The corporate tax “rate” may be, indeed, be too high. And as always, that’s a matter of opinion and up for debate.
Aside from the Constitutional issues involved here, the fact has been lost that there is community and interfaith support for the cultural center and mosque which is taking property that was destroyed during 9/11 and since abandoned (no one else wanted it) and attempting to create a neighborhood center that all can use. Yes, there will ultimately be two floors of the building that will be a mosque, because the mosque that exists a few blocks from the WTC is far too small to serve the current Muslim population in the area.
Park51 will grow into a world-class community center, planned to include the following facilities:
•outstanding recreation spaces and fitness facilities (swimming pool, gym, basketball court)
•a 500-seat auditorium
•a restaurant and culinary school
•cultural amenities including exhibitions
•a library, reading room and art studios
•a mosque, intended to be run separately from Park51 but open to and accessible to all members, visitors and our New York community
•a September 11th memorial and quiet contemplation space, open to all
The planning for this project has been going on for years. But it is summer, Congress is recessed until September, and just as John Kerry was swiftboated in the lead-up to the 2004 election in July/August 2004 and the Tea Party had it’s fun last summer with Health Care Reform and marches against anything that sounded ‘bad’ to them, guess who is behind this suddenly “divisive” issue? None other than (now former) Tea Party chair, Mark Williams.
Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, Council Member Margaret Chin, other elected officials, and community and religious leaders, today stood together outside the proposed location of the Cordoba House in a show of unity against the racist comments made by Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams. They were joined by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf of the Cordoba Initiative, Dhalia Mahmoud of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and representatives of Community Board 1.
Borough President Stringer responded sharply to a statement posted yesterday on Williams’ web site that the planned Cordoba House facility would “consist of a Mosque for the worship of the terrorists’ monkey-god.”
And now the Right is trying to tie this community center to terrorism. (*See update below)
Booga booga!!! When all else fails, play the terrorist card. Nothing new here, I fear. And once again, the Dems are falling for it.
Valerie Elverton Dixon, Founder JustPeaceTheory.com; former teacher of Christian Ethics at Andover Newton (Mass.) Theological School and United Theological Seminary in Ohio, writes in the WaPo:
Does Obama’s hedging show a lack of ethical convictions? Does Hamas’ endorsement change the debate? What is behind public opposition to the site? Can you believe in religious freedom but not believe the mosque is appropriate?
I have seen this movie before.
A few years back, while I still taught ethics at Andover Newton Theological School, I also sat on the board of the Interreligious Center on Public Life (ICPL). This is an organization that started under the auspices of Andover Newton and Hebrew College to bring together religious scholars, clergy and lay leaders to think about how religion impacts our public life. Its mission and goal was to provide a space for respectful dialogue and problem solving.
One problem we faced in 2006 was the controversy at that time over a proposed mosque to be built in Roxbury. The Islamic Society of Boston planned a mosque and cultural center. However, questions around the propriety of the land agreement with the city of Boston along with concerns about whether or not leaders of the Islamic Society of Boston had ties to terrorist groups and concerns about its sources of funding resulted in lawsuits and counter lawsuits. The problem was causing animosity between the Muslim and Jewish communities.
[. . .]
The difference between this present controversy over the Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center and the case in Boston is that politicians stayed out of the Boston dispute. Religious leaders took the initiative to find the facts and to mediate the dispute. The goal was reconciliation. The political goal is not reconciliation. The political goal is to keep people angry enough about this issue so they will go to the polls to cast a proxy vote against the mosque. Thus, we see politicians of both parties who have to face the voters in November issuing statements against the mosque. A candidate for governor in Florida has put his opposition in a campaign commercial. This is a crass exploitation of people’s genuine emotion and pain that is beneath contempt.
Politicians who are using this issue as a wedge issue deserve nothing but our utter disapprobation. The philosopher Immanuel Kant gave us the categorical imperative as a moral guide. It says: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” Kant also argued that one ought to treat others not as a means to an end, but as ends in themselves. The people who are saddened and angry about September 11, about the loss of their loved ones and/or about the assault on this nation are being used as a means to an end, and that end is the election of this or that candidate.
