Fox had the Republican presidential candidates last night; my impressions on it here.
And please Don’t call that a debate, it was a forum.
Hillary, speaking from Lima, Peru,
“I take responsibility,” Clinton told CNN in an interview while on a visit to Peru. “I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”
But she said an investigation now under way will ultimately determine what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed on September 11.
“I take this very personally,” Clinton said. “So we’re going to get to the bottom of it, and then we’re going to do everything we can to work to prevent it from happening again, and then we’re going to work to bring whoever did this to us to justice.”
Carefully worded, indeed:
Which brings to mind Tonto’s question to the Lone Ranger, “what do you mean ‘we’ kimo-sabe?”
Of course, the investigation’s not going to come up with anything until well after the election. By inauguration time, no matter who wins (unless the media can blame Romney), Benghazi will be yet another one of those disappearing story lines Jennifer Rubin writes about.
Hillary’s carefully-worded statement is hardly surprising, considering how Bill had the lawyers over the weekend. It is, as Jim Geraghty calls it, The Endless, Empty Refrain of ‘I Take Responsibility’
There’s a strange habit in politics of public figures declaring that they’re “taking responsibility” for something going wrong… but then not following up with any particular action, contrition, or consequence.
Absent from any of this is any kind of clearly outlined and verbalized American foreign policy, something that affects not only Libya, but our own hemisphere, Monroe Doctrine be damned.
The question, Who is responsible for what in Libya? remains unanswered.
But back to Hillary: Da Tech Guy is right on the money, pointing out that Hillary Makes The Smartest Political Move of this Cycle
This is the move of a political master. Consider what this accomplishes:
It is a statesman like move, going forward and not ducking responsibility in a way nobody has been willing to do.
It covers her, by taking responsibility it heads off all kinds of stories that might come up with a theme of finding fault. Why should congress investigate to pin blame when it’s already been accepted?
It supports the president, by taking the blame she shields the first Black president both showing herself a good soldier to the party and most importantly to the black community.
It undermines Obama by making her look strong, and him look weak. He is now forced to make some kind of statement second as a response. It’s the 3 AM phone call with her answering while he goes to Vegas.
It ends press coverage on what the Obama Administration should do next, blame assigned move on.
It doesn’t end coverage it changes it. What will the president do about this? It puts Obama in a box. Blame is assigned so what is the punishment? If Hillary is responsible does he ask for her resignation, does he fire her? With his electoral prospects already sinking he dare not do either, and God help him if she resigns on her own. It would be another example of her acting while he is paralyzed. It is the final act of Carterization of the president.
It makes her vulnerable as every commentator on the right calls for her head in the hope of embarrassing Obama and taking her down a peg.
It gets her in good with the base of her party. I can see the fundraising e-mails now. “She’s taken responsibility and those nasty right wingers are piling on” This will coin money for her. That doesn’t even take into account how the press will react.
It hurts her 2016 election prospects after all she is responsible for an attack on the US on the Anniversary of 9/11 no less.
Not only does this make her look presidential (Expect comparisons to JFK’s Bay of Pigs speech from the MSM) but it neutralizes her primary opponents on the subject, in fact for the second time in twelve years she will be able to paint herself as the victim of the irresponsibility of a man who should have known better.
It hands President Romney a ready-made issue in 2016 to use.
It puts Romney in a box. Every president has foreign policy failures and Mitt will have his share. Imagine the debate answer: “President Romney is right. I was secretary of state during the Benghazi debacle and I took full responsibility for it. What I would like to know is when the president will take responsibility for (insert relevant issue here)”. It will put and keep Mitt on the defensive.
The Bottom line is forgetting all the national security and moral issues involved. Hillary has done the thing that most helps her in the long run while all the time managing to undermine her foes on both the left and the right in one fell swoop.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right thing to do, it IS but as usual the right thing is generally the smart thing and this was the smartest thing anyone in this administration has done in a while.
This story may continue, but in terms of its negative impact there will be little if any on Hillary Clinton from this point on.
As for tonight’s debate, expect Obama to repeat Hillary’s words, maybe even verbatim. The media will declare him the winner no matter what.
The Diplomad asks:
The real issue is not whether another inch of concrete, or a few armed guards would have made the difference in Benghazi. Given the size and violence of the attack, I doubt that would have done much. The real issues are what was that facility and what was it doing that was so important given the security environment? Why was the Ambassador there on 9/11?
Even more important, note later on her garbled comments about the key matters, to wit, the attack, the Obama misadministration’s characterization of the attack, and the nature of its response to an attack that went on for some six hours. Nowhere does she say that she contacted the White House, the Libyan government, or that she proposed any particular action. Nowhere does she explain the difference between the statements put out by Rice, Obama, and herself, blaming the attack on a virtually unseen video, and the statements by State and CIA career officers that State never concluded that the attack was the result of an anti-video demonstration gone rogue.
… and whose brilliant idea it was to keep Palin away from the conservative media while throwing her to CBS?
