Silly Season, Seriously

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dana Milbank, columnist for the Washington Post and author of Homo Politicus: The Strange and Scary Tribes That Run Our Government, on red phones, Geraldine Ferraro, and other campaign non-news.


Dana Milbank

Comments [79]

MCH from Brooklyn

Hi kiki #2

Again, you are right. Nothing will really solve the larger problem without also finding a way to control costs. Not all of the high cost can be attributable to adverse selection. This is the crux of the problem in Massachusetts; it was unsurprisingly underfunded. There is no way to get a handle on costs unless we unravel what is driving them. Again, the normal model of supply and demand does not work here. If there is a higher supply of a particular medical service the demand actually goes up, not down. Example: the more MRI machines you have in a community, the more tests are ordered. There does not seem to be a correlation with better outcomes for patients, just higher costs. Read "Money Driven Medicine" by Maggie Mahar. She does a great job of explaining the all of the many factors contributing to the high costs of US health care.

I appreciate this discourse, kiki. It is refreshing to discuss the issues.

Mar. 14 2008 10:36 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

Hi kiki:

You are right. The issue is not just about the healthy people. It is also about sick people, or more acurately, people who need to make claims. The most expensive health care is consumed by a small percentage of very sick people. The simple supply and demand rule does not really apply here because if someone is convinced that he or she will be healthy for the foreseeable future, he/she will not be willing to spend anything on insurance. This is not speculation; statistics bear this out. Consequently, if you have a plan where people can opt in or out, they will only opt in if they think they need too. Again, this is why individual plans are so expensive - only someone who expects to make a claim will buy in. So a plan with no mandate is not sustainable - it will eventually collapse under its own weight. This is about what people actually do.

Mar. 14 2008 10:26 PM
chestina (felt pressure to change it) from East Side

#55 kiki -- clinton has already gone on record saying he never touched rwanda

Mar. 14 2008 02:30 PM
kiki from NJ


If a member cannot afford the plan, regardless of the downside (the fines associated with the mandate), they will not sign up or do what the plan "mandates" - see the collapse of the sub-prime market for example (if one cannot make monthly payments, they lose the house). Simple dollars and cents. If they cannot afford it, it does not matter what you do, they will not buy in. That's the crux of the issue. The focus needs to be on getting away from actuarial tables because they are inherently "profit" oriented. Wrong approach. As far as Mass is concerned, officials have had to readdress the rate increases for those buying subsidized policies. Bids came in far over budget, so the officials were forced to consider alternatives. "We have a whole lot more work to do to make the overall system costs affordable to people, and obviously, we want to make sure that we're not penalizing people for not buying some thing they can't afford," (Gov. Patrick). Those who haven't signed up face a series of escalating fines unless they get a hardship exemption, which would come into play if someone made too much to qualify for the subsidized coverage by not enough to pay for one of the discounted policies. State officials have estimated that could be 60,000 people. So how would those numbers compare on a national scale? ar

Mar. 14 2008 02:10 PM
kiki from NJ


The issue does not simply revolve around healthy people alone. If the price is right, they will sign up voluntarily (yes - supply/demand curve). Also, we all know about the overall actuarial needs of insurance providers, which seems to be the focus of Hillary's plan. This does not address what people actually do. In simple terms, it only tell us what the insurance provider requires in order to make a profit (taking all of the premiums and investing them vs. the payouts required by members - most of whom must be healthy in order to make a profit) . Fine - we get the actuarial tables. But it doesn't address the members.

Mar. 14 2008 02:09 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

A word about mandates in a health care plan: If you do not have healthy people putting money into the plan you only end up covering sick people. Actuaries call it "adverse selection." When choice is involved only people who expect to make claims will purchase the insurance. That is why individual policies are so expensive. The other problem is that if you have an uninsured person who either is in an accident or gets very ill, society is given the choice of not caring for the person or treating him/her for free. Further, re: the Mass. health plan: according to the WBUR reporter that Brian had on recently it is going very well. Healthy young men are signing up in droves. The problem that neither Democratic candidate has addressed is how to contain costs. That is going to require a much more serious conversation that anyone seems to be willing to have.

Mandates matter. If you don't do it with a tax like Europe or Canada, then you have to find a way to make everyone bear the cost.

Mar. 14 2008 01:20 PM
kiki from NJ

Final Word - God speed (coming from an atheist) Obama!

