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Obamarama - Whitewater edition

Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006

I’ve seen this same meme popping up among the punditry lately. The first place I remember seeing it was Slate’s John Dickerson.

The Rezko business is also not likely to hurt him, because his principal rival will probably be Hillary Clinton, and she’s not going to bring up the topic of questionable land deals.

Clarence Page, of the Chicago Tribune, also made the same argument.

As a practical matter, the Rezko flap isn’t likely to hurt him in a race against Hillary Clinton, who has a questionable land deal called Whitewater in her past.

Apparently, nobody paid attention to the Blagojevich campaign. We had the most investigated governor in modern Illinois history (if not in all the state’s history) winning a race mainly by smearing a mostly honorable state treasurer as a George Ryan crony and a likely crook.

Besides, as I recall, that Whitewater thing went nowhere. It’s my opinion that she’ll have no qualms about using the Rezko deal against Obama, if she hasn’t already. Thoughts?

…Also, just in case any of the bigs ever stop by here, I’m wondering if they’ll ever get answers to questions that some local reporters have been struggling to pry out of him (I haven’t been able to get a return e-mail from his press office for quite a while and it’s starting to tick me off).

Here’s a good place to start: Why did Obama get a big discount on his house while Rezko paid full price for the lot next door (which was originally part of the same property)? Did Rezko actively and knowingly subsidize Obama’s discounted purchase price by paying the seller full price for the vacant lot? Obama has usually successfully shifted the discussion to his purchase of a portion of the Rezko land for more than he should have paid. But it’s that first purchase that I have the most qualms about.

Meanwile, on a far lighter note…

Dost thou doubt him?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

50 Comments
  1. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 2:54 pm:

    Another thing to remember is that comparing Obama’s ethics to Hillary’s is not “apples to apples.” People have known about Whitewater for almost 15 years, and Hillary’s been the front-runner for about ½ that time. Obama is only in a position to challenger her because he is fresh and presumably squeaky-clean. It’s a completely unfair double standard that Obama didn’t exactly bring on himself, but still has to contend with.


  2. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 3:01 pm:

    We are tired of the People magazine focus. We want to know where the guy stands on issues. So, after a month of puffing him up, there is a need within the media to start testing the balloon they inflated. They will start “balancing” the feel good crap he spouts out with stories like Rezko. They will find something to make themselves feel better about the free pass they have been giving him so far.

    Rezko matters because there is nothing else to talk about. After two years of nothing but fluff and air, we need to go beyond the teen-age infatuation over him.


  3. - Tom - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 3:21 pm:

    Whitewater was an issue for many years, there were hearings, a special prosecutor and people went to jail, a White House staffer even killed himself…I’m not so sure I’d just brush is aside and say it went no where.


  4. - Bubs - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 3:24 pm:

    By examining a tree, one can lose sight of the forest.

    Hillary will use the Rezko flap as but one of several means to a larger end: portraying Obama as a product of corrupt Chicago politics who talks pretty, but can’t be trusted to play it straight, financially or otherwise.


  5. - Greg - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 3:47 pm:

    Rich, Whitewater did go somewhere — Governor Jim Guy Tucker. There were some other significant prosecutions and the Clintons did admit to some tax crimes, and paid a fine (voluntarily). Of course the statutes of limitations had run out on the tax crimes.


  6. - publius - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 3:54 pm:

    rezko is just the start—and a sign that there may be more—which the national press will look for—hint: start with his wife’s salary history


  7. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 4:10 pm:

    How’s it going to play when Hillary Rodham Clinton uses a questionable–but not illegal–land deal to trash a popular African-American politician who opposed the Iraq War from the beginning?

    How’s Hillary Rodham Clinton win the general election if she’s hated by Blacks? People who opposed the Iraq War?

    Part of the issue about going negative against Obama for Dems is that the racial dynamic comes into play.

    For years Democrats (and America in general) have been telling Blacks they need to wait to get Senate seats, governorships and the presidency.

    “You people can’t run for the presidency until you have a credible governor, Senator or maybe a war hero.”

