Clinton vs Obama Is Like Ali vs Frazier
Between 1971 and 1975, Ali and Frazier fought three times. Ali lost the first and won the next two culminating in the Thrilla In Manila in October 1975. Those three fights made a lasting impression on me, the first one coming when I was 10, the last one coming when I was 14.
Those two heavyweights, including the greatest heavyweight of all time, went at each other for 14-15 rounds. It always seemed to go back and forth. Ali would win the early rounds, then Frazier would get strong and take the middle rounds, and then whoever was still standing in the late rounds would emerge victorious.
And that’s what’s going on in the Democrat primary battle between Hillary and Barack. They are giving each other all they can take and then some. And both are taking it and firing back with all they’ve got. It’s fun to watch.
Yesterday morning, I was pretty sure Obama was going to deliver the knockout blow by taking California. But he didn’t. You can almost hear Barack say Ali’s famous line to Hillary at the end of last night:
Hillary, they told me you was all washed up
And you can almost hear Hillary growl back:
Michael Micah Marshall summed up Super Tuesday best for me. He said:
But I think all these competing scenarios make one point clear. The
only arguments for one side or the other being a winner here come down
to airy and finally meaningless arguments about expectations. And the
result tells a different tale. It’s about delegates. It’s dead even.
You’ve got two well-funded candidates who’ve demonstrated an ability to
power back from defeats. And neither is going anywhere.
The flip side of the proportional representation in delegates is
that not only does it allow a challenger like Obama not to get put away
early, it also makes it difficult to put away an opponent late. The
conventional wisdom is that Obama will do well in this weekend’s and
next Tuesday’s contests. But if he does, proportionality will reign
there too. It’s hard to see where this doesn’t go all the way to the
Contrary to most pundits’ opinions, I think this is incredibly helpful to the Democrat party and to the country as a whole. We are going to see more of these two fantastic candidates in the coming month. Maybe we’ll get a situation which they’ll both have to react to that will be telling. We’ll get to see them start to tool their messages against John McCain who appears to be the Republican nominee. We’ll get to see them debate each other some more (hopefully).
I don’t think we’ll see this get very negative. Obama has built his whole campaign on a positive message and he’s sticking to it. He turned the other cheek in South Carolina and showed Hillary that going negative against him didn’t work. So now it’s all about the candidates, their positions, and how they’d govern. As it should be.
The Gotham Gal and I have not given to either candidate yet. I am going to talk to her at breakfast about giving the max to both of them now. They’ve earned it.
I’m hoping that we’ll emerge with a Hillary/Barack ticket at the end of this. That would be very hard to beat. But regardless of whomever emerges from this epic battle victorious, it has been well fought and I will be thrilled to support them.
I think that Barack is going to end up victorious in the next month or so. His ability to drive up huge leads in small, red states is amazing, and will be a huge asset over the coming races.I’ve given $25 to Obama, and it is my first donation ever to any presidential candidate. $25 might not seem like a lot to you, but it is a lot to me when I’m paying off student loans and can barely keep my head above water.I think the longer the race goes on, the better it is for the Democrats. Nationally televised debates and competitive primaries are 100% free Democratic air time. Having the major networks each devote an additional hour per week on Democratic *anything* is going to be positive.
I think 25 is huge and I salute you for doing that. Its not about how much, its about getting involved, engaging, saying what you believe, giving what you can, and making our democracy workFred
I agree that Obama is a proxy for many groups that have been out of or never close to power — liberals, blacks, etc. I do not agree that he is a heavyweight. Let’s stick to the facts. The facts are that we don’t know a lot about Obama, and we know he hasn’t been tested yet. Campaigns are like broadway shows. They do not qualify someone to be president. I think Obama will be president someday. i just don’t think he deserves to win this time. I’m also not a huge fan of Hillary although I did vote for Bill Clinton — twice.
