Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman


Obama Should Be Grateful for Hillary’s Speech

posted by swaldman

It was assumed last night that Obama must have been fuming over Hillary Clinton’s non-concession speech. This was, the pundits noted, the one night when the national audience was watching, and she chose to withhold support.
I’m not so sure. Hillary’s speech makes it much easier for Obama to not choose her as running mate. If she had been gracious, helpful and effusive in praising the new party leader, Obama would be hardpressed to not choose her. (After all, if you count the votes in Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa, and if you exclude Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Washington and Wyoming, and if you count all the votes for her in Michigan and none for him, and if you count Democrats abroad – then she may have narrowly won more popular votes than he did! )
Seriously, Obama will be under great pressure – not just from other pols but from the electoral logic, to choose her, whether he wants to or not. But her refusal to let him be the star of the show on Tuesday, combined with the veiled threats from Clinton aides earlier in the week that Obama had better choose her or else, means that if Obama were to select her now, he would look weak. Whatever benefit she might bring cannot be worth creating the impression that he’s malleable. The more she pushes, the more grudging her support, the more freedom Obama has to leave her off the ticket.



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Brian Horan

posted June 4, 2008 at 10:45 am


It’s hard to say how Obama should feel. I’m amazed that the Democratic establishment has been so tolerant.
Could Obama be bullied into having a VP that has suggested in public, on at least four occasions, that she’s on deck because we all know that, “Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June”?
The Clinton’s campaign chair Terry McCauluf has helped lose elections as DNC chief by focusing exclusively on delegate rich states. This is the same strategy that lost Hillary the nomination. But, Hillary will keep bringing up things like sexism.
The militant Hillary supporters do not understand how her supposed entitlement turns off middle-of-the-road folks.
And how feminist was it for Hillary to suggest we could “obliterate Iran”?
I think Obama can find a much better woman to be VP.
Honestly, I’d take a trans-gendered albino for president if they’d drop the lobbyists and the BS.



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gmo2

posted June 4, 2008 at 11:47 am


You may be correct that she did him a favor…but I don’t really think that was her intent. I think she is going to say that she wants to be VP when she knows he will not pick her after having made it impossible to pick her. Her strategy for a long time seems to be to cripple him so he loses. I think she’s running for 2012.



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Ron

posted June 4, 2008 at 12:18 pm


Watching Hillary Clinton speak to an Israeli interests PAC on CNN this morning, I couldn’t figure out whether she was angling to be VP for Obama or McCain.
I wholeheartedly concur that Senator Clinton’s lack of grace is a boon for Obama. Five months ago very few people thought Obama could clinch the nomination. Now very few people think Obama could win the election without Hillary Clinton’s angry supporters. I just think it would be best for Obama and the country if he could bring to a really new Clinton- and Bush-free era in our country’s politics, and I expect his ability to win the election to be much greater if he leaves Hillary behind.



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Doug

posted June 4, 2008 at 1:02 pm


As an African-American, I was so very proud to see Senator Obama secure the Democratic nomination last night, and I must say that I was offended that Hillary Clinton didn’t let him have his moment in history.
Regardless to ideology or party affiliation, I would venture to say that there were tears in the eyes of many African-Americans last night, and it’s a shame that Hillary was as gracious as she could have been.
While there’s a lot of talk about Obama’s problems with women and “blue collar White voters”, the Clintons have a LOT of work to do to gain back the favor of African-Americans. She may have made things worse last night.



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Alicia

posted June 4, 2008 at 2:13 pm


I’m a Hillary supporter. People in the MSM have been trying to hound her out of the race for months, saying that it was all over for her, that she was weakening Obama, etc., etc. Yet she stayed in and fought him to a virtual tie (but not an actual tie). If Democratic primaries were winner-take-all, I believe their positions would now be reversed.
Or, here’s another “thought experiment.” How would Obama supporters feel if Hillary had won all of the delegates but he was ahead in the popular vote, as she claims to be today? Would Obama supporters appreciate his being hounded out of the race, called names, etc.?
Oh, and if she weakened Obama then he was a weak candidate to begin with.



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Alicia

posted June 4, 2008 at 2:16 pm


Additionally, it generally takes contenders a couple of days after a decisive primary to concede. It took Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee a while to face reality. Why is it so hard for people to grant a few extra days to Hillary to get her act together?



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RJohnson

posted June 4, 2008 at 2:35 pm


The next few days will determine if Hillary Clinton has a future in the Democratic Party. It’s time for her to fall in line and support the nominee, and start working to unify the party. The move is hers to make, not his. If she fails to do this she will be the next Joe Lieberman in the party, and may face a strong and well-supported primary candidate for her Senate seat in 2010.
The choice is hers. Is she a leader, or is she an ego.



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Alicia

posted June 4, 2008 at 2:42 pm


I deeply admire Joe Lieberman and was delighted when he won re-election.



