It’s my party and I’ll be bitter if I want to.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Hey, I’m bitter. As if the existence of this manufactured controversy wasn’t enough, now we’ve got local politicians using it to play a little CYA. It’s irritating to be told how to feel about Obama’s comments. It’s even more irritating to watch fellow Democrats take a page out of the Republican play book of division, derision and fear.

[Bill] Kennedy said. “Senator Obama showed a real disconnect with rural Montana. It might work to look down on us from San Francisco, but it won’t sell when he comes back to Montana.”

Who can blame Bill? He was only taking a cue from the ringmaster of this three-ring media circus.

Clinton, at an event before the Alliance for Manufacturing Forum in Pittsburgh, noted that “I am well aware that at a fundraiser in San Francisco, he said some things that many people in Pennsylvania and beyond Pennsylvania have found offensive…”

Excuse me, Hillary? As that SF Gate article correctly noted, San Francisco in politico-speak is usually code for homosexuals and environmentalists and single mothers and peace activists and all the other liberal bogeymen Republicans use to scare up votes. I’m sure John McBush will be using the code come this autumn; I expect this kind of behavior from the GOP. However, I sure as hell don’t expect it from MY candidate. I don’t want a Democrat who plays the divide-and-conquer game just like a Republican. Why on earth would I vote for someone who sounds just like professional gasbag and former Dick Cheney employee Mary Matalin?

What he said accurately reflects the current Democratic Party. It’s more affluent. It’s more liberal. That’s the way it’s moving. He was saying it to San Francisco Democrats, rich San Francisco Democrats…

Mary’s wrong, as usual. Thanks to politicians who encourage fear and hysteria, the party will be moving in another direction, one that attracts people like this guy:

“I’m pro-life, pro-family, pro-seal-the-borders,” King said. “I think we need to stop the pork in Washington; and I stand for family issues like traditional family, not all these kinky things on the outside.”

Scapegoats. Politicians use them to pander to voters. Some politicians use guns and religion. Some, like Ravalli County Republican precinct chairman Bruce King up there, use anyone having better sex. Bill Kennedy and Hillary Clinton? Well, they use their fellow Democrats.

  1. If you sit back, keep smilling, and don’t put your energy into it, the snakes will lose.

  2. True, but I am nothing if not a big mouthy broad.

  3. Bill Kennedy, by all accounts, is a good man. I have an old friend that knows him personally, and I trust her opinion.

    He’s entitled to his opinion without being bashed for it or being called a Republican operative. Or a member of their fan club, or whatever.

    This is all sounding very Bohlinger-esque to me.

  4. And you are allowed to be bitter. I’m not bitter that you are bitter.

  5. JC

    “It’s irritating to be told how to feel about Obama’s comments.”

    I hear you, Rebecca. I really get sick of politicians putting words in my mouth. How about these words interpreting us Montanan’s feelings, from a press release on Hillary Clinton’s website today:

    “…We wish to express our sincere disappointment with comments made by Sen. Barack Obama at a private San Francisco fundraiser last week – comments which demean the heritage and values of working Montanans.

    Sen. Obama’s views are offensive to rural Montanans who work everyday to provide for our families, lift up our communities and strengthen our state and country….”


    Former Representative Pat Williams
    State Senate Majority Leader Carol Williams
    State Senator Carol Juneau
    Representative Bill Wilson
    Representative Diane Sands
    Representative Shannon Augare
    Senate Pro Tempore Dan Harrington
    Former State Senator Dorothy Eck

  6. Yes…now let’s pile on Pat Williams. And Carol Williams and Carol Juneau and everyone else that has an opinion other than yours.

    Do you realize how hard these people have worked for you? How hard they now work for you?

    This is sad.

  7. Bohlinger-esque? No. I’m pretty sure no one’s going to pretend to lose his invitations to all the right parties. If Bill’s such a nice guy who isn’t worthy of being “bashed” then perhaps he shouldn’t be in politics. However, something tells me, after this endorsement, he can give as good as he gets.

    Considering all those folks were already on board the Clinton campaign, JC, it’s hardly surprising they would sign on to such an…overwrought…statement. What is surprising–to me, at least–is Pat Williams. I respect the guy. I voted for him. I’m sorry he chose to add a more drama to this non-issue.