You said, “The facts are that we don’t know a lot about Obama, and we know he hasn’t been tested yet…” and “Campaigns are like broadway shows.”It seems to me that — and I’m being as polite as I can — that the latter is the basis for the former. I, for one, have learned quite a great deal about both Hillary and Barack. Not by watching the MSM, but by reading and writing and talking to as many informed people as I can. And guess what? That’s the campaign process.I think the only fact in question is that we either learn or don’t depending on our will to do so. Shooting the messenger — the campaign process — ain’t gonna resolve that. That’s precisely why I’m happy to see this thing continue. For me, it’s moved well beyond details of the candidates and straight into their character. How they do things is just as (if not moreso) important than what they do. And this process reveals both.
I think the experience argument doesn’t take you very far. First, Hillary Clinton’s experience, as measured by actual number of years in political office, does not significantly exceed Obama’s. What she can lay claim to is being around for most of her husband’s experience. However, she has admitted that they never shared confidential information, limiting the extent to which those years can really be called “experience.”Secondly, if experience is such a big deal, then the Democrats should have mobilized behind Joe Biden or Bill Richardson. But they didn’t. However, if we get into a presidential race with John McCain, having a campaign built on “experience” really isn’t going to get anyone very far.Most importantly, number of years of experience just does not seem to be a strong predictor of presidential quality. Note that Abraham Lincoln had only a single term in the House of Representatives prior to becoming President. Some of our greatest presidents in recent history had similarly short amounts of political experience, including both of the Roosevelts and Woodrow Wilson. On the other side, some of the presidents with the most experience have turned out to be complete failures, e.g. Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford.What I find interesting is that years ago, a president made an argument that “The same old experience is not relevant,” and that time spent with real people was just as valuable as time spent in Washington, if not more so. That was Bill Clinton, campaigning against George Bush. Now he and his wife are finding that same language being used against them and they are trying to deny its importance.I think the biggest issue is what you do with your experiences. You can have all the experience in the world, but if you don’t learn the right lessons, then that experience is wasted. I agree with Hillary on most policy issues. I think that universal healthcare will require mandates if they’re to be effective. I think we should try and do the right thing in Iraq, rather than beating a hasty exit (although Obama’s withdrawal argument is based solely around using it as a hammer to bring about self-governance). If she made it into office, I’d probably be fine because she’d be pushing my agenda.However, everything that I’ve read about her management style indicates that she is not the type of person to brook dissenting opinion (See Brad Delong’s experience working with Hillary, or David Brooks’s recent article in the Times). These anecdotes are admittedly old and she might have changed since then. But I think the teeth that came out in South Carolina are a worrisome indicator that she still has the same “My way or the highway” perspective, and the last eight years have shown us that we can’t afford to have that as a country. Her candidacy will almost certainly be a 51% victory, even with the help of some of the strongest Democratic tailwinds in recent decades.The right policy decisions can go poorly, if arrived at in the wrong way. There were plenty of reasons why we could have gone into Iraq, but we did it in the worst way possible. I think Obama’s natural tendency to build a consensus is the right way to set the ship right. We need a political process that is open and honest, not one where decisions are made behind closed doors, where leaders can’t admit to their mistakes, and where ideas from one party automatically become anathema to the other. We need someone who can carry us past the 51% majority mark. I know this probably sounds preachy to some of you, but I like to think that it’s just being earnest, a character trait that a lot of politicians should be willing to manifest.
@Irvin, I couldn’t agree more. In fact, Obama has held elected office longer than Hillary if you take his State work into account (and I think it would be poor judgement to dismiss that).There is another account raised by this, which has Constitutional implications — that of a hydra executive, or two-presidents-for-the-price-of-one. After the last seven years of consolidating enormous power in the Oval makes me extremely uneasy when confronted with the idea of a more-than-engaged spouse. I was a full-throated Bill supporter, too, but even I recognize his lust for power and his ginormous ego (not to mention his behavior these last several weeks).Read Gary Wills op-ed here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008…Read Andrew Sullivan here: http://andrewsullivan.theat…
That was a very well done and cogent argument. I agree completely.I never thought the ‘experience’ argument was worth a hill of beans. Putting Clinton vs McCain on experience is a very telling comparison.
Do you really think either Obama or Clinton would go for a Hilary/Barack ticket after the earlier nastiness between them? Also do you think an Clinton/Obama ticket could really be elected in the US today?
