10 minutes on whether Hillary can win

A second, shorter video, about whether Hillary should win (and whether that should matter). Here both at blip.tv (which has better quality) and youtube.com, as well as a link to download the original.

Original file here.

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54 Responses to 10 minutes on whether Hillary can win

  1. Rick Burnes says:

    Yes, our generation needs to take the torch. Or, as Derek would say, take the mike.

    Thank you for making these videos. They’re great.

  2. [Note: The electability issue was in part why my pick was John Edwards]

    Sorry. Good try.

    But I am not convinced.

    You don’t cover “Who has the most experience battling the Republican smear machine?”. Clinton wins that one easily.

    There’s a couple of logical leaps in your argument, like the fact that there’s nothing that says Clinton’s themes in the primary against Obama have to be the same as the themes used against McCain.

    But mainly I’ll go with “Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time”.

  3. Stephen Cochran says:

    But Seth, how do you discount the fact that Clinton is such a hugely polarizing figure who will drive extreme republicans out in droves to ensure she doesn’t win? These are the same republicans who have little love for McCain, and would probably not be as well represented in a McCain/Obama matchup? This is also true of many moderate/independent voters, who abandoned Gore in large part to move away from what they considered the “stigma” of the Clinton era?

    Meanwhile, Obama has energized a large core of the Democratic party who, given a choice between Clinton and McCain, just can’t see that much of a difference, and are likely not to bother to choose.

  4. zenbum says:

    Seth Finkelstein writes: “Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time.”

    Then Hillary should easily dispatch Obama. But, so far, she seems to be bungling the job.

    As to Finkelstein’s other point, the Clintons obviously have “experience battling the Republican smear machine.” But were they actually successful against that machine? Have we forgotten how Bill’s second term was severely marred by endless scandals and rumors of scandals and impeachment hearings? Have we forgotten how the entire nation was gripped by Clinton fatigue in 2000? Have we forgotten that at least part of the reason Al Gore lost the presidential race was because the nation just wanted to completely forget about the Clintons? Did the Clintons actually win that war?

    Besides, Obama has handled the Clinton smear machine pretty well so far. There’s no reason to think he couldn’t also stand up to the Republicans.

    Finally, maybe Obama is more treacherous than you give him credit for. Maybe he’s just more judicious in its use and better at hiding it from public view. Maybe “youth, skill, and discreet treachery” is the winning combination. 🙂

  5. charlie says:

    Great video. One other point to add in Obama’s favor in terms of electability. The Clinton political machine is often touted as a key necessity for winning the national election. While there is no doubt in my mind that the Clintons have crafted an extensive and influential political machine, one should definitely doubt its effectiveness. How is it that Hillary Clinton, who was significantly ahead in the polls last fall, has lost the lead to a junior senator who did not have the benefit of such extensive political influence and support? If a candidate can’t hold their substantial lead against someone who was practically an unknown to the general populace before the primaries, why believe that the Clintons could succeed against a John McCain who will have the support of most of the Republican party behind him? And what does this say about Obama’s effectiveness against a political machine that he could succeed as well as he has against the Clintons?

  6. jonm says:

    I agree that Obama is clearly more electable than Clinton, but what, actually, are his ideals that are thought to be worthwhile? From his speeches, impressive though these are, they are hope rather than fear, the future rather than the past, and unity rather than divisiveness. These are inspiring but fundamentally empty words, as those who remember that George W Bush was elected as a uniter, not a divider will recall.

    So, although he seems to be a man of substance, he is certainly presenting none of that in his campaign themes. Furthermore, he’s not actually as pure as the driven snow — he’s been pretty happy to pander to vested interests when it suits him, such as in his support for biofuel subsidies, as wrong-headed a policy as anyone has come up with in the last twenty five years.

    Hilary, in contrast, is the school swot to his coolest kid in the class. She has more detailed and thoroughly thought out policies, so much so that, in its own wonkish way, this reflects a kind of passion, much like the way Al Gore used to have a blackboard on his office and lecture visitors on global warming. Does this matter, aren’t there experts to take care of these things? Well, up to a point, but I would certainly rather have a president who was demonstrably strong on policy, and having Bill around would help too.

    Obama’s advantage on inspiration and lack of demonstrated policy depth need not be a personal worry for those whose next big decision is whether to buy a Volvo, a BMW or a Prius. But for those who do need the government, who risk falling through the cracks of a policy mistake, a Clinton administration seems the more prudent choice, though both are clearly better than any Republican administration.

    On the other hand, I agree with almost everything in the presentation and think that Obama would probably beat McCain, whereas Hilary would almost certainly lose. For this, he gets my vote.

  7. Peter Rock says:

    As a non-American living overseas since the late 90s including several years in the middle east, I can also say that Obama would do much more than Clinton in regard to turning around the negative perception much of the world has toward the US.

    It’s unfortunate that one of the greatest countries in the world is currently perceived so negatively outside its own borders. I really hope to see that change over the coming years but I don’t think it will happen under any president other than Obama.

  8. Steve Baba says:

    Another ten minutes. This is the problem. People who will spend 20 minutes or 10 minutes are even more self-selected, biased than the general web groups that self associate on the web.

    I did manage to listen to most of the prior 20-minute video – one week after it was posted – and I was not paying attention to the screen constantly.

    If you can’t write out the reason in text that takes one minute to read, it’s a waste of my time. I am better off watching Charlie Rose or some Paul Krugman’s NY Times review saying that Obama was close to becoming a personality cult, which your previous video lead me to agree with.

    Lack of moral courage because Clinton compromised – and when is Hillary responsible for Bill, but I won’t press the point. Actually Hillary did not compromise over Health care in the 90s – and we got Newt and maybe Bush later. Oh and let me thank the gay marriage people, not that I object to them getting married, but for not compromising and doing it right before the election and setting themselves up for Rove and the conservatives. And let me thank all the Nador supporters for their moral courage voting for a lost cause resulting in Bush.

    Obama is not a lost cause but a roll of the dice.

  9. Rick Rushing says:

    Once again, sir, an excellent piece.

    As an Independent I cannot fathom the idea that the Republicans might win this election. It’s absurd to lay the travesties of the last seven years solely at the feet of Bush, Cheney, and Rove. A great many powerful and knowledgeable Republicans chose to revel in the power trip or, at best, toe the party line quietly. Any Republican caught inside the beltway should be shot on sight. We’re not particularly happy with the Democrats either but, for now, we’ll give ’em a running start.

    Likewise, I’ll hold the Democrats responsible for the next four years, not just Obama or Clinton. I think Barack is indeed somewhat less experienced. And that’s a good thing. His role is to bring vision, integrity, leadership, and inspiration to the job. It’s the responsibility of the Democratic Party to surround him with the skills and experience that he needs to be effective. That sounds a whole lot like “open government” to me; or at least much closer to it than we’ve seen in a very long time.

    Contrast that with the Clintons. Those who remember the Clinton presidency as the “good old days” slay me totally. Okay, compared to Bush: yes. But in fact Bill inherited a solid economy with stable energy resources. Communist China was not yet a manufacturing force. The economy was fueled by the “dot.com” explosion. His presidency is best described, I think, as “two years trying to get to first base followed by six years being content with a single.” And of course there were the personal indiscretions that caused the later years of his presidency to be closed and distressed. Worse, his party had to work hard to save him when he was impeached. That remains a divisive issue within the party to this day. Hasn’t anyone noticed that Hillary’s candidacy has been largely a “Hillary & Bill Show” with very few strong Democrats as supporting actors?

    But it’s not about Bill, is it? Okay; sure. So there’s the swearing-in ceremony, which Bill declares to also be “a renewal of their marriage vows”, warming hearts across America. He dutifully carries her across the White House threshold whereupon she says, “Remember Bill, I am the President!” He replies, “Yes Hillary. But if your last name wasn’t Clinton you never would have gotten anywhere near this place.” Therein lies the rub.

    What of that relationship? How does it work? Bill expects a return to power. Do we expect him to oversee the decor changes and give speeches to the DAR? I don’t think so. More likely he would assume (officially or not) the Karl Rove position to make use of his political savvy and allow him input on the entire spectrum of issues. How would they deal with each other (something they’ve done very little of since 2000)? Bill is intensely egotistical and chauvinistic. If they disagree will he work around her to get his way?9 If they disagree is it objective or are there old skeletons lurking in their heads that skew their thinking?
    We don’t know, of course. I just get uncomfortable putting such an intense personal dynamic between two powerful people (she’ll have it; he’ll want it) into the White House. It’s a wild card situation for which there is no precedent.

    In the end a McCain/Clinton contest leaves us Independents stuck between a rock and a hard place. Perhaps if the Republicans had managed to avoid violating just one of the Ten Commandments we could consider McCain. But they didn’t. That leaves Hillary and I just can’t go there; too much bad water under the bridge. Fact is, even back when she was way ahead she was chasing Barack. He has shaped the Democratic campaign and she has followed. Who’s the leader there?

    So if it’s McCain/Clinton I simply won’t vote. Better yet. maybe I can start an Independent write-in campaign for Daffy Duck to register our dissatisfaction with both parties.

  10. [d]aniel says:

    I agree that Clinton would lose against McCain. I have several friends who vote based on economics rather than social issues, track records, etc. and they have stated flat-out that even though they’re not Republicans, they’d take McCain over Clinton any day.

  11. Quiet Lurker says:

    I am a quiet Obama supporter. If forced to choose, I would select McCain over Clinton.

    My thinking goes something like: either do it well (Obama) or don’t do it at all (McCain).

    I am leery of any plans for broader gov’t activities (healthcare, education etc.) without a serious attempt to change the way Washington works. I do think there is more the gov’t can do, but I am unwilling to give it rein without a correction of its internal failings. Hillary has said nothing about changing Washington’s rituals. Without doing so, her ambitious plans will be fatally water-logged until made rotten.

    I dislike many of McCain’s positions, but I think that his presidency would be more public (and thus his failings more remediable) than Hillary’s.

  12. warner says:

    anyone know where can I find that picture in the second video of the boy holding the sign?

  13. Kate says:

    In the earliest phase of his Campaign, Barack Obama was trashed by journalists for being “professorial” and “wonkish” because his stump speeches were so full of obsessive policy detail.

