Friday, March 07, 2008


I HOPE THAT they post Samantha Power's TED talk from last week as soon as possible.

FOR IN IT, you will get to see what a smart and funny and deeply principled scholar looks like when she gets tired of the annoying absurdities of political life, such as PRETENDING THAT GENOCIDE ISN'T REALLY HAPPENING.

I FOUND her call and efforts to organize a meaningful policy to deal with genocide one of the most inspiring things I heard at the conference.

(THAT, and Joshua Klein's plan to crowdsource litter management to enormous packs of CROWS).

BUT BECAUSE Hillary Clinton apparently can't bear to be called a name, a brilliant, talented woman is chased from public service--at least for now.


That is all.


RedCircleLine said...

the ire of hodg-man is being released! righteous anger, i might even go so far to say.

tony said...

Power resigning is a lose-lose for Obama. After calling baloney on the phony name-call controversy he should have countered with very loud indictments of the Clinton Ad that doctored his appearance, her insinuations that he's hiding something about his religion, the leaks about his inside talks with the Canadian government on NAFTA (that her people had actually done) as well as the beyond unacceptable statements that MaCain would be a better president than Obama.

I know that she's trying to compare her competitiveness to McCain vs. his based on "experience" but please.

Clinton is scorching the earth right now setting herself up for 2012. I don't know another way to interpret it.

The Curiously Dull Mint said...

meanwhile... wolfson comparing obama to ken starr... talk about name-calling!

hodg-man said...

Hello, Tony, and a comment too to Cpt. Joy--

It's a judgment call, to be sure, but I don't know it's a lose/lose. If Power had stayed on she'd be a target and a distraction day after day, all the way to the primary.

Those other points are all worth bringing up, but they don't need Samantha Power around to raise them.

My feeling is that he can only plausibly go negative when he is attacked. That's a better opening for the issues that you mention.

Each time he's attacked, he should bring out some damning counter attack mercilessly, both to neutralize the attack, and to put the Clinton camp on warning: don't play with fire.

But he can't really go on offense in response to an attack that his side, for right or wrong, initiated.

Right or wrong, he is going to be held to a higher standard, because he set it, and he should strive to reach it.

Right or wrong, Obama has thrived and will thrive when he puts these fires out quickly, even if he gets a little burned, and shows his willingness to return the conversation quickly to substantive policy.

I do think, however, his acceptance of Power's resignation should have included a vigorous defense both of her talents and her simply humanity--we all fuck up.

It should have acknowledged how ridiculous the game had become, that Hillary Clinton would call for the head of a smart young woman just because she called Clinton not-very-bad-name.

Clinton may not be a monster, but she certainly is pretty thin skinned.

That is all

tony said...

Fair enough, it would be to their benefit to focus attacks where warranted. But the fact that political campaigns have to do the wrong thing out of fear of distraction does drive me nuts.

I have to stop myself sometimes when I slip into second-guessing mode but I guess I would have preferred a non-apology apology, highlighting that Power flubbed since she's new to the political universe because she's spent her life being BRILLIANT elsewhere.

Here's hoping the Obama campaign is tactically hibernating in a good way. Their non-responsiveness is starting to become bizarre.

fancycwabs said...

I don't see anyone calling for Jose Ortiz to resign from the Clinton campaign.

tony said...

Maybe if he'd won a pulitzer he'd be more expendable.

Unknown said...

tony: do really think that clinton really doctored obama to look blacker in that ad? i'm really asking, because while i have been disgusted by the clinton campaign's techniques, and while i do believe that they organized a concerted efforts through several surrogates to marginalize obama based on his race, i'm having a hard time taking the step of believing they're capable of that level of well let's just call it evil.

my working theory is that they made the choice to darken and desaturate the color scheme of the entire section featuring obama in order to create a subliminal aura of gloom, which they then contrasted with the sunny, warm, saturated color scheme of the hillary portion of the ad (she's wearing that yellow jacket, wasn't she?). i think that the darkening of obama's skin tone was an unfortunate consequence but not the aim of their editing.

for the sake of the nation, i hope that's true.


Unknown said...

also YES john hodgman you are right.

my hope is that the press will maintain the distinction between the obama campaign vigorously responding to negative attacks and initiating the fight. my fear is that distinction will be lost, and he'll be tagged as a hypocrite.

however, of course, all this is beyond the control of mere posters of blog comments. post mar 4, i'm trying to do what i can (donate! volunteer!) while keeping it all in the broader perspective of um living my life and evaluating some plays and walking my dog and spending time with friends. it's crazy easy to get sucked into anxious obsession with the vicissitudes of the campaign, and i definitely was there monday/tuesday of this week. my new resolution is to keep the anxiety to a muted undercurrent. oof.

tony said...

Because I am a push-over when faced with a moderately reasonable argument, I'll go halfsies with you, that maybe the tech/producer didn't SET OUT to achieve the results they achieved when they applied the effect.

On seeing the result, however, someone at some point from the campaign intentionally let the ad go out the door. It's hard to believe it hit the airwaves in total innocence. Smart people don't make these kinds of accidents.

Maybe not evil but at least disgusting.

Thomas Burchfield said...

Truly monstrous indeed, not to mention her hints that voting for McCain would be preferable to voting for Obama (Note to Obama campaign: Use that! Hang it around her neck until it rots and smells! "Vote for the Republican than our guy . . . sheesh!)

I have my doubts about Senator Obama, but really her approach simply nuts, traitorous to her own interests, the party's and the country's. I'm beginning to doubt my decision to vote for her. If they do that do-over in Michigan and Florida, may she come to regret it.