Obama Played Hardball to Win 96 Primary

Senator Barack Obama won a seat in the Illinois State Senate in 1996. He faced no opposition in the primary after his campaign successfully challenged the petitions of his opponents, including Alice Palmer, who had held the seat. How the Democratic challengers for the seat eventually won by Obama were eliminated has been spun by Obama's current opponents for President as unethical. Yet that defamatory characterization is not warranted by the facts.

The Chicago Tribune dredged up the 1996 election recently in "Obama knows his way around a ballot", an article that is balanced as to the facts but presents alot of very negative opinions about what happened. The facts are there but you've got to read through a fair amount of anti-Obama dreck to get at them.

From the article (emphasis mine):

In the early 1990s, Chicago's 13th Legislative District was served in the Illinois Senate by Palmer, who was working as a community organizer in the area when Obama was growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia. She risked her safe seat to run for Congress and touted Obama as a suitable successor, according to news accounts and interviews.

But when she got clobbered in that November 1995 special congressional race, Palmer supporters asked Obama to fold his campaign so she could easily retain her state Senate seat.

Obama not only refused to step aside, he filed challenges that nullified Palmer's hastily gathered nominating petitions, forcing her to withdraw.

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Sen. Jim Webb: War Won Now End Occupation

President Bush went prime time to tell the American people why the Democrats have ruined his plans for Iraq. In a video response, Sen. Jim Webb laid out the reality of the situation that the President seems determined to ignore (transcript)(hat tip GregP dKos).

The war was won years ago. What has failed is the naive effort by the Bush Administration to attempt to transform a hostile, well-armed society that sees our troops as soldiers against Islam. President Bush is trying to transform the Iraqi culture and society at the point of a gun. Perhaps a great President surrounded by great advisors, respected statesmen, and talented diplomats could have worked that wonder but Bush and his incompetent team have failed miserably. Further, they've failed beyond any hope of repair using the blunt tool that is the blood of U.S. servicemen.

The war was won but the experiment in nation building by inept, brutal fools needs to be put to an end. It's time to close the book on the Iraq Occupation and bring our servicemen home.

Jim Webb sees this and is blunt and honest in laying out the facts for the nation. From his response:

"We won this war four years ago. The question is when we end the occupation."

Webb's statement is brief so I'll reprint it here in full:

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Greenwald, Digby on Gender Role Attacks

Glenn Greenwald is the author of "How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok". and is currently writing a daily blog at Salon. He's become a daily must read for me because of the skill and detailed precision with which he takes apart and exposes Republican authoritarianism. He also has an eye for propaganda and the use of the media to push GOP themes and frames.

Back on March 6th, in response to the Ann Coulter "faggot" comment he wrote a long post titled "The right-wing cult of contrived masculinity" that details the feminization attack used by the GOP. He provides examples from Ann and also from Maureen Dowd, another frequent practitioner. Here's Glenn introducing the concept by quoting Digby:

The reason I linked to that Bob Somerby post on Maureen Dowd yesterday is because he makes the critical point -- one which Digby, among others, has been making for a long time, including in a great post last night -- concerning how the right-wing movement conducts itself and the rhetorical tool they use not only to keep themselves in power, but more importantly, to keep their needy, confused, and scared base feeling strong and protected. As Digby put it:

The underlying premise of the modern conservative movement is that the entire Democratic party consists of a bunch of fags and dykes who are both too effeminate and too masculine to properly lead the nation. Coulter says it out loud. Dowd hints at it broadly. And the entire press corps giggles and swoons at this shallow, sophomoric concept like a bunch of junior high pom pom girls.

Coulter insisted last night that she did not intend the remark as an anti-gay slur -- that she did not intend to suggest that John Edwards, husband and father, was gay -- but instead only used the word as a "schoolyard taunt," to call him a sissy. And that is true. Her aim was not to suggest that Edwards is actually gay, but simply to feminize him like they do with all male Democratic or liberal political leaders.

Later Glenn defines Ann Coulter's role:

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Obama Deals From Coulter Deck on Edwards

Senator John Edwards was recently referred to as "cute" and as "good looking". No I'm not talking about something Ann Coulter said. Yet. No. Those remarks were made by Democratic Senator Barack Obama.

Some partisan Democrats excuse Obama's use of those terms in reference to Edwards as nothing more than a playful dig. But it's much more than that.

In fact, it's an obvious case of Senator Obama using right-wing, Republican attacks against other Democrats. As reported by the "The Hill":

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) slipped in a compliment -- of sorts -- about a fellow 2008 hopeful during his appearances on the Iowa stump last weekend.

"I want to wait and hear what John Edwards has to say, he's kind of good-looking," Obama envisioned Iowa caucus-goers from the small town of Clinton telling themselves. During an appearance in West Burlington, Iowa, the phrase appeared again, this time with Edwards as "kind of cute."

Was this playful?

Is Ann Coulter playful?

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False Flag Diaries

Over on dKos the number one diary currently details a false flag diary put out by a couple of Little Green Footballs members trying to incite their blog mates. I'll let Kestrel9000, the dKos diarist who exposed the deception, explain:

This diary, The Eloquence of an Enemy Combatant,   is currently being called out at Little Green Footballs under the charming title, "The Kos Kid Al Qaeda Convergence. I have preserved the current diary text and comments in the event they delete it once they are exposed.

The problem is, diarist TH Amos is almost certainly an LGF troll. First diary, one comment, UID #118647.

Here's what their effort has stirred up on LGF:

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John Edwards - Enabling Neo-Con Aggression

Speeches are nice. John Edwards made one recently at the Herzliya Conference in Israel that can't be ignored.

