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Inside the Obama-Guns-God-Bitterness Storm [Updated]

***Update***The latest updates on this story come from Jay Rosen, from The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.

 

As the editorial coordinator of HuffPost’s OffTheBus project, I had the privilege and responsibility of doing the final edit andobamaguns.jpg ultimately approving for publication the web story Friday that has set off a firestorm over Barack Obama’s remarks about a “bitter” attitude that sometimes plagues economically-pressed small towns. Specifically those in Pennsylvania.

Writer Mayhill Fowler’s story -- now with more than 2500 5,000 comments on it -- was picked up by The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, CNN.com, the Associated Press, Fox News, Reuters, Politico, the Lou Dobbs Show, Hardball, Olbermann’s Countdown, The Atlantic.com, The DailyKos, TalkingPointsMemo and myriad other outlets.

McCain and Clinton quickly jumped into the fray. And Obama released a video to respond to the controversy (posted below).

Here’s the background: Last Sunday, citizen journalist Mayhill Fowler – true superstar at OffTheBus and a declared Obama supporter-- was present at an Obama fund raiser in San Francisco during which the candidate got a little loose lipped with the crowd while her tape recorder was running. On Monday she filed an initial story – which also got a lot of attention—on his declarations that he doesn’t need a hawk to bolster him as VP.

Working from the same material, Mayhill then filed a second story early this morning – the one that has exploded. (You can also hear the audio of Obama’s speech here). Basically, Obama tried explaining to his tony crowd of San Fran funders why some folks in the Pennsylvania hinterlands might have, um, some cultural leanings that depart from those of the good people of the Sunset district or Marin County. Here’s what he said:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them...And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

When the piece came across my desk for editing Friday morning, I honestly could not anticipate what sort of storm Obama's musings would touch off. I knew exactly what Obama was straining to say and while I recognized he did so in a rather clumsy fashion, I didn’t think they would elicit such intense reaction (Shows you what I know).

I think of all the ink spilled on the subject in the last 18 hours or so, Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic.com does one of the better jobs of unpacking the significance of the gaffe.

We're dealing tonight with a classic Kinseyian "gaffe," where a candidate says what he means and then is forced to account for it. Let's separate, for the moment, the politics of Obama's words from the argument he is making. In Obama's version, working class voters in the Midwest have been inured to promises of economic redress because both Democrats and Republicans promise to help and never do; since government is a source of distress in their lives, they organize their politics around more stable institutions, like churches or cultural practices, like hunting. The outlet for their economic duress is in lashing out, in giving voice to their grievances; In Obama's formulation, Republicans are especially eager and willing to exploit cultural trigger points.

Ambinder points out that this isn’t exactly an earth-shaking rumination and that even John McCain has made similar observations. But there’s a still a problem here for Obama.

[T]he perilous words for Obama are "bitter," "cling to," "guns" and "religion." Those disinclined to put themselves in Obama's head will read the sentences and see Obama dismissing both religion and American gun culture the opiates of the masses. Voters may believe that one's position on cultural issues is a better reflection of their inner values than one's position on economics.

But the politics are unquestionably dangerous for a candidate whose appeal depends on him transcending traditional political adjectives like "liberal" or "elite."

Despite his working class upbringing, Obama's hyperconfidence sometimes translates as holier-than-thou, elitist, aristocratic, Dukakis-esque. Republicans know that these attributes aren't popular in middle America, so they will use every opportunity to remind independents and moderates about them. Obama's professorial disquisition at a fundraiser reinforces in real time these stereotypes. And the complexity of his subject matter does not lend itself to an easy response. One bright spot for Obama: his campaign's response to the story was quick and strong.
Here's the video from Obama.

I want to say a few words about the author of the piece, Mayhill Fowler. A highly-educated, sophisticated intellectual as well as an ardent Obama supporter, she has become a mainstay of OffTheBus. She employs a highly-personalized, reflective narrative style to her unconventional reporting – an approach that would be, indeed, non-grata, within the official campaign reporting bubble. It violates almost all of the conventions of traditional reporting (though not its ethical code) and that's what makes it all so damn interesting.

I, personally, would have written her piece much differently than the way she chose. It would have been less about me and more about Obama. But Mayhill has developed quite a loyal and appreciative audience and with her most recent work demonstrates that citizen journalism can do many, many things still inaccessible to the MSM. It’s also quite a bit of fun to see how a report like hers can actually set the agenda for the entire national press. I've also been impressed with the way that Mayhill has struggled with her own conscience, her own values and as well her hopes and desires. She was and remains an Obama supporter. And it wasn't easy for her to write a piece that she knew, while truthful and accurate, would nevertheless be used by his political opponents. Not an easy task, I assure you.

Here’s just some of the links to and about Mayhill’s story.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/04/barack-obama-lu.html http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSN1116676020080412?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=22&sp=true http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/12/us/politics/12campaign.html?_r=1&oref=slogin http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/11/AR2008041103965.html?hpid=topnews http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/04/obamas_gaffe_some_perspective.php http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/4/11/211733/951/248/494024 http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=5107 http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/188566.php http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0408/Obama_on_smalltown_PA_Clinging_religion_guns_xenophobia.html http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/04/obama_on_guns_and_religion_in.php http://justoneminute.typepad.com/main/2008/04/i-was-born-in-a.html http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/jpodhoretz/3325 http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/04/obama-reaches-out-to-bitter-religious.html http://www.slate.com/id/2188487/ http://instapundit.com/archives2/017761.php http://michellemalkin.com/2008/04/11/snob-ama-disses-pro-gun-religious-anti-illegal-immigration-activists-in-penn/ http://hotair.com/archives/2008/04/11/obama-on-small-town-voters-bitter-xenophobic-religious/ http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2008/04/this_is_what_he_thinks.asp http://hotlineblog.nationaljournal.com/archives/2008/04/small_town_stew.html http://www.parapundit.com/archives/005130.html http://www.floppingaces.net/2008/04/11/obama-small-town-voters-just-a-bunch-of-bitter-immigrant-haters/ http://hayhurstforamerica.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/obama-small-town-usa-clinging-to-religion-guns-and-xenophobia/ http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/04/11/obama-draws-fire-for-comments-on-small-town-america/

341 Responses to “Inside the Obama-Guns-God-Bitterness Storm [Updated]”

  1. richard locicero Says:

    perhaps if Obama hadn’t made those comments in Indiana at that Town meeting in Terre Haute we would have seen a cklassic example of what Michael Kinsley and HowardDean called a DC “Gaffe” – telling a politically unpalatable truth.

    I noted that the folks in CNN’s “Situation Room” were sympathetic to Obama and scornful of the remarks of McCain and Clinton. Andthat was before Obama’s remarks in TH cleared, Sure FOX will jump. Dogs will bite. What I want to see though is how people in those Pennsylvania towns react. I suspect that they’re not the boobs that “Bomb-bomb” and Hil think they are.

  2. Michael Balter Says:

    Good points from rlo. Starting with the Rev Wright episode, Obama has demonstrated repeatedly that speaking his mind trumps Clinton’s cynical bullshit. The attacks on him are out of desperation, and incredibly cynical coming from someone like Clinton who actually agrees with everything he said.

  3. Michael Turner Says:

    I’m West Coast, straight up, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about here. My sole connection to small town Pennsylvania was a girlfriend I had back in college, who grew up there in the 70s as the state’s industrial base was draining away. She talked about it some.

    From this admittedly slim grasp of what life is like there for young people, let me hazard a guess: this “DC gaffe” of Obama’s got heard by some Pennsylvians most Dem pols usually don’t bother to think about very much. Somewhere right now in some generic small town in Pennsylvania, a 22-year-old good-for-nothing has just poured out his bong water, rooted around in his closet for a clean shirt, and headed downtown to see if there’s an Obama campaign office yet. You probably have a quarter million cases like his around the state. Maybe half of them just turned into Obama votes, and maybe one in twenty is now a budding Obama activist. (As for the voters Obama alienated, most of them were probably never going to vote for him anyway.)

    All the talk about Obama’s “elitism” and “snobbery” supposedly revealed by this recent comment would make you think that gun-totin’, bible-thumpin’ small town people in Pennsylvania were at the bottom of the heap in America. Nope. There are people UNDERNEATH that layer of the social heap, born into it, but hating it with every nerve in their bodies; they’d love to get out from under it somehow. I know. I lived for years with one escapee.

  4. bob williams Says:

    “Escapee.”

    Har!

  5. reg Says:

    Bob – the fact that you laugh at the word “escapee” shows that – unlike “normal Americans” – you know nothing about the demographics of those towns of which Obama spoke. Their populations are significantly older than average because kids do, in fact, tend to “escape” due to lack of opportunities.

    I’m sure many self-annointed “regular guys” in the elite media – like Bill O’Reilly – will chew on this for the benefit of their ratings, but I was surprised to see this rather remarkably honest exchange over at CNN under the nose of the generally clueless Wolf Blitzer:

    http://tinyurl.com/56ah3n

  6. reg Says:

    MB – I have to say that in the CNN clip I linked, when Blitzer plays the Clinton response clip the phoniness, down to the pauses, oozes out of her.

    I don’t think this will hurt Obama at all. Rather than run from his off-the-cuff remarks to an “insider” audience, he’ll use it as an opportunity to address the issues raised. McCain, Hillary and much of the press will come off looking arrogant and condescending – Hillary in fact sounds like somebody leading one of those self-help sessions Al Franken used to parody – and Obama will be seen as the guy who talks striaght about issues in a way that doesn’t assume the people listening to him are stupid. If we’re looking for a “regular guy” among the candidates, who do you think could actually sit in a sports bar with a bunch of guys and find lots of common ground for non-political conversation ? Who would more likely charm the waitress in an out-of-the-way diner with small talk about his wife and daughters if he happened not to be there as candidate for President ? Or go to the Bible study class in any evangelical church in America and keep up with the textual references, toss in a couple of his own and ask a few thoughtful questions ? McCain The Panderer, in particular, would be so out of his “elite” element it in that last scenario it would be laughable. None this, of course, is any sort of criteria for choosing a president, but it proves what a crock the notion that Obama doesn’t play well with “normal Americans” or “regular guys” happens to be. And of course it’s coming from some of the most out-of-touch elites in America – the Clinton and McCain campaigns, and pundits like the he-man warriors at the Weekly Standard, the tough-as-nails crowd at NRO, and average Joes like Hannity and O’Reilly over at Murdoch’s small-town American global media empire. What a laugh.

    Bring it on…

  7. Bill Bradley Says:

    Meanwhile, I am told that the event where Obama made those recorded — surprise, Barack! — was a private fundraiser.

    Off the record.

    Closed to the press.

    In my ever so slight experience with politicians, they tend to speak a little differently under those ground rules.

  8. reg Says:

    As a footnote to this nonsense, I saw an MSNBC clip where Chris Matthews – somewhat jokiingly, but still rather remarkably – spent considerable time and at least one question of his guest, Bob Casey – making a big deal out of the fact that Obama asked for orange juice instead of coffee at a diner in Indiana. He and some other clown acted like it was an affront to the waiter. What kind of childish mentality is on display here among our “journalists” ? As for this alleged Obama “gaffe” getting aired as some sort of major story on Lou Dobbs, that’s rich. There’s nobody who panders more to precisely the feelings Obama referenced and does it from a more elite, out-of-touch phony perch. Dobbs, a run-of-the-mill flak for stock-pickers, obviously decided that exploiting anger over fairly drastic transformatioins of the labor market would put him a rung up on the media food chain. This guy has a track record of putting bogus information out there when he’s not devaluing his audience with gross oversimplification and hysteria. It’s as much of an insult to a group of people is to pander to them – or one’s stereotypical image of them – as it is to dismiss them outright. All politicians pander – including Obama – but McCain and Hillary and too many journalists manage to do it at the highest levels of dishonesty and hypocrisy.

  9. bob williams Says:

    Off the record? Okay. I’ll say that rural Pennsylvanians are pathetic and infantile, but never to their faces. Might take it the wrong way, you know.

    I’m growing confidant that Barry or Michelle can be counted on to deliver up one or two of the charmers every week all the way through October.

  10. Want to know Says:

    Does Woody really live in Pennsylvania ?

  11. Bill Bradley Says:

    Bob, I think you’re going to find that there are plenty of highly questionable remarks. And if you think that unguarded comments aren’t made all the time in both parties when the press isn’t around, you are sadly mistaken.

    They even happen in public, sometimes.

    For example, I think John McCain does know the difference between Shia and Sunni, which I cut him slack on the issue.

    But he does keep misspeaking on that, doesn’t he?

  12. Bill Bradley Says:

    Incidentally, the reason why I am told that about the San Francisco fundraiser in question is because I inquired with the Obama campaign about attending it and was told that it was private, off-the-record, and closed to the press.

  13. bob williams Says:

    Bill: You Obama people are going to have decide whether the remarks were “highly questionable” or a deep sociological insight.

  14. Woody Says:

    Obama is trying to run out the clock on Clinton rather than win the game. He’s fumbling the ball, making mistakes, playing passively, and losing ground with each minute.

    Running out the clock works well with large leads and only a couple of minutes left–not in this situation. Eventually, people will start doubting his ability to win the election, and guess who will still be in the wings fighting for the nomination.

    You don’t believe me, but Obama will be discredited before the Democratic Convention and Hillary will sneak in. She has more balls than does Obama to fight.

  15. reg Says:

    “I think John McCain does know the difference between Shia and Sunni”

    I don’t think there’s any evidence that John McCain has a clue what’s going on in Iraq at any level…although he’s got a bit more information to deal with than he did in 2002 when he was inspired to help get this war off the ground. A sane person might express some regrets after this remarkable parade of failures at every level for five years, but not “The Maverick.” None of these guys had – or have – a clue regarding the Middle East in general, much less Iraq which they’ve supposedly been focused on “laser-like” since at least 2002. The day an American President has as much influence and credibility among the Iraqi factions as Ahmadinejad – without spending trillions or straining their military in the process – I’ll believe that “we” might be “winning.” Til that improbable outcome, I’ll not cut any slack for these morons.

  16. bob williams Says:

    Also, I like it when Obama says “Pawkeestawn.”

    :D

  17. reg Says:

    I also look forward to McCain handing us a couple of these gaffes a month. Too bad his air-head, re-habbed heiress wife is too much a bundle of damaged goods to take a more aggressive role in his campaign like Michelle or we’d be getting great stuff nearly every day. Wish Mayhill had been there “off-the-record” when John called her a “cunt” in front of his staffers.

  18. Woody Says:

    Luke Skywalker Endorses Barack Obama

    That won’t be enough to stop the forces of evil and Darth Hillary.

  19. Bill Bradley Says:

    Actually, I was a member of Veterans for McCain in 2000, taking a break from journalism that year.

    ># bob williams Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Bill: You Obama people are going to have decide whether the remarks were “highly questionable” or a deep sociological insight.

  20. Sergio Says:

    3 posts by dim old sap reg before 7:30 AM on a Saturday.

    Talk about living under a heap.

  21. Bill Bradley Says:

    There’s no question that John McCain, like most any politician in 8 years, has been thru some twists and turns since 2000.

    That said, I’m not interested in the usual partisan back and forthing.

    As you can tell, as I could get into it with a right-winger on Obama and a left-winger on McCain — all on the same thread!

    McCain is a very knowledgeable guy. Whether he is correct in his assessments — or pronouncements, actually, since they are not necessarily one and the same — is another matter.

  22. Bill Bradley Says:

    Oddly, that is how they pronounce it in Pakistan.

    But what do the Paks know about their country?

    ># bob williams Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Also, I like it when Obama says “Pawkeestawn.”

    :D

  23. bob williams Says:

    How do Paks pronounce “Pakistan? Who knows? Depends on what language they speak, I suppose.
    How does Obama, an American pronounce “Pakistan?”

    Oddly.

    He says “Pawkeestawn.”

    :D

  24. Marc Cooper Says:

    Bill Bradley brings up some good points. As to the event in question: It was indeed a fundraiser to which the press was not invited. Or if you wish, it was closed to press. Therefore it wasnt on or off the record. Off the record is when journos consenusally agree to witness or hear something on the condition they not report it.

    Mayhill, who has given money to Barack, was invited to come to the event by one of the communication staff. They new her in her capacity as a writer for OffTheBus and knew it was quite likely she would write something out of this event.

    Indeed, she recorded the event as she sat next to campaign staff.

    Let it also be noted that there were approx 100 videocams whirring away inside the room as Barack spoke.

    I give this detail for full clarification. Most if not all press was kept out of the room but Mayhill was invited in. She was under no obligation not to report. Obama was indeed more loose lipped than usual. He should be more careful in his choice of words when he is staring into so many video cams, no matter who is holding them.

  25. bob williams Says:

    Mayhill is catching all kinds of abuse in the comments at Huffpo. She has betrayed The Revolution, it seems.

  26. Bill Bradley Says:

    I’m merely quoting from what I was told when I was denied access to the San Francisco fundraiser as a member of the press.

    “Private, off the record, closed to the press.”

    I was also told that if I attended it for color and background purposes, it would upset the press who might get wind of it.

  27. Bill Bradley Says:

    Yes, whatever language those wogs speak …

    ># bob williams Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 9:35 am

    How do Paks pronounce “Pakistan? Who knows? Depends on what language they speak, I suppose.
    How does Obama, an American pronounce “Pakistan?”

    Oddly.

    He says “Pawkeestawn.”

    :D

  28. Marc Cooper Says:

    Bill, right. Not arguing with you. Clearly the campaign didnt want press at the fundraiser. They made a mistake in inviting Mayhill. Obama made a mistake in speaking so unguardely in front of videocams. Anyone paying a few hundred bucks could get in.

  29. reg Says:

    “McCain is a very knowledgeable guy.”

    Here’s a clip that makes the notion that McCain is “knowledgable” at the Presidential level laughable, leaving his natterings about Iraq off the table: “At a recent meeting with the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Republican presidential candidate John McCain admitted he ‘doesn’t really understand economics’ and then pointed to his adviser and former Senate colleague, Phil Gramm – whom he had brought with him to the meeting – as the expert he turns to on the subject…”

    This would be forgiveable if he didn’t point to Old Econ Professor Phil Gramm as his “expert.” Gramm, who lived in the pocket of the financial and banking lobbies, ranted endlessly against government spending but was one of the most relentless porkers in Congress, trolling dollars for his district. Typical “Maverick” stuff for McCain to pair up with this worthless old coot.

  30. bob williams Says:

    Bill:
    You shouldn’t call people in Pakistan “wogs.” It’s racist.

  31. Bill Bradley Says:

    I’m merely paraphrasing your stuff, Bob.

    “Who knows what language they speak in Paw-kee-stahn.”

    Bye bye.

  32. Bill Bradley Says:

    And having engaged, for the last time, with the right-wing hyperpartisan of the morning, now to engage with the left-wing hyperpartisan.

    McCain is very knowledgeable. Period. Maybe a little too candid. Like, say, Barack Obama, who is also very knowledgeable.

    ># reg Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 9:46 am

    “McCain is a very knowledgeable guy.”

    Here’s a clip that makes the notion that McCain is “knowledgable” at the Presidential level laughable, leaving his natterings about Iraq off the table: “At a recent meeting with the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Republican presidential candidate John McCain admitted he ‘doesn’t really understand economics’ and then pointed to his adviser and former Senate colleague, Phil Gramm – whom he had brought with him to the meeting – as the expert he turns to on the subject…”

    This would be forgiveable if he didn’t point to Old Econ Professor Phil Gramm as his “expert.” Gramm, who lived in the pocket of the financial and banking lobbies, ranted endlessly against government spending but was one of the most relentless porkers in Congress, trolling dollars for his district. Typical “Maverick” stuff for McCain to pair up with this worthless old coot.

  33. bob williams Says:

    No Bill. You are not paraphrasing anything. You are calling people in Pakistan “wogs”, a word I have never used until today.
    Why are you referring to Pakistanis with a racist term, Bill?

  34. Bill Bradley Says:

    I understand she was there as an Obama supporter.

    Clearly, Obama had no expectation that he was going to be quoted in the press as it was a private event.

    We’ve talked about this very gray area of “citizen journalism” before.

    ># Marc Cooper Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 9:45 am

    Bill, right. Not arguing with you. Clearly the campaign didnt want press at the fundraiser. They made a mistake in inviting Mayhill. Obama made a mistake in speaking so unguardely in front of videocams. Anyone paying a few hundred bucks could get in.
    # reg

  35. Bill Bradley Says:

    Troll elsewhere.

    ># bob williams Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    No Bill. You are not paraphrasing anything. You are calling people in Pakistan “wogs”, a word I have never used until today.
    Why are you referring to Pakistanis with a racist term, Bill?

  36. reg Says:

    Bill, I have to say that I too “could get into it with a left-winger or a right-winger all on the same thread” and your “I don’t want to get into partisan back-and-forthing” is belied by the fact that you’ve obviously been an active McCain supporter. Your contention that he must know the difference between the Iraqi factions, given his serial misstatements of pretty basic stuff regarding the role of these different groups in what is admittedly a clusterfuck, is evidence of the kind of credulity one gets from, say, Bill Clinton in defending Hillary’s remarks about her sniper-fire experience. There’s nothing wrong with your having these opinons, but it doesn’t make you particularly high and mighty as a “high Broderist” clinging to some mythical “center” or somehow above “partisan politics.” In fact, I feel better able to contextualize your reporting knowing that you have worked actively for John McCain in the past.

  37. Marc Cooper Says:

    Bill.. if so then Obama was naive, There were 400-600 people in that crowd and he spoke as the videocam lights were on. There were no NDA’s signed by the crowd. Howard Wolfson could have bought a ticket and brought his camera and posted the video to youtube. In fact, there are snippets of the speech shot by funders on youtube– we are currently collecting them.

    There is no gray area here. Ive been in oodles of closed press events where the organizers didnt want me in and I was still able to get a story. That’s not gray journalism — that’s good journalism/

    What’s gray is when a reporter engages in any level of deceit to get the story or violates a ground rule to which he or she promised to comply. Not the case with our reporter, thanks very much. She was known to the campaign as an OffTheBus reporter and they let her in as such and she worked the room as such and she recorded the evnt in the open as she sat with campaign staff… they probably let her in because they expected her to write unblemished pro-Obama copy. Or they dont fully understand implications of internet age information.

    She herself was quite conflicted about writing something potentially harmful to Obama. But she correctly decided that the truth shall set ya free.

  38. Bill Bradley Says:

    Well, Reg, I’ve obviously been an active Democrat, too, having been a senior advisor to Gary Hart and the Democratic Party. So your comment is not exactly, shall we say, well-founded.

    But it does remind me of how blogging is like talk radio.

    I was merely letting your right-wing counterpart know that his supposition that I’m an Obama activist is wrong.

    Let’s say I have a catholic view of politics, and with knowledge of these candidates, am aware that they are knowledgeable people. Whether they are right is another matter.

