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Posted by on May 10, 2008 in Media, Politics | 8 comments

Watch The Democratic Party Clinton Obama Divide Live On TV!

This was quite a week — and not just because of the North Carolina and Indiana primaries. It was a week when there were two TV moments when you could seemingly watch and hear the Democratic party starting to split.

First, brace yourself for Clinton supporter and strategist Paul Begala clashing with uncommitted superdelegate and former Al Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile. In her devastating recent Wall Street Journal column on Hillary Clinton titled Damsel of Distress, Peggy Noonan wrote of this piece of video:

The Democratic Party can’t celebrate the triumph of Barack Obama because the Democratic Party is busy having a breakdown. You could call it a breakdown over the issues of race and gender, but its real source is simply Hillary Clinton. Whose entire campaign at this point is about exploiting race and gender.

Here’s the first place an outsider could see the tensions that have taken hold: on CNN Tuesday night, in the famous Brazile-Begala smackdown. Paul Begala wore the smile of the 1990s, the one in which there is no connection between the shape of the mouth and what the mouth says. All is mask. Donna Brazile was having none of it.

Watch it for yourself, and see if you agree:

Next, there was Clinton backer (and occasional Huffington Post contributor) Lanny Davis, who felt he was treated shabbily by a CNN panel that he felt was stacked with people who favored Obama (you’ll see Brazile again). Details about his side of the behind-the-scenes story are HERE.

But you could again hear the riiiiiiiiiip. Watch this TPM montage and judge for yourself:

My take on it? I think Noonan’s piece, which contains some original reporting, sounds right on the dime.

She explains a lot of what is going on, and what is NOT going on and why. What seems clear from this is that the same attitude George Bush has shown in trying to impose his will on the legislative and executive branches, is what the Clinton campaign is now showing in its attitude towards the Democratic party and its long range goals — not just of winning an election but of burnishing its Big Tent, keeping that Big Tent stable, and opening it up, so more more people can pour in.

Davis? He tried making his case and clearly felt outnumbered.

And Begala? He talked about inclusion at the end, but his words meshed with the controversy later in the week centering on Clinton’s comments about her getting more white votes.

Begala was old-school divide and rule politics delivered with a pasted-on smile.

Just like Noonan said.

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Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • kryon77

    Not central to your point, but you write:

    “What seems clear from this is that the same attitude George Bush has shown in trying to impose his will on the legislative and executive branches…”

    Yeah, what Gandelman said. Who does this guy Bush think he, trying to impose his will on the executive branch of the federal government?

    On the other hand, I did a little independent research, and I found some startling words in an archaic document from a couple centuries ago:

    “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.”

    So go figure.

  • Lit3Bolt

    So when the President rips up said document, his Power is unquestioned and unquestionable? Your faux reverence for the Constitution doesn’t hold water if you support this administration, Kryon. For example, I guess the President can declare “military action” on any country he pleases, correct?

    Getting back to Joe’s post, all of this is about egos and people whining about taking their ball and going home come the general election. The Democrats would not be necessarily destroying themselves, but the media is tossing kerosene on the fire by keeping these nonissues and “political drama” soap operas alive.

    By and large, I think the Democrats are fighting the “last war,” the one against Bush and the neocons, against themselves. ODS and CDS are rampant and people have become very simple in their political action, which is support my candidate and hate the other. So when Democrats picked either Clinton or Obama, they projected the hate of the last 8 years onto the other. Self defeating to the end.

  • distributorcap

    normally i cannot stomach Noonan, but this time she is right on. Hillary is acting so desparate and is in such a state of shock that she wont be the nominee — you are seeing behavior from her you wouldnt tolerate from a 4 year old. i have never witnessed such crap from someone who is actually smart. She is acting like Bush — whiny and immature and petulant.

    on that alone she shows how unfit she is to be a president

    class i guess was never a word in the clinton vocabulary

  • Unaffiliated

    I have been watching this contest from the beginning, and I have seen that Mr. Obama has shown great skill and talent in making this contest about race and class and sex, and then blaming the Clintons for what he has done. I have been thinking that he is a very dishonest man, with great sleight of hand, and that I dislike him for it – but perhaps I should be thinking that he is a superior politician and so would make a better president, because of his ability to bamboozle and hoodwink and so forth.

  • Ever since Ohio/Texas made it clear that Obama was mathematically the overwhelming favorite for the nomination I have wondered why the superdelegates, whose role is that of party stewards, haven’t gone on record as saying that they will stay neutral PROVIDED NEITHER CANDIDATE HARMS THE PARTY. At this point, for Clinton and her surrogates to be making arguments that the party’s likely nominee “disenfranchised Florida and Michigan voters” or “doesn’t appeal to hard-working Americans” should be a red flag to superdelegates that they need to take action to stop further damage to the party.

    While the Obama campaign is not immune from criticism, the onus is now on Clinton to tread carefully as she is far enough behind that her hopes for the nomination have gone well past the “Hail Mary” stage. She has every right to stay in the race until the end, but at this point attacks on Obama are attacks on the Democratic party’s chances in November, and the superdelegates need to start treating them as such.

  • DLS
  • kryon77


    I understand there’s a little chance of you reading this, because threads have an expiration date. If you are, sorry I’m so late.

    I would make a distinction between the relationship between the President and Executive branch entities and the President v. the legislative and judicial branches.

    Thus, it’s entirely legit (not that anyone needs my permission) to focus on the limits of the President’s military power, when such power is not sanctioned, or when it is even opposed, by Congress.

    But the analysis of intra-Executive disputes should be different. In recent years, it’s been routine for commentators to assert or imply that it’s somehow illegitimate for a President or his political subordinates to overrule a decision made by experts in an Executive agency. E.g., the President must not overrule a “pro-environment” decision my the EPA, in order to advance his “pro-business” agenda; the President should not set the Executive branch’s stem-cell policy, if such policy is opposed by experts within the agencies such as the NIH, etc.

    But I say: Yes he can, and should.

    Politicians run touting their own judgment and values, and voters elect them on that basis. Voters knew that with President Bush they were getting someone to the right of Kerry on the environment, and to the right of Kerry on the cluster of issues related to abortion and fetal stem cell research.

    And the Executive power is vested in 1 man or woman, the President. So what he says should go, as far as Executive branch policy is concerned. But that policy can, in turn, be held in check or trumped by the Legislative or Judicial branches.

    Thanks for debating me.

  • StockBoySF

    First of all the Clintons are the most powerful couple in US politics today. Second of all, even if Hillary does not receive the nomination, she will still be a US Senator whom many of the superdelegates will have to deal with.

    So the superdelegates have to tread carefully or else the full Clinton wrath will be up on them (and they are afraid of that wrath). I can’t help but wonder whether Hillary has extracted promises from some of the remaining uncommitted superdelegates to wait a few more weeks before announcing their support of Obama. That would allow Clinton more time to try to bring Obama down.

    On Thursday night I did a quick calculation, and assuming that Clinton and Obama split the rest of the contests/delegates evenly (on the average because he’ll win some and she’ll win others), then Obama only needs something like 59 more superdelegates to reach 2,025. Until Obama reaches that magical number the race is still up in the air and theoretically Hillary could still win, though it’s a long shot. But it also keeps her fund raising going so she can pay herself back. (I’m not knocking her in that last comment- she has a right to recoup whatever money she can from her campaign.)

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