This is very hard to visualize; they are very different kinds of politicians. Their policy positions are quite similar (until you get way, way down into the weeds) but that really doesn’t matter so much since their approach is very different. Clinton is a classic “51 percenter,” and Obama is a consensus-builder.I believe it’s pretty clear that Obama has nothing but revulsion for the kind of politics both Clintons practice. So I’d be surprised if he would want to be party to any of that.
Yes and yesBut I am an optimistFred
A few thoughts:Hillary Clinton is the only thing that can unite the GOP behind John McCain.USA Today/Gallup shows she’s got a 52% unfavorable rating. That’s not a good starting point for the general election.As for a running mate for Hillary, until Bill’s role is clarified, you’d have to be insane to take that job. I suspect she’d choose Wesley Clark (who I worked for in 2004).Obama needed to stay close yesterday (he did), Clinton needed a KO. The more people see of Barack, the more they like him; that’s bad for Hillary.As for nastiness in the campaign, it’s there: Push polls in California. Bill’s Jesse Jackson crack. The “Muslim” email. Hillary’s inability to get herself removed from the Michigan ballot (like everyone else) and her subsequent attempt to get the delegates from her MI victory (over “uncommitted”) seated. Hillary’s “fundraisers” in Florida just before the primary there. Serious pressure on Superdelegates from Bill.If Obama is leading towards the end (and I think he will be) I suspect the Clintons take this to the courts over Florida’s and Michigan’s delegates.
Drudge reporting Hillary out of money”CLINTONS MAY NOW BE USING THEIR OWN MONEY TO FINANCE HILLARY’S RUN… When asked if Clintons were dipping into their personal wealth, communications director Howard Wolfson said: ‘I don’t know’…Developing…”Erik is right on. As I consider myself in the right wing of the Conservative party, I absolutely despise as our nominee and would in no shape or form vote for him. I really think Barack would SMOKE McCain I mean Bob Dole in the general election. The problem is Hillary. Conservatives hate her and would go in droves to take her down; thus helping McCain. It really is her only chance. McCain should be rooting for Hillary as hard as he roots for himself.
Drudge reporting Hillary out of money”CLINTONS MAY NOW BE USING THEIR OWN MONEY TO FINANCE HILLARY’S RUN… When asked if Clintons were dipping into their personal wealth, communications director Howard Wolfson said: ‘I don’t know’…Developing…”Erik is right on. As I consider myself in the right wing of the Conservative party, I absolutely despise McLiberal as our nominee and would in no shape or form vote for him. I really think Barack would SMOKE McCain I mean Bob Dole in the general election. The problem is Hillary. Conservatives hate her and would go in droves to take her down; thus helping McCain. It really is her only chance. McCain should be rooting for Hillary as hard as he roots for himself.
A HIllary/Barack or Barack/Hillary ticket would be a very interesting mix. I don’t know if the closet Repubs would ‘let’ that happen. I am just thrilled that there is both a woman and a Black man running which adds greatly to the diversity of thinking that has happened since they both decided to run. If either of them wins we will see new ideas and new ways of executing and leading. To me it is such a great sign of our times and the day/age we live in.As in many things (including startups) a lot has to do with timing and market forces. A leader (good or bad) is a symbol of what the masses think they want/need. I think the one who can ride the proverbial wave better without too many falls at the crest of a tidal wave will win.
Fred,You have now got me thinking/dreaming about media metaphors, because I woke up this morning with an indelible media tableau of my own to rival your Mac vs PC screenshot in yesterday’s post.”You can’t win Darth. If you strike me down I will come back more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”So it is with Hillary. If she takes down Obama, it will be through back room deals with super-delegates, and dirty tricks with Michigan and Florida. Moderates like me will vote for McCain. African Americans will never forgive her.In my view, the fact that the race is going to go all the way to the convention means that Hillary has lost. Perhaps not the primary, but very likely the general election. People need to start seeing the end game here.Of course, in the movie, an infuriated Darth Vader still takes out Obi Wan, and perhaps so it will be with Obama.