    But this hyperpartisan tendency to deny any legitimacy whatsoever to ideological opponents is one of the worst things going in American politics.

    As Barack Obama agrees, mind you.

  39. reg Says:

    Re 9:51 comment.

    McCain may be knowledgeable about many things, as one of his experience would clearly be, but he’s NOT been knowledgable about the realities of the Iraqi insurgencies and the different factions. He WAS relatively knowlegable about the troop levels compared to the rest of the neo-con crowd – except I’m not knowledgable AT ALL about military matters and I was dead certain much earlier than McCain expressed any public misgivings that Rummie, et. al. had screwed up big time. This didn’t take much prescience, because I don’t give myself much credit for any insight other than following press accounts of the war more closely than the average news consumer. In fact, I can’t think of a single major issue on which McCain has shown himself to demonstrate a deep grasp of the complexities over time that suggest he’s “presidential.” He’s also shown himself to be capable of pandering to elements of a partisan base that he clearly despises and shares little affinity with at levels that only Mitt Romney was able to surpass in this election cycle.

  40. Bill Bradley Says:

    Marc, they regarded her as a pro-Obama blogger. Not as a journalist or reporter or columnist per se.

    Bloggers are viewed as activists, not journalists.

    It’s why some campaigns have blogger conference calls and press conference calls.

    The blogger calls are to pump up the base. The press calls are to do spin and answer arguably tough questions.

    She was admitted to the private San Francisco fundraiser as an activist blogger and then functioned as a journalist.

    This is the gray area I’m talking about with regard to citizen journalism.

    >Marc Cooper Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 10:05 am
    What’s gray is when a reporter engages in any level of deceit to get the story or violates a ground rule to which he or she promised to comply. Not the case with our reporter, thanks very much. She was known to the campaign as an OffTheBus reporter and they let her in as such and she worked the room as such and she recorded the evnt in the open as she sat with campaign staff… they probably let her in because they expected her to write unblemished pro-Obama copy. Or they dont fully understand implications of internet age information.

  41. reg Says:

    I could care less that you’ve crossed from Gary Hart to John McCain over a span of years, except to note that if you think that you can embrace both of them with some kind of intellectual coherence, you’ve got some ‘splainin to do. I don’t know what “catholic” means in that context, unless it means you’ve got Jesuitical rhetorical skills. I’m far from hyper-partisan. What I am is hyper-common sense. Unfortunately Phil Gramm’s economics, Rod Parsely’s “spirituality” and John McCains twists and turns to rationalize “winning” in Iraq don’t make a damned bit of sense. They’re ideological, emotional and vainglorious claptrap of the highest order. I used to have respect for McCain. Now, not so much.

  42. Marc Cooper Says:

    Bill as I said not gonna argue with you, You want to call her a blogger not a journalist, that’s cool. Whatever she is, she was admitted in with the expectation that what she wrote could become public — and it did. And then lot of other journalists and blogger and blogger/journalists joined in.

    I also think your distinction between journalist and blogger is a bit superceded by reality. Many would call you a blogger though you possess and exercise skills of an excellent journalist. These distinctions clearly mean less and less when a figure like Mayhill can lead the agenda today of the national press. Blogger shmogger.

    Where I do agree with you is the obvious gray area in the heads of the Obama staff. if they dont want something getting out of that meeting then they have to proactively control who gets in — not who they keep out. If Joe Shmo Obama Supporter had loved O’s remarks and posted his video of the event to Youtube (as some did)– and that becomes central to a media frenzy, what do you do about that?

    Bottom line: Obama campaign has to get smarter about web communication or better keep its candidate on message.

    Disclosure: I am a contributor to Obama campaign.

  43. Bill Bradley Says:

    Well, Reg, it’s much complex than that. And 2008 is not 2000.

    But if you on your hyperpartisan side want to imagine that I’m really for John McCain, and that other fellow on his hyperpartisan side wants to imagine that I’m really for Barack Obama, I’d say things are going quite well.

    :)

  44. Bill Bradley Says:

    Marc, the difference between activist bloggers and journalists is clear enough that campaigns have different conference calls. For bloggers and journalists.

    I consider myself a journalist who uses new media, as you know. And that is how I’m generally viewed. Which is why the Obama campaign wouldn’t let me into the fundraiser, though it would be hard to say that he gets bad coverage from me.

    One time a campaign screwed up and had me on a blogger conference call. And I proceeded to accurately quote Rudy Giuliani’s tortured answer to my question about the distinction between torture and enhanced interrogation.

    The Obama campaign viewed your person as an activist blogger, an Obama supporter, a financial contributor, not as a reporter.

    I do agree with you that they made a mistake in admitting her — I wouldn’t have — and in letting Obama proceed with the expectation that he was addressing a private, off-the-record, closed to the press fundraiser.

  45. reg Says:

    Why not let your readers know who you are “really for” so they can have “full disclosure” in assessing your journalism ? You’ve already said you’d give McCain “a pass” on his Iraq confusions.

    If you want to discuss your concept of “hyperpartisanship” in some context other than a Broderist vaccuum of a mythical “center,” I’d be more than willing to discuss why I don’t think a vote for Obama – or most Democrats – is an expression of what’s negative in your connotation of “hyperpartisan”, while empowering the current crop of Republicans happens to be a move in the direction of purely “hyper-partisan” faith-based ideology, “special interests” and empowering elites. Pointing to Phil Gramm as your economics “expert” is a sign that you’re in deep partisan shit in a way that bringing Austin Goolsbee to the table as an advisor is evidence that you’re operating out of relatively “catholic” sensibilities.

    Your knee-jerk equations – so familiar to those of us who aren’t particularly impressed with contemporary campaign journalism and punditry – don’t add up.

  46. reg Says:

    bad grammer on the Gramm – Goolsbee point, but you know what I mean.

  47. Bill Bradley Says:

    Well, Reg, odd as it may seem to you, I’m not “really for” anyone in this race.

    And you are distorting my meaning in saying I give McCain a pass on Iraq.

    I simply know that he does know the distinction between Shia and Sunni.

    I think you wrote some other stuff there, too.

    Have a nice day. :)

    >reg Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Why not let your readers know who you are “really for” so they can have “full disclosure” in assessing your journalism ? You’ve already said you’d give McCain “a pass” on his Iraq confusions.

  48. reg Says:

    Actually you’re distorting my meaning regarding your pass on McCain’s “Iraq confusions.” I have no idea what your overall critique of McCain’s record on the war might be. In any event, I doubt McCain knows the difference between Sunni and Shia in any meaningful sense that helps him understand the politics on the ground at the level necessary for a Commander in Chief. It’s certainly more of an unfounded assumption that he’s grounded knowledgeabley in the internal sectarianism of Irag and how it impacts potential outcomes than the notion that serial “misstatements” – including the clear assertion that al Qaeda is being trained in Iran – are evidence that John McCain’s comprehension of the depth and complexities of the Iraq mess is almost as much of a mess as Bush’s and Rumsfeld’s have been.

  49. Bill Bradley Says:

    Good lord, it’s Saturday. Amazing.

  50. richard locicero Says:

    In all this discussion one aspect has been overlooked. What is so different in Obama’s observation that these are the people who are always betrayed and left behind by the pols – thus breeding a cynicism about politics – and John edwards’ populist message of the “two Americas” where one sings the praises of the “New Economy” and urges m”retraining” on those left behind and the “other America” that has been devastated by neo-liberal trade and economic policies.

    There has been much talk of what Edwards would and who he’d endorse. Maybe Barack’s remarks will help him make up his mind.

  51. richard locicero Says:

    Bill I’ve pretty much given up arguing about McCain with you and I’m sure he knows a lot of things. But his continuing confusion about Shia and Sunni and Iranian support for which faction – which extended into the Senate Armed Services chamber last week – makes me wonder if this is all a clever ruse just what is he trying to say?

  52. Bill Bradley Says:

    In addition, I believe that John McCain had some musings — in front of the press — while pushing his immigration bill about small town folks being anti-immigrant.

  53. Bill Bradley Says:

    My point here today is very simple and obvious and made in passing because it is obvious. Which is why I have to keep repeating it, I suppose.

    John McCain knows the difference between Shia and Sunni. To pretend he doesn’t is just hyperpartisan talk radio gas.

    Just as it’s hyperpartisan talk radio gas to pretend that Barack Obama hates people in small Pennsylvania towns left behind by the new economy.

    ># richard locicero Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    Bill I’ve pretty much given up arguing about McCain with you and I’m sure he knows a lot of things. But his continuing confusion about Shia and Sunni and Iranian support for which faction – which extended into the Senate Armed Services chamber last week – makes me wonder if this is all a clever ruse just what is he trying to say?

  54. richard locicero Says:

    Bill when Obama referred to his Granny as a “typical White Person” on a radio interview that was obviously a somewhat clumsy construction that ammounted to a misstatement. But if he used that locution over and over again I think the listener would be justified in thinking he was ashamed of the old dear.

    When McCain continually fudges Shia and Sunni. When he ascribes Iranian Support to Sadr when Maliki is their boy (see for one source Juan Cole) and urges an undeined “victory” as his strategy for Iraq then I say he demonstrates a basic ignorance of the region and its tensions that belie any claims to knowlege and certainly makes it obvious that he should never get near the levers of power lest he complete the follies of the “Bushies” and really blow up the region.

    Honestly, how you can see the statements from this man in any other light than profound ignorance mystifies me as much as it does Reg.

    (and reg gets sensistive about those matters)

  55. Woody Says:

    I called our dog by one of my kid’s name the other day and I’ve called one son by the other son’s name. I know the difference, as does McCain on his mistakes. That doesn’t qualify either of us for the crazy house or a retirement home.

  56. Ally Says:

    Sorry, Mr. Cooper, I don’t buy your argument. Fowler’s tactics are NOT journalism.

    You should be ashamed of your involvement in this sleazy escapade.

    Maybe the two of you can get hired at Fox News.

  57. Bill Bradley Says:

    Let me try to say something quite simple, in yet a different way. In order to facilitate understanding.

    John McCain does understand the difference between Shia and Sunni.

    I have primary source information on that.

    Incidentally, on a separate matter, Iran provides support to more than one faction in Iraq. Not surprisingly.

  58. Maria Taylor Says:

    If Mayhill Fowler is an Obama supporter then I am a die-heart GWB supporter. Something is stinky here. She told Dobbs that she was uncomfortable with his remarks so she started taping. She didn’t walk out, she started taping. Funny thing is, she taped the whole darn thing! She has been trying to for weeks to start a firestorm. She tried desperately with Pakistan comment which didn’t get much traction. She hit the jackpot big time with the framed, interpreted and translated “bitter” comments. Some Obama supporter (NOT!).

  59. Bill Bradley Says:

    I suspect this created a considerable quandary at Huffington Post. The event was on Sunday; publication was on Friday.

    Clearly the campaign’s policy was not to allow journalists into the fundraiser. Even journalists who may be on a friendly basis with the campaign.

    Activists were a different question.

    Now what do you do when you are a news/analytical organization that has a large activist component, and gets something that is golden like this bitter small towners quote?

    The rough draft version, as it were, is highly newsworthy in the sensational world of Internet/cable/talk radio culture.

    Which, incidentally, is something that with a very minor re-write, that I’m sure Obama would have performed in real time speaking in public, would be entirely unobjectionable.

    These are questions that may come up frequently in the future.

    Or, actually, they may not.

    If I were running a campaign, I would ban activists/bloggers from my events.

    And no, not everyone is their own network today, even with all our little devices and YouTube. It still takes access, resources, and credibility to get serious notice.

    Remember, the famous George Allen “macacca” moment came when the guy was so idiotic as to say it directly to Jim Webb’s videographer.

  60. Bill Bradley Says:

    … By ban activist bloggers from events, I mean private events, of course.

  61. Barbara Says:

    Obama supporter?
    from her previous pieces- and her donations to Fred Thompson…ya could fooled me.
    I see NO support of Obama in anything she has written.

    I just want to share what my working class family in Ohio said to me on the phone last night:
    ” He’s right. Should said that here in Ohio”

    I am ready for someone who is brave enough to speak the truth…’

    I do NOT want to vote for Hillary, who is now debasing herself to attack Obama, while her husband praises ( again!!) McCain.

    Every important person in her campaign supports ( and gets money from!) Colombia..
    hypocrisy of the first order.

    Obama could have gone on the attack about Tuzla..especially when Bill lied MORE about it…but he did not.

    Who is the better person?
    It is quite obvious.

  62. bob williams Says:

    Marc! You’re famous! DailyKos has a disry up about you!

  63. marie Says:

    The real issue in this “citizen” journalism experiment is framing. Perhaps Mayhill needs to get off the bus herself for a few days/weeks and take a break. She’s living inside this campaign bubble and becoming hyper-critical of language that isn’t inflammatory, and framing her coverage of the story through that lens. Obama should’ve provided a more complete grounding for the logic he used to develop his interpretation of small-town voters, however, the editorial choice to frame it as elitism is jumping the gun and feeding the GOP narrative in a way that is clearly meant to incense and motivate readers to comment on a blog post. It’s not responsible, it’s not journalism, and it’s directly related to the yellow, gotcha, grab-ass, tabloid coverage which the Corporate Media has embraced as a way to maintain market share.

    Generating hits with misleading headlines, passing off op-eds as journalism, defending writers whose meta-narrative seeks to establish insider-outsider credentials is the lowest form of propoganda for dollars. Marc, that you delight in defending her as a journalist is obvious. I’d hope you’d focus your resources on something that is a real issue — like how well each of the candidates is doing at educating voters about issues like the nearly completed Bush plan to suspend the 4th amendment, the assault on our 1st amendment rights, the unregulated frontier of the credit markets, or any of the other myriad issues that in fact matte and impact our country and well-being, rather than on framing a semantic debate about Obama’s observations on the campaign trail.

    Does anyone really believe Hillary and McCain (especially given their personal upbringings and current lifestyles) are NOT elitists?

  64. Bill Bradley Says:

    Isn’t framing the lefty blogosphere euphemism for spinning? :)

    As you may be gathering, I’m not exactly unsympathetic to Obama on this matter.

    The problem for Obama isn’t what is framed, it’s what is reported.

    I can tell you that as soon as he saw this yesterday — to his amazement on several levels — my friend Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior advisor, immediately seized on a few words from Obama’s rather lengthy musings about the problems of small town Pennsylvania and proceeded to pump it out through every organ of the Republican media machine.

    You can put whatever sympathetic frame you want around what Obama said at his private fundraiser, Steve Schmidt is still going to zero in on a relative handful of words and set this whole deal off and running.

  65. Dan Kowalski, Austin, Texas Says:

    Those who have not done so should take a break and read Joe Bageant’s “Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America’s Class War.” Good background re the god/guns/bitterness complex.

  66. reg Says:

    “I called our dog by one of my kid’s name the other day and I’ve called one son by the other son’s name”

    Yeah – common mistake, but do you know which one is allied with al Qaeda ?

  67. 2LaneIA Says:

    Back in the fall, I received an invitation to write for Off The Bus. The person I corresponded with suggested I read Mayhill Fowler as an introduction to how to write for this segment. I read some of her work and thought I would take a pass. Fowler is self-important, self-absorbed, and long-winded. I have given up trying to read her stuff, and so missed the Obama piece.

    Her reporting is unconventional, as you say. A real journalist would respect the “off the record” rule and not make excuses for breaking it.

  68. reg Says:

    “Incidentally, on a separate matter, Iran provides support to more than one faction in Iraq. Not surprisingly.”

    Uh, yeah. Duh…but are they training al Qaeda ? Just how many things do you have to have gotten wrong for five years running to be judged an incompetent observer ?

    That John McCain has been consistently “knowledgeable” re: Iraq in any meaningful sense is, frankly, a ridiculous notion.

  69. marie Says:

    I certainly agree that any opponent would interpret Obama’s words to support his/her own candidacy. What I think isn’t as open to interpretation is the rules of engagement for journalists. I think this notion of “citizen” journalism is an irresponsible way to give what are essentially op-ed pieces the aura of credibility and authority. In addition to the massive editorial cuts taking place at every news outlet in the world the notion of “facts” and editorial management is being sullied. For instance, in Mayhill’s piece she interprets Obama’s comments. That’s op-ed. This mix of event reporting with on-the-spot personal impact commentary is op-ed.

    Defending Mayhill as a journalist degrades the excellent job many journalists have done over the last 100 years covering wars, riots, civil unrest, famine, and rigged elections. It undermines the pillars of the 5th Estate and, what’s worse, it’s being done solely in the name of generating hits on a website. Foul. It doesn’t further the discussion in any meaningful way, it doesn’t seek to provide balance by pointing the reader to comparable or contrasting views of Obama’s opponents (this, btw, is what I meant by “framing” although I agree that progressives often use “framing” interchangeably with spin), the headline and the style of the “report” are op-ed.

    I don’t generally read op-ed unless I respect the thinking of the writer. In Mayhill’s case, she’s myopic and that is highlighted in this post. Ironically, she sounds elitist with her poetic rendition of the view from the bus window, but, whatever. The reason a working journalist would’ve respected the campaign’s request not to “report” on the comments is longevity. We’ll see how this affects Mayhill’s access in the future.

  70. Bill Bradley Says:

    Reg, really now …

  71. Vicki Dow Says:

    I’m sorry. This is not believable. I have read Ms. Fowler’s posts, and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that she is no “ardent Obama supporter”. Far from it—-in fact, all her pieces were critical, if not slandering, of Obama that they were unreadable to a real Obama supporter. I thought they were awful.
    And I find it hard to believe that Mr. Cooper could be so naive as to believe this ruse, unless he is the most naive person in the world. I suspect something else.
    How anyone could believe this tale of some sort of “accidental” recording at a private function—-whoops!—-just strains credibility. And then follow it up with a write-up intended to harm that candidate she so ardently supports. Puh—-lease.

  72. Michael Balter Says:

    I don’t want to get between Marc and Bill other than to say that Marc is absolutely right on the journalistic principles involved, new media or no new media. Speaking as a journalism prof myself, as is Marc.

    The one thing I might disagree somewhat with Marc about is this:

    “Obama was indeed more loose lipped than usual. He should be more careful in his choice of words when he is staring into so many video cams, no matter who is holding them.”

    In fact, I find it incredibly refreshing that Obama is not any more careful than he is. We might actually end up with a president who says what he thinks, wouldn’t that be a novelty.

    btw I am playing around with a bit of blogging myself, Marc will perhaps forgive me for posting the link because it is no competition–indeed, don’t expect heavy political analysis from me (and I know a lot of people here don’t!)

    http://michael-balter.blogspot.com/

  73. Dan O Says:

    Elitism? My god. That’s perfectly rich coming from the Clinton’s who brought us NAFTA that wonderful tool of middle class destruction. It’s downright Orwellian the twists she puts on things. Isn’t this the pair that has enriched themsleves more or less at the public trough?

    Ther there is her intolerable simpering attempt at authenticity and concern. It’s just all so phony and trumped up. This is an incredible non-story which reveals the total lack of core in both McCain and Clinton (no wonder they are such fast friends). Evidently their own positions are so impoverished that they are left to wrap themselves in in their empty, soaring patriotism. Please. This is the intellectual equivalent of their stupid responses: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Cbim_a9k8ag

  74. Misgivings, and video, on the San Francisco story Says:

    [...] which Mayhill Fowler, an Obama donor who taped and wrote about Obama’s San Francisco remarks, has an interesting rumination on the affair, including the misgivings that wound up burying the comments in Fowler’s [...]

  75. Bill Bradley Says:

    That’s very amusing. :)

    >Michael Balter Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I don’t want to get between Marc and Bill other than to say that Marc is absolutely right on the journalistic principles involved, new media or no new media. Speaking as a journalism prof myself, as is Marc.

  76. Bill Bradley Says:

    Actually …

    Mayhill is an Obama supporter from Marin County who has hung around with the campaign for the last year, all the while blogging, and has contributed the maximum allowable amount of money to the Obama campaign.

    She is an activist blogger and that is how she is viewed by the Obama campaign.

    ># Vicki Dow Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    I’m sorry. This is not believable. I have read Ms. Fowler’s posts, and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that she is no “ardent Obama supporter”. Far from it—-in fact, all her pieces were critical, if not slandering, of Obama that they were unreadable to a real Obama supporter. I thought they were awful.
    And I find it hard to believe that Mr. Cooper could be so naive as to believe this ruse, unless he is the most naive person in the world. I suspect something else.
    How anyone could believe this tale of some sort of “accidental” recording at a private function—-whoops!—-just strains credibility. And then follow it up with a write-up intended to harm that candidate she so ardently supports. Puh—-lease.

  77. Rebecca Illich Says:

    I hope that Ms Mayhill gets fired. She was told that it was closed to the press, and as far as I am concerned she was not honest as a journalist. It shows no integrity at all to abuse the previleges she was afforded by being invited to this event. I no longer hold any hope that Huffington has any integrity left. They have turned into Drudge and Politico. I do not think that Huffington is a progressive enough place to come to anymore as a yellow dog democrat.

  78. JS Says:

    If more video surfaces and shows these people laughing like hyenas as they do in the clip now surfacing while he makes some comments then this is really NOT GOOD for him. I also don’t understand how someone who grew up working class could be so elitist to begin with and how Hillary Clinton who is worth 100 mil can come off so down to earth…it’s a major problem for him…

  79. Bill Bradley Says:

    We can assume you came over from the blog of Politico’s Ben Smith, a principal promoter of this story?

    I frankly didn’t notice the “hyena-like laughing” in the innocuous video clip you are referring to. :)

  80. Alexis Says:

    Mayhill is the elitist herself. She lives in the Oakland hills(avg home goes for $2 mil). How dare she criticize Obama and shame on her ass for writing such trash. Girlfriend better never venture out to East Oakland.

  81. Michael Balter Says:

    Much as I hate Clinton, if some blogger had reported politically actionable bloopers from Hillary that knocked down her numbers a bit, Obama supporters would be gleeful. A little less hypocrisy, please, and a little more focus on the political issues.

  82. Alexis Says:

    OBama has been quiet about Hillary and her fairytale in Bosnia.

    I’m sure that Mayhill will no longer be invited back on the Obama bus.

    I’m telling you, girlfriend better watch her back in Oakland.

  83. reg Says:

    “Reg, really now …”

    Are you serious in questioning that statement ? Not to put too fine a point on it, but does anyone remember when McCain claimed that Petraeus could tool around Baghdad in an unarmored Humvee ? Where did he come up with that one ?

  84. Bill Bradley Says:

    You miss the point.

  85. reg Says:

    And the point is… ?

  86. Hopeful in 08 Says:

    If Mayhill is an Obama supporter, I would hate to know his enemies. Defend this “reporting” all you want–if I were Obama, I wouldn’t allow her or your “bus” within 500 feet of any campaign event in the future.

