March 7, 2008

"She is a monster, too - that is off the record - she is stooping to anything."

Obama's foreign policy advisor Samantha Power says something hot and then hopes the reporters will cut her a break by saying "off the record" afterward. Come on, that's like saying "Mother, may I?" after you've taken 2 giant steps forward or "No takes" after the cootie girl has touched you. Are my cultural references old enough? They're so old that only Hillary voters understand them.

AND: David Corn gets it almost right:
The Clinton people do deserve chutzpah points for trying to turn this nothing-burger into a full-course feast. During a conference call with reporters yesterday, Clinton's top spinner, Howard Wolfson, compared Obama and his aides to Kenneth Starr because they dared to question Clinton's refusal to release her income taxes.... The comparison was ridiculous. But in Democratic circles, there's not much of a bigger slur than, Hey, you're Ken Starr! For Democrats, Starr is the functional equivalent of a monster.

So the Clinton crowd does not have the moral high ground in this round. Yet what was the net result? Power, a talented journalist and thinker who gives a damn about genocides (certainly more so than Bill Clinton did during the Rwanda nightmare), was forced off Obama's campaign.

What's missing? Obama deserves criticism for letting Clinton make something out of nothing and not standing up for Power.


Fen said...

Samantha Power is incompetent:


During the interview, she stated that President Obama would engage with President Ahmadinejad, North Korea, and Syria. Then she is asked, " there anyone he wouldn't talk to"?

She responded that there was no one among "elected heads of state. He won't talk to Hamas, but he would talk to Abbas". The interviewer points out that inconsistency inherent in her answer by informing the Harvard foreign policy expert that Hamas was a democratically-elected government and that Abbas' Fatah party lost the last popular vote.

Professor Power backtracked and then said that Barack Obama would talk to "heads of state" and swiftly veered off into a discussion about how America has supported dictatorships in the past. This seems to cut both ways. Would President Obama talk to Hamas? Is Hamas a dictatorship, democratically elected?

(Professor Power might want to consult Jeanne Kirpatrick's distinction between dictatorships and authoritarian regimes and her belief that one can influence the latter, but should oppose the former.)

Even the interviewer doubts Power's sincerity at that point, titling the next section " The Odd Fib" and indicating that he did not believe she's convinced by what she is saying and that dissembling does not come easy to her.

Peter V. Bella said...

How come people have to apologise for telling the truth about Hillary? She never apologises for anything; sincerely.

Sloanasaurus said...

Hillary may be a "monster," in her own way. But she has never promised to "talk" with the world's monstrous dictators.

If you are languishing in an Iranian prison for wanting freedom opposing the regime, There isn't anything that would crush your spirit more than a photo of the American President shaking hands with the Iranian Thug leaders.

Obama is both a fool and the real monster.

Roger J. said...

I am much more interested in those "advisors" who surround Senator Obama (and Ms. Clinton, for that matter) That Professor Power is an advisor reflects very poorly on the Senator's judgment.

rhhardin said...

Why don't the get Stephen Colbert to talk to dictator monsters?

Elliott A said...

If the quality and makeup of the Dems' campaign staffs relects the quality and makeup of their cabinet and advisors, heaven help us. Hillary's people are inept (and talk about cronyism, virtually all women) and Obamas may be more talented, but are clueless and out of their league. As despicable a human being Hillary is, she is by far the least dangerous.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and she wants to invade Israel too!

She also seems to be Cass Sunstein's squeeze as well. See:

Original Mike said...

No takes? Cootie girl? Wow! You out olded me.

TJ said...

Dumb move, but a quick recovery by Obama's campaign, I think. I'm surprised more of these kinds of things don't happen.

Meanwhile, Clinton continues to state that McCain would make a better president than Obama. Um, so, if people think Obama is better than Clinton, I guess we're supposed to vote for McCain?

I'm so confused.

Freder Frederson said...

I guess this is what Ann means by cruel neutrality. Pick on Obama and Hillary for the next few months until she comes to the invevitable conclusion that neither one of them is suitable to be president.

Then in a true shocking revelation, she will announce she is voting for McCain.

And she will be pissed when no one is suprised.

Unknown said...

Power does advise rethinking (abandoning?) our support for Israel but strangely advocates an occupation of the area by US forces to impose a peaceful solution! Of course, she is against Iraq and our occupation there and believes the Israeli-Pal conflict is the key to peace in the ME. That's just dumb. Ideology aside, how in the world would this solve their problems?

Why do lefties hate Iraqis but love Darfurians and Palestinians?

John Thacker said...

Yes, she's apparently from the "punchbuggy" generation, where you can say "no punch backs" after hitting someone.

Meade said...

"They're so old that only Hillary voters understand them."

Hillary cooties -Eeew!

Take a giant step back.

Only one? Mother, may I take about two hundred?

George M. Spencer said...

The greatest horror is emptiness, a vacuum, the void.

"This country is ready for a transformative politics of the sort that John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Franklin Roosevelt represented," Barack Obama told Joe Klein for his mid-October 2006 Time Magazine cover story profile.

Klein then adds, "But those were politicians who had big ideas or were willing to take big risks, and so far, Barack Obama hasn't done much of either.”

A paragraph later, describing an Obama speech, Klein writes, “The audience of students and activists sensed the Senator's timidity and became palpably less enthusiastic as Obama went on.”

Finally, 18 months later, we learn more about how this timid soul became a star.