    And they were right – his ideas weren’t having the impact that his IDEALS have. The ideals have brought him from the back of the pack to front-runner status, so I think maybe the votes of millions of Americans on that basis shouldn’t be dismissed so lightly?

    I also think that assuming – without actually even casting about through the laziest possible google search for evidence – that an inspiring speaker doesn’t have anything else to offer…is a sign of superficial thinking, to put it as mildly as I possibly can.

    But what of that policy? If you think there isn’t any, then you haven’t looked, and that, I’m sorry to say, reflects badly on you.

    Try here:


    On ethics, check this out:

    On electability, look here:


    I’ve yet to hear from a Clinton supporter who actually knows anything about Obama. Even the most basic positions and facts. And yes – they’re out there, because there are millions of us who do know all about them. And everyone I know who has actually done the research? Somehow, each and every time, the path of research is leading to Obama. Because the facts are with him.

  14. This may be just my cynicism, but I believe people who think that the Republican smear-artists can’t turn a peacemongering African-American with a Muslim family background, into a “polarizing figure”, and energize the Republican base to vote against him in favor of a bona-fide American war hero, are dangerously naive. I could be wrong, I don’t set myself up as any great expert on politics, this is just me bloviating about how I size it up. But the lines of attack there seem pretty obvious to me.

    The fallacy seems to be that Obama is not ever going to get mud stuck on him, because he’s just cool and makes fancy speeches. That would be wishful thinking.

    I also believe that Clinton can’t really unload against Obama because that would alienate the African-American core Democratic constituency, which she needs in the general election. The Republicans don’t have that problem, almost the reverse – race-baiting counts as a positive for them (again, one really needs to know the words “Southern Strategy” here).

    Every candidate – Clinton, Obama, McCain – has a caricature. McCain sometimes looks like he’s a character out of the movie Dr. Strangelove (“bomb, bomb, bomb – bomb, bomb Iran”). On that basis, I’m favor the one who has lots of experience with that sort of attack and is still standing, rather than the one who is going to get his first real fight for championship stakes.

  15. Hoorah says:

    I personally think the polls really speak very loudly, but also look at how Hillary is turning to states like Texas (probably the only state that would re-elect W. if they could) for a constituency. She already has turned the race into the civil war alienating blacks. Now she is going for a states that will not vote for her in the national election. There is also Hillary’s seemingly unapologetic snubbing of party rules and her “Mission Accomplished” style rally in Florida. Her campaign is turning into a joke and if she wins the primary she will have completely divided the Democratic party.

    A final point I would also make is that the electability argument never works. Look at John Kerry, instead of inspiring the party to get to the polls, he made people indifferent. If the choice is between two Yale educated C students, who cares. Hillary and McCain will largely have much of that feel for the young generation, except the choice is between two polarizing figures more interested in their own image rather than the people they represent. McCain is already disorganizing the Republicans its time for a leader that can unite and Obama is that leader.

  16. Conservative Foot Soldier says:

    Sen. Obama spews empty rhetoric in front of frenzied crowds. Big deal. We are not electing a Televangelist-in-Chief. What matters is the capacity of the President after the teleprompters stop rolling, when the harsh realities must be faced and the actual work must get done. Obama is a fad, an unproven, untested fringe politician blessed with oratory presence. That’s not the job description for President of the Greatest Nation in History.

  17. John C. Randolph says:


    Is it better to have a candidate with experience countering the republican smear machine, as you put it, or one who offers them far less ammunition?

    Hillary is probably the only person who could lose to McCain, unless you exhumed Walter Mondale and nominated him. Obama’s nothing to write home about, but he comes in at neutral, not at minus several million points.


  18. Steve Baba says:

    Having found time to watch the video in chunks between commercials, my quick analysis is that it omits three things:

    1) Regression to the mean – regression to a normal political reputation. – St. Obama has no place to go but down, while Hillary is looking up.

    2) The undiscovered information out there on Obama vs Hillary – By definition one does not know what is out there until discovered by reporter or opposition research, but there are much more likely surprises out there for “fresh meat” Obama than Hillary.

    3) Both candidates will run like dogs, I mean politicians, to the center to gain a few points. The fact that the Republicans, McCain, is virtually even, after the bad, economy, war, incompetence is only because the Democrats ran to the left. Running to the center might impair 100% honest Obama’s image of moral courage – Lessig’s prior video’s reason.

  19. roger says:

    Response to those who talk about Obama’s inexperience

    “Obama is a fad, an unproven, untested fringe politician”

    Honestly, people like Conservative Foot Soldier need to brush up on American history.

    Let’s see:
    Pre-Presidential Experience of Selected Presidents

    Abraham Lincoln (8yrs State Leg., 2 Yrs House )
    JFK – (6Yrs House, 8 Yrs Senate)
    Reagan (8 Yrs Gov. NO Foreign Policy exp.)
    GW Bush (6 Yrs Gov. , NO Foreign Policy exp.)
    Bill Clinton ( Yrs Gov., NO Foreign Policy exp.)
    Barack Obama (8Yrs State Leg., 4 Yrs Senate, with Foreign Relations Com.)
    Hillary Clinton (8 Yrs Exp., Failed us with Iraq)

    The Choice Is Yours!