I hope you are wrong but you could well be right
Hilary is running out of money.Obama raised $32m vs. Hilary’s 13m in January.
We did our part to change that today. Also did that for obama
Yeah – NYT has a post that she add $5M of her own cash in December and is considering more. I think Hillary is on the ropes.
It’s Joshua Micah Marshall not Michael. I have a lot of respect for Josh so make sure don’t arbitarily quote him when you can’t make your own point. Thanks.
Thanks for the correction. I’ll fix it
People are excited about the process, and that’s cool.I like Barack, don’t like Hill.I think I’ll get to vote for my candidate of choice in November – a first! That and the Giants in one year. I must have been real good.Wow, I guess that’s an endorsment.Well, kids, it happened here, at, uh, my brothers blog……..
Sometime soon we’ll be able to take a comment we leave on someone else’s blog and ‘reblog’ it instantly via one click on our own blogsFred
Is this going to be a feature of Disqus? I’d love that feature.If not, man, that’s a good idea regardless.
I’ve been advocating this idea for years and nobody has built it yetIts out there and has been for a while. Its gonna happenFred
That would be great. Saves me the effort of copy/pasting.
I find it interesting that so many Democrats in California, New York, New Jersey and Boston are rallying for an ex Wal*Mart board chairperson and federal lobbyist bunk buddy. Apparently the Lib Dems aren’t out in force at the voting booths. I echo previous comments about experience. Hillary doesn’t have much more than Obama and I think that having too much political experience today is often thought of as a negative rather than positive (being an old cog in a broken wheel). Personally, I’d rather support an intelligent, innovative and enthusiastic start-up than a leader with years of experience in a tired and failing company.
By the way, the Ali vs. Frazier era was something to behold. The Thrilla in Manilla took place on the day after my 10th birthday.
Perhaps a more relevant analogy for this political contest would be “The Game”. Bill met Hillary at Yale Law School. Barack met Michelle at Harvard Law School. Perhaps one of the most touted games during the college football season (along with the Army/Navy contest,) ‘The Game’ pits two rival Ivy League schools, each with a grudge and fighting for bragging rights. Historically, Yale leads the series 65-51-8.http://en.wikipedia.org/wik…In 2007, Harvard won 37-6.Will Harvard’s momentum carry through to the Democratic nomination? We’ll have to wait and see.P.S.A Harvard man and a Yale man are at the urinal. They finish and zip up. The Harvard man proceeds to the sink to wash his hands, while the Yale man immediately makes for the exit. The Harvard man says, “At Harvard they teach us to wash our hands after we urinate.” The Yale man replies, “At Yale they teach us not to piss on our hands.”
@MIchaelWe can go back and forth on this for months. The great thing about campaigns is that all the talk about Hillary, McCain and Obama will be settled in a few months or sooner. I simply do not believe that Obama is qualified to be president (today). We live in a complex world where experience matters. McCain is the most experienced of all of them left. I normally vote for democrats but will vote for McCain this time. My second choice would be Hillary, then Obama. Why? Because experience matters to me just like it matters to Fred when he hires a CTO for a promising start-up — the right background and experience is critical. You can run into the best engineer/coder in the world but he/she may not be a great VP of Engineering or CTO. You give me the best engineer our of Stanford or MIT and I’ll be damned if I’m going to make him the CTO of my next start-up.What I’m hearing on this blog are argruments from the liberal wing of the democratic party trying to rationalize things for Obama. I get that and understand it well. If he gets into office he may be great, and that would be good for everyone. If he doesn’t get in he’ll have other chances IMHO. I don’t know who wins this thing and it’s certainly very interesting.
@stoneAccording to your criteria for experience, you would vote for Bush if he was running again (after 8 years ‘experience’ of being el presidente). Experience, in and of itself is as meaningless as rhetorical promises. It’s contextual. Now, if you prefer McCain’s stance on important issues, that’s another thing – but don’t vote for him because he’s been in the game longer.Did you support Richardson while he was in contention because of his experience?