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Doug

posted June 4, 2008 at 3:20 pm


I wonder if the Hillary supporters would have been willing to let Obama take his time to concede on his own terms? I think there would be a totally different reaction.
As I observed this campaign, I’ve notice a sense of disdain showed toward Obama that is unwarranted. Why do Clinton supporters (some of them, not all of them) have such a problem with Obama? Please give me an example of his blatant sexism? (and no, the “sweetie” comment shouldn’t count, since he took the time to actually call that reporter back to apologize. I would venture to say he erred on the side of being a little too politically correct on that occasion).
Bottom line- to me, Mr. Obama is a class act. Contrary to what others may say about the media bias against Clinton, Obama is scrutinized constantly, but I have yet to see him use the veiled racism, arrogance, and condescension used against him as a crutch.



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Paul Shiras

posted June 4, 2008 at 3:55 pm


Hillary Clinton thought she could pull it off and win. It is hard to accept defeat when you’re this close to winning. Obama was praising her up and down last night, but her speech today was as if she was still in the race. She is a valuable tool for the Democratic Party but she needs to realize that from today on she has to be a team player and not the quarterback.



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Steven

posted June 4, 2008 at 4:35 pm


I really can’t see how Hillary Clinton is a valuable “tool” for the Democratic Party if she helps McCain get elected!



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redhead57

posted June 4, 2008 at 5:05 pm


For Senator Obama to choose Senator Clinton as a running mate would be a grave mistake. Obama needs to focus on presenting himself as the strong and competent leader to the nation. To have someone on the ticket that has done such damage to his public image would be the height of weakness. Whether pundits, party members, or super delegates attempt to persuade him, he must remain firm. The “dream ticket” must stay asleep. While it would be wisdom on all fronts to have her as a member of a future cabinet, not as a running mate. There should be no hint of division in his campaign nor his relationship with the vice presidential candidate. There are many great choices available and he should weigh carefully, Senator Clinton not being among them.
She needs to give him her full support in the upcoming campaign and do her best to help unify the dissenters among her supporters under his candidacy. In doing this she will assure herself a bright future in American politics for she will show herself truly dedicated to the welfare of the nation. Surely she will be a part of the cabinet and if by some change not, she is a Senator from NY State and has and will continue to make her mark in the senate at the very least.
In this case wisdom dictates that Obama get a fresh start on a relationship with a political alley in working toward the White House. My hope is that the future of America is fore front in the minds of both Senators Obama and Clinton.



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Oceania

posted June 4, 2008 at 8:19 pm


I am glad you observed her comment as I found it highly suspicious, negative and sort of threatening, knowing her past history in
Arkansas (actually both Clintons) and her behavior in the white house as well, which a lot of people don’t know about.
She could of simply messed up again and didn’t mean it.
She would do best to bail out graciously like a lady and a professional (as the other candidates did in the past) and stop expecting to “bargain” when she lost and Obama won. It’s that simple. Nor “dictate” to Obama how to run his presidency or whom to pick for VP? Nor have I ever seen a candidate losing and expect the other candidate to pay for her debt? Her behavior has been highly disappointing.
I cannot see her as VP as I don’t see that as a dream ticket.
I see it as disaster, exactly what the Republicans would love.
Obama needs instead John Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Ed Rendell(PA)or Jim Webb (VA) as his VP. All these men have far more experience than Senator Clinton and all are exceptional candidates.
I think she will concede, as it is the right thing to do as every other candidate has done in the past, and without conditions as she didn’t win. She still is the first woman to run for President and she has opened the door for other woman to follow in the future.
She needs to focus her attention on the people of NY as she is their Senator.



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Paul Shiras

posted June 4, 2008 at 10:21 pm


Multiple sources say that Clinton will concede this Saturday. She needs time to say thanks to her many supporters and the millions of people that voted for her. Is she part of a “Dream Team”? I don’t think so but she can be an asset to Obama as an adviser during the debates with McClain.
As for me, the dream team would be with Bill Richardson if we can convince the Latino voters that he really is of Mexican descent. Richardson is the most experienced V.P. option and is well liked by the party.



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Alicia

posted June 5, 2008 at 10:16 am


Richardson would be a poor choice if Obama is trying to appeal to the women who supported Hillary Clinton. His premature endorsement of Obama looked like he was angling for VP. I would support an Obama-Webb ticket, but I don’t think I could bring myself to back an Obama-Richardson ticket.
Those who are down on Hillary right now need to remember that 18 million of her supporters are paying attention. We could easily throw our support to McCain, stay home, or write in Hillary in November.



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JR

posted June 5, 2008 at 10:39 am


Alicia is right: women who supported Hillary are watching. We won’t take offense to our candidate lightly. As a former Richardson supporter who was horrified at the way he stabbed his ‘friends’ in the back, I wouldn’t support him on the ticket and would consider it another slap in Hillary’s face. I want very much to support Obama, but I’m still watching….