To answer the questions: I do not agree that President Obama hedged his position on the mosque. As president of the United States, he is sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States and that is what he did in his initial remarks on this subject. When he said the next day that he would not comment on the wisdom of building the mosque, that too was appropriate in my opinion. Such a statement would have been a step too far for the president of the United States to take. There are enough others to comment on the wisdom of building the mosque. Hamas’ endorsement of the project is neither here nor there. To give it too much weight either way is to fall into the logical fallacy of guilt by association, or to judge a proposition wrong because someone we do not like thinks that it is right. Moreover, in my opinion, the mistaken idea that Islam attacked the United States is behind public opposition to the mosque. To return to a question this panel addressed several weeks ago, terrorists are criminals and not religious leaders or heroes. They do violence for the sake of politics and economics, not for the sake of religion. God does not want, need, or require human violence.
This is a complicated issue. It is possible to believe in religious freedom and to think that the mosque is not appropriate. Some people say it is a matter of time, that after more time has passed, people will be willing to see a mosque and a community center near ground zero. I do not think this is true. I know that for me, more than a century after the Civil War, I still do not want to see a confederate flag flying on state property. When I see it on someone’s personal property, I wonder what the symbol means to them. I know what it means to me.
Thus, it is imperative to disconnect Islam from terrorism. And that is why the building of this mosque is not only wise but necessary. We need the space for interreligious dialogue. We need to know more about Islam because we do not fear what we know. We fear the unfamiliar. But, most importantly, we need to demonstrate to the terrorists that they have not sown seeds of fear and hatred in our hearts nor in our country. America’s values of pluralism, acceptance, respect and radical love remain intact, and if anything are growing stronger.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got no use for religion, but I have plenty of use for the Constitution. As Ian Welsh puts it:
Freedom of religion is a fundamental American value.
If you are against a mosque near the World Trade Center you are against freedom of religion. That means you are anti-American. You are a person who does not believe in the freedoms many Americans fought and died for.
There. I said it.
UPDATE: For those who want to claim that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is some kind of wild-eyed terrorist:
And yet Park51′s main movers, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, are actually the kind of Muslim leaders right-wing commentators fantasize about: modernists and moderates who openly condemn the death cult of al-Qaeda and its adherents — ironically, just the kind of “peaceful Muslims” whom Sarah Palin, in her now infamous tweet, asked to “refudiate” the mosque. Rauf is a Sufi, which is Islam’s most mystical and accommodating denomination.
Since 9/11, Western “experts” have said repeatedly that Muslim leaders who fit Rauf’s description should be sought out and empowered to fight the rising tide of extremism.
Huh. Isn’t that just the kind of person we’d want the State Department to send as our envoy to the Middle East?
Republican pols almost never voice this idea—they leave that to hacks like Sean Hannity. Presumably, Kyl’s blunder explains why McConnell did voice the dumbest idea in the world. But it doesn’t answer Paul Krugman’s question:
How can this dumbest idea survive, as it has for the past thirty years?
Why can’t we kill this dumbest idea? How can it continue to sow mistrust and confusion in the minds of talk-show listeners? In part, it’s a tribute to mainstream press lethargy—to the inability of big famous “journalists” to discuss almost any budget issue. But in larger part, the failure rests with us hapless liberals. It isn’t just this dumbest idea which has made a rolling joke of our discourse. Here’s a list of the world’s five dumbest ideas, all of which are alive and well, sowing confusion, after a good many years:
If we lower our tax rates, we get higher revenue!
Social Security will go bankrupt in the year [xxxx]!
The top one percent pay [xxx] percent of federal taxes, a vastly disproportionate share!
European-style health care has failed everywhere it’s ever been tried!
When it snows in Washington, that proves that global warming’s a hoax!
These dumbest ideas continue to thrive, enabled by liberal indolence. We liberals love to complain about Fox. But the real problem lies with us—with our hapless, dishonorable, highly indifferent “intellectual leaders.” Lower tax rates produce higher revenue? Even the gods on Olympus avert their gaze as we “liberals” allow this cant to survive, as we’ve done for the past thirty years.
