Monday, November 19, 2007

Unknown unknowns

It's Shadow War time again in politics. Barack Obama's campaign has indirectly accused the Clintons of plotting to establish a political dynasty. TPM Election Central carries the lurid details:

Barack Obama has unveiled a new line of criticism against Hillary: In speeches he's started to point to the allegation made in Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta's Hillary book that the Clintons secretly formulated a 20-year-plan to deliver the presidency first to Bill, and then to Hillary.

Obama was immediately accused of trading on rumor.

"I'm not in this race to fulfill some long-held plan or because it was owed to me," Obama said the other day.

Asked if that were a reference to the Gerth allegation, an Obama spokesperson left virtually no doubt that it was, telling Newsday: "Barack Obama has not been mapping out his run for president from Washington for the last 20 years like some of his opponents."

But the source that Gerth and Van Natta cited with supposed first-hand knowledge of this plan -- historian Taylor Branch -- has since vehemently denied that any such pact existed. "The story is preposterous," Branch told The Washington Post, adding: "I never heard either Clinton talk about a 'plan' for them both to become president."

The media frenzy has become so charged that the rumors about rumors have become news. For example, Bob Novak's article about "dirt", "Obama" and "Hillary" set the two camps to fighting.

Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party's presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use it. The nature of the alleged scandal was not disclosed.

Novak has been accused of throwing the Apple of Discord into the Democrat Olympus. Whoever of the two candidates you think is Athena or Aphrodite is academic, but as David Freddoso at National Review points out, Novak's argument is technically about possibilities, not actualities. But maybe in this game possibilities eventually become actualities.

Novak is not reporting that Hillary has dirt on Obama. He's reporting that her people are spreading the rumor that they have dirt on Obama. And this is a real story.

Novak makes no judgement on whether such dirt actually exists, but he notes that this rumor comes at a pretty convenient time for Clinton's people. If they are spreading rumors, it is so that they can gain a political advantage using a dirty trick behind the scenes to dissuade undecided Democrats from backing Obama. Novak is not playing along with dirty tricks about phantom rumors: he is exposing the rumor-mongerers for using Nixon-style dirty tricks.

Uh-huh. Of course neither side would be reacting to the feints so violently if they didn't suspect the other party actually had a knife in their hands. The two candidates continue to circle each other. My guess is that one day the real knives will appear.


Blogger ledger said...

There is a ring to truth to that theory.

I remember they practically had to pry Bill Clinton from the Presidential Podium when he left office. I am sure Bill Clinton would not mind residing the White House again. I think that all the pomp and ceremony can become addicting.

11/19/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Blogger Nomenklatura said...

The Clinton camp's analysis is that every viable candidate in the Democratic candidate lineup will have to be wearing a lot of mud if Hillary is to have a chance of winning the nomination (it's not hard to see why).

This means that all hope ordinary Democrats harbor that they could go into this election behind a mud-free candidate must be ground out of them between now and February at the latest. Expect either real charges or a lot more innuendo.

Mickey Kaus was correct the other day, in identifying the start of the 'Sid Blumenthal phase' of the campaign:

"Putting the Sid Back in Inside Baseball--A Timeline:

Nov. 15--Sidney Blumenthal joins Clinton campaign.

Nov. 17--Columnist Robert Novak writes that:

Agents of Sen. Hillary Clinton are spreading the word in Democratic circles that she has scandalous information about her principal opponent for the party's presidential nomination, Sen. Barack Obama, but has decided not to use.

It can't be that simple. Right? ..."

11/19/2007 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Wheels within wheels. Let's say Hillary has nothing on Obama. By claiming there's something there to find, she gets every journalist in the world to start digging for the dirt she claims to have found. A brilliant though sociopathic strategy.

Obama is a politician in Illinois, a state known for its corruption. A former governor of Illinois is currently going to jail for corruption after being defended by another former governor who himself did time in the slammer.

It would be amazing if Obama didn't have some skeletons in his closet.

