Around The Campaign 2008 Sphere


NOTE: Another in our series of special Election 2008 editions of our popular Around The Sphere link-fest where we offer readers links to weblogs of differing viewpoints — and give you our comments on some of the political issues raised. This version will only contain election-related links. It will appear several times a week until Election Day.

The Latino Vote Is Solidly Behind Senator Hillary Clinton — or IS IT? Al Giordoano reports in the Huffington Post that the vote is more up for grabs than people think. One lingering issue: the powder-key issue of whether to grant drivers licenses for illegal immigrants.

Senator Ted Kennedy’s Endorsement Of Barack Obama was highly significant, according to Dick Polman, who has a post that needs to be read in full. A tiny taste of it:

Edward Kennedy’s endorsement of Barack Obama is clearly a major blow to the Clintons – and not just because the senior keeper of the Kennedy flame is tight with the kinds of primary voters that Obama needs most (downscale workers, union members, and Hispanics); and not just because Ted will stump for Obama in key Feb. 5 states (probably California, New Jersey, Hispanic-heavy Arizona, and certainly Massachusetts, which has almost as many delegates as Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina combined).

Indeed, it’s uncertain whether Ted’s florid face and rhetoric are enough to sway large numbers of voters. Yes, his endorsement of Obama and his rejection of the Clintons are unprecedented (due in part to his distaste for Bill’s anti-Obama campaigning); he has traditionally stayed above the fray during Democratic primary seasons. But is he really capable of sprinkling enough Camelot fairy dust to shift the ground game? I wonder.

But Polman, like yours truly, was struck by Teddy’s comments aimed at the Clintons:

Bill has long sought to fuse the Kennedys and the Clintons, to make them synonymous in Democratic politics, but Ted has now severed the link, and made it easier for Obama to argue that Democrats can have the former without the latter. Moreover, some of Ted’s remarks today can be read as a rebuke of the Clintons: “(Obama) will be a president who refuses to be trapped in the patterns of the past. He is a leader who sees the world clearly without being cynical. He is a fighter who cares passionately about the causes he believes in, without demonizing those who hold a different view.”

The whole event when seen on TV did have the “inspiring” tenor of the 60s. Kennedy made his announcement amid a sea of college students, and it was emotional. It’s especially interesting to see Kennedy at work during a speech. He soars, he connects — but he also will take a glace to the side and grin, as if to say “Hey, this is FUN isn’t it?” Many of today’s politicians seems incarnations of right/left wing talk show hosts — angry all the time.

What the Clinton’s may have to fear the most is that the Obama campaign will likely be more than a typical just get-out-the-vote campaign. It was MOST notable that Carolyn Kennedy indicated she was prodded to endorse Obama because her three kids clamored for her to do so.

What does this suggest? It again suggests if Mrs. Clinton gets the nomination she is going to have some fence-mending — and inspiring — to do.

But Was There Another Reason For The Endorsement? Jon Swift sees several reasons (so read his entire post) and here is one of them:

Like Kennedy, Obama is young, handsome and inspiring and he represents the passing of the torch to a new generation. But it is not just that Obama reminds them of Kennedy, it is also that the Clintons remind them of Lyndon Johnson. And if there is anything that the Kennedys don’t like, it’s a bunch of hillbillies in the White House, which is being kept in trust until a competent Kennedy can be groomed to take it back for its rightful owners. Until that time Obama will do.

Like Johnson, the Clintons play politics like it was mud wrestling or the roller derby, while the Kennedys have always believed that politics should be like a friendly game of touch football or beanbag. They never had to get down in the dirt with their opponents. Their father and his friends always took care of that for them.

When Hillary Clinton pointed out that it took Lyndon Johnson to get the Civil Rights bill passed, she was not only insulting Martin Luther King but also JFK, who did all the hard work of asking southern Democrats very politely to please vote for the Civil Rights bill, which they might have done some time in future as soon as they looked into their consciences and realized it was the right thing to do.

Read it in its entirety.

Did The News Media Get Caught Up In It All And Go Gaa Gaa? The conservative news monitoring site Newsbuster thinks so in a post titled ‘Mystique’ Means ‘Audacity of Hope’ Has ‘Rendezvous with Destiny.” CLICK HERE and you’ll see that NB does indeed give evidence that some media types were breathlessly caught up in the emotion.

Today Is The BIG GOP SHOWDOWN In Florida and is it make or break for Senator John McCain. Many people think so, but Political Roads writes:

Political Roads believes McCain’s fate is less tied to Florida. McCain is still leading in California…

That is entirely possible. GOPers now seem split between the two front-tier candidates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and McCain. McCain increasingly has some of the top GOP establishment figures behind him but many Republicans don’t trust or like him. And if he loses, will many Republicans elsewhere truly want to toss away the one candidate who polls show can pick up independent and even Democratic voters?

The rule is: take what pundits tell you WILL happen with a Dead Sea Sized grain of salt. This is a wild ride…and McCain is the quintessential “survivor. But a big loss there will likely mean he’s through. McCain clearly failed to woo powerful talk show hosts and many conservatives and they want to stop him. And now that the economy versus the war is the front-burner issue for many Americans, Romney is getting a more receptive look.