Via Kevin Drum, here's what Edwards had to say on U.S. relations with Iran to the Herzliya Conference in Israel:

Edwards: Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons. For years, the US hasn't done enough to deal with what I have seen as a threat from Iran.....To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep ALL options on the table. Let me reiterate -- ALL options must remain on the table....

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Bush, First Lady to visit for Sodrel in Indiana

President Bush and Laura Bush will be stumping for Indiana Republican Congressional candidates today and over the next few days:

(Laura) Bush will speak at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds in the 4-H pavillion before about 500 people at a rally for Sodrel.

(President) Bush will pump up 9th District voters at a rally for Sodrel on Saturday in Sellersburg, north of Louisville, Ky. Laura Bush is visiting Columbus for Sodrel today. Bush's budget director campaigned with Sodrel in the district Monday and Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will campaign with 2nd District Rep. Chris Chocola in Kokomo on Thursday.

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Drudge, Rush, WSJ: Foley crime is Dems fault!

Many of the leading voices of the right-wing are throwing out their common sense in their attempt to deflect blame away from their leaders over their loathesome dereliction of duty in protecting American high-schoolers from the sexual predator Mark Foley (R-Fla).

Digby has captured a couple of clear examples of standard plays from the Republican playbook intended to shift blame. First up is Drudge:

Clip #1: And if anything, these kids are less innocent -- these 16 and 17 year-old beasts...and I've seen what they're doing on YouTube and I've seen what they're doing all over the internet -- oh yeah -- you just have to tune into any part of their pop culture. You're not going to tell me these are innocent babies. Have you read the transcripts that ABC posted going into the weekend of these instant messages, back and forth? The kids are egging the Congressman on! The kids are trying to get this out of him. We haven't got the whole story on this.

Clip #2: You could say "well Drudge, it's abuse of power, a congressman abusing these impressionable, young 17 year-old beasts, talking about their sex lives with a grown man, on the internet." Because you have to remember, those of us who have seen some of the transcripts of these nasty instant messages. This was two ways, ladies and gentlemen. These kids were playing Foley for everything he was worth. Oh yeah. Oh, I haven't...they were talking about how many times they'd masturbated, how many times they'd done it with their girlfriends this weekend...all these things and these "innocent children." And this "poor" congressman sitting there typing, "oh am I going to get any," you know?

To paraphrase Drudge, the kids propositioned by Foley are "beasts" and "their pop culture" is responsible. They led Foley on, they wanted it, and they brought it on themselves. No word on whether Drudge also thinks sexy clothing had anything to do with the fact that Foley couldn't tell a tenth-grader from an 18 year-old.

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Paul Hackett - Obligated to Help Win Ohio

Paul Hackett has been an inspiration to many of us in the Democratic Party. Because of this, it is shocking to see him treated so callously by the party establishment. What is so crystal clear to many of us is that he is an asset that should have been carefully nurtured and cultivated. No one needs a reminder about how important turning Ohio blue is to the fortunes of the Democratic Party. Yet here we witness, dumbstruck, the foolish squandering of this talent by manipulators at the highest echelons of the party.

What strategy can they possibly be pursuing that would lead to helping the Democratic Party as a whole? It's not hard to understand why they'd prefer no primary, but what is inexplicable is the shameful way they have mangled the shepherding of Hackett's career. The most charitable explanation is that a tradeoff was deemed necessary in which Hackett was broken so that Brown and Ohio could better prosper. Perhaps, but other explanations seem more likely.  It may have been the result of incompetence in not seeing the value of Hackett, or of malicious intent in which the good of the party of the whole is a lesser priority than personal ambition. I wouldn't fault Brown for this but party leaders who stepped in to boss the primary are most certainly culpable. Regardless of blame, the fact remains that Hackett as a Democratic politician has been diminished if not entirely destroyed.

This indictment of the party bigwigs notwithstanding, we've got to move forward and cannot let this incident result in the re-election of the Republican DeWine. To me it seems clear that Paul Hackett owes it to the citizens of Ohio to endorse Sherrod Brown and furthermore to talk to his Ohio supporters about the importance of unseating Mike DeWine. Hackett shouldn't have trouble making the case against DeWine on principal alone. DeWine is enabling all that Hackett is fighting against. Pragmatically, Hackett shouldn't have trouble seeing that Sherrod Brown is a much better man for the job of Senator from Ohio than is DeWine. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees Brown can win in Ohio and Hackett needs to help win that election for the Democratic and progressive candidate.

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Repubs Schmidt, Davis Smear Murtha, Liberals, Democrats

On Friday, two Republican Congressman told America that Democrats, Liberals, and especially Rep. Jack Murtha (D) are the allies of  our sworn enemies Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. If only, if only, Jack Murtha, Democrats, and liberals would fall in line and support the Republican Party then Iraq would be freed and the war would be won.

Dizzy from their revolving scapegoatism, Republicans have landed the wheel on liberal enemy coddlers. Immigrants are waiting in the wings for their turn as the object of hate du jour but for now Democratic withdrawal proponents such as Jack Murtha are enemy number one. Here's what Republican Geoff Davis had to say:

DAVIS: I'm Geoff Davis from Kentucky, a member of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, and also the co- chair of the House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare.

I think it's important to understand the political climate in which these shameful statements have been made.

Ayman Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, as well as Abu Musab Zarqawi, have made it quite clear in their internal propaganda that they cannot win unless they can drive the Americans out. And they know that they can't do that there, so they've brought the battlefield to the halls of Congress.

And, frankly, the liberal leadership have put politics ahead of sound, fiscal and national security policy. And what they have done is cooperated with our enemies and are emboldening our enemies.

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