    Now African-Americans have Obama. He’s punched his tickets. He’s not a Congressman representing a Black district. He’s a popular U.S. Senator from a large state.

    It’s going to be tough for a Dem to go negative on Obama without creating rifts in the party that a whole bunch of powerful Dems don’t want to create.

    As a side plot to Obama being Black, Rezko is Arab. It’s not that Arabs will be offended by making Rezko an issue, but if the words aren’t chosen properly, it will look like the candidate attacking Obama is engaging in anti-Arab jingoism. If HRC makes this mistake, it will probably irreconcilably alienate her from activists opposed to the Iraq War (which more properly should be called the “Iraq occupation”).

    Should Obama be the nominee, the Republicans won’t worry about alienating Black voters. I mean, why start now?

    It would be hypocritical for John “Keating Five” McCain or Rudy “Bernie Kerik” Giuliani to chide Obama on ethics, but as Rich Miller pointed out, reality doesn’t prevent people from getting an erroneous impression.

    I don’t think the Rezko land deal will sink Obama in the primary, but it will be something he’ll be forced to address more completely in the general election.

    That’s my two cents.

    For my further prediction, many Dem power brokers will be shopping for an alternative to Hillary Rodham Clinton or Obama. They have too much potential to be disasters for individual reasons. HRC b/c she’s a woman and who she is. Obama b/c he’s Black.

    Edwards is probably too much the economic populist. Clark is a crap shoot in his own ways.

    The Dem establishment may find that Al Gore is the guy who can keep everybody on the same page the best with minimum chances for a hiccup.


  8. - ZC - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 4:15 pm:

    “Did Rezko actively and knowingly subsidize Obama’s discounted purchase price by paying the seller full price for the vacant lot?”

    It seems to me there are only four or five people who could speak to this. Obama has denied knowing about any such quid-pro-quo in an interview he gave with the Sun-Times. Rezko is mum to my knowledge but could conceivably have things to say later. The last people in the loop would be the property owner, described in one article as “a doctor at the University of Chicago,” and his / her real estate agent. Have those individuals weighed in? Are they staying mum?


  9. - ZC - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 4:19 pm:

    Because as a follow-up, I believe it is Obama’s position that, low as his bid was, there weren’t any other higher bids for that particular property, it had been on the market for a while, and the owners wanted to sell it amd be done. Meanwhile, he said to the S-T, he understood that there _was_ another bid for the strip that Rezko took. Presumably the property owners / agents could confirm all of this. The interview I am basing this information off is located at

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/politics/124171,CST-NWS-obama05.article


  10. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 4:24 pm:

    Clinton will not attack Obama if she’s smart, and the third parties that will like Rush Limbaugh will only add to his credibility.

    Two people have been foolish enough to attack Obama since he began his meteoric climb. Keyes and McCain both saw it blow up in their faces.

    Fer Pete’s sake, even Newt Gingrich isn’t willing to go after Obama. Do you really think a Democrat wants to deal with that political fallout? Do you think Clinton could badmouth Obama and hope to get any African American votes in the General Election? Do you think she could win without them? I think Illinois would atleast be in play, and she’d probably lose it. Game over.

    The real difference between these two candidates is Obama has a unifying vision for the country while Clinton is both divisive and visionless. Or if she has a vision, she can’t articulate it.

    She was on NPR this morning and asked what she saw as the GOP’s biggest failing. She said they were unwilling to tackle big problems, make hard choices, and ask Americans to make sacrifices, and criticized Bush for offering tax cuts at a time of war. She was asked three times in three different ways if she would raise taxes if she was elected, and the best she could come up with was something to the effect of “I think we should atleast ask ourselves if those tax cuts should be renewed.”

    Not exactly a profile in courage.


  11. - John Lee Pettimore - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 4:50 pm:

    I have seven words that add up to 28 reasons why Hillary Clinton will not be the next president of the United States: Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton-Clinton.

    If Hillary is elected to two terms, a Bush or Clinton will have occupied the White House for 28 straight years. The voters want change and in December 2006, it looks like that change agent is Barack Obama.