Mar. 14 2008 01:03 PM
kiki from NJ

Have a goody Jawbone. I do encourage you to actually read up on her contribution (or lack thereof) to the irish peace quote "Peter King, an Ulster Unionist Party negotiator at the Good Friday talks in 1998, who said: "Hillary Clinton was totally invisible at the actual negotiations." As far as Iraq goes, again, it is silly/short-sited/inane/(your adjective here) to push for an absolutist position. You have an objective in mind, however, you actually use your analytical skill to determine if that objective can be achieved GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES. That's called judgment. In regard to Paul Krugman, I would simply say he subscribes to a different school of economic thought, which personally, I have always found elitist in its objectives.

Mar. 14 2008 01:00 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Kiki--go to TPM ( and check out the archives on the Great Bush SS Bamboozle, about his move to privatize. The MCM and R's misused statistics to scare people about SocSec.

Now, REALLY gotta go! Nice chat.

Mar. 14 2008 12:51 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Last word: We are going to disappointed by either one of them! They will do some of what we want and believe is right--they will mess up on some stuff--they will do things we don't like, even hate.

But any Dem is better than any Repub--we just have to get the Dem elected in the general election.

Mar. 14 2008 12:46 PM
kiki from NJ


Despite popular belief, us Obamars(?) are not voting for him because of his oratory prowess. We actually consider his position on the issues. As far as the soc. sec. issue, it IS in crisis because we simply don't have enough people to support the retiring “great generation”. It’s a matter of numbers. Simply because the Rep. pointed out the issue, does not make the issue illusory....the fact that their motives for pointing it out were self-serving, does not negate its relevance. Bottom-line, we need to figure out, now, not later, how to address the changing demographics of our nation.

Mar. 14 2008 12:46 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Kiki--If SocSec did not have a mandate it would not succeed. Universal, and I go by Krugman's more sophisticated understanding of economics here, requires mandates.

Plus, Obama says they're cool for parents.

Both Hillary and Obama say they will have subsidies for those how need them and she says she will cap the percentage of income which can be required for coverage. As the Germans do.

And she does not have an adviser who thinks private health insurance is really the way to go! Yikes! But that's me.

Gotta run, absolutely gotta get out of this crack house (discussing issues is fun--the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) should try it!)

Mar. 14 2008 12:44 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

I do not have great faith that either of them will get us out of Iraq quickly. I heard Samantha Powers on one of the cable shows weeks ago and she said that Obama would leave troops in Iraq to 1) guard the Green Zone, 2) protect NGO and government workers, and 3) go after terrorists and insurgents. Sounded to me the numbers could not go down very much from what they are now! Unless he uses more Blackwater types in Iraq--and I read he supports using mercenaries (contractors, if yu prefer). I hear them both saying about the same thing. And I don't hear Obama saying he will not go after Iran.

To Kiki, Part 4--

I think she does have more experience dealing with national issues (if only by osmosis!), I think she can get an administration up and running more quickly, I admire what she did in Northern Ireland (which I hadn't even known about until she was attacked as doing "cheerleading" and people began writing about what she did), I like her economics plan better as well--and now I must get out of here! I'm sure there's more, but....

May the best candidate win--and I will support the Dem no matter who.

Mar. 14 2008 12:40 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Ot KiKi, Part 3--Note to someone else--couldn't reply to a comment I badn't seen yet.

Hillary struck me as much more informed and better at conveying the information. But she does not have the great rally style Obama does.

However, I kept asking: What's the change going to be? How get there? How bring those R's who have perfected obstructionism along?

On a personal side, I'm a youngest child which means, according to someone who appeared on Lopate's show, that I resist authority. And the mass rally style actually was off-putting to me. But my movement time was in the 60's and 70's--and I saw that not every great leader is a great doer. This may be my age: I want to see universal healthcare for my nation before I die. I think our businesses will do better, and people will be freed from the hell of having their employement tied to their health insurance. They would not fear that losing a job might mean bankruptcy. (Oh, yes--the French system is probably a lot better example than the British; the German plan isn't bad either.)

Mar. 14 2008 12:38 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

To Kiki, Part 2--

I was also had been extremely concerned about Obama's saying that Social Security was in "crisis" and his use of Bush and Repub arguments against SocSec. I couldn't figure out why he did that, until I read up on his Chicago University economic advisers. Also, and this is purely conjecture, perhaps he was aiming at the young voters, in their 20's, some of whom think they don't need health insurance because, well, they're invincible and they believe they will never see their SocSec. (We all went through that, but I'm old enough that I went from my parent's insurance to my university's student plans which were highly affordable to my jobs' coverage--Now I'm in individual plan hell and paying an arm and a leg; so, yes, this is personal for me.)

