Not just great, but bad-ass fine.
As in: Dude, look at that bitchin '32 roadster with the black pinstriping. Also written bitchen or bitchin' - and ALWAYS pronounced BIT-chin.
Tina Fey says it all, here.
Not just great, but bad-ass fine.
As in: Dude, look at that bitchin '32 roadster with the black pinstriping. Also written bitchen or bitchin' - and ALWAYS pronounced BIT-chin.
With the emergence of Sen. John McCain as the presumptive Republican nominee, the choice for the Democrats in the 2008 presidential election now shifts to who is best positioned to beat him, in what promises to be a more hard-fought campaign -- and perhaps a nastier one -- than Democrats anticipated.
Sen. Barack Obama's promise of transformation and an end of partisan politics has its seductive appeal. The Bush-Cheney era, after all, has been punctuated by smear campaigns, character assassinations and ideological fervor.
Nobody dislikes such poisonous partisanship, especially in foreign policy, more than I do. I am one of very few Foreign Service officers who have served as ambassador in the administrations of both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, yet I have spent the past four years fighting a concerted character assassination campaign orchestrated by the George W. Bush White House.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is one of the few who fully understood the stakes in that battle. Time and again, she reached out to my wife -- outed CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson -- and me to remind us that as painful as the attacks were, we simply could not allow ourselves to be driven from the public square by bullying. To do so would validate the radical right's thesis that the way to win debates is to demonize opponents, taking full advantage of the natural desire to avoid confrontation, even if it means yielding on substantive issues. Hillary knew this from experience, having spent the better part of the past 20 years fighting the Republican attack machine. She is a fighter.
But will Mr. Obama fight? His brief time on the national scene gives little comfort. Consider a February 2006 exchange of letters with Mr. McCain on the subject of ethics reform. The wrathful Mr. McCain accused Mr. Obama of being "disingenuous," to which Mr. Obama meekly replied, "The fact that you have now questioned my sincerity and my desire to put aside politics for the public interest is regrettable but does not in any way diminish my deep respect for you." Then one of McCain's aides said of Obama, "Obama wouldn't know the difference between an RPG and a bong."
Mr. McCain was insultingly dismissive but successful in intimidating his inexperienced colleague. Thus, in his one face-to-face encounter with Mr. McCain, Mr. Obama failed to stand his ground.
What gives us confidence Mr. Obama will be stronger the next time he faces Mr. McCain, a seasoned political fighter with extensive national security credentials? Even more important, what special disadvantages does Mr. Obama carry into this contest on questions of national security?
How will Mr. Obama answer Mr. McCain about his careless remark about unilaterally bombing Pakistan -- perhaps blowing up an already difficult relationship with a nuclear state threatened by Islamic extremists? How will Mr. Obama respond to charges made by the Kenyan government that his campaigning activities in Kenya in support of his distant cousin running for president there made him "a stooge" and constituted interference in the politics of an important and besieged ally in the war on terror?
How will he answer charges that his desire for unstructured personal summits without preconditions with a host of America's adversaries, from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Kim Jong Il, would be little more than premature capitulation?
Senator Obama claims superior judgment on the war in Iraq based on one speech given as a state legislator representing the most liberal district in Illinois at an anti-war rally in Chicago, and in so doing impugns the integrity of those who were part of the debate on the national scene. In mischaracterizing the debate on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force as a declaration of war, he implicitly blames Democrats for George Bush's war of choice. Obama's negative attack line does not conform to the facts. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I should know. I was among the most prominent anti-war voices at the time -- and never heard about or from then Illinois State Senator Obama.
George Bush made it clear publicly when lobbying for the bill that he wanted it not to go to war but to give him the leverage he needed to go to the United Nations and secure intrusive inspections of Saddam's suspected Weapons of Mass Destruction sites. Who could argue with that goal? Colin Powell made the same case individually to Senators in the run up to the vote, including to Senator Clinton. It is not credible that Senator Obama would not have succumbed to Secretary Powell's arguments had he been in Washington at the time. Why not? Obama himself suggested so in 2004. "I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports,' Obama said. 'What would I have done? I don't know." He also told the Chicago Tribune in 2004: "There's not much of a difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage." According to press reports, Powell is now an informal adviser to Mr. Obama.
In his tendentious attack, Obama never mentions that Hans Blix, the chief United Nations weapons inspectors, declared that without the congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force the inspectors would never have been allowed into Iraq. Hillary's approach -- and that of the majority of Democrats in the Senate -- was to let the inspectors complete their work while building an international coalition. Hillary's was the road untaken. The betrayal of the American people, and of the Congress, came when President Bush refused to allow the inspections to succeed, and that betrayal is his and his party's, not the Democrats.