  87. James Says:

    Mayhill Fowler = GOP plant?

    She’s donated to Fred Thompson and Obama. Isn’t that strange? Few people could have as diametrically opposed politics as ultraconservative Thompson and center-left Obama.

    http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=name&lname=fowler&fname=mayhill&search=Search

    Where did Fowler come from? I note she has had many articles calling Obama “cocky”. Doesn’t seem like a fan. Now she goes scouring his speeches for redmeat for the FoxNews crowd. Since when did HuffPo become the Drudge Report?

  88. Bill Bradley Says:

    I already told you.

    >reg Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 5:54 pm
    And the point is… ?

  89. Kevin Says:

    “girlfriend better watch her back in Oakland.”

    Do you routinely threaten people in that manner?

  90. Bill Bradley Says:

    She’s an opinionated rich lady from Tennessee who went to an Ivy League school and gave a couple hundred bucks to Thompson (from …?) and maxed out to Obama.

    If she were a plant, she wouldn’t have given a dime to Thompson. Naturally.

    >James Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 6:09 pm
    Mayhill Fowler = GOP plant?

    She’s donated to Fred Thompson and Obama. Isn’t that strange? Few people could have as diametrically opposed politics as ultraconservative Thompson and center-left Obama.

    http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=name&lname=fowler&fname=mayhill&search=Search

    Where did Fowler come from? I note she has had many articles calling Obama “cocky”. Doesn’t seem like a fan. Now she goes scouring his speeches for redmeat for the FoxNews crowd. Since when did HuffPo become the Drudge Report?

  91. reg Says:

    A heads up to Obama folks. The delegate caucuses are tomorrow and, while we had a real victory over some of the assclowns who were running the state campaign and decided to purge candidates, the reversal and decision to include everyone who signed up as a candidate does open the door to the possibility of stealth Hillary candidates – pledged to Obama on the first ballot but intending to switch to Hillary thereafter – benefiting from an organized attempt to take advantage of the open process. Be sure to ask questions and unite around solid grassroots Obama supporters during the caucus process. Don’t take the process for granted and be sure to participate in your congressional district delegate caucuses. There is nothing that is beneath the Hillary gang IMHO, so it’s worth an hour or so to go and caucus with eyes open.

  92. reg Says:

    Mayhill is a bit of an eccentric and dilettante IMHO, but I have to credit that she’s gone out and done the work. I encountered her early in the campaign and wasn’t impressed with the accuracy of her reporting of a small-scale event I participated in – even though she was exceedingly complimentary of me and my wife. (My wife deserves it, but Fowler failed to note that I can be an extremely verbose asshole, which tells you something about her observational skills.) I think her heart is in the Obama project, but not quite with the depth and persistence that her heart is in the Mayhill Fowler project. So she used some poor judgement but finally got what she’s been after in her quest.

  93. reg Says:

    “I already told you.”

    I guess I’m the dumbest guy on the planet. Sorry, Mr Journalism Pro – ‘cuz your incredibly lucid comments on McCain have been absolutely awesome and convincing.

  94. Kevin Says:

    “I can be an extremely verbose asshole”

    Really? :-)

  95. reg Says:

    According to my wife…

  96. AH Says:

    I am pakistani, and the only candidate that pronounces “Pakistan” correctly is Obama…these other fools have no clue and McCain doesn’t know the difference between Shia and Sunni

  97. reg Says:

    I have to add in Fowler’s defense that I’m not sure that giving money to promote Fred Thompson could be construed as an act of allegiance to the GOP. More like sabotage. I wish Obama was facing Fred rather than McCain – who consistently gets the biggest pass from the journalistic tribes (not mentioning any names on this thread) and is clearly the strongest contender against the Dems. I think Obama can beat him, but he’d easily trounce Hillary.

  98. Bill Bradley Says:

    You’re just trying to be irritating. But not succeeding. As you should have guessed hours ago.

    >reg Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 6:36 pm
    “I already told you.”

    I guess I’m the dumbest guy on the planet. Sorry, Mr Journalism Pro – ‘cuz your incredibly lucid comments on McCain have been absolutely awesome and convincing.

  99. reg Says:

    Actually, Bill, you’re succeeding in being irritating in ways that I can’t even fathom.

  100. bob williams Says:

    AH:

    How do you pronounce “Germany?”

  101. Michael Balter Says:

    Can you see why some of us just want to be awoken when the campaign is over?

  102. reg Says:

    Interesting commentary on the fundraising event and context of Obama’s comments from “Sandy’s Blog” at “mybarackobama.com” -

    At the end of this small event Obama took four questions, one of which was from a couple of supporters going to Pennsylvania to work for the campaign. They wanted to know what kinds of questions they could expect to get from people in Pennsylvania. Obama began to answer their question by talking about the cultural and geographic diversity in Pennsylvania. He then proceeded to talk about what kind of attitudes and obstacles they might run into in the parts of the state that had been economically devastated by job loss. He talked about the fact that they would run into great cynicism about Washington or any promise of political change. He talked about the frustration and yes, bitterness, in some of these areas, where people had lost industry and jobs twenty five years before, jobs that never came back. He talked about the culture in these communities and what people had done to cope with economic hardship. This was an attempt both to tell these supporters what they might run up against and what were the challenges for the campaign in the industrial Midwest as a whole. Obama was both giving a speech to the supporters present at the event and a heart-to-heart to this couple that was ready to go door-to-door in Pennsylvania.

    Imagine my surprise to see an article in the Huffington Post by Mayhill Fowler describing his answer as “a problematic judgment call in trying to explain working class culture to a much wealthier audience.” and his answer being like “explaining the yawning cultural gap that separates a Turkeyfoot from a Marin County.” I guess Ms. Fowler thought that, unlike herself, the other attendees had never gone outside the large house in Pacific Heights where the event was held. I grew up working class in Texas. I thought it ironic that Ms Fowler, was attempting to paint Obama as a condescending elitist, while at the same time she was stereotyping everybody at the event with her omniscient insight. (end clip)

    And here’s a bit more insight into Fowler from an Offthebus post she did last August:

    “Although I’ve lived in Oakland for thirty-two years, I had never been to East Oakland until Sunday when I turned my car onto the short residential street that dead-ends in Arroyo Park.”

    I won’t belabor the geo-demography of Oakland. Her admission pretty much speaks for itself.

  103. reg Says:

    Oh Jesus Christ – this just in from Annie Oakley…I mean Hillary:

    “You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught me how to shoot when I was a little girl.”

    Obviously her dad anticipated the sniper fire she would eventually face as First Lady. I think it’s time for Marc C to make the prediction that her candidacy is all but over that “we can believe in.”

  104. reg Says:

    Holy shit…it gets even better -

    ABC News later reported that Clinton also visited a local bar in Crown Point, Indiana to share a shot of whiskey with the locals:

    Clinton stood by the bar and took a shot of Crown Royal whiskey. She took one sip of the shot, then another small sip, then a few seconds later threw her head back and finished off the whole thing. (end clip)

    She’d better take that bottle home with her because she’s gonna need it.

  105. reg Says:

    Crown Royal ? Crown Royal ? That in itself strains the imagination. Nobody in their right mind drinks Canadian Whiskey straight. She’d have looked less phony if she’d asked for it mixed with ginger ale.

  106. Mark F Says:

    If Mayhill Fowler says she’s an Obama supporter, she’s a liar as well as a creep. She should go to hell and stay there.

  107. Bill Bradley Says:

    Look, I’ve been polite. You simply don’t get it.

    You make a point which is demonstrably wrong. Then you keep blathering away about other stuff. You’ve been rude all day. I can see you want to keep posting at length about every tedious thing.

    >reg Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 7:17 pm
    Actually, Bill, you’re succeeding in being irritating in ways that I can’t even fathom.

  108. The_DC_Sniper Says:

    James “Mayhill Fowler = GOP plant?”

    No. Mayhill Fowler = Initiate of the Inner Circle of the Esoteric Fraternal Order of Illuminated Zionist Freemasons? Absolutely.

  109. Bill Bradley Says:

    You don’t know? :)

    >bob williams Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 7:26 pm
    AH:

    How do you pronounce “Germany?”

  110. reg Says:

    If I’m demonstrably wrong, you sure as hell haven’t demonstrated it. You’re a pretty arrogant piece of work who assumes their assertions are golden.

  111. reg Says:

    And I notice you’re still here…contributing to the tedium with your opaque bullshit.

  112. reg Says:

    You want rude, Bill ? How about “I’ve come to the conclusion that you’re California’s version of Joe Klein.” It doesn’t get ruder than that.

  113. Howard Says:

    my friend Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior advisor, immediately seized on a few words from Obama’s rather lengthy musings

    Yuck. And that’s why most Americans find campaign season nauseating and dishonest.

    Also, Bill, please–ease up on the emoticons. You’re like a little old lady who just discovered this amazing thing called the Internetz and can’t resist putting smileys at the end of every sentence.

  114. Bill Bradley Says:

    You already delivered rude, Reg. Hours and hours ago.

    “Opaque” is how I politely deal with someone who can’t stop himself from trying to belabor a dead point by moving on to new tangents.

    Meanwhile, regarding the topic at hand, let’s see if this reported Carter-Gore move to end the race is delayed by, well, the topic at hand.

    http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/It39s-Obama-stupid-Carter-and.3976738.jp

  115. Bill Bradley Says:

    I’m using the emoticons, for the most part, ironically.

    Incidentally, what Schmidt did was entirely predictable.

    >Howard Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 8:29 pm
    my friend Steve Schmidt, McCain’s senior advisor, immediately seized on a few words from Obama’s rather lengthy musings

    Yuck. And that’s why most Americans find campaign season nauseating and dishonest.

    Also, Bill, please–ease up on the emoticons. You’re like a little old lady who just discovered this amazing thing called the Internetz and can’t resist putting smileys at the end of every sentence.

  116. reg Says:

    If you don’t want to be treated like another idiot at the end of the bar, don’t pass off “John McCain does understand the difference between Shia and Sunni – I have primary source information on that” as somehow dispositive.

  117. Kevin Says:

    “If Mayhill Fowler says she’s an Obama supporter, she’s a liar as well as a creep. She should go to hell and stay there.”

    Indeed, someone who gives the maximum to Obama’s campaign can’t possibly be an Obama supporter, and must be a liar.

    These drive-by comments are pretty funny.

  118. reg Says:

    Presumably that was from your friend Steve Schmidt. Too bad you’re not friends with Howard Wolfson so you could share insights into Hillary’s expertise in shooting ducks.

  119. Kevin Says:

    huh?

  120. Bill Bradley Says:

    You really can’t stop yourself, can you? You evidently don’t, or more likely, can’t understand that very simple statement.

    If you want to say I’m lying, or can’t hear, or have a bad memory, you’re just being what you’ve been all day.

    There is nothing more to say to you, with your off-topic hate-McCain ranting.

    >reg Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 8:45 pm
    If you don’t want to be treated like another idiot at the end of the bar, don’t pass off “John McCain does understand the difference between Shia and Sunni – I have primary source information on that” as somehow dispositive.

  121. Bill Bradley Says:

    You were saying something about somebody at the end of the bar, as I recall.

    >reg Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 8:48 pm
    Presumably that was from your friend Steve Schmidt. Too bad you’re not friends with Howard Wolfson so you could share insights into Hillary’s expertise in shooting ducks.

  122. Kevin Says:

    “You really can’t stop yourself, can you?”

    Apparently you can’t either.

  123. Bill Bradley Says:

    Considering that Mayhill Fowler got into the private San Francisco fundraiser became Obama campaign people considered her a supporter of the candidate, albeit a very precious, longwinded, and opinionated one — in the form of an activist blogger — and considering that the host of this very argumentative blog, who is not a Republican, was her HuffPo supervisor, yep!

    >Kevin Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 8:46 pm
    “If Mayhill Fowler says she’s an Obama supporter, she’s a liar as well as a creep. She should go to hell and stay there.”

    Indeed, someone who gives the maximum to Obama’s campaign can’t possibly be an Obama supporter, and must be a liar.

    These drive-by comments are pretty funny.

  124. Bill Bradley Says:

    I’m all done with him. He seemed to need a final explanation for what he’s been missing all day.

    >Kevin Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 8:50 pm
    “You really can’t stop yourself, can you?”

    Apparently you can’t either.

  125. Kevin Says:

    “Considering that Mayhill Fowler got into the private San Francisco fundraiser became Obama campaign people considered her a supporter of the candidate, albeit a very precious, longwinded, and opinionated one — in the form of an activist blogger — and considering that the host of this very argumentative blog, who is not a Republican, was her HuffPo supervisor, yep!”

    I am an Obama supporter, have given money to his campaign twice, and I find the indignation over some of his other supporters over this to be, well, perplexing.

  126. kravitz Says:

    Obama on Charlie Rose in November 2004 –
    “If we don’t have plausible answers on the economic front, and if we appear to be condescending toward those traditions that are giving their lives some stability, then they’re going to opt for at least that party that seems to be speaking to the things that…provide them with something solid to stand on,” he said, going on to talk about his ability to connect with voters who supported Bush over Kerry.

  127. kravitz Says:

    Simply put, the small towners don’t hear the democrats talking to them. They usually hear politicians, pundits and columnists talking DOWN to them. 10% of Pennsylvania is on food stamps. 15% of Indiana is in poverty. She is not speaking to that at all, while Obama is. In fact, now she is pandering.

  128. Kevin Says:

    “indignation over some”

    indignation of some

    oops.

  129. evets Says:

    I’d only read a couple things by Mayhill Fowler before this dust-up, so am not an expert, but I came away in each case convinced she was pro-Clinton, anti-Obama.

  130. reg Says:

    “He seemed to need a final explanation for what he’s been missing all day.”

    You’ve explained nothing, but revealed much.

  131. Bill Bradley Says:

    Still at it? :)

  132. Bill Bradley Says:

    Well, the report has created a big problem for Obama. Not as big as the hyperpartisan right and Clintonites imagine, but big enough.

    Maybe big enough to keep the primaries going a while longer.

    >Kevin Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 8:56 pm
    “Considering that Mayhill Fowler got into the private San Francisco fundraiser became Obama campaign people considered her a supporter of the candidate, albeit a very precious, longwinded, and opinionated one — in the form of an activist blogger — and considering that the host of this very argumentative blog, who is not a Republican, was her HuffPo supervisor, yep!”

    I am an Obama supporter, have given money to his campaign twice, and I find the indignation over some of his other supporters over this to be, well, perplexing.

  133. Bill Bradley Says:

    I think Obama is trying to speak to real concerns in small town Pennsylvania. Not as carefully in the middle of one of his long talks at his private SF funder as if he thought there was press around, but clearly enough to make his intent known.

    Now Hillary is out there in her newest guise, pretending to be a hunter — a la Mitt Romney — forgetting she is actually an anti-gunner, pretending to have been an opponent of NAFTA when actually she was one of its champions, etc.

    >kravitz Says:
    April 12th, 2008 at 8:58 pm
    Simply put, the small towners don’t hear the democrats talking to them. They usually hear politicians, pundits and columnists talking DOWN to them. 10% of Pennsylvania is on food stamps. 15% of Indiana is in poverty. She is not speaking to that at all, while Obama is. In fact, now she is pandering.

  134. evets Says:

    Isn’t it possible that McCain understands the basic difference between Shia and Sunni but is either 1) shaky on some of the sectarian intricacies now playing out in Iraq or 2) has forced himself to ignore some of these complexities in order to promote his approach to the war? That’s what I assumed to be the case, even before the reg/Bradley death-cage match.

  135. Bill Bradley Says:

    Yes, McCain does understand the difference between Shia and Sunni, which I know personally. The rest is a different question, separate from my obvious point. And obviously having nothing to do with the topic at hand, which is about some quite significant damage to Obama.

  136. richard locicero Says:

    Could be Evets but either undermines his claims to foreign policy expertise.

  137. reg Says:

    BB – “McCain is very knowledgeable. Period.”

  138. reg Says:

    With all due respect, that blanket assertion isn’t at all obvious.

  139. Howard Says:

    “I’m using the emoticons, for the most part, ironically.”

    Irony + ceaseless repetition = tedium.

    “Incidentally, what Schmidt did was entirely predictable.”

    It is also entirely predictable that a pig will root in its own feces. And, as I said previously about Schmidt’s actions, equally nauseating. But then that’s why I do science instead of hang out with politicians and their “senior advisers”. To each his own. (*Oink.*)

  140. Kevin Says:

    “Yes, McCain does understand the difference between Shia and Sunni, which I know personally.”

    So then, he’s deliberately conflating the two, dishonestly. Nice.

  141. brueso Says:

    Well, if she’s an ‘ardent Obama supporter’, she does a good job of hiding it. She more constantly criticizes him in her posting. Look, Marc, you have your own association with her, but from the audience side, she is no Obama supporter, and her willingness to go on Lou Dobbs proves it.

  142. brueso Says:

    I meant to say she “more constantly criticizes him in her postingS.” She’s been running him down for a couple of months.

  143. Kevin Says:

    “I think Obama is trying to speak to real concerns in small town Pennsylvania. Not as carefully in the middle of one of his long talks at his private SF funder as if he thought there was press around, but clearly enough to make his intent known.

    Now Hillary is out there in her newest guise, pretending to be a hunter — a la Mitt Romney — forgetting she is actually an anti-gunner, pretending to have been an opponent of NAFTA when actually she was one of its champions, etc.”

    This is how I have viewed it as well. Personally, I think Obama has been pretty forthright in his comments, and Clinton has come across as, well, a complete phony. She has been giving a pretty good demonstration of what “manufactured outrage” is. Some people would refer to it as being a “concern troll”.

  144. Kevin Says:

    brueso:

    Did you not see this, further up the thread?

    http://fundrace.huffingtonpost.com/neighbors.php?type=name&lname=fowler&fname=mayhill&search=Search

  145. Andrea Hackett Says:

    With luck, this will be Obama’s undoing and we can on with the business of nominating the next president of the United States: Hillary Clinton.

  146. Kevin Says:

    “With luck, this will be Obama’s undoing and we can on with the business of nominating the next president of the United States: Hillary Clinton.”

    With a LOT of luck. You’ll need it.

    Third party candidates don’t have much of a history of winning elections in the last 100 years.

  147. Michael Turner Says:

    I’m not sure Fowler’s donation to the Thompson campaign proves much. She gave $250. As pointed out earlier, this Obama event was open to anyone who could fork over a few hundred dollars. I’m sure after it was over, quite a few participants broke for dinner and spent more on just the wine. $250 might simply been the price of access for her at some point, in covering the GOP side of the race. To Fowler, that’s probably not a whole lot of money, and besides, for a Marin county/Oakland Hills liberal, that kind of thing makes for a good laugh over drinks. “Did I tell you I’m a GOP donor?” “You!?!

    As for whether being maxed out for Obama (is that the same “bama” as in “Alabama”? Oh, never mind), I don’t know how much she’s worth, so maybe that’s *also* chump change for her. One way to find out would be to —

    Eh?! Over 48 hours since this story broke, and Mayhill *still* has no Wikipedia entry? The Internetz must be broken ….

  148. Marc Cooper Says:

    The most interesting part of this thread — apart from the serial purse swinging between friends Reg and Bill — is the amazing capacity of so many folks to be blind to everything except what they WANT to see.

    The accusations against and the insinuations about Mayhill Fowler are simply stunning — and stomach turning. That so-called progressives would sneer at and smear such a hard-working and talented and committed citizen reporter only proves that the political Right has no monopoly on bone-headedness.

    Mayhill’s writings are all public record on Huffington Post and to accuse her of being a McCain/Hillary/RNC agent is to reveal a rather shocking political illiteracy. Even this latest piece of hers which has set off such a firestorm so obviously overflows with respect and admiration for Obama that one truly has to be flat-lining to think otherwise.

    All she did was report the truth. And if someone has a problem with what they hear, try not killing the messenger.

    I know that’s a lot to ask for in American politics. But I can dream.

    P.S. I have not spoken to Mayhill about her political contributions in general nor her small donation to Fred Thompson. Without violating confidences, I will say that Mayhill hails from Tennessee and I imagine that Thompson is a family friend. I see no crime in this. I, for one, even have Republicans in my own family. Alas, it is true.

    And Mister Brueso… I have also been on Lou Dobbs Show. And on Fox. And in the WSJ. So what?

    Grow up, folks.

  149. Kevin Says:

    “I have also been on Lou Dobbs Show. And on Fox. And in the WSJ. So what?”

    YOU TRAITOR! YOU’RE NO BETTER THAN RUSH LIMBAUGH, YOU FASCIST!

    Sorry about that. Wanted to get it out of the way before someone tries it for real.

  150. Rob Grocholski Says:

    Sheesh, the poverty of our scandals! What I find amazing is that so many, supposedly smart people find this so amazing (I don’t mean you, dear reader. You’re dining at Professor Cooper’s all night, most excellent greasy spoon political eatery. You’re very smart.)

    This whole ado originates from remarks at a funder raiser? Clinton, McCain, the media and three quarters of the known internet is trying to make a big deal about what Senator Obama said at a fund raiser? Surely the water skiing squirrel video is ready in the cue.

    Campaigns, including the big O’s, never want the cameras and recorders rolling at fund raisers. Just ask the that chap who lost his job in Virginia to Senator Webb. Candidates will always ‘say it a little different’ when they think they are only amongst close friends — and potential close friends. Which they are entitled to do. But notice where most of the ‘gaffes’ come from? That’s the nature of raising money for causes. Politics always makes a bargain with emotions. Whether it’s Ben Franklin adding a little sauce in his appeal to the French down to the last time a canvasser from Greenpeace was at your door, politics always makes a bargain with emotions. Things get said a bit differently. What might be the real issue here is that because so much money has been contributed by so many online during this election cycle, perhaps it’s now ‘news’ that Obama was actually looking at other humans face to face, schmoozing and all that, that just maybe the MSM and the competing camps suddenly rediscovered human contact (I’m explaining this on the internet — how ironic).

    I’m a little surprised no one hasn’t pondered this question (forgive me if I missed it) on this thread: Wouldn’t you love to be in the room while Clinton and McCain are pitching their donors? I wonder what unique frankness, or cockiness might spill from those candidates’ lips as they mix it up with the crowd.

  151. Rob Grocholski Says:

    Opps, some redundant sentence construction in above comment…

    Did want to add, Marc, that I found your points about what is ‘off the record’ or not, fairly enlightening. Also agree with your most recent point, that this whole thing aint about Fowler.