Then, when I heard Obama speak in debates, I was actually thrown that his extemporaneous speech was so different from his oratory style. When he had a telepromter he was fantastic--without it he spoke rather slowly, with many pauses, unm and ers, and took forever to get to the point about whatever he meant to say. He has improved in this are--but he's not big on speaking about subjects indepth or with assuredness.

Mar. 14 2008 12:35 PM
kiki from NJ

I appreciate your response Jawbone. Thanks you for the courtesy. I would encourage you, however, to actually look at the benefits and negatives of absolute "mandates". Absolutes never work. see Mass. example for the position that there are definite objectively viable advantages to a more nuanced approach.

Mar. 14 2008 12:28 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Kiki--I was for Edwards from his announcement in New Orleans and for his healthcare plan, which was, I thought, a good way to get to universal healthcare in this country. Essentially, he said the private insurers could continue to compete, but he would let people get into the government plans. Eventually, it would become clear that people got just as good care (perhaps not some of the boutique coverage) and did not have to support the high costs of private insurance executive compensation packages. Inevitably, we would get to universal coveage, with probably private insurance available for those who wanted to pay for something more--something like Britain but much better.

When he left the race, I looked at who was left and viable. Hillary had definitely become more aggressive in her healthcare plan, and when I read Paul Krugman's concerns about Obama's almost irrational refusal to have mandates for all, but to have them for parents of children, I looked at his plan nore carefully. Which was not easy to do! Anyway, guided by Krugman who was the only MCM writer who actually told it like it was about Bush's proposals, I decided I liked the more rational approach I saw in Hillary's plan.

Mar. 14 2008 12:18 PM
Chris O from New York

TNR is a liberal but hawkish magazine. They were for the Iraq war. I suspect they are much more favorable to Hillary's brand of politics than Obama. But who cares Jawbone, all you do is attack Obama. YOu were asked why do you support Hillary, forget why you are opposed to Obama. And your answer was why you are opposed to Obama. 'Nuff said.

Mar. 14 2008 12:17 PM
kiki from NJ

By and by, the objectivity of Sean Wilentz when it comes to the Clintons, can be summarized by the following:

Wilentz appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on December 8, 1998 to argue against the Clinton impeachment. His testimony — he told the House members that, if they voted for impeachment but were not convinced Clinton's offenses were impeachable, "history will track you down and condemn you for your cravenness" — cheered Democratic partisans but was criticized by the New York Times, which lamented his "gratuitously patronizing presentation" in an editorial.

Mar. 14 2008 12:08 PM
Nancy from Little Silver, NJ

I heard this segment just after coming in from a long discussion at the train station. I'm a 50 year old white woman and I was chatting with a black man about ten years older than myself. We went through the the Spitzer story and went on to the primaries, and he asked me if I could tell him what it was that Ferraro actually said. If you want to really know that race is not a "silly" issue in this country try being a white woman telling a black man that a white woman said that if Obama was a white man he wouldn't be in this position, and that Obama is lucky to be black. The man I was talking to looked at me like I had lost my mind. I tried to put it in the context that maybe Ferraro meant the press was going too easy on Obama but I can't say that helped. I am myself an Obama supporter and wasn't trying to defend Ferraro but honestly, there's no way to have this conversation that doesn't bring home how we really aren't "past race" in this country.

Mar. 14 2008 12:05 PM
kiki from NJ

Yes, Obama is race-baiting. By RESPONDING he baits. He should just take it like a good "negro", right? Maybe we should do as they did with Jackie Robinson - include a clause someowhere that even if people spit on him, he is not allowed to react. Can the Hillary fans please join the rest of us in the recognition that its the 21st century?

Mar. 14 2008 12:04 PM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Part II of Sean Wilentz piece:

I described this pattern on February 27, accounting for how the Obama campaign has cleverly played what I called the "race-baiter card"--and yet blamed Hillary Clinton. These efforts, undertaken both by Obama's own campaign and its boosters in the press, escalated after Clinton's surprising win in New Hampshire and in the build-up to the South Carolina primary. To recount the ugliness: Obama--through his national co-chair, Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr.--accused Clinton of studied callousness toward the victims of Hurricane Katrina; his press supporters falsely ascribed her victory to racism among New Hampshire's Democratic voters; the Obama campaign then went on to seize upon non-controversial and historically accurate statements by Bill and Hillary Clinton (as in the notorious Martin Luther King-Lyndon Johnson episode, fully discredited by Bill Moyers and others) and called them inflammatory race-baiting."

