Thursday, March 08, 2007

State Of Affairs: Hillary Clinton And Barack Obama

Note - If you haven't read my previous post State Of Affairs: The American Republic, please do so before you read this one. It is directly tied to this post and is a pre-requisite to understanding just where I am coming from here .

Barack Obama is being touted as the fresh-faced outsider, not yet corrupted by Washington and its unsavory ways. Being the "squeaky clean" new guy in town has been one major advantage he has had over and above Hillary. He's been a Senator all of two years now, too soon for him to be corrupted, right?

There's allegations of a new scandal looming on the horizon alright, but it's not a Washington insider making news this time. Read this article from the NYT and see what you think.

Less than two months after ascending to the United States Senate, Barack Obama bought more than $50,000 worth of stock in two speculative companies whose major investors included some of his biggest political donors.

One of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease.

The most recent financial disclosure form for Mr. Obama, an Illinois Democrat, also shows that he bought more than $50,000 in stock in a satellite communications business whose principal backers include four friends and donors who had raised more than $150,000 for his political committees.

Sure, we all must keep in mind that these are allegations, nothing has been proven. But it's an election year and by announcing his candidacy for President of the United States of America, he has willfully consented to the close examination of his all of his past dealings.

Today, the media has released some of its findings. And today, there may be some reason to believe that in this present day, one need not be in power very long before things begin to come to light.

Again, nothing has been proven. Even if it was, this is no different than others that have been down this same path after being elected to a major office. And, already there has been an attempt at an explanation:

A spokesman for Mr. Obama, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, said yesterday that the senator did not know that he had invested in either company until fall 2005, when he learned of it and decided to sell the stocks. He sold them at a net loss of $13,000.

The spokesman, Bill Burton, said Mr. Obama’s broker bought the stocks without consulting the senator, under the terms of a blind trust that was being set up for the senator at that time but was not finalized until several months after the investments were made.


Is it just me, or is there a lot of "not knowing what's going on with your own money" excuses creeping up in the face of serious allegations, these days? (SEE: Harry Reid)

In light of these allegations, the first thing that Democrats will feel the need to do in order to defend of this kind of thing is, claiming a right-wing hit job. But as we can plainly see, the reporting source on this one is not World Net Daily, not Fox News, or some irresponsible GOP blogger; but it is in fact, the good old New York Times (which is not exactly your typical right wing publication).

This is where Hillary comes into this equation.

It's pretty much common knowledge that the NYT is a Hillary newspaper. Sure, they love to break a story as much as anyone. But, rarely do you see much criticism of Sen, Clinton come from them, when she is the topic of conversation - the talk of the town. Democrats are going to claim that the GOP is responsible for digging up this dirt, you can count on that much. But if we think about it a little, what sense would that make?

One of the key principles of smart and sound campaign strategy is:

If you get information that could be used to the detriment of the opposing party, you do not come out with it, until the general election. You let the various other candidates that oppose each other in the other party, dig up their own dirt. This is why I highly suspect that Hillary's camp is responsible for this story, covered by the biggest paper in the state she conveniently represents.

Be that as it may, just as we can't rule this in (as gospel), we cannot rule it out either. But make no mistake here, something somewhere, sparked an interest in someone. And that someone tipped off a newspaper, by planting a seed of doubt and suspicion.

Please, allow me to say that despite the fact Obama is a hard liberal, I actually was beginning to like him and respect him for being such a relatively, ethically clean politician. I wouldn't vote for him, because there is too much of an ideological difference of opinion between us, probably in 95-99% of the pressing issues. But that doesn't mean he couldn't earn my respect, as a human being. I was starting to see the Democratic version of Richard Lugar, who despite many years in DC, is one the cleanest of the very great few that can even be counted, as such. But now, I have to reserve judgment until more can be learned.

One more time, these are allegations. They name no sources or offer any solid support for their accusations. But I do not mind saying, this doesn't look good for Mr. Obama, right now. Just as he is whittling away at Hillary's lead, here comes this. It's too ironic and certainly no coincidence that this would happen, at this point in the pre-campaign era. These kinds of tactics are necessary to win anything of any political significance, these days. This has become the norm.