  152. ron Says:

    Here is another instance of straight…dead on discussion of what’s really going on in those places who have lost jobs to NAFTA, Globalism, Deregulation, and destruction of our educational system. You get prisons as an industrial complex in return…, War as a business venture… Media Pandering as Comedy Central…,and Government for sale to the highest bidder. When you look at it most American’s are numb to what’s happening to them and this country. So who are the elitist? When did those from the other side start listening to and being part of the “Common Fabric” of this society? From where i sit they are part of the trickle downers and not the perker uppers. They’ve never been out of a job..,couldn’t call family or friends for help…, lay in pain because they couldn’t get health care…Couldn’t educate their kids…provide food and shelter…? Shame on you Hillary, McCain, The Media, all of you upper echelon phonies who sneer at the everyday person, yet criticize, and belittle. You’re fired….!!!! Brought to You by “CHANGE…a “YES WE CAN GENERATION” Go Obama!

  153. Dan O Says:

    The more I think about this the more I suspect I need to take back the non-story part of my earlier post. Having worked on the election cycle in which Jesse Ventura became Governor, I can tell you that his massive and surprising popularity had nothing (ok, little) to do with his celebrity and everything to do with the way he talked on the stump.

    After years of the populace being spoon fed ever so slightly sweetened applesauce year after year, Ventura came in and spoke to people with real candor and they loved it. Politicians in this country all learn the same amazingly anodyne and soporific dialect of English. All we hear is this endless indiscernible buzzing punctuated at times by the word “education.”

    So we’re hungry and responsive to someone who can come along and talk in another dialect. One that, even if we don’t agree with it, can grab our attention, and one that seems to signal a mind that does not constantly need to glance at the weather vane to see which way the wind blows.

    These comments, in the end, far from being “the opening” for Hilary, or the ignominious Dean-scream end to his campaign, will reinforce the perception of Obama that he is not saying the same old pandering platitudes we can now see Hilary providing with such practiced skill.

    Now, here’s to hoping he’s not quite as nutty as other attention grabbers like Ventura and Perot.

  154. reg Says:

    Maureen Dowd must be furious this morning that her column deadline kicked in before Hillary started throwing down shots and bragging about duck hunting.

  155. Bill Bradley Says:

    Sorry, Marc, I forgot that your site has a few die-hard anti-Republicans on it who bristle at any notion that McCain is not the devil. Which I mentioned for purposes of balance, as I am not an Obama partisan and am aware that I have two wings of hyperpartisans who can parse my comments, before attending to the real issue, the current state of Barack, which you and I have discussed.

    And yes, I was swinging a “purse,” as you so neatly put it, rather than my more customary and decisive treatment of such extended rudeness.

    Of course, the issue of activist blogger supporters of candidates switching to play the reporter role is, at least for now until the campaigns shut down the practice, a live one. Obviously, conspiracy fantasies aside, Mayhill Fowler is an Obama supporter. That’s why she was allowed into the private, closed to the press Obama fundraiser.

    Incidentally, Rob, the famous George Allen “Maccaca” moment which helped elect my old friend Jim Webb did not occur at a private fundraiser. It happened, a year-and-a-half ago, at a public rally for then-Senator Allen, when he cleverly turned to the video tracker from the Webb campaign and, looking right into the camera, launched into his idiot remarks.

    A totally different situation.

    >Campaigns, including the big O’s, never want the cameras and recorders rolling at fund raisers. Just ask the that chap who lost his job in Virginia to Senator Webb. Candidates will always ’say it a little different’ when they think they are only amongst close friends — and potential close friends.

  156. evets Says:

    ‘The accusations against and the insinuations about Mayhill Fowler are simply stunning — and stomach turning.’

    Not sure if I was included in the stomach-turners and wasn’t insinuating that Fowler was a plant, just that after reading a little of her stuff before all this, I’d come to the conclusion that she had an animus against Obama. Was therefore quite surprised to hear that this citizen-journalist was an ardent supporter.

    I sense that most writers on Huffpost are in fact Obama supporters; it comes through pretty clearly — so it’s not like I’m imagining enemies in every corner. I started reading Mayhill on the assumption that she would also be pro-Barry (since that’s the slant of that site), and quickly came to feel otherwise.

  157. evets Says:

    At any rate, all this should help to prolong the primary season Marc, so it’s wise to hold off on the Hillary Clinton death-chants for awhile. The good news is that the truth will set “ya” free.

  158. M. Smith Says:

    Marc Cooper truly didn’t realize what Fowler (apt name) wrote would great a firestorm and ruin Obama’s campaign?

    Did he realize what the Swiftboaters would do to Kerry’s?

    If he didn’t, he should get out of political journalism.

  159. Michael Balter Says:

    What’s this about ruining Obama’s campaign? The Reverend Wright episode didn’t ruin his campaign and this won’t either–unless all the pundits who say that Hillary doesn’t have a chance are wrong?

  160. Michael Balter Says:

    http://michael-balter.blogspot.com/2008/04/romeo-dallaire-bill-clinton-and-rwanda.html

  161. jcummings Says:

    “ANDREA: Unhappy the land that has no heroes! . . . GALILEO: No, unhappy the land that needs heroes.”

  162. reg Says:

    “a few die-hard anti-Republicans on it who bristle at any notion that McCain is not the devil”

    Bill, that’s just stupid and, worse, lame as an interpretation of my remarks. I don’t think McCain is the devil – in fact I used to believe that he probably wouldn’t have invaded Iraq, but signed on out of some misplaced sense of honor or loyalty. Now I’m not at all sure, because he sounds just as delusional when he talks about Iraq as the rest of them.

    You started out wearing some “above partisanship” halo and then treat us to a supposed reassurance about his “knowldedge” of Iraq that you got from one of McCain’s flaks you happen to be buddies with. “Above partisanship” perhaps but not above getting rolled in the partisan fray. As you said, 2008 isn’t 2000 and it’s all “more complicated”, but it’s pretty obvious observing John McCain’s current incarnation that the folks who’ve bought into the McCain myth were suckered. The truth is that in 2008 McCain would have a much better chance of ascending to the Presidency if he actually rose above his current “hyperpartisanship.” The guy has genuflected at every rut in the GOP road to hell. He’s not the devil, but he’s not above having drinks at his place. He could probably teach the Clintons a couple of tricks at his current rate of pandering.

    Based on your predictable Broderist “anti-partisan” blather – which somehow equates the “hyperpartisanship” of contemporary liberalism (Clinton ? Obama ?) with the extremes of what currently passes for conservativism – I wouldn’t trust your political instincts, or from the evidence here, your analytical skills, any more than I trust your “insider sources.” The truth is, having a friend at the head of the McCain campaign makes you more likely to be a conduit for total crap than the average boy reporter hankering for a hug from St. John. (In fairness, the fact that you yourself are a vet makes me less suspicious of the psychology behind your attraction to the guy in 2000 than the average journalist’s fascination with him. That piece of it I respect.) I have never “hated” McCain, but the modicum of respect I had for him in 2000 has been run into the ground by McCain himself.

  163. reg Says:

    I have to agree with Michael B – people running around worrying that this will sink Obama haven’t been watching the guy. He’ll take this – which I’m sure he didn’t welcome – as an opportunity to clarify his positions on issues and talk straight about the current state of our politics. The guy’s got a gift for making some damned good lemonade when he gets a lemon. Barack will be fine. Hillary’s obviously the one in big trouble or she wouldn’t be desperately making an ass of herself. As for McCain, Obama can handle him as well. He’s not just essentially a good-hearted guy and a very smart guy, but he’s one hell of a cunning politician as he’s proven by successfully taking on two Clintons in their own turf.

  164. richard locicero Says:

    I’d like to respond to Bill’s assertion that there are “die-hard anti-Republicans” here. You see I am one of them and I come by that position honestly – I’ve a GOP family background.

    My mother was a political activist. A
    GOP political activist. We got regular thank you notes from people like Nixon and Kuchel. But that Republican party was quite different from the current model. I happen to think that Ike was one of the best post-waqr presidents and a man of great sense and judgement. I think the country was quite right to elect him rather than Adlai Stevenson. Ike didn’t roll back the New Deal – he embraced it. He started the greatest public works project in our history – the Interstate Highway System and while not a civil rights champion (as few people of his age were) when the courts ordered desegregation he dutifully compliede in Little Rock and elsewhere. And he warned of the “Military-Industrial” complex.

    Look at the party of tyhose days- Rockefeller, Conte, Aiken, Morton, Javitz and I could go on. Yes, there were conservatives but they included folks like Hickenlooper and the Senate Leader from Illinois whose support of the 1964 Civil rights act was crucial.

    Now look at the modern party. A collection of religious bigots, dixiecrats who abandoned the solid south when “Negras” got the vote and the moldiest collection of crooks ever seen. And the nadir is George Bush.

    I know its chic in some circles to say that John McCain is the new TR. Well only in his bellicosity maybe but Roosevelt would be coinsidered a dangerous “commie” in today’s GOP.

    No, I’m sorry that the GOP is so reactionary. I’d like an opposition party that would make sense. But these clowns? Please!

  165. Bill Bradley Says:

    Let me be frank, Reg. You’re a very rude person, obsessed with bashing McCain and anyone who recognizes that he is not actually a monkey, as you demonstrated over many hours yesterday.

    Case closed.

    And you are wildly off topic.

    If you want to find a McCain partisan to debate your assertions about McCain — beyond my obvious point that he does in fact understand the difference between Shia and Sunni — you should go to another site where you will undoubtedly get your ass kicked.

    I’m not here to talk McCain, I’m here to talk the dynamics of “citizen journalism” and the damage to Obama from this report.

    As should be perfectly obvious.

    >reg Says:
    April 13th, 2008 at 7:53 am

    “a few die-hard anti-Republicans on it who bristle at any notion that McCain is not the devil”

    Bill, that’s just stupid and, worse, lame as an interpretation of my remarks.

  166. Bill Bradley Says:

    Well, really, Richard L, as a frequent commenter on my web site, you have certainly made it obvious that you are a professional anti-Republican. So my “assertion” is hardly that.

    >richard locicero Says:
    April 13th, 2008 at 8:33 am

    I’d like to respond to Bill’s assertion that there are “die-hard anti-Republicans” here. You see I am one of them and I come by that position honestly – I’ve a GOP family background.

  167. Bill Bradley Says:

    This episode shouldn’t ruin Obama’s campaign. But having just talked this morning to people campaigning for Obama in Pennsylvania, it has certainly created a big new problem for him.

    ># M. Smith Says:
    April 13th, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Marc Cooper truly didn’t realize what Fowler (apt name) wrote would great a firestorm and ruin Obama’s campaign?

    Did he realize what the Swiftboaters would do to Kerry’s?

    If he didn’t, he should get out of political journalism.

  168. jcummings Says:

    The ‘Left won in Nepal!

    Keep yammering about trivialities

  169. Howard Says:

    “have two wings of hyperpartisans

    If by “hyperpartisan” you mean “those who disagree with me”, then this is indeed a true statement. Whereby “true” means “ridiculous”.

    Don’t you have a website to maintain? Honestly, your comments here have been rote and repetitive–purse-swinging, perhaps, though I might add boring and autistic.

    To the remaining, more serious folks: back to actual comments, por favor?

  170. paulo Says:

    If Obama could not stand the GOP in the final elections, so the Clinton Campaign is saying aka yelling all the time, well, Obama has stand the Clintons -so far- and they are even worse than the GOP!
    Mind it!

  171. reg Says:

    “obsessed with bashing McCain and anyone who recognizes that he is not actually a monkey”

    You’re pathetic. Case closed.

  172. Bill Bradley Says:

    By “hyperpartisan,” I mean the obvious.

    Knee-jerk right-wingers and knee-jerk left-wingers.

    People who, respectively, and I use the world advisedly, are constitutionally incapable of recognizing that both Barack Obama and John McCain are legitimate figures. Whether they are right or wrong on the particulars is another matter.

    You see, I don’t run New West Notes to cater to the easy prejudices of either extreme.

    >Howard Says:
    April 13th, 2008 at 8:59 am

    “have two wings of hyperpartisans

    If by “hyperpartisan” you mean “those who disagree with me”, then this is indeed a true statement. Whereby “true” means “ridiculous”.

  173. Bill Bradley Says:

    You’re such a rude old boy, Reg. I would spare the readership of your ongoing meltdown, expressed by your ill-founded personal attacks on me, by taking my comments to your web site. But we wouldn’t want to disturb its, shall we say, pristine nature …

    >reg Says:
    April 13th, 2008 at 9:34 am

    “obsessed with bashing McCain and anyone who recognizes that he is not actually a monkey”

    You’re pathetic. Case closed

  174. reg Says:

    “I’d like an opposition party that would make sense. But these clowns? Please!”

    Agreed. I also grew up in a Republican family. My parents couldn’t stomache the Goldwater movement and voted for LBJ in ’64 after a lifetime of being moderate GOP, but frankly Goldwater was to the left of McCain on quite a few issues. His social libertarianism would be anathema in the Bush-McCain GOP. After voting for LBJ my folks also came to understand what it was like to be burned by Democrats. I happen to loathe the corporate wing of the Democratic party and the characters like Richard Holbrooke in the foreign policy establishment who essentially believe in American imperialism as some unalloyed good. But for all of the Dem’s sins, the current iteration of “conservatism” is one of the phoniest, most destructive – not to mention ill-informed – crazy-quilt coalitions in the history of modern American politics. I wish there was an opposition party that was actually fiscally conservative and not simply hooked on some “Spend but don’t tax” nonsense, that wasn’t almost wholly cynical in its cultural conservatism and that looked askance at reckless adventurism and getting waist deep in foreign wars. There is no such party. But I’m not looking to the Democrats to simply move farther to the left. I think that the Obama coalition we see, between the Democratic left and the best elements of it’s legitimate center – folks like Claire McCaskill and Bob Casey – is the best hope for the party and for the country. That said, I’d – in my hyperpartisanship – consider voting for Chuck Hagel, although I disagree with him on most domestic issues, over Hillary Clinton if he were nominated by a much saner GOP.

  175. Alexis Says:

    Mr. Cooper,

    You are OUT OF TOUCH. Mayhill is from the richest part of Oakland and she even admits that she has never been to East Oakland. You call that progressive? No, she is a typical white woman who wants to pretend like she is a progressive. I am so damn tired of people like her trying to pretend that they are progressives when they aren’t. They are elitist snobs and how dare she call others a snob when she is just as bad. You guys are in this for your fifteen minutes of fame and as I said earlier, Mayhill better watch herself in Oakland.

  176. Alexis Says:

    I’m praying that Mayhill is kicked off the bus and then get’s her ass kicked in Oakland.

  177. evets Says:

    “He’ll take this – which I’m sure he didn’t welcome – as an opportunity to clarify his positions on issues and talk straight about the current state of our politics. The guy’s got a gift for making some damned good lemonade when he gets a lemon.”

    I agree, but it will take some time to make the lemonade, and meanwhile he’ll lose in PA by more than he would have otherwise. Hillary will have something to crow about; the whole process will be prolonged.

  178. Kevin Says:

    “I’m praying that Mayhill is kicked off the bus and then get’s her ass kicked in Oakland.”

    Obama doesn’t need, or want, ‘supporters’ like you, Alexis, if you really are one.

  179. reg Says:

    “he’ll lose in PA by more than he would have otherwise”

    I’m not so sure if Hillary runs too far with this and keeps insulting the voters with her inner whiskey-swilling deer hunter. She’s already shown more transparently elitist behavior in her over-the-top attempts to channel a blue-collar regular “Joe.” The debate Wednesday night might prove to Obama’s advantage if he uses the attacks to address the issues more forthrightly. Let’s not forget that the lady tossing shots and bragging about shooting critters is married to a guy who dumped at least at least 20 times the salary of folks in some of these blue-collar Pennsylvania and Indiana towns into the Clinton bank account giving a single speech promoting the Columbia trade deal. Maybe Barack’s too much of a fair-play guy to bring that and much, much more similiar stuff up – but I wouldn’t want to be in Clinton’s glass houss and push too hard on this elitism, “out-of-touch” thing. The truth is, Obama can kill her on that crap.

  180. reg Says:

    He can kill McCain on it too. The guy and his beer-heiress wife apparently have eight houses. That’s three more than John and Teresa Kerry. Also a private jet. Maybe the fact that millions of guys sitting around drinking beer bought this stuff for them is the “regular guy” connection here.

  181. reg Says:

    Frankly Bill, you started the rude shit by calling me a “left-wing hyperpartisan” in an ad hominem attempt (not very successful, by the way) to dismiss the questions I raised about McCain’s being particularly “knowledgable” on key issues. I know you think you’re “above the partisan fray” and ciriticize “both sides” equally – but that’s a phony conceit that makes guys like you and Joe Klein look consistently much “less smart” – not to mention less well-informed given the hack sources you cherish – than you imagine yourselves.

  182. reg Says:

    I guess Bill is one of those folks who think it’s “rude” not to be particularly impressed with his pronouncements.

  183. reg Says:

    Harvard perfesser Theda Skocpol on Clinton and the elitism thing:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/188673.php

    “I have been in meetings with the Clintons and their advisors where very clinical things were said in a very-detached tone about unwillingness of working class voters to trust government — and Bill Clinton — and about their unfortunate (from a Clinton perspective) proclivity to vote on life-style rather than economic issues. To see Hillary going absolutely over the top to smash Obama for making clearly more humanly sympathetic observations in this vein, is just amazing. Even more so to see her pretending to be a gun-toting non-elite. Give us a break!

    “I wonder if she realizes that gaining a few days of lurid publicity that might reach a slice of voters is going to cost her a great deal in the regard of many Democrats, whose strong support she will need if she somehow claws her way to the nomination — and even more so if she does not clinch the nomination. The distribution of ‘we’re not bitter’ stickers to her campaign rallies is the height of over-the-top crudity, and the reports are that very few audience members seem to have much enthusiasm for this nonsense…

    “This has to be one of the few times in U.S. political history when a multi-millionaire has accused a much less wealthy fellow public servant, a person of the same party and views who made much less lucrative career choices, of ‘elitism’!”
    (end clip)

    I’m not sure it makes any sense at this point to distribute “We’re not bitter” logos to a pro-Clinton crowd. Increasingly it appears that’s about all they are anymore.

  184. evets Says:

    “I’m not so sure if Hillary runs too far with this and keeps insulting the voters with her inner whiskey-swilling deer hunter. ”

    I hope you’re right. I forgot about the debate — that does give him a big-time venue I thought he wasn’t going to have. I have to admit — Hillary’s line about going out back of the cottage at Lake Minola near Scranton to shoot with her dad was one of the great multi-valent panders I’ve ever heard. It was masterful stuff, with all of the with casual artfulness and poignancy of great haiku. Makes me think she may actually be ready from day one. Still, I ask myself, would she have achieved true perfection if she’d said cabin instead of cottage. I think it can be argued either way.

  185. Sergio Says:

    Mind-numbing.

    This vituperative 24/7-posting-addicted old man “reg” cannot be human, much less a progressive. IT HAS TO BE be a spambot from the Republicans.

    Beware!

  186. Michael Balter Says:

    Sergio, give it a rest please.

  187. Bill Says:

    “I’ve also been impressed with the way that Mayhill has struggled with her own conscience, her own values and as well her hopes and desires.”

    If I hear another story about how this campaign is about the personal story of a rich white boomer woman, I may puke.

  188. bob williams Says:

    Jeseph A. Palermo in The Huffington Post:

    “According to her bio on the Huffington Post, Mayhill Fowler is a middle-aged Southern belle ‘born and bred in Tennessee’ who moved to Houston, and later became a California resident.”
    ***
    ‘How much “confidence” in his own abilities can he show before people like Fowler label him “cocky?” And what are Fowler’ credentials to make this kind of judgment? Do her white Southern roots allow her to really see a black candidate? Or is Obama to her Ralph Ellison’s “invisible man?” ‘

    Poor Mayhill! Poor, poor Mayhill! She and Geraldine can commiserate, I suppose.

  189. Alexis Says:

    Mayhill is a racist pure and simple and if Matt Cooper doesn’t see it then he might as well be one too. She uses so many racial code words it is not even funny. Again, white people LOVE to call themselves progressives when they wouldn’t know what progressive was if it slapped them upside the head.

    Mayhill, we will see your ass at Mosswood Park in Oakland.

  190. Bill Bradley Says:

    I hear some noise, from somone even more precious than Mayhill Fowler. But no substance.

    ># reg Says:
    April 13th, 2008 at 10:51 am

    Frankly Bill, you started the rude shit by calling me a “left-wing hyperpartisan” in an ad hominem attempt (not very successful, by the way) to dismiss the questions I raised about McCain’s being particularly “knowledgable” on key issues. I know you think you’re “above the partisan fray” and ciriticize “both sides” equally – but that’s a phony conceit that makes guys like you and Joe Klein look consistently much “less smart” – not to mention less well-informed given the hack sources you cherish – than you imagine yourselves.

  191. Bill Bradley Says:

    So, on the actual topic, the Rasmussen robo tracking poll shows Obama taking a near Rev. Wright-type hit from this episode — yes, the actual topic — since Friday.

    His favorable rating is back down into the high 40s. He’s lost his lead over Clinton. And both Dems are trailing that notoriously moronic, stupid, evil, wrongheaded, fake, Alzheimer’s-infected warmonger John McCain.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

  192. Michael Balter Says:

    It’s funny, but this Obama-avenger Alexis sounds a lot like the Clinton avengers that attacked Marc a week or so ago–same attitude, same kind of invective. Perhaps the campaigns hire professional trolls to hit the blog posts they don’t like?

    I would propose dueling keyboards at dawn in downtown Oakland, but unfortunately there is no “there” there.

  193. jcummings Says:

    So what are people’s thoughts on the strike at American Axle?

  194. reg Says:

    “I don’t know nuthin’ about economics but you can ask my buddy Phil Gramm” is about as close to moronic, wrong-headed and fake as you can get. As for “warmonger” his little “Bomb Bomb Iran” ditty pretty much speaks for itself. You’re welcome to this retread. He’s become about as hollow a candidate in the current economic and foreign policy environment as one could imagine. But I’m sure you and like minds in the media will do all they can to convince us he’s “the real deal” and a “straight talking maverick.”

    Frankly, I think that game has played out.

  195. JLC Says:

    I only wish I could write as poignant and poetic as Marie (marie,
    April 12th, 2008 at 1:50 pm)

    She is correct in identifying that Ms. Fowler’s piece is nothing more than commentary.

    Mr. Cooper proudly teaches us the foundation of great journalism. However, what he fails to expound upon is that when a journalist crosses the objectivity border and enters Opineland, he or she is no longer a journalist. They become opinionated columnists who conflate fact with subjectivity. For the root of true journalism is grounded in Objectivity. But you already know that.
    And when a ‘journalist’ actively campaigns or openly contributes money to candidate XYZ, then clearly, a journalistic ethics felony is being committed. For how can one write objectively about an issue or person for which the reporter is closely tied to. A reporter with an agenda is not a journalist. It is a conflict of interest.
    Personally, I am bothered by the fact (from a journalistic viewpoint) that Mr. Cooper supports Ms. Fowler’s buying access to a candidate through the veil of campaign contributions.