There's more, but not too long. A fact-based essay.

Mar. 14 2008 11:58 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Sean Wilentz analyzes how the Obama campaign, aided by the MCM, has played the "race-baiting card."

"Reading Orlando Patterson's op-ed in the New York Times, "The Red Phone in Black and White," is a depressing experience. Not only does the piece scurrilously accuse Hillary Clinton's campaign of cutting an ad that borrows from the filmmaker D.W. Griffith's glorification of the Ku Klux Klan. Not only is this attack based on a Clinton advertisement about national security, not domestic policy (let alone race), that required a singularly tortured and biased "close reading" by Patterson to reach its conclusions. What is truly depressing is that the essay fits what has become a ***troubling and familiar pattern by the Obama campaign and its fervent supporters to inject racial politics on the eve of yet another Democratic primary in a Southern state,*** SNIP

Mar. 14 2008 11:58 AM
kiki from NJ


Umm, does winning the popular vote mean she will reach that magic number for the nomination? NO. I don't think I have to remind anyone of the way the system works. BTW, Gore won the popular vote. So what?

Mar. 14 2008 11:57 AM
kiki from NJ

As an aside, for those who still love Bill - one word for you - Rwanda. He did nothing. He allowed the genocide to take place. Not only did the United States refuse to intervene, but, per the New York Times, "it also used its considerable power to discourage other Western powers from intervening." He's a sorry excuse for a human being.

Mar. 14 2008 11:55 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Re: Texas

Hillary won the popular vote.

It looks like Obama will will the delegate count; however, not all caucus locations have reported yet (well, as of two days ago, from what I read. Maybe by now?)

Mar. 14 2008 11:51 AM
Bronson Binger from Brooklyn, NY

I suggest that all future candidate debates be held on a single substantive policy subject, such as the Exomomy, or Health Care or the Environment or Security. The candidates should be able to rebut and ask each other questions.

Mar. 14 2008 11:51 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

The argument about the "one speech" is that he uses it as his judgement card to refute those who say he lacks experience in foreign affairs.

And it was one speech, as I wrote about in #39. He subsequently said he did not know how he would have voted had he been in the US Senate at the time of vote. At one point he said he agreed with Bush's approach to Iraq (I think he meant tactics, but I'm not sure).

Mar. 14 2008 11:49 AM
kiki from NJ


Please tell me why you are voting (apparently) for Hillary. Give me the substance of the pros for Hillary, not the attacks against Obama and us - the "blinded".

Mar. 14 2008 11:48 AM
Michael Houk from Manhattan

I agree with an earlier caller who stated that he was finding himself unable to vote for Hillary in the general election should she win the nomination.
The ugliness of her campaign has turned me off.
I was deeply saddened that Samantha Power resigned over a comment that expressed a frustration that many Obama supporters share.
The Clinton campaign comes at the expense of ideas, at the expense of engagement and at the expense of inclusion.
The media is also a culprit in this debacle, NPR included. Scolded like a child for reporting the positive about a candidate and his supporters, news organizations quickly sought the approval of their chiding parent and began slinging the dirt with the same smugness and predictability as the Clintons.
Does anyone remember the days of the writer's strike when voters seemed curious and excited about their candidates, when SNL wasn't a 90 minute campaign ad and the media wasn't so fickle and self-important for once? (NPR excluded in this case)

Mar. 14 2008 11:43 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

From Gal Beckerman's article in the Columbia Journalism Review, "Seeing the Light in South Carolina":

'"When he took the stage he said, “At some point in the evening, a light is going to shine down and you will have an epiphany and you’ll say, ‘I have to vote for Barack.’”'

For some of those who have "seen the light," whatever is said of a factual nature will have no impact. Until they're less blinded by the light.

Mar. 14 2008 11:40 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Politics of personal destruction?--But it's not personal destruction for an Obama campaign person to suggest that the MCM look into Bill Clinton's post-presidency sex life? (That was last summer)

To use the charge made against Al Gore, that he (now she) would say or do anything to win? Chris Matthews was so into that charge that he said Al Gore would lick the bathroom floor to win!(Re: Hillary, last spring, iirc)

It's not personal destruction to say that a Democrat, former president who worked for equal rights and had many high level black appointees (reatest number up to his administraion?) is a racist? Or using race to win? Wow. (January, 2008)

I think racism is perhaps the most deadly charge which can be made against a Democract by another Democrat. Used carelessly, it losing its impact against actual racism.