Name a famous TV liberal. He or she has played a role in letting this nonsense persist. They’ve been kissing the keisters of fame—and letting the dumbest ideas in the world rule the American discourse. Have you ever seen a serious effort to address those dumbest ideas in a systematic fashion? Have you ever seen a serious effort to tell centrist and conservative voters about the ways they’re being misled in this long, rolling, ludicrous con game?
In a word? No.
The recent flap over the Shirley Sherrod firing is a crystal clear example of everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party and why there appears to be no hope for it whatsoever.
Krugman nails it:
What’s shocking here isn’t the behavior of the right, which was par for the course. It’s the seemingly limitless credulity of the inside-the-Beltway crowd. I mean, there’s a history here: ACORN, Climategate, Vince Foster, Whitewater, and much much more. (Someone recently reminded me that the GOP held two weeks of hearing on the Clinton Christmas card list.) When the right-wing noise machine starts promoting another alleged scandal, you shouldn’t suspect that it’s fake — you should presume that it’s fake, until further evidence becomes available.
But no. That isn’t what happened. Without even so much as a phone call to Ms. Sherrod, without even a cursory examination of the evidence, and by evidence, I mean the full videotape, not some taken-out-of-context piece of crap on a rightwing web site. Without even a call to the NAACP, for crying out loud, to ask them what they knew of this, the Obama administration and Tom Vilsack believed the wingers. Hook. Line. Sinker. Then, without doing as much as your average Human Resources Specialist would do, they went straight for the nuclear option and forced her to resign. No investigation, just, OMG! We’re gonna be bad-mouthed on FOX tonight! You’ve gotta go!
Stupid, stupid, stupid! And don’t even get me started on the flat out, in-your-face, racist and yes, sexist, bullshit this all was. That they would believe that this woman would stand up in front of the NAACP and tell a tale of how she got one over on Whitey is ridiculous to you and me. But it wasn’t to the beltway insiders. And it wasn’t to Tom Vilsack or Barack Obama. Well of course they believed it. Well of course a black woman would do this. And they wanted her gone, because she made The O look bad. Bastards.
Well now, they’ve realized that they have stepped in a big pile of shit, and they are in damage control.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack personally apologized to the black USDA employee he ousted after a furor over an edited videotape of remarks she made in a March speech, saying he “did not handle this situation well.”
Vilsack said yesterday he called Shirley Sherrod to extend “my personal and profound apologies” and that he took full responsibility for turmoil caused when he demanded her resignation without fully investigating the circumstances. He also extended a job offer to Sherrod, 62, who had been the agency’s director of rural development for Georgia.
“This is a good woman; she’s been put through hell,” Vilsack said at a news conference in Washington. “I could have done and should have done a better job.”
President Barack Obama’s chief spokesman, Robert Gibbs, earlier issued an apology on behalf of the administration and said “a disservice” was done to Sherrod.
Vilsack fell on his sword to protect The O.
Vilsack said the White House didn’t pressure him to seek Sherrod’s resignation.
“This was my decision and I made it in haste,” Vilsack said. “I asked for Shirley’s forgiveness, and she was gracious enough to extend it to me.”
Tell me, why hasn’t Vilsak been forced to resign?
And these people are running the country? They couldn’t even do what your average Human Resources investigate this and we think they can investigate the BP oil disaster? Rein in Wall Street? Reform Health Care?
Vilsack has offered Ms. Sherrod another job. If I were her, I’d find a good attorney instead.
So, what’s on your mind today? This is an open thread.
You know, I have sat down here in Florida for the last month. And I have watched the coverage, and I really think the evidence-free bias against the Clintons in the media borders on mental illness. I mean, I think when Dr. Phil gets done with Britney [Spears], he ought to go to Washington and stage an intervention at the National Press Club. I mean, we’ve gotten into a situation where if you try to be fair to the Clintons, if you try to be objective, if you try to say, “Well, where’s the evidence of racism in the Clinton campaign?” you’re accused of being a naïve shill for the Clintons. I mean, I think if somebody came out today and said that Bill Clinton — if the town drunk in Columbia [South Carolina] came out and said, “Bill Clinton last night was poisoning the drinking water in Obama precincts,” the media would say, “Ah, there goes Clinton again. You can’t trust him.” I really think it’s a problem. …
Video at link (MediaMatters for America)
For those of you out there who are operating under the delusion that an Obama candidacy / presidency will bring the kind of “change” to Washington that he promises, let me direct you to this statement by RNC chair, Robert Duncan.
