February 19, 2008

Specificity in the capital city — Hillary comes to Madison.

Though I went to Michelle Obama's speech yesterday here in Madison, I skipped Hillary Clinton's. It wasn't that I preferred seeing Michelle to Hillary. I would have rather seen Hillary. She's the candidate! But Michelle was speaking right on State Street, a block away from one of my favorite caf├ęs, in the middle of the afternoon. And Hillary was speaking after 8 at night in the convention center (Monona Terrace). I didn't feel like going out in the winter darkness, driving on the snowy roads and around a crowded the parking ramp. I considered calling a cab, but I'd have had to shell out $50 for the round trip. If a friend had called me up and insisted on chauffeuring me back and forth, I'd have gone.

But 4,000 people did attend:
In her “Solutions for America” rally, Clinton emphasized the need for action rather than rhetoric, an obvious attack of her opponent, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

“There is a difference between speeches and solutions, between rhetoric and results,” Clinton said. “And part of what this campaign is coming down to is a recognition that we need to know, as specifically as possible, what our next president intends to do.”
Why do we need to know as specifically as possible? It's as if Congress doesn't exist and the President imposes programs on us. This emphasis on the need for specificity seems to betray an inflexibility of mind. Even on foreign policy, where the President is largely on her own, fixed promises should not impress us. I want someone who can make sound decisions in response to changing circumstances.
Although the event did not draw the large number of students that the Obama rally brought to the Kohl Center on Feb. 12, many UW-Madison students braved the cold weather to hear Clinton speak. UW-Madison sophomore Sara Jerving said that she previously supported Obama, but after attending Monday night’s rally, she plans to vote for Clinton in the primary election on Tuesday.

“I think what hit me most … is that [Clinton] had more substance and she talked about individual policies,” she said. “I understand that people are inspired by Obama, but I think it’s more effective that she had policies and specifics.”

UW-Madison sophomore Devra Cohen agreed with Jerving and said Clinton represented the things the American people care about.

“She brought up very specific policy points ranging from her personal favorite, health care … to education, which of course in Madison is very important,” Cohen said.
So this specificity meme is working for some. I suppose it's a way of saying — with some positivity — that her opponent is a fluffy nothing.

18 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

I'm sure an article has been done by somebody, doesn't it say somebody about America that we have 2 couples made up of 2 each Yale and Harvard Law grads both arguing that they best represent the party of the poor and helpless against big corporate interests while both couples have gotten rich in the service of those interests?

Harvard Law versus Yale Law

hypocrisy in action

Middle Class Guy said...

Hillary gives a SPEECH claiming speeches are not solutions. Hillary gave a SPEECH yesterday stating speeches do not put food on the table or fill perscriptions.

Question: is Hillary the magic speechmaker? Can she change words into fishes and loaves? Can she turn phrases into drugs?

Is she really the messianic candidate and Obama the posseur?

Ricardo said...

I glanced up at C-Span last night, to see some guy with a block of cheese on his head asking Hillary a question. Is that a Wisconsin thing?

rhhardin said...

There is a difference between speeches and solutions, between rhetoric and results,” Clinton said.

This is called alliteration.

There is a difference between creepy and crooked, she could say in her defense.

peter hoh said...

Ask not what you can do for your country; ask what Hillary can do for you.

former law student said...

Campaign promises aren't worth a balloonful of the candidate's flatulence. Remember this joke:

They told me if I voted for Goldwater I’d have higher unemployment. They told me if I voted for Goldwater I’d have higher taxes. They told me if I voted for Goldwater I’d have higher unemployment. They told me if I voted for Goldwater I’d have a war in Vietnam. Well, I voted for Goldwater, and sure enough, all of those things happened.

This is the most recent piece of campaign blather I remember; thank god that never happened:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqiBwsjAa2s&NR=1

There's probably plenty of dirt from Bill's campaign, I'm not motivated to find it.

Finally, apply to the Clintons what my father told me as a kid:

Fool me once, Shame on you;
Fool me twice, Shame on me.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I would assume that most of the voters know that the President doesn't make laws. That he/she does need to work with Congress to get things done. Of course I also assume that Americans know a modicum of history and how to balance their check books.....wrong on both counts there.

Nevertheless, it does seem to be just the teeniest bit important to understand what the policy preferences and agendas the various candidates propose to dangle in front of us for the next 4 years.

Inquiring minds want to know. Change isn't a specific policy. Change isn't always for the better either.

Since I'm not voting for any of these clowns, I merely want to know how to prepare myself for survival in the next 4 years.

former law student said...

From a 1995 Mike Royko column on the Green Bay Packers' local ownership :

...the Packers are truly Green Bay's team, the way the Rams and Raiders weren't L.A.'s team; and the Cardinals weren't Chicago's team or St. Louis' team and might not remain Phoenix's team; and the Browns weren't really Clevelnad's team; and the Colts weren't really Texas team or Baltimore's team; and the Raiders weren't Oakland's team when they moved to L.A., and stopped being L.A.'s team wehn they crept back to Oakland.

Who can keep track of all those comings and goings?

But you can keep track of the Packers because they have been in the same location since 1919, although most of the country doesn't now where Green Bay is. Even people in Green Bay aren't all sure where it is, but they don't have to know, since they are already there.

Those of us in Chicago sometimes poke affectionate fun at our rustic neighbors to the north.

We tease them for wearing red long underwear to weddings and other formal events - as an outer garment.

We call them cheeseheads and chuckle at the way they chump their bratwurst, drink their brandy-beer boilermakers, and happily thump their distended tummies. The men, too.

But while Chicagoans worry about the Bears moving to Gary, where the players might be mugged ont heir way to the locker room, the Green Bay fans are free of such concerns.