  12. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 4:51 pm:

    ==Because as a follow-up, I believe it is Obama’s position that, low as his bid was, there weren’t any other higher bids for that particular property, it had been on the market for a while, and the owners wanted to sell it amd be done. Meanwhile, he said to the S-T, he understood that there _was_ another bid for the strip that Rezko took. Presumably the property owners / agents could confirm all of this. The interview I am basing this information off is located at

    This is going to be the test of the team he is putting together. The way to kill the story is to find the sellers and ask them to document exactly how all of this went down.

    Obama says that the house had two bids on it–neither at the asking price, but that the vacant lot had a bid only $25,000 under the asking price. The previous owners and their realtors should be able to confirm this and getting that information out there is critical. If that story is verified, the story pretty much dies. If it is more complicated than that, then he has a problem.


  13. - Snidely Whiplash - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:01 pm:

    The sad thing about that video is that it isn’t that far from an accurate portrayal of the media coverage of the Messiah.

    Aunt Gertie even told me that watching his “Journey to Africa” nightly “news” segments actually cured her irritable bowel syndrome, although I’m thinking it had more to do with laying off the prune juice …


  14. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:05 pm:

    Arch, what if Obama says, “Yeah, Tony Rezko did me a favor. There was no quid pro quo. He sought influence. I foolishly decided to give access in exchange for Rezko helping me on a land deal. I made money, but a whole bunch of elected officials have made money on shadier land deals than this. I regret doing it, but I wanted my family to live nicely”?

    Even the worse case scenario seems pretty benign. What if Obama simply admits he was playing the games powerful people play?

    In theory Obama could have been working toward doing something for Rezko that may have eventually been illegal, but the U.S. attorney seems to have cut that off by prosecuting Rezko.

    I see this as being more interesting to journalists and uber-insiders, but without Obama doing something specific for Rezko–something specific that seems wrong–I don’t see this amounting too much in the minds of voters without the GOP spending a ton of money manufacturing an issue out of it.


  15. - Sorry Wrong Number - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:06 pm:

    So much for our political messiah! But deliver us from EVIL. What was he thinking?


  16. - Papa Legba - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:18 pm:

    Two questions pop up.

    1. Why is Obama so popular?

    2. Do anyone really believe that the Rezko land deal is the only connection/dealings between those two that may possibly tarnish Obama’s squeaky clean image?

    The Fed’s have big Tony now. I’m sure he has plenty to say to save his behind.

    BTW. Rezko is Syrian. Not an Arab. Just a wee bit of a difference.


  17. - ZC - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:24 pm:

    But re: Arch’s point, if the real estate transaction itself was more complicated or wildly different than how Obama has described it so far, then the story for the media becomes not the buying of the property, but Obama’s lack of candor describing the deal after the fact. That’s ALWAYS the way the media mind works.

    If it’s anything remotely like Obama portrayed it, he and his team should just work to get the information released, all of it, and get it done with. Even if it’s just a little sketch, that shouldn’t be a problem. Or far worse to have it come out later. Just ask the Clintons. Their failure to just disclose all their Whitewater dealings asap was, if you really go back and trace the ups and downs of their Presidency, one of their greatest strategic errors. (George Stephanopoulos once called it their numero uno mistake). Because it led to the appointment of Kenneth Starr.


  18. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:30 pm:

    Obama is popular because he’s not Clinton and a lot of Dems think she can’t win. They’re wrong. Obama is wrong if he thinks Clinton won’t do everything she can to crush him. Read Tony Blankely’s column with advice to Obama and Clinton’s politics of personal destruction.


  19. - Dooley Dudright - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:33 pm:

    Along the lines of lessons learned from the “Abramoff School of Returned Campaign Contributions” — hasn’t it occurred to the Senator that he should try to convey the land back to Rezko for precisely the price paid? Then the deal effectively would become a nullity. End of issue (mostly).

    And if Rezko won’t take it back — then Obama should convey it to a trust or something. Hey, fella, do SOMETHING to get rid of the land! Keeping it is just as “boneheaded” as buying it in the first place!