“Voters in South Carolina have soundly rejected the Democrats’ liberal rhetoric during every presidential contest for over 30 years, and if Barack Obama makes it to the general election, 2008 will be no different. Most South Carolina voters want a different kind of ‘change’ than Barack Obama is advocating with his proposals to choke off funding for our troops and eliminate tax relief that he claims hard-working families ‘didn’t need.’ Under his high-flying rhetoric and his thin record of experience, it’s clear Barack Obama isn’t ready to be America’s Commander-in-Chief.”
The fact of the matter is Barack Obama has never had to fight a tough race against the Republican slime machine. He coasted into the U.S. Senate running against late-entry / carpetbagger / right-wing whack job Alan Keyes. If you don’t thing the long knives of the Republican noise machine will come out against Barack Obama in the general election, I’ve got some land in Florida to sell you.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton has taken the hits (from the right, the left and the MSM) and just keeps on getting up and soldiering on. Furthermore, she is gracious in defeat, always congratulating Obama on his victories, unlike his skulking out of Nevada last Saturday with nary a word to her OR his supporters, and disingenuously insisting that he had won the national delegate count in Nevada when, in fact, no national delegates were awarded and won’t be until the state convention in a couple of months.
Any criticism of Barack is decried as racism, but no lie is too outrageous to believe about Hillary and Bill. Their words are twisted, as are their supporters’ words. Hell, if one of her supporters pays a compliment to Barack it’s called racist. What a shell game that is! In the MSM Hillary’s every word is gone over with a fine tooth comb, mined for its hidden underlying venom, while Barack is purity defined and “above it all.”
She doesn’t whine, she just keeps on fighting. And I trust that she will continue to do so, for me, for my family, for my community and for my country.
So, if you like, you can choose the dreamer who will be rudely awakened from his dreaming by the roar of the right-wing noise machine.
I’ll take the fighter.
On Edit: All bets are off if these rules posted by Big Tent Democrat are followed in the General Election.
Here are some of the rules that Obama and progressives should look to enforce through to the General Election:
1. Rezko is a nonissue and bringing it up is a slimy personal attack on Obama. This one has the virtue of being true. Let’s get that enforceable against John McCain and the other Republicans.
2. Discussions of experience and youth are, at the least, vaguely racist, and a personal attack. When a candidate touts experience or points to Obama’s lack of it, they are expressly arguing for a return to the past as opposed to looking to the future. It means they are opposed to change. Indeed, it expressly means for Republicans that they want to continue the policies of the Bush Administration. For Republicans, this also has the virtue of largely being true. The GOP field is indeed basically arguing for a continuation of Bush policies in most areas – tax cuts permanent, continuatio of the Iraq Debacle, less government regulation, etc.
3. What Obama Meant. Any review of Obama statements or past votes is subject to an explanation by Obama of what he REALLY meant. Any criticism of Obama’s statements which do not take into account Obama’s clarifications and explanations of what he REALLY meant are unfair personal attacks and the attacker is a “liar” who will say and do anything to get elected.
4. Obama’s attacks are always fair and merited. Any suggestion otherwise is, at the least, vaguely racist.
Can we get these rules enforced in the Media in a General Election? Let’s hope so if Obama is the nominee.
I’ve said it before, and I am sure I will say it again, the Democrats could nominate Jesus Christ and the right-wing and their lapdogs in the media will still go after our nominee tooth and nail. And it won’t quit after Inauguration Day.
Digby nails it, first pointing out that previous VPs who were running for President have never been asked about their private conversations and memos with the President they served with, and then moving on to what we are in for in 2009, no matter who our nominee is:
I don’t recall in 2000 Gore being asked to asked to reveal all of his conversations and official papers relating to his position as vice president either. Or Mondale in 1984. Or any other VPs, who are always running at least in part on the basis of their experience in a former administration.