    Strike One.

    I am further disappointed by the fact that Mr. Cooper considers commentary to be the real truth and backbone of great journalism.

    Strike Two.

    And finally, Ms. Fowler’s subsequent struggle to understand the ‘troubling’ words that Obama used during his off-the-cuff response? Clearly, the invested supporter that she is would have recognized that his words may not have been intended to be malignant (potently misspoken, possibly) – although her naiveté suggests otherwise. A true journalist would have confronted the Obama campaign to set the record straight.

    Considering her relative access, she should have been able to get a clarification. Instead, her ‘story’ about Obama’s statements left them open for interpretation. And the media’s eruption ensued.

    Sometimes, reporting fact means more than just playing a sound bite, or printing a quote. Her story is an example of gotcha journalism. If I am wrong, then this is merely an example of poor journalism – I would think Mr. Cooper or his OfftheBus editors would have pressed Ms. Fowler to report substance over style. Especially in the politically divisive world in which we live. Because of this neglect, I am left only to believe that this ‘article’ had more than just the purpose of reporting ‘fact’.

    Strike Three.

  196. jcummings Says:

    At least if you’re talking about warmongers and sliming Obama then you can look at how the campaign to paint Obama as hating America and Anti-Semitic and Pro-Palestinian (As if this is a bad thing!) happens to be doing

    Obama’s slammed for his affiliation with RashidKhalidi, who is a centrist liberal – in fact someone in the Nye/Power fraction, as it were.. who happens to be Palestinian and thus, like most Americans, favor a two state solution in Palestine and Israel, is being slammed for his involvement in Palestinian affairs. Given the amoutn of paincreasingly Likudist young b(18-40) generation of Jews- a Likud extremist who talks openly about “evacuating” the Gaza population who was not allowed in Brown’s England was welcomed as a hero by this crowd – and the campaign of talk – “did you hear” sort oft hting going on at Jewish Community Centre locker rooms (like I heard this afternoon) etc. – I think that this sort of thing will hurt Obama more. These peopel are well to the right of the Israeli government. Some of these people are so paranoid that if they even see a hint of McCain out Zionisting Obama, they will drop their on-every-issue liberal principles and do everyting they can – everything! (see Mossad’s serice to Mugabe) to ensure a victory for McCain.

    So this seems a little more important than Reg and Bradley’s fight over McCain. Myself I think McCain is a war criminal who enjoyed killing Vietnamese children from an airplane. Calling him a warmonger is an understatement.

  197. jcummings Says:

    I “disrespectfully” hit send…second extreme run on sentence in the second paragraph should start “Given the amount of paranoia amongst increasingly…”

  198. Dan O Says:

    Actually JLC, it’s not that simple, and there is a fairly persuasive position that argues that the slavish devotion to objectivity can be distorting. We only need to look at Fox to see what partisan reporting looks like, but the NYT often does a nice job of showing how strict adherence to objectivity can skew the picture. I’m just saying that it’s not so clear that, “the root of true journalism is grounded in Objectivity.”

  199. Bill Bradley Says:

    Yes.

    Not that you are missing the entire point of my presence here this weekend, or anything like that. :)

    Let me reiterate, for the arguably somewhat high-IQ yet slow among us. Not that I have said anything in the last day or so which might make this statement entirely unnecessary, or anything like that …

    John McCain can live or die in the next week. He dies. Full owners for an awe-struck nation, minus the hyperpartisan haters on sites such as this. He lives. Well, he’s the frontrunner for the President of the United States. In no small measure due to the editorial judgment of our esteemed host here.

    Yes, let’s relive the Vietnam War, Jhyperpartisanrepublicanhater.

    You are on the verge of, and let me say heaven forbid as the silent host here knows all too well, once again, losing its re-fighting.

    Instead of, let’s say, terminally not getting what you are reading, you might more profitably consider what it is, with regard to your knee-jerk reaction to things, so utterly unprofitable about what you are saying.

    >So this seems a little more important than Reg and Bradley’s fight over McCain. Myself I think McCain is a war criminal who enjoyed killing Vietnamese children from an airplane. Calling him a warmonger is an understatement.

    >So this seems a little more important than Reg and Bradley’s fight over McCain. Myself I think McCain is a war criminal who enjoyed killing Vietnamese children from an airplane. Calling him a warmonger is an understatement.

  200. Bill Bradley Says:

    … That should read “honors” rather than “owners,” as I am not the owner of this site and can’t edit things properly as I move on about my less than fabulous weekend …

    >

  201. The_DC_Sniper Says:

    When they inform our enemies of the revelations our glorious leader unveiled for us in secret they call it “journalism.” We all know what it is, fellow commenters– it’s propaganda, counterrevolutionary propaganda. Well I’m tired of it, fellow commenters, so tired of feeling the stilleto heel of the blue-eyed devil against my neck, holding me down, holding us all down, these many years while they screech the Journalist’s Truth so loudly that I can no longer hear our leader’s Revolutionary Truth, so tired of them slicing the throats of our revolutionary brothers with their press badges and printing their yellow rags with our leader’s blood! We can’t let them get away with this journalism any longer! It ends right here and right now! It’s time to take a stand! Down with the counterrevolutionaries! The Revolutionary Truth will be printed in their blood! Join the fight by calling 1-800-2-KILL-YT. Because they’re not going to kill themselves, you know.

  202. Listener Says:

    I can’t say I’m late to this party. In fact, I think I missed it.

    Those Rasmussen polls are unfortunate. I’d like to think of all the possible issues that might knock Obama off his pedestal, the Wright flap would have seemed a bigger problem than ascribing bitterness to some group would. Shows how much I understand about politics. I would speculate, however, that there are folks out there who are sitting on a fence waiting until something gives them an excuse to overcome their inertia. And, I suspect they react for awhile, and then re-center. Be interesting to see what the polls look like in a week or two. IIRC, that’s when Obama recovered from Rev. Wright. Yes, yes, there was the speech… but I suspect the speech had a smaller impact than people just getting their heads screwed back on.

    I am curious about something, Bill Bradley. You said, If I were running a campaign, I would ban activists/bloggers from my events…. By ban activist bloggers from events, I mean private events, of course. And, your central issue seems to be that bloggers are likely to be activists, and the offensive part of their activism is their tendency to behave as loose cannons? Or, that they are somehow unpredictable? Or, unreliable? I’m obviously guessing at what you’re getting at. I need you to clarify for me what it is about bloggers as a group (or, as individuals) that makes them a risky bet.

    I guess, my own position is that many in what we know as the mainstream (or, traditional) press also seem to exhibit a form of activism. Or, maybe your perception is different than mine. Don’t have sufficient information on your position there, either. So I’m reduced to speculating on what you mean.

    I do grasp the point you’re making about the campaigns differentiating between conference calls which segregate bloggers from traditional media reporters. But, I’m curious as to why that happens, too.

    Thoughts?

  203. Bill Bradley Says:

    You know, I run a busy web site. Among other things. It’s Sunday afternoon.

    Re-read what I wrote, about 20 times, and you’ll get it.

    Yet I will explain. Activist bloggers are activist supporters. They get treated differently. As supporters, not real journalists. Mayhill was a maxed-out contributor to Obama. Hence she, as a non-journalist, was admitted to the Obama private fundraiser. Which actual reporters were not.

    And it follows from there, as you can gather …

    >I am curious about something, Bill Bradley. You said, If I were running a campaign, I would ban activists/bloggers from my events…. By ban activist bloggers from events, I mean private events, of course. And, your central issue seems to be that bloggers are likely to be activists, and the offensive part of their activism is their tendency to behave as loose cannons? Or, that they are somehow unpredictable? Or, unreliable? I’m obviously guessing at what you’re getting at. I need you to clarify for me what it is about bloggers as a group (or, as individuals) that makes them a risky bet.

  204. JLC Says:

    Dan O says, “… it’s not that simple, and there is a fairly persuasive position that argues that the slavish devotion to objectivity can be distorting. …”

    I disagree in this case. Here we have a classic case in which a candidate apparently misspoke. The only distortion here is within the spoken word by Obama.

    Typically, a reporter writing about a subject in which he or she does not have all the facts will pick up the phone and seek an expert’s opinion. It’s called an interview.

    There is no evidence in her ‘article’ Ms. Fowler attempted to contact the Obama campaign for a rebuttal? Or a clarification.

    Heck, she was at the event – surrounded by Obama’s campaign staff – she could have pursued an explanation there. And she admittedly says that she was taken aback by this particular passage. If his words were so befuddling … condescending … polarizing … troubling, surely she would have aggressively sought an answer … then and there.

    Maybe there is more background to this story. Perhaps Ms. Fowler was not the one who had the problem with Obama’s words. Maybe there are powers higher than hers that saw the potential of a story like this. Who knows.

    The bottom line is that there was shoddy reporting.

  205. reg Says:

    “Her story is an example of gotcha journalism”

    Yeah, but it was wrapped in sweet nothings. Since I don’t think Rasmussen daily tracking polls in April mean shit – unlike allegedly seasoned pros like Bill Bradley – and I think that Obama’s political skills are being honed as we babble, this isn’t a big deal. I think that the issues raised are welcome and that Obama will be able to handle them with more grace, wit and substance than any of his meager opponents. But Fowler’s journalism is narcissistic. I agree with Bradley (!) that there’s a “precious” component to her writing that makes me, shall we say, uncomfortable and less than impressed. It’s about her – and frankly, who gives a fuck about her or almost any other journalist. (Bradley’s application of that quite useful adjective to me is rich. I object to it because it’s another example of his being off-the-hook when his ego is at stake. I can live with “rude”, although he was ad hominem and rude first, but frankly I’d prefer being called a rude, intemperate asshole to being called “precious.” That’s the dumbest, most insulting thing he’s said all day – which is a fairly high bar.)

  206. reg Says:

    “who gives a fuck about her or almost any other journalist”

    Unless you can play the game approaching the level of Hunter Thompson or Norman Mailer, best to assume your readers don’t want to read about your inner life or whatever assumptions you bring to the story.

  207. Listener Says:

    It’s been awhile since I’ve drawn Venn diagrams. And, since Bill Bradley is grabbing what’s left of his weekend I resort to my own devices.

    Activist bloggers = activist supporters.

    Activist supporters ^= real journalists.

    Ergo, Activist bloggers ^= real journalists.

    Mayhill was a maxed-out contributor to Obama, therefore she was a supporter, and because she writes for Off-The-Bus she is a blogger. Ergo, Mayhill is Activist Blogger.

    No reporters were invited to the Obama fund raiser. Mayhill was invited, therefore, Mayhill is, by definition, not a reporter in the eyes of the folks who wrote up Obama’s invitation list. Further, Mayhill’s invitation assumed that she was an Activist Supporter = Activist Blogger. And it is (apparently) axiomatically true that (Activist Bloggers = Activist Supporters) ^= Reporters. Only, it seems Mayhill misunderstood her function as a supporter, which apparently conflicted with her function as a blogger.

    I’m cool with all of that until I think about Ana Marie Cox, who blogs for Time Magazine at Swampland, eating BBQ with other “real reporters” at McCain’s ‘modest’ Sedona retreat. Reportedly, McCain has (jokingly?) referred to the press as his “base.” It would seem what separates Ana Marie Cox from Mayhill Fowler is Ana Marie’s understanding that nothing ‘ill’ can be written of John McCain in trade for the invitation.

    Or, at least that’s how I read it. Gray? Maybe. To me it seems more like an implicit rule. Part of that secret handshake the Very Serious Real Reporters of our August Press are indoctrinated to when they are handed their press credentials and initiated into the club. Of course, I kinda remember the Off-The-Bus project as an antidote to the Sedona BBQ. It’s just in this case, unfortunately, Mayhill “bit” one of the good-guys.

    ‘Tis a conundrum. Traditional scripted journalism vs alternative unscripted journalism. The $0.60 question is, can the voters handle unscripted journalism? We’re gonna find out come November.

  208. Michael Balter Says:

    Again, much as my sympathies are with Obama rather than Clinton or McCain, too much of this scolding about Mayhill is just plain hypocrisy. I can guarantee you that if a blogger had attended a “no reporter” fundraising event by Clinton or McCain in which something, say, racist had been said by the candidates, and the blogger reported it, they would be a hero to many in this crowd. Please don’t make your partisanship into a principle.

    btw Dan O is absolutely right that the notion of “objectivity” is past its sell-by date among journalists, among other reasons because there is no such thing. Most working journalists scoff at the notion, even those working for MSM publications that claim to be offering it. The real issue is whether a story is fair and accurate, and neither fairness nor accuracy come from being “objective”–they come from reporting the truth and understanding the context in which that truth sits.

  209. reg Says:

    My biggest problem with Fowler is that she didn’t tell the whole story – about the folks who asked Obama a question who were volunteering to campaign in PA, which adds some interest to the story and that she didn’t do any follow-up questioning, given that she expressed some misgivings about the way Obama formulated his discussion. It would have been a better story and would have been more in keeping with her role as an “insider” supporter. I don’t give a shit about “objectivity” in the bogus journalistic sense, but why not run with the “special” access she was given. And, as I said, I don’t think that over the run of this campaign Obama will suffer from this discussion. In fact, it drives straight to the hypocrisy of Clinton and McCain on this cultural stuff. The GOP in particular is far more vulnerable on the key issues Obama raised – perhaps inelegantly in that particular forum. But it’s a long road to the election and I wouldn’t put my money on the transparent panderer McCain on blue-collar folks who are feeling economic pain when November rolls around. And the campaign geek journalists prove just how clueless and lacking in substance they consistently are when they dance around this one. Also, if this is a big event in the life of Steve Schmidt he’s a desperate clown.

  210. Alexis Says:

    I agree with you Reg. The fact that she didn’t even bother to get clarification is what pisses me the hell off. Mr. Cooper should be ashamed of himself. You lose credibility when you report like an Enquirer reporter. All Mayhill had to do was ask his campaign aides for clarification before she ran with her “story.” Mayhill is your typical elitist white bitch whom think she knows everything. Is she a real supporter? Hell no. Mr. Cooper can pretend like she is if he wants to. Mayhill was sneaky. She knew damn well she wouldn’t be allowed into that fundraiser if she was a real reporter. She is a sneaky bitch and you know what happens to sneaky bitches? They get their ass kicked in Oakland.

    Mayhill, we know where your house is on Ocean Drive.

  211. richard locicero Says:

    Two points. Chuck Todd considers any polling on the race now that shows McCain leading is a faux lead. Given the dismal generic numbers given the GOP Todd believes that when ther nomination is settled the survivibg candidate will emerge with a double-degit lead (10 points at least) and that will be the real position at the start of tyhe campaign.

    Todd’s been pretty good over the last two cycles so I put great import in his writings.

  212. richard locicero Says:

    Anyone else here amusede by that new hard drinkin’ gub totin’ momma, AKA Hillary Clinton.

    Wonder if she ever went huntin’ varmints with Mitt!

  213. samuel stott Says:

    Perhaps someone who knows this Mayhill reporter will inform her that she is the subject of repeated, escalating threats from one “Alexis.”

    “Girlfriend better never venture out to East Oakland.”

    “I’m telling you, girlfriend better watch her back in Oakland.”

    “I’m praying that Mayhill is kicked off the bus and then get’s her ass kicked in Oakland.”

    “Mayhill, we will see your ass at Mosswood Park in Oakland.”

    “Mayhill, we know where your house is on Ocean Drive.”

    Not that I wish to unequivocally condemn and disassociate myself from Alexis.

    On the contrary, it seems to me that Alexis represents the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

  214. Alexis Says:

    Thank you for the kind words Samuel.

    Yes, I am a bitter Black person who has experienced racism and have dealt with the elitist fake progressive white women like Mayhill. I am an educated black person who has had to work her ass off to get where I am while the likes of Mayhill gets a pass to the top. She is a no talented white bitch. I am fed up with people like her and so are many other blacks.

    Mayhill told me everything I needed to know about her when she said, “I’ve lived in Oakland for 35 years and have never been to East Oakland.” Translation: Elitist white bitch.

    These are the people who claim to be “in touch” with the liberal causes but really only give a damn about the trees in their yards. They don’t care about blacks and the poor. Hell, they don’t even try to relate to them. They care about themselves and only themselves.

    Mayhill called Barack, “elitist” “cocky” “arrogant.” In the context of her “writings” those are code words for Uppity Negro. She is a rich white bitch and I wish her nothing but ill will. I hope someone kicks her rich white bitch fat ass.

    Oakland has almost 50 homicides this year already. Mayhill lives in the hills where she is far removed from REALITY. She has the nerve to call a black man who was on food stamps, “cocky” and “arrogant.” I dare her to say that someone in East Oakland.

  215. Jim R Says:

    Well, so much for Obama’s concern he may not be black enough.

    Now he’s got bitter white trash wondering if he is going to be white enough.

    One thing I think we can all agree on though, he is definitely left enough, and showing a little of that Reverend Wright religion.

  216. samuel stott Says:

    Alexis,

    I was trying to make the point that your words of violence or incitement to violence are beyond the pale. They only hurt, all of us.

    Most of what you call my kind words are a direct quote from Barack himself: I was trying to be ironic. But then, in your reply, you reminded me of why I had such high hopes for Obama in the first place: because he offers, for all of his faults, to deliver us from our racial nightmare.

    Keep speaking your mind and being pissed, because you are righteously entitled, but please, lay off the threats. They only detract from the message you hope to communicate.

    Myself, I have long given up on the idea that Democrats and “Liberals” and “Progressives” have a clue about how to cure the problems of
    Oakland. From where you live, when you look up,
    what do you see but rich people living on hills? They are dependably “liberal” and “progressive,”
    so why isn’t Oakland any better than Kansas City, where the rich people (who are far less rich than the people in the Bay area) are Republican and “conservative.”

  217. Michael Turner Says:

    “I hope someone kicks her rich white bitch fat ass.”

    “Fat” … ooh … this is now verging on *provocation*. What if somebody goes all the way and calls her a … “concern troll”?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll#Concern_troll

    Oh, somebody already did.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/13/16036/7427/197/488982

    Well, I just can’t keep up. Can “rich white concern-troll bitch fat ass” be far behind? Dare I google for it?

    Fowler wouldn’t be the first white female pundit to be called a “concern troll” for airing concerns about about Obama. I think honors there go to Taylor Marsh, who’s drumming up FUD over Obama’s connection to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers.

    http://www.taylormarsh.com/archives_view.php?id=27075

    Bill Ayers has a blog, by the way, since March 2006.

    http://billayers.wordpress.com/

  218. bunkerbuster Says:

    I STILL think Hillary blew her chances by sticking to the Demos thrice failed strategy of pandering to Bubba.

    If she’d only taken my advice and arrived at all public events in a sedan chair carried by bitter, white rural middle-aged men with bad teeth and truckers caps.

    Obama clearly gets it. He insists on appealing to our intellect, relative to all rivals, and knows full well he’ll be tagged as “elitist” or not patriotic and so on. But he’s ready for it.

    He understands why Bush and Reagan were able to get away with being morons. At the end of the day, swing voters liked the fact that they were UNAPOLOGETICALLY stupid.

    So Obama figures he can be unapologetically honest and thereby fire up his base and win well enough swing voters who, at the end of the day, care only about personality and will take moronic or elitist over phoney any day.

  219. Michael Turner Says:

    reg brings up Theda Skocpol and her quasi-defense of Obama’s somewhat overly frank perspective (i.e., “the Clintons did it too!”). I didn’t know about her before, but she’s pretty interesting.

    Skocpol has written on the failure of healthcare reform under Clinton, noting that a key propaganda weapon in the opponent’s arsenal was to convince voters that government “can’t do anything right.” I.e., it’s not that universal health insurance is undesirable — far from it. Rather, you argue from how unlikely it is that you’d get anything so desirable from Washington: “It’s too good to be true!” Pie from the sky, by and by: don’t hold your breath.

    Googling around on Skocpol, I turned up this, courtesy of Matthew Yglesias:

    “…. I should note that Theda Skocpol, in whose class I was introduced to this material, would kill me if I didn’t note that there’s also interest group politics at play. In the aftermath of the Truman administration’s failure to enact universal health insurance, most of America’s labor unions acquired health insurance for their members through the collective bargaining process. This eliminated the major pro-health care lobby, and left the interests of insurance companies essentially unchecked by any organization representing large numbers of uninsured people. We have universal coverage for the elderly specifically because in the early 1960s this — and not universal insurance for everyone else — was still a major union priority.”

    Which makes Pennsylvania pretty interesting, doesn’t it? All those Reagan Democrats had come to take their health care coverage for granted. After all, coverage came with a job, the job came with getting union membership, and union membership came from the fact that Dad (who covered you under the union plan until you got a union job) was a union member. Can you say “labor aristocracy”? I knew you could.

    And remember the crucial decade of the 1980s: if job loss made them lose their health coverage, it was really all ‘cuz of those damned Japs stealing their jobs! (Remember that Yellow Peril? Doesn’t it all seem rather silly now?) By the time they woke up to the fact that they were no longer wards of a major interest-group nexus (the heavy industry of what is now the Rust Belt, plus the unions formerly cossetted within it), they had no power left to speak of.

    Kinda makes you wonder if maybe the Wobblies weren’t onto something after all.

  220. WitnessLA.com » Blog Archive » Angry White People….Hypocrisy….and the Press Says:

    [...] the 3rd straight day of coverage of Obama’s Guns, God and Bitterness remarks, the center article on the cover of Sunday’s New York Times was [...]

  221. Michael Turner Says:

    It would seem we have a truly unprecedented situation here. I googled for whole *minutes* trying to find any similar incident, but gave up …

    … only to stumble upon the forehead-smackingly obvious precedent, while wasting time reading the comments at Crooked Timber. Here it is, for the entry, “I’d like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and Jesus” (Comment #106):

    ======
    I want to defend Tolkien’s portrayal of the orcs for a moment. In the era of The Hobbit, if you go into the orc caves of Mordor and, like the Goblin haunts in the Misty Mountains or Moria, the jobs have been gone now since the start of the Third Age and Sauron hasn’t come back. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to cannibalism, or civil war, or antipathy to the Free Peoples of Middle Earth, or anti-tree sentiment, or anti-Beorning sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

    So, I’m saying that Tolkien really has some sympathy for why the orcs go along with Sauron once he comes back. Consider also that Aragorn spent much of his younger decades (before 60, maybe) living or traveling in Harad (no, really, I think it’s in “Of The Rings of Power and the Third Age” in The Silmarillion, but please don’t make me find it) and learning to respect their ways and trying to turn them towards the Good.
    ======

    So we’ve just got a case of life imitating art — or rather, of life imitating a mild tempest in an obscure teacup of literary criticism, or .. well, not even that: this is “literary criticism” as attempted ham-fistedly by sociologists who should stay the hell out. (Don’t you hate it when that happens? Why don’t people know their *place* anymore?)

