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I've had it with Frank Rich. He was my favorite columnist. But in this atmosphere of the democrat's supposed "civil war" he has taken a highly partisan position, and in the last few weeks has been spewing anti-Clinton pro-Obama propaganda, "cherry-picking" his figures and parsing the "intelligence." This Sunday's column is no exception.

It isn't surprising that while a whole host of smart columnists are writing about the descent of the Obama campaign into a "cult of personality," led by the candidate himself and his wife, who warned America that it is now or never and who has bascially intimitated that she won't work for the eventual nominee, and followed by unthinking and easily excitable minions quickly becoming known as Obamatrons or Obamabots - Rich chose to write about Hillary's national town hall meeting the night before the super Tuesday elections, which he calls "boring" and "anachronistic," while slandering her as a racist, bigoted liar.

So I am done with Frank Rich.

More after the flip.

Here is a link to the atrocity: Next Up for the Democrats: Civil War.

He says:

The same news media that constantly revisited the Oprah-Caroline-Maria rally in California ignored “Voices Across America: A National Town Hall.”

Yet, he fails to remind his readers that "Oprah-Caroline-Maria" did absolutely nothing in helping him win California, where Hillary won by double-digits.


Like the scripted “Ask President Bush” sessions during the 2004 campaign, this town hall seemed to unfold in Stepford. The anodyne questions (“What else would you do to help take care of our veterans?”) merely cued up laundry lists of talking points. Some in attendance appeared to trance out.

This is only the first comparison he makes between Hillary and Bush. His claim that some "tranced out" is a flat out lie - if you were watching - since in the New York studio they continually panned to young audience members who were listening wide-eyes, and when they went to the remoate locations, such as New Mexico, where the young actress America Ferrara was hosting the event, they were cheering and having a great time. So lies from Frank Rich.

The second comparison to Bush:

Less than two weeks ago she was airlifted into her own, less effective version of “Mission Accomplished.” Instead of declaring faux victory in Iraq, she starred in a made-for-television rally declaring faux victory in a Florida primary that was held in defiance of party rules, involved no campaigning and awarded no delegates. As Andrea Mitchell of NBC News said, it was “the Potemkin village of victory celebrations.”

This is intellectualy dishonest criticism, to suggest what Hillary did in Florida is in any way comparable to Bush's 2003 stunt. Thank god someone went down to Florida to tell those voters that their votes count to the democratic party! And if you watched her Florida speech on C-SPAN you'lk see that she in no way declared victory, she simply said that while she couldn't ask for their votes before the primary, she was thanking them for their votes after it. Whoever the nominee will be will need to win in Florida and I'm glad she went down there to let those folks know that they have not been forsaken by the stupid party leadership. As for Andrea Mitchell, does one even need to comment? If anything is like a "Potemkin village" it is the DNC - which stupidly shunned two of the most important states in the country- and the MSNBC-DOWD-RICH propaganda axis. (And at this point, how does it benefit him to cite MSNBC?)

He sees the town hall event as somehow "desperate:"

The Hallmark show, enacted on an anachronistic studio set that looked like a deliberate throwback to the good old days of 1992, was equally desperate.

I, too, noticed that the set was stripped down, but I took comfort in that it aspired to more of a PBS-style format, with an informed, civil discourse - no flash, no extravagent fits of feeling. it was a sober event, which matched the gravity of the times, which the Obama campaign would like us to forget, and a format in which the issues took center stage, not a heroizing cult of the candidate's personality.

Rich compared Hillary's town-hall to the ridiculous "Yes We Can" video on youtube:

A campaign operative, speaking on MSNBC, claimed that 250,000 viewers had seen an online incarnation of the event in addition to “who knows how many” Hallmark channel viewers. Who knows, indeed? What we do know is that by then the “Yes We Can” Obama video fronted by the hip-hop vocalist of the Black Eyed Peas had been averaging roughly a million YouTube views a day.

Here he seems to miss the point entirely. Is it just important to reach more people? The message doesn't matter? David Brooks summed up that youtube video pretty well yesterday when he remarked on the celebrities in it and their "escalating fits of rightousness and ecstacy," which expresses nothing other than their own vanity - as opposed Hillary's town-hall where, again, the ISSUES and the people asking the questions took center stage.

Rich - totally ignoring the rampant and disgusting sexism thrown Hillary's way at every single opportunity by almost all major news outlets - attempts to project racism into the town-hall event:

The campaign’s other most potent form of currency remains its thick deck of race cards. This was all too apparent in the Hallmark show. In its carefully calibrated cross section of geographically and demographically diverse cast members — young, old, one gay man, one vet, two union members — African-Americans were reduced to also-rans. One black woman, the former TV correspondent Carole Simpson, was given the servile role of the meeting’s nominal moderator, Ed McMahon to Mrs. Clinton’s top banana. Scattered black faces could be seen in the audience. But in the entire televised hour, there was not a single African-American questioner, whether to toss a softball or ask about the Clintons’ own recent misadventures in racial politics.