Palin was being handled by Nicolle Wallace, a veteran of the hardball politics of the Bush-Cheney campaign (she had been a press-bashing director of communications). Recruited by Schmidt, Wallace had come from a stint as a commentator at CBS. She had the disastrous idea of making Palin available only for a series of high-profile media interviews, and then overprepared her with a cram course of talking points. It was embarrassing to watch Palin grope for answers to Katie Couric’s questions—and thanks to YouTube, more than 10 million voters witnessed it. “She is not a dumb person,” said a senior McCain adviser. “She is an intelligent person, but we made her so uptight.” Some old McCain hands on the campaign were sharply critical of the Bush-Cheney alumni brought onboard by Schmidt. Wallace and the others had not only botched the handling of Palin, in the view of the old McCainiacs; they didn’t understand that McCain needed to be McCain. (Wallace took responsibility, in an edgy kind of way: “I keep trying to get someone to write that it’s my stupid strategy,” she told a NEWSWEEK reporter. “I should be fired. I’ve offered my resignation twice in the spirit of Dwight D. Eisenhower, taking responsibility, and no one will take it.” In truth, Wallace was in a tough place: Palin was no longer taking much coaching from her. Feeling that she had been overmanaged for her one-on-one debut with a network anchor—Charlie Gibson of ABC—Palin had rebuffed Wallace’s help with her Couric interview.)
This was a huge tactical error. Even people like myself, who are not campaign veterans of any kind, remarked on the obtuse stupidity of the move.
TigerHawk wants Palin in the Senate, taking over Stevens seat.
I disagree. She must build a reputation as an effective, responsible governor. Palin should not only continue to add to her executive/administrative experience as governor, but the stink of Stevens’s indictment would carry over to her if she were to take his seat. Palin should build on her strengths as an outsider to the inside-the-beltway crowd.
Let the Alaskans hold a special election if they must.
Instead, Betsy suggests a plan of action for Palin:
In fact, I’d recommend that she get to know Fred Thompson better and find a way to couple her energy with his ability to understand and explain conservative positions.
To Betsy’s suggestions I add that she continue showing up at Larry Kudlow’s show every time he discusses energy policy. Palin would be a wonderful guest at CPAC, for instance, and other conservative venues. She should also help with Republican fundraising, too.
She has proven to be a riveting presence. Now she needs to become a formidable candidate. The choice is hers.
The Caucus found that Joe’s not a licensed plumber, which according to Ohio law, Joe only needs for commercial work, not residential work. I guess that means that they won’t be hiring Joe to fix the Grey Lady’s sewer disposal.
Jim Geraghty has a theory different from mine: the NYT’s checking Joe not to offer him a plumber job but instead,
This is the way our opponents operate now. Destroy anyone who stands in your way. Humiliate them. Make sure that anyone else who ever wants to skeptically question Barack Obama knows that every last bit of their dirty laundry will be aired for all the world to see. Bristol Palin, Trig Palin, — hey, it’s all fair game. They’ve got to make an example of them. Show them that this sort of dangerous speech won’t be allowed in the New America.
Nah, surely the NYT wouldn’t, would they?
McCain’s new ad,
Joe the Plumber, Joe Wurzelbacher, asks Obama a succint and clear question, and is not favorably impressed by the answer:
Here’s Joe’s name brought up at the debate the first time:
When McCain explains why Joe’s against Obama’s economic plans, notice Obama’s condescending tone to both McCain and Joe: “[Joe]’s been watching some ads of senator McCain’s,” as if Joe doesn’t have enough brains in his mind to judge what’s right for him and his business:
Obama can condescend all he wants, but Joe is still not impressed: “Obama speaks well but talk is talk.”
Joe gets condescension from Ben Smith at Politico, too:
Katie gets the first interview with Joe Wurzelbacher and, like everyone else in America, he talks like a pundit.
Joe probably has a great deal more knowledge and experience in real-life business and economics than most pundits… possibly more than Ben himself.
Joe weighs in: “A sense of family has to be brought back to America as opposed to a sense of entitlement.”
The economy is the central issue right now. No amount of tax increases and income redistribution shell games is going to change that.
And people like Joe realize it. That’s why Joe won last night’s debate.
Rob says, Thank Goodness for Joe the Plumber.
Read The Heritage Foundation’s The Obama and McCain Tax Plans: How Do They Compare?
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* This is John McCain’s last chance to turn this race around and somehow convince the American people that his erratic response to this economic crisis doesn’t disqualify him from being President.
* Just this weekend the weekend, John McCain vowed to “whip Obama’s you-know-what” at the debate, and he’s indicated that he’ll be bringing up Bill Ayers to try to distract voters.
* So we know that Senator McCain will come ready to attack Barack Obama and bring his dishonorable campaign tactics to the debate stage.
Obama continues to lead on the economic crisis with a rescue plan for Main Street.
* Over the course of the campaign, Barack Obama has laid out a set of policies that will grow our middle class and strengthen our economy.
* But he knows we face an immediate economic emergency that requires urgent action – on top of the plans he’s already laid out – to help workers and families and communities struggling right now.
* That’s why Barack Obama is introducing a comprehensive four-part Rescue Plan for the Middle Class – to immediately to stabilize our financial system, provide relief to families and communities, and help struggling homeowners.
