I am not even sure why this is news except that Politico decided to run it: Obama’s campaign whisperer
Barack Obama’s top advisers are making a mid-“core” correction in their attacks on Mitt Romney — with a little nudge from Bill Clinton, who is finding a niche as an Obama campaign whisperer and fundraiser.
Late last year, as Romney galloped to the right, Obama’s messaging team hit on what it assumed would be a durable bumper-sticker attack: Romney, senior advisers David Plouffe and David Axelrod intoned time and again, was a political shape-shifter who lacked any real moral or political “core.”
The slogan was the Obama talking point for months. But Clinton, echoing survey data presented by Obama’s own pollster Joel Benenson, quietly argued that the empty-core approach failed to capitalize on what they see as Romney’s greatest vulnerability: An embrace of a brand of tea party conservatism that turns off Hispanics, women and moderate independents.
A more effective strategy, Clinton has told anyone who would listen, would be to focus almost exclusively on Romney’s description of himself as a “severe conservative,” to deny him any chance to tack back to the center, according to three Democrats close to the situation.
As much as The Big Dog is a triangulator par excellence, President Obama could do far worse – and has – for taking advice. President Clinton pulled off an amazing feat in 1992, he unseated an incumbent. And no, it is a myth that Ross Perot siphoned off enough conservatives to push Clinton over the top. Statistically, especially in modern era presidential races( post Eisenhower) it is very difficult to get voters to believe they should switch horses. In 2004 Bush 43 had lied the country into a war that will eventually cost around $3 trillion dollars ( an amount conservatives now count as part of Obama’s debt). Bush had squandered victory in Afghanistan. Conservatives went on the biggest spending spree in U.S. history with Bush’s leadership. Bridges and roads were falling apart. They were doing their best to weaken the U.S. educational system – an ongoing agenda that counts among the few things that conservatives know how to do fairly well. The economy did not ‘officially crash until late 2007, but it was well trashed by 2004. Bush eked out a victory. To be a conservative by definition means living in a bubble of manufactured reality thus the support of Mitt Romney who promises to return us to the slip and slide economic policies that brought us the giant sucking sound known as The Great Recession – Eight of the Top Ten 2012 Super PAC Donors Are Anti-Democracy Conservatives Hell Bent on Bringing Back Bush Policies
Last January, a study found that seventeen of the top twenty political donors are Republicans or conservatives. Last night, USA Today published a similar roundup of Super PAC donors in the 2012 cycle, and they found exactly the same pattern. Eight of the top ten Super PAC donors are Republicans or corporations who donate exclusively to Republicans. One is the Cooperative of American Physicians, a group of physicians focused on mitigating the cost of malpractice liability that supports a single Democrat. The other non-Republican group is a teachers union.
These totals may also understate the total amount of spending by these wealthy right-wing benefactors because donors can keep their identities secret by funneling their money into non-profit arms of political organizations. Sixty-two percent of the $123 million raised by Karl Rove’s “Crossroads” political empire in 2010 and 2011, for example, came from secret donors.
With the exception of the Cooperative of American Physicians, notice anything about this group of people. They do not really produce anything. They own companies, make investments and they sit back and collect the money. Adelson, Perry and Simmons/Contran in particular are not producers, they are not innovators, they collect the capital produced by workers. If they were kidnapped by space aliens tomorrow the economy would churn along as though nothing special had happened. Peter Theil is a right-wing conservative libertarian who thinks it got where he is all on his own ( Theil has never had an idea for anything and refuses to acknowledge the technology that makes his fortune possible was made possible technology invented by the government) and in 2009, Thiel (previously a Ron Paul supporter) wrote that “since 1920… the extension of the [socioeconomic] franchise to women… have rendered the notion of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxymoron.” He is the gay Herman Cain, he has more money than some countries yet constantly complains about how oppressed he is.
Mitt Romney is serious and has values. We know this because he hired a guy who is an expert at insulting women and the media on Twitter to be one of his advisers – Richard Grenell, New Mitt Romney Spokesman, Scrubs Online Attacks On Media And Women.Grenell is not even original, he sounds like he has recycled Ann Coulter’s insults and made them even less funny.
