Saturday, May 24, 2008

from bad to worse

well, the ink on the previous blog post hadn't even dried before senator clinton outdid herself. on the campaign trail, in answer to an interviewer's question, she basically said that she was staying in the race because, among other reasons... senator obama could be assassinated.

i should be clear. i don't believe that this was a public threat on hillary clinton's part, and i just can't imagine that she would wish anything like that on barack obama. but given the historic nature of obama's candidacy and the generally unspoken but very real fear that such a thing could actually happen, it was shocking to hear her make these remarks. the comments were foolish at the very least, and depending on how you interpret the clintons' history, even ominous.

later in the day, she did make an apology for the remarks -- to the kennedy family! no mention of the reference to assassination or how that might be problematic for obama.



Steve Ballmer said...

Given all of the things throughout history which have happened in June, Hellary mentions the assassination of Bobby Kennedy? An unusually close parallel to Obama or wishful thinking or maybe instructions to the wack job racist out there?

“You guys aren’t doing your job!”
That’s what I hear Hellary saying!
Maybe that’s just me, …. we will find out at Barak’s wake.

Anonymous said...


Do a video scrub of controller of Clinton BEFORE she mentions RFK assassination and AFTER. Her body language shifts completely into SHAME/GUILT mode, completely showing intent and knowledge for what she said. It is so dramatic, it isn't funny.

Try it: just drag time controller back and forth on the Clinton video


CGK said...

I don't usually comment on these things, but I must say I am surprised to see such an unfounded post by you on this. Your summary of what she said is nothing like what happened in the inverview and only reflects the media spin on the comments. Furthermore, she has made this argument since March that she shouldn't need to get out because historically the race hasn't been decided until June and two prominent examples are her husband and Kennedy. The only reason she apologized to the Kennedy family was because of the issues they are dealing with right now, but it certainly was no remark about Obama. It is also interesting that you note the "historic nature of Obama's candidacy", but ignore the "historic nature" of her own.
If I could in print review what she says compared to your summary that she is staying in the race because "you never know, Obama might be assasinated."

Why is she staying in?
#1(clipped)1980, '84, '88, '92 some contested and carried the caes to convention.
#2she is ahead in popular vote and #3 <200 delegates of 4400 separate them,
#4 Michigan and Florida are unresolved
#5 no one has nomination
(time =30sec into video)
#6 She goes on to say it is the toughest, most important job in the world and you should be willing to campaign for every vote and willing to debate whenever. But people keep trying to push her out since Iowa. This is curious to her and UNPRECEDENTED. There is and urgency to end this, but that is HISTORICALLY makes no sense. (time =1 min 38 sec)
#7 She doesn't buy that it needs to be ended for "party unity" because she's been AROUND LONG enough to know otherwise.
For example her husband didn't wrap up nomination until June (time=1min 55 sec) and "we all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassination IN JUNE.. so I don't understand it" (time = 2 min 5 sec)
She finds this curious and won't
attribute motives or strategies to it, but its a HISTORICAL CURIOSITY. (time =2 min 27 sec)

Out of seven points in the two and a half minute clip, her point is that historically she has every reason to carry this to the end. One would have to cut out nearly the entirety of what she said to summarize it as you have here and as the media originally did.

As to the previous post, the party said they could not campaign in the states, but not that they needed to take their names off the ballots. If Obama did that, it's his fault. Secondly, it could be acceptable to not count votes when there is a clear winner, but if counting certain votes changes the winner because a race is so close then the is obviously not a "clear" winner and people are not being allowed a say. I thought it was irresponsible of the democratic party to take away their votes in the first place, and the situation has only solidified my position. The states felt that it was unfair to discriminate against them and allow some states to move up their primaries but not others. The system needs to be rectified, but the people to not need to be punished.
Suppose it were the other way around. The situation would be akin to Georgia, Illinois and Minnesota losing all their delegates. Then the delegate count would be Obama 1327 and Clinton 1336! She would be winning, and that would not be considering the changes in dynamics of the press. Surely, if it were the Obama camp they would also be pushing for the delegates to count, given the closeness of the race and the "historic nature of his candidacy".

I am not even a Clinton supporter, but the way this has been going down is remarkable.

Anonymous said...

cgk, I must say I disagree with your comment. I don't know what else to think when Hillary mentioned that RFK was mentioned in June. And it wasn't the first time she said something like that, either.

For instance, in an interview with Time magazine on March 6, Hillary said:

"We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn't wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June, also in California. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual. We will see how it unfolds as we go forward over the next three to four months.",8599,1719900-2,00.html

According to the New York Times, Hillary said, “Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” signed the civil rights bill into law" in New Hampshire.

Why would Hillary talk about inspirational leaders to whom Obama has been compared, and then accidentally mention how they were tragically assassinated?