  20. CP says:

    Getting out the vote is key. Barack Obama has proven he can bring new people to the table. Those who believe in the old age and treachery that permeates washington obviously doesn’t understand what change means. Those who think the same old strategies are going to bring about new results is are practicing the definition of insanity. Vote for the establishment and that is what you are going to get. Sure the expected lines of attack are clear but so are the lines to break away from it. Some of you expect the worst from the american public and some of us expect the worst from existing washington players. Who wiill win? Again, whoever can get people to the voting booth.

  21. Greg says:

    thanks for leaving out ron paul. just like the media! congrats for being biased.

  22. Mitch Conners says:

    As much as I hate the GOP with the heat of a thousand suns, I will never vote for Clinton. I will either stay home, vote independent or vote McCain to punish the party.

    Hillary only polls well in places that will vote (D) no matter what or not vote (D) at all. She’s a moderate, that is all about back-room politics and will say anything to get elected.

    44% percent of the country dislikes her. That’s a huge amount. Her negatives far outweigh her positives.

  23. Lucien Beauley says:

    “The Truth Will Make You Free”. Now, dig in. Begin your journey:
    Somehow, Americans Will Never Forget About Hillary Clinton Tricks in 1996


    Congressional records of Hillary bill


  24. I sometimes wonder if I should bother making a FAQ, because if I reply I’ll keep repeating the same basic points over and over again:

    Once Obama is sent through the right-wing mud-machine, he’s not going to look so pretty. Comparing pre-mud Obama to super-slimed Clinton, and saying look, look, how clean the former appears, and how muddied the latter is, will be invalid once the Republicans get going on him. I believe people are projecting what they hope and dream, which is a very bad way to make good estimates about the future.

  25. independent hope says:

    I’ve read voting for Obama is like rolling the dice, and I can’t say I, an independent Obama supporter (who would sooner not vote at all than vote for Clinton) don’t disagree. Bush made “not a divider” assertions and lied, McCain doesn’t seem to be lying but his version of the truth is the opposite of what I want. Clinton, well, lies. She denies supporting the war, although she was fully behind the war up until the Republican majorities were kicked out of Congress because of it. With her, it’s like being smiled at, then stabbed in the back, then being told she was there for me all along. She is a liar, spinster, whatever you want to call someone who does whatever they can to instill deception.

    She counts her experience as being first lady. How many people would let a heart surgeon operate on them because they were married to a surgeon, but lacked medical schooling themselves? To me, experience doesn’t matter a great deal (especially when that experience encompasses a great deal of failures). But as she tries to make that argument, I have to say it holds no substance because her endeavors as first lady was a failure, and her war votes were always whatever was popular at the time. She has no substance and I can not believe she has any sincerity.

    Obama, relatively inexperienced, many of his details yet known, may be rolling the dice, but that is a chance I am willing to take and will put my vote behind. When the known choices break ones heart and spirit (as Bush has done for two terms now), any gamble is a far better alternative. So as I shake the dice in my hand with hope that the roll yields a favorable outcome … it is better, anything is better that allows HOPE when all other choices lead to certain and absolute despair.

  26. Micah- says:

    Seth, your arguments are not well thought out.

    You seem to be under the impression that it is the Republican mud-machine that made Clinton who she is. That’s an erroneous assumption. Mere fabrications can only go so far. The only effective mud-slinging that would have a lasting effect or amount to anything is if there is some beef. Without the beef, it will mostly end up backfiring or wilt away as a sad attempt. The fallacy here is in your presumption that there is as much ‘uncovered’ beef out there about Obama as there has been about Hillary and that just ISN’T TRUE. The republicans don’t make the beef, they just cook it…..they won’t have 2 much to work with if it’s Obama; in the case of Hillary on the other hand, they’ll be having a fiesta.

    Besides, Hillary hasn’t necessarily been holding back on Obama either..

  27. Rebuttal: Al Gore, Internet

    There is more than enough raw material for Republican hatchet-jobbers to work up a Swift Boating of Obama. For heaven’s sake, the guy’s middle name is literally “Hussein”!

  28. Don Ayer says:

    Beautifully done, Larry. I think the truth of what you say is becoming clearer by the day. Who thought a month ago that Obama would carry Virginia nearly 2-1?

  29. Steve Baba says:

    There will be more raw materials or “beef” for Obama’s opponents to work with when investigative reporters and book-writers focus on him if he becomes the Democratic nominee. Right now there are only his autobiography and campaign books, which are as self-serving as any autobiography.

    One benefit of being new (inexperienced) is that nobody as bothered to write an investigative book pricking one’s image. Conservative Shelby Steele as written a short book but it’s on how African Americans cope, not an investigative biography.

    There will be a half-dozen books on Obama, and none will be as positive as his autobiography. Republican opposition researchers will also find everything they can.

  30. dbt says:

    Hillary was wrong on the war, wrong on Iran (the Kyl/Lieberman resolution) and wrong on domestic spying (didn’t show).