Even weirder, what Russert is asking for is papers relating to personal advice she gave to the president, which I don’t recall anyone ever asking from any candidate who had once worked in former administrations or who had a personal relationship with a former president. Cheney wasn’t asked to release all of his correspondence with Bush Sr from when he was Sec Def. Bush Jr was never asked, as far as I know, to reveal records of his personal conversations with his father, (although I’m fairly sure if he had been he would have told the questioner to go Cheney himself.)
The fact is that relationships with former presidents, whether as members of the administration, or as close associates, are taken at face value. If the former president thought you were someone worth listening to, the press didn’t demand that you reveal exactly what was said. The voter is expected to evaluate that endorsement on the basis of how they felt about the one who gave it — the former president — rather than demanding to judge each piece of advice for itself. If you liked Reagan, then you assumed that James Baker and George Bush Sr were your kind of guys too.
Not so for Clinton. Apparently, the thrill of examining every single aspect of that marriage, from sleeping arrangements to pillow talk, is of unending interest to the Village biddies. Why else would they demand that President Clinton release the records for Hillary but not for Al?
Finally, one can only gasp at the extreme irony of Russert pressing Clinton like she was a criminal for allegedly trying to keep some mid-90′s advice about welfare reform a secret. Right before his eyes is an administration that has made a fetish of secrecy to the point where we are now waging wars and torturing people which, short of revolution, we can’t seem to do a damned thing about. But for some reason Tim doesn’t see a problem with that, at least as far as I can discern. He doesn’t have problem with the president commuting the sentence of one of his felonious henchmen, and he doesn’t have problem with an administration that pretty much says the laws don’t apply to him. He doesn’t even ask the Republican candidates if they agree with these policies or press them on whether they would endorse these actions.
But, he’s hell on seeing Hillary’s memos from 1997.
Has Tim ever said one thing about the fact that this White House has taken the nearly unprecedented step of directing its former employees to openly defy congressional subpoenas, leaving the congress’ only option to send the Sergeant at Arms to arrest them in their homes and hold them in a little jail in the capitol that hasn’t been used in about a century? Has that been a matter of interest to Russert and the kewl kidz, because I haven’t heard them fulminating about it, have you? That’s the kind of “executive privilege” we’re talking about with this administration — telling the United States congress to shove it, over and over again.
But seeing those thank you notes from 1995 is something that the public demands.
Grab the Maalox kids because I can feel it in my gut. The bad breath and the sleepy eyes and the bedhead are all around us. Come 2009, if a Democrat wins the presidency, the Village press will finally wake up from its 8 year somnambulent drool and rediscover its “conscience” and its “professionalism.” The Republicans will only have to breathe their character assassination lightly into the ether — the Village gossips will do the rest. And if this new president resists in any way, a primal scream will build until he or she is forced to appoint a special counsel to investigate the “cover up” and grovel repeatedly in forced acts of contrition in response to manufactured GOP hissy fits and media hysteria. We’re going forward into the past (and judging from the haircut nonsense we’ve already seen, it isn’t confined to Clinton.)
Reforming politics isn’t enough. Reforming the media is just as important. The current administration is so power mad, morally bankrupt and inept that their natural heir is a barking madman. (And some excellent reporting has been done to expose them.) But the Village kewl kidz and the queen bees who set the political agenda and dominate the coverage have never found any of that interesting or worthwhile. They care about their silly little shorthand parlor games that they think reveal politicians’ “character.” And their judgment of character is about as useful to the average voter as Brittney and K-Fed’s.
In today’s Huffington Post, Naomi Wolf takes on the danger of leaving some topics of discussion of limits.
Even as I write those words, I understand I am breaching a major social taboo of our particular time and place. There is a general polite consensus right now that maintains two no-debate areas: 1) you are not, if you are a serious person, allowed to note in public that it is possible that this White House — or any U.S. leader ever — might conceivably distort or hype the terror threat for political purposes (though plenty of serious people discuss this possibility in private); and 2) if you are a serious person, you are not allowed to suggest in public that it is remotely possible that in America elections could possibly be deliberately thrown off course any more directly than, say, the vote recount of 2000.
Wolf then goes on to demonstrate that corrupt leaders often either make up a threat or hype one that does exist, and that U.S. history, even before this administration took over, is full of this sort of activity.
