In the final hours before the Pennsylvania vote, the Clinton and Obama campaigns are scrambling through Pennsylvania, continuing to fling accusations and mud. I am interested, this morning, to read Theda Skocpol’s report (in the Huffington Post) which takes some of the sting out of the “elitism” arrows that Hillary’s been shooting at Obama. Harvard’s Skocpol was an attendee at one of the Clinton’s summits with intellectuals and advisors back in 1995, and in her piece she recalls some of the content and tenor of a discussion of poor white voters who’d turned away from the Dems and gone with the “Gingrich Revolution.” In another piece, Sam Stein writes about the same episode, and then in TNR we’ve got Alan Wolfe blogging about what Hillary said.
One person who was there (Don Baer) gives a rather tepid rebuttal, saying that he doesn’t recall hearing any such thing. In all the other reports, ironically, Bill comes out sounding more like Obama in the fullness and complexity and compassion of his analysis. Hillary comes across as cold-blooded, vindictive, lacking in empathy and, dare we say, elitist.
Here’s the episode, as cited in Sally Bedell Smith’s book For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years, where she describes Hillary during this 1995 retreat called the “Camp David Seminar on the Future of Democracy” having the following comments about working-class white Southerners who had left the Democratic party:
“‘Screw ’em,’ she said, ‘you don’t owe them a thing, Bill, they’re doing nothing for you.’ Bill rose to their defense, ‘as if rehearsing an old but honorable debate he had been having with his wife for decades,’ as one attendee recalled.
“‘I know these boys,’ Bill said. ‘I grew up with them. Hardworking poor white boys who feel left out.’ He pointed out that liberal reforms had often ‘come at their expense’ and that the Democrats had to ‘find a way to include these boys in our programs.’ Hillary had no rejoinder, but during cocktails after the seminar she stood apart, ‘opaque and unsmiling.'”
Meanwhile, as superdelegates and former Clinton leading lights defect to the Obama camp, some longstanding rifts and disagreements within the Democratic Party are being uncovered according to Mark Leibovich of the NY Times. Painful, wrenching times. It’s ugly out there … and I, for one, am ready for it to be over. The Dems need to start getting their ducks in order and focusing on McCain who, thankfully, is having some of his ugly underbelly brought more into the light (in this article about his temper in the Washington Post, for example)! His is not a finger that I want to have on the trigger!
Turning to the war in Iraq, as one of two final Sunday snippets, here’s Douglas Feith, dubbed the stupidest guy on earth, talking about the run up to this horribly ill-conceived debacle. My only quibble with this whole piece is that he’s not actually the stupidest … a moniker that actually should be assigned to his boss, The Decider. (And how disgusting and self-serving and absolutely out-of-touch … that he’s peddling a book! DON’T BUY IT … please!)
The final snippet … this piece from the Sunday NY Times (Behind TV Analyists, Pentagon’s Hidden Hand) illuminating how the Pentagon has shaped and used the commentary of seemingly independent military commentators over time, skewing the news. Are we surprised? Not in the least … but it’s good to see it in print.