18 February 2008

Obama-Bloomberg third-party ticket and other nonsense

I like to stay away from just collecting and parroting news stories on this site.

There are a number of very good collating sites already, and in fact we prominently link to one of the best -
Taegan Goddard's PoliticalWire.

But because there are several things that popped up today that are worth knowing about and commenting on, I've decided to do a little collating - with some commentary - myself.

The most eye-catching is a report today by that sterling journalist Armstrong Williams, who reports that Barack Obama has a Plan B in mind if he should win the support of the voted-in delegates only to lose the Democratic nomination when it's in the hands of the super delegates.

Williams says Obama has talked with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg about teaming up on a third-party ticket (with Obama at the top) if Obama doesn't get the nod from the Democrats.

The ever-principled Mr. Williams quotes "the word on the street" and "sources" to back up his story.

You might remember that
Williams was paid by the White House several years ago to promote President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program on Williams' syndicated TV show and to urge other black journalists to do the same.

So you might just want to take today's story - and anything else that springs from Williams' keyboard - with about six shakers of salt.


Grasping at strawmen

Now on to today's next bit of ridiculousness.

Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson has accused Barack Obama of plagiarism for using lines from another politician in a speech Obama gave over the weekend.

The Clinton campaign's latest - lame - attempt to find a way to bring down Obama is to argue that because Obama gives a much better speech than does Clinton he must be somehow less able to govern effectively.

The "all-talk-no-action" accusation has been used in the past, against Massachusetts Gov. Duval Patrick in his 2006 race against Republican Kerry Healey, who accused Patrick of being strong on rhetoric and short on specifics.

Patrick, during his campaign, responded with the following lines, which were pretty much exactly the same words Obama used in the same way over the weekend.

“ ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’ — just words? ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’ — just words? ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ Just words? ‘I have a dream’ — just words?”

Patrick's point then -as Obama's is now - is that part of being a good leader is being able to move people to action with your words.

Patrick, in a
New York Times story this morning, said he and Obama had anticipated that Clinton might use the same strategy on Obama that Healey tried on Patrick, and that he - Patrick - has no problem with Obama using his words.

Here's an excerpt from the Times story:

In a telephone interview on Sunday, Mr. Patrick said that he and Mr. Obama first talked about the attacks from their respective rivals last summer, when Mrs. Clinton was raising questions about Mr. Obama’s experience, and that they discussed them again last week.

Both men had anticipated that Mr. Obama’s rhetorical strength would provide a point of criticism. Mr. Patrick said he told Mr. Obama that he should respond to the criticism, and he shared language from his campaign with Mr. Obama’s speechwriters.

Mr. Patrick said he did not believe Mr. Obama should give him credit.

“Who knows who I am? The point is more important than whose argument it is,” said Mr. Patrick, who telephoned The New York Times at the request of the Obama campaign. “It’s a transcendent argument.”

Said Obama : "I was on the stump, and he had suggested that we use these lines. I thought they were good lines. I'm sure I should have (credited Patrick)— didn't this time. I really don't think this is too big of a deal."

Seems to me like it's not plagiarism if the two men discussed using the comments ahead of time.

It seems also that an increasingly panicked Clinton camp is grasping at straws here.

Pooh poohing the super delegate strategy

One of Clinton's staunchest African-American backers, Rep. Charles Rangel of Harlem said the Clinton campaign should not be counting on the super delegates to pull her effort out of the fire.

The Associated Press reports Rangel made the comments at a gathering in Albany last night.

"It's the people [who are] going to govern who selects our next candidate and not superdelegates," Rangel said last night at a dinner for the
New York State Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators conference in Albany. "The people's will is what's going to prevail at the convention and not people who decide what the people's will is," he added.

Meanwhile, another Clinton backer and her fellow senator from New York, Charles Schumer, told Tim Russert yesterday on Meet the Press that he also sees no good coming from a nomination being sealed by the super delegates.

"For the sake of party unity, [Democratic National Committee chairman] Howard Dean and the two candidates will have to get together if neither candidate has 2,025 ... and come up with a strategy. Each candidate will have to buy into that strategy."

A little something more for the Clinton camp to be concerned about today.

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