Benny's World

Saturday, November 03, 2007

We've Come a Long Way

Former NARAL President Kate Michelman on Hillary Clinton's use of gender in response to her performance in last week's debate. Michelman argues any serious candidate for president should be held to the same standard - whether man or woman.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

New Dance: The Double Talk Waltz

The Politics of Parsing.


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Thursday, November 01, 2007

RJ Eskow Speaks For Benny

As many of BW readers know by now, my gender is female. Last night, I was in a tumble for awhile at Taylor Marsh's place, which was a mistake, since Taylor defends Clinton almost no matter what and constantly uses sexism as her defense rattle. I get offended when Taylor does this as I see it as the general Clinton doubletalk, and to me, Clinton got a dose of reality at Tuesday night's debate. She has been cooed by the MSM (and yes, she's gotten a lot of negative press compared to Obama) for months, and I think she just assumed she could operate in general election mode, and get by with the usual refrain "We cannot elect a woman unless we try."

Apparently, I am not alone in this view. RJ Eskow wrote an excellent rebuttal on HuffPo to an opinion Taylor typed yesterday. The name of the blog piece is "Defending Hillary at Feminism's Expense." Eskow nailed it when he wrote his reaction to Clinton when answering the driver's licenses for undocumented workers question at the debate:

At best, Clinton was uncharacteristically ineffective in communicating about this issue -- so much so that Mark Penn had to spin heavily about it right after the debate. But things are simpler for Taylor Marsh, and probably for others in the "boys vs. girls" crowd. It's about sexism and nothing more.

I think Taylor is getting a dose of reality on this one, but because a man wrote it, he will be deemed sexist too. I'll be glad when the primaries are over, especially if Edwards or anyone but Hillary wins. Taylor will have to deal with the reality that people don't object to Clinton because she's a woman. It's because she is Hillary Rodham Clinton, a person who is driven by selfish ambition and will take dirty money to do get what she and her spouse want, not what the American people want. And Clinton and her spouse cannot be trusted.

If you want transparency with a clear moral compass from the next occupant of the White House, I suggest voting for John Edwards.

Update: Clinton is considered a drag on the ticket in California. One doesn't have to wonder why.

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John Edwards: Heroes

This is Edwards' first big ad in Iowa. I like it that we are the heroes and not looking for a politician to be the hero or to rescue us. This is about having a candidate run for the White House and occupying it in order to serve us, the American People.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

JRE Buzz Special Edition: The Son of a Millworker Takes on the Madam of Special Interests: Clinton

Critics lauded JRE and are falling over themselves about his performance at last night's debate. Here's a sampling:

TIME’s Mark Halperin Gave Edwards’ Debate Performance an “A”; Edwards “Came Across As Presidential, Optimistic and Patriotic — Essential for a Winner.” “Impressively he remained above the Clinton-Obama fray (no "look at me" antics) but swept in to best them while the media waited for the pair to duke it out. Calm and cool, he went after Clinton on (let's face it) character, and only occasionally seemed to be trying too hard. Hit both his Democratic and Republican targets with acute precision and impact. Appeared tough enough to perform well in a general election, with the kind of articulate passion he formerly demonstrated in the courtroom. Came across as presidential, optimistic and patriotic - essential for a winner.”

David Yepsen: “John Edwards Emerged As the Evening’s Most Effective and Articulate Challenger to Clinton.” In a blog post titled, “Johnny Be Good,” Yepsen wrote, “John Edwards emerged as the evening’s most effective and articulate challenger to Clinton. She turned in an uneven, sometimes waffling performance…Edwards came ready for the scrap and he helped his candidacy.” [Des Moines Register, 10/30/07]

