Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Hillary Clinton’s Bosnian B.S. is lampoonable, but to do so is beneath me. So I’ll just state some facts straight up.

Hillary wasn’t simply “mistaken” when she claimed to have landed in Bosnia under enemy fire; she flat out lied. Consider her statement. “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

Pretty specific, don’t you think? Pretty graphic. It’s not the kind of thing that you can be innocently “mistaken” about when the truth is that you got off the plane, strutted over to meet with some big shots from the native country, and then had a nice photo-op with an eight year old girl. The only time that Hillary’s head was down was when she bent over to shake the little girl’s hand.

Hillary’s “apology”? A non-apology, of course. “I made a mistake. That happens. Proves I’m human, which for some people is a revelation.”

She said it like a true New Yorker, caustically shrugging it off like it’s no big deal. And then ending her comment with a put-down of her detractors. She conveyed no sense of remorse whatsoever.

Why did she tell the lie? She wanted to establish the purported basis for her candidacy: that her opponent is all talk, but she’s so experienced. This Bosnian “profile in courage” was supposed to establish that her experiences enable her to take that 3:00 a.m. phone call and excel … like John McCain could … but not Barack Obama. But why tell this particular untruth? Because she figured that since it happened twelve years ago, who could prove that she’s lying?

What she didn’t count on was that CBS News would have in their possession the equivalent of the semen-stained blue dress. Video tape doesn’t lie. So Hillary had to admit a mistake. What she didn’t have to admit – apparently -- was that the mistake mattered.

Does it really matter? Not to me. What matters to me is that Barack Obama won eleven primaries and caucuses in a row to take a roughly 160 pledged delegate lead, and he did it all fair and square and without hurling slime at his primary opponents. Then, when Hillary had her chance to close the gap in her chosen states of Texas and Ohio, she threw the kitchen sink at Barack – even comparing him unfavorably to the Republican candidate, a definite no-no – but still couldn’t close the gap at all. In fact, she might have lost even more delegates but for the fact that she was buttressed by “Operation Chaos,” which is what Rush Limbaugh calls his campaign to persuade Republicans to vote for Hillary in order to cause chaos in the Democratic Party. As a result, Hillary is left without any meaningful chance to win the pledged delegate race.

In the past two weeks, two things have been established. First, when Barack’s back is against the wall, he can deliver an intellectually stimulating and courageous speech. Second, when Hillary’s back is against the wall, she can flat out lie and not bat an eyelash when she’s caught. One thing, though, was already established even before this fortnight began: for Hillary Clinton to win this nomination, she will have to – in the words of her most powerful supporter, Rush Limbaugh – “steal the nomination.” Why are so many Democrats fighting for her to do just that? Seriously, why? I truly don’t get it. Maybe someone out there can explain it to me.

It will be interesting over the next few days to see if the Big Lie will cost Hillary some traction with the Superdelegates. Rush Limbaugh had to plead incessantly with his supporters today to ignore the Lie and continue to stay with Operation Chaos. If the Superdelegates continue to sit on their hands and idly watch Clinton stab at Barack's knees, I’m going to be flat out of explanations ... other than that Rush is even more powerful than I had thought.


YoungMan said...

Again Dan, if you care to publish this, I think this column by Mayor Koch well articulates why so many disagree about the "greatness" of the speech.

Why Obama's Speech Was Unconvincing
By Ed Koch

Barack Obama's speech last week addressing his 20-year relationship with his radical pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was very well done, yet unconvincing.

Obama sought to explain that relationship and why he could not end this close association, despite the minister's hate-filled rhetoric. He said, "There will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Rev. Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church?"

Yes, those are the questions that people are asking.

Many of Rev. Wright's incendiary statements are on videos sold by his church. Minister Louis Farrakhan, a friend of Rev. Wright with whom he traveled to visit Muammar Khadaffi in Libya, also makes his sermons and those of others associated with the Nation of Islam available for sale. Their attacks on the U.S. and Israel often coincide with those of Rev. Wright.

Rev. Wright's sermons charge that the U.S. government gives African-Americans drugs, created AIDS and is deliberately infecting blacks with that disease. His sermons claim that the U.S. unjustifiably nuclear bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, and that 9/11 and the deaths of 3,000 Americans were caused by U.S. foreign policy. He alleges Israeli state terrorism against the Palestinians; calling Israel a "dirty word" and "racist country." He blames Israel for 9/11 and supports the divestment campaign against it, denouncing "Zionism." His venomous thoughts are summed up in his most discussed sermon in which he says the U.S. government "wants us to sing God Bless America. No, no, not God Bless America. God damn America. God damn America for killing innocent people."

Senator Obama in his speech acknowledged that the rantings of his minister are "inexcusable," but stated, "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."

Before we discuss his grandmother, let's examine the impact of Rev. Wright's statements on the Senator's two daughters. Nothing says it better than a song from the musical "South Pacific," to wit, "You have to be taught to hate and fear...You've got to be carefully taught." Few dispute that Rev. Wright's sermons are filled with hate.

Why didn't Senator Obama stand up in the church and denounce his hateful statements or, at the very least, argue privately with his minister? It was horrifying to see on a video now viewed across America the congregation rise from the pews to applaud their minister's rants.

Now to Obama's grandmother. There was a time spanning the 70's to the mid-90's when many blacks and whites in large American cities expressed the same feelings on street crime held by Obama's grandmother. Indeed, Reverend Jesse Jackson made similar comments in 1993 at a meeting of his organization, Operation Push, devoted to street crime. According to a November 29, 1993, article in the Chicago Sun-Times, he said, "'We must face the No. 1 critical issue of our day. It is youth crime in general and black-on-black crime in particular.' Then Jackson told the audience, 'There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery. Then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved....After all we have been through,' he said. 'Just to think we can't walk down our own streets, how humiliating.'"