If it is a hit job by the Hillary Army, Obama will need to fire back or he'll lose ground. If this keeps up, he'll lose what he has fought so hard to gain. What all this means is, our campaigns are battles of negatives, not positives. They do not produce debates on ideas, they force candidates to defend allegations.

Instead of competing to win the battle for ideology, they have "dirty tricks" committees looking for ways to sabotage the other guy and put him on his heels. And to top it off? Most of it is done by proxy, because the same-party, primary rivals may one day have to kiss and make up.

By my standards, this is a real sad "state of affairs" that we have here. This is especially true when the vast majority of those that get to this level are guilty of some impropriety of some kind (or another), or else they would not get to this level at all.

23 comments:

Greg said...

These types of stories are why I laugh heartily when either party tries to claim the moral high ground. They are equally corrupt and detestable.

Speaking of "Washington insiders", I read an interesting statistic yesterday: since 1961, 40 sitting US Senators have run for President. They are currently 0-40....d

All_I_Can_Stands said...

Dems won't care about Obama's corruption any more than they are about the decade long stench surrounding Hillary.

They didn't care about Jefferson getting caught in the bribe with $90,000 of it stashed in his freezer. Now they want to put him on the Homeland Security committee.

They voted our Illinois governor back in after seeing him surrounded by corruption.

Sorry, it just does not seem to be an issue with those who vote Democrat. I don't think Obama needs to worry. In fact it will probably endear him to them.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//40 sitting US Senators have run for President. They are currently 0-40....//

Senators have a high probability of special interest entanglements, because of their longer and unlimited amount of terms. It's easier to build a political machine in the Senate, than it is in the House. But that's not to say that it cannot be done there; and where it has been done, there is the high probability of corruption.

They may be more accountable to the people, more often. But we all have seen some powerful Congressmen (and women) over the years build a formidable power base, for themselves and the ones that put them there.

LASunsett said...

AICS,

//it just does not seem to be an issue with those who vote Democrat.//

Wait until the GOP cranks up their struggle a little more. Already, the far-right is bringing up Rudy's personal life. And the Dems are poised and ready to pounce on it too.

Many people tend to overlook things in their party, because they espouse the ideology of that party. I guess it's easier to do, when you agree with the stances. The GOP can be just as corrupt while sounding conservative, and yet at the same time, good people that deplore this behavior must hold their noses while they vote.

Mary Ellen said...

LA

It's not a matter of looking past a particular party's actions, as you say. It matters of something is a trumped up charge or smear, or if there is really corruption involved.

This is such a non story, that it's almost funny. There was no corruption, no insider trading, no profits, no gains. Yet, the right wing smear campaign, trying to find something on Obama is making it an issue. Look at some of the stuff you guys have been trying to pin on Obama. Let's see...his ancestors had slaves. Oh gee! Now that's Obama's fault, he should be hung! He isn't black enough, oh no! He went to a Muslim school when he was 7 years old that was attended by many of different faiths. Nothing there...but that doesn't stop the right wing smear machine.

On the other hand (hi AICS!) Bill Frist, who had stock in a not so blind, blind trust, with HCA made a HUGE profit in the sudden sale of one of his stocks in 2005, just one month before the stock happened to drop like a rock. First he claimed he didn't know he had it, until the investigations found he did, because he was receiving monthly reports on the stock. Of course, when you have the ethics committee in your pocket (the same ethics committee who wouldn't investigate Foley), you can get away with that stuff.

So, AICS, how outraged were YOU by Bill Frist's actions?

LA...did you do a story on Bill Frist when this came to light? Did you defend him?

This is supposed to be news? Anyone of you guys have anything to say about what's happening at Walter Reed Hospital? Anyone of you guys been up in arms over the arrest and jailing of the two border guards for shooting a drug runner from Mexico? Any of you seem to care about the investigation regarding the 8 US Attorney's that were fired by Alberto Gonzalas...so they can skirt the approval hearings?

What? No news about Libby being convicted on 4 counts of obstruction of justice and perjury in a Federal crime?

Hmmmm....AICS, what did you say about not caring about certain issues if it's "your" party?