Finally, I am sorry to say, there is the fact that, historically, when leaders are seeking to close down an open society, the months leading up to an election are traditionally the most unstable time — the period most likely to see reports of a frightening purported threat “just-foiled,” an apparent awful breach “just-averted,” or even a dramatic actual provocation — which requires, then, a strong hand to restore “public order.” Mrs. Clinton pointed out that even though it is a “horrible prospect,” sometime you have to ask “What if?”
And you know, this is a question I heard so many of my fellow Democrats ask in the months leading up to both the 2004 and 2006 election. I was the naive one who said, “Oh, we can’t worry about that. Let’s just focus on Get Out The Vote.” Right now I am glad to see at least one candidate admitting, in public, what we’ve ALL discussed amongst ourselves.
Wolf goes on to contrast our generalized nation-wide fear with how it’s done in nations that have lived with terrorism for decades.
Anyone who has ever lived in Israel — a country where, since its very birth, sophisticated terrorists have been targeting the civilian population day and night — knows that you NEVER get the equivalent of broad-anxiety-inducing alerts in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem like the “red alert” or “orange alert” system here at home. At the most, in Israel, you get practical, low-key, usable information from the state — for example, “avoid the Machaneh Yehudah marketplace this Friday afternoon” — no matter who is in power. Israelis, consequently, experience, on the day-to-day level, the possibility of terror attacks as a specific, real danger — but not as a state-produced existential condition, a matrix of helpless fear. (Indeed, avoiding national fear from terror attacks is a point of pride in Israel that transcends party lines).
Nor do Israelis get our regular-as-rain triumphalist narratives in the press about this or that terrorist’s creepy bio, his sinister face, or this or that thwarted, grandiose attack on this or that cherished national monument. There is not a constant struggle between the Knesset and the party in power over the declassification of intelligence, comparable to our struggle here at home. Rather, when there is something the people need to know, Mossad lets the people’s leaders — whatever party is in power — know it. Everyone in Israel understands that terror is too serious to mess with politically — that intelligence about attacks is too important to disclose or to conceal for political purposes — and that Mossad is always, very quietly, at work.
Anyone who has lived in the UK during the years of regular, bloody IRA bombings has experienced similar restraint. Nations that have long been primarily intent on tracking and thwarting terrorists — rather than, perhaps, driving policy with fear — just don’t talk about terrorism in the same way (or nearly so much). Even now — fighting the very same “bad guys” that we are fighting — Gordon Brown has reminded his nation and ours that “terrorism is not a cause, it is a crime.”
Is it irrational to consider the possibility of a hyped threat or even a provocation before the election? It is, at this point, irrational to refuse to do so. If this White House had no actual major record of hyping a threat — if the U.S. had no record of inflating various fears for political ends — and if weakening democracies worldwide had no record of manipulating terror narratives to drive certain outcomes, it would indeed be illogical — even paranoid — to worry about a possible hyped threat or provocation that is politically driven.
But given the current administration’s record of lying to Congress, the American people and the UN about such threats; given that it used fake documents to do so; given that it has often splashed out widely-reported terror charges that then vanish or subside during actual trials (the course corrections of which are seldom as widely reported); given our own nation’s history of not being immune to the temptations on the part of leaders of using fear to drive a political outcome — is it not, rather, almost criminally naive to REFUSE even to consider the possibility of a hyped threat or provocation close to the election?
Let’s dare to release our immature fantasies of a magically faultless American system and a magically protected election process. We have been lucky, as a nation; but sometimes continued luck depends on action.
Hillary Clinton’s rivals should back down; she was the first to dare to imply what we must all directly consider.
Sometimes collective blind spots — agreements not to look — are not a problem; and sometimes — as in a dramatically weakening democracy — such blind spots can become big enough to prove self-destructive indeed.
Media Matters takes on Fox “cropping” of Hillary quote. Thing is, some in the blogosphere have done the same thing.
Summary: On Your World, Neil Cavuto brought up Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s comment that “[i]f certain things happen between now and the elections, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again,” and asked radio talk-show host Ben Ferguson, “So, Ben, your take on this is that she knows in her heart of hearts Republicans are tougher on terror?” But Cavuto did not mention that Clinton criticized Republicans’ handling of national security in the very same statement.