Mar. 14 2008 11:40 AM
kiki from NJ


I would like to to address the final tally in Texas. Hillary did not win Texas, yet, the MCM still gives her the State. There's an under-reported story for you!

Mar. 14 2008 11:34 AM
Erin from Manhattan

Did media funding for election coverage dry up after Super Tuesday? Why has coverage changed so much? We're no longer privy to seeing Obama address large crowds, speaking hopeful words for our country, we're no longer able to hear Clinton address voters for hours on end at townhall meetings. All we get are these dog bones, and analysis on analysis of them. If I was just getting into the race at this time, I'd be very disenfranchised. You can do better than this!

Mar. 14 2008 11:33 AM
Justine from Brooklyn

I support Barack Obama on account of his experience. Let's not forget that he has held elected office for more years than has Hillary Clinton. I first became aware of Obama when I saw a sign for him on my mother's lawn in Chicago. Everyone in my family loves the work Obama has done as their representative in state and now national government for at least 10 years. They praise his honesty, the coalitions he brings together to get legislation passed, his intelligence, his comfort with himself (which allows him to surround himself with expert advisors of different opinions, rather than folks who simply agree with what he already believes). He brought universal health care to the children of Illinois. In the U.S. Senate, he's gotten bills passed which bring summer educational experiences to children in public schools and which fund school districts around the country who better educate their teachers. His work in Illinois and in the Senate also demonstrates that he means business when it comes to making our government more transparent, which has never been more important than it is as we clean up after the Bush administration. Obama's experience suggests that he would be the best president.

Mar. 14 2008 11:32 AM
Lillian from Westchester

Milbank's statement that Clinton's negative -- oh, excuse me, "aggressive" -- strategy worked in Ohio and Texas is not supported by fact. Clinton won Ohio with a 10% margin, still narrower than polls had indicated in the weeks leading up to the primary. And, in terms of the TX primary, Obama nearly obliterated Clinton's earlier lead, and he actually won the state in terms of pledged delegates. I don't see where Clinton's strategy was so successful in either of those states. And are we just to ignore Wyoming and Mississippi?

Mar. 14 2008 11:30 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

What did Bill do for Kerry? Coming off his heart by-pass surgery he did as many appearances as he could manage.

I recall an appearance in Philadelphia for Kerry--which had a huge turnout and was covered ecstatically on the left/porg/lib blogs.

Try googling what he did. And don't forget the fundraising.

Mar. 14 2008 11:27 AM
CH from Staten Island

Precisely WHAT experience is Sen. Clinton claiming to have over Sen. Obama? His elected office career is longer than hers. He has on the ground experience in organizing community help in Chicago. He has SUCCESSFULLY legislated, gotten passed, and helped enforce several bills and laws. And Mrs. Clinton has...??? A failed health care reform program, several votes supporting excessive executive privilege in "pre-emptive" military action, a lifetime of explaining away her husband's moral flaws, and apparently is deluded enough to believe her travels as First Lady are sufficient experience in foreign policy??! Please, they are equally qualified to lead this country, but as is becoming clear, only ONE has the dignity we SO need to repair the damage of the current administration.

We do not need to SETTLE for stopping the destruction of the Bush years, we also have a chance to REPAIR the damage. We do not need to SETTLE for Clinton: we have the better option to CHOOSE Obama.

Mar. 14 2008 11:27 AM
Tania from New York, New York

The guests are brushing off the huge issues of racism, losing democratic votes, etc., as if it will all go away, its all silly. Clearly they are not in touch with the real disgust out there for Hillary and her campaign tactics. She's the wife of a president with little experience yet criticizes Obama who has more legislative experience than her. She's plays her gender card every chance she gets. She allows her campaign to engage in clearly racist tactics. I, a life long female democratic voter, will NOT vote democratic if she is the nominee for the first time in my life. And I definitley won't support her for te senate any longer.

Mar. 14 2008 11:26 AM


Exactly! the experience argument is just so stupid

#1- Cheney and Rumsfeld are more experienced than she is...yeah, they did a great job

#2- If she really believes experience matters more than anything else, then if she steals the nomination will she then announce that she is dropping out of the race and giving it to McCain because McCain clearly has 10 times the experience she allegedly has.

So freaking dumb

Mar. 14 2008 11:25 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

The woman from MS was, alas, misinformed about the "fairy tale" comment, and I recall reacting to one other thing she said which was based on bad MCM information, but can't now recall it.

One of the Jersey Girls, the women who lost their husbands in the WTC attack, wrote that when she was fighting in 2002 to try to stop Bush from going to war, she'd never heard of Obama or his speech. He never made appearances at antiwar rallies, did not lead or take part in antiwar rallies, etc. He did not speak on TV or radio against the war. What he had was one speech.

He made that speech in a diehard liberal IL state senate district which was strongly against the war. Had he not done so would have been the story!

But he did not take his good judgement to any other place to try to stop the war.

And, as the record shows, later he modified his stand, saying that had he been in the US Senate he doesn't know how he would have voted.

So, Bill Clinton said his strong anti-war stance was, indeed, a "fairy tale."

Those words were taken out of context by both the Obama campaign and the MCM to say that Bill Clinton was saying Obama's campaign was a fairy tale. Which was not accurate. Sheesh.

Mar. 14 2008 11:24 AM
chestina (felt pressure to change it) from East Side

Hilary was a lawyer????????????????????????

Mar. 14 2008 11:23 AM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

The "experience" issue is such a red herring. Besides the fact that Sen. Clinton's so-called experience claims is at best, arguable, so what? Sen. Obama is not some recent graduate from Penn State with a BA in politcal science. He has defintitely been around the block, even if isn't the block that surrounds the White House.
You could say Bush had more experience than Obama when he was elected. Look where that got us.
Sen. Obama is intelligent, he's got incredible people-skills, and he has shown that he's more capable at running an organization than Clinton has shown.
It's the job qualifications that should matter.

Mar. 14 2008 11:23 AM
Kim from NJ

I am a lifelong Democrat and I will NOT vote for Hillary Clinton. She will do anything to win. Her positive comments about John McCain and her husband's use of the race card crossed the line.

Mar. 14 2008 11:23 AM
Grinstadt Plooliehoffer from hohokus, nj

What about NJ? Where does Obama stand on NJ? Many NJ ppl are anti black. Does he know?

Mar. 14 2008 11:23 AM
Andrea Hawkins from Cranford, NJ

When will the press stop saying Clinton won Texas? I know it fits their narrative, but Obama won more delegate in Texas than Clinton. In my book that means Obama won Texas.

Mar. 14 2008 11:22 AM
Willie Mays from Uptown

bwaahhaha Lehrer just sonned him.

"oh, if you did a show on urban policy you wouldn't have many listeners."

Get back inside the Beltway, Milbank

Mar. 14 2008 11:22 AM
kiki from NJ

To Post 11:

Great point Jawbone. Her involvement was described as that of cheerleader. If we're looking for an experienced cheerleader, then she's our gal!

Mar. 14 2008 11:22 AM
gabby from new york

It's a flat lie that Obama has only one speech. He served 2 years in the US senate, served 8 years in the IL state senate, served in the local community before that, and was a law professor at University of Chicago. If she has 35 years of experience (private law firms and all), then he has 22 years by the same argument.

Mar. 14 2008 11:22 AM
Dorothea from Brooklyn

I'm very disappointed in Hillary's campaigning style lately. I'm not disgusted, just disappointed. I wouldn't equate it with Karl Rove, but I've just recently found out that her consistent comments about Obama's inexperience really do encourage some people (those who just listen and don't read) to decide to vote for McCain instead of Obama should Hillary not get the nomination. It's horrifying.

The last week of politics have depressed me more than anything else!

Mar. 14 2008 11:22 AM
Gamaron Monstetter from

Hey Brian:

McCain is going to Israel on Monday.

Feel like covering it?

Mar. 14 2008 11:22 AM
keith from hells kitchen

It's not the candidates that are getting silly. It's the media. News organizations still believe that people are more interested in these "sensational" issues such as "racist statements" and resignations. Meanwhile almost no one really understands either of their health care plans.

So it's up to you guys to not cover this crap.