Contrary to the myth of his campaign, 2008 is not the year for transcendental transformation. The task for the next administration will be to repair the damage done by eight years of radical rule. And the choice for Americans is clear: four more years of corrupt Republican rule, senseless wars, evisceration of the Constitution, emptying of the national treasury -- or rebuilding our government and our national reputation, piece by piece. Obama's overtures to Republicans, or "Obamacans" as the Senator calls them, is a substitute for true national unity based on a substantive program. His marginal appeals have marginally helped him in caucuses in Republican states that Democrats won't win in the general election. But his vapid rhetoric will not withstand the winds of November. His efforts will be correctly seen by the Republican leadership as a sign of weakness to be exploited. While disaffected Democrats may long for comity in our politics after years of being harangued and belittled by the right wing echo chamber, the Rovians currently promoting Obama are looking to destroy him should he become the nominee. Obama's claim to float uniquely above the fray and avoid polarization will be short-lived. He is no less mortal than any other Democrat -- Michael Dukakis, Al Gore, John Kerry -- all untouched at the beginning of their campaigns and all mauled by the end. We should never forget recent history.
In order to effect practical change against a determined adversary, we do not need a would-be philosopher-king but a seasoned gladiator who understands the fight Democrats will face in the fall campaign and in governing.
Theodore Roosevelt once commented, "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly."
If he were around today, TR might be speaking of the woman in the arena. Hillary Clinton has been in that arena for a generation. She is one of the few to have defeated the attack machine that is today's Republican Party and to have emerged stronger. She is deeply knowledgeable about governing; she made herself into a power in the Senate; she is respected by our military; and she never flinches. She has never been intimidated, not by any Republican -- not even John McCain.
Barack Obama claims to represent the future, but it should be increasingly evident that he is not the man for this moment, especially with Mr. McCain's arrival. We've seen a preview of that contest already. It was a TKO.
Scarborough insisted, "This ain't about Hillary Clinton's campaign." [mere partisan hype -- don't pay attention to it. nothing to see here, move on]
Scarborough got that part right. This isn't about Hillary Clinton's campaign. This is about a consistent pattern of misogynistic comments by Chris Matthews. Comments about and directed toward a variety of women. A consistent pattern of Matthews objectifying women. And a consistent pattern of MSNBC looking the other way.
It's about an MSNBC host saying things like this: "I've been trying to call Alessandra Stanley with The New York Times for some time just to have lunch with her, and she thinks it's because I'm trying to influence her -- that's not the case at all, it's because, I was surprised, I saw a picture of her and I thought she was kinda hot!" . . . Joe Scarborough.
It's about things like a male MSNBC host describing a woman running for president as "shrill" (and "very shrill") and asking, "[W]hat about her housekeeping skills?" . . . Joe Scarborough. . . .
This is about Chris Matthews' pattern of inappropriate treatment of women, and about MSNBC's continued acceptance of it. It's about things like a male journalist doing a mocking "impersonation" of the women who host The View - an impersonation that featured a high-pitched, whiny voice...[from]. David Shuster. . . [Shuster is now being spun as the sad victim of a horrid horde of over-sensitive broads]
Tim Russert suggested that there is irony in a "self-avowed feminist" having shown "some emotion," as though feminists are the dour, humorless beings Rush Limbaugh and Tucker Carlson think they are. At least Russert stopped short of using the term "feminazis."
A few days later, Tucker Carlson mocked the idea that Hillary Clinton could have been a "victim of gender discrimination," noting that she had gone to Yale Law School. Clinton's comments about "gender equality," to which Carlson was purportedly responding, were in fact general, and not about her specifically.
And his invocation of Clinton's graduation from Yale Law as evidence of a lack of gender inequity in her life was just bizarre: As Clinton noted in her autobiography, "When I entered Yale Law School in the fall of 1969, I was one of twenty-seven women out of 235 students to matriculate. This seems like a paltry number now, but it was a breakthrough at the time and meant that women would no longer be token students at Yale." . . .
MSNBC host Tucker Carlson, who has described Hillary Clinton as "whining" and suggested the reason there are so few women in Congress is that "most women are so sensible, they don't want to get involved in something as stupid as politics" and said of Clinton, "[W]hen she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs," and described her as "castrating, overbearing, and scary."
(MSNBC can't say they didn't know what they were getting when they hired Carlson; before joining the cable channel, he said women "want to be spanked vigorously every once in a while" and told Elle magazine that Clinton is his "guilty fantasy," explaining: "Every time I see her I think I could, you know, help. ... She seems tense.") . . .
Then on January 30, Joe Scarborough told co-host Mika Brzezinski, "Mika, don't make me backhand you." . . .
During MSNBC's February 5 primary coverage, correspondent Lester Holt seemed surprised that "[t]he first woman candidate with a serious shot at winning the presidency beat out her male rival" in exit polls on the question of "[w]ho would make the best commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces?" Holt even reminded viewers, "Keep in mind, this at a time the nation is fighting on two fronts." This wasn't the first time an NBC personality seemed to question whether a woman could be an effective commander in chief of the armed forces:
* On June 24, 2007, Chris Matthews asked if Clinton's "being surrounded by women" makes "a case for commander in chief -- or does it make a case against it?" Matthews went on to say, "But isn't that a challenge, because when it comes down to that final decision to vote for president, a woman president, a woman commander-in-chief, will be an historic decision for people. Not just men, but women as well."