AP article on the backyard house party.
At a backyard gathering of supporters, Clinton was asked why she has the best chance of defeating the eventual Republican nominee. She argued that her long history of coming under Republican fire as first lady and now a New York senator makes her the most prepared for a general election fight.
“I’ve been through it and I understand their tactics. I have been subjected to them for 15 years and I have survived them,” she said. “There’s something to be said for that, because I understand what they will do.”
She said the goal of Republicans will be to “drive up the negatives” of the Democratic nominee.
“It will all be fresh information. It will all be, ‘Oh, you didn’t know? Let us tell you. Let us create a caricature. Let us give you this picture.’ Whereas I have the somewhat mixed, but rather fortunate blessing of already starting with those negatives. For me that’s a plus.”
Oh no! According to chumley et al over at DailyKos, Hillary has ceded the terror issue to the Republicans.
Except when you listen to what she said IN CONTEXT.
Hmmm. That “what if, what if” in context doesn’t sound like she’s talking about a terrorist attack, per se. She’s saying that there are all sorts of things that you could “what if” yourself to death over that could come up between now and November 2008 that could affect the election, including something related to terrorism (you know, like a video from Osama bin Laden, or another series of well-timed “terrorist alerts” or even, god forbid, a terrorist event). And Hillary believes that she is the best Democratic candidate to handle these unexpected scenarios because she’s been in the rightwing noise machine’s cross-hairs for years. She gets how they operate. And she’s best equipped to handle them.
From The Trail at the Washington Post:
Addressing voters in Concord, N.H. yesterday, Clinton said her experience would help her “handle things I have no control over” in the general election. “It’s a horrible prospect to ask yourself ‘What if? What if?,’ ” she went on. “But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world. So I think I’m the best of the Democrats to deal with that as well.”
The R’s know how to play the fear card. And they spin it to their advantage. I know it. You know it. And Hillary definitely knows it.
As it happens, Clinton herself has warned in the past about Republican attempts to use the terror threat as a cudgel against Democrats. At a labor convention in February 2006, she said that Rove’s strategy boiled down to this: “‘Here’s your game plan, folks. Here’s how we’re going to win. We’re going to win by getting everybody scared again.’ Contrary to Franklin Roosevelt, we have nothing to fear but fear itself. This crowd is, ‘All we’re got is fear, and we’re going to keep playing the fear card.’”
In now predicting an inherent “advantage” for Republicans in the event of another attack, Clinton may just have been keeping up on the latest academic literature. A group of psychologists has been making waves with extensive research suggesting that the Sept. 11 attacks, and subsequent evocations of the attacks by Bush and other Republican candidates, provoked in many voters a subconscious fear of their own mortality and a “worldview defense” that made them more likely to vote Republican in 2002 and 2004.
On Edit: Here is a fuller account of the context of the remarks above. (Concord Monitor)
…Years of political attacks have hardened Clinton and given her insight into Republican tactics, she said in response to a question about how she plans to beat a Republican in the general election.
Republicans “will go after anybody we nominate. Anyone who thinks that this election will be a runaway because it’s so self-evident that we have to have a Democrat I don’t think understands the intensity of the campaign that they will run,” Clinton said. “It is important that our nominee have no illusions about the difficulty of this race. I have none.”
It’s “fair to say that the tactic used effectively will be to drive up the negatives of whoever our nominee is, and it will all be fresh information. It will all be, ‘Oh, you didn’t know. Let us tell you. Let us paint a caricature,’ ” Clinton said of Republican tactics. “Whereas I have the somewhat mixed but rather fortunate blessing of already starting with those negatives. And for me, that’s a plus.”
Apart from Republican attacks, Clinton argued that her political experience would equip her “to handle things I have no control over” in the general election.
Her remarks peeled back the curtain, ever so slightly, on the possible scenarios Clinton is considering in her general election strategy.
“It’s a horrible prospect to ask yourself ‘What if? What if?,’ ” Clinton said. “But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world. So I think I’m the best of the Democrats to deal with that as well.”