    Obama’s right on those issues and more. And I think he can make a better principled case against McCain and attract more voters.

    And after that, I think he’s more likely to lead with his concience and wisdom than he is to get rolled by his advisors (Edwards) or his own timidity (Clinton, in the most charitable interpretation of her senate career).

  31. John says:

    I’m with Rick Rushing. If it’s McCain/Clinton, I’ll write in Daffy Duck. And I know I can recruit at least 75% of my friends to do the same.

  32. Great video! My name is Travis and I am a student at Stanford University. Because I believe Barack is the best candidate with the potential to revolutionize politics, I created a website at this http://www.digobama.com so people like you can submit your favorite articles, videos and podcasts about Barack and vote on them. This site is extremely new (created Monday, February 13th) and is ready to gain momentum in spreading Barack’s message. With your help, this website can play an important role in helping Barack become the clear People’s Choice as the next President. Thank you and Yes We Can make a difference!!!

  33. Rick Rushing says:

    Way to go Travis. Great site. It’s great to see you younger folks getting into the fray.
    As a Baby Boomer I’m proud of what we achieved back in the 1960’s. Regrettably, smug with ourselves, we’ve lived the last 30 years in the stupor of complacency and left you a mess to clean up. I apologize to you for that.
    Don’t ever underestimate the collective power of youth in unison.
    Go get ’em, son.

  34. slag says:

    Glenn Greenwald makes an excellent case for why Clinton’s campaign strategy is doomed to fail. Plus, I would point to the fact that, when Bush got on Fox News and lied about Obama’s position on Pakistan, not only did Obama immediately shoot back:

    “of course President Bush would attack the one candidate in this race who opposed his disastrous war in Iraq from the start. But Barack Obama doesn’t need any foreign policy advice from the architect of the worst foreign policy decision in a generation.”

    but shortly thereafter, no less than four (4) CNN personalities criticized Bush’s lie on-air. You don’t get that with Clinton. That’s a big change!

  35. mike charlton says:

    Professor Lessig: your presentation in support of Obama is both thoughtful and moving and I could not agree with you more. I write to offer a more prosaic reason why I think Clinton can’t win and probably won’t get the nomination.

    When she ran for reelection to the Senate in 2006, she ran against a fourth ranked GOP candidate and amassed a fortune of over 70 million dollars in contributions. The vast majority of pundits thought that she would run away with the election ( she did) and still have 35 million or so in unspent funds to transfer to her presidential campaign. Those same pundits considered that amount to be an insurmountable obstacle for other Democratic opponents and thus, the talk of coronation. As it turned out, she spent almost all of it, leaving her with only 10 million to carry over to the new campaign.

    While it seems strange to talk about 10 million as a paltry sum, that has proven to be the case but the more important point is how the money was spent. A great deal was spent on items that had nothing to do with the campaign: roses in hotel rooms, gifts etc. While this clearly suggests profligacy, it more importantly suggests that the issue of inevitability was overstated.

    At the end of 2007, Senator Clinton had raised substantially more money than Senator Obama – almost 25 million more. Yet, at the end of January, she had to loan her campaign 5 million, since repaid from contributions but at a cost to her race.

    While the sign of a sinking campaign may well be the “tossing over” of campaign staff, as happened with Ms. Solis and three others, it is important to start recognizing that the candidate least prepared to conduct a campaign was not the junior senator from Illinois but Senator Clinton. Whether the strategy and expenditures are a reflection of a misguided campaign or hubris, both clearly reflect an unprepared candidate, one who failed to anticipate the effect of a more grass roots supported campaign.

    I have little doubt that Senator Clinton would make a fine president but I have also no doubt she would make a terrible nominee. The inspiration of Senator Obama was enough to make me a supporter but the pragmatic side of Senator Clinton’s campaign should suggest that the Democratic party close ranks quickly behind Obama.

  36. Al says:

    Great vids! I must admit I had never seen these before! They are very educating. Thanks for posting them.

  37. Liz says:

    The videos are very interesting, thanks for putting them up. I like Obama for two reasons, he represents true Amercia. Just his background from childhood to his broken family, it really represents who we are. The other reason is for how he makes me feel when I hear him speak, it is very moving.

    There are many things about Hillary that most don’t realize. She started her career before even graduating from law school. She made changes in her college campus making it possible for more women to attend law school. Now there are more women then men who attend law school. She started this movement as a young adult. She also started the movement to protect abused and neglected children, decades ago this was non-existant. Her proposed health care plan has been in the works for over a decade, she as been fine tuning it all this time. Republicans don’t like her becuase she stands for issues that they don’t like.
    She is a determined, headstrong, aggressive woman and in our society those qualities are considered to be un-lady like. The exit voting polls prove it, go to cnn.com, men would rather vote for a smooth-talking-under-qualified-man than vote for an experienced woman. This is very sad, and people want change, okay sure.
    This is the first thing going against Hillary. The second is her vote to go to war, mind you, congress voted %70 in favor of the war. And of course, she won’t admit that the war was her fault. This last one I have a real problem with. …
    Let’s say you are a car saleman, you sold a car to a 25 year old, she goes to a bar gets drunk, decides she can drive home, ends up running someone over killing them. Who’s fault is that? Based on what people want Hillary to say, you the car salesman is who is at fault, so go ahead and admit it already.
    All over the media, all you hear is that Hillary won’t say she voted for the war and it was a mistake. WRONG. All she did, along with %70 of congress, was give the president the car. Bush took it, wrecked the whole thing while killing thousands of others along the way. But we all still want her to say it was wrong to believe in our president. By the way, do you believe in hope and unity and change? Because that is what Barack Obama is campaigning about, he wants you to believe in him. So was she wrong to believe in our president at the time she cast her vote? Was she wrong to believe that the president would make responsible choices when driving the car that congress granted him?
    It is time to really wake up here people.

    Barack Obama is and will be right from day one, so he says…
    I did some lengthy research on this and here is what I found. Congress voted in favor of the war on October 2, 2002, Barack Obama rallied agains it on what date? Well if you go to his website he will have you believe that he attended this rallly on the same day it was voted in favor of. Go to his site and see for your self.
    No go to http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/1/15/12414/5816
    Don’t believe it, here is an article writing about how inspiring Barack’s speech was and they point out the date he actually made that speech. http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/columnists/x486488841

    So was he right on day one or was he right on day 24???
    Don’t believe the Hype!

  38. Rick Rushing says:

    If I may clear up a few issues. (from US Senate official site)
    10//02/02 – Iraq Resolution introduced in the House
    10/10/02 – Passed by House (296 – 133 )
    10/11/02 – Passed by Senate (77-23)
    10/16/02 – Signed by Bush

    Obama was, of course, an Illinois congressman at the time. I can’t find anything to refute that he gave the speech on 10/02/02. The confusion seems to exist because he gave that same speech numerous times in that period.

    Here’s my problem with Clinton:
    She was less than 19 months removed from 8 years in the White House and was married to one of the most well-connected men on the planet. Her desire for the presidency was well known.
    The Republicans had a lock in the House purely on partisan head count. It wasn’t a partisan lock in the Senate but only a few Democratic votes were needed. Those votes were easily in hand so Hillary’s would not affect passage. She was free to vote either way.
    In the middle of the Senate chamber lay a huge dead rat called WMD. It stank to high heaven but they didn’t care. Everyone knew it wasn’t a REASON to go to war, it was an EXCUSE. The real reasons were well known and Hillary had access to info at least as good as any other Democrat. Despite knowing what was going down she figured a yea vote was politically safe and positioned her for campaign funding from the usual suspects. Wrong answer.
    She knew the score yet she voted for war for purely personal political reasons. That might be understandable for a routine appropriations bill but it was WAR; people die in mass quantities, including the good guys. It was the wrong vote for the wrong reasons; two wrongs don’t make a right here, just a “way wrong.”
    I’d have more respect if she’d just own up to it. But she wouldn’t be running for president with that approach so she offers the feeble excuse that “we were misled by Bush.” Come on.
    Further, it’s a safe bet that any end to the war that she might effect would have to be under circumstances that would prove her war vote to have been correct.
    Barack got it right. It’s as simple as that. Why? How? Beats me. I don’t know how JFK got it right during the Cuban missile crisis either. He just did. And we’re all still here.

  39. Didi says:

    Here are a couple more videos that bear consideration:


    Why is the media hiding this stuff? Maybe because they want to hold on to it until he’s the
    nominee and then start pumping it all over the networks and country – so McCain wins by a ‘

  40. Sidney says:

    Great movie…but I beg to differ with the conclusion you reached. I’m sure your intent was to show a clear path through the minefield that you envision the general election will present, but you’ve presented only one path and I see another.

    For the record I’m a Hillary Clinton and I believe she will be our next President. I hope for this because as you point out in the begininng of your video, politicians should be chosen based on their ideas, what they stand for, if they are able to lead and inspire people. I believe that Clinton has all these qualities and for that reason she has my vote.

    But, since the main point of your pirece is that many will decide who their candidate is based on electibility, I will give you my views as to why I believe that Hillary is the most electible candidate we have. She is the Democrats Dream Candidate…not the Republicans “dream” candidate as you see it.

    1. I’m glad that off the bat we both agree that polls are irrelevant at this point.

    2. If the campaign is framed by experience, your’e right, McCain has more years in the Senate, but with so many people ready to dismiss experience in the war of Clinton vs. Obama, how much weight will that argument carry and it’s a toss-up as to where the line is between to little and too much experience. Personally I think experience in the form or years on the job does have value so I will say that McCain has an advantage over Clinton here, but it’s not insurmountable as we see Obama on the verge of getting a nomination with barely any years on the job.

    3. Toughness: in different ways I would say that Clinton is just as tough as McCain. In fact McCain’s toughness may crss the line into anger and resentment (teo things that often come with age) and may make this one more of a tossu-up than you give it credit as.

    4. I do admire McCain’s straight talk stance, but his straight talk has in fact offended much of his base because simply out, staright talk means nothing if you don’t wanna hear it and a lot of people don’t want to hear what McCain has to say. This closely related to how you initially said people should choose their candidates…based on views, leadership and inspiration. A lot of people just don’t share the same view as McCain on what will be a major issue…The War. Clinton has his number on this one, because everyone wants the war to end. There may be some disagreement as to how, but McCain is being framed as someone who really doesn’t care if it even ends.