We can all make up our own minds if we think it's a coincidence.

gr8god said...


my comment about why hillary is staying in was not intended as a summary -- of course there are other, valid reasons she's staying in. rather, it was a comment on her raising the possibility of assassination, which is, imo, simply beyond the limits of acceptability. yes, her candidacy is historic -- and if barack had raised the possibility of her being assassinated, i would have likewise cried 'foul!'

for the record, i have not been one of those who thought she should drop out. i think she has every right to stay in; in my mind, she needs no more reason than that there is no nominee yet. i do think it would serve her and the party for her to change her tone and approach.

as to her other arguments, i find them unconvincing and transparently self-serving for the most part. without being exhaustive:

- from the beginning, she agreed with the other candidates not to count mi and fl and not to campaign there. to insist now that they must be counted and that she's some kind of civil rights champion fighting for them is just a little too convenient. why did she agree to disenfranchise them in the first place?

- re: party unity. all sorts of republicans wanted reagan to drop out in 1976 and blamed him for ford losing that year. likewise, many democrats wanted kennedy to drop out in 1980 and still blame him for carter's loss to reagan. why? in both cases, the parties were not able to unify sufficiently. i don't think she should have to drop out, but this situation is hardly a historical curiosity or unprecedented.

- not that the popular vote is the measuring stick, given that the demos are picking their nominee based on the number of delegates... but her popular vote math leaves something to be desired. she counts the states that she agreed not to count (fl and mi) and where no one was supposed to campaign, badly undercounts the caucus states (all but one of which her rival won), and proposes to count puerto rico, which cannot vote in the fall election. see

so color me skeptical about her 'lead' in the popular vote.


as you can tell, i'm no hillary supporter. but it's worth noting that i am not a barack obama supporter either. my two blog posts were in reaction to what i perceive to be the excesses of senator clinton's campaign. but i'm an equal opportunity critic, and if you watch this space long enough, i'm liable to get around to obama and mccain, as i already did with patrick buchanan.

gr8god said...

oops -- hit the 'publish' button a little too quick there...

re: mi and fl. if the demos are really going to count them, i think they should have a re-vote. why? a) the party cannot allow states to violate their stated rules without a penalty, or they'll have anarchy; b) many voters probably stayed home, because they were told there votes wouldn't count. but it would be fair to all (if expensive) to have a re-do that allows voters to come out, no doubt in historic numbers; it would also allow both candidates to campaign in the respective states and both candidates to be on the ballot.

cgk said...

My point is that I don't think she was intending to raise the "possibliliy of assassination", but merely the historic nature of going to the convention. There are enough valid points to have against her than ascribing evils she didn't intend. Her arguments might be unconvincing, but my point was to show that she has arguments about points, not calls for assassination.
And, of course they are self serving---I don't think there is any candidate who is not, it is not the nature of the buisness--thus my example that I really do think Obama would do the same if it were him (just like Gore did when it was a close race for him).
I rather like the Kennedy-Carter argument (a couple months ago I saw video of the convention where Kennedy even refused to shake Carter's hand) and think that is a better way to go than stretching her words to say Obama could be assassinated. Your arguments about party unity and popular vote are perfectly acceptable, I think that kind of tone would have been more desirable than excitable rhetoric.
In the end, it's hard for me to believe this year that the democrats will be hurt by this. And if they think it is bad to have the candidate decided so late, they should make major changes for future primaries.

gr8god said...


i appreciate your willingness to dialog on this.

i don't think senator clinton was calling for an assassination on obama or even wishing that on him, which i think i made clear in my original post.

but one of the realities of this campaign is the very real possibility of someone trying to kill the first viable black candidate for president. it is generally unspoken, but real enough that obama was the first not-yet-nominated candidate to receive secret service protection. when you add to that the fact that he is continually compared to jfk, rfk, and mlk, often in combination with the 'historical observation' that each of them was gunned down... and then note that hillary has made these references repeatedly... well, it's just not a benign way to make a point about nomination processes extending into june. she could easily just say that, rather than making the reference: "we all remember bobby kennedy was assassinated in june."

it is not hillary clinton's fault that there are crazies out there who might get the wrong idea. but no candidate ever raises the possibility that their rival might not live until the convention. it's just not done. and to do it in these circumstances, when obama has already received threats about such things? at the very least, it shows a serious tone-deafness to racial realities in the u.s.

but i actually think it's worse than that. the clintons and their surrogates have intentionally and repeatedly raised the issue of race as a way of dividing the electorate because they believe it is a way for her to win. the assassination comments fit into that pattern, though not explicitly (if you're not convinced, do a survey of your black friends as to what they heard her say and how it might be problematic for obama.). and i think using race as a wedge issue is deplorable.

i can see why you might take exception to my tone in the post, and if you've been reading here much, you know that that is the exception and not the rule. but what you are detecting is not just 'excitable rhetoric' but outrage. i don't think it's a stretch to interpret her words to mean that "obama could suffer some unfortunate end -- you just never know" and given the comparison to rfk (another inspirational candidate who appeared to be headed to the nomination until he was murdered), i don't think it's unfair that people draw that conclusion. it's just a little too close to reality.

so, no, she didn't say, "i hope someone assassinates obama" or even "obama could be assassinated in june." but she doesn't have to be that explicit for the remarks to be inappropriate, potentially dangerous, and way, way out of bounds. imo, she deserves all of the criticism she's getting on this one.

cgk said...

Thanks for your comments and for clarifying why you think that. I still disagree with the conclusion, but there is too much to talk about regarding the 'race' issue in an impersonal blog...again, I think there is more than one side.
so 'til another time...