Hillary's Planted Questions vs. My Question at Yearly Kos

I wrote this for today's Beyond Chron.

If you work for Hillary Clinton and your candidate's ahead in the polls, your job is to avoid unpleasant surprises - even if it means planting questions in the audience.  Last week, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, a 19-year-old college student, attended a campaign event in Iowa - where a Hillary staffer asked if she wanted to ask a question.  When Muriel told them what question she wanted to ask, they said "no" and gave her a typed query - one that would not make news, and allow Clinton to repeat her campaign talking points.  I got to ask Hillary a tough question at the Yearly Kos Convention in August - but Clinton has done her best to avoid such unscripted moments, as her "inevitable" nomination rolls along.  After Muriel got some media attention, the Hillary camp asked her to stop talking to the press.  Kind of reminds me how two Clinton staffers confronted me after my exchange with the Senator.  Hillary's campaign is running a tight ship, but planting questions to control the message speaks volumes about a candidate we simply can't trust.

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What is a Political Blog?

The subject of women and participation on political blogs has come up again, this time in an NYT column penned by Katharine Q. Seelye. 

Most of the column is spent presenting the opinions of readers and experts on why women don't participate on political blogs.  The problem is that Seelye never attempts to define what a political blog is.    Are Feministing and Pandagon political blogs?  What about a site where the author writes both about politics and family life such as  Half Changed World?  I would argue that they are, but I have a feeling that the NYT would not.  Reading the column I was left with the impression that a political blog is any site where women commenters are in the minority regardless of content.

Seelye correctly points out that women bloggers don't get the same attention in the media that our male counterparts do, referring to the coverage of (and attention from Presidential candidates) of the BlogHer convention vs YearlyKos.  But she never analyzes that lack of media attention or acknowledges her own role in it.

I have more questions than answers about this:  What is a political blog?  Is the MSM using a narrow definition that purposely leaves women out?  Is this a manufactured controversy or a real problem?  And if it is a genuine problem, why does the discussion feel so sexist?

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Republican Media Pundits Love Hillary

I wrote this for today's Beyond Chron.

No matter how much Americans say they want us out of Iraq and no matter how divorced from reality the political discourse gets in Washington, you can always count on Beltway pundits to warn Democrats not to get "too liberal." These elites want nothing more than to have Hillary Clinton be the party's presidential nominee to squelch those "rabid bloggers," because she's the kind of Democrat that makes them feel comfortable.  In yesterday's New York Times, right-wing columnist David Brooks gloated about Hillary's current lead in the polls - because it vindicates his thinking that the netroots don't represent America.  As Clinton courts Democratic primary voters with progressive rhetoric, keep in mind who in the media is cheering her on - because they're not the type of people that liberals should be taking their cues from.

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Clinton, Obama and the "Trust" Factor

I wrote this for today's Beyond Chron, San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily.

In the presidential campaign, we've heard a lot about "experience" (a plus for Hillary Clinton), "change" (Barack Obama's strongest point), and "electability" (which helps John Edwards.)  But one factor that has yet to play a role is "trust." It is one thing to hear what a candidate has to say, but how can progressives know who will stick to their guns when the right-wing noise machine attacks - and who will capitulate, triangulate and take our support for granted?  If "trust" becomes a major concern for Democratic primary voters, Hillary Clinton could be in trouble.  And while a candidate can tout their resume to boost "experience," their platform to project "change," and good poll numbers to push "electability," there isn't much they can do about the fact that voters don't trust them.  Especially when you've been in the public eye for 15 years.

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Voters Learning Truth About Hillary

I wrote this for today's Beyond Chron, San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily.

It's been over a week since the Yearly Kos Convention, where Hillary Clinton said she'd keep taking money from lobbyists, that we are safer than on 9/11, and she fumbled my question about her husband's legacy.  Her lobbyist comment was the most damaging, as her Rasmussen poll numbers steadily declined for the next four days after the Convention. Her support for NAFTA and the Defense of Marriage Act have played a role in the campaign over the past week, putting Clinton on the defensive that could end up being a turning point in the race.  But change will only happen if bloggers - and the other campaigns - seize on this opportunity because we know that the mainstream media will not do its job.  With five months to go before the Iowa Caucus, there is still time for voters to learn the truth.

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Diaries

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