Oh...and regarding Jefferson, he is being investigated by the FBI. Not sure how long that takes, but you would think he would be charged by now if there was something. I think if he's charged he should be kicked out of office and thrown in jail...unlike Republicans who prefer that their criminals are given pardons...or medals of honor.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

mary ellen,

my point was regarding voters who vote in pols that have a clear stench of corruption. Frist did not get voted on. Jefferson did get voted back into office and now Pelosi wants to put someone being investigated for taking bribes (with video evidence) on a highly sensitive committee.

As for the GOP being behind revelations about Obama, I have not seen any evidence of that. That would likely be Hillary at this point.

As for Walter Reed: 1) of course I am outraged that our wounded soldiers are getting poor treatment 2) since it is run by a government beauracracy, it does not shock me that the treatment is substandard. Look for this to be the norm if ever we get national health care.

All_I_Can_Stands said...

LA,

I don't claim the GOP is white as the driven snow. Far from it. It seems Dems take things to a new level. Where the GOP will keep people with the whiff of corruption, the Dems seem always willing to take back those either engulfed in it or caught red handed:

William Jefferson
Harry Reid
Richard M. Daley
Marion Barry
Jack Murtha - oh, he wasn't ready to take the bribe...yet
Rod Blejoiavich (still can't spell his name)

No there is no high road: only low and lower

LASunsett said...

ME,

This is NOT a non-story. Not when Dems are making an issue of Obama's supposed untouched and unfazed by the corrupt Washington system. It's part of the overall point, I am making. It's valid.

It's not just about whether or not he made money, the implication here is he peddled influence. That's a story, when a member of either party is accused of it.

And I do not have to bring up Bill Frist or any other another Republican to drive home my point, when I have to to do it for me. ;)

But be that as it may, be patient I can only write these things, so fast.

Mary Ellen said...

AICS

Yeah, we don't want National Health Care...giving healthcare to children, seniors, poor. Really, the so-called compassionate conservatives...ya gotta love 'em.

Frist didn't get voted back in because he was an incompetent boob, one who thought he could diagnose a brain dead woman by a video he watched. Not to mention the fact, that the Republicans had screwed up so much in the last 6 years that they couldn't even get their own people to vote for them.

If Jefferson got voted back in, you have to ask yourself how bad the Republican running against him was. I don't recall that anyone kept you guys from coming out in force to vote him out of office. Personally, I wouldn't have voted for him, nor do I think he belongs on that committee. If he is charged and arrested, I'd be the first to say he deserved it. I still can't figure out what is going on with his case, why the FBI can't charge him...I'm assuming there isn't enough evidence or that maybe he is cooperating with them to nail a bigger fish. Who knows?

Mary Ellen said...

AICS

A whiff of corruption? OMG!

How's this for a list

George W. Bush

Cheney

Rove

Armitage

Rumsfeld

Libby (oops...he was thrown under the bus to save Cheney's ass)

Gingrich

Gonzolas

Rice




Would you like me to go on?

LASunsett said...

AICS,

//No there is no high road: only low and lower//

True, but the difference I see is that both parties take their turns, mostly when they are in the opposition status.

Ask any true partisan on either side about anything like this, and they will most likely say that the other started it.

Having worked on campaigns of both parties in the past, I would say that ideology aside, there's not much difference in tactics by either side. That leads me to believe one of two things:

1. If corruption is going to be tolerated and rewarded by re-electing these people that commit such acts, we might as well drop the nasty attacks and stick to policy issues, (especially when most politicians act in their own self-interests, anyway).

2. If it's not going to be tolerated, then the people are going to have to get some guts and vote out the powerful incumbents that commit such acts, no matter what party they belong to. The best way to do this is in the primaries, so one does not have to vote against their ideology. But that doesn't happen often enough.

Mary Ellen said...

Oh...I forgot to add to my list, that fat pig, Hastert from Illinois. I'm sooo happy not to have to look at that mountain sitting in the Speaker chair anymore!

LASunsett said...

AICS and ME,

I love both of you very much and count you both, as two of my best blogfriends. But both of your lists of names, illustrate my point exactly.

Both lists have only two differences that I see;

1. One list has an R behind their names, and the other has a D.

2. They both have differing ideologies.

But the commonalities are many, the prime example of one is both people on the take.