  8. Sad? Hey, they’re not the victims here. We–the voters–are.

  9. I wasn’t sad for them. I, myself, am sad. I guess I’m a victim too, then.

  10. JC

    Maybe it’s just me, but i really hate it when a politician says things like “Montanans think xyz” or “Montanans feel abc.” Especially when it doesn’t reflect how I, or a large percent of the people, feel. I realize politicians need to generalize to carry major themes. But when they generalize to drive a wedge between what should be a unified party, well then I guess it’s fair to take sides and toss some barbs.

    I can see how Obama’s words would upset people for this exact same reason. But his words weren’t injected into a public forum. They were extracted from a private forum where the press was disallowed–by an amateur blogger who was nothing more than a fly-on-the-wall evesdropper.

    But jhwygirl, when you say “Do you realize how hard these people have worked for you?” I realize they work hard. But for me, not so much. I’ve written many dozens of letters to several of these people, and have never received more than a canned letter back, and absolutely no action on issues that were important to me. And I have voted for several of them. So when they try to make political hay off of how they think I feel or think well, my fur rises up. I didn’t help elect them to mischaracterize me for political gain.

    But yes, the whole thing is really sad. All the way around.

    And a lot of bitterness–not about this campaign, but about the economy, health care, the environment. Cling? I don’t have a gun anymore. But my faith? It’s the only thing I’ve had at times in the past few years. You betcha I’ve had to cling to it–like I’m falling off a cliff at times.

  11. You realize that it appears you are ok with the politician Obama putting words in your mouth, saying you are bitter?

    Look – even he’s backed off of those remarks somewhat – clarifying them. With that being said, just because someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t mean he or she deserves to be attacked and called a republican operative or whatever.

    No one is going to agree with anyone all of the time. Not unless they’re a robot. Christ…think of how that would be? I would be more than enormously annoyed with someone that agreed with me all the time.

    And when it comes to politicians, the only way to get that kind of utopia is to run for election and win the office yourself.

    There were people that were offended by the “bitter” remark. Are they all wrong? I just don’t think that going into attack mode on those that you don’t agree with is a very good way to go about this. Our government, quite frankly, is screwed up because of this “Us versus Them” mentality. It isn’t black and white, right and wrong…one party against another.

    That’s how we got to this place we are now. It isn’t very pleasant.

    The in-fighting we are – I am – seeing has shades of the religious right’s stranglehold on the republican party itself. Or the right wing’s stranglehold on the republican party – nationally and here at the state level. My way or the highway. My way or I destroy you.

    We’re all on the same team. Right? Are we anymore? I’m beginning to wonder.

    I’ve seen people say that they will vote Nadar or McCain before they’d vote (Obama)(Hillary). Is that what this is about? Seriously? My candidate or I destroy yours.

    Talk about divisive.

    I had a republican – a die-hard, I-Voted-for-Conrad-Burns-and-I’m-Proud-to-Admit-It Republican tell me today that he is voting for Hillary. I was utterly shocked. Utterly. But all the infighting that is going on right here in Missoula is something he isn’t up for…and that is coupled with what he knows – that things have to change. It came down to two things – McCain’s willingness for a 100-year war and Obama’s “god and guns” comment.

    So to discount it as a non-issue is foolhardy. It will be ammo in the future, you can bet your last dollar on that one. God? Guns? That’s the stuff that got us Raygun worship and a second-term of Bush….and while some bathe in their bitterness, there are just as many that get damned pissed off to be written off, because of their candidate choice, as being bitter.

    A short time ago we were a party, a group of people, that embraced discussion and an exchange – exchange– of ideas and thoughts. I’m not seeing that any more.

    I cling to that. I share your same ideals – the economy is crap, healthcare is an issue, the environment needs help. Iraq is a crime. Bush is a criminal.

    Can we get back to that? I hope so.

  12. JC

    Agreeing to the idea behind his words isn’t letting him put the bitter words in my mouth.

    But I do agree, after working through my feelings about what Williams et al. said, that my pissed-offedness about their letter was much the same that others would feel about Obama’s words. And so I came to understand a little better how and why people might be upset. But Williams’ words were carefully crafted and written, while Obama’s words were off-the-cuff at a closed fundraiser.

