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David Swanson: Liveblogging Obama v Clinton v CNN

Liveblogging Obama v. Clinton v. CNN

By David Swanson

Hillary Is blaming the Iraqis. I flip on the debate and that's the first thing I have to hear. Sheesh. Then she says they'll stop Bush's abuses by... passing more legislation. Sheesh.

Now she's explaining that she voted to let Bush go to war because she trusted him not to. Sheesh.

Now CNN is pushing Obama to admit that Petraeus is making progress in Iraq, and Obama is buying it. But then he says that's setting the bar way too low. (APPLAUSE- Hey, there's an audience!)

Now he's saying he was smart enough to oppose it from the start (up until he voted to throw some half a trillion dollars into it). He says Clinton would have a very hard time debating the Republicans because she voted for the thing. (APPLAUSE!)

Wolf BSer asked Clinton yet again to admit that her vote was a "mistake." She's now rambling on about nothing and avoiding the question. The audience has gone back to sleep. Now she's saying she would have kept our focus on killing Afghanis.

My god, will she ever shut up? It's been about 20 minutes.

Now Wolf BSer is calling her naive. (APPLAUSE, and BOOS.)

Now she's blaming Obama for voting to fund the occupation (just as she herself has done). This is the closest anyone has ever come in the corporate media, to my knowledge, to suggesting that voting to fund the occupation is a choice and one that people can be held responsible for.

Obama is getting a word in edgewise. He's pointing out that everyone knew at the time that it was a vote to allow Bush to go to war. He says Clinton claims to have experience on day one, but it's more important to be right on day one. (APPLAUSE.)

This is the key question, and I'm glad I watched this bit of the debate.

Whatever you think of Hillary Clinton (I think she'd be worse than a plague), the fact is that she is fatally flawed. She cannot beat a Republican. The only thing McCain will talk about is killing people in Iraq. Hillary will try to say she's against the occupation before and after she's for it. And McCain will buy a gazillion television ads airing video of Clinton's speech at the time of her vote to authorize the use of military force.

Whatever you think of Obama (the fact that he's the more progressive candidate ought to stimulate vague suicidal tendencies in all advocates for peace and justice), he is far superior to Clinton, far more likely to do right, far more likely to heed public pressure, and actually capable of winning the election. He might even fight for it if it's stolen.

Obama's "Dreams of My Father" is a stunningly good book from which this vacuous and platitudinous blob of a hopemongering candidate has strayed. But the lesson Obama teaches himself in that book is that his father, like himself, had skills and abilities, which he tragically wasted by failing to properly kiss up to those in power. We can place our hope, not in Obama's sickening charm, but in the possibility that he understands clearly that his father never became the president of Kenya, and if he had, he most certainly would have done what he believed to be the right thing to do, there being at that point little reason to kiss up to anybody anymore -- anybody other than Americans, a problem Obama will not have as the most powerful elected official in the history of the world.

What did Clinton say that dooms her candidacy? Why would the corporate media call her naive over and over and over again without of course acknowledging its own naivete? McCain TV ads might choose these bits:

"Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members.... If left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security. Now this much is undisputed.... The United Nations is an organization that is still growing and maturing. It often lacks the cohesion to enforce its own mandates.... This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make -- any vote that may lead to war should be hard -- but I cast it with conviction.... And perhaps my decision is influenced by my eight years of experience on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in the White House watching my husband deal with serious challenges to our nation. I want this President, or any future President, to be in the strongest possible position to lead our country in the United Nations or in war. Secondly, I want to insure that Saddam Hussein makes no mistake about our national unity and for our support for the President's efforts to wage America's war against terrorists and weapons of mass destruction. And thirdly, I want the men and women in our Armed Forces to know that if they should be called upon to act against Iraq, our country will stand resolutely behind them.... And finally, on another personal note, I come to this decision from the perspective of a Senator from New York who has seen all too closely the consequences of last year's terrible attacks on our nation. In balancing the risks of action versus inaction, I think New Yorkers who have gone through the fires of hell may be more attuned to the risk of not acting. I know that I am. So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort. And it is a vote that says clearly to Saddam Hussein - this is your last chance - disarm or be disarmed."




David Swanson is an organizer of the coalition.

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