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Monday, February 25, 2008

Sen. Clinton, Fire Phil Singer

My inner Frenchman dumps me out of my chair, takes the keyboard, and writes the following.

It's no secret what I think of the remaining candidates for the Democratic nomination. Senators Clinton and Obama were not my candidates. I had a very difficult time choosing whom to support in my caucus once Edwards and Dodd dropped out, but I eventually settled on Obama, simply because I think he matches up better in a race against McCain. I would not, however, call myself an Obama supporter. I find his health care plan, detestable, and his calls for bipartisanship, naive. Still, in the spirit of full disclosure, I feel it is important to note that I did caucus for him.

I'm writing out of character today because I'm very angry about a stunt the Clinton campaign pulled on Friday. According to ABC News, Clinton spokesperson Phil Singer emailed information about contacts Barak Obama had with two former Weather Underground members, William Ayers and Bernadine Dorn, implying that perhaps Obama was a little too sympathetic to terrorists.

It was despicable act of swiftboating. What Singer failed to note was that Ayers was never convicted of a crime, and Dorn had served her time. Both had reached a certain level of respectability--Ayres as Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Dorn as an Associate Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and the Director of Northwestern's Children and Family Justice Center) by the time Obama attended the event at their home which Singer so excitedly touted as a contact with terrorists.

Singer's excuse that he was merely pointing out an electability problem--one that the Republicans will use to smear Obama--is disingenuous. It overlooks an important fact: Bill Clinton's pardon of Weather Underground member Susan L. Rosenberg and 16 members of the FALN makes Sen. Clinton just as vulnerable to the same charges.

The worst thing about Singer's smear is that it feeds into the Republicans' stealthy and not-so-stealthy attempts to paint Obama as a secret Muslim who is sympathetic to the jihadist cause. It legitimizes it in the same way Bush's assault on the Bill of Rights is legitimized by the Blue Dog Democrat's support--"Hey Earl, it must be true; even the Democrats are saying it." I can almost see the attack ads as I write this: "Even Hillary Clinton worried about Obama's ties to terrorists. Even more despicable is how Singer borrowed the Republican's racist dog whistle to blow the alarm about the otherness of black men with exotic names. It's all part of the same, disgusting package.

I don't know how much Sen. Clinton had to do with this outrageous bit of swiftboating. It's possible that she was unaware of it. The only way we can judge is how she reacts to it. That's why I am asking you to write and call the campaign, tell them that this kind of smear is unacceptable, and ask them to fire Phil Singer and issue a public apology. She talks a lot about character. Let's see if she'll demonstrate it.

You can call the campaign at:

National HQ: 703.469.2008
Ohio HQ: 614.221.8600
Texas HQ: 512.383.0318

And email them at:

Campaign Chair Terry McAuliffe:

Clinton Campaign HQ

You may want to copy Phil Singer. Maybe he will do the right thing.

Update: They just can't help themselves.

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