Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
March 7, 2008
POLITICS: Walking The Plank From The Good Ship Obama

Well, that didn't take long - Obama senior foreign policy advisor Samantha Power has resigned after making front-page news by calling Hillary Clinton a "monster". But not before she appears to have repeated Obama economic advisor Austin Goolsbee's shtick of helpfully explaining to a foreign audience that Obama doesn't actually mean to follow through on what he says on the campaign trail, thus confirming Megan McArdle's observation that Obama's advisers have a tendency to "spend far too much time saying 'Don't listen to him--listen to us!.'" Consider Power's remarks to the BBC:

She was challenged on Obama's Iraq plan, as it appears on his website, which says that Obama "will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months."

"What he's actually said, after meting with the generals and meeting with intelligence professionals, is that you - at best case scenario - will be able to withdraw one to two combat brigades each month. That's what they're telling him. He will revisit it when he becomes president," Power says.

The host, Stephen Sackur, challenged her: "So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out in 16 months isn't a commitment isn't it?"

"You can't make a commitment in March 2008 about what circumstances will be like in January of 2009," she said. "He will, of course, not rely on some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator. He will rely upon a plan - an operational plan - that he pulls together in consultation with people who are on the ground to whom he doesn't have daily access now, as a result of not being the president. So to think - it would be the height of ideology to sort of say, 'Well, I said it, therefore I'm going to impose it on whatever reality greets me.'"

"It's a best-case scenario," she said again.

H/T. To refresh your recollection, Obama's "responsible, yet effective" plan (he was so impressed at the time that a plan could be both!) would have committed the nation to "phased redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq not later than May 1, 2007, with the goal that all combat brigades redeploy from Iraq by March 31, 2008." In other words, even with the war underway Obama wanted at the time to head in the exact opposite direction from the advice the military brass, led by Gen. Petraeus, was actually giving, to implement a stepped-up counterinsurgency strategy including a troop "surge". Now that the surge has proven to be a successful strategy, Obama's still running on his opposition to it, while his adviser was out there telling an international audience that yes, in office he would actually consider doing something different if he got military advice (technically, Obama is a member of the U.S. Senate, but I suppose they don't forward his mail on this whole war business to the campaign trail).

No wonder he fired her. Can't let the cat out of the bag while there are still anti-war activists to separate from their wallets.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 1:10 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (9) | TrackBack (0)
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The Clinton Legacy

The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
- Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates*
- Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
- Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
- Most number of witnesses to die suddenly
- First president sued for sexual harassment.
- First president accused of rape.
- First first lady to come under criminal investigation
- Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
- First president to establish a legal defense fund.
- First president to be held in contempt of court
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
- First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court

CRIME STATS

- Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
- Number of these convictions during Clinton's presidency: 33
- Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
- Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122

CAMPAIGN FINANCE INVESTIGATION

- As of June 2000, the Justice Department listed 25 people indicted and 19 convicted because of the 1996 Clinton-Gore fundraising scandals.
- According to the House Committee on Government Reform in September 2000, 79 House and Senate witnesses asserted the Fifth Amendment in the course of investigations into Gore's last fundraising campaign.
-James Riady entered a plea agreement to pay an $8.5 million fine for campaign finance crimes. This was a record under campaign finance laws.

CLINTON MACHINE CRIMES FOR WHICH CONVICTIONS WERE OBTAINED

Drug trafficking (3), racketeering, extortion, bribery (4), tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement (2), fraud (12), conspiracy (5), fraudulent loans, illegal gifts (1), illegal campaign contributions (5), money laundering (6), perjury, obstruction of justice

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

- Number of independent counsel inquiries since the 1978 law was passed: 19
- Number that have produced indictments: 7
- Number that produced more convictions than the Starr investigation: 1
- Median length of investigations that led to convictions: 44 months
- Length of Starr-Ray investigation: 69 months.
- Total cost of the Starr investigation (3/00) $52 million
- Total cost of the Iran-Contra investigation: $48.5 million
- Total cost to taxpayers of the Madison Guarantee failure: $73 million