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Doug

posted June 5, 2008 at 11:42 am


Senator Obama has been more than gracious to Senator Clinton. I don’t understand why her supporters would be so angry or suspicious of him. In terms of policy, they are pratically twins. Why would Clinton supporters be willing to vote against their own interests just to get back at PERCEIVED slights against her candidate? Again, if Obama HIMSELF is so sexist, can someone please give me some SPECIFIC examples?



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Alicia

posted June 5, 2008 at 2:11 pm


Let me try to answer from my perspective, Doug. I was a registered Democrat for most of my adult life, but never a “Yellow Dog Democrat” who would vote for anyone, just so long as he was a Democrat.
I’ve voted Democratic in every Presidential election I’ve voted in during my adult life. But I changed my registration to Republican in 2004 (but voted for Kerry) even though I can’t stand the Republican leadership of the past couple of decades. Why did I change my registration? Partly because I was tired of hearing the same tired old rhetoric from the Democratic leadership, and there was no viable 3rd Party in existence for political moderates like me.
Since I am a moderate, I don’t buy the “McCain” is “McSame” is 4 more years of Bush policies argument. That doesn’t mean I don’t have reservations about McCain – I do. I think he has a great record of bi-partisanship, but I also think he seems to be clueless about how important it is to address the economic fears and concerns of Americans, even if he addresses them with conservative programs.
I sort of agree with him about the surge and about Iraq, but worry that he has a reckless and impulsive streak. There is something a little unpredictable about him that worries me.
I keep hearing about the similarity of of Obama’s positions and Hillary’s positions, but I think the devil is in the details, and I’ve heard Obama express disdain for the details. During the California debate he dismissed them as “bureaucracy.”
During the last Pennsylvania debate, Hillary showed her exhaustive grasp of policy details while Barack gave perhaps his weakest debate performance. I realize he was on the defensive that evening, but he did not seem to me to have sufficiently thought through the details of his proposed policies. Note that this is the exact same complaint I have about McCain relative to the U.S. economy.
During the PA campaign Obama also ridiculed Hillary for pretending to be “Annie Oakley.” Aside from this and from calling a woman reporter “sweetie” I can’t think of any specific charges of sexism to level against Obama. I think the MSM is as much to blame for its sexist treatment of Hillary, but I think the sexism is so ingrained and unconscious that there are some women pundits (such as Nina Totenberg) who don’t think this accusation is fair.
I would only observe that, in general, the MSM, and many of Obama’s spokespeople and supporters treat Hillary like the Wicked Witch of the West, while they treat Obama like the Second Coming of Christ, or at least the Second Coming of JFK.
Sorry to answer at such length.



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Rev Jon K Sayers

posted June 7, 2008 at 6:11 pm


I am against poverty. Who is the party against poverty?
If we listen to John Edwards it is the Democrats.



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Ron

posted June 8, 2008 at 4:32 pm


Alicia, sweetie, an exhaustive grasp of policy details really doesn’t help you if the net result is still a bad decision: Iraq, mandatory health care, Iraq, her flip-flop on immigration issues, Iraq, her flip-flop on ethanol subsidies, her opposition to fuel efficiency standards for autombobiles, her voting to allow the Feds to confiscate private firearms during natural disasters, Iraq, her voting for watered-down ethics legislation, and did I mention Iraq?
There were plenty of policy differences between Clinton and Obama. To note them is not sexist, it’s simply to have an eye for detail. The irony is, there are many who didn’t see any nuance between Clinton and Obama who will now not see any daylight between Obama and McCain–assuming race is not an issue, of course.



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MrMissy

posted June 9, 2008 at 4:06 am


Hee! Hee! It’s amazing to watch some of us Caucasions self-destruct like we have been lately regarding the Obama’s.
You would think that the boogey-man is coming for every one of these people!
Black’s have been voting for us and with us since they gained the right in 1964. They’ve been with us every step of the way fighting for a freer, fairer and stronger America.
What do we do when one of them has the nerve to run for the highest office in the land? Why, we clutch our pearls and pretend that we don’t know any Blacks, much less exist in the world with them.
The “offended” ones sicken me.
It is popular once again to be a visible racist in this country.
And just think: the conservatives weren’t behind it this time.
Good job America! That-a girl!



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Alicia

posted June 9, 2008 at 10:58 am


Is it possible to oppose Obama without being a racist?
BTW, that’s a rhetorical question. Obviously, anyone who opposes Obama-Messiah must, by definition, be a racist.
I’ve taken my “Hillary for President” buttons off out of respect for her decision to endorse Obama, but I’m not yet ready to drink the Koolaid, thank you. This election is very important to me, and I’m going to watch the way the candidates conduct themselves over the next few months before I make any decisions about who deserves my vote.
The racists are the people who can’t imagine someone opposing a black candidate on any grounds other than racism.