  20. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 6:02 pm:

    ===Along the lines of lessons learned from the “Abramoff School of Returned Campaign Contributions” — hasn’t it occurred to the Senator that he should try to convey the land back to Rezko for precisely the price paid? Then the deal effectively would become a nullity. End of issue (mostly).

    The problem is that the land he bought directly from Rezko is not a big deal. He should have avoided it, but selling it back doesn’t do any good. Obama has said that land was appraised for less than he paid Rezko and so as long as he can present that appraisal that part of the story is dead and the damage is already done. Other thank John Kass’ ranting, there doesn’t appear to be a credible case that that part of the deal is a problem other than it got Obama in business iwth Rezko. BTW, Kass is really, really stupid when it comes to understanding real estate appraisals, but that’s for another day.

    The question is is somehow Rezko subsidized the purchase of the home by paying more for the vacant lot so Obama could pay less for the house. If Obama’s story is accurate, it’s not a big deal. Even if that is accurate, if he doesn’t gather all of that information, he’ll have a problem later. Kill the story now, not after it blows up (he and his team should remember Blair Hull on that count).

    Carl–if he did that–he shouldn’t and won’t be President. It’s wrong. His Senate career probably survives, but if your attraction is being different than politics as usual and you kill that image off, you have nothing to run on.

    What makes Obama relatively clean compared to most candidates is that he never became rich as a State Legislator. I know the Illinois Review transplants like to believe otherwise, but he lived a modest lifestyle until he was able to sell books which is the only thing giving him that much money now. Rezko would be a demonstration he was just waiting to cash in.

    Now, I tend to think that if the Harvard Law Review Editor wants to pull off a scam there are a lot better ways to do it and not get noticed then to have a notorious crook enter into a real estate deal next door to you so the likely answer is pretty much what Obama has said. He needs to provide the documentation to everyone to avoid talking about it when it knocks him off message.

    I would imagine they might do that after the initial wave of support slows down a bit–no reason to tamp down on that until it fades on its own. Get it out and then kill it before it becomes a storyline.


  21. - Angie - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 6:16 pm:

    Rich can’t get through to Obama? Hah! That’s what happens when these stars have the national liberal media as the “Wind Beneath My Wings,” to borrow from that Bette Midler song. Watch many local reporters get the Rod Blagojevich treatment (often arrogant) since all of the liberals know they have the big honchos to fawn all over them at the national level.

    I mean, all I see is Obama this and that, aside from updates on Paris Hilton and the sniffle sniffle boo hoo hoo of Miss USA.

    What do you expect, that reporters who write about things of actual substance will get prompt callbacks?

    Yeah, Obama sounds like he’s now acting like a rock star, too!

    Charming fella, but please…we need answers to the tough questions, and we need ideas for how to tackle the big issues.

    Otherwise, you might as well just crown the man with a tiara, or something. I mean, they invented a men’s version of Vogue to stick the man
    s beauty queen-like, mega-watt smile on the cover of.

    Heck, maybe Trump can move Obama into the new Trump Tower Chicago pretty soon.

    *sigh* I’m so tired of this fluff in lieu of answers to questions and real action on pressing issues.


  22. Pingback ArchPundit » Blog Archive » Two More - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 6:31 pm:

    […] Rich makes a good point that I still haven’t internalized about the Rezko deal: Apparently, nobody paid attention to the Blagojevich campaign. We had the most investigated governor in modern Illinois history (if not in all the state’s history) winning a race mainly by smearing a mostly honorable state treasurer as a George Ryan crony and a likely crook. […]


  23. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 6:32 pm:

    ===*sigh* I’m so tired of this fluff in lieu of answers to questions and real action on pressing issues.

    This is what is strangest about this backlash against him. You can say this, but it’s at least as content free as anything you think Obama should answer. What questions do you want answered that he hasn’t answered? The book is full of wonkish discussions of policy. The man is known as a policy wonk. What areas is he not covering?


  24. - True Observer - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 6:36 pm:

    The genius of the Clintons was that they built on Pavlov and proved that you can condition people to accept abominable behavior, that they would normally never put up with, if you just reveal it piecemeal.

    The two prime examples were:

    1.Draft dodging

    2.Engaging in sex with an intern in the Oval Office.

    The only explanation can be that as you dribble out bad information, the public continues to believe in you and so becomes vested as an enabler. The longer the public is led along the more it is vested. Finally, when the truth comes out, the public doesn’t want to blame itself and just accepts the status quo.


  25. - Angie - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 6:37 pm:

    Actually, it was widely touted that Karl Rove wanted JBT to run, and any ties to the White House team as America got Iraq War weary created problems at local levels, too.

    Rod’s negative media blitz didn’t help JBT, but there was more to it than that.

    But yeah, will the national press question the land deal? I’d sure love to see if all of these politicians are going to run around telling us all that they were not aware of all of the pay-to-play issues.

    They’re the new Know-Nothings. Indictments fly? We don’t know anything! But I guess that’s good strategy in game theory terms, to just shrug it off and play dumb, right? Why should Obama be any different if he wants to play in the big leagues?


  26. - NW burbs - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 7:08 pm:

    Angie,

    Your complaints sound like they should be directed at the talking heads on the air, whether the conservative media or mainstream media, not Sen. Obama.

    Just because they aren’t discussing Obama’s accomplishments as a member of the Senate’s minority party doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

    (H/T: Hilzoy — need to scroll down for Hilz’ own list of what he considers admirable Obama achievements.)

    It’s odd how so many of the things partisans are saying as complaints about Pres. Clinton could also be easily adapted to complain about Bush 43).


  27. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 7:09 pm:

    What do Illinois Democrats do if it’s a Clinton Obama slug fest? Considering Emanual used to be one of Clinton’s White Boys. It’s going to be a tough time for Illinois Democrats ’cause Clinton’s got all the money.


  28. - Bill - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 7:31 pm:

    Illinois will go for their favorite son, Senator and, soon to be President, Barack Obama. So will the rest of the country, no matter what Rahm says. The Senator obviously feels that the real estate deal has been addressed and is now a non-story. There was no quid pro quo and everything was quite legal. What more is there to say? The fact that he does not respond to continued questions on this subject is to his credit. I would like to see any research or documentation that our governor’s administration is the “most investigated in history”. This type of character assasination didn’t work in the campaign for governor and it won’t work against Barack.


  29. - LawnToy - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 8:15 pm:

    Anybody check to see if Illinois’ favorite community bank was involved in “Tony the Neighbor’s” little transaction.
    We know they tried to post the lawn a bond, but who holds the note?


  30. - wunderkind - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 8:39 pm:

    to lawntoy: no, but he took cash from rezko (antion and rita) on several occasions. “lucy, you got some splaining to do”


  31. - Angie (to NW burbs) - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:13 pm:

    Interesting piece that you put up a link to.

    Re: “Bad bipartisans are so eager to establish credentials for moderation and reasonableness that they go out of their way to criticize their (supposed) ideological allies and praise their (supposed) opponents. They also compromise on principle, and when their opponents don’t reciprocate, they compromise some more, until over time their positions become indistinguishable from those on the other side.”

    I’m thinking of that “median voter” theory put forth by Anthony Downs in An Economic Theory of Democracy now, where the positions end up looking more and more alike in an effort to appeal to the voters.

    You won’t hear any complaints from me about being principled rather than selling out, but the thing about Obama is that he is not experienced in the way in which he needs to be in a post 9/11 world.

    Rudy Giuliani is. And Rudy will answer questions posed to him, and will handle them all with finesse.

    But I agree that the press should be hard as nails on all parties and candidates. I’d argue that they ought to all be cross-examined by lawyers–except that most of them are lawyers. No wonder half of them won’t even talk!


  32. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:28 pm:

    Angie, I’m not criticizing your post, but how exactly is Rudy “experienced in the way in which he needs to be in a post 9/11 world?”


  33. - Angie - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:42 pm:

    Rich, first and foremost, Rudy was right there in the heart of absolute chaos during a very dark time in recent American history, and he showed us all how he is able to handle pressure in the worst possible situation (the aftermath of a horrendous terrorist attack). Millions of people of diverse religions, ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic classes looked up to him as a leader in a time of confusion and fear, which speaks volumes about his proven ability to lead us all.

    No matter how much people try to behave in a particular manner in the public eye, when under stress, their true personalities come out as they rely on their most dominant personality functions under those trying conditions. We’ve seen how Rudy handled not only himself, but also how he had a soothing effect on the people of New York and even throughout all of America, as everyone watched.

    Secondly, he was invited to come on down to Mexico to teach them about some of the crime-fighting techniques he utilized successfully in cleaning up New York. Again, proven skills and a huge vote of confidence in those same skills as our neighbor to the South invited him for his expertise.

    It is just obvious that it is Rudy’s turn to lead. He’s done it so well in the recent past.

    That’s what we need in a post 9/11 world, at least in my humble little opinion.

    Thanks for asking.


  34. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 9:46 pm:

    I saw a documentary about that Mexico City thing. I’m not sure you should be touting that, since from the documentary I saw it ended quite badly, with the businessmen who put up the money claiming they were ripped off.


  35. - Mr. Luxury Yacht - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 10:56 pm:

    - Papa Legba - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 5:18 pm:

    “BTW. Rezko is Syrian. Not an Arab. Just a wee bit of a difference.”

    Um. No, actually. If you’d said ASsyrian you’d be on firmer ground but 5 points if you can name a prominent national identity in the Middle East (i.e. indigenous people of an actual country, other than Israel and remember there is no Kurdistan yet) that IS not the same as Arab.

    As for the whole BarackOmania. Clinton is Old News, The Past and the country is TIRED. There’s a reason his is the “HopeFund PAC.” If he stays on message and dips his positions in that, game over. If he swings at a pitch in the dirt…we could end up with a brokered convention.

    As for Hillary - y’all are missin’ the point about Whitewater, at least part of it. Yes, G-Rod nailed JBT by trashing her down to his level. Hillary can’t do that, nor can any other candidate BUT it isn’t the Rush’s and the Hannity’s to worry about but the Begala’s and the rest of the name Clinton swells - yes including Emanuel. These are the folks used to sitting at the cool kids’ table and they act like a bunch of catty sorority chicks. He’s not OK because he’s not One Of US will be the reason but Hill’s people will start - already ARE, in NH - loading up for the death of a thousand cuts.

    This is why he’ll come back from Hawaii and announce he’s forming an exploratory committee. Then he’ll go around raising money, getting free media coverage but mainly focusing on shrewd votes and thereby reinforcing a few themes. He wants to dial it down now for awhile. He’s cleared some of the field (Bayh - look for Vilsack to back off soon). Now he needs to lay back, (relatively) out of the news, so that reporters won’t have reason to call their Clintonite friends for counter-quotes as often. Then over the summmer he makes The Announcement (realizing that the FEC doesn’t have a distinction between an “exploratory” committee and a presidential campaign committee - that’s a political distinction not a legal one).

    Then when he comes out for real in the summer, his fundraiser-in-chief, Oprah, puts out the call to her zillion best buddies to max out PLUS tell all their friends to do likewise (and so on and so on). Look for her to put The Audacity of Hope on her book list for June - why would she not have already unless he’d already asked her to keep her powder dry?

    But Hillary will use prominent Democratic surrogates, following a pre-designed Anti-Obama Message Calendar, to move the Why He’s Not Who You Want meme of the week. Start tracking the appearances on the Sunday talkers of former Clinton White House people. Even pro-R bookers like the ones for Fox or Russert (check out his right v. left guest booking percentages) will put a Clintonite in play if they offer to bash Obama while they’re on.

    Hillary knows what Halperin calls The Freak Show. She knows it’s a beast that needs to eat regularly. She knows if you don’t give it something to eat it will turn on you - more often (no one, including Candidate Obama, gets a complete pass). She knows that if she has her friends feed the beast regularly then she doesn’t have to - and only The Gang of 500 will be paying attention to the box scores. The rest will start singing along with the story line, the narrative arc they will build. The Just Another Chicago (i.e. corrupt) Politician, like Harold Ford (Memphis’ version) who got the Big Speech.

    If Obama sticks to his game plan - and if Gore doesn’t jump in this fall - he can do it. Otherwise he’s ground beef and Hillary (aka An Instant Hundred Mill More For The GOP) gets to drive our bus into the ditch.

    And it’s Iran. Persians blanche when referred to as Arabs. Well, some of them are more demostrative than that…


  36. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:01 pm:

    Who knewTribune edit board members were now doing live shots for the Daily Show. I guess desperate times …


  37. - Angie - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:47 pm:

    Rich wrote: “I’m not sure you should be touting that, since from the documentary I saw it ended quite badly, with the businessmen who put up the money claiming they were ripped off.

    Oh? (raises eyebrows)

    Well, you’re the professional, investigative reporter, so you are probably waaaaay ahead of the news curve than the rest of us, but thanks for mentioning it. Will look into the issue at some point and hopefully learn something I didn’t know.

    I’ll just stick to the “America’s Mayor” bit when mentioning why I like the guy as a GOP candidate for the White House in 2008. lol

    Gotta remember: Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative…la la la la la (those are lyrics from an old song, so I put it to music with the la-la bit).

    I will say that if Obama edited the Harvard Law Review and taught at The University of Chicago, his bio isn’t too shabby, serious political experience, or lack thereof, aside. Our state may be corrupt as all you-know-what, but we still boast a couple of the finest universities in the nation. Some solace at least.: )


  38. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 19, 06 @ 11:58 pm:

    Yacht, Assyrians don’t have a country either. So the Kurds qualify if Assyrians do.

    Man, if I had a nickel for every time an Assyrian told me, “We’re not Arabs”…. but I digress.


  39. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 12:03 am:

    Full disclosure: Assyrian wife.


  40. - Bill Baar - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 6:49 am:

    but 5 points if you can name a prominent national …identity in the Middle East (i.e. indigenous people of an actual country, other than Israel and remember there is no Kurdistan yet) that IS not the same as Arab.

    No idea why this question is here, but you always hear about some Armenians; then there are the Turkomens in Iraq; Sistani is Persian… Azeris…. most of what we know about the middle east was filtered by Aramco and it’s Sunni Arab narrative taylored to make them sound like New Englandish Puritan Protestants. Same reason the Brits favored the Sunni’s when they had the mandate in Iraq; the others were Jews or Catholic-like Shias etc.

    Rudy lost hundreds under his command in combat including key players. We watched him handle that live on TV. It’s why I could sit in a bar in West Texas a few years ago and hear glowing words from patrons about guy who’s name they apoligized for mispronouncing.

    Obama gets the same kind of good vibes from people now but we’ve yet to see him live on TV after people under his command have perished… and I’m sitting in an Air Port terminal in St Louis with barrowed cell phone listening to my wife cry wondering where my brother-in-law in midtown Mannhatten is, and wondering myself what happened to my Mom’s flt that morning to Chicago.

    That’s why people have a bond with Giuliani.


  41. - Reddbyrd - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 6:54 am:

    No Non No Capt. Fax not just a Assyrian wife
    A beautiful Assyrian Wife! :)

    Rudy’s biggest road block to the WH will be explaining how 9-11 made him a multimillionaire.
    Work may or may not bbe legit, but most Americans will fin it unseemly. Then you can move on to the bimbo, the police banging away, NYC trash pile, etc etc.


  42. - ZC - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 9:07 am:

    In everyone boosting Rudy and Barack right now, I see a strange kind of symmetry.

    Everyone just prepare themselves that, odds are good before it’s done, we’re gonna see the warhorses McCain and Hillary squaring off.

    First you fall in love, then you fall in line …


  43. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 9:25 am:

    ===I’m thinking of that “median voter” theory put forth by Anthony Downs in An Economic Theory of Democracy now, where the positions end up looking more and more alike in an effort to appeal to the voters.

    You are leaving out the other part of Downs argument–the part about primaries and how someone has to hit the primary median voter. You have to dig into the spatial modeling of the argument to understand the full weight of it, but it essentially points out that someone in the issue space right at the center will almost never get elected.

    In terms of the general election, Giuliani fired the one guy who made the biggest difference in crime in NYC and that guy is now doing a great job in LA. That issue cuts both ways. He fired a remarkably successful police chief out of jealousy and installed cronies to replace him.


  44. - Pat Collins - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 9:59 am:

    What questions do you want answered that he hasn’t answered?

    Why he voted for a bill to add 20K more H1-B visas when many hi tech firms in Illinois are laying off such people, and giving 10% of their workforce no raise.

    H vs the Prince

    But it isn’t Hillary vs him. It’s Bill. Electing her is his ultimate vindication. O-mania is fine, but now he’s up against the master, and a highly motivated one at that.

    I don’t think losing to Rush and two cakewalks prepares you for that.


  45. - Punley Deiter Finn - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 11:44 am:

    Bill is on the case and on message. All is well.


  46. - Harry Hopkins - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 1:33 pm:

    What? Obama bought a house for less than the asking price? And then he didn’t stop Tony Rezko from buying the lot next door.

    This conspiracy must be uncovered! Sure, the press forgets to ask tough questions before the beginning of a war, but if a deviant of this magnatude is allowed to enter the White House the republic will not survive!

    Oh, by the way. I wonder if CNN and the New York Times are looking for a local columnist to quote in future scandal stories. Should be good for subscriptions.


  47. - Mr. Luxury Yacht - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 3:28 pm:

    Rich, what I was trying to say was that Assyrians (as I understand it) are ethnically a bit closer to “not Arabs” than Syrians, though I’m told there are loads of shade of gray in this. I know there’s no Assyria (at least not these days), silly goose.

    And hey no fair scoring points with the wife at our expense!


  48. - Angie (to ArchPundit) - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 3:38 pm:

    Re: “You are leaving out the other part of Downs argument–the part about primaries and how someone has to hit the primary median voter. You have to dig into the spatial modeling of the argument to understand the full weight of it, but it essentially points out that someone in the issue space right at the center will almost never get elected.”

    Yeah, because there absolutely has to be a difference between the two candidates even if they are both tackling the same issue, as in we all care about education, so here’s my plan, and it is very different from my opponent’s plan. It is a mainstream issue that interests everyone, but you have to put forth a plan that is going to work, in theory at least, better than what your opponent has put forth.

    That’s why this Obama hype is silly, aside from the fact that he’s a charismatic and well-educated guy who is just getting his feet wet politically. What’s the big plan? Everyone is endorsing him, but what’s the plan? And once the plan is put forth, why should we agree that he’s the better candidate to implement it?

    He might have a shot against John McCain, perhaps, but certainly not against Giuliani. Not after everyone watched Rudy in action as heroes died (the firefighters who do such an altruistic job it is just unbelievable).

    Haven’t read all of Downs, by the way (part of it was on a reading list from last quarter at school), but it is on my list to read in full, as I find it interesting.

    If you study this stuff carefully, it helps you read through all of the baloney and spin in elections and helps make more sense out of things when you wonder why the heck so many pols flip-flop on positions so often. It works to keep them in power term after term after term, even as the voters seem to want a bit of a change from time to time.


  49. - Angie again - Wednesday, Dec 20, 06 @ 3:43 pm:

    And just to add, because Hillary Clinton has so obviously moved more towards the center should be a screaming, screeching loud indication that this girl is running in the near future.

    You think there’s any chance that these two will somehow end up on the same ticket, but with one as VP, since they can still run for the top spot later on? I’m really wondering, because Hillary is very very coy and is not aggressively attacking Obama. Might there be a chance at a team-up of some sort?


  50. - State of Farce - Thursday, Dec 21, 06 @ 1:29 am:

    The video is absolutely HILARIOUS! Love it. “I wanna be loved by you, only you, only you, only you…boo boo be doo” (Marilyn Monroe don’t ya know)


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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