A Shrink Asks: What’s Wrