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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Today in Presidential Politics; Or, 5 Days Until the Iowa Caucuses

posted by on December 29 at 11:20 AM

Tea anyone? Another Obama-Clinton tussle, this one over whether she only sipped tea with world leaders as first lady, and whether suggesting so is sexist.

Romney’s abortion conversion: Must have happened sometime after this.

Swinging hard: Chris Dodd.

Parsing the Pakistan positions: Not easy.

Huckabee’s foreign policy blunders: An overview.

More polarizing than…: A call for less hyperbole.

Obama vs. Edwards: Over who’s really about change.

Race matters: But it’s talked about differently by the Obama generation of black politicians.

The ground war: More ambitious and costly than ever in Iowa.

Going negative: The Republicans.

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Isn't it more sexist to suggest that the First Lady, who is unelected and has no defined role, is somehow magically a statesman just because she's a woman? Frankly, if she did anything MORE than sip tea, I'd be pissed; anything more is NOT HER JOB.

Posted by Fnarf | December 29, 2007 11:43 AM


Clearly the sexist here is that old chauvinist, Hillary Clinton.

Posted by unPC | December 29, 2007 1:57 PM

Giving her credit for something she didn't do, couldn't have done, shouldn't have done, just because we don't want to offend her because she's a woman -- sounds sexist to me. Because, God forbid, we should hold her to the same standard as a MAN; that would be unfair. Women are delicate flowers, aren't they?

Fear of appearing sexist is just as sexist as gender discrimination.

I'm not anti-Clinton; I think she's qualified to be President and would vote for her. I just don't see where pretending that the First Lady is some kind of major-league policy position is ridiculous.

Posted by Fnarf | December 29, 2007 2:06 PM

She needs to stop riding on her husband's coattails.

Posted by keshmeshi | December 29, 2007 2:28 PM

She's NOT saying being First Lady per se qualifies her. That's others' MIS-characterization of what she is saying, which also is an implicit MIS-characterization of the facts.

She was actively and intimately involved as Bill's most trusted political partner and adviser for 35 years.

She strategized with him on everything. She led the charge in his inner circle against right wing attacks. She helped him win the Presidency twice. She was "in the room" on everything in a way no prior or subsequent First Lady has ever been.

BTW, also twice elected to US Senate.

No one disputed her unusualy and strikingly close political involvement with Bill previously; she and he were famous for it; they took major shit for it.

It's only now -- now that political hay can be made by Obama -- that there are ridiculous suggestions that she was some kind of mere First Lady like a latter-day LAdy Bird Johnson.

Bullshit, and anyone active in politics knows it.

You can fairly debate the exact level of her experience (was it worth more than a cabinet positoin? senior staffer?) but it's more than having no White House experience, which is what Obama's got.

When he equates her to an uninvolved, mere First Lady --"sipping tea" -- it's false, dismissive, incorrect, politically motivated, and sexist.

But mainly it's the oldest political trick in the book: twist what your opponent is saying, then debunk it.

Very "political," Sen. Obama. You have been reading those classic campaign textbooks, I see.


Posted by unPC | December 29, 2007 3:20 PM

It might work for Clinton to tell her rivals what they are not allowed to criticize her for when her rivals are Democrats, but crying sexism every time the Republicans hit her is only going to egg them on.

Posted by elenchos | December 29, 2007 3:41 PM

Having parlayed her unelected role as first lady into a position of influence makes her LESS attractive as a candidate, not more. First Ladies are SUPPOSED to be tea-sipping, pet-cause-promoting nothings. To suggest anything more would be appropriate is to buy into the United States as a monarchy, not a republic. Nobody talks about what the Speaker of the House's wife is up to; nobody cares. The whole concept of First Lady is bullshit, and shouldn't by rights even exist, and Clinton is trying to have her cake and eat it too on the subject.

Yes, she's a Senator. She's not actually won a competitive election, of course....

Posted by Fnarf | December 29, 2007 4:00 PM

I think you meant the Speaker's husband. I suppose he gets that kind of thing a lot.

Posted by elenchos | December 29, 2007 4:11 PM

Obviously our president, I am ashamed to say. hides under his desk when big oil or the war profiteers stamp their feet. He proved he was a coward when he masqueraded as a U S Navy pilot. I wonder if any one of the blowhards that are candidates for president, in either party have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and be counted, or will we be served a very large dish of lip service that is our present fare. Unkept promises are just pure B. S.

