Sunday, January 13, 2008

Obama's Steel, Hillary's Art

Commenting on my post Hillary?Why?, MichaelB draws our attention to this article by Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. I also noticed that sharp putdown by Obama - though I remember him saying 'You're likeable enough, Senator', which is slightly different from 'You're likeable enough, Hillary.' This was indeed borderline vicious and Krauthammer condemns him for it. I don't understand why. He describes the Hillary performance that inspired the remark as 'artful and sweet'.  A better description would have been 'patronising and frivolous'. Obama was irritated, as I was, and he slapped her down, as I would. I'm all for such flashes of steel, they cut the sticky threads of spin. I've heard old Tories muttering that Obama will crumble as soon as Iran and/or Russia pull some nasty stunt to test the new president. On this performance, I suspect they're wrong. The rest of Krauthammer's argument - that Obama is an unreconstructed liberal or 'old Labour' as we might say over here and that he is being given a free ride by the media - may well be right. But, since we now have a Labour party dwelling some distance to the right of the Tory party, I don't set much store by what politicians appear to be out of power. 


  1. I posted this on my blog on's in the same mind set....

    In the First Post today Donald Malcolm argues that Gordon Brown needs a Hilary Clinton style comeback. The piece is ill conceived and badly argued and he finishes with this.

    Brown's new strategy chief Stephen Carter will be able to ratchet up the similarities: Brown is our Clinton to Cameron's Obama; everybody - in the UK, no less than the US - wants change, but Brown and Clinton have the experience to make it happen; Obama and Cameron are good with words but fail to deliver.

    The most obvious problem here is the fact that Brown's in power and has been for quite a while, there are multiple skeletons in his cupboard. Hilary while being associated with power has had only a cursory involvement. In fact that's being generous because it ignores her failure when she was put in the role of head of the Task Force on National Health Care Reform. And let's not forget Whitewater either.

    The fact is that its much much harder to stay in power and keep delivering than it is to be in opposition and while the comparisons between Obama and Cameron are tenuous both have the advantage of having little of the mud of failure sticking to them.

  2. It's curious. There seems to be a 'liberal' old guard defending Hillary. Krauthammer, Blumenthal and over here Aaronovitch are singing what seems to be a dated, tired establishment song. Also, husband Bill has said some pretty nasty things about Obama - consequently the meanness of that era is coming back into sharp focus. I'd love to see an Obama/McCain contest. McCain is a remarkable man, he's said kind things about immigrants and is defiantly anti-torture. Obama has not played the race card, while it seems Hill reminds me of Hewitt/Harman type of pol pushing the fact fact she's a woman for all it's worth. I really hope she's defeated. Right wing women politicians (Merkel/Thatcher) seem a lot more credible.

  3. In my experience, 'power woman' women are much more aggressive than men: not physically but verbally, and of course Pres Hil wouldn't have to physically attack anyone, she'd have it done for her. They also tend to sudden flip into hysterical aggression, really out of all proportion to the perceived slight or threat; so i personally would be very wary of electing a 'power woman'.

  4. I'm sorry but we don't need a president who thinks it's funny to sing about bombing Iran.

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  6. From The New York Times transcript of the daebate:

    MR. SPRADLING: My question to you is simply this: What can you say to the voters of New Hampshire on this stage tonight, who see a resume and like it but are hesitating on the likability issue, where they seem to like Barack Obama more.

    SEN. CLINTON: Well, that hurts my feelings. (Laughter.)

    MR. SPRADLING: I'm sorry, Senator. (Scattered applause.) I'm sorry.

    SEN. CLINTON: But I'll try to go on. (Laughter.)

    He's very likable. I agree with that. I don't think I'm that bad.

    SEN. OBAMA: You're likable enough, Hillary. (Inaudible.)

    SEN. CLINTON: Thank you (so much ?). (Laughter.) I appreciate that.

  7. Take a look at a website called for enlightenment. Especially the bits about BO's land deals.

  8. Hillary44 is a site dedicated to boosting Clinton and smearing her opponents, especially Obama. It is not said who funds or runs the site. It's noxious stuff.

  9. Precisely Mr Sponge. That's why I alerted people to it.

  10. The Clintonians have all the malice of campus politicians- which if US voters had any sense, would have been all they might have been.