Yesterday you could literally switch to three conservative radio talk shows and find the hosts all blasting McCain for being more like a Democrat than a Republican. If he wins Florida he’ll still have parts of the Republican infomachine clamoring against his candidacy.
And It’s An Amazing Election Year
writes TMV favorite Stephen Green, aka Vodkapundit:

I’ve never seen a primary like this one. Nobody has. For the first time ever, the voters of a major party will choose either a black man or a white woman as their nominee. The dynamics of this race have never been seen before, and its ramifications will continue to be felt in the general election and long after. Everything has changed.

Well, almost everything. There is one great big constant in the Democratic Party. It’s Bill Clinton.

He has a roundup. Read it all.

Memo to the Clintons: Democrats Aren’t Republicans (or Independents)…delivered and detailed by E Pluribus Unum. Yes, there IS a difference..

And A Warning To The Clintonistas from Philosoraptor:

Along comes this guy who sincerely says that he wants to reform American politics to make it less vicious–and who might actually be able to do it–and what’s the Clinton’s response? Viciously attack him at every opportunity. If they’d have turned half this ire against the Bush-DeLay-Limbaugh-et. al. Axis of Evil they might have been able to do some actual good. One can reasonably think that Clinton would make a better president than Obama, or even that Obama just isn’t ready for the job…but the viciousness of the Clinton camp’s attacks are… often so ridiculously petty that I’d find them angrifying even if directed at someone genuinely loathsome. Say, Giuliani… There are reasonable points to be made against Obama, but the low blows are just making me (and others, I expect) more sympathetic to him.

So listen, Clinton supporters: get your gal to straighten up, or she’s going to lose a hell of a lot of us. I’m serious.

Yes, I meet a lot of people who say the same thing who are outraged by Bill Clinton’s behavior. And we saw one on television yesterda — Teddy Kennedy.

But Is It Media Pile On Hillary Time? The Iconic Midwest thinks so:

I have to say, the rather vicious turn against Clinton by the media has me a little unnerved. It is unhinged and definitely far removed from reality, and it has taken hold in the blogs as well. Basically the imputation is that anyone who tries to run against Obama is a racist, Bill and Hillary Clinton included. (It had already been announced by some that John Edwards was a racist cracker for even being in the race against the anointed one.)

The media is consumed in their quest to cram Obama down all of our throats by telling us over and over that his empty platitudes are in reality the wisdom of JFK, RFK, and MLK rollled into one… Obama is a politician, and from what I can see a pretty shallow and useless one at that.
Indeed, there could be an element of “pack’ journalism and blogging in the anti-Hillary tone.

There most assuredly is a tendency on the part of the media (and blogs) to match a prominent story other info-outlets do. A story or narrative can indeed become the conventional wisdom — the CONTEXT that self-perpetuates.

But the outrage and concern is understandable. Bill Clinton is believed to have partially motivated Ted Kennedy’s high profile intervention. And the campaign has been “the Clintons” which is the problem. It hasn’t been “the Obamas” or “the Guilianis” or “the Romneys.’ Even when Bush ran, it wasn’t “the Bushes” against John Kerry. It’s the combination of The New (conservatives will say The Old) Bill Clinton plus the reality that in terms of the the way the campaign has been conducted the implication was that it was for an unofficial co-President as well.

It’s not a new JFK we need in Obama, but the next Gorbachev says Scholars and Rogues.

Meanwhile, Many Conservatives Now Feel TRULY Vindicated as they watch liberals mouths open in shock as the Clinton campaign has unfolded — and particularly as liberals and independent voters now express their ire over Bill Clinton’s campaign performance. Blogger-teacher Betsy Newmark:

It’s been quite fun to see all these liberals have their own public epiphanies that there something rather sleazy and distasteful about the Clintons now that the former president and his wife have turned their ammunition away from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to train it on an attractive liberal black Democrat….Conservatives like myself are enjoying some sweet vindication as prominent liberals are coming around to our long held views that those two will do anything to win.

You can add [New York Times columnist] Frank Rich to the list. Rich had a column this weekend warning about the shoes that might drop if Hillary is chosen as the Democratic candidate and then we start finding out what is being hidden in the Clinton papers that haven’t been opened to the public or what we will find out about those Friends of Bill who have been sending the big bucks to Bill’s library in Little Rock.

Newmark notes that there have been rumblings from Newsweek about other BC financial dealings that may get some attention from working journalists. She then writes:

Stories like these are another reason why so many liberals are suddenly finding their voices and endorsing Barack Obama. They just don’t want to have to spend another four or eight years defending this sort of thing. And they’re not even part of the Vast Right Wing. Welcome to the Conspiracy, guys.

WHAT TO WATCH: Will Bill Clinton turn to his pre-Iowa vote role as the supportive political spouse? A spate of newspaper stories quoting unnamed Democrats suggest that will happen — and it sounds as if in these stories Democratic operatives are getting the word out that based on South Carolina and press coverage We Feel Our Pain…and that Mr. Clinton will in the future appear as if he is on DEcaff…

FOOTNOTE: In this edition of this linkfest, there are a lot of posts on the Clinton/Hillary/Kennedy controversy. That’s because the topic dominated the political weblogs the past few days.

  • DLS

    “The whole event when seen on TV did have the ‘inspiring’ tenor of the 60s.”

    Did the event include the riots, strife, and crime as well as degeneracy of the Left we were treated to in the latter part of the 1960s and which has tainted the Left ever since?

    No, it just included the hope, starry eyes, and rock-star-celebrity groupie-dom.