    Nobody is really to blame for not noticing this until now. After all, it was masked by the cognitive dissonance: Obama is black, he was talking about white people; the Fellowship of the Ring were all-white (albeit genetically immiscible), the orcs were black. It helps, in a way, if you’re like me — I don’t see color. That’s why I was able to notice this before you did — or before anyone else did either, for that matter.

    I could see because of what I couldn’t see. You see?

    I knew you could.

  222. GM Roper Says:

    Michael Turner: “So we’ve just got a case of life imitating art — or rather, of life imitating a mild tempest in an obscure teacup of literary criticism, or .. well, not even that: this is “literary criticism” as attempted ham-fistedly by sociologists who should stay the hell out. (Don’t you hate it when that happens? Why don’t people know their *place* anymore?)”

    Michael, actually, I see that this was a brilliant “teacup of literary criticism.” I will also note that conservative psychotherapists “don’t know their *place* anymore either. Heh!

  223. Alexis Says:

    “But then, in your reply, you reminded me of why I had such high hopes for Obama in the first place: because he offers, for all of his faults, to deliver us from our racial nightmare.”

    Sam,

    That is your problem. Why is it that white people think that Obama is going to “deliver us from our racial nightmare?” I am supporting Obama because he is the best candidate not because I am expecting him to deliver us from racism. Just because Barack will be President(hopefully after what Mayhill’s bitch ass did) does not mean racism will go away. It’s going to be WORSE. Why? Because the media is going to find everything that the “O-Man” does a spin it around as a fault. They are going to spend four to eight years trying to bring him down and remind the American people that they can only elect a black man ONCE. Look at people like David Dinkins. We only get one chance.

    You are damn right I am bitter and will remain bitter as long as we have the likes of Marc Cooper and Mayhill Fowler out there trying to pretend like they are “progressives” and “liberals” when all they are doing is contributing to what is wrong with this country. Fowler and Cooper have just proven that no matter if Barack wins or not, white people will be angry and since they hold the keys to the world, they are going to express that anger and continue to encourage the racism that you so want to be free of.

  224. 'ILLEGAL Says:

    None…

    None…

  225. reg Says:

    “he offers, for all of his faults, to deliver us from our racial nightmare”

    Why do I have the feeling that Sam Stott doesn’t experience anything remotely resembling a “racial nightmare” in the course of his life.

    I’m optimistic about Obama’s candidacy in many respects, but any notions that he’s going to “deliver us” from the legacies of slavery, segregation and the ensuing stigmas and chasms that are now as enscribed in class as much as race for black folks on the bottom are offensive. How the hell is one man going to do this ? Of course he’ll promote programs and policies that are progressive and he can use the bully pulpit of the presidency to speak to black folk and white about untangling some of this stuff at ground level (a big piece of which is the Cosbyesque don’t just bitch about white folks but grab any rings within reach and wake up each morning resolved to get your own shit together.) But deliver “us” from “our” racial nightmare ? Please. Quit smoking crack. First of all, white folks – and I’m one of them – don’t HAVE a fucking racial nightmare. As a general rule most of us are simply ignoring “racial nightmares” that do, in fact, exist. It’s not any more helpful looking for cheap deliverance from any nagging concerns or guilt about this stuff. There are some practical issues that need to be addressed. Most of them are complicated. Despite the rap, Barack isn’t an idiot who wants to get us all singing “Kumbaya.” He does, however, believe that a bit more social solidarity could be promoted and that economic nightmares tend to make folks more tribal and “race-obsessed.” (Of course, the regular guys and normal Americans in the Republican party understand that tax cuts – particularly in the upper brackets and on capital gains – can pretty much solve most of these problems.)

    I’m not really slamming white people here. I don’t think most white people are aggressively racist. And few folks go out of their way to assume the burden of other folks problems. It’s all “normal” shit. But while I think that there are lots of good intentions in some of the admiration and hopes around Barack by people of all kinds of backgrounds, the notion that he’s going to “deliver us” from our “racial nightmare” – or that the “us” in that formulation isn’t problematic in that old “What do you mean ‘we’, white man?” punch line sense – is the height of…god…what ? Insanity perhaps ?

    That said, I don’t think Mayhill has anything to worry about if she wanders down from the hills into Mosswood Park. White folks routinely get their asses kicked there. But that’s on the b-ball court. And a few of them actually manage to hold their own. Mayhill might want to stick to the softball games – maybe a drum circle if she wants to get down – or, better yet, feed birds from a bench. It’s a pretty friendly spot with occasional rough edges. But it’s hard to imagine that there would be a lot of enraged Huffington Post readers or irate news junkies wandering around looking for Fowler.

  226. reg Says:

    The more I think about this, the more I believe that there are some folks who assume that “deliverance from our racial nightmare” means “deliverance from black folks bitching.” If Barack’s President, conservatives can point to – with all due respect – the ultimate token and ask what all the complaining’s about ? I’m willing to put up with that crazy shit since I think the guy’s the best qualified candidate, but it’s not something I look forward to .

  227. Woody Says:

    It’s not coming down to what was meant, what is fair, who swings the biggest purse, or any of that. It’s what the voters believe after lies from every direction.

    Right now, in Pennsylvania, Rodham-Clinton has taken a 20% lead over Obama according to one poll.

    Then, according to Drudge:

    …McCain would prefer to go up against Clinton in the general election, insiders reveal. He has instructed his campaign staff to “chill out” on countering Hillary Clinton’s torrent of claims and promises as primary voting comes to end over the next 6 weeks. …Instead, the critical focus has been on Barack Obama. McCain’s official website features 14 press releases taking on Obama since the first of the year, only 3 for the former first lady.

    Hillary is like Poltergeist. Sheeee’s baaaaaack.

  228. Woody Says:

    ‘ILLEGAL Says: ….

    Are illegals allowed to comment on U.S. blogs?

  229. reg Says:

    “McCain would prefer to go up against Clinton in the general election, insiders reveal.”

    Even with the knowledge that she’s skilled with firearms and has endured sniper fire as First Lady ? Not to mention that the Clinton’s have been 100% “vetted” for scandal and that she puts distance between her incredibly authentic, whiskey-drinking down-to-earth self and elitist girly-men losers like Kerry and Gore ? McCain really is a man of incredible courage.

  230. Michael Turner Says:

    Woody cites a poll from American Research Group. Credible? In defiance of every other poll I can find on the question, ARG said that a majority of Americans favor impeaching George Bush.

    If I had to guess, I’d say that ARG has figured out how to get attention by republishing other people’s numbers with slight differences most of the time, as protective coloration, then going out there with something completely ridiculous that gets news attentaion — and eyeballs on their site — and thus customer inquiries. It’s a good scam. Don’t you wish you’d thought of it?

    Some background on their questionable methodology here:
    http://www.mysterypollster.com/main/2005/03/disclosing_part_4.html

    Actually, just search Google News on “American Research Group” and “Dick Bennett” — it’s litany of screwups.

    I like their graphic here, though:

    http://americanresearchgroup.com/grid/

    “Seeing the dots appear and disappear on the grid demonstrates that we do not passively perceive reality, but instead actively construct reality using more than basic sensory inputs. To our conscious processing systems, however, it still feels like we just perceive reality. That’s why the grid is called an illusion.”

    But if you’re one of those fucking losers in the Reality Based Community, you’ll never get it.

  231. Michael Turner Says:

    reg writes: “… she’s skilled with firearms and has endured sniper fire as First Lady.”

    THAT’S A LIE! She didn’t “endure” sniper fire as First Lady. While that plane was doing the stomach-churning corkscrew landing at Tuzla, she was *returning* fire. In fact, they might never have made it down if it hadn’t been for her. Several confirmed kills — it’ s just that she’s too modest to brag. Good thing her dad gave her those shooting lessons way back when.

  232. Stu DeNimm Says:

    Perhaps the problem with Obama’s remarks are that, after so many years of Clintons, Bushes, and Reagan, when a politician accidentally tells the truth about something, we don’t know what to think.

  233. Stu DeNimm Says:

    >Several confirmed kills — it’ s
    >just that she’s too modest to
    >brag. Good thing her dad gave
    >her those shooting lessons way back
    >when.
    I remind everyone of my prediction at the start of the campaign that HRC will discover before the campaign is out that she is black, just as she discovered a Jewish step grandfather when running for Senator from NY.
    Bets on when?

  234. Woody Says:

    The only thing that Hillary won’t claim to being is one of the main things that she is — whitetrash.

  235. On citizen journalists and the validity of accounts « Modern English Says:

    [...] as far as I have known, is unabashedly supportive of Obama. She also has very keen eyes and ears as her writing attests. She is very artful at describing the scene and the atmosphere as well as [...]

  236. reg Says:

    Here’s another “citizen journalist’s” account of Obama’s remarks. Frankly, I think this guy is more “artful” than Mayhill in describing the scene, the atmosphere and the import of what was said:

    David Coleman at HuffPo:
    At the end of Obama’s remarks standing between two rooms of guests — the fourth appearance in California after traveling earlier in the day from Montana — a questioner asked, “some of us are going to Pennsylvania to campaign for you. What should we be telling the voters we encounter?”

    Obama’s response to the questioner was that there are many, many different sections in Pennsylvania comprised of a range of racial, geographic, class, and economic groupings from Appalachia to Philadelphia. So there was not one thing to say to such diverse constituencies in Pennsylvania. But having said that, Obama went on say that his campaign staff in Pennsylvania could provide the questioner (an imminent Pennsylvania volunteer) with all the talking points he needed. But Obama cautioned that such talking points were really not what should be stressed with Pennsylvania voters.

    Instead he urged the volunteer to tell Pennsylvania voters he encountered that Obama’s campaign is about something more than programs and talking points. It was at this point that Obama began to talk about addressing the bitter feelings that many in some rural communities in Pennsylvania have about being brushed aside in the wake of the global economy. Senator Obama appeared to theorize, perhaps improvidently given the coverage this week, that some of the people in those communities take refuge in political concerns about guns, religion and immigration. But what has not so far been reported is that those statements preceded and were joined with additional observations that black youth in urban areas are told they are no longer “relevant” in the global economy and, feeling marginalized, they engage in destructive behavior. Unlike the week’s commentators who have seized upon the remarks about “bitter feelings” in some depressed communities in Pennsylvania, I gleaned a different meaning from the entire answer.

    First, I noted immediately how dismissive his answer had been about “talking points” and ten point programs and how he used the question to urge the future volunteer to put forward a larger message central to his campaign. That pivot, I thought, was remarkable and unique. Rather than his seizing the opportunity to recite stump-worn talking points at that time to the audience — as I believe Senator Clinton, Senator McCain and most other more conventional (or more disciplined) politicians at such an appearance might do — Senator Obama took a different political course in that moment, one that symbolizes important differences about his candidacy.

    The response that followed sounded unscripted, in the moment, as if he were really trying to answer a question with intelligent conversation that explained more about what was going on in the Pennsylvania communities than what was germane to his political agenda. I had never heard him or any politician ever give such insightful, analytical responses. The statements were neither didactic nor contrived to convince. They were simply hypotheses (not unlike the kind made by de Tocqueville three centuries ago ) offered by an observer familiar with American communities. And that kind of thoughtfulness was quite unexpected in the middle of a political event. In my view, the way he answered the question was more important than the sociological accuracy or the cause and effect hypotheses contained in the answer. It was a moment of authenticity demonstrating informed intelligence, and the speaker’s desire to have the audience join him in a deeper understanding of American politics.

    There has been little or no reaction to the part of the answer that was addressed to the hopelessness of inner city youth who have been rendered “irrelevant” to the global economy. No one has seized upon those words as “talking down” to the inner city youth whose plight he was addressing. If extracted from an audio tape by HuffPost Blogger Fowler, those remarks could (and may yet) be taken out of context as “Obama excuses alienation and violence by urban youth.” But in context, Senator Obama’s response sounded like empathetic conclusions and opinions of a keen observer: more like Margaret Mead than Machiavelli.

    As the week’s firestorm evolved over these remarks at which I was an accidental observer, I have reflected upon the regrettable irony that has emerged from Senator Obama’s response to a friendly question: no good effort at intelligent analysis, candor — and what I heard as an attempt to convey a profound understanding of both what people feel and why they feel it – goes unpunished.

  237. rob riley Says:

    This is why the Obama campaign has made an effort to vet their delegates. They suspect (appropriately) that the Clinton campaign is pursuing a Trojan Horse strategy- infiltrating Obama’s campaign with sleepers, like Ms. Fowler, who will flip to the Clinton side at a signal from the Clintonites.

    I’ve scoured the web for any kind of credible biographical information about Fowler. It’s not there. What is there fits her precisely into the Hillary demographic- affluent, white, privileged, female, of a certain age.

    Listen to the entirety of the clandestine recording. It’s clear that the McCarthyite Clinton operatives must have spent many hours searching for something they could distort and use against Obama.

  238. Off the Bus, or on the subway? » shelbinator.com Says:

    [...] I done my homework, I could’ve checked OTB editor Marc Cooper’s post on the subject and seen his explanation of the “on the record”ness of this fundraiser: It was indeed a [...]

  239. TL Says:

    Why Mr. Cooper is wrong when he says Ms. Fowler is a great journalist (He would be more correct by calling her a columnist. Or political commentator.)

    Citizen journalism vs. professional journalism:

    http://www.editorsweblog.org/analysis/2006/04/citizen_journalism_vs_professional_journ.php

  240. Stu DeNimm Says:

    I’ve been stewing about this one since this AM. Liberals are so fucking defensive! I could practice psychoanalysis witout a license and say that either a) liberals have let the 40 year string of unbroken defeat cow them into submission or b) the culture of victimology has made them too afraid that if they ever say anything of substance they might somehow offend some “community.” Whichever it is, Obama blurts out something that everyone in America knows to be absolutely spot on correct and his supporters spend the next week explaining it away, attacking the blooger (or whatever) who reported it, developiong conspiracy theories, and backing away from what he said. Pathetic.

  241. Alexis Says:

    Thanks Mayhill. Obama’s poll numbers are collapsing. I told you guys white people will do anything to take down a black man.

    Bitch better keep her ass in the Oakland hills because IT.IS.ON.

  242. Woody Says:

    Hillary is really slinging mud now: Clinton Likens Obama to Kerry, Gore

  243. evets Says:

    “Thanks Mayhill. Obama’s poll numbers are collapsing.”

    I think there’s one PA poll (ARG) where she’s way up suddenly. In other national tracking polls things haven’t changed much. I think there are some PA tracking polls due out tomorrow which should show how much of a hit he took.

  244. Alexis Says:

    Sfgate has an article about Mayhill and her sneaky ways. She is no Obama supporter she is a fat ass white elitist cunt.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/13/BA161046G7.DTL

  245. reg Says:

    ARG has been notoriously inaccurate. I’ll wait until after the debate to see how this shakes out. Frankly, I think Hillary is off-the-hook in mining this and about to face a backlash. More than ever she’s coming off like a GOP hack in her phony responses and Bill, at least, is on-the-record for saying the same stuff, but with less empathy and less spontaneously. And the more I read other accounts of the context of Obama’s remarks, the more Fowler’s citizen-journalism looks like an amateurish exercise in self-regard, not to mention a chop-job to fit her pre-fab narrative.

    Girlfriend better not come on my block in West Oakland with her pen and pad or…uh…the six year-old who rides his bike up and down the sidewalk endlessly will ask her “Who are you?” like he always does and…oh, yeah…the punk rockers will make lots of noise that I guarantee she’ll find very annoying. We don’t play in Oakland!

  246. SpinDR Says:

    Marc,

    Why are you so convinced that Ms. Fowler is an ardent Obama supporter when past postings strongly suggest the contrary? Is that her just providing “warts and all” coverage or is there something else going on here?

    The real shame is that the full context of Obama’s comments were lost in translation, and only you or Ms. Fowler could have changed that outcome. Americans bemoan the lack of candor and honesty in Washington, but when someone actually speaks the truth we have both citizen and mainstream journalists indicting the truthteller. Something’s very wrong with this picture.

    You said it was your privilege and responsibility to review and approve her post. Well Marc, here’s one reader that believes you and the OffTheBuss team drove this one into the ditch.

  247. SpinDR Says:

    And of course there’s this…

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/13/BA161046G7.DTL

  248. Marc Cooper Says:

    To SpinDr and the like minded: I’m 100% comfortable with the process that produced this piece and don’t have inclination toward rehashing it once again. I will refer you to Jay Rosen’s analysis as a journalism expert

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jay-rosen/the-uncharted-from-off-th_b_96575.html

    In the meantime, I continue to note with dismay the willingness of some to kill the messenger of bad news rather than dealing with the news.

    Even the Obama campaign itself has not publicly objected to Fowler having been present at this event and recording what she saw and heard.

    The real issue is: Did Obama say what he said? And what importance does it have? How you found it out about it should be rather inconsequential — if you are intellectually honest.

  249. evets Says:

    Was just reading a HuffPost piece by Jay Rosen (who apparently helped create the OffThe Bus project) and found many respondents there (a majority sounding quite sane) agreeing with my take on Mayhill Fowler, that her posts don’t show much support for Obama and are often snarkily antagonistic twards him.

    In fact, one HuffPo respondent echoed my sentiments (somewhere above) almost exactly — “I have to say as a casual but frequent reader of Huffpost, I immediately assumed after reading several of Mayhill Fowler’s “citizen reports” on Obama that she was a Clinton supporter.”

    I’m not arguing that she was a plant, just a palin old citizen journalist out for the main chance. The Obama people should have realized that she was no unalloyed supporter and been more wary.

    Marc and Jay Rosen’s claims that her reporting is somehow more credible due to this “support” of Obama are a bit hard to swallow.

  250. evets Says:

    Actually posted before marc provided the Jay Rosen link above. SpinDr’s sfgate link points out that Obama campaign people are ‘livid’ that some consultant ‘slipped up’ and let Fowler in. That would seem to indicate that her support couldn’t be taken for granted.

  251. reg Says:

    “The real issue is: Did Obama say what he said? And what importance does it have? How you found it out about it should be rather inconsequential — if you are intellectually honest.”

    C’mon Marc – the real issue is did Fowler do a good job of reporting this. It’s evident from the other accounts that she stripped it of context and, thus, did a crappy job of reporting. This guy David Coleman tells me more about this episode and Obama’s fairly extensive remarks than Fowler’s piece. Good reporting isn’t stenography. And it’s not unloading your own ruminations in inverse proportion to the amount of information about the event your reporting that you relate. And, no I don’t want to listen to the entirety of a scratchy mp3 as some sort of back-up for the reporter’s ineptitude in conveying the texture of an event responsibly and effectively.

  252. Marc Cooper Says:

    Well, evets, let’s for the sake of argument say you are right (which you’re not). But as hypothetical: Mayhill Fowler doesn’t like Obama, she loves Hillary, or McCain or is just a self-promoter. Or heavens knows who she is. But she’s in the event, she records what he says and it becomes public — as is peaking in a room of 500 people allowed to bring in videocams isnt already public. What changes here?

    Man, there’s a lot of whining going on. It matters very little to me, frankly, how much of the deeper “journalistic” debate is understood or not by a more generalized readership. But all of the discussion of the process is — sorry to say– a distraction from the core issue. What did Obama say? And what does it mean? Nothing changes in those answers based on who reported it — or even why.

    That’s it for now. This doesn’t pay enough to keep having to repeat myself. Everyone, hence, is free to cook up whatever explanation one is most comfortable with. That’s freedom.

  253. evets Says:

    “And it’s not unloading your own ruminations in inverse proportion to the amount of information…”

    I’m surprised she’s as popular a blogger as she apparently is. Cuz it’s pretty hard to see the forest for the ruminations. They’re all over the place and only intermittently interesting. You were right before about H. Thompson and N. Mailer. They’re dangerous models. She’d do better emulating Marc Cooper’s approach — clear, to the point, and vivid. That usually gets it done. And when it doesn’t — toss out an insult.

  254. reg Says:

    It’s important to recognize that Fowler’s contextualization of this was her own opinion that Obama was making some sort of “gaffe” in front of a bunch of limousine liberals in Pacific Heights. She spoonfed the interpretation that weasels and pricks like Steve Schmidt and Howard Wolfson are trying to spin and turn into some kind of gold for their retread, uninspiring candidates. When I read other accounts of this event and the remarks, it’s clear that Fowler pre-fabbed the frame for Obama’s detractors. I contend that this could have been reported – even quoted – without Fowler’s framing and with more “real” context and it wouldn’t have set off such an alleged firestorm. (In truth, I think this whole episode is going to end up with Hillary Clinton biting herself in the ass bigtime.)

  255. evets Says:

    Marc -

    I don’t disagree on the basic ethics concerning what she did. You know more about the details of journalistic ethics than I do or ever will. I don’t think her reporting was entirely fair or well done, but that’s another issue. However, better reporting would have revealed more truth — which is your main concern.

  256. reg Says:

    “And what does it mean? ”

    It sure as hell doesn’t mean what Fowler’s tangential ruminations about “what Californians need to hear” attempt to signify. That’s pretty clear.

  257. Listener Says:

    What Michael Balter said here.

    And, whatever this bitter-gate amounts to, it’s chickenfeed in comparison to what either Dem primary candidate will face in the GE.

    It’d have been nice if the reporter/blogger had taken a different angle on the thing. But, she didn’t. I don’t hold Marc responsible for that. Author ^= Editor. Obama has got to hold his own on this stuff. And, his campaign better have the seams in the boat sealed before they take on the tempest of the Republican 527s.

  258. Marc Cooper Says:

    Well, Reg, your comments suggest one of two options:

    Either we send you out next time as a citizen reporter to do a better job than Mayhill.

    Or, next time she sends in a piece that seems to fail to me your standards we will simply suppress the information that’s contained in it.

    I’m gonna think on those two — based, of course, on your availability.

    Reg, you are also free to dismiss Fowler’s ruminations about Californians. That seems fair game to me. And so what? Im sure that just like me you seek out all sorts of stuff to read during the day which you know that you, in the end, are going to dismiss. That’s what we call intellectual curiousity and an open-mind. I’m glad you’ve got one.

    Evets, this comment thread is brimming with the most vile insinuations, speculations, falsehoods and slanders about one very fine woman who nobody actually knows and you think I am insulting people? That’s a good one. Gonna write it down.

    Could there have been better reporting on this event? I imagine so, because better reporting is a possibility in any event. But all of this continues to evade the central question. ‘

    Unlike his defenders on this blog, neither Obama nor his campaign have contradicted the facts as reported by Mayhill. They are incontrovertible. I personally think Obama has done an excellent job of contextualizing them after the fact. Whether voters care to understand is something beyond my power.

  259. SpinDR Says:

    All well and good Marc, but Jay Rosen wasn’t there and neither were you.