    5. At some point, someone will make the point that Obama’s position against the war is meaningless because he wasn’t even in the Senate to vote for or against it. McCain will call his bluff on this. I wish Clinton would simply call him on this now.

    6. I’m sorry but $1 million for Woodstock is nothing but a drop in the bucket for this country’s economy. Clinton will simply make the point that McCain paid $3 miilion to make and run that ad. He got all the mileage he could out of that ad…it got him a big laugh at the debate and put him on his way to the nomination. Clinton has nothing to fear from this ad airing again.

    7. I simply don’t believe that the subtext of debates between Clinton and McCain will be about the 60’s. The furthest they will go back is the 90’s when a Clinton was President. The debate will be about the future.

    8. The biggest hurdle Obama will face is whether he takes public campaign funding as he said he would. This will limit the amount of money he can spend against McCain and test if he’s a man of his word. I think he should keep his word because to this point all he’s got is his character. If he compromises his word…it’s gonna be all downhill.

    Finally, the biggest fallacy of your movie is the implication that only Obama can inspire. Well, Clinton’s speech after he Super Tuesday victories was one of the best I’ve ever heard a politician (or anyone) give. Obama has given what some claim to be great speeches, but none have inspired me to vote for him. It would be easy to dismiss my last comment, but for the fact that this is a close race and obviously many out there are inspired by candidates other than Obama.

    Thanks for making your movie and providing this forum for us to have this discussion.

  41. Closets says:

    At this point in history the Republicans could nominate Jesus Christ and they would still lose the presidential election. Without the “unholy” alliance between the wealthiest say 5% (true Republicans) and religious conservatives, the Republican part is impotent. I believe this election is being decided right now between Clinton and Obama.

  42. Dan Solis says:

    Why do Obama supporters such as yourself try to make him out to be some sort of Messiah. This really scares me. When taking part in politics, I’m not looking for an American Idol, I’m looking for someone who will get down to work. Inspiration is the least of my worries.

  43. Knol says:

    I agree that Clinton would lose against McCain.

  44. defg says:

    Republicans can’t wait to run against Obama and terrified of running against Hillary Clinton.
    It’s Obama who is the polarizing and divisive figure here.

  45. sdef says:

    Hoorah stated “She already has turned the race into the civil war alienating blacks.”

    That is the silliest statement I have heard in a long time.

  46. sdef says:

    Hoorah stated: She already has turned the race into the civil war alienating blacks.

    That is an iincredibly illogical and silly statement.
    The more I listen to the Obama cult members the more I realize how gullible we are.

  47. regine kelly says:

    Thursday 21 Feb
    Dear Prof Lessig,
    I saw your lecture/video (blip.tv) on the electability of Clinton, Obama and McCain. The thought of this election being reduced to Vietnam and the 60’s (generational) is so depressing to me that it prompts this blog post.
    May I suggest that you make it easier to FIND the b lue-screened “electability” piece as these weeks are crucial and it seems confusing that one gets routed to your Lessig08 piece (and good as it is I would like to see the other on everyone’s home computer in the next 10 days. I am a librarian and I think BIG!) It is not often that one gets to hear a brilliant lecture, elegant in its simplicity, delivered in such a manner.
    Also, how about calling it—“Hillary Clinton, John McCain’s Dream Opponennt”.
    I live in NY and can’t vote for you but I would if I could.
    Regine Kelly
    Hastings on Hudson

  48. Nelson says:

    Wonderful presentation, I can really appreciate what the “Lessig Method” does…it “feels good”. It allows you to build a theme without having to touch on the specific ideals and issues that your candidate has positions on.

    The one specific issue you mentioned was Iraq. I’ll argue that only the future of the Iraq conflict is important, as America has already committed herself.

    America is responsible for finishing what it has started.

    Also, your presentation stated that McCain wishes to be at war with Iraq for 100 years. Whether or not you agree or disagree with McCain’s views, your framing of his statement is utterly false. Being “in” a country and being “at war” with a country are two different things, i.e. present day Germany, Japan, and South Korea.

  49. Mary says:

    Another effective presentation, Professor Lessig – thank you. IMHO we can frame either of two elections here. We can select an Obama/McCain fight – Obama can win that one (even if Seth’s nightmare Republican machine comes after him) The win would create a new political paradigm: bring on an entire new generation of young voters at the district and state level and point this country forward again. That paradigm looks toward the future with new ideas and methods to solve the new and scary issues the world has to face.

    OR we can select a Clinton/McCain fight – she might win (probably not), but what we would be left with is politics as usual. Beltway politics would be based on the same paradigm we are working with now – you know, the one we’ve all decided doesn’t work. Professor Lessig is correct – if the campaign is about the 60’s the 90’s or whatever, it is about the past, and we’ll lose the attention of this young and newly inspired youth vote. I’ve heard alot of people say these youngsters won’t come to the polls, but I see my own children (20-somethings) involved, and based on the ages of the people I saw at my caucus, I think they’re engaged and they will vote – for Obama.