New York Times: Obama “Was Frequently Overshadowed by Former Senator John Edwards.” “But for all the attention Mr. Obama drew to himself coming into the debate, he was frequently overshadowed by former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, who — speaking more intensely and frequently — repeatedly challenged Mrs. Clinton’s credentials and credibility. ‘Senator Clinton says that she believes she can be the candidate for change, but she defends a broken system that’s corrupt in Washington, D.C.,’ Mr. Edwards said. ‘She says she will end the war, but she continues to say she’ll keep combat troops in Iraq and continue combat missions in Iraq. To me, that’s not ending the war; that’s the continuation of the war.’ He added, ‘I think the American people, given this historic moment in our country’s history, deserve a president of the United States that they know will tell them the truth, and won’t say one thing one time and something different at a different time.’” [New York Times, 10/31/07]

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “I Think It Was a Good Night for John Edwards. I Think One of His Best Nights of These Debates So Far.” George Stephanopoulos: “I think it was a good night for John Edwards. I think one of his best nights of these debates so far. He was very, very clear. He didn’t back down at all. He knew exactly what he wanted to say about Hillary Clinton, again, that she can’t bring about change.” [ABC, “Good Morning America,” 10/31/07]

CQ’s Craig Crawford: “I Thought It Was Edwards’ Best Performance So Far.” On MSNBC: Chris Matthews: “Who was ready to be her number one challenger between now and January?”… Craig Crawford: “I thought it was Edwards’ best performance so far.” Crawford later wrote, ““John Edwards was truly passionate about taking on Clinton, targeting her centrist views as ‘doubletalk’ and accusing her of falling in line with hawkish ‘neo-conservatives’ on Iran. Indeed, it was the former North Carolina senator’s most forceful debate performance so far.” [MSNBC, 10/30/07; 10/31/07]

The Nation’s Ari Melber: “John Edwards Had the Strongest Showing.” “John Edwards had the strongest showing, pounding Clinton as the status quo candidate. ‘If you believe that combat missions should be continued in Iraq [with no timetable],’ he said, ‘then Senator Clinton is your candidate.’ Edwards repeatedly presented himself as the most credible ‘change’ candidate.” [ “Edwards & Obama Confront Clinton In Dem Debate...” 10/30/07]

Daily Kos Readers Declared Edwards the Winner. According to the Daily Kos poll following the debate, “Who do you think won the debate,” John Edwards led the pack with 33% of the 8,588 votes cast, followed by Obama at 21%, and Clinton at 16%.

CBS’s Jeff Greenfield: “It Was Former Senator John Edwards Who Used the Toughest Language” On Iran. “But it was former Senator John Edwards who used the toughest language, at one point reacting with incredulity to her claim that a vote to brand the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as terrorists was a way of opposing the president.” [“The Early Show,” CBS, 10/31/07]

The Nation’s John Nichols (first reaction): Edwards “Ended the Night as the Candidate Who Had Done the Best Job of Defining Himself as the Alternative to Hillary Clinton.” “It wasn't just a fight about Iran, however. Edwards hit hard, and effectively, on every front. After detailing the front-runner's contributions from defense contractors and other corporate interests, he said. ‘If people want the status quo, Senator Clinton's your candidate.’ That's tough talk. Blunt talk. The sort of talk that Barack Obama seemed to suggest that he was going to deliver Tuesday night. But it came from John Edwards, who ended the night as the candidate who had done the best job of defining himself as the alternative to Hillary Clinton.” [h, 10/30/07]

Then Nichols added this later: “Edwards, Not Obama, Hits Clinton Hardest, Smartest.” “It was supposed to be the night Barack Obama took Hillary Clinton down. But, when all was said and done, Obama was a bystander…Where Obama was unfocused and ineffectual, John Edwards landed plenty of blows. The former senator from North Carolina began by suggesting that ‘it's fair’ to talk about essential differences between the candidates. Then he highlighted a big one. ‘(Clinton) says she'll stand up to George Bush,’ argued Edwards. "In fact, she voted to give George W. Bush the first step to war on Iran...’… It was a smart, at times intense dialogue…But Edwards owned the moment. Accusing Clinton of voting for an Iran resolution that read like it was ‘written literally by the neo-cons,’ the 2004 vice presidential nominee declared, ‘We need to stand up to this president. We need to make it absolutely clear that we will not let Bush, Cheney and this administration invade Iran.’”

NBC’s Tim Russert: “Edwards Was More Aggressive, More on the Offense than Barack Obama.”
Meredith Viera: “So did Edwards emerge?” Tim Russert: “I think Edwards emerged as the most aggressive candidate against Hillary Clinton…But clearly, looking at their performance last night, Edwards was more aggressive, more on the offense than Barack Obama.” [NBC’s “Today Show,” 10/31/07]

Marc Ambinder: “John Edwards’s Instruments of Persuasion Were Sharper and Louder.” “In this discordant symphony – ‘A Clintonian Lament’ -- John Edwards’s instruments of persuasion were sharper and louder; Barack Obama’s were more resonant and more subtle. In music terms, Edwards played the French horn; Obama played the violin. Or, as the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza told me during a commercial break, ‘It’s the difference between someone who goes to law school and becomes a prosecutor and someone who goes to law school and becomes a law professor.’” [, 10/30/07]

ABC’s Rick Klein: “It's Rare That a Highlight Comes This Late in a Debate, But Edwards Picks up on That Inconsistency On Immigration.” “10:56 pm ET: It's rare that a highlight comes this late in a debate, but Edwards picks up on that inconsistency on immigration: ‘Sen. Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes.’ Obama: ‘I was confused on Sen. Clinton's answer.’ And Obama calls the Spitzer plan ‘the right idea.’”[ 10/30/07]

Then added Klein: “Edwards Still Seems Better, Though, at Finding Compelling Ways to Set Himself Apart.” “11:05 pm ET: Rick Klein wrapping it up -- Hillary Clinton gave a truly bad answer at the end, on illegal immigration, one that feeds the argument Obama and Edwards were making all night. Did Obama clear the bar he set for himself? Probably yes, but not with much room to spare. Edwards still seems better, though, at finding compelling ways to set himself apart. ” [10/30/07]

NBC's Domenico Montanaro: “Clinton Blurring the Lines AGAIN, Now on Illegal Immigrant Driver's Licenses… Edwards Called Her on It.” “Is Clinton blurring the lines AGAIN, now on illegal immigrant driver's licenses. She said the plan makes sense, but can't commit apparently. She said she didn't say she supports the plan, when Dodd said she did. Russert tried to pin her on it, and she obfuscated again. Edwards called her on it, evoking Bush-Cheney, saying Americans were tired of ‘double talk.’ Obama nodded and got called on and he got to chime in as well. Does this become a problem for her? Can she directly answer a question?” [ “Clinton having it both ways... again?” 10/30/07]

The Politico’s Ben Smith: “John Edwards Kept Up the Pressure Most Skillfully on Clinton… Drove His Point Home When She Refused to Say Whether She Supports” Spitzer’s Plan. “John Edwards kept up the pressure most skillfully on Clinton, putting his courtroom skills to use to build a case, at times mockingly, against the New York senator … Edwards drove his point home when she refused to say whether she supports New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants.” [, 10/31/07]

CNN’s Candy Crowley: Edwards “Stepped Up His Game.” Appearing on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, Candy Crowley said, “John Edwards, who has never been shy about going after the frontrunner, stepped up his game, questioning her candor.” [CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” 10/30/07]

CQ’s Craig Crawford: “I thought Edwards made a good point when he said Republicans talk about you so much, because they want to run against you.” [MSNBC, 10/31/07]

Update: MJ Rosenberg at TPM declares Edwards Won.
"But, of the three heavyweights, I was most impressed by Edwards. He combined toughness and vision. Somehow I can imagine that Edwards' agenda for America would have a name like "New Deal" or "Great Society" in other words a rubric that suggests that his program for America would be larger than just his persona. I like that. I'm not so sure about the others.

I think Edwards will win Iowa and then we'll have a real race, one with an almost level playing field. It is not over. That is the main thing I learned last night.

Not over by a long shot."

I'm happy to hear the praise of the critics, but it's very clear none of them believed him when he said he has taken on the big interests before in the court rooms, and beat them at their game.

Madame Clinton, you, along the Re-thugs, represent those big interests and the double talk from the 1990's.

I would not underestimate the one who is the most authentic and will bring about positive change for our country: John Edwards. He's the son of a millworker.

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John Edwards: This is about the Future

From the debate last night:

Joe Trippi says that was his favorite moment. It was one of mine too.

Other post debate thoughts: Paul Bevan,,It's a Matter of Trust

But it was Edwards who reached out last night to try and grab the mantle as the candidate Democrats can trust - and he seemed to do it somewhat effectively. The reason the "trustworthiness" charge is so potentially potent is because it dovetails with - or cuts against, depending on your perspective - the argument for real change, which is what Democrats (and Republicans, for that matter) are yearning for this year.

Edwards' accusation is that Hillary is an entrenched part of a corrupt and broken system, and that you simply cannot trust her when she says she's an agent of change. That is a powerful message that probably rings true to many Democrats and arouses deep-seated suspicions about her. Furthermore, it makes her slogan - You can't have change without the "experience and leadership" - seem like another example of hollow Clintonian parsing and triangulation.

David Greene, Democratic Presidential Debate Targets Clinton

Her rivals, however, did not let up. Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut went after Clinton for voting in favor of an anti-Iran resolution favored by the Bush administration.

"I believe that this issue is going to come back to haunt us," Dodd said. "We all learned, some of us here painfully back in 2002, that by voting for an authorization regarding Iraq, that despite the language of that resolution, which called for diplomacy at the time, this administration used that resolution, obviously, to pursue a very aggressive action in Iraq."

Edwards jumped on the same vote, suggesting that if the president were to invade Iran, Clinton may offer the same explanation she gave for authorizing force in Iraq.

"Are we going to hear, 'If I only I had known then what I know now?'" he asked.

I will say this, Timmeh asked Dennis a dumb question about UFO's. He handled it well considering he knew it was designed to make him appear as though he wore a tin foil hat.

Interesting debate..still rewatching all of the video clips. You can find them here.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The New Apostles for John Edwards

Tonight I found out via MSNBC that the SEIU NH Chapter also endorsed John Edwards for POTUS.

Let's look at the quick note by the reporter NBC/NJ's Aswini Anburajan:

After weeks of intense lobbying by the top three Democratic presidential candidates, Edwards has come away with the endorsement of the New Hampshire SEIU.

The endorsement will help Edwards considerably, providing him with financial resources and volunteers in the Granite state. It will also prevent other state chapters from sending volunteers to New Hampshire to campaign for either Obama or Clinton.

This is the 12th state SEIU endorsement Edwards has won; the others include Iowa and California.

Onward to the Dem Debate tonight.

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For My Friend AK

God speed as he goes through open heart surgery to replace a faulty valve. My thoughts are with him today.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Beyond blurring the differences - should we increase our military?

This article described President Bush's recent push to increase the size of the US military and why this is a bad idea without a rationale behind it. The articles looks at how Democratic candidates Clinton and Obama are supporting his position while John Edwards is not.

read more | digg story

Elizabeth Edwards on C-SPAN's Road to the White House This Evening

Earlier in the week, Elizabeth participated in a Presidential candidates' wives forum, hosted by Maria Schriver in Long Beach, CA. I have read a little bit about it, but it will be interesting to see all of the women.

My understanding is that Bill Clinton was also invited, but declined.

Show times: 5:30, repeated at 8:30 CT

Photo: Mrs. Edwards in Brentwood, NH, on Friday. Good CJ accounts of that event here and here, both from women's and men's perspectives.

More l8tr...

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