Todd Spivak, a former reporter for obscure Chicago community newspapers, covered Obama when he was a state legislator. He writes that Obama’s stellar statehouse record came because the new black majority leader Emil Jones took bills away from other black representatives, who had been nurturing them for years under a GOP majority, and gave them to Obama.

“Jones appointed Obama sponsor of virtually every high-profile piece of legislation, angering many rank-and-file state legislators who had more seniority than Obama and had spent years championing the bills.

"I took all the beatings and insults and endured all the racist comments over the years from nasty Republican committee chairmen," State Senator Rickey Hendon, the original sponsor of landmark racial profiling and videotaped confession legislation yanked away by Jones and given to Obama, complained to me at the time. Barack didn't have to endure any of it, yet, in the end, he got all the credit.

"I don't consider it bill jacking," Hendon told me. "But no one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit and the stats in the record book."

During his seventh and final year in the state Senate, Obama's stats soared. He sponsored a whopping 26 bills passed into law — including many he now cites in his presidential campaign when attacked as inexperienced. It was a stunning achievement that started him on the path of national politics — and he couldn't have done it without Jones.”

Obama: The more you look, the less you find. And that's scary.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Wait, just wait until the rightwing smear machine comes into play. A perfectly clean Democratic primary campaign will be tarnished when McCain and his wingnut
fascist cronies get ramped up, you'll see some real nasty campaigning then. I'm sure we'll be bombing Iran and some other darksinned people too by then to sate Bushhitler's thirst for Muslim blood.

There all the bases have been covered so Doyle and Verso can take the rest of the day off.

AllenS said...


Where ya been? Did your wife ever return from George Bush's illegal war?

former law student said...

"But no one wants to carry the ball 99 yards all the way to the one-yard line, and then give it to the halfback who gets all the credit and the stats in the record book."

Oh I dunno, Bill seems happy to have carried Hill to the one-foot line. And she's already decided not to punt on fourth down.

But did the Hillary campaign put up a credible defense to Power's charge?

Saul said...

Truth is a defense. I was just talking to someone that had connections to the Clintons back in Arkansas and the person said they'd think longer about shooting a cat, then they would take to kill sommeone who got in their way. You don't want to be the president, with Hillary as your VP.

Peter V. Bella said...

There all the bases have been covered so Doyle and Verso can take the rest of the day off.

Thank you Hoosier Daddy.

Anonymous said...

Everybody can relax now, poor dumb Samantha Power has been shown the door.

Now it's Harvard's turn to toss her...

Bill said...

Traditional journalist appear to disagree with Ann's take on whether the reporter should have let her take the comment off the record.

XWL said...

I want to know who all the surrogates and advisors are for each campaign.

I want to see them do bloggingheads style diavlogs with each other on their particular area of expertise.

I want a preview of what each candidate's cabinet will look like (whichever one gets elected).

If they want to keep it dem v dem, that'd fine, but it'd be even more useful if they mixed it up with McCain's people as well.

And given the long time between now and the next large state's (PA) primary, they need to do something different to keep the narrative about policy rather than personality.

There's no reason not to invite McCain to the next debate, it could potentially help both Obama and Clinton to have a Republican to beat up on, rather than each other, and it would help McCain so that he wouldn't become a sidenote for the next 6 months until September.

But as far as Obama's choice of foreign policy advisors, between Power and Brezhinksi, Sen. Obama seems awfully comfortable with some serious Israel haters.

I guess it's audacious to hate our best ally, and most democratic nation, in a critical region.

Meade said...

Now, apparently, Hillary has told Barak to fire Samantha.
So Barak fired Samantha.

How monstrous.

But that's just my opinion.
My humble little opinion.
Off the record.
Please don't sue me.
That would be heinous.

former law student said...

I guess it's audacious to hate our best ally, and most democratic nation, in a critical region.

Our best ally? Does a good ally spy on us (Pollard)? Does a good ally attack and attempt to sink our Naval vessels (USS Liberty)? Does a good ally need a powerful lobby to advocate for it (AIPAC)? Does a good ally sop up the lion's share of our foreign aid for decades?

We are Israel's best ally and favorite source of financial aid.

Ritmo Re-Animated said...

Right FLS. Let's reap scorn on Israel and not remind ourselves of who our real allies are in the region. Saudi Arabia? Syria? Which of the dozens of states that have allied themselves against the existence of an Israel that you paint as unnaturally power-hungry and propaganda-oriented is our better ally in the region? Or did you forget what the comparison you criticized meant?

former law student said...

who our real allies are in the region. Saudi Arabia?

If you're conceding that Israel is a D+ student surrounded by D students, I'd accept that.

Which of the dozens of states that have allied themselves against the existence of an Israel

Israel is like a Lunar colony, surrounded by instant death, able to survive only through massive, superhuman efforts.

Ritmo Re-Animated said...

Well, personally, I'd give a bigger spread than D and D+, but that might be due to the bias I've internalized through things like the Cold War, the effects of oil and autocracy on long-term U.S. interests... You know, minor details. Small potatoes like Khobar, Cole, the U.S. marine barracks in Lebanon apparently pale in comparison to your warm, vivid memories of the USS Liberty, the big fish that took place decades before any of these events.

"Israel is like a Lunar colony, surrounded by instant death, able to survive only through massive, superhuman efforts."

Or perhaps just through efforts that come more easily to some than to others.

I can only imagine that what you would advocate in our dealings with the Middle East would be more Hobbesian than Leviathan, more Machiavellian than The Prince, something more along the lines of a Mad Max movie. Just be careful not to combine too much tequila with such musings.