    This guy was: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-coleman/i-was-there-what-obama-re_b_96553.html

    So while you can defend the journalistic standard of quality that led to the publication of this post, you best be sure it stands up to scrutiny.

    As for the remarks themselves, reasonable people should have no problem with them whatsoever. It’s the uninformed that end up taking the bait and swallowing it whole.

  260. TL Says:

    MRC WRITES, ” … the discussion of the process is — sorry to say– a distraction from the core issue. What did Obama say? And what does it mean? Nothing changes in those answers based on who reported it — or even why.”

    Come on Marc. What a load of shit. You, Ms. Fowler and whomever else associated with this piece were obviously aware of the red flag that arose when you heard Obama’s comments prior to publication. If you were then asking, “Why the Hell did Obama say that?” Why the heck did you not address this before releasing the story?

    Fowler’s artful commentary successfully sets up the Who, What and Where. The Why is what seems to be conveniently missing. And the fact that you yourself were asking the WHY question – DURING THE JOURNALISTIC PROCESS – suggests those at OfftheBus were either lazy, blasé, inexperienced or simply had an agenda.

    This is irresponsible ‘journalism’ and erodes any credibility that OfftheBus has.

  261. Woody Says:

    It’s not fair. reg is pulling out conservative complaints about the media instead of getting his own.

  262. reg Says:

    One of the reasons I never sent you any stuff on the Oakland campaign is that the most interesting stories I was privy to would have reflected very badly on some core campaign staff and, frankly, raised questions in my mind about some aspects of the strategy. It’s clear to me in retrospect that this was not intrinsic to the campaign strategy but some wild-card, self-aggrandiziing personalities. I saw absolutely no point in spreading that stuff over the Huffington Post in real time – although it did make it’s way into the East Bay Express. The rest of it was pretty boring run-of-the-mill grunt work. Sorry to have let you down. I earlier credited Mayhill for doing the work. That doesn’t mean I have to like it a lot, nor obviously does my liking the stuff have anything to do with your editorial decisions. But let’s not kid ourselves that Fowler did a crackerjack job of writing about that event, nor that her choice of framing was any more felicitous or any less of a “gaffe” than Obama’s choice of words supposedly were. My take is that Fowler’s piece was the worst of both journalistic worlds – heavy on inserting her own attitudes into the story but light on providing substantive context or giving her readers a sense of what actually went on in the room. It was opportunistic and shallow. That said, I appreciate the fact that you also choose to allow others to unload in reaction to your efforts. I’ve tried to be constructive and add as much information as opinion to this thread – probably unsuccessfully but I don’t have an editor to help me out. I think that in this instance better reporting isn’t just a possibility but we’ve seen some better reporting on the event in response to Fowler’s stuff. Of course, those commentaries won’t get magnified by cable news or trigger any mea culpas from Hillary and her band of weasels for blowing this way out of proportion.

  263. James Says:

    Who is Mayhill Fowler?

    AKA Junehill, an anti-Obama, pro-Clinton blogger:
    http://junehill.blogspot.com/

    More:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/13/16036/7427/197/488982

    This article suggests that Mayhill Fowler is a Clinton supporter who posed as an Obama contributer and snuck in a tape recorder to then smear him with:

    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/2008/04/mayhill-fowler-or-fouler.php

    HuffPo needs to get to the bottom odf who this unknown “journalist” is.

    She gave money to Obama, but strangely also to Fred Thomspon!

    http://www.newsmeat.com/fec/bystate_detail.php?city=Oakland+++++++++++&st=CA&last=fowler&first=mayhill

    Is she a GOP plant? Some are saying she went to school with Clinton. If so, that would be quite an interesting connection. Is Hillary planting fake “journalists” to dredge up dirt on Obama? Sort of a dirty tricks strategy????

    In past articles, she has repeatedly smeared Obama as “cocky”. I thought that sort of subjective opinionating was weird at the time. Now it makes more sense, that she is a partisan plant.

    Daily Kos has more:

    Did Mayhill Fowler Intend To Damage Barack Obama?
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/4/14/82547/3512/64/495209

    Who is Mayhill Fowler?
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/12/15638/8512/891/494398

    “Her husband has donated over $25K to the Clintons. “

  264. reg Says:

    “I, personally, would have written her piece much differently than the way she chose. It would have been less about me and more about Obama.”

    Well put, Marc.

  265. richard locicero Says:

    Marc you had me till I read David Coleman’s remarks and then I fear I come to the conclusion that Mayhill Fowler blew it. I still think the flap over Obama’s “words” is bs since what he said was the god’s honest truth and everyone knows it. But how different would the reaction have been if Fowler had paired those with Barack’s noting that inner city youth – he stressed black but brown fits as well – were marganalized and “irrelevant” to the global economy. So true. And he mentioned their pathologies as well. Now we’re getting a class-based analysis – along the lines that John Edwards tried, with no success since the reporters were blinded by his hair and house.

    Obama said it himself in his speech on Race. Are we going to keep playing “Gotcha” and look for “gaffes” (except McCain, of course who can confuse Shia, Sunni, Iran and Al Queda all day because some know he really understands it) and have our candidates go off like a pack of hunting dogs barking and snooping around the landscape.

    I like Hillary Clinton. I think she and her husband did a fine job in the 90′s and I have no doubt of her abilities to be a fine president. But she is trapped by the old politics as shown by here hiring of a guy like Mark Penn. Now she drinks and shoots and is just a regular gal. No “Elitist” her (Wellesley, Yale, the Rose Law Firm).

    What a sad and pathetic sight and what a comment on the poverty of our politics that two supurb candidates are now in a steel cage death match.

  266. reg Says:

    Joe Lieberman, of the Joe Lieberman wing of the Joe Liberman Party weighs in on Obama:

    “Hey Sen. Lieberman, you know Barack Obama, is he a Marxist as Bill Kristol says might be the case in today’s New York Times? Is he an elitist like your colleague Hillary Clinton says he is?

    LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I must say that’s a good question…”

    If people do want to dig up dirt on Obama, there is a bit there – like when he endorsed Lieberman and campaigned for him in the Democratic primary back in 2006. Worst thing my guy’s ever done IMHO. Inexcusable. Very poor judgement.

  267. Chief Blue Feather Says:

    Mayhill Fowler is clearly a Hillary supporter. This story will come out sooner than later and will blow up in Hillary’s face.

    MAYHILL FOWLER is an anagram. Rearrange the letters and you get:

    HILLARY ME FOLW

    As in Hillary Me Follow.

    Not clever enough you sad over-educated cow!

  268. Chileno Says:

    Heh, I like Wonkette’s riff on how Kristol had to go back and crack a Marx primer to recall the “opium of the masses” saying – only like Marx’s most famous line.

    Anyway, Wonkette just broke away from Gawker Media, whose OG (Gawker.com itself) just issued a scathing critique of :
    OffTheBus
    To be fair, we can’t really tell you what the hell “OffTheBus” is either, though we’re pretty sure there’s a limited list of HuffPo-affiliated projects that really merit the term “organization.” (Zing!)

    Ugh, their smug tone matches one of those mid 00′s hit pieces about blogs penned by the NYT or WSJ. Gawker is so sickeningly self-righteous sometimes it makes my skin crawl. What is Gawker, anyway, if not just an interactive hipster tabloid?

    Wonkette is head-over-heals better than Gawker if only for one reason: it doesn’t take itself seriously.

    Anyway, all that said, there might be some truth about an impression, among some, that HuffPo lacks organization or succinctly conveyable mission statements.

    But “Uncharted Territory” is actually pretty damn good!

  269. Nicholas Says:

    Well, I read the Fowler piece and I can’t say I feel any emotions stronger than boredom and disappointment: boredom because it was, well, boring, and disappointment because it’s just more of the gotcha “journalism lite” I wade through each day in my constant attempts, as an American citizen, to find substance amid all the fluff in reporting on presidential candidates.

    If I came away with anything, it was a deeper appreciation of Obama and his ability (and courage) to step outside the soundbite culture that jackals like Fowler perpetuate with their silly puff pieces, and have the courage to try to say something honest and challenging. Will more and more Americans think this way, and force the window open a little wider in allowing (and demanding) our candidates to actually put forth substance in their words? We’ll find out soon enough.

  270. Alexis Says:

    Marc,

    Your comments sound like the typical fake progressive elitist snob. The Obama campaign is pissed and they are going to make for damn sure that MayHAG does not sneak into any other events.

    You and Mayhill are both racists and again, I wish her “luck” back in Oakland because she is going to need it.

  271. Dan O Says:

    God damn. These Obama trolls are almost as bad as the Hillary morons who descended here the other day.

    I just took a look at that Kristol column reg mentioned. What a gas bag (Kristol, not reg). Half of it is incoherent, the other half is this sly attempt to sound all aw-shucks while trying to trying to slip in his polymath cred.

    Why is it that our chattering class feels that there is a range of acceptable political discourse that is one inch wide? They seem to want to enforce the boundaries against anyone who strays outside and talks like an adult rather than a cartoon.

    It’s sort of the domestic analogue to what we’ve been doing to Latin American economies for a few decades now.

  272. evets Says:

    “Evets, this comment thread is brimming with the most vile insinuations, speculations, falsehoods and slanders about one very fine woman who nobody actually knows and you think I am insulting people? That’s a good one. Gonna write it down.”

    You’ve insulted me in pretty strong terms on a few occasions, without knowing me. And there are those who think I’m a pretty decent fellow and solid American.

  273. Jim R Says:

    Alexis, I hope you realize you’re doing the Obama Campaign one hell of alot more harm that good.

    Stop the stupid racist threats for god sake. Shameful!

  274. The_DC_Sniper Says:

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/04/13/BA161046G7.DTL

    Let me get this straight, a reporter entered a place where she wasn’t wanted and reported what her subject didn’t want revealed?! That sounds like more of that journalism shit again. God, I hate that shit.

  275. bunkerbuster Says:

    It’s telling the Marc tries to spin Fowler as a “citizen” journalist rather than an “amateur,” which she clearly is, having no previous experience in covering, say, the local school board, before diving into presidential campaign commentary or reporting, or reporting/commentary, whatever that is.

    The tragedy is that Marc has hamstrung his own career so severely by insisting that partisan commentary mixes well with news reporting. With enough skill and subtlety and length — like in a 3,500 word New Yorker piece — commentary and reporting can make for an effective blend. But when it yields the kind of hit-and-run hyperbole Marc churns out on the campaign trail, it’s worse than worthless.

    When “it’s commentary” is an excuse for publishing unsubstantiated or misleading allegations, you know you’re dealing with nothing more than a propagandist not clever enough to receive direct payment from a client. (Though I guess Fox News Channel uses this excuse, and they’re getting paid as directly as it gets.)

    Marc seems to have extended that model to the blogosphere or to “citizen” journalism as he euphemizes it. Somehow, we’re supposed to accept Fowler’s distortions because Marc has put the word “citizen” in front of “journalist.”

    Likewise for many bloggers, who insist the expectations should be lower for their performance because they’re not paid by a large media organization, while complaining even more loudly that anyone who doesn’t take them seriously as peers of newspaper, magazine and television journalists, is either out of touch or professionally jealous.

    Remember when Off the Bus was supposed to “investigate” “horse-race” media coverage of campaigns? What happened to that? What was to be “investigated?” It looks like OTB instead got into plenty of horse-race coverage itself and I predict will be generating even more of it by late-summer or earlier, for two simple reasons: people like to read horse-race coverage and: ANYONE CAN WRITE IT without actually having to do the hard work of breaking real news or developing fresh insights.

    Good journalism is just that, regardless of who writes it and what they put in front of their name. Being a blogger or a commentator is no excuse.

  276. reg Says:

    A reality check, for anyone who’s tired of this sideshow bullshit.

    Obama on trade in PA (Hillary used her time to repeat GOP talking points about Obama’s “elitism”) -

    http://www.thenation.com/blogs/thebeat?pid=309961

  277. Lisa in Dallas Says:

    Marc, the Off The Bus Blog or News Submission Guidelines (located here: http://offthebuseditorial.pbwiki.com/Blog-or-News-Submission-Guidelines) state that:

    “4. IF YOU MAKE A NEGATIVE, FACT-BASED ASSERTION ABOUT A CAMPAIGN, YOU NEED TO REACH THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE COMMENT. There will be gray areas here, but, in general, if you are presenting a candidate in a negative light and the article is not clearly your own opinion, you will need to contact the candidate for a response. Getting a comment simply involves an e-mail (or call) to the campaign’s press department and giving yourself enough time to let them respond. We will be able to help get in contact with the campaigns and decide whether or not comment is needed. As a rule of thumb, however, it’s better safe than sorry. ”

    Where in Fowler’s piece is this found?

    Is this how you enforce the “journalism” by these citizen bloggers?

  278. Michael Turner Says:

    Lisa, where your angle on this story dead-ends, I think, is with “… the article is not clearly your own opinion …”

    I think it’s pretty clear what Fowler’s concerns were, and that she expressed those concerns as her own opinions. I read through the article a couple times, and if there’s anything like a “negative, fact-based assertion” (as distinct from her commenting on the content and substance of direct quotes of Obama), it’s Fowler’s little jibe about Obama’s supposed “Puritanical streak” — that was definitely a bit negative (unless you’re a Puritan, in which case you’ll find it personally insulting but nothing against Obama per se), it was undoubtedly based on some (unstated) facts, but … it’s still basically opinion. And it isn’t exactly what touched off this media firestorm, is it?

    Still, I say: good digging, Lisa. I’d wondered if there were OffTheBus guidelines, and now I know: there are, and they seem sensible enough. In the glare of publicity over this article, it is sometimes easy to forget that the more interesting and enduring NEW issues it raises (if any) are those of how to categorize this kind of media activity. If there was a protocol failure here, it might be in the (embryonic) protocols themselves, rather than any failure of any person.

    In past debates here in this forum over whether bloggers deserve source protection, I’ve weighed in on the side of those saying they don’t have such rights. (Not automatically, anyway, and at the same time admitting I’m not sure where you draw the line.) Fowler’s case is right at the intersection of some similar grey areas, though I doubt any of them will ever rise to the level of constitutional adjudication. I think we’ll be a long time sorting these things out.

  279. Woody Says:

    Oh, no! Is Bill Clinton lying or did he misspeak in attacking Obama? Don’t let truth get in the way of fighting for the highest position in our country.

    Bill Clinton Keeps ‘Bitter’ Alive

    …Over seven stops in North Carolina, Clinton said “Everywhere I go there are all these people with signs, saying I’m not bitter – I’m not bitter.”

    The strong sentiments were appreciated by the crowd, but were not entirely accurate. During Clinton’s seven stops in North Carolina on Saturday there were no “I’m not bitter” signs. There was a small assortment of people at his later events wearing stickers with the slogan, but many of those sporting the stickers weren’t even sure what they meant. Clinton also was a bit confused….

  280. reg Says:

    From the Skocpol commentary on this written Saturday:

    “The distribution of ‘we’re not bitter’ stickers to her campaign rallies is the height of over-the-top crudity, and the reports are that very few audience members seem to have much enthusiasm for this nonsense…”

  281. bunkerbuster Says:

    What’s a “fact-based assertion?”

    Is it a factual assertion, or something less, as in, hey, I only said it was “fact-based” or as in, the case for Iraqi WMDs was “fact-based,” though not factual?

    And why is that the test for whether or not you need a response from the subject?

    Presumably, at OTB, non-fact-based assertions don’t invoke the fair play requirement. So Marc would be free, for example, to assert that Hugo Chavez is a “thug” or Arianna Huffington has bad hiring judgment without getting their response because, well, the assertions aren’t “fact-based.”

    How about this: If you write anything about a campaign that ISN’T factual, don’t file it without a response from the campaign, and even then, don’t expect it to be published unless it’s exceptional. Stick to the facts.

    If a claim is factual, include the source. If it’s factual and controversial or potentially derogatory, get at least two sources, including one willing to go on the record.

    Isn’t there more than enough media pollution floating around the blogosphere already without enticing people to add to it?

  282. Woody Says:

    Off topic, but too good not to share: Waterboarding: Boss’s bizarre ‘team-building’ leads to lawsuit

    No one really disputes that Chad Hudgens was waterboarded outside a Provo office park….right before lunch, by his boss. There is also general agreement that Hudgens volunteered for the “team-building exercise,” that he lay on his back with his head downhill, and that co-workers knelt on either side of him, pinning the young sales rep down while their supervisor poured water from a gallon jug over his nose and mouth. And it’s widely acknowledged that the supervisor, Joshua Christopherson, then told the assembled sales team, whose numbers had been lagging: “You saw how hard Chad fought for air right there. I want you to go back inside and fight that hard to make sales.”

    The U.S. doesn’t torture. It’s into team building!

    Okay, back to arguing.

  283. reg Says:

    Can we be certain this wasn’t a piece of performance art scriptd by David Mamet ?

  284. reg Says:

    Obama may have had a couple of mediocre days, but how would you like to be running for President with this stuff out there ?

    http://tinyurl.com/5bnc58

    We’ll be fine.

  285. jcummings Says:

    Kristol is an idiot.

    First off the Tucker book, as a text – is over-edited and important stuff is taken out of pieces that are excerpted – particulalry the 1844 manuscripts – and also nothing from the Grundrisse. Most students use the McLellan edited reader. Also Tucker uses the lousy International Publishers Moscow translations as opposed to Ernest Mandel or others’ far preferable and more accurate work.

    That said, I don’t see anything objectionable in finding an echo of the young Marx from contribution… that Kristol uses – in Obama’s thinking, or anyone who recognizes that religion has contradictory elements, of which, to his credit – the entire quote is used by Kristol – indicates, as opposed to stale old opium line renched Fowler-like from the pre-communist Marxian context.

    I will buy a dozen hershey bars for anyone who spots Kristol’s two other “Marx-isms” – used incorrectly, in a sort of Straussian wink/nudge.

  286. Woody Says:

    Here’s comments about Obama from “bitter readers” of a small paper in Georgia, whom Marc’s commenters would appreciate. The commenter known as JeffC is one of Jimmy Carter’s sons, a nice guy but liberal like his dad, and who is writing from Palestine while on his trip with his dad. Keep it up, Barack!

  287. jcummings Says:

    Advertised on a Clintonite blog:
    http://www.lulu.com/content/2325554

  288. Michael Turner Says:

    Good one, reg.

    The press now traveling with McCain seem to really love the guy. I’m sure it’s because he’s actually very loveable. Also, David Brooks said McCain is the one truly great person running for President this year. Oddly, I agree. I think Hillary used to be truly great, in her own way; I think Obama has it in him to become truly great, with a little luck. But only McCain is truly great now. The thing is, he also has truly great faults. One of them is, he wants to be able to say whatever he wants to say. He *needs* to. It’s almost like a glandular excretion with him. He can contain it for only so long. This kind of thing killed Kemp’s chances too. (Remember him?)

    I figure it this way: the press traveling with McCain know that it’s OK to go light on the guy for now, maybe even to go light on him indefinitely. They know — better than any of us could — that, at some point, he’s gonna land with both of his god-sized feet of clay right on his own dick, on national television. And again. And then again, if he hasn’t already killed his own campaign already. In the meantime, to be press on his bus is to have one of the better jobs in journalism today — you get to travel with a candidate who’s boatloads more fun than the other two, kind of like Alan Keyes but with a lot more credibility and fanfare, and a lot more mileage left. I’d love to be with them, right now, basking in McCain’s great wit, warmth, intelligence, energy and bravery — but also quietly nursing a gleeful anticipation of the day (and it won’t be long, a few more months at most) when McCain takes a long, running pole-vaulter’s leap and lands with both feet right on top of Mr. Happy. Nobody will even remember this whole Guns-God-Bitterness kerfuffle with Obama.

  289. MediaChannel.org Says:

    [...] According to Marc Cooper, editorial director of OffTheBus, Mayhill Fowler’s post on Friday afternoon drew 250,000 page views and over 5,000 comments in 48 hours. The story she told was picked up by Reuters and AP and all the national newspapers. It was the top story on Google News for a day, and on Memeorandum for a day and a half. Drudge ran with the Politico’s version. Right and left blogosphere reacted with force. (See Cooper’s post, Inside the Obama-Guns-God-Bitterness Storm.) [...]

  290. reg Says:

    This is good.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/15/jon-stewart-mocks-obama-b_n_96760.html

  291. richard locicero Says:

    I guess Marc has no problem with Coleman’s version since he has not refuted it, nor has anyone else here. But I don’t blame Fowler since selective amnesia is par for the media course these days – part of the curriculum in J-Schools these days.

    Someone above mentioned reliving the Vietnam war. Well that is just what McCain is up to. Those five years in the Hanoi Hilton left him an angry bitter (sorry, but it fits) old man who has been looking for a war that will reverse that historical judgement and allow the US to kick some oriental ass. Well that is the real issue here. For all those who “know” McCain’s strengths – do you want endless war? Because that is what you’ll get – he makes it clear.

    And that means domestic issues take the back seat – no NHI, no Regulatory push on finance capital, no deficit reduction. But an Ahab-like fixation on pursuing the White Whale of the Gulf of Tonkin and exorcising it.

  292. Keith_Indy Says:

    “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

    I think it’s incredibly demeaning to say people cling to their religion, or any issue to explain away their frustrations.

    Although, I can see how sitting in a church for 20 years, listening to the worst of Rev. Wright, might lead him to believe that.

    Has anyone asked Obama why he still “clings” to religion?

  293. evets Says:

    “But an Ahab-like fixation on pursuing the White Whale of the Gulf of Tonkin and exorcising it.”

    Nice line!

    BTW – the latest post-bittergate polls show an uptick for Obama nationally and a downturn in PA. As if dems in general are put off by the demgoguing on the issue along with the rhapsodic Lake Wiobegon target practice memories, while the PA locals have been somewhat turned off. At the least, it’s effectively blunted Obabma’s progress in PA. No matter how well he does in the debate tomorrow, I gotta believe it’s a net negative in the PA primary (and quite possibly Indiana and West Virginia). It’ll prolong the agony.

  294. reg Says:

    “Has anyone asked Obama why he still ‘clings’ to religion?”

    Yeah, funny that the issue of Obama’s religion hasn’t come up.
    (It’s hard to imagine a sentient being currently living in the USofA who would be unaware of the “why’s” of Obama’s faith. Go figure. And of course, even alluding to this demonstrates that there was nothing “demeaning” in Obama’s attitude toward people’s religion, other than the way it’s whored opportunistically by the GOP with crap like “anti-gay marriage amendments” in a way that clearly demeans and devalues both religion and political discourse.)

  295. Dr. Citizen P. Journalist Says:

    ““We recognized it was a politically volatile story and thought it would create news,” says Marc Cooper, editorial coordinator of Huffington Post’s “Off The Bus” project for “citizen journalists” such as Fowler. “We had no idea that the controversy would reach this magnitude.”