P. Rich said...

There is little difference between Clinton and Obama positions on just about everything. Obama's are posted on his web site, on the Internet which, apparently, those UW-Madison students are unable to find.

You know. That Internet. The one funded by the evil military-industrial complex and developed and maintained by evil corporations. Those UW-M 19-year-olds probably think it consists solely of the iTunes music store and FaceBook.

The young sometimes make for nice children, but the voting age should be raised to 30. I'm starting a movement.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Obama's are posted on his web site, on the Internet which, apparently, those UW-Madison students are unable to find

You know Rich, not everyone has access to the internet, wants to have access to the internet, has the skills to use the net. Many of my clients, who generally are much older than 30, don't use the net (dial up at that!!)for much other than email and to occasionally check on their portfolios.

Although I am well connected to the net(and people like you also, obviously or you wouldn't be here).....don't suppose that the rest of the world shares your viewpoints on surfing the net or technical expertise. This is an elitist viewpoint.

Almost everyone has a television set or can read the newspaper. It would be helpful to have a speech by any of these candidates that consists of more than just bloviating, gaseous sound bites. It would also be effective if the media and so called journalists would write some articles for newspaper publication that had some substance. In the meantime, while you and I may be informed via the Internet, I would say that 50% of the voting public isn't well served by any of the media outlets and the rest are willing to swallow any regurgitated pablum the candidates are offering.

I'm not just picking on Obama, the most gaseous of the group, but all of the candidates on all sides are like trying to nail Jello to a tree when it comes to WTF they plan to do IF elected.

Health care for all!! Really? How are you going to accomplish this.

Get out of Iraq !!!or conversely Stay in Iraq!!! I'd say they have some 'splainin' to do.

Yada Yada Yada. Sound bite after sound bite. Change, Hope, Glittering Generalities. All sound and no substance.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

By the way P Rich. I decided to go to Obama's offical site and it requests my Email and Zip code to even get into the website to see what he has to say.

Screw that. It's none of their business.

Balfegor said...

Why do we need to know as specifically as possible? It's as if Congress doesn't exist and the President imposes programs on us. This emphasis on the need for specificity seems to betray an inflexibility of mind. Even on foreign policy, where the President is largely on her own, fixed promises should not impress us. I want someone who can make sound decisions in response to changing circumstances.

When we are faced with two candidates, like Obama and Clinton II, for whom we have no record of decisionmaking or problem-solving (Obama), or have a record that can be discerned only by inference, if at all (Clinton), I think those specifics become crucial. With a normal candidate, who has some kind of paper trail, we can see how they performed in the past when faced with decisions in particular circumstances. With McCain, for example, we have some sense of how he would engage in decisionmaking, because he has been a prominent actor in the Senate over the past few years. We've seen his decisionmaking at work in the "Gang of 14" deal on judges, on the immigration fiasco, and with the "Surge" in Iraq. We've seen a little of that with Clinton II. And none of that with Obama.

Neither Democratic candidate is normal. Neither has a real record to run on. In order to evaluate how they will actually make decisions, concrete policy proposals tell us how they react to and process the facts as they stand at present, in a way that ideals or principles they claim to support do not. After all, they're both trained as lawyers. They can twist those supposed principles and ideals around to support whatever course of action they want. Rhetorical support for "Unity" or "Change" tells us precisely nothing.

MadisonMan said...

I decided to go to Obama's offical site and it requests my Email and Zip code to even get into the website to see what he has to say.

That's when you lie.

I use root@mouse-potato.com . Maybe it's still not the case, but long ago mouse-potato.com resolved to 127.0.0.1, unix-speak for loop-back, i.e., your own machine. A spam-mailer -- or any mailer -- mailing to mouse-potato.com is mailing to itself.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I decided to go to Obama's offical site and it requests my Email and Zip code to even get into the website to see what he has to say.

Actually DBQ you don't have to. Just double click on the header page and you get re-directed to the main site.

Just to piss him off, I put in a buddy's email and registered him. He sits somewhere to the right of Atilla the Hun. I should be getting a raging phone call any minute now.....

Paul Zrimsek said...

Obama needs your contact information so he can check periodically to make sure you've shed your cynicism and haven't gone back to your life as usual.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I use root@mouse-potato.com

Ok... I really like that. I also thought about entering the contact information for a "friend"...hee hee. But didn't want to play games just then. Maybe later. /evil laugh

Shed my cynicism. Never. Cynicism is central to my world belief system. They'll have to pry it out of my.... well whatever.

Middle Class Guy said...

Balfegor said...
We've seen a little of that with Clinton II. And none of that with Obama.

You are so wrong, wrong, wrong. Hillary is great. She has done great things for the nation. She has done nothing less than save the world and her marriage with one hand tied behind her back. If she is elected she will save the planet. What’s the matter with you people? What has Obama ever done? What has McCain ever done? Have they saved the world? Have they save their marriages? Have they saved the Presidency? What about the children, huh? You ever think about them? Hillary has saved every child in this nation, even the unborn ones.

I know this to be the absolute truth. All you truthers bashing her are so insane. She has thirty five years of experience saving the world and the people. It is all documented, verified, fact checked, and vetted. Just read. You can read can’t you? Just read her auto-biography; It Takes An African Village To Live History And Save the Nation. She spells it all out.

Balfegor said...

Obama needs your contact information so he can check periodically to make sure you've shed your cynicism and haven't gone back to your life as usual.

For His gaze pierces cloud, shadow, earth, and flesh. Come not between Obama and his presidency! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye. Against the power of Obama, there can be no victory.

*ahem*

As long as we're playing the hyperbole game.