Posted by Dickie Do | December 29, 2007 4:48 PM

Fnarf, what do you mean she hasn't won a competitive election? She beat Rick Lazio, who was a prick but also considered a rising GOP star, and when she started the campaign it was by no means a given that she would win. In fact, she started running when it looked like Giuliani was going to run, and she ran good enough that she would have beat him just like she beat Lazio.

I'm hardly a Clinton partisan. She's running about fourth or fifth in my preference this year. But she is a good campaigner and an experienced Senator who also benefits from her experiences as a politically active wife of a former president. It's not pro-dynastic to acknowledge that. The same goes for Elizabeth Edwards if her husband becomes president, and for many other politicians with politically-savvy spouses. I would much rather have my president married to a person of substance than a brainless mother or trophy bride.

Posted by Cascadian | December 29, 2007 4:48 PM

Lazio was a patsy. She had that one in the bag.

Posted by Fnarf | December 29, 2007 5:12 PM

McCain is the only republican who isn't bat shit crazy.

He may have stood up for Bush's war a few years ago, but at least he talks about things frankly and leaves religion out of politics. Plus he talks about campaign finance reform and environmentalist issues.

However, there isn't a single democrat who is so bad that would make me give him the vote.

It's between Richardson and Edwards for me. If Richardson just doesn't have a prayer by the time the primary rolls around here, I might have to give the nod to Edwards.

Posted by Cale | December 29, 2007 5:48 PM

At the risk of offending someone I have come to have a lot of respect for, Fnare, it sounds to me like you're the one with the sexist attitude here. "A First Lady's place is sipping tea?" Jesus H. Fucking Christ! Is that Mrs. Fnarf's contribution to YOUR life?

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | December 29, 2007 7:12 PM

Actually a powerful behind the scenes First Lady is not entirely without precedent. Eleanor Roosevelt was a major influence on FDR and became a hero in her own right to many during and after her husband's presidency. Also Mrs Woodrow Wilson was said to be, basically, acting president after her husband suffered a debilitating stroke near the end of his term, and this was before women in this country could even vote.

The difference between Hillary Clinton and her predecessors of both parties is that she was more open about her influence. She had just followed Barbara Bush, who had publicly occupied her time promoting the noncontroversial cause of literacy, and Nancy Reagan with her dopey Just Say No to Drugs campaign. One would think in the 1990's that the American people would be OK with an expanded role for the presidential spouse. But I remember the shit she took for it and those silly "Impeach Clinton and her husband too" bumper stickers promoted by the Rush Limbaugh crowd. Yes she was unelected, but she was highly visible during the 1992 campaign. No one who voted for Bill, or against him, was unaware that she was part of a package deal. And by 1996 voters knew exactly what they were getting and reelected the Clintons in a landslide.

The reason Hillary Clinton is low on my list among the Dems is because of her position on the issues. It has nothing to do with her or anyone else's alleged lack of experience. I will vote for her in the general, of course, if she is the nominee because after this present imbecilic administration the chances of my ever casting a vote for anyone with the letter R after their name are absolute zero.

Posted by RainMan | December 29, 2007 7:25 PM

I'm so glad Iowa is in only five days. Clinton, Edwards, Obama- what the fuck ever. Let's get this done and move on to fighting for the Presidency and the nation.

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Posted by Steve | December 29, 2007 9:22 PM

@ 13 I'm trying to figure out the correlation between how Fnarf treats his wife and his views on the job of the first lady.

You can't be serious because you make no sense and usually you make some sense.

I can't see that one has anything to do with the other in any way because IT DOESN'T!
Now, go back to making sense like you usually do.

Posted by mj | December 29, 2007 10:20 PM

Wow, I missed nothing in the 5 days I was out of the country.

Posted by Dave Coffman | December 30, 2007 6:02 AM

I think it is dismissive to suggest that Clinton only sipped tea in the White House, but isn't that what politics is about? As First Lady, she did a lot more than sip tea, and a lot less than cabnet members and her husband. Obama SHOULD be dismissive of Clinton's contributions, he's running agaisnt her. I do love what he says about the Clinton campagain being "on edge." Hilarious!

Posted by Papayas | December 30, 2007 7:50 AM

Thanks for the compliment, mj. I do try to make sense, at least when I'm not obviously just screwing around. So do you. But my point was that Fnarf should look at his own relationship with his wife to provide insight into Hillary and Bill's relationship. Do they talk about what happened during the day? Do they ask the other person's advice? Do they listen to that advice? I most certainly hope Mrs. Fnarf's contribution to the marriage involves more than "sipping tea" and, if so, it should be no surprise that the Clintons' marriage does as well.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | December 30, 2007 9:19 AM

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