    Must a candidate be on message 100% of the time now? Has the era of mp3 recorders and blogger-journalists crept into every last corner of the country, so every utterance will be micro-analyzed down to the most minute of inflections? Is the quest of the Huffington Post to create a ripple and see how far and how big and how fast it would travel a self-defeating exercise in grandstanding? Destroy their chosen candidate to see how big their story can get? Be no better than Fox News, only after a rating bump?

    I digress.

    So I see Williams’ letter as no better than Obama’s statement, in that it attempts to portray a sociological view or critique on a demographic.

    So the question is then, how do we get back to a civil exchange of ideas when our politicians lead us off on other tangents? June 3rd can not come quick enough.

  13. “The in-fighting we are – I am – seeing has shades of the religious right’s stranglehold on the republican party itself. Or the right wing’s stranglehold on the republican party – nationally and here at the state level. My way or the highway. My way or I destroy you.”

    LOL! You did see what happened to Koopman, yes?

  14. Big Swede

    Kinky sex=better sex? Please illuminate.

  15. Do you want that illumination in DVD or Blu-Ray format, Swede? ;-)

    Let’s start with two things, jhwygirl, just to cut through the lofty rhetoric.

    First, I’m an Obama supporter. So it’s only natural I’m going to stick up for guy when I think he’s being unfairly criticized. Contrary to your assertion, he did not put words in my mouth. “Bitter” is a word that’s been overused in the last few days, and thanks to Clinton’s attack, it’s now part of the national lexicon. I wasn’t offended by his comments. I think it’s been well established on this site I’m no fan of religion. However, I am a gun owner. But it hasn’t escaped my notice some rabid supporters of the Second Amendment tend to elect politicians who forget the existence of the other 26. You need look no further than 4&20’s own “Creep” category to find folks who cling–harmfully–to guns and gods, or politicians who use those subjects to drive a wedge between Americans.

    Is it divisive to point out the above? I don’t think so.

    Secondly, you’re a Clinton supporter. Offsite, you’re a very vocal supporter who’s donated her personal time to the Senator’s campaign. Naturally, you’re going to argue that this “in-fighting” will only hurt the Democratic Party, especially if I–that special someone you referred to–do not vote for Clinton should she become the nominee. Yep, at this point I’d rather vote for Nader (but heavens no, not John McBush, never John McBush). Is this destroying a candidate? No. This is that exchange of ideas you spoke so fondly of. Bill Kennedy, Pat Williams, Hillary Clinton, etc. have shared with me this idea I should be offended by Barack Obama’s words. I’m sharing a hearty “NO” with them. I think your argument is mirroring Clinton’s over the last few days. She’s gone from being on the attack (which, obviously, you haven’t) to defending Bittergate with the same assertion: she’s just protecting the party from Republicans.

    Nonsense. We’re not the party governed by Ronald Reagan’s famous 11th Commandment. I think you’ve forgotten these people are our employees. Thanks to us, they have a salary, benefits and a retirement plan. It’s our duty to let them know when we’re unhappy with their job performance. No politician is worth your loyalty to such an extent you’re willing to silence yourself or others, jhwygirl. Especially not the Clintons. They’ll crap on their supporters–just remember NAFTA and the Defense of Marriage Act–if it means they can score political points. Their actions have done real harm to Americans. Obama speaking off the cuff to the brie and Chablis crowd? Hardly even comparable.

    Frankly, if the Democrats can’t win in November without my vote, or because I wrote a critical post on a blog in Missoula, Montana, then they don’t deserve to.

  16. Carol, nothing “happened” to Koopman. He simply chose not to register to run for office, a decision he has yet to explain.

  17. Jim Lang

    Yeah, I’m bitter.

  18. Yes, we pay their salary. And their benefits, including the health insurance that most people I know can’t afford.

    And their position allows them to rip us off some more. Made in the shade.

    I used to be a gun owner, but now I live in Maine, and it’s too complicated. I’m a bit religious. And although I try not to be, I’m a also bitter.

    (But these things happen)

    And so do these things:

  19. Bob Oaks

    Two months ago on All Things Considered, NPR’s Michele Norris interviewed a top John McCain campaign advisor, Mark McKinnon. McKinnon also worked on Bush-the- younger’s two campaigns.

