CAMPAIGN 08 EDITORIAL: A monstrous attack?

A monstrous attack?

What’s worse? Being called a monster, or being likened to Kenneth Starr? I guess it depends on who’s keeping score.

samantha-power.jpgSamantha Power could have referred to Hillary Clinton as Lady Macbeth. She could have said that Barak Obama’s Democratic opponent is displaying an “unalloyed lust for power.” She could have said that Clinton seems to have become “unhinged” — so desperate to win the nomination that she is jeopardizing the Democratic party’s chances of winning back the White House.

Had she said any of these things, Power would now still be a key adviser to Senator Obama. Instead, she used the utterly shocking word “monster.” She fucked up — and at the very same time that she was acknowledging that the Obama campaign “f***** up in Ohio.” (Note that The Scotsman, a newspaper whose journalistic integrity compelled to run with this important story, is also so high-minded that it must protect its readers from the shocking f-word.)

This then is the state of politics and the way it gets reported: lies, distortions, exaggeration and deviousness provoke neither shock nor penalty, but an ill-chosen word and an indiscreet honest expression — this is what must always be denounced and rejected.

Power needed to acknowledge that she had blundered, but she didn’t need to resign. Her remarks were inexcusable not because of their content but because she was dumb enough to express them to a reporter.

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5 thoughts on “CAMPAIGN 08 EDITORIAL: A monstrous attack?

  1. Russ Wellen

    Seems like her mothering instinct kicked in and she was too fiercely protective of Obama.

    However, as I commented at, who is more likely to know a monster when she sees one than the author of one of the definitive books about genocide (her classic, Pulitzer-prize winning “Problem from Hell”).

  2. Phil Sheehan

    She called Hillary a monster, and was required therefor to quit the campaign? Can you imagine the wholesale resignations that would have been required had such concern for niceties been part of the Bush Administration?

    I think by now someone would be after me to fill in the rest of the term as Secretary of Defense, or perhaps Attorney General.

  3. Enzo

    I’ve been wondering what and how much to make of this turn of events, and have twice foregone posting a comment because, after considerable but inconclusive thought, I still didn’t know what to think. After watching an interview with Samantha Power, I may be only a tad closer to knowing, but I finally do have some thoughts I would like to share.

    The video is here: And following is an excerpt from it:

    Samantha Power: “I talked to him [Obama] today and it was very clear to both of us that you can’t have these kinds of comments; that’s the whole point of our campaign.”

    If I take her, and by her account him, at their words, what they’re saying seems simple enough. But what the whole point of Obama’s campaign has begun to seem to me is that of avoiding anything which might undermine their projected delegate numbers; numbers which they consider and hope will give them the nomination.

    Indeed, the closer to the nomination the Obama camp considers itself to be getting, the more their cojones appear not to grow, as one would like and expect them to do, but to shrivel. I’m all for Obama winning, but is this really how he wants and expects to do it? Isn’t this pandering to political correctness more “politics as usual”? And isn’t it rather pathetic?

    I would not draw from Power’s resignation and its acceptance by Obama a direct parallel to Bill Clinton’s dumping of Lani Guinier because there are significant differences. But there are also significant similarities. That “politically correct” move by Clinton, especially at that early stage, was an alarm bell, an advanced warning of what one might come to expect of a Clinton presidency. And repeatedly over the next eight years, Bill Clinton did not fail to surpass, in ignominy, some of my most cynical expectations. No, I’ve never been a fan of Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton or the Clintons.

    Then there’s McCain. I dislike his politics for the most part and don’t much like the man, either. But one cannot deny — even in the midst of his contradictions, political expediency and hypocrisy — that he routinely displays admirable cojones. Look, for example, at how he’s handling Hagee’s endorsement. However much one might wish to view this as contemptible, and however much one might criticise journalists for not taking to him to town on it, how not to acknowledge his cojones?

    I think McCain would do well if he relied less on his cojones and put a little more attention in the region where the brain resides. But what to say about Obama? We have three players left on centre stage. Two are men and one is a woman, but except for McCain, I’m no longer sure which is which. Would the most appropriate cojones-in-chief please stand up.

  4. Paul Woodward

    Picking up on Enzo’s cojones theme – not only the Obama campaign but the Democrats in general risk reinforcing, yet again, the image of the lily-livered liberal.

    Note that Hillary’s justification for posturing as a national security heavyweight is because John McCain is going to make national security the central theme of the general election.

    Where is it written that the Republican candidate has the prerogative to dictate the political agenda? Hillary’s posture is that of the candidate who reacts – not one who believes they can lead. This is supposed to be a leadership contest – not a me-too contest.

  5. Diodotus

    Another possibility: she didn’t fuck up at all. Obama knows he needs to go negative because clearly the US public falls for it. Yet if he does, he’ll lose his moral high ground. The solution: have various campaign insiders do it for him, then fire them. Let’s see how often this continues to happen.

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