Well, we saw the "miraculous" Clinton victory in New Hampshire. Some people felt that Clinton's tearing up moved many women, some people speculated that the backlash from press misogyny helped her, some people felt that there may have been a "Bradley Effect". Perhaps it was a combination of all of these factors.
We may not know till the heat of the campaign is finished and time and perspective allows for a full review what the real reasons were, but now the Washington Post reveals that there may have been something more mundane - old school dirty tricks done by a Democrat to another Democrat, by the Clinton campaign to the Obama campaign.
Below the fold for more...
The Washington Post enumerates 2 specific instances of the Clinton using questionable tactics:
- Misleading Democratic women about Obama's pro-Choice record
- Using Republican style voter suppression tactics
As for the first point, the Clinton campaign has been suggesting that Obama was not committed to a woman's right to choose. The tactic used was to misrepresent Obama's present votes in the Illinois state legislature to suggest that he was suspect on pro-choice. They sent an mass email to women around the state.
"The difference between Hillary's repeatedly standing up strong on choice and Obama's unwillingness to vote 'yes' or 'no' is a clear contrast, and we believe the voters in New Hampshire deserve to know this difference," the letter stated. "We support Hillary Clinton because she never ducked when choice was at stake."
This was also accompanied by flyers sent by the Clinton campaign saying the same thing. This was a clearly cynical fear tactic used by the Clintons to low information voters who don't understand how the Illinois legislature works as New Hampshire doesn't have a 'present vote'. As been documented many other times - Obama is a clearly for woman's choice. His present votes were tactics employed by the Democratic party leadership.
- Obama Received A 100 Percent Rating From Planned Parenthood In 2006. [Project Vote Smart]
2005 Obama Received A 100 Percent Rating From NARAL Pro-Choice America In 2005. [Project Vote Smart]
- Obama Received A 100 Percent Rating From Illinois Planned Parenthood Council In 2003. [Project Vote Smart]
- Obama Was Endorsed By The Illinois Planned Parenthood Council, There Were No Number Ratings Available. [Project Vote Smart]
- Obama Received A 100 Percent Rating From The Illinois Planned Parenthood Council In 2001. [Project Vote Smart]
97-98: Obama Received A 100 Percent Rating From The Illinois Planned Parenthood Council For 1997-1998. [Project Vote Smart]
Note the fact that the Clintons tried to use bogus techniques to try to stop Obama's campaign from trying to tell voters the truth by trying to stop the Obama campaign from calling people and informing them of the truth at the last moment. The Clinton team was essentially charging Obama with illegal telemarketing. Of course, they were wrong about their charges.
664:1 Applicability of Chapter. The provisions of this chapter shall apply to all state primary, general and special elections, but shall not apply to presidential preference primaries.
Did these tactics have an effect?
"It is a direct lie and distortion of the facts of his 'choice' record and I believe it did a lot of damage," said Moore. "The women are all very prominent Democrats, many of them in leadership, and it is sickening." [Emphasis Added]
That is almost unbelievable - mislead voters and then try to stop another campaigns attempt to set the record straight. This is the kind of cynical politics that make it hard for me to have any desire to support the Clinton team, should she win.
The second, more nefarious tactic was voter suppression.
...attempt by Clinton officials to remove Obama volunteers who had been sent to many polling places on primary day to check off the names of voters as they arrived so that the campaign's get out the vote workers would know which of their supporters had and hadn't voted...[Emphasis Added]
Basically they were trying to disrupt the Obama GOTV
Clinton volunteers and local lawyers acting on behalf of the campaign demanded in Nashua, Concord and at least one other town that poll moderators ban the Obama volunteers from the polls, saying that their presence violated a state law stating that only the state party chairmen can delegate people to monitor the polls.
Except it wasn't true. There was nothing wrong about what Obama's team was doing.
The attorney general and Nashua city clerk confirmed this when they were called about the dispute, saying that the Obama volunteers were allowed as members of the public to observe the polls, as long as they didn't get in the way.
But it gets worse
But the Clinton intervention at Ward 9 in Nashua nonetheless persuaded the moderator to ban the Obama observers. And the disputes, which dragged on for hours and grew quite heated, generally scrambled the Obama efforts to keep track of who was and wasn't voting, said Obama supporter Andrew Edwards, a rookie state representative assigned to observe the polls in Nashua, where Clinton ran up a big margin in her favor.[Emphasis Added]
Edwards was confronted by Lasky and by another veteran Democrat, state representative and Nashua Democratic chairwoman Jane Clemons, who he said issued a veiled threat during the dispute that he would face a stiff primary challenge in Nashua if he ran for reelection.[Emphasis Added]
Clemons denied that she had threatened Edwards with a primary challenge, saying that she simply asked him whether he was planning to run for re-election, which he may have wrongly interpreted as a threat.[Emphasis Added]
Did these tactics have an effect?
"The effect of it was that it basically disrupted our get out the vote operation," said Edwards. "My effectiveness that day [in checking off names] was less than 50 percent as a result of the people who kept coming in" to protest the observers..."[Emphasis Added]
Now, I may be wrong, but this is in my mind the kind of Republican tactic that Democrats scream about - and justifiably. What does this mean when Democrats to this to other Democrats?
What kind of campaign sends out cynically misleading mailings and then tries to stop the other campaign from setting the record straight?
What kind of campaign tries to stop another campaign from getting voters to vote?
The margin of victory was less than 8,000 votes. That's it.
Does anyone think that these tactics didn't/don't have an effect?
Naturally people are angry on the Obama team.
Obama supporter Bill Siroty, a former Democratic chair for the town of Amherst, said the ill will is running so high that it could keep Democrats in the state who supported Obama from rallying behind Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, should she win the nomination.
Could that have an impact?
In 2000, bad feelings that lingered among some Bill Bradley supporters about tactics used by Al Gore in the primary - including misleading charges about Bradley's health care plan - were seen as one reason why Gore lost the state to George W. Bush in November, thereby giving Bush just enough Electoral College votes to take the presidency.
What do Clinton's people say?
Bette Lasky, the assistant House majority leader and a top Clinton supporter who was involved in both the e-mail and poll interventions, said she was sorry to hear about the bad feelings but hoped Obama supporters would get over it. "It's politics, and it happens," she said. [Emphasis Added]
I've never been a fan of Hillary, and the recent 'racist' charges that some people are suggesting are bogus in my view. I've never been a fan of hers due to the issues and her lack of apology on the war vote. It was never about her character or her campaign's character.
But the Billy Shaheen, Bob Kerrey and other things that have been happening are changing my view of her. Not that I think that there is any racial bias - just that the campaign will try questionable tactics when desperate.
Some would suggest that the Republicans will do this to Obama if he is the nominee and we all know that they will. I have no doubt that the Obama campaign would fight back.
It is, however, depressing when a Democrat does it, especially one of the stature of Hillary Clinton.
After reading about this in the Post, I have lost all respect for her and her campaign.
"People are very upset about it," said Siroty. "I've heard one or two threaten they're not going to vote for Clinton at all. Tensions are very high, and it could cause a rift."