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Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Politics of Piling On?

posted by on December 20 at 9:35 AM

There are two interesting investigative pieces in this morning’s New York Times. One is about the “present” votes of Barack Obama, and the other is about the finances of Hillary (and Bill) Clinton.

But which campaign is the first to roll one of these stories into an attack? The Clinton camp, which greeted me this morning with the following email:

Members of Congress To Discuss Senator Obama’s Illinois State Senate Voting Record on A Conference Call TODAY

Members of Congress will hold a conference call TODAY, Thursday, December 20, to discuss a New York Times article published today, detailing Senator Barack Obama’s present votes while in the Illinois State Senate.

Got it? TODAY is going to be all about Barack Obama’s voting record.

Ignore the hits and keep on attacking… That seems to be the Clinton strategy right now. (See also: The new attack web sites that camp Clinton is working on.)

UPDATE: Obama’s response this morning on Good Morning America.

RSS icon Comments


What a pile of crap! Obama has had his Hillary attack website up for over a month. Both he and Edwards have done little BUT attack Hillary for months now. If you are going to be 110% Obama biased - you should at least admit it. You are, after all, supposedly a journalist.

Posted by Go Dems 08 | December 20, 2007 9:58 AM

WTF, she can't talk about Obama's voting record?

Posted by unPC | December 20, 2007 10:17 AM

Sure, she can discuss his voting record, but as he explained on GMA this morning, his "present" votes are a non-issue.

Of course, GOP hacks have been overblowing non-issues for years (Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, et al) but I'm not sure why Hillary would want to join in such company.

Posted by Perfect Voter | December 20, 2007 10:26 AM

Of course she can. But I think attacking Obama makes him stronger, not weaker.

Posted by Fnarf | December 20, 2007 10:26 AM

he deflects her attacks in a way that somehow make her look much worse once the dust settles.

Posted by brandon | December 20, 2007 10:37 AM

Slime descends to it's own level.

Sad, very sad.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 20, 2007 10:41 AM

finally - it looks like obama is good on the defensive! (and clinton, not so good on the offensive...)

Posted by infrequent | December 20, 2007 10:53 AM

Atwater and Rove won.

They won.

SLime often works.

Shouldn't we think about that instead of hoping for a sudden dramatic change in the nature of politics in the USA?
People always say they want that kind of change but in the end the middle 10% of the voters in Middle America is moved by attack ads.

O's negatives may rise dramatically when the R's make him out to be what he is: a liberal, urban, Northern, internationalist progressive.

All things we like in Seattle. We'd love him to be our professor!

But do independent voters in Missouri and Ohio and Kentucky like it?
There's no history to suggest they do.

Spcifically, R's will attack him for avoiding the vote in Iran (irresponsible, selfish, soft on terror), for voting present in Ill. (soft on crime, indecisive, trying to please everyone) (rebuttals based on Ill. "political culture" are way over the head of most Americans in a 30 second TV spot); for saying pot helped him as a teenager (!!! likes drugs, advocates illegality, demands he retract it, then attack for being a flip flopper), for saying he did coke (felonies!) but not coming out to favor release of every single other person who is in jail for cocaine possession (hypocrite, would release XX,000 felons); for inviting Fidel and Hugo to the White House (comsymp), for favoring illegals with drivers' licenses (anti American, even 75% in NY State are against this, didn't you read the memo posted on Slog a day ago? ), for saying on a questionnaire that he wants handgun registration (D's need the votes of gun lovers in Middle America; the explanation that the answers were "unauthorized" woudl confirm his inexperience and lack of executive ability).

And for being a mere first term Senator without much of a record on the national scene.

Just sayin'.

It bears thinking about.

Posted by unPC | December 20, 2007 11:19 AM

It is sort of surprising that the NYT article comes up with so little dirt. If Clinton gets people so riled up they actually read the article, I fear it will be underwhelming. The present votes it addresses all seem conscientious and defensible.

Posted by annie | December 20, 2007 11:51 AM

@8 - yeah, and what do you get with slime? right, you get slime in the WH.

America doesn't want that.

We deserve better.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 20, 2007 12:07 PM

His explanation of this "present votes" makes them a non-issue (#3)? Howso? Because he says so? Look, they might have been politically savvy, but isn't that what people dislike about Clinton? Too political? Seems he might not be as "outside the system" as some would have you believe.

Posted by watcher | December 20, 2007 2:56 PM

@9 Right on. When I saw the NYT headline last night, my immediate reaction was "oh shit." After reading the article, it seemed like a total non-issue.

I remember when Europe was voting on the EU constitution, my Spanish family was upset that they couldn't vote "present" as a protest to the rushed process, so they didn't vote at all. It seems that Illinois legislators who know the history of the process (i.e. Madigan) feel the same way.

Posted by Ryno | December 20, 2007 3:39 PM

Here's more on that death penalty legislation he talked about, and which everyone gives him total credit for getting passed. He is not spineless one bit:

Posted by Phoebe | December 20, 2007 7:54 PM

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