* This is a plan that can and should be implemented immediately.
* Obama has shown steady leadership during this crisis and offered concrete solutions to move the country forward – and his Rescue Plan for the Middle Class builds on the plans to strengthen the economy and rebuild the middle class that he’s laid out over the course of this campaign.
* Already in this campaign, he’s unveiled plans to give 95 percent of workers and their families a tax cut, eliminate income taxes for seniors making under $50,000, bring down the cost of health care for families and businesses; and create millions of new jobs by investing in the renewable energy sources.
* John McCain has been erratic and unsteady since this crisis began – staggering from position to position and trying to change the subject away from the economy by launching false character attacks.
In short, the O campaign’s talking point is that McCain’s “erratic and unsteady”, i.e., nuts.
Any of you doing drinking games during the debate perhaps should consider doing the drinking after the debates as the Dem hacks on CNN, MSNBC et al, parrot the “talking points” over and over. Double shots for every time someone says “erratic“.
You still have a couple of hours to stock up on booze.
Well, it didn’t take long for the NYT to regurgitate…
McCain has to be able to explain his proposals for the economy and health care in clear language that also explains how his ideas will affect people. He needs to expose the myths behind Obama’s tax cuts for 95% of people and how it’s really money handouts. Show people that Obama’s math doesn’t add up for all the proposals he has plus his tax cuts. There is no way he’s going to fund that just by taxing the top 5% more.
Especially business taxes, which the US’s are the highest in the world
Point out that taxes on businesses are passed on to customers so we’ll all be paying those higher taxes. And it will affect all of our 401K’s.
And also on how harmful it will be to have all branches of government in the hands of one party,
And McCain should be specific. Talk about Obama’s support for taking the secret ballot away from workers or the money for ACORN that the Democrats wanted to seed into the bailout proposal. Remind people that we’ll never see offshore drilling with Democratic control of the government. Then connect that to people’s gas bills.
This is a particularly important point. You can forget about offshore drilling or for that matter any kind of drilling or exploration of US oil, just as you can forget a strong military under an Obama administration.
Some Republicans may fool themselves into thinking that if Obama comes to power in the middle of a recession and puts through Congress his disastrous policies, the people will then turn to the Republicans in the 2010 Congressional elections as they did during the Clinton years and turn the ship of state around towards conservatism. Allow me to make a prediction:
For starters, back in the days of Newt Grinwrich’s Contract With America, Newt had been building a large network of support for years, with clear issues. There is a complete lack of leadership among Republicans and they have NOT, I repeat, have NOT come up with anything near a “Contract With America”.
Additionally, the media and academia are busy building a myth of Obama, the likes of which we’re only starting to see. Bush Derangement Syndrome will continue for many many years to come. The Dems will blame every darned thing on Republicans and nobody other than perhaps the bloggers (IF the internet is not censored by then) will have the hardheadedness to contradict the meme. It will not matter that the Democrats created the subprime mortgage disaster; it will be blamed on the Republicans, and if there’s a worldwide depression it will be blamed on the Republicans. Look at how the Dems have completely obliterated the reality of the Civil Rights Movement era: the Republicans are seen as “racist” on every turn.
School books are already out with pages of praise for Obama. Do you think that will stop once he’s president?
The President of the United States not only nominates judges to the Supreme Court, he appoints the Federal judges. Think about it: a liberal majority in Congress, in the Senate, in the federal courts, and in the Supreme Court, too.
You’re looking at all branches of government, the media and academia tightly controlled by one party. A party which is the master of propaganda.
Now, consider the existing voter fraud carried out by ACORN (and ACORN received $800,000 from the Obama campaign): With paperless voting machines, who’s going to investigate when the results favor the stranglehold on power?
And another issue: Who will stop any censorship on the internet, on talk radio, on any dissenting organ? Let’s imagine one scenario like we’re seeing now: The president of the world, as Obama sees himself, wants to be seen as a friend of the world, and a socialist country doesn’t want a website owned by one of their nationals to be hosted by a server in the US? What do you think Obama’s position will be? What do you think McCain’s position would be?
Listen to Betsy, John. The game’s a lot bigger than just tonight’s play.
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Posting on ACORN today, RightWing Sparkle
As I was saying, straight from Kos:
I’ve been making the case the last couple of weeks that we can’t just focus on winning in November, but that we have an imperative to take advantage of a historic opportunity to break the conservative movement’s backs and crush their spirits. In the White House, that means getting Obama a broad popular and geographic mandate for change. In the House, that means annihilating the Republican caucus and working toward a 100-seat Democratic majority. In the Senate it means getting to a 60-seat filibuster proof majority.
Go read Ace’s whole post.
Let me get this straight:
Nothing on abortion.
Nothing on corruption.
Nothing on immigration.
Nothing on guns.
Nothing on courts.
Nothing on voter fraud.
Nothing on Wright, Ayers, Dorn, Rezko, Auchi.
And Tom Brokaw moderating? The pastor did a better job.
John Hawkins has a reaction roundup.