Interestingly, Obama can't use this tactic against Hillary because she is already implicated (directly or by assocation) in bank and mail fraud, violations of campaign finance laws, illegal foreign campaign funding, improper exports of sensitive technology, physical violence and threats of violence, solicitation of perjury, intimidation of witnesses, bribery of witnesses, attempted intimidation of prosecutors, perjury before congressional committees, lying in statements to federal investigators and regulatory officials, flight of witnesses, obstruction of justice, bribery of cabinet members, real estate fraud, tax fraud, drug trafficking, failure to investigate drug trafficking, bribery of state officials, use of state police for personal purposes, exchange of promotions or benefits for sexual favors, using state police to provide false court testimony, laundering of drug money through a state agency, false reports by medical examiners and others investigating suspicious deaths, the firing of the RTC and FBI director when these agencies were investigating Clinton and his associates, failure to conduct autopsies in suspicious deaths, providing jobs in return for silence by witnesses, drug abuse, improper acquisition and use of 900 FBI files, improper futures trading, murder, sexual abuse of employees, false testimony before a federal judge, shredding of documents, withholding and concealment of subpoenaed documents, fabricated charges against (and improper firing of) White House employees, inviting drug traffickers, foreign agents and participants in organized crime to the White House.

And all her supporters are already aware of this and don't care! What could Obama say that would hurt her? That she's a closet conservative?

The Clinton scandal legacy was compiled here:

11/19/2007 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

If the Democratic candidates and their followers could divert just half of the ruthlessness and viciousness they display in political combat toward the true enemies of the United States, I would feel a lot better about the future of the country.

11/19/2007 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Peter Grynch,

Interesting you should put it that way. Sounds like you could meet more interesting characters in the White House than you can in the Big House.

11/19/2007 09:07:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Peter Grynch,

As I recall someone compiled a list of Clinton associates who had met with untimely deaths due to “suicide” and fatal accidents. The list seemed usually long.

Just thinking about Vince Foster shooting himself in the mouth then driving to a national park and jumping down a ditch makes me scratch my head.

11/19/2007 09:26:00 PM  
Blogger Brian H said...

Don't forget Chelsea ... :D

Actually, Obama is a loose cannon; be very, very, grateful he's on the Ds' ship.

11/19/2007 10:05:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

Peanuts, Popcorn, get your red hot peanuts, right here!

11/19/2007 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Wheels within wheels. What if Hillary's campaign is innocent of claiming to have dirt on Obama? Obama's claim to having been attacked allows him to claim the sacred liberal status as "victim". Victims, according to liberal ideology, must be protected at all costs. Clinton claimed she was a victim after the debates by claiming "the boys" were ganging up on poor little her.

This is also a good tactic since, if Clinton is forced to disavow attacking Obama, it preemptively prevents a future attack.

A recent poll found that when one candidate unfairly attacks another there is a price to pay, and now Matt Drudge is reporting Obama leading Clinton in polling in Iowa for the very first time. Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) draws support from 30 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa, compared with 26 percent for Clinton. There are significant signs of progress for Obama -- and harbingers of concern for Clinton.

Among Republicans strength is an admired quality. Among Democrats, is it possible that weakness will garner the most votes?

If only it were possible to somehow get the Democrats to use their psyops talents and tools in the media to attack the terrorists with as much fervor...

11/20/2007 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Peter Grynch,

Nice litany of Hillary's cardinal and venal sins. Other than that though , she's really a nice person and a selfless public servant.

11/20/2007 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I wonder who Hillary throws things at when Bill's not around and she's having a tantrum.

Headlines about Obama pulling ahead in Iowa. Whatever dirt Hillary thinks she has on him must not be sticking.

11/20/2007 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger geoffb said...


You are probably thinking of this listing.

11/20/2007 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Lots of people have long term plans and lots of people plan to be POTUS, but get serious. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. It requires a lot more than a plan to get anywhere close to the White House. And there is a huge amount of luck involved.

I would be inclined to say that if she can bring her plans to fruition in such an effective way, then maybe she ought to be President.

11/20/2007 01:26:00 PM  
Blogger Don M said...

Don't forget Chealsea!

11/23/2007 07:29:00 PM  

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