Mar. 14 2008 11:22 AM
Zak Rouse from Brooklyn, NY

SIGH. Can I just say, once and for all, if EXPERIENCE REALLY MATTERED we'd have Dodd or Biden or Richardson as the nominee. The stuff about experience from the Clinton camp is a load of junk. She has held her Senate seat for only a few scant years longer than Obama, and Obama has a significantly longer tenure of actually representing constituents in publicly elected office. HRC's experience is TOP-DOWN; Obama's is bottom-up. Who do you think will better represent the least among us? In an era where the gap between rich and poor is growing rapidly, where low-skill labor is leaving the nation and/or not paying a living wage...I would far rather have a community organizer in the White House than a high-profile attorney who married her way into national credibility.

Mar. 14 2008 11:21 AM
Zoonie Monie from nyc

Hillary's experience is a LAWYER. Can we please do a segment on THAT? You've turned into Jerry Springer!

Mar. 14 2008 11:21 AM
Matt from Sunny New Jersey

First off; I am a dyed in the wool Deomcrat.

Clinton plays the dirtiest pool..right up there with Rove, Bush and all of his flunkies. Obama is taking the high road, and hopefully he won't lose because of it. The Clintons, plural, are enganging in the highest order of politics of personal destruction. I hope that she doesn't get the nod, because I am not sure I can flip the lever, push the button, or whatever technology we'll have here, for Hillary. We'll have another four years of divisive politics with the Clintons in the White House again.

Mar. 14 2008 11:21 AM
mgdu from hell's kitchen

Hillary could have said, McCain will claim that his experience makes him a better choice than Obama, but by putting that accusation in her own voice, she gave McCain a video clip that he can play endlessly against Obama.

This guy Millbank is hopeles, clumsily partisan and unintelligent.

I agree totally with the caller who just said that Hillary's recent negativity is making it very difficult to consider voting for her, which I had previously intended to do.


Mar. 14 2008 11:20 AM

campaigning aggressively is way different than push-pulls, lies, and deceit !!!

Mar. 14 2008 11:20 AM
Morganna the Kissin Bandit from bronx

Why does 8 yrs qualify as Hillary's experience in the white House? What was she elected to exactly? What were her hours while she "worked" at the White House? Someone please tell me

Mar. 14 2008 11:20 AM

First caller is a critic of Obama...gee, it's not like that doesn't happen EVERY single segment about the campaign on this show

and yes, I also don't think I can vote for Hillary either at this point if she steals the nomination. She IS acting like a republican and I don't care what this MCM guest's opinion is about that. Her tactics are disgusting and if I wanted someone who acted like a republican...I would vote republican!

Mar. 14 2008 11:20 AM
Chris O from New York

Re: the caller's critique of Hillary. I agree she has been Rovian. I deplore this. But on the flip side, it is probably important that Obama face this now and not just in the general election. So in an odd way, this may be productive for Obama but if she somehow pulls it out, it will be crushing for her.

Mar. 14 2008 11:20 AM
Erik Simon from Nyack


It seems to me that Hillary, knowing she can't mathematically catch Obama, is setting Obama up to lose in '08 so she can coast into the White House in '12. It may sound cynical, but looking back, I'm hard pressed to see how much she and Bill did for Kerry in '04.

As far as the continuation of the election, it seems to favor the Democrats. If they go public financing for the general, they're getting to spend a lot of money in PA in the primaries.


Mar. 14 2008 11:20 AM
James Brownski

I wouldn't let the wife of a surgeon operate on me. Not even if he retired and she'd been practicing for 4 years.

Mar. 14 2008 11:19 AM
Billy Bob from ny ny

Just remember, it's never too late for Bill to have another affair. Cmon Bill! You can do it!

Mar. 14 2008 11:19 AM
kiki from NJ

To Caller Angela,

What experience does Hillary exactly have? Sleeping with the President? Alienating both republicans and democrats pushing her health care agenda (as First Lady). Approving the Patriot Act without even reading it? Please.

Mar. 14 2008 11:17 AM

hillary get lots of newstime diminishing barak's experiences, leadership, community activism
hillary wants mccain to win, to best situate herself to run again in 4 years.
hillary is a demi-republican anyway. and who wants
bill back in the white house. it will be just 4 years of monica lewinsky scandal, all over again

Mar. 14 2008 11:17 AM

Oh...and I love the way Billary tries to have it both ways:

"He (Obama) is not experienced therefore even McCain would be better than him...yet I would consider him for my VP"

WHAAAAAAAAAT? well, what else would you expect from someone who thinks that being married to the president equates experience

Mar. 14 2008 11:16 AM
Lisa from nyc

Can you please get more bloggers on your show? They are the best barometer of anything it is clear.

