I never really bought into the notion that there’s a friendly peace between the Obamas and the Clintons. Sure, Bill Clinton is campaigning for Obama, Hillary is the Secretary of State, and all appears to be tranquil in Democrat land. But I still don’t buy it.
I’m old enough to remember the political cage-match that was the 2008 Democratic primary, with its ugly charges of racism, the ‘pimping’ of Chelsea, the whole bit. Despite her bitter loss, Hillary still wants to be president, and I have no doubt that she will make another go of it. (I’ll leave the speculation as to whether she replaces Biden on the ticket this year or makes a solid run in 2016, for another time).
All that being said, there’s a literal endorsement battle between the two for Democrat candidates down ticket, one specifically in a congressional race here in New Jersey:
A top Obama campaign adviser is taking sides in a member-versus-member primary in New Jersey, with senior adviser David Axelrod set to campaign for Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), according to a national Democratic aide.
Rothman faces Rep. Bill Pascrell in a North Jersey district that was merged by redistricting.
Bill Clinton endorsed Pascrell this month, making this race the seventh in which he has supported a Hillary-endorsing candidate against an Obama backer.
The Pascrell campaign thinks so highly of Clinton, he made it to their latest campaign ad:
For what it’s worth, Pascrell’s district is a predominantly middle class, blue collar constituency, whereas Rothman’s former district included a sizable portion of the more affluent Bergen County which is closer to Manhattan, consisting of upper-middle class NYC commuters, and a growing immigrant population. Demographically, there’s a noticeable difference between the two, but both districts are solid blue Democrat.
And then there’s this–a source I know with knowledge of the Pascrell campaign implied that there was a financial strain on both camps because of the redistricting fight, but acknowledged the Pascrell got “a boost from the Clinton endorsement,” adding “…[Clinton’s] favorables are much better than Obama, even in the cities.”
The primary’s on June 5th, and I’m thinking Pascrell wins the district, based on the demographics I mentioned and it could very well be that the Clinton endorsement puts him over the top. I’d be interested to see how the other Obama vs Clinton endorsements in other CDs go, and I’m sure the Obama campaign will be keeping an eye on that as well.
The big news this week was that Bill Clinton had tried to get the Democrat candidate Kendrick Meek to drop out of the Florida race for US Senate. The idea being that Republican Independent Charlie Crist can save the seat for Democrats.
There’s so much fail there for Democrats (see the Joe Sestak debacle in Pennsylvania), and as Ed Henry reports, there’s more to the Meek story than just that one race:
The real story is how bad the broader electoral map has gotten for Democrats heading into the final weekend of this midterm election: Top Democratic officials privately say they believe they are going to lose the House, but as they survey the country they are getting increasingly worried they will also lose the Senate.
These Democratic officials tell me they’ve reviewed private polling numbers that suggest Sen. Patty Murray of Washington has a razor-thin lead of about two points over Republican Dino Rossi despite all kinds of help from the president and first lady Michelle Obama, among others.
They’re also deeply worried about whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada can beat Republican Sharron Angle, so suddenly the “firewall” out West to keep control of the Senate might be more like a crumbling brick wall.
In fact, I asked top Democratic officials if it’s really worth it to try to push Meek out, even though the whole plan has now been exposed and it appears the congressman will not budge. The consensus was yes, it’s worth it simply because holding on to the Senate is the Democrat’s sole chance of keeping some power on Capitol Hill.
If Democrats are worried about Washington state (!) and Patty Murray, what are they thinking about Ohio? Pennsylvania? Colorado?
Democrats are publicly saying that they are confident of minimizing losses heading into November 2nd. If that’s the case, they’re certainly not acting like it.
President Clinton has been on the road stumping for Democrats, trying to alleviate the inevitable smack-down on November 2nd.
Over the past two weeks, Clinton has had one day off, Saturday, which he spent in Northern California with his close friend Terry McAuliffe. The two stayed up late, playing cards and drafting new talking points for Democrats to trot out on the trail.
“He literally sat down with a yellow legal pad,” said McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, adding that Clinton told him: “Make sure, Terry, you get these talking points out to every candidate.”
It was then, McAuliffe said, that Clinton confided that he has been frustrated with the Democrats’ message.
“He is just baffled and bewildered about why there has not been a more coherent message talking about what the party has done, why we allowed ourselves to become human pinatas,” McAuliffe said. “I think he is agitated that Democrats haven’t put their best foot forward in explaining to the American public what they’ve actually done.”
The fact that most Democrats are political cowards doesn’t come across to Bubba, I guess.
He’s “baffled” as to why Democrats aren’t running around in their red and purple state districts proclaiming the supposed the benefits of healthcare reform, the repeal of which, most Americans now favor. Or that they should be happy with their stealth $17 a week tax-cut (for a married couple).
You’re welcome, bitches.
Things are getting testy in the Arkansas Democratic primary:
Former President Bill Clinton returned to his home state Friday to help a beleaguered ally and delivered a broadside against some of the most powerful interests in the Democratic Party.
Using unusually vivid language to describe the threat against Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Clinton urged the voters who nurtured his career to resist outside forces bent on making an example out of the two-term Democratic incumbent.