    In this remarkable interview, McKinnon confirmed that if Obama became the Democratic candidate he would resign from the McCain campaign. Why? “I would simply be uncomfortable being in a campaign that would be inevitably attacking Barack Obama.”

    He noted that if Barack prevailed, he would still vote for McCain, but after having met Obama and after having read his book, his own McCain support would come from the sidelines. In terms of going negative, he said, “It would be uncomfortable for me and I think it would be bad for the McCain campaign.”

    I wish some of our most honored Montana Democrats who now prominently support Hillary Clinton could take some of McKinnon’s good counsel.

  20. Duncan Idaho

    What an entertaining thread!

    As a responsible progressive Democratic adult who can envision the damage that would be done by the election of McCain and his promise to continue and escalate Bush’s damaging foreign and economic policies, plus “the Supreme Court”, I can’t think of anything that Clinton and her supporters could do that would make me vote against her in the unlikely event that she gets the nomination.

    That said, she and her supporters are sure as hell trying to find that certain thing that I haven’t thought of yet! I am completely disgusted with Hillary, and Pat, and Carol, and Carol…. You people call yourselves Democrats? I call you something a lot worse. I’ll still vote for you if it comes down to it, but I loathe you right now.

  21. Jim Lang

    She has no realistic chance of getting the nomination. So you can all just skip the soul-searching about whether you’d vote for her if she did.

  22. No guns to cling to and I’m not much in the religion department. But I cling to my faith that the Democrats will win the presidency and lead us out of the morass that Bush & Cheney plunged us into. The election campaign hasn’t been pretty thus far, and there are more rocky patches ahead.

    I’m an Obama supporter and I’m confident he’s the right person for the job. In the unlikely event that Hillary wins the nomination, I’ll vote for her. McCain is more of the same. That’s not a realistic choice. Neither is any independent candidate.

    We Rocky Mountain Dems have been bruised and battered by the majority Repubs over the years. We’re not used to getting slammed by our own. It may be tempting to sink into a funk when things don’t go our way. Better fighting and feuding than giving up.

  23. JC

    Bitter? I’m “post-bitter.” As in, over all of this bittergate BS.

    Does anybody else see Mayhill Fowler’s (the HuffPo am-blogger that evesdropped on Obama and reported on it) comments about the “post-bittergate” era we now live in (as she refers to the furor she has artifacted) as being anything less than totally self-serving? Where she attempts to use her media tsunami as an indicator of how the world is now a changed place, and Michelle has “drilled deep… and given more thought to the moving bar” that Fowler has just wrenched a little further out of her grasp?

    “She could not completely mask her psychic pain from the recent firestorms over her husband.” A firestorm Fowler created. Is this what pro-am blogging has come to? Journalistic masturbation

    This is no better than the firetruck-chasing cub-reporter trying to make it big covering the fire he has just started by arson. The ambulance-chasing lawyer who is following the unwary victim of his own driveby shooting?

    And then she has the gall to chastise Michelle Obama for using her South Chicago-ese, “Me and Barack,” and title her story with it? Why do the Obama’s even let her any where hear them any more?

    The HuffPo, sans pro-am blogging editorial policy and even a smidgeon of editing, has descended into the tabloid morass that Obama so wants to pull us out of.

    But there is a silver lining. Get your Google hit-click counters revved up and get them Google ad dollars flowing!

    Maybe I am still a little bit better: about a media that is more concerned with creating a frenzy and reporting on that, than it is with covering a national presidency campaign that is trying so hard to raise above dime store journalism.

  24. steve kelly

    Is it any wonder over half of eligible voters sit on the sidelines? Much of the world lives beyond the “this-or-that,” choices of R or D, HRC or Obama, coke or pepsi. Working hard for the (sub-party) brand, is not necessarily the same as working hard for Montanans. Democracy should be about fluid options and more choices, not fewer.

  25. DrivefastTakechances

    Good points steve. I red a book about Austrailain social work policy a while back. The author talked about the trialectic view point. That is–to always look for a thrid perspective vs the “this-or-that” view. I guess it would be a “this-that-that too”. Also think it would be a good idea to have a constitutional convintion and create the third branch of congress. This branch would be comprised of only 5th graders. They would be elected by 5th graders. Each state would have it’s delagation. House and Senate measures would need a passing vote from the 5th graders to move forward.

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