Back when Sarah Palin had Paul Revere warning the British, not the Americans during the middle of his famous ride, one of her defenders put up Revere’s written account as proof that she was correct. Never mind that basic reading comprehension had Revere telling the British off after his ride when he was captured.So even given written evidence with the chronological order of events, conservatives till insisted their brand spanking new interpretation, that turned the timeline sideways, was correct. A very good example of what it is like trying to get conservatives to comprehend basic facts. So it goes with this blogger who is steadfast in his refusal to let facts get in the way of a crazy smear, Obama Selects Woman Who Wanted to Invade Israel As Chair of Genocide Panel
Power’s response seen in the video below is her advice to the President would be
“Alienate” the American Jewish community, and indeed all Americans, such as evangelical Christians, who support the state of Israel, because Israeli leaders are “destroying the lives of their own people.”
Pour billions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money into “the new state of Palestine”
Stage an American ground invasion of Israel and the Palestinian territories — what else can she mean by a “mammoth protection force” and a “military presence” that will be “imposed” by “external intervention”? — Interestingly she considers the exact same thing the height of arrogance and foolishness when it was done in Iraq.
The video is here. She was asked a hypothetical about any genocidal events occurring in the Palestinian-Israel conflict. A stupid question, but certainly well within the bounds of open and free intellectual discussions. She said the U.S. might have to take action that might be unsettling to a part of the American electorate. Most military actions upset Americans one way or the other. That blogger interprets that in his own words as “alienate” Jews and Evangelicals. Israel is the single biggest recipient of U.S. foreign aid and a tremendous amount of U.S. military weapons. What is so radical about entertaining the idea of the U.S. becoming involved in creating a stable and thus less radical Palestinian state. It will never happen, but such is the nature of discussions based on hypotheticals. At no place in the video does she advocate the invasion of Israel. Should a genocidal all out war take place in the region she is referring to the U.S. doing something like establishing a peace keeping force like we did in Kosovo – which worked out very well – Fox war monger Sean Hannity even approved. The reason for the Samantha Power smear campaign by the radical Right – facts be damned – is her recent appointment to the Atrocity Prevention Board. Which was part of an address the President made at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This is the press release from the museum, April 23, 2012 – PRESIDENT OBAMA ANNOUNCES GENOCIDE PREVENTION INITIATIVE AT UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum today welcomed President Barack Obama as part of the nation’s Days of Remembrance activities commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. In addition to touring the Museum and paying special tribute to Holocaust survivors, the president announced the creation of the Atrocities Prevention Board (APB), which will coordinate the US response to threats of genocide and other forms of mass atrocities.
“As a living memorial to the Holocaust, we feel that one of the most meaningful ways the Museum can honor the memory of the victims is to save lives in the future. We are honored that President Obama has chosen the Museum as the place to announce a significant new initiative to bolster the government’s capacity to prevent genocide,” said Museum Chairman Tom Bernstein. “A comprehensive US strategy to fulfill the pledge of ‘Never Again’ is a great step forward.”
“Museum Founding Chairman and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel reminds us that the Holocaust occurred because people stood by and that the greatest danger to humanity is indifference. We are heartened by the Obama administration’s efforts to create new tools and strategies to halt the perpetrators of the world’s worst crimes,” Bernstein added. Wiesel accompanied the president on the tour and then introduced him before he gave his address.
The creation of a coordinating body such as the APB was one of the key recommendations of the 2008 Genocide Prevention Task Force, co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, who issued a statement commending today’s announcement. The task force was co-sponsored by the Museum, the US Institute of Peace, and The American Academy for Diplomacy.
Michael Chertoff, Chairman of the Committee on Conscience, which directs the Museum’s genocide prevention program, and former Secretary of Homeland Security, said, “The creation of this board represents a positive development in how our government responds to the worst forms of violence against civilians. If this step is coupled with strong political will by this and future administrations, the United States will be positioned as a world leader to act in the face of genocide. But now the work really begins, and the key test will be if this new body is utilized effectively.”
This is not so much as an attack from the liberal side against M’s Power, but certainly liberal slanted pessimism. It does manage to give the big picture of what Power stands for, Obama, Samantha Power, and the ‘problem from hell’
There is an interesting back story to Barack Obama’s call today for stronger action to prevent genocide that directly relates to the subject of this blog. The president’s speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum announcing new sanctions against perpetrators of mass atrocities was shaped in large part by senior aides with first-hand experience in places like Bosnia and Rwanda.
The key person here is Samantha Power, now a senior foreign policy advisor to Obama, who was a young reporter in Bosnia in July 1995 at the time of the Srebrenica massacre, seething in frustration at the failure of the international community to take effective action against the likes of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. As the author of the Pulitzer prize-winning A Problem from Hell: America in the Age of Genocide, Power provided much of the intellectual heft for a growing genocide prevention movement that has sought to pressure the United States government to live up to the slogan “Never Again.”
In her book, Power states that she returned from Bosnia “haunted by the murder of Srebenica’s Muslim men and boys, my own failure to sound a proper early warning, and the outside world’s refusal to intervene even once the men’s peril had become obvious.” She noted pointedly that the United States “had never in its history intervened to stop genocide and had in fact rarely even made a point of condemning it as it occurred.”
Other Obama foreign policy advisors who cut their teeth on the biggest foreign policy failures of the Clinton administration include United Nations ambassador Susan Rice, who is haunted by her experience on the National Security Council at the time of the Rwanda genocide. Repenting of the government’s inaction over Rwanda, Rice later swore “that if I ever faced such a crisis again, I would come down on the side of dramatic action, going down in flames if that was required.”
Of course, as both Power and Rice have discovered, there is a huge gap between striking a high moral tone as a commentator and the practical constraints of government. While the Obama administration (prodded by Power, Rice, and their allies) played a key role in the overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi last year, it has been unable to contribute in any meaningful way to a reduction in violence in Syria. Auschwitz survivor Elie Wiesel drew attention to this contradiction today in introducing Obama to the Holocaust museum audience by noting pointedly that Bashar Assad is “still in power” in Syria alongside “number one Holocaust denier,” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.( Isn’t that a sign of good ol centrism when conservatives and liberals do not think you are good enough)
I’m not criticizing Elie Wiesel, that is like, if not worse than criticizing Mother Teresa, but Wiesel has also criticized right-wing Israelis like Benjamin Netanyahu,
On his visit to the museum, Obama was accompanied by the Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who, in an interview with the Times of Israel last week, had rebuked Benjamin Netanyahu for repeatedly comparing the alleged threat posed by Iran to Israel with the Holocaust, as the Israeli prime minister did last Thursday at a memorial in Jerusalem in a particularly hawkish speech that drew widespread notice in elite foreign policy circles here.
On the very long list of conservative hypocrisies I always find it amazing that they will go into shrill outrage mode over any foreign input into U.S.A. foreign policy, yet get down on all fours and pull the foreign policy of Israel’s far Right. The conservative mind is simply not capable of appreciating the fact that one can support Israel and find some of the things it does a little bone headed. Thinking that does not make one pro Hamas or antisemitic. That is just a logical fallacy upon which conservatives rest most of their arguments. It is absurd to even entertain the idea of letting any Israeli leader dictate when the U.S.A. should go to war. This is a great example by Glenn Greenwald of the attacks which ensue if you do not take the radical Right’s every position on Israel – The predictable aftermath of the anti-CAP smear. Hard to tell if one only reads conservative blogs, but not all Israeli Jews buy into the perpetual war mongering, Jewish Voice for Peace.
Update: One of America’s most patriotic media watchers, Media Matters posted this just as I was finishing this post – Still Not True: Conservatives Revive Falsehood That Samantha Power Called For Invading Israel
Right-wing media are responding to Obama adviser Samantha Power’s appointment as chair of the newly created Atrocities Prevention Board by reviving the long-debunked smear that Power once advocated for an invasion of Israel.