A couple points.I don’t think that you can reasonably compare the position of President with “CTO of a promising start-up,” where you essentially have to be able to organize and solve for one set of self-defined questions. Rather, it’s more analogous to being the CEO of Citigroup, a monstrous, multi-headed hydra where it’s virtually impossible to be master of all domains. At this point, having some level of experience is definitely a requirement – you have to be familiar enough to be able to identify which are the critical issues to focus on. Much of what will determine your success won’t be how well that person could solve the problem himself/herself, but whether or not they can a) successfully identify the key issues and b) organize a solution accordingly.Moving away from the analogy, John McCain has more experience than anyone, yet is probably the least well-equipped to handle the problems facing our economy. He has admitted that his understanding of economics is essentially limited to what he read in Greenspan’s most recent book; aside from that, he’s operating strictly along libertarian ideology. Regardless of his experience, this is precisely what we don’t need. I would much rather have someone that understands his lack of experience and openly surrounds himself with the brightest minds to come to a solution, rather than someone who doesn’t understand the problem but simply goes with the ideological answer.My major point is this – experience matters, sure. But we need to think more critically about what type of job the Presidency is and what exactly constitutes the right type of experience. Number of years in Washington should definitely not be it. Someone with 30 years as the head of accounting isn’t necessarily going to be the best person to run an entire company.
Not true, my friend. As I said before I normally vote for a democrat so George Bush was never high on my list. My approach to voting for president is to wait for the candidates to spar, jockey, debate, etc. then decide who I like the most based on all factors. Obama wins ‘hands down’ for oratory skills, there’s no question. I do like Mccain on many positions but also admire his experience, his sacrifices, his willingness to go against the tide & party, etc. Obama *might* be great with these things, too, but how can I know this? He’s too new and has been running for president since he got into office. I don’t know him as a Senator — at all! I do know him as a candidate, and he’s doing a very good job of being a candidate. Let’s see how he does as a senator. He talks a lot about bringing people together and working across party lines, building bridges, thereby getting stuff done. Well, um, ok — let’s see him in action for a few more years. If he’s really that good then I’ll be the first to vote for him the next time he runs. Washington is VERY partisan. What worked in a state house may not work in D.C. Again, if he’s great at passing legislation, let’s see him in action for a few more years and then we can ALL vote for him.Now, to the main point: We ALL know that John McCain is terrific at passing laws that have support of members of both parties. He’s tried to take money out of politics. He’s reasonable on taxes. He’s reasonable on immigration. He’s a hawk on wasteful spending. I do think he’s wrong about Iraq but I think he had no choice, as a republican, but to support the party and Bush on this issue or he would’ve been dead. I think we should get out of Iraq as soon as practicable.As for Obama, again, I don’t have anything against him. I just dont think he’s qualified to be president during this cycle. Good luck either way!
Regardless of the outcome, Obama has already won. He has changed the country for better.Consider this: in 2002 before the Iraq war, he gave a speech saying that it would be a big mistake. All political consultants were telling him: “Fine, go ahead and bury your career. Your name is Barack Hussein Obama and you are against the war in Iraq??? What the hell are you thinking?”A few years later, the mere fact that millions are voting for him and making donations to his campaign is remarkable. It shows that the American people can still appreciate reason over prejudice. That they pay attention to reality and not just to spin and garbage. That a strong, independent thinker who goes against the conventional wisdom can be respected when reality proves him right.That’s a complete game-changer from the last eight years. It has forced Hilary to abandon her manipulative and disingenious tactics and to show her real self, which is, in fact a smart and hard-working woman. She was so conditioned to the dirty manipulative slime of the past that she did not believe she can win by being herself. Well she can, she is not a bad person.The Obama phenomenon has also clearly played a role in the GOP election. The Republicans soundly rejected the slimy “used-car-salesman” Romney in favor of a straight, independent and honorable man.So win-or-lose, Obama has already won, and that’s great since I want my kids to go back one day to the country where they were born and not experience a culture of slime, manipulation, disingenousness, and irrationality.Cheers!
This is how I feel tooGlad to know I have companyFred
I agree that Obama has made the conversation better. I would say that his stance on the war is the classic liberal stance — like Dennis Kucinich, most left-wing politicians have been against the war from day one.