He's seeing what he wants to see here - nothing more. Though he attempts to buttress it with some "cherry-picked" facts and figures:

This decision was a cold, political cost-benefit calculus. In October, seven months after the two candidates’ dueling church perorations in Selma, USA Today found Hillary Clinton leading Mr. Obama among African-American Democrats by a margin of 62 percent to 34 percent. But once black voters met Mr. Obama and started to gravitate toward him, Bill Clinton and the campaign’s other surrogates stopped caring about what African-Americans thought. In an effort to scare off white voters, Mr. Obama was ghettoized as a cocaine user (by the chief Clinton strategist, Mark Penn, among others), “the black candidate” (as Clinton strategists told the Associated Press) and Jesse Jackson redux (by Mr. Clinton himself).

The result? Black America has largely deserted the Clintons. In her California primary victory, Mrs. Clinton drew only 19 percent of the black vote. The campaign saw this coming and so saw no percentage in bestowing precious minutes of prime-time television on African-American queries.

That time went instead to the Hispanic population that was still in play in Super Tuesday’s voting in the West. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles had a cameo, and one of the satellite meetings was held in the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s smart politics, especially since Mr. Obama has been behind the curve in wooing this constituency.

To me, this is a damn-them if they do, damn-them if they don't argument. He weirdly lambasts Hillary for making an appeal to one of her core constituencies, hispanic voters, with a smug "it's smart poltics," yet also seems to imply that she should realize she's lost a former core constituency - black voters having gravitated to a black candidate - and step aside so he can just sail on their backs to the nomination? That is what he implies thoughout his piece. Well, please.

he then calls her a biogted liar:

Last month a Hispanic pollster employed by the Clinton campaign pitted the two groups [blacks and hispanics] against each other by telling The New Yorker that Hispanic voters have “not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.” Mrs. Clinton then seconded the motion by telling Tim Russert in a debate that her pollster was “making a historical statement.”

It wasn’t an accurate statement, historical or otherwise. It was a lie, and a bigoted lie at that, given that it branded Hispanics, a group as heterogeneous as any other, as monolithic racists.

He continues:

As the columnist Gregory Rodriguez pointed out in The Los Angeles Times, all three black members of Congress in that city won in heavily Latino districts; black mayors as various as David Dinkins in New York in the 1980s and Ron Kirk in Dallas in the 1990s received more than 70 percent of the Hispanic vote. The real point of the Clinton campaign’s decision to sow misinformation and racial division, Mr. Rodriguez concluded, was to “undermine one of Obama’s central selling points, that he can build bridges and unite Americans of all types.”

Again, "cherry-picking" the figures and pointing to another columnists who campaigned against the Clintons, to no avail, in LA. In fact, in NYC and LA, there are deep racial divisions between blacks and hispanics that go back generations and that are by no means healed. Like a good Obamatron-Obamabot, Rich just blithly accepts that Obama will somehow someday "build bridges and unite Americans," while ignoring the historical and present reality of lived lives; he further calls it a "selling point" - which is exactly what it is a marketing ploy with no proven record of success.

And then he himself plays the race game:

Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign’s attempt to drive white voters away from Mr. Obama by playing the race card has backfired. His white vote tally rises every week. Though Mrs. Clinton won California by almost 10 percentage points, among whites she beat Mr. Obama by only 3 points.

Yet, who are those white voters? Rich doesn't bother to break down the socio-economics of those who vote for Clinton versus those who vote for Obama, as many other columnists have begun to do, which show that he is uniformly supported by upper-middle-class and wealthy whites, who as David Brooks explained yesterday vote for Obama because they want a "cultural signifier" that gives their lives meaning, that makes them feel good about themselves - again appealing to their vanity - whereas Hillary uniformly gets the white working-class vote, those folks who are too busy working to be concerned with vain self-actualization.

Rich is clearly in the Obama category himself. D'uh.

And he totally ignores the fact that she won all the really big truly progressive BLUE states on super Tuesday: NY, CA, MA, as well as NH and MI.

Finally, he predicts a race-brawl at the convention:

A race-tinged brawl at the convention, some nine weeks before Election Day, will not be a Hallmark moment. As Mr. Wilkins reiterated to me last week, it will be a flashback to the Democratic civil war of 1968, a suicide for the party no matter which victor ends up holding the rancid spoils.

Hopefully, this won't happen after Hillary locks up Pennsylvania, Texas, and Ohio, and he is proven wrong.

And, it goes without saying, that after he imagines this apocalyptic scenario he blames it all on Hillary. Of course, it's all her fault.

Originally posted to Palladio on Sat Feb 09, 2008 at 09:16 PM PST.

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