LASunsett said...

Correction:

But the commonalities are many, the prime example of one is both people on the take.

should read:

But the commonalities are many, the prime example of one is both HAVE people on the take.

Mary Ellen said...

LA

If you look at the list, other than Condi Rice (who I wouldn't say is a criminal, but mostly just a shill for Bush) there are no women on the list.

If there were no men in office and only women, it would make for a much better government, and probably fewer wars.

Which goes to show you...Hillary for President! :-D

Ok...have to go, I've just had two phone calls, one to take care of my sick granddaughter who has to go to the doctor and one from my mom who is experiencing pains...now I have to find out if I can get someone here to cover for my granddaughter so I can get my mom to the doc. Geez! All of this cancels out my plans to cover someone else's shift at the hospital for therapy dog visits.

I think we need to get that cloning thing going, there needs to be three of me (not to mention that would be three more Democratic votes..for women!)

See ya'll later

PS: AICS, I may not agree with anything you say politically, but I still love blogging with you. Glad you are around and don't let my opposite views keep you away, I'm annoying, but not awful, ask Greg.

Greg said...

M-E: I'm annoying. Not awful.

And flocon says you're a good kisser. :O

Speaking of "Scooter," what more interesting about how little people are talking about him is how little people talk about the actual leaker: Armitage. Why was he not indicted???

LASunsett said...

ME,

//I think we need to get that cloning thing going, there needs to be three of me (not to mention that would be three more Democratic votes..for women!)//

Isn't that the Chicago way? One woman, three votes? ;)

Seriously, I hope everyone is okay. Do what you have to do, we'll be here when you get it done.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

//And flocon says you're a good kisser.//

See now? This is how rumors get started. ;)

All_I_Can_Stands said...

(if two similar comments appear - blame blogger. It asked me to sign in and then wiped out my post I think. So re-writing)

ME,
You're a Bears fan, so you can't be all bad. :)

Only time and tide keep me away. I appreciate your views. What a great thing politics would be without politicians.

Yes, I was a bit embarrassed about Hastert. Guess they all can't look like Mitt Romney.

LA,

Thanks for the nice comments. You are one of the few centrists that pulls off not angering both sides.

Markwell said...

This does seem like a non-story to me.

Lasunset said, "It's not just about whether or not he made money, the implication here is he peddled influence. That's a story, when a member of either party is accused of it."

I think your confusing the terms "accusation" and "implication." There has been an implication--that is a non-issue. If there later emerges an accusation then THAT would become an issue.

LASunsett said...

Hi Markwell,

Welcome to PYY.

//" There has been an implication--that is a non-issue. If there later emerges an accusation then THAT would become an issue.//

If we are talking about legal terminology, you are right. But this is not a court of law here and the purpose of the post was not to accuse or indict Obama on this.

I agree it's relatively small potatoes, compared to what others that have been on the take have done in the past, or may do in the future. But, on the question of whether or not this is a story, I will have to disagree with you. Implications have eventually led to indictments and convictions, in many instances over the years. And people need to understand that politics is not for the honest of heart.

But moreover, the story (as I see it) is the willingness of the NYT to publish the story. Don't you find it odd that Obama gains ground on Hillary, then the publication that has been in her corner for several years now, suddenly decides to print this?

The larger purpose of the post is to draw attention the fact that almost all politicians are not beyond some kind reproach and that competitors are not beyond reproach in leaking or planting things, that could become a lightening rod.

Thanks for visiting, come back when you can. I get ganged up on a lot, one more won't hurt. ;)

Mary Ellen said...

Greg

M-E: I'm annoying. Not awful.

And flocon says you're a good kisser. :O


That's funny,Greg, Flocon told me that you were the good kisser! He liked the tongue action you gave him. :O

Ok...I think I just threw up a little in my mouth with that image.Ewwww.

CT said...

Yes, a lot of people don't know what's going on with their money, especially if it's in a trust, a fund, in the bank, etc etc.

Obama *did* sell his stock at a net loss of 13,000 which is Not Cheap Change. Seems to me that Obama did the right thing.

You're right. It's ironic that all these allegations about Obama are coming at this time. (Hillary 1984, and this.) Doesn't look good at all.