    Uh, for real? And what are you smoking, exactly? That’s either naivete (doubtful) or just a not very insightful remark. Well, no more time to think about it–I’ve got some more citizen journalizin’ to do!

  296. Bill Bradley Says:

    Incidentally, I have a 2000-word piece on this imbroglio — entitled “Deep Inside ‘Bittergate’” — on New West Notes. Click on my name.

    It includes extensive quotes from my conversations with our genial host Mr. Cooper and the inimitable Arianna Huffington, as well as comments from the McCain, Obama, and Clinton campaigns.

  297. Marc Cooper Says:

    Yes, Lo Cicero… I will be cancelling my classes today to have time to respond to you otherwise it will be evident that Coleman was right.!

    My goodness.

    I read Coleman’s piece. And? He has an interpretive view of the same event Mayhill interpreted. Their perceptions converge and mostly depart. They are both entitled to their evaluations. But Coleman’s account in no way disputes what Obama said. Do u prefer the context provided by COleman? if so, cool. Good for you. Happy you found something to read that is reassuring. None of it changes what Obama said. Move on, as you guys used to say.

  298. reg Says:

    “Do you prefer the context provided by Coleman”

    Perhaps, but what I really prefer is that he gave a much fuller account of Obama’s remarks and what prompted them.

    God this is a bullshit story. Obama said what he said, which is something all Democratic pols and analysts say. If he said it clumsily, I guess that proves he’s a human being whose every word isn’t golden. That anyone who wasn’t trolling for “gotchas” thought it provided some essential insight into the candidate is pretty bizarre. What this episode’s provided insight into is the shallowness of the press and the raw opportunism of the Clinton camp. And of course, the whorishness of political consultants. Not sure any of that is news either. On its own, as a piece of journalism – new or not – it was mediocre at best.

    When Barack can’t remember who’s fighting who in Iraq, calls Michelle a “cunt” in front of his staffers or, to prove he’s a “normal American” tosses down a shot of shitty whiskey while holding a beer in the other hand, wake me up for the jeering – which will be well-deserved, even though he’s the only person running who can’t get away with dumb shit like that.

  299. evets Says:

    “tosses down a shot of shitty whiskey ”

    How do you know that wasn’t high-quality stuff? Just cuz she’s an old snipe hunter doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate good booze.

  300. evets Says:

    Bill Bradley -

    Excellent piece. Especially the part about the private citizen camera wielders not being in quite the same category as the citizen-journalist. Marc referred to the presence of such cameras as if it made Mayhill’s reportage moot — that the story was gonna break out anyway. But I didn ‘t find that convincing.

  301. reg Says:

    Crown Royal ? I guess that’s “high quality” shitty whiskey, more often than not dumped into a glass of soda pop.

  302. jcummings Says:

    Rye and ginger is my drink.

  303. Dr. Citizen P. Journalist Says:

    “Perhaps, but what I really prefer is … a piece of … mediocre … cunt …”

    Gotcha reg! Careful what you say, for we are the citizen journalists, and we are legion. Armed with our phonecams and snarkiness, our blackberries and our blogs, our evolving “principles” and scoops, it is we who will set information free, following in the steps of the Good Doctor Gonzo, untamed and unleashed into the wilds of news spin. Does it sizzle? You bet. Don’t get burned, baby.

    Yours,

    Dr. Citizen P. Journalist, Esq.

  304. richard locicero Says:

    Evets it is a truth universally acknowleged that the only sippin’ whisky worth imbibing is the single malt variety from the Highlands of Scotland.

    Crown Royal???

    Give me Glenfiddich any day!

  305. richard locicero Says:

    Marc, Fowler may not be out of step as “burying the lede” is what our pros do best.

    But, really, on this I’m with Reg. Coleman’s account changes the whole meaning of what went on there. I know that “Rashoman” is required viewing in Film School but I thought Journalism strove to be as complete and impartial as possible, given human frailities. If Fowler was recording all this how did she miss the parts that Coleman recalled and that – as far as I can see – no one is disputing as having been said by the candidate. Hell, when I I wrote for my HS Paper in the dark ages (We just rid of papyrus I recall) if I’d missed that my advisor (who also taught me Latin) would have had my hide. But that was then and this is now and fowler wants to rewrite “Superman at the Supermarket”, right?

  306. Stu DeNimm Says:

    >“high quality” shitty whiskey

    What this shows is that HRC’s Wellesley-and-Yale advisors don’t even know what brand of whiskey to order when setting up a faux good-ole-girl opp. If Wild Turkey would have been too over the top, it should have been JD, which is at least manufactured in the US. Wait, maybe the Canadian booze was a secret sign that she wants single payer…Nah, just keep her away from the guns when she’s been drinking or she’ll shoot some jackrabbits.

  307. Bill Bradley Says:

    It doesn’t really matter what frame you wrap around the story.

    As soon as you report the magic words out of Obama’s mouth — bitter, clinging, guns, religion — whatever you think you’ve so fondly written becomes something else.

  308. evets Says:

    At any rate there’s a new la times poll that looks strangely good for BHO. Makes me want to throw down some scotch in celebration and go out back and bag a squirrel.

  309. reg Says:

    BB – Looks like this thing has no legs to speak of. If Obama has any “magic words,” they won’t be remembered as these. I also think that this thing could have been reported in a way that would have been less of a setup for a “gotcha,” but what do I know.(Especially as I’m also operating under the assumption that John McCain’s idea of shaving 15 cents off gas prices is total nonsense and that even that is a 5-6% reduction rather than the 20% that’s been reported by a string of professional journalists. Obviously I’m some combination of an idiot and a hatemonger.) I thought your coverage of this was good, but give my regrets on the short shelf-life to your buddy Steve and any Hillary hacks you come across. Nice try.

    I’m gonna go home and break out something better than Crown Royal.

  310. Bill Bradley Says:

    Thanks, Reg, I appreciate it.

    I think it’s an issue for the general election for Obama. But like the Wright Stuff, Bittergate is a survivable situation for him. And I can see a way in which it can be turned against McCain, to at least partially blunt its impact. Think John McAmnesty.

  311. Bill Bradley Says:

    Thanks for your comment earlier, incidentally. As I told Marc and Arianna yesterday, I think the real impact, short term, is that Obama’s upward movement in Pennsylvania has halted. Which if he lost narrowly, or even actually won there, the “race” is dramatically shortened.

    ># evets Says:
    April 15th, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    At any rate there’s a new la times poll that looks strangely good for BHO. Makes me want to throw down some scotch in celebration and go out back and bag a squirrel.

  312. Woody Says:

    As I was telling Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly today, Obama may still be able to cut into Clinton’s Pennsylvania lead. Here’s something from the poll that Bill Bradley referenced above.

    Clinton losing traction over Obama in Pennsylvania, Indiana

    The [new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg] poll found Clinton leading Obama 46% to 41% in Pennsylvania — a far cry from the double-digit margins she held in earlier polls.

    Clinton also suffers from being seen as less admirable than Obama. Even in Pennsylvania, 47% of Democrats said he had more honesty and integrity, compared to 26% who thought that of Clinton.

  313. TL Says:

    I thought this was an interesting quote that Ed Rendell said to the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on Feb. 18:

    “You’ve got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate,” he said bluntly.

    So he’s calling his fellow Pennsylvanians racist? And they are not appalled? Or insulted?

  314. richard locicero Says:

    No TL, they’re just bitter!

  315. reg Says:

    I’m hoping this is a parody:

    “When I saw a video of Hillary Clinton downing a shot of Crown Royal whiskey in Bronko’s Restaurant and Lounge in Crown Point, Ind., on Saturday night, I was delighted to see that she has finally learned what campaigning for president is all about.

    “Last week, Barack Obama went to a private fundraiser in San Francisco and made some semi-coherent remarks about how people in small towns ‘get bitter’ and ‘cling’ to ‘guns or religion.’

    “Clinton blasted Obama for being “elitist and out of touch.”

    “ ‘I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Sen. Obama made about people in small-town America,’ Clinton said.

    “But Clinton’s statement was not as important as her downing that shot of whiskey.

    “Presidential campaigning is about image making, and there is no better image than being a man (or woman) of the people.

    “Who is actually less elitist or more in touch with average Americans makes little difference.”

    That was Roger Simon at Politico.

    Hey, I wanna be a highly paid, elite journalist. It pays a hell of a lot better than crack whore, although it’s less dignified because you have to perform in public.

  316. b2008 Says:

    Whoever hired Ms. Fowler certainly didn’t do a background check or they would have known she was connected to Hillary Clinton. And if you did know that and sent her with Obama as a shill and spy, then all of you are a bunch of crooked money-grubbing satanists. I hope you all rot in hell and I’m sure you will.

  317. richard locicero Says:

    My God and Roger Simon is a “professional!”

    Sort of says it all doesn’t it? I guess we’re lucky the GOP didn’t nominate a drooling idiot as the MSM would dwell on his “Authenticity.”

    These people think they will have a place on the lifeboat – that’s got to be it. Or they are so scared of losing their cushy jobs that, like Winston Smith, they toil away in the “Ministry of Truth” for no good reason.

  318. Lisa in Dallas Says:

    Michael Turner – it doesn’t really matter that she added her own editorial commentary – she WAS reporting fact-based events, and therefore, should have contacted the campaign.

    Dotting Is, crossing Ts. And Marc, as her editor, should have been aware of that as well. Did he drop the ball, or did she?

  319. Michael Turner Says:

    rlc: “My God and Roger Simon is a “professional!””

    Yes, he’s a professional. A professional writer.

    Of fiction.

    One nice thing about fiction is that, unless you’re doing one of those painstakingly well-researched historical novels (and sometimes not even then), fact-checking is entirely optional.

    As an example of the “fragility” of church-state separation in American, on his blog, Roger L. Simon approvingly links a story about a gym at Harvard that now excludes men for six hours total every week, as a concession to some women studying there. The story is by a “journalist” who compares this situation to “Jim Crow”. No, really! I doubt the segregation would have bothered either her or Roger if it hadn’t been some *muslim* women asking for the favor. But it was, so certain knees jerked predictably.

    I get curious. I go look up the gym in Harvard’s list of facilities, wondering if these women are actually crowding out very many men, or if the gym is really all that “popular”. Well, it turns out it’s not merely the Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center, but, formerly (before 1970), the *Radcliffe* Quadrangle Recreational Athletic Center. In other words, it’s not centrally located at Harvard, AND it’s a traditionally female-only gym anyway, from back when … uh … the U.S. was under Sharia Law? Did I grow up under Sharia Law? Musta missed that, somehow.

    I suppose you might make a church-state separation argument here if you could show that (a) the gym in question was supported even partly by taxpayer monies, and (b) that NON-muslim women were being excluded during those sex-segregated hours. But … y’know … that would require *fact-checking*, and if you’ve been writing fiction most of your life, those mental muscles, perhaps last exercised in college, will very likely have wasted away long ago. Especially if you’ve been doing any screenwriting during that time. Which Simon has. (Unless he’s making that up — I’ll take his word for it.)

    OK, time for a reality check, not to mention time to get back on topic.

    Fowler’s piece went out on the 11th. 5 days later, I look at Obama’s numbers at pollingreport.com.

    Gallup: daily tracking, 3 day rolling average, MoE 3%, and Obama’s at 51, up from 49 on Apr 11th. You say This Bitterness Thang is gonna kill him? No. It would have started by now, but we see almost nothing. Nothing statistically significant, anyway. Unless it’s a slight check of forward momentum.

    In momentum terms, it’ll still hurt him, of course. McCain will pound him with it. When Obama loses in Pennsylvania (which is what his strategists and the media have been predicting all along anyway), it’ll look like more like a stumble because of this episode. We’ll have a little more Clinton Comeback Kid pseudo-triumphalism. And the press will play that up because it’s newsworthy, it adds a false sense of suspense to a story that’s going to be over pretty soon anyway, kinda like that last scene in the bad horror film where the hand shoots out of the fresh grave and grabs somebody’s ankle.

    Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe Obama will actually win Pennsylvania. But at this point I think it would take John Edwards not just firmly endorsing him, but barnstorming for him all over the state. And even that might come off as too calculated by half to … well, to those Pennsylvanians who are so bitter about the broken promises of politicians all these years. Bitter, bitter, bitter. And did I mention “bitter”? Yep.

    Go to my website and buy my new button:

    I. AM. NOT. BITTER.

    What, you don’t get it? It’s, like, irony, OK? Irony is Stuff White People Like.

    http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/2008/02/03/50-irony/

    You may now proceed to hate me in whatever over-earnest style most suits you.

  320. bunkerbuster Says:

    Hillary’s whiskey shot was, indeed, telling.

    She tried exactly the same stunt about a year ago when she was trying to show how much she liked and was liked by a certain Republican senator/press fondle toy. You know, the one who wants to invade Iran and pay for it with tax cuts…

    Or was that tequila?

  321. bunkerbuster Says:

    And I do think Obama should playfully play up the “elite” thing.

    His response to Hillary’s whiskey shot should be to insist on being photographed with a glass of merlot and a plate of brie. The sound bite:

    “I’ve got nothing against a good glass of whiskey. But some of the steelworkers and house framers I know around here love good wine and cheese just as much as I do.”

    The key to Obama’s success is that he’s not buying the thrice-losing strategy of pandering to Bubba. It seems like it would be easy enough to extend that to characterizing Hillary’ fake southern accent and Annie Oakley stories as desperately patronizing.

    Obama can only benefit by sticking his finger in the eye of purveyers of redneck PC. Anyone who doesn’t respect him all the more for that would never vote for him anyway.

    Why on earth can’t some Democrats and their consultants see how moronic it is to pretend to be a redneck. Perhaps they’re just so dumb that they think that because it works for people like Bush and Reagan, it can work for them.

    Won’t it be great to watch Obama drive a stake right through that fatal flaw in the Democratic strategy?

  322. Michael Turner Says:

    Gallup breaks it down a little more finely, though without quite identifying the precise Bitter Demographic. Obama gets dinged very slightly. (Clinton, too, though.)

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/106561/Obama-Support-Among-Bitter-Voters-Unchanged.aspx

  323. reg Says:

    MT – in fairness to Roger Simon at Politico, a veteran newspaperman who I hope, as I said, was writing satire but I’m not sure, he’s a different guy from Roger L. Simon, CEO at PJammas Media.

  324. Michael Turner Says:

    Lisa writes: “… it doesn’t really matter that she added her own editorial commentary …”

    The very guidelines you quote draw the distinction, for guidance purposes. Opinion is one thing, and an assertion based on (possibly questionable facts or logic) is another.

    I put it to you: find where Fowler makes a “negative, fact-based assertion” that she should have checked out with the campaign, distinct from what’s obviously just her opinion. Quote that assertion directly — it’ll help me see something that’s not obvious to me. If you think it might not be obvious to others as well, you might also explain why it’s a “negative, fact-based assertion” that’s either incorrect in its “facts”, or biased and illogical (hence not factual) in its reasoning toward the conclusion asserted, or both. If you can’t do that, you’re merely objecting to what Fowler wrote because it so happens you don’t like it. Yeah? Well … welcome to a very large club! But that club membership doesn’t give you some license to play “gotcha” without having your OWN facts and reasoning checked for accuracy.

    Reply to reg: uh … the Michael Turner commenting on Roger Simon was the other guy named Michael Turner on this forum. I never get my facts wrong. (You believe me, right?)

  325. Jim R Says:

    Read Bunker’s last comment. This the face of the Democratic Party today . No longer the party of the worker. No longer the values of the laborer. No longer the party. of the people.

    The honestly sad part is, they now believe what was their base is now just too dumb to see what’s good for them. A base that consistently votes against their own ecomomic interest. A base of dumbass, redneck bubbas(notice how ‘this’ name calling is now perfectly acceptable in otherwise hyper-sensitive Democratic company) too damned uneducated and religiously hamstrung to understand even the basics of what Socialism has to offer.

    This could easily be corrected in the first year year of free college education for everyone. You know, Social Studies 101. But NOoooooo. Their backward ancient traditional judeo-christian based value system has bound them to think there is something wrong about expecting others to have pay for their way. There is something not right and demeaning about having to accept others charity. There is something that make them suspicious of things offered for free. Experience warns them of the dangers of dependency, the loss of self-reliance, the loss of self-respect, the oss of independence to make their own choices in their lives, and the loss of freedom from an all-powerful government wanting to take the fruits of their hard labor for those willing to become dependent.

    No Bunker. Bubbas aren’t bitter, regardless if New Democrats think they ought to be. They don’t let it get that far. First they get angry. Angry when your great big well intentioned ham-fisted Socialism wants to reach into their home, their schools, their church, their truck, and into their chain attached walllet(the chain is trying to tell you something dumbass) in every imaginable way to finance ‘your’ religion. Your religion that has a very sad history of abject failure, destroying countries and their people in its wake. History that one suspects is not longer taught in Social Studies 101.

    It is a sign of the damage that can be done to America’s best and brightest, like Barrack Obama, when negative educational and religious enviroments can lead a highly intelligent young man to think working people cling to their gun, and their religion, and their prejudices in order to alliviate their lives frustrations. I don’t blame Barrack one bit for this thinking. I think it is a perfectly natural thing for him to believe, given who has educated him, who has preached to him, and who has politically indoctrinated him.

    It is perfectly natural for Barrack to think people should feel bitter if their government has not taken good care of them, not done more that they could, a government responsible for their personal fortunes……..and failures. It’s just f__king sad to see this has been done to this great guy. Yes……..I’m bitter.

  326. smaug Says:

    If an event is “off-the-record” then:

    - no record should be made
    - the attendees should be told in advance that the remarks should remain confidential
    - access must be limited

    Simply not asking the press to attend does not make an event confidential. Only the last condition was met in this case.

    Citizen-journalists are not different from professional journalists, except in how they are treated by others and how they are paid.

  327. Stu DeNimm Says:

    I suppose you might make a church-state separation argument here if you could show that (a) the gym in question was supported even partly by taxpayer monies, and (b) that NON-muslim women were being excluded during those sex-segregated hours. But … y’know … that would require *fact-checking*,

    Well, the gym is partially supported by taxpayer dollars-a very large proportion of the revenue of even a “private” research university is supplied by the government in one way or another. However, you’re even more right than you think on the hyprocrisy issue. Unless things have changed since I got my MA in 1991, Harvard supports a nondenominational but Christian church (no one can miss this, it’s right across from the freaking library!), a Divinity school, and numerous student groups that are specific to various religions. Complain because Jewish student groups use school facilities for meetings at which Muslims are unwelcome and see how far you get :)

  328. Stu DeNimm Says:

    sorry, careless posting again. The first P above is a quote from Michael Turner. The second P is my comment.

  329. reg Says:

    http://www.brucespringsteen.net/news/index.html

    Springsteen endorses. Time for that other show business elitist, Al Gore, to get off his Hollywood ass.

  330. jim hitchcock Says:

    “The first P above is a quote from Michael Turner.”

    Okay…but which Michael Turner?

  331. Woody Says:

    Hillary Clinton has a new ad showing “Pennsylvanians” outraged by Obama’s “bitter” statement. It features a Clinton volunteer to represent the people of the Pennsylvania–but, this typical man from Pennsylvania actually lives and votes in New Jersey. It’s okay. He said that he “grew up with their values” and is moving. Hillary better watch out. These small town people may be bitter that she snubbed them.

  332. DCX2 Says:

    I come from a small town in rural Pennsylvania. Obama is right. The people here struggle and when people struggle they use traditions like hunting and religion to help stabilize their life. People here blame their economic problems on immigrants or NAFTA. If you live in rural PA and you aren’t bitter, you must be rich.

    I like Obama. He pins the blame on corporations and lobbyists. He is, time and again, exactly right. I wish people would understand that he was not belittling our traditions, and that he really is looking out for our best interest.

    It would be the ultimate in irony if he were the one who healed the bitterness, all while some people kick and scream that he hates us.

  333. Robin 'Roblimo' Miller Says:

    I have trouble understanding this whole conversation. Obama said things “in private,” in front of several hundred strangers, and now his staff is upset that his words have been made public. The woman who recorded those words is getting beaten up for being a reporter or a blogger or for being an Obama supporter or not being an Obama supporter or *not* being a reporter. Or something.

    I’m kind of old and stupid, and I never went to college, so maybe I’m missing the point here. I used to think journalists were supposed to get to the heart of things and expose hypocrisy on behalf of their readers, not adhere to a whole lot of rules about when they could or couldn’t quote someone because if the person quoted didn’t know they were in the presence of a journalist they might tell what they really believed instead of what they thought they *should* say.

    I guess my age is showing. Maybe nowadays reporters are suppoed to serve the PR people and — when writing about politics — campaign strategists, not their readers and viewers.

    And maybe this is why the readers and viewers have lost so much of their faith in formal journalism.

    Not that you should listen to me, mind you. I ain’t no perfesser like Jay Rosen or rich lady like Huffington. I’m just a doofus who works in a little home office in a smallish (pop. 55,000) Florida city where a lot of people are getting laid off from their jobs, so what would I know?

    Whatever. Back to work now. Y’all try not to bang on each other’s heads too hard, now, okay? :)

  334. reg Says:

    Robin – I think most of this, at least a far as the Obama campaign’s reaction and assumptions, is answered in the next post by Marc.

  335. the campaign-media nexus « entertainment nation Says:

    [...] 2008 Marc Cooper, who edited the piece on HuffPo that exposed Barack Obama’s Bitterness Gaffe, celebrates this as an instance of the brave new world of “citizen journalism” influencing the national [...]

  336. the campaign-media nexus « My Weblog Says:

    [...] 2008 Marc Cooper, who edited the piece on HuffPo that exposed Barack Obama’s Bitterness Gaffe, celebrates this as an instance of the brave new world of “citizen journalism” influencing the national [...]

  337. meta is better, take two « the stories of our lives Says:

    [...] a lot more to read on this subject. See Jay Rosen. See Jeff Jarvis contra Michael Tomasky. See also Marc Cooper’s blog post in which he explains how he edited Mayhill Fowler’s [...]

  338. What happened to citizen journalism election coverage? « John Bracken Says:

    [...] April 6 San Francisco fundraiser, and was buried at the end of the 6th paragraph of a later report. Marc Cooper, the professional journalist who edited the piece, recounted the process that led to the impactful [...]

  339. Reviewing the Week in Review « Division Street Says:

    [...] in there with a microphone.” Of course, Obama was caught on tape not by a Republican but by a Huffington Post citizen journalist named Mayhill Flower – who was and is an Obama [...]

  340. meta is better, take two « infotainment still rules Says:

    [...] a lot more to read on this subject. See Jay Rosen. See Jeff Jarvis contra Michael Tomasky. See also Marc Cooper’s blog post in which he explains how he edited Mayhill Fowler’s [...]

  341. Sammie Laukitis Says:

    Just thought i would comment and say neat theme, did you code it yourself? Looks great. If you liketo swap the links with us please let me know.