OTHER MATTERS INVESTIGATED BY SPECIAL PROSECUTORS AND CONGRESS, OR REPORTED IN THE MEDIA

Bank and mail fraud, violations of campaign finance laws, illegal foreign campaign funding, improper exports of sensitive technology, physical violence and threats of violence, solicitation of perjury, intimidation of witnesses, bribery of witnesses, attempted intimidation of prosecutors, perjury before congressional committees, lying in statements to federal investigators and regulatory officials, flight of witnesses, obstruction of justice, bribery of cabinet members, real estate fraud, tax fraud, drug trafficking, failure to investigate drug trafficking, bribery of state officials, use of state police for personal purposes, exchange of promotions or benefits for sexual favors, using state police to provide false court testimony, laundering of drug money through a state agency, false reports by medical examiners and others investigating suspicious deaths, the firing of the RTC and FBI director when these agencies were investigating Clinton and his associates, failure to conduct autopsies in suspicious deaths, providing jobs in return for silence by witnesses, drug abuse, improper acquisition and use of 900 FBI files, improper futures trading, murder, sexual abuse of employees, false testimony before a federal judge, shredding of documents, withholding and concealment of subpoenaed documents, fabricated charges against (and improper firing of) White House employees, inviting drug traffickers, foreign agents and participants in organized crime to the White House.

ARKANSAS ALTZHEIMER'S

Number of times that Clinton figures who testified in court or before Congress said that they didn't remember, didn't know, or something similar.

Bill Kennedy 116
Harold Ickes 148
Ricki Seidman 160
Bruce Lindsey 161
Bill Burton 191
Mark Gearan 221
Mack McLarty 233
Neil Egglseston 250
Hillary Clinton 250
John Podesta 264
Jennifer O'Connor 343
Dwight Holton 348
Patsy Thomasson 420
Jeff Eller 697

Posted by: Florence at March 7, 2008 3:35 PM

The Clinton Legacy

The only president ever impeached on grounds of personal malfeasance
- Most number of convictions and guilty pleas by friends and associates*
- Most number of cabinet officials to come under criminal investigation
- Most number of witnesses to flee country or refuse to testify
- Most number of witnesses to die suddenly
- First president sued for sexual harassment.
- First president accused of rape.
- First first lady to come under criminal investigation
- Largest criminal plea agreement in an illegal campaign contribution case
- First president to establish a legal defense fund.
- First president to be held in contempt of court
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions
- Greatest amount of illegal campaign contributions from abroad
- First president disbarred from the US Supreme Court and a state court

CRIME STATS

- Number of individuals and businesses associated with the Clinton machine who have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to crimes: 47
- Number of these convictions during Clinton's presidency: 33
- Number of indictments/misdemeanor charges: 61
- Number of congressional witnesses who have pleaded the Fifth Amendment, fled the country to avoid testifying, or (in the case of foreign witnesses) refused to be interviewed: 122

CAMPAIGN FINANCE INVESTIGATION

- As of June 2000, the Justice Department listed 25 people indicted and 19 convicted because of the 1996 Clinton-Gore fundraising scandals.
- According to the House Committee on Government Reform in September 2000, 79 House and Senate witnesses asserted the Fifth Amendment in the course of investigations into Gore's last fundraising campaign.
-James Riady entered a plea agreement to pay an $8.5 million fine for campaign finance crimes. This was a record under campaign finance laws.

CLINTON MACHINE CRIMES FOR WHICH CONVICTIONS WERE OBTAINED

Drug trafficking (3), racketeering, extortion, bribery (4), tax evasion, kickbacks, embezzlement (2), fraud (12), conspiracy (5), fraudulent loans, illegal gifts (1), illegal campaign contributions (5), money laundering (6), perjury, obstruction of justice

HISTORICAL CONTEXT

- Number of independent counsel inquiries since the 1978 law was passed: 19
- Number that have produced indictments: 7
- Number that produced more convictions than the Starr investigation: 1
- Median length of investigations that led to convictions: 44 months
- Length of Starr-Ray investigation: 69 months.
- Total cost of the Starr investigation (3/00) $52 million
- Total cost of the Iran-Contra investigation: $48.5 million
- Total cost to taxpayers of the Madison Guarantee failure: $73 million

