom," and his work in "advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back." The Post article notes that during that time, the Memphis Commercial Appeal said that Bill "set himself apart from the pack of contenders for the Democratic nomination by saying something nice about Ronald Reagan," revealing his "readiness to defy his party's prevailing Reaganphobia."

Now, turning to Obama. The part of Obama's statement in question, which can be found in video and text form here, was as follows:

"I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not. He put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it. I think they felt like with all the excesses of the 1960s and 1970s and government had grown and grown but there wasn’t much sense of accountability in terms of how it was operating. I think people, he just tapped into what people were already feeling, which was we want clarity, we want optimism, we want a return to that sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing...I think it’s fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last ten, fifteen years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom."
In response to these statements, as noted in the link from above, Hillary stated: "My leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last 10 to 15 years." Her husband said, "[My wife's] principal opponent said that since 1992, the Republicans have had all the good ideas....I'm not making this up, folks." Nowhere in Obama's statement does he say the Republicans had good ideas--nowhere. Rather, he says they had ideas that mobilized people, shook things up from the regular approach to things. As it says on this Chicago Tribune blog, "When the Clintons used "better" and "good" in alluding the Obama's remarks, they weren't paraphrasing, they weren't misremembering, they weren't distorting. They were simply lying."

Hillary went on to attempt to "call Obama out" on this in the SC debate two weeks ago; her statement and his reply can be found in the video below. In it, Obama points out that he has "spent a lifetime working against [Reagan's] policies," and that nowhere in his statement does he say Reagan's ideas were good or what was needed.

Hillary also paid for advertising, such as the radio ad below, that again seeks to paint Obama as one who accepts and endorses the ideas of Reagan (the ad was soon pulled from the air by the campaign):

I will not willingly accept these thin ethics again in a President, I just can't, it's not good for anyone involved. This is one reason, among others, that Obama has my vote. As noted in the wonderful thoughts of 90-year old NPR commentator Daniel Schorr, who won three Emmys in 1972 for his coverage of the Nixon Watergate lies, lying has become a shamefully acceptable practice. That short radio piece can be found here, with another short piece on lying in government here. Answer the poll below and/or write in a comment if you have any thoughts on this.

No comments: