Obama’s speech on race and Rev. Wright

There’s a lot of analysis out there in the blogosphere and on the MSM sites.  For what it’s worth, the speech Sen. Obama gave in Philadelphia this morning is one of those historical making types.  People will discuss this speech in the future.

The speech, entitled “A More Perfect Union” focused not only on the racism that has played out in this presidential campaign, but also on the racism that permeates American society.  Sen. Obama, relayed history and context to make his points concisely and precisely.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

At this point in the speech, he’s hanging in the balance.  The question:  Will he throw Rev. Wright under the bus is unanswered.  No matter how much the Clinton’s supporters want to whine and blame the Obama campaign for racism, there is no doubt that the Clinton’s are the ones who spent December and January injecting race into the campaign.  After spending the summer and fall of 2007 stating that Sen. Obama wasn’t black enough for their black supporters, they decided to tell their white supporters that he’s too black.  For many people, South Carolina was the turning point. They either weren’t paying attention or willing to give the Clinton’s the benefit of the doubt.

On one hand, it’s a shame that Sen. Obama even needed to give a speech addressing Rev. Wright’s comments. On February 26th during a Democratic debate, we saw Tim Russert shamelessly press Sen. Obama on Louis Farrakhan’s support.You’ll remember that Louis Farrakhan gave a speech where he said that he liked Obama.  Russert, during a debate then pressed (and pressed and pressed) Obama to denounce Farrakhan.  The very next day, Sen. John McCain was receive the endorsement of Rev. John Hagee.  A right-wing pastor who’s endorsement, John McCain actively sought.  As Glenn Greenwald points out, Sen. McCain was never initially pressed to distance himself from Hagee and his comments:

Yesterday, though, the equally fringe, radical and hateful (at least) Rev. John Hagee — a white evangelical who is the pastor of a sprawling “mega-church” in Texas — enthusiastically endorsed John McCain. Did McCain have to jump through the same hoops which Russert and others set up for Obama and “denounce” Hagee’s extremism and “reject” his support? No; quite the opposite. McCain said he was “very honored” to receive this endorsement and, when asked about some of Hagee’s more twisted views, responded: “all I can tell you is that I am very proud to have Pastor John Hagee’s support.”

In fact, the following Sunday on Meet the Press, Tim Russert all but ignored the fact that Hagee had endorsed McCain. On Bill Bennett’s radio show, Sen. McCain did eventually wind up repudiating Hagee’s remarks saying that “they were taken out of context”.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.[snip]

As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

There.  For the umpteenth millionth time in a week Sen. Obama has condemned the 2 minutes of speech snippets being used to define Rev. Wright’s career.  Of course, there are intellectually lazy people who’ll hold on to their chewed up bone of hate and stupidity and repeat, “But why didn’t he leave the church?  How can we trust his judgment?”.  I’m sorry, but for those people who say that and are Clinton supporters I have to laugh.  Loudly.  You have a woman married to a man who has consistently cheated on her and we’re supposed to trust her judgment?  You have a woman who didn’t bother to read the NIE report, but still went ahead an authorized use of force in Iraq, while trying to deny that thought she was authorizing use of force, despite the fact that the bill was called Authorization for Use of Military Force…and we’re supposed to trust her judgment?  You have a woman who then went ahead and voted for more of the same in regards to Iran…and we’re supposed to trust her judgment.

Okay.

One of the best things about Obama’s speech is the fact that he did not throw Wright under the bus.  Instead of dumping on the guy like most politicians would have, Obama instead explained him…made him human.  Remember, that Rev. Wright not only married the Obama’s, but baptized his children.  If the guy were a complete nutjob, do you really think that Sen. Obama would really be running for President of the United States?

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way

But the truth is, that isn’t all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

On the internet, it’s easy to read a line, get outrage and demand heads to roll.  I try to wait for context–especially if Fox is pushing a story like they did with this one.  I want to see video, read a speech.  But for anyone to see a few lines from a person they didn’t know existed yesterday and determine his or her entire career based on that, marks them as mentally stunted.  One of the reasons I didn’t initially blog on Ferraro’s “he’s lucky he’s black” statements was because of this.  I was assuming it was said in a joking way.  I didn’t know that Ferraro said the same thing back in ’88 in reference to Jesse Jackson.  But it came right on the heels of her “it sucks to be a rich, middle-aged, white woman in America” op-ed and her subsequent TV appearances didn’t help.

But you’ll see the double standard there too.  Samantha Power, while interviewing overseas about her upcoming book, states that Sen. Clinton is a monster.  The Clinton’s campaign immediately calls for Power to be fired from the Obama campaign.  Power tendered her resignation immediately.  Geraldine Ferraro, who sat on the Clinton’s finance committee, says that Sen. Obama is basically an affirmative action candidate, then says, “I was only speaking for myself, not the campaign.” You know…like Powers was.  The Clinton’s campaign first reaction was to blame the Obama campaign “for playing the race card”.  Ferraro resigned 3 days later.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

Old people.  What are you gonna do?

My grandfather (maternal), a preacher, was a bigot–and not a good man.  Scratch that…he made bigots look reasonable.  He used every racist term in the book for everyone.  Even talking to him right before he died, I remember he asked me about, “That little honkey girl with the gook friend.”  Ugh.  There was no changing him.  When I was little, there wasn’t a black man in my life who didn’t use a slur for white people.  I was raised knowing white people as “crackers” and “peckerwoods”.   I had no idea those were bad words.  When after we moved off base into my grandpa’s (paternal) house. I remember one morning looking out the 3rd story window and seeing white people moving into our black middle-class neighborhood.  My father was outside washing his car.  I screamed, “Daddy, the peckerwoods are here!”  I think I repeated it like 5 times at the top of my voice.  My daddy ran up those stairs so fast…he told me that he never wanted to hear me say anything like that again.  He didn’t say, “in front of white people”, he said, “ever”.  I was 4 years old and after that, I had never heard him use a derogatory term to describe white people.

Then, Obama’s speech did a beautiful thing.  It proved that his is about unity.  It proved that he understood the way America works.  In fact, the next part I’m going to quote, I guarantee will be stolen and woven into Clinton’s upcoming speeches:

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It’s a racial stalemate we’ve been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

This is where you realized that anyone who dismisses this speech as empty rhetoric has a lot riding on their own hatred of Obama and their inherent bigotry.  There is nothing to refute in this passage.  It’s America, right or wrong…and we know it.  I’ve been saying it, lots of others have been saying it.  The people in the media pretend that it’s really not that bad unless it really, really affects the working class white voter.  But there’s something important here:  We have never had a leader say it.

I’m 35.  I’ve never been particularly in awe of this country as an operational organization.  As a piece of geography, I love this place, but in theory…meh.  It’s hard.  It’s hard to pretend that as a woman everything is hunky-dory.  It’s hard to pretend that as a black person everything is hunky-dory.  It’s hard to pretend as a liberal, as a Muslim, as one-half of an interacial relationship, as a parent…get what I’m saying.   The true-believers, those “America:  Love it or Leave it” types don’t get it.  They see my skin, my sex and immediately blame me for any problems I have even if they mirror their problems.  But that’s okay, because they have their preachers telling them that it is my fault.  Not a breakdown in government or leadership, because of “them”.

Those people are waiting for some talking head or preacher to tell them that it’s okay…”Give in into your hate.”  They don’t have to listen to Obama because they’ll make up pretend instances of “codewords” despite the fact that this speech wasn’t given to black America, it was given to America.  Sen. Obama drew the line.  He said, “Here’s where were are.  Now you can cross the line and move into the future or you can stay over there and dwell in the past.”

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This is where the spin, the media’s filter comes into play.  You saw that on the faces of the chatterboxes after the speech.  The white pundits looked morose.  They didn’t know how to spin it.  The black pundits were thrilled.  Impressed.  Without expressly pointing out the media, he did call them to task over their gossipy ways and their involvement in talking about nothing, while the important issues that truly affect our lives are ignored:

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

 

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

 

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

 

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

It’s a beautiful speech.  I always mention how Sen. Obama’s speech always have me ready to hang a 50′ flag in my front yard and salute it every morning.  This speech is so over and beyond that.  This speech has me loving all of mankind.  Even the cootie-fied haters.

Advertisements

It’s the Hillary Healthcare Hour!

As The Commenter Formerly Known as NCSteve over at TPM said:

 Damn, are they running out of money again?

That’s right…the Clinton’s hate you so much they begged for another debate.  The Obama campaign, not be outdone said, “I see your Pennsylvania and raise you North Carolina.”

Two more debates.

22 debates total.

That’s ear-bleeding, zombie-turning dullness right there.  If Clinton hijacks the debate with her healthcare plan again, I hope someone gongs her ass.

Okay, the only thing that can make this sadder is that the Pennsylvania debate will be brought to us by:

And the CBS debates will be moderated by…are you sitting down?

katie-couric-getty-images.jpg

That’s right,”never trust a fake tan and a smile” is going moderate.

Can you say, “shoot me now” boys and girls?  I knew you could.

ELECTION ’08: MSNBC calls Mississippi for Obama

That was fast. My TV’s been on for 3 minutes.

So…since there were black people and Clinton lost, Mississippi must be added to the contests that don’t count for Clinton.

There’s no numbers, so I guess they’re working off exit polls:

Vote by Party and Race

White Democrats (24%)

Clinton 74%
Obama 24%

White Independents (13%)

Clinton 59%
Obama 39%

Black Democrats (44%)

Clinton 10%
Obama 90%

All Republicans (13%)

Clinton 78%
Obama 22%

So, you can see that even with whites overwhelming voting for Clinton, she still lost in MS. Did you see those Republican numbers? They want her as the nominee so bad.

Democrats  |  Polls | County Results
Candidate Votes % of votes Delegates won Projected winner
Barack Obama 247,456 60% 15
Hillary Clinton 153,745 37% 12  

Unbelievable

The things, you say
Your purple prose just gives you away
The things, you say
You’re unbelievable
~EMF – Unbelievable

That’s the way I feel about Sen. Clinton and the Clinton’s campaign. That’s not to say that they’re liars (which I know they are), but I find their antics and “purple prose” simply unbelievable.

  • I can’t understand how someone who’s had the media lapping up every single word of theirs complain that media doesn’t give them the right kind of attention.
  • I don’t understand how someone who made a big stink about Sen. Obama “rejecting” Louis Farrakhan, not only presents a story that wasn’t true, but when one of their own well-known supporters makes a racist statement, she doesn’t “reject” her.
  • I will not understand how someone who has spent the last 8 months smearing blacks and Muslims, can fake outrage on 3 week old factual flyers then say that the flyers are “Rovian”.
  • I still don’t understand how someone can generate fake outrage at being called a ‘monster’, yet embrace having a national “comedy” sketch show call you a ‘bitch’.

If I didn’t pay attention to politics; didn’t blog, didn’t watch CSPAN, didn’t obsessively check national and local news agencies info and only saw this, I wouldn’t vote for Clinton. A couple of weeks ago, I read a post somewhere that said something like:

Clinton is like that girl on the playground who’d whine that the boys were being mean and ignoring her, but would turn around a kick them in the knees because she knows that boys can’t hit girls.

When I read that–as a woman–I flinched. Mostly because I had seen that girl and I had despised her with all my 8 year old heart. That girl made it harder for girls like me to get a fair shake on the playground. It wasn’t fun playing with the boys when that girl was around. They made sure they didn’t hit her too hard with the dodgeball or tag her out too often. Meanwhile other girls were either treated with kid gloves or hit even harder. I was hit harder.

In reading or hearing Clinton’s female surrogates and female reactions to Sen. Clinton and how the media treats her, I have a sense that we females are divided into these two camps of girls; those who whined and those who played on level with the boys. That is why Clinton can claim hurt and demand a resignation when Powers called her a monster, yet is unwilling to disavow comments made by former vice presidential candidate and Clinton superdelegate Geraldine Ferraro. Who said that Obama is only where he is because he’s black. That Clinton stands by the bigoted rhetoric of one of her more important superdelegates, speaks a lot about her, the type of campaign that is being run and what kind of presidency we’re get if she wins in November.

John McCain, who has no scruples, properly distanced himself from Rep. Steve King’s ugly remarks about Obama. That speaks to a larger issue of Clinton’s character. When David Shuster made his inappropriate remark about Chelsea Clinton, Sen. Obama was asked about it and spoke up for the Clinton’s. That’s despite all their race-baiting and insinuations of the previous months. Sen. Clinton has been eerily silent on Rep. King’s remarks. Not that we should expect more. In fact, the only time Clinton has disavowed a surrogates/endorser’s remarks has been when that person is a black person. Every other person has been given cover for their Clintonian talking points.

Sen. Clinton, your purple prose just gives you away. It’s unbelievable.

UPDATE:

The Clinton’s campaign has now accused the Obama campaign of “playing the race card” over Ferraro’s words. Same shit, different day. Didn’t we watch this movie in January? You know, back when Bill Clinton and their surrogates were dumping all kinds of racist buzzwords on airwaves and crazy-assed bloggers like SusanHu and Michelle Malkin Taylor Marsh were accusing the Obama campaign of playing the race card?

Mammy Maggie Williams memo said:

In January, NBC’s Tim Russert confronted Senator Barack Obama with a four page memo from his campaign characterizing statements they claimed the Clinton Campaign had made about race. Asked in hindsight whether he regretted pushing this story, Senator Obama said :

Well, not only in hindsight, but going forward. I think that, as Hillary said, our supporters, our staff, get overzealous. They start saying things that I would not say. And it is my responsibility to make sure that we’re setting a clear tone in our campaign, and I take that responsibility very seriously, which is why I spoke yesterday and sent a message in case people were not clear that what we want to do is make sure that we focus on the issues.”

We agreed then. We agree today. Supporters from both campaigns will get overzealous. Senator Clinton today reiterated that when asked about Geraldine Ferraro‘s recent comments:

“I do not agree with that and you know it’s regrettable that any of our supporters on both sides say things that veer off into the personal. We ought to keep this focused on the issues. That’s what this campaign should be about.”

Senator Obama’s campaign staff seems to have forgotten his pledge. We have not. And, we reject these false, personal and politically calculated attacks on the eve of a primary. This campaign should be about the leadership we need for a better future and these attacks serve only to divide the Democratic Party and the American people.

But you know…Geraldine Ferraro, who is still running her damn mouth, is still on the Clinton’s campaign’s staff so, they must agree with what she said.

But far from backing off from her initial remark, Ferraro defended it and elaborated on it.

“Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let’s address reality and the problems we’re facing in this world, you’re accused of being racist, so you have to shut up,” Ferraro said. “Racism works in two different directions. I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?”

No…um…I’m NOT going to call her that…no one’s attacking you because you’re white, you’re being attacked because you say bigoted stuff not even in the ballpark of reality.

She also said she is familiar with Axelrod from his work for minority candidates in New York.

“He knows damn well that the best thing to do in a situation like this is to come back and hit with race,” Ferraro said, adding that the response is a sign that the Obama campaign is “worried” about the first-term senator’s lack of experience.

[snip]

“Sexism is a bigger problem,” Ferraro argued. “It’s OK to be sexist in some people’s minds. It’s not OK to be racist.”

And I guess Geraldine Ferraro is going to make it her life’s work to make sure it’s OK to be racist.

I have just one thing to say to Ferraro:

ELECTION ’08: Obama campaign challenges Clinton’s claims

I just woke up the happiest post today. Over at TPM, Greg Sargent has posted a memo the Obama campaign has sent out regarding Sen. Clinton’s claims of foreign policy experience. All that bullshit we’ve been listening to for the past 8 months, and we said, ‘Liar!’ he just tagged her on it. All of it. And brutally. I don’t expect our wonderful media to cover it because they want and need the Democratic drama to go on, cause ‘Dammit, people are engaged and that means ratings!’

The Obama campaign has always been quick to respond to criticisms, but more importantly, they’ve shown party loyalty. They don’t or won’t give the GOP ammunition against Clinton should she win the nomination. It’s just not the done thing. The Clinton’s don’t play for the Democrats, they play for themselves. That’s why when they started their “kitchen sink” strategy last week, it didn’t look strong, it didn’t make the campaign’s front look like “a fighter”, it made her look a little crazed and desperate. There’s was nothing strong from the last 3 weeks. And to make it worse, all of her claims were so easily debunked that you wondered just who was fooling who?

From former Clinton White House counsel Greg Craig:

There is no reason to believe…that she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton Administration. She did not sit in on National Security Council meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the Situation Room. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy, nor did she have her own national security staff. She did not do any heavy-lifting with foreign governments, whether they were friendly or not. She never managed a foreign policy crisis, and there is no evidence to suggest that she participated in the decision-making that occurred in connection with any such crisis…

Now that’s what most of us have been saying for the past year. One can assume the Obama campaign held back only because they didn’t want to give ammunition to GOP. Meanwhile, The Clinton’s, their surrogates and supporters concern-troll and say, “Well, he’s going to get much worse from the Republicans, so we’re testing him.” Whatever. Apparently, they never bothered to look up any information about Sen. Obama. And too be oh-so-concerned when Sen. Clinton has never had a serious Republican challenger in her short elected career is the height of hilarity.

The memo sent by the Obama campaign, is clear and concise. It hits all her claims of foreign policy experience and does it factually. Here it is:

When your entire campaign is based upon a claim of experience, it is important that you have evidence to support that claim. Hillary Clinton’s argument that she has passed “the Commander- in-Chief test” is simply not supported by her record.

There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton played an important domestic policy role when she was First Lady. It is well known, for example, that she led the failed effort to pass universal health insurance. There is no reason to believe, however, that she was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton Administration. She did not sit in on National Security Council meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the Situation Room. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy, nor did she have her own national security staff. She did not do any heavy-lifting with foreign governments, whether they were friendly or not. She never managed a foreign policy crisis, and there is no evidence to suggest that she participated in the decision-making that occurred in connection with any such crisis. As far as the record shows, Senator Clinton never answered the phone either to make a decision on any pressing national security issue – not at 3 AM or at any other time of day.

When asked to describe her experience, Senator Clinton has cited a handful of international incidents where she says she played a central role. But any fair-minded and objective judge of these claims – i.e., by someone not affiliated with the Clinton campaign – would conclude that Senator Clinton’s claims of foreign policy experience are exaggerated.

Northern Ireland:

Senator Clinton has said, “I helped to bring peace to Northern Ireland.” It is a gross overstatement of the facts for her to claim even partial credit for bringing peace to Northern Ireland. She did travel to Northern Ireland, it is true. First Ladies often travel to places that are a focus of U.S. foreign policy. But at no time did she play any role in the critical negotiations that ultimately produced the peace. As the Associated Press recently reported, “[S]he was not directly involved in negotiating the Good Friday peace accord.” With regard to her main claim that she helped bring women together, she did participate in a meeting with women, but, according to those who know best, she did not play a pivotal role. The person in charge of the negotiations, former Senator George Mitchell, said that “[The First Lady] was one of many people who participated in encouraging women to get involved, not the only one.”

News of Senator Clinton’s claims has raised eyebrows across the ocean. Her reference to an important meeting at the Belfast town hall was debunked. Her only appearance at the Belfast City Hall was to see Christmas lights turned on. She also attended a 50-minute meeting which, according to the Belfast Daily Telegraph’s report at the time, “[was] a little bit stilted, a little prepared at times.” Brian Feeney, an Irish author and former politician, sums it up: “The road to peace was carefully documented, and she wasn’t on it.”

Bosnia:

Senator Clinton has pointed to a March 1996 trip to Bosnia as proof that her foreign travel involved a life-risking mission into a war zone. She has described dodging sniper fire. While she did travel to Bosnia in March 1996, the visit was not a high-stakes mission to a war zone. On March 26, 1996, the New York Times reported that “Hillary Rodham Clinton charmed American troops at a U.S.O. show here, but it didn’t hurt that the singer Sheryl Crow and the comedian Sinbad were also on the stage.”

Kosovo:

Senator Clinton has said, “I negotiated open borders to let fleeing refugees into safety from Kosovo.” It is true that, as First Lady, she traveled to Macedonia and visited a Kosovar refugee camp. It is also true that she met with government officials while she was there. First Ladies frequently meet with government officials. Her claim to have “negotiated open borders to let fleeing refugees into safety from Kosovo,” however, is not true. Her trip to Macedonia took place on May 14, 1999. The borders were opened the day before, on May 13, 1999.

The negotiations that led to the opening of the borders were accomplished by the people who ordinarily conduct negotiations with foreign governments – U.S. diplomats. President Clinton’s top envoy to the Balkans, former Ambassador Robert Gelbard, said, “I cannot recall any involvement by Senator Clinton in this issue.” Ivo Daalder worked on the Clinton Administration’s National Security Council and wrote a definitive history of the Kosovo conflict. He recalls that “she had absolutely no role in the dirty work of negotiations.”

Rwanda:

Last year, former President Clinton asserted that his wife pressed him to intervene with U.S. troops to stop the Rwandan genocide. When asked about this assertion, Hillary Clinton said it was true. There is no evidence, however, to suggest that this ever happened. Even those individuals who were advocating a much more robust U.S. effort to stop the genocide did not argue for the use of U.S. troops. No one recalls hearing that Hillary Clinton had any interest in this course of action. Based on a fair and thorough review of National Security Council deliberations during those tragic months, there is no evidence to suggest that U.S. military intervention was ever discussed. Prudence Bushnell, the Assistant Secretary of State with responsibility for Africa, has recalled that there was no consideration of U.S. military intervention.

At no time prior to her campaign for the presidency did Senator Clinton ever make the claim that she supported intervening militarily to stop the Rwandan genocide. It is noteworthy that she failed to mention this anecdote – urging President Clinton to intervene militarily in Rwanda – in her memoirs. President Clinton makes no mention of such a conversation with his wife in his memoirs. And Madeline Albright, who was Ambassador to the United Nations at the time, makes no mention of any such event in her memoirs.

Hillary Clinton did visit Rwanda in March 1998 and, during that visit, her husband apologized for America’s failure to do more to prevent the genocide.

China

Senator Clinton also points to a speech that she delivered in Beijing in 1995 as proof of her ability to answer a 3 AM crisis phone call. It is strange that Senator Clinton would base her own foreign policy experience on a speech that she gave over a decade ago, since she so frequently belittles Barack Obama’s speeches opposing the Iraq War six years ago. Let there be no doubt: she gave a good speech in Beijing, and she stood up for women’s rights. But Senator Obama’s opposition to the War in Iraq in 2002 is relevant to the question of whether he, as Commander-in-Chief, will make wise judgments about the use of military force. Senator Clinton’s speech in Beijing is not.

Senator Obama’s speech opposing the war in Iraq shows independence and courage as well as good judgment. In the speech that Senator Clinton says does not qualify him to be Commander in Chief, Obama criticized what he called “a rash war . . . a war based not on reason, but on passion, not on principle, but on politics.” In that speech, he said prophetically: “[E]ven a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.” He predicted that a U.S. invasion of Iraq would “fan the flames of the Middle East,” and “strengthen the recruitment arm of al Qaeda.” He urged the United States first to “finish the fight with Bin Laden and al Qaeda.”

If the U.S. government had followed Barack Obama’s advice in 2002, we would have avoided one of the greatest foreign policy catastrophes in our nation’s history. Some of the most “experienced” men in national security affairs – Vice President Cheney and Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others – led this nation into that catastrophe. That lesson should teach us something about the value of judgment over experience. Longevity in Washington, D.C. does not guarantee either wisdom of judgment.

Conclusion:

The Clinton campaign’s argument is nothing more than mere assertion, dramatized in a scary television commercial with a telephone ringing in the middle of the night. There is no support for or substance in the claim that Senator Clinton has passed “the Commander-in-Chief test.” That claim – as the TV ad – consists of nothing more than making the assertion, repeating it frequently to the voters and hoping that they will believe it.

On the most critical foreign policy judgment of our generation – the War in Iraq – Senator Clinton voted in support of a resolution entitled “The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of U.S. Military Force Against Iraq.” As she cast that vote, she said: “This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make — any vote that may lead to war should be hard — but I cast it with conviction.” In this campaign, Senator Clinton has argued – remarkably – that she wasn’t actually voting for war, she was voting for diplomacy. That claim is no more credible than her other claims of foreign policy experience. The real tragedy is that we are still living with the terrible consequences of her misjudgment. The Bush Administration continues to cite that resolution as its authorization – like a blank check – to fight on with no end in sight.

Barack Obama has a very simple case. On the most important commander in chief test of our generation, he got it right, and Senator Clinton got it wrong. In truth, Senator Obama has much more foreign policy experience than either Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan had when they were elected. Senator Obama has worked to confront 21st century challenges like proliferation and genocide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He possesses the personal attributes of a great leader — an even temperament, an open-minded approach to even the most challenging problems, a willingness to listen to all views, clarity of vision, the ability to inspire, conviction and courage.

And Barack Obama does not use false charges and exaggerated claims to play politics with national security.