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Ndmaster

posted June 10, 2008 at 11:38 am


I agree with the comment that “the devil is in the details” – for instance, take a good look at Hillary Clinton’s facial posturing and tone of voice as she speaks of her new allegiance to the elected democratic nominee and you’ll find him. And while I agree that reverse racism does exist, it is no longer acceptable under any circumstance for any legitimate leader of the U.S. IMHO Hillary Clinton has conducted herself more like an over-indulged freshman Senator than a Presidential candidate, particulary during her speech last Tuesday evening. She and her supporters need to stop and consider a few particulars regarding her conduct during this campaign before bragging about her high qualifying points, political judgement and standards of excellence in public service. They also need to get a legitimate reality check from someone other than Bill Clinton who obviously is still trying to atone for his own past indescretions even if it’s at the cost of the lives of people who want to put a new face on their hope for the future. She could have been a well-respected Vice President; but no, she just had to deliberately turn her face away from the high road and act like common “prideful” folk. As far as I am concerned, this has been a necessary revelation which God has allowed for us to learn more about the real side of our political leaders before we make the greavous mistake of pledging a loyalty vote for them in Nov of ’08. Any truly God fearing soul could never justify threatening to “obliterate” another country and significant portion of life that God has created here on earth. Moreover, it is a disgraceful thing for a world leader to say on the eve of what could potentially be World War III. We have an obligation to put forth a much better figurehead to represent the will of the people in the U.S.



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Alicia

posted June 12, 2008 at 1:58 pm


Ndmaster, I’d be very hesitant about projecting onto other people or pretending that you can see into their hearts. It is dangerous to try and find “the devil” in a politician – just as dangerous as treating a politician like Barack Obama as if he were the Messiah. When you project on others, you are usually talking about yourself anyway. People usually react the most to negative traits in others that they deny in themselves.
As far as “reverse racism” is concerned, I don’t believe it exists. There is only racism, and all human beings are subject to it, in my opinion.



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The Professor

posted June 16, 2008 at 3:45 am


This is purely speculation, but I’m betting that the majority of voters for Obama so far fall into one of these categories:
* Voting for him because of his skin color (either because the voter is a person of color–as I am–or because the voter is a white person trying to “prove” a lack of racism).
* An irrational voter who fails to consider qualifications, etc. and is just mesmerized by the power of the speaker, or who wants “change” and isn’t picky about what sort of change it happens to be. (They get what they deserve.)
Geraldine Ferraro is looking more correct all the time. Sooner or later, America will wake up and realize that Obama just isn’t close to being ready to being POTUS 44. In fact, he probably never will be ready…
What has Obama done to merit your confidence? Why should the world trust Obama? The President of the United States becomes the de facto world leader, like it or not.
As much as I hate to invoke his name, Bill Clinton is right on Obama. Voting for Obama is a complete roll of the dice. He’ll either be a great POTUS or (more likely) he’ll prove to be far beneath the office.
If Obama cannot judge the character of Rev. Jeremiah Wright after 20 years, or his protege Rev. Otis Moss III, then what makes you think he’ll be able to sit down with Kim Jong Il, Vladimir Putin or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and come to any reasonable conclusion? His opinion will be about as reliable as Bush 43, who claimed to have looked in Putin’s eyes, and measured the soul of the man. I defy anyone to look in that former KGB agent’s glassy stare and come up with anything other than a reflection. He could be thinking about dinner, for all you know. He could be planning to have you imprisoned or worse…
History is repeating itself, but this time it’s the Democrats who are electing someone on the basis of superficial characteristics.



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Alicia

posted June 17, 2008 at 10:06 am


The Professor, I think you make some good points. My impression is that Obama may actually be such a people pleaser that he won’t have the strength to stand up when and if he becomes President. If he failed to stand up in 20 years in his own church, then he was either weak-willed, or he agreed with their racial separatist beliefs (which he claims not to) or he was there for reasons of pure expediency.
I suspect he is a weak-willed people-pleaser, who would become our ineffectual “moralist-in-chief.”



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justjay

posted June 26, 2008 at 3:46 pm


People are afraid of change and it shows. Obama supporters do not call him the messiah. Only his opposers. Those who say he’s getting votes for his skin color are showing their own racist sentiments. He is not a people pleaser, he is trying to do what is right and not be offensive in order to show love to his opposition. However, because Obama will not attack back and defend himself against bogus and inflammatory claims we call him weak. I think that he is stronger than us weaklings who want to see the candidates in a good fight and show their toughness. Finally a candidate tries to run on hope and love and faith and we treat him like all others who want to do good. We break them. We want to make him just like us because he can’t be that good if we’re not? Right.



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