He pounded the podium with Lincoln at his side, warning that national liberal and labor groups wanted to make her a “poster child” in the June 8 Senate run-off to send a message about what happens to Democrats who don’t toe the party line.
“This is about using you and manipulating your votes to terrify members of Congress and members of the Senate,” Clinton said in the gym of a small historically black college here.
This is getting fun. Here you have Blanche Lincoln, a vestige of the Clinton era up against the progressive nutroots, who have funneled buckets of cash to Bill Halter’s campaign.
That Lincoln requested Clinton’s appearance reeks of desperation, especially in a deep red state. It’s a last gasp for a career incumbent in a year of anti-incumbent, anti-Democrat voter discontent.
If Lincoln were to lose the runoff, it would show that the nutroots are really, really pissed. My gut’s telling me that this panic button time for the Lincoln campaign.
One last thing. It’s funny how I don’t hear progressive and liberal bloggers bitching about out-of-state money and influence in this election, as they did when conservative groups were helping Doug Hoffman in the NY-23 special election, or for Scott Brown’s election in Massachusetts.
I’ve been seeing a lot of Bill Clinton lately, as Democrats try to find a way to counter the rising popularity of the Tea Party movement and unite behind President Obama’s agenda post-healthcare reform.
But of course, a Bill Clinton sighting wouldn’t be complete without him passing the buck on decisions made while he was in charge:
Former President Bill Clinton said his Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers were wrong in the advice they gave him about regulating derivatives when he was in office.
“I think they were wrong and I think I was wrong to take” their advice, Clinton said on ABC’s “This Week” program.
Their argument was that derivatives didn’t need transparency because they were “expensive and sophisticated and only a handful of people will buy them and they don’t need any extra protection,” Clinton said. “The flaw in that argument was that first of all, sometimes people with a lot of money make stupid decisions and make it without transparency.”
“Even if less than 1 percent of the total investment community is involved in derivative exchanges, so much money was involved that if they went bad, they could affect 100 percent of the investments,” Clinton said.
And, as in everything the Democrats are trying to do, a little Bush bashing is in order:
I think what happened was the SEC and the whole regulatory apparatus after I left office was just let go,” Clinton said. If Clinton’s head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arthur Levitt, had remained in that job, “an enormous percentage of what we’ve been through in the last eight or nine years would not have happened,” Clinton said. “I feel very strongly about it. I think it’s important to have vigorous oversight.”
That’s fantastic, Mr. President. It’s fantastic that you feel so strongly about regulating derivatives some 10 years after you left office, and to know that in your heart of hearts that the right thing to do is to have “vigorous oversight”. Too bad none of this foresight was around when you were actually running the show, instead of after the fact. Actually, it’s kind of pathetic that your insight is actually being taken seriously in some circles right now, considering how obviously inept and admittedly ignorant you were of the issue back then.
Is the economic boom of the 1990s attributable to Clinton or advice from his economic team? Or the Republican-controlled Congress? Just curious.
And how about that Tea Party movement?
Former President Bill Clinton warned Friday that the anger some members of the Tea Party movement express about higher taxes and the size of government could feed the same right-wing extremism that led to the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.
“Before the bombing occurred, there was a sort of fever in America,” Clinton said at a symposium commemorating the 15th anniversary of the bombing. “Meanwhile, the fabric of American life had been unraveling. More and more people who had a hard time figuring out where they fit in, it is true that we see some of that today.”
This is political cowardice of the worst kind. This kind of hate-baiting is so repulsive and disgusting it makes my stomach turn. But then again, it is Bill Clinton we’re talking about here. Here is a man who essentially turned the White House into a 24-hour hour focus group when he wasn’t using it as an outlet for his sex addiction. How can we expect any less. Here is a man who exemplified the Democratic party principle of “never let a crisis go to waste”, when you can exploit it for political gain.
Clinton was in deep political trouble in April 1995. Six months earlier, voters had resoundingly rejected Democrats in the 1994 mid-term elections, giving the GOP control of both House and Senate. Polls showed the public viewed Clinton as weak, incompetent and ineffective. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his GOP forces seized the initiative on virtually every significant issue, while Clinton appeared to be politically dead. The worst moment may have come on April 18, the day before the bombing, when Clinton plaintively told reporters, “The president is still relevant here.”
And then came the explosion at the Murrah Federal Building. In addition to seeing a criminal act and human loss, Clinton and [pollster Dick] Morris saw opportunity. If the White House could tie Gingrich, congressional Republicans and conservative voices like Rush Limbaugh to the attack, then Clinton might gain the edge in the fight against the GOP.
Morris began polling about Oklahoma City almost immediately after the bombing. On April 23, four days after the attack, Clinton appeared to point the finger straight at his political opponents during a speech in Minneapolis. “We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other,” he said. “They spread hate. They leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable.”
It was a political strategy crafted while rescue and recovery efforts were still underway in Oklahoma City. And it worked better than Clinton or Morris could have predicted. In the months after the bombing, Clinton regained the upper hand over Republicans, eventually winning battles over issues far removed from the attack. The next year, 1996, he went on to re-election. None of that might have happened had Clinton, along with Morris, not found a way to wring as much political advantage as possible out of the deaths in Oklahoma City. And that is the story you’re not hearing in all the anniversary discussions.
There’s really nothing left to say.