    Seth’s “Old age and treachery will beat youth and skill every time” is the paradigm we want to change – the pattern of treachery, immorality and cynicism. While not entirely optimistic, I’m in the “What have we got to lose” camp. Either we take a chance on Obama, or we wallow in the unworkable past with Clinton or McCain.

    And just a note on the bitchy side (I’ll keep it short because this is one of the precious few blogs that doesn’t get into that stuff), I can’t think of anything more depressing than having Bill Clinton back in the Whitehouse again.

  50. Jason says:

    What about the moral courage of trying to pass universal health care in 1993 and 1994? Why is Iraq the only issue in which you equate moral courage Dr. Lessig?

    There’s also quite a bit where both Hillary AND your beloved Obama are playing it safe, but it’s about political reality. Ron Paul had excellent ideas but it got him only a handful of delegates and he’s fighting for his congressional seat now.

    Please do not use polls. Kerry and Dukakis had huge leads in the polls too. Hillary is a great debater and I do not think the country is going to vote for what is. not completely, but very much 4 more years of Bush. I think McCain would be a major upgrade given his more liberal positions and ability to work with Democrats, but I think America IS ready for change and the GOP is about the farthest thing from change there is, regardless who the Democratic nominee is. I’m ready for a woman president.

    And really, I’m a Democrat, but I’m tired of hearing the lie that McCain wants us in a 100-year war. This is a Vietnam veteran and POW. We’ve been in Germany since World War II, we’re in Korea, etc. Granted I don’t think Iraq is Germany, and we need to get out of the Arab world if we want them to stop bombing us, but you’re smarter than this… be honest in your presentation.

    I agree with Sidney on all counts. You really think we’re going to talk about the 60s? Seriously? I really doubt it, this video is like the twilight zone. We’re spending billions of dollars on entitlement programs, the war, interest on our debt… you think anyone cares about a million dollars? If McCain didn’t get anything for AZ he wouldn’t still be their Senator.

  51. Paul says:


    If you don’t know who I’m talking about, do your own research.
    Draw your own conclussions. Exercise your own mind.

    Has the world forgotten him? I haven’t.

  52. Mark says:

    Obama naysayers continue to say that Obama spouts ’empty words’ and then compare his speeches to W.

    Never the twain shall meet, people. It was obvious while W was on the campaign trail that he not only had trouble seeing reality but he also had massive issues with English. Like, he was unable to string words into coherent sentences. Indeed, he had Rove on his side, too, telling him that Jesus was his favorite philosopher. Like an illusory demi-god could even be considered as such.

    Obama is Harvard educated and graduated at the top – not the bottom of his class – as did Bush – who, btw, was simply ushered thru that university (Yale). Obama not only knows English, he can speak it. Not only does he inspire, he lives his word. He has actually lived in other countries. He is a hybrid – able to see from multiple points of RACIAL view. He represents something totally and completely different from the past.

    The naysayers are not used to that. The naysayers aren’t used to being uplifted or hearing inspirational speeches or being called to action because of something inside them. The naysayers are terrified small minded people who are used to top-down demands. Who have no place for inspiration because they can’t hear it in their own lives.

    Get over yourselves and let the rest of us come into the 21st century. Obama is the man who SHOULD have been President at the beginning of this millenium but who wasn’t there in time. Now it’s his time. It’s our time. We march onward and need to reverse deep wrongs that W created with his cronies. If anyone thinks Hillary, as President, would be ALLOWED to set a tone like that you are sadly mistaken. There is so much vitriol still in DC about her and Bill that nothing she says or does will help the US or its people. There are far too many people who still have bones to pick with that team.

    The same can not be said for Obama. He motivates tens of millions. He even draws from the other side. There is no way any Republican will ever say ‘I will vote for her because she represents my interests’. On the other hand, you hear that all the time about Obama.

    So there.

  53. Mr. Natural says:

    View from Europe

    Firsts, total respect for this piece. It is a great and piece of analysis ( although I can see a dash of sophisticated propaganda).

    The election of your president has probably more impact on our daily live than the one of our own leaders. Unfortunately, as second rate citizens of the “Empire” we cannot take part. Although we do not have a detailed view of what goes on in the US (Rome), we have the “helicopter” view and what is pretty obvious is that Obama is on his way and that Clinton, sooner or later will have to quit.

    Now it raises two questions:

    1/ Can Obama win against McCain at all?
    2/ If he can, then who should run for VP on his ticket?

    I have heard a very interesting theory: Clinton would drag Obama’s candidacy down but John Edwards would pull moderate Republicans in…

    Any comments…

  54. Don Turnblade says:

    An interesting thought piece.

    Yet, as a Republican, I found it very encouraging.

    Would you consider helping to make the Republican Party all that it should be instead of propping up the present lot of Democratic candidates?

    I meant this, as strait talk, no joke. It seems the disaffection Bill Clinton created is so huge; my wife re-registered as Republican and is glad to stay Republican. I have never seen a self inflicted defeat of the Democrats so great in my life or the living memory of my family.

    While the Republicans are not always the prize one might hope for, even half the level of your creative energy would make of us all a better and greater America. Give it some thought.


    Don Turnblade

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