* On May 30, 2005, Matthews asked retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey if "the troops out there" would "take the orders" from "Hillary Clinton, commander in chief." When McCaffrey responded, "Why wouldn't they listen to a [female] commander in chief? Sure," Matthews responded: "You're chuckling a little bit, aren't you?" When McCaffrey responded, "No," Matthews said: "No problem? No problem? No problem?" McCaffrey answered, "Absolutely not. None."
Most recently, David Shuster said on the February 7 edition of Tucker that "there's just something a little bit unseemly" about Chelsea Clinton contacting super delegates on behalf of her mother, adding, "[D]oesn't it seem like Chelsea's sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?"
This morning, Shuster offered a Matthews-esque quasi-apology for analogizing Chelsea Clinton to a prostitute.
But, like Matthews, Shuster didn't seem to "get it."
Barack Obama says that the GOP has been the "party of ideas" for the last ten to fifteen years. Which GOP "idea" tops your five-alarm list during the last 15 years?
* Privatizing Social Security
* Cooking intelligence and outting an undercover CIA officer
* Uncontrolled deficit spending with tax breaks for the wealthiest and oil companies
* Abolishing the Department of Education
* Covering for pedophiles in the Congress
* Slashing Medicare
* No health care for all Americans
* Gutting the military
* Not protecting us from Chinese toys and food laced with poison.
No matter who we've supported so far for president, many PDAers have seen firsthand the enthusiastic, youthful, multiracial movement that has embraced Barack Obama.
The Senator hasn't been totally progressive on the issues, but our engagement with the inspiring Obama movement--which includes tens of thousands of open-minded newcomers to activism--leaves us hopeful.
Goodbye to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands, because Hillary isn’t as “likeable” as they’ve been warned they must be, or because she didn’t leave him, couldn’t “control” him, kept her family together and raised a smart, sane daughter. (Think of the blame if Chelsea had ever acted in the alcoholic, neurotic manner of the Bush twins!)
Goodbye to some women pouting because she didn’t bake cookies or she did, sniping because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them. Grow the hell up. She is not running for Ms.-perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement. She’s running to be president of the United States. . . .
Goodbye to a misrepresented generational divide . . .
Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they’re not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten the status quo), who can’t identify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if they say something good about her.
Goodbye to women of any age again feeling unworthy, sulking “what if she’s not electable?” or “maybe it’s post-feminism and whoooosh we’re already free.”
Let a statement by the magnificent Harriet Tubman stand as reply. When asked how she managed to save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, she replied bitterly, “I could have saved thousands—if only I’d been able to convince them they were slaves.”
I’d rather say a joyful Hello to all the glorious young women who do identify with Hillary, and all the brave, smart men — of all ethnicities and any age — who get that it’s in their self-interest, too. She’s better qualified. (D’uh.) She’s a high-profile candidate with an enormous grasp of foreign- and domestic-policy nuance, dedication to detail, ability to absorb staggering insult and personal pain while retaining dignity, resolve, even humor, and keep on keeping on.
(Also, yes, dammit, let’s hear it for her connections and funding and party-building background, too. Obama was awfully glad about those when she raised dough and campaigned for him to get to the Senate in the first place.)
I’d rather look forward to what a good president he might make in eight years, when his vision and spirit are seasoned by practical know-how—and he’ll be all of 54. Meanwhile, goodbye to turning him into a shining knight when actually he’s an astute, smooth pol with speechwriters who’ve worked with the Kennedys’ own speechwriter-courtier Ted Sorenson. If it’s only about ringing rhetoric, let speechwriters run. But isn’t it about getting the policies we want enacted?
And goodbye to the ageism . . .
How dare anyone unilaterally decide when to turn the page on history, papering over real inequities and suffering constituencies in the promise of a feel-good campaign? How dare anyone claim to unify while dividing, or think that to rouse U.S. youth from torpor it’s useful to triage the single largest demographic in this country’s history: the boomer generation—the majority of which is female?
Old women are the one group that doesn’t grow more conservative with age—and we are the generation of radicals who said “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Goodbye to going gently into any goodnight any man prescribes for us. We are the women who changed the reality of the United States. And though we never went away, brace yourselves: we’re back!
No matter who we've supported so far for president, many PDAers have seen firsthand
the enthusiastic, youthful, multiracial movement that has embraced Barack Obama. The
Senator hasn't been totally progressive on the issues, but our engagement with the inspiring Obama movement--which includes tens of thousands of open-minded newcomers to activism--leaves us hopeful.
So much anti-Hillary hysteria. Intra-party rancor. It makes me want to throw up. (Not to mention that I don't deal well with rancor...