Isn't that exactly what Obama's grandmother was referring to? To equate her fears, similar to Jesse Jackson's, with Wright's anti-American, anti-white, anti-Jew, and anti-Israel rantings is despicable coming from a grandson. In today's vernacular, he threw her under the wheels of the bus to keep his presidential campaign rolling.
For shame.

What is it that I and others expected Obama to do? A great leader with conscience and courage would have stood up and faced down anyone who engages in such conduct. I expect a President of the United States to have the strength of character to denounce and disown enemies of America - foreign and domestic -- and yes, even his friends and confidants when they get seriously out of line.

What if a minister in a church attended primarily by white congregants or a rabbi in a synagogue attended primarily by Jews made comparable statements that were hostile to African-Americans? I have no doubt that the congregants would have immediately stood up and openly denounced the offending cleric. Others would have criticized that cleric in private. Some would surely have ended their relationships with their congregation. Obama didn't do any of these things. His recent condemnations of Wright's hate-filled speech are, in my opinion, a case of too little, too late.

It is also disturbing to me that Obama's wife, Michelle, during a speech in Wisconsin last month, said, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback."

Strange. This is a woman who has had a good life, with opportunities few whites or blacks have been given. When she entered Princeton and Harvard and later became a partner in a prestigious law firm, didn't she feel proud to be an American? When she and the Senator bought their new home, was there no feeling of accomplishment and pride in being a U.S. citizen? When her husband was elected to the state legislature and subsequently to the United States Senate, didn't she feel proud of her country?

Senator Obama was asked if he thought his speech changed any minds. He replied he didn't think so, and certainly not of those who weren't already for him. A more important question is, whether his 20-year relationship with Wright has done lasting damage to his candidacy. We will soon know.

Ed Koch is the former Mayor of New York City.

Daniel Spiro said...

I published your comment, Youngman, but I don't think it has anything to do with the post to which you responded, which was about Hillary's B.S. comment on Bosnia, rather than Obama's clergyman. I realize that you will seize every opportunity to bash Obama, but I didn't give you one this time. I'm talking about Hillary. Please try to stay on point.

But if we must re-visit the tired Reverend Wright issue, let me point out that it appears to be Hillary's favorite arrow in her quiver. She talked about it again today, remarking that she would have changed pastors. "Well isn't that special."

Besides, who is Ed Koch to be taken seriously on this issue? Is he even passionate about his Judaism, or is he just another politician who happens to have endorsed Clinton in the primary I have a Jewish book coming out this summer, and I'm telling you that I have been been extremely put off by what my rabbi said and yet didn't think that my disagreement with his views should make me leave the temple.

The idea that politicians must leave when their rabbis speak offensive thoughts has no place in a society where there is supposed to be a separation between church and state. I suggest you'd consider the words of Mike Huckabee, the former minister, who defended Obama, rather than the views of "Mayor Pothole," the Clinton supporter. Seriously, this is an issue for theologians, not politicians who clearly have a dog in the fight.

Night Stranger said...

My only explanation for Hillary's account of the Bosnia episode is that maybe she dreamed all that. She told the story with such confidence, and in such detail, that it could hardly be considered the same as a slip of the tongue.

The really weird part of her story to me is her statement that "When the place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, they couldn't send the President, so they would send the First Lady." In the pictures Chelsea, then a teenager, was with her! This is what "they" do when a place is too dangerous???

I think this is more damaging to her than Rev. Wright was to Obama, because Obama rose to the occasion with yet another awesome speech, and she has never dealt with her tendency to present herself as the savior of the Western World with anything more than sarcasm and a shrug.

As to your friend "youngman," his agenda here is transparent, and his posts have all the vitriol of a true Republican believer. Hard to ignore, but gnat bites. In the presence of greatness, no doubt he looks for support in the fight to destroy it. Ed Koch is hardly the vehicle to do so.

YoungMan said...


I agree this would have been better attached to the last post. And I agree with you that Hillary is an inveterate liar who will stop at nothing.

However, as much as you would like to separate the church state issue with respect to Obama and Wright, practically, it will not be separated in the minds of Reagan Democrats. As much as you would like to believe otherwise, Rev. Wright was not of Billary's making. Further, no matter how you want to deride Mayor "Pothole" and his perceived lack of devotion, what you seem to not accept is that his views are in accord with the overwhelming majority of Republicans...and those Democrats who are not part of the cult. That is 60%+ of the likely voting public.

Yes, Hillary's a liar. We know and expoect that. But the tarnish on the icon of Saint Barack (Barry? Bartholomew?) has appeared. He and Michelle made the decision to stay with Wright. I have left Catholic parishes where I dont agree with the priest.

There's just no excuse...no matter how empathically you try to rationalize it.....or change the subject to Hillary's latest prevarication.

Anyway, I'll stop posting for a bit so others can chime in.

Daniel Spiro said...

Night Stranger,

I actually think the Reverend Wright problem is a bigger one than the Bosnian problem because most of Hillary's supporters already decided that politicians don't need to be honest to deserve our votes, whereas a lot of Barack's supporters had previously adored his judgment and are now questioning that judgment. I don't think they should question his judgment as a result of the identity of his pastor, but they are doing so nonetheless. And Youngman is correct that the Wright problem is not primarily of Hillary's making. The GOP has been waiting to trot this issue out for a while.

That said, I also don't think that at the end of day, the Wright problem will kill Barack's chances. I expect most voters to realize that if we start disqualifying politicians whenever we don't like someone they associate with, we'd have eliminated every last politician.

Of course, there are many who would respond "What a wonderful idea!"