OTHER MATTERS INVESTIGATED BY SPECIAL PROSECUTORS AND CONGRESS, OR REPORTED IN THE MEDIA

Bank and mail fraud, violations of campaign finance laws, illegal foreign campaign funding, improper exports of sensitive technology, physical violence and threats of violence, solicitation of perjury, intimidation of witnesses, bribery of witnesses, attempted intimidation of prosecutors, perjury before congressional committees, lying in statements to federal investigators and regulatory officials, flight of witnesses, obstruction of justice, bribery of cabinet members, real estate fraud, tax fraud, drug trafficking, failure to investigate drug trafficking, bribery of state officials, use of state police for personal purposes, exchange of promotions or benefits for sexual favors, using state police to provide false court testimony, laundering of drug money through a state agency, false reports by medical examiners and others investigating suspicious deaths, the firing of the RTC and FBI director when these agencies were investigating Clinton and his associates, failure to conduct autopsies in suspicious deaths, providing jobs in return for silence by witnesses, drug abuse, improper acquisition and use of 900 FBI files, improper futures trading, murder, sexual abuse of employees, false testimony before a federal judge, shredding of documents, withholding and concealment of subpoenaed documents, fabricated charges against (and improper firing of) White House employees, inviting drug traffickers, foreign agents and participants in organized crime to the White House.

ARKANSAS ALTZHEIMER'S

Number of times that Clinton figures who testified in court or before Congress said that they didn't remember, didn't know, or something similar.

Bill Kennedy 116
Harold Ickes 148
Ricki Seidman 160
Bruce Lindsey 161
Bill Burton 191
Mark Gearan 221
Mack McLarty 233
Neil Egglseston 250
Hillary Clinton 250
John Podesta 264
Jennifer O'Connor 343
Dwight Holton 348
Patsy Thomasson 420
Jeff Eller 697

Posted by: Florence at March 7, 2008 3:35 PM

I will acknowledge up front that I have second guessed judgements and decisions of the man I voted for twice, so BO is certainly allowed to have his shot at claiming he'll make it all look easy. Politics is a series of 100 mph intentional bean balls, and given time I expect that BO will look as incompetent as anyone else.

Given his platform, I'm not surprised. Raising taxes, ditching free trade, denying tactical military success in Iraq are all errors in my opinion, and he's had to backtrack already on at least some of it. In case any of you Move On trolls care to dispute it, I use for example the silly episode of his advisor and the Canadians on NAFTA. I will be interested to see if he has the humility to admit that maybe his Messiahship is actually without divine guidance.

Posted by: NRA Life Member at March 7, 2008 3:46 PM

Despite Obama's edge versus McCain on HDTV, I actually like McCain's chances against Obama because I see this campaign coming down to Ohio. If anyone saw Obama's votes in Ohio, they know he can't do squat there. He won Cleveland, Cincy, and Columbus. He received no support from anywhere else. He is toast in a general election if that plays out. Plus, any candidate hoping my generation will turn off the Ipods and vote is asking for a letdown. Vote or die!

Posted by: Son of Brock Landers at March 7, 2008 4:14 PM

Be quiet

Posted by: SteveMeyers at March 7, 2008 5:09 PM

Spot on.

Posted by: Tom Comerford at March 7, 2008 9:54 PM

The NAFTA fiasco was planted by the Clinton campaign, during the Ohio primary........The Clinton campaign also released the photo`s to Drudge, of The Sen from Illinois in native garb, THE senator from New York, also said she`d vote for John McCain, instead of fellow democrat Sen Obama....Ya`think the repugs will use that film clip during the general election should Obama be the party nominee ?.......you think Laura Bush`s time as first lady qualifies her as Presidential material as it does Mes. Clinton ?....Mrs Clinton lauds her time as first lady and the vast experience she gained....perhaps Laura Bush in 2012 ?

Posted by: don at March 8, 2008 12:48 PM

There is a large difference between Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. Well, several differences, including not getting into a car with Laura, but I digress.

As a Clinton, she is a tough and dirty campaigner, so maybe she should have been a Republican. However, another difference, yes, she learned as First Lady, but also as a senator from a very large state. She won a tough race the first time, and waltzed the second, winning votes from people who swore never to vote for her, or anyone named Clinton. And she did it by being a very good senator.

Chris Rock used a great line, something like, he's been married for ten years, but it doesn't mean his wife could pack a theater and wow 'em. However, if his wife was Sarah Silverman, yes she could.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at March 9, 2008 11:53 AM

Looking at Power's quoted remarks, I see nothing to get anyone's dander up. He's committed to a drawdown and has a preliminary plan of action. He's looking to avail himself of as much intelligence as possible before making a final decision regarding specifics.

Although that does sound decidedly different than someone else who's made such important decisions.

Perhaps some would prefer he made up his mind previous to consultation with experts who are on the ground at such time a decision is necessary.

Wait, I'm having deja vu again.

Posted by: macsonix at March 12, 2008 12:14 AM
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