Mar. 14 2008 11:16 AM
Sharon from nyc

Hersh I couldn't agree more. This show is trying to be hip in a certain way so they hammer certain things over and over and they ignore BIG issues for weeks at a time. They're such a bunch of liberal nerds that they've become the focus of their own show. They're constantly trying to prove hipness. It ain't workin' Ferraro is an Italian racist. That's clear.

Mar. 14 2008 11:15 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

The MCM is a powerful force in creating impressions in public thinking.

Oh, and does Mr. Milbank know what people connected with the Northern Ireland peace talks other than Trimble say about what Hillary actually did?

Amazing that an MCM which could not seek out information which refuted Bush's lies about going to war in Iraq also cannot find out simple thins which can be searched for on the web. Oh, righ. It's what they're paid to do: Stick to the Narrative.

Do not miss Bob Somerby at

Mar. 14 2008 11:15 AM
Chris O from New York

Hillary says the vote in Michigan was absolutely fair. Ferraro says the only reason Obama is successful is because he is black. Then upon being criticized, she claims she was saying something positive about how blacks rallied around him, she was celebrating him and is now receiving criticism only because she is white.

Yet, we hear, they all do it, a pox on all their houses, etc. No they are not all equal in their transgressions.

Mar. 14 2008 11:14 AM


I agree. Am I listening to a feed from CNN right now?

Mar. 14 2008 11:13 AM
Hersh from brooklyn

I believe Brian show and WNYC in general, is loosing it's relevance. They are no longer able to bring relevant issues to for front. This is nothing but froth.

Mar. 14 2008 11:11 AM
rick from brooklyn

blame it on HRC. In fact those things that woman in MISSISSIPPI named as reason for not vote for Hillary were totally valid- she doesn't campaign on the issues!! She went negative because there is no good reason to vote for her over Obama....her methods reflect poorly on her character- or lack thereof.

these two are not that far apart on the issues, as has been noted.

anyway, the horse race phenomenon is not new and surely goes back to before any of us were born. as chomsky says, these races are about choosing a brand- like you choose a toothpaste. that may be a little harsh but it's no coincidence that these guys that run the campaigns are PR guys that work fpr corporations during the "off season".

Mar. 14 2008 11:11 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Ask Milbank if he can actually inform the public about the major differences in the Clinton-Obama healthcare plans. And the effect of that difference.

I'd like to see if he actually knows anything other than dissing personalities!

Mar. 14 2008 11:11 AM

Oh....I see, Brian. So YOU think calling Ferraro on her stupid idiotic racist statements is "silly"? I see...racism is a "silly" subject to you. How interesting

Here we go again, another pro-Hillary segment disguised as analysis the way it's YOUR candidate's campaign that started this tit for tat nonsense

Mar. 14 2008 11:11 AM
Lorenzo from NY/NJ

I cringe yet again hearing Hillary's comment at how McCain would be a better leader than Obama.
Imagine Romney saying that Clinton would be better
than McCain.. she really is running against Obama
as a republican.

Mar. 14 2008 11:10 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Once again, Brian--the campaigns keep trying to discuss issues.

But the MCM likes to take words out of context, using clips, Magic Ellipses, and lack of context to create their own "issues."

You should tell your audience you're discussing the MCM's coverage of the campaigns, not the campaigns themselves.

Hillary never disrepsected MLK--but the press loved the idea of a major Dem being accused of "racism." "Dissing" MLK. Oh, my.

Mar. 14 2008 11:09 AM
kiki from NJ

Please ask Dana what advice he would give the Obama campaign to better focus the discussion back to the relevant issues. Also, let him know he's great on Olbermann!

Mar. 14 2008 11:06 AM
jawbone from Parsippany, NJ

Uh, asking Dana Milbank to discuss the campaign seriously is like asking the fox to discuss how to best care for the health and well-being of chickens.

If chickens are the meat of a campaign, it's issues and policies, as far as the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media) is concerned, those chickens have either been eaten to disappear them or shooed out of the coop (campaign).

And Milbank, unfortunately, seems to think snarking about little foibles is how a campaing ought to be covered.

Spare us.

Oh, remember that the MCM was so amazed that candidates would spend 16 minutes talking about healthcare! When the "moderators" wanted to get to their gotcha questions. Using up all that precious airtime to talk about an issue the public really cares about? What a waste of time--to the MCMers.

Mar. 14 2008 11:06 AM

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