I would say that Obama’s stance on the war is shared by most people in America today, both Democrat and Republican, liberal and conservative.
As a “usually libertarian”, I will commit right now that if it’s McCain vs. Obama, Obama has my vote. There’s just no way I’m coming around to McCain….more wars and a liberal domestic side…..lose-lose….and we wouldn’t even be able to blame Democrats this time :).Of course, if it’s Hillary then I’m really stuck…..no chance I’m ever voting for her….but can I pull the lever for McCain? Maybe Romney runs independent just to sabotage the concept of a liberal republican pres and saves me 🙂
While you are giving money to Oprah Obam…why don’t you write an extra check for the government and give more now. They will gladly accept donations. Since you are giving money away, it should help the National Budget. They will get it eventually from you anyways. I guess I am an optimist too, I have this thought that if you give more money, then they may take less from me come tax time.http://www.ntu.org/main/pag…Total Proposed Spending Plan Increase (annual, in BILLIONS)Obama +$287.0Hillary + $218.2Huckabee + $54.2Romney + $19.5McCain + $6.9—————————Paul -$150.1I’m cuckoo for cocoa puffs!!
You maxed for both Hill and Bama!! Come on, make a choice.
I did. I voted for hillary. But I like the extended debate they are having and want to see it continueFred
Lawrence Lessig posted a nice video about why Democrats should support Obama over Clinton after he received a request to do so. Might be too late for you, but it might persuade others who still have a chance to vote.http://lessig.org/blog/2008…
I watched it the morning of the ny primary and sent it to my wife as wellIt didn’t change how we voted but he makes some great pointsFred
It would be easy to realize any of those figures if we weren’t spending trillions on the unnecessary occupation campaign in Iraq. The reality is that it will take a lot of money to create a good health system, education system (all of those national things that have been neglected for the last 8 years). To say that you’re not going to increase spending much is to say that you’re not going to improve what needs improvement. You don’t get nothin’ for nothin’. We’re so far behind on so many things, that serious investments are required to bring it all up to acceptable levels of service.What we should be concerned about is that we are spending $275 Million a DAY on a senseless war. That money could easily fund any of the spending plans above.http://www.nationalprioriti…
Sorry, that was meant to be in response to hockeydino above.
Actually I think it’s 300 billion and you are right, the money spent on IRAQ should not be spent there. But hey what’s another 25 billion when the masses are giving freely at the trough asking for more? There is govt waste, and programs that should never be part of the government to begin with.
I agree about wasteful government spending. But I don’t mind government spending that is well spent. Having just returned from living in Ireland for the past 7 years, my tax dollars provided free medical and dental care, and free college (excellent academic quality). Nobody really minds paying taxes in Ireland because you actually get stuff for it – practical stuff that makes living easier. At the same time, the private sector is fueled (Celtic Tiger anyone?) by low corporate tax rates and grants for innovation and small business growth that creates jobs in communities. The balance between responsible government spending and a healthy, capitalist private business environment is possible and a reality in some parts of the world, like Ireland.One of the points about public health care that many people don’t realize because they never experienced it is that in a public health culture like Ireland, everyone is covered and there aren’t long waits. I actually wait longer here in the States (with expensive private insurance coverage) for routine appointments than I did in Ireland with Public health care. And the care is comparable, if not a bit more personal in Ireland. Our first two daughters were born in Ireland and it didn’t cost us one penny. As a matter of fact, we were given 80 euro each after we checked out of the maternity ward (5 days allowed in the ward rather than 24 hours here in the States). For every child you have in Ireland, you are given 150 euro per month until they are 18 years old. Children are not considered a burden by the Irish government. They are invested in and taken care of.Also, many people don’t realize that , in countries like Ireland, people can carry private insurance coverage on top of the public health care provided to ensure prompt treatment for certain conditions, private rooms, etc.. But those who can’t afford private coverage are taken care of very well without stressing about how they are going to pay for it. Tax money in cultures like Ireland are fed back to tax payers in practical, meaningful ways by providing good, quality services for all residents.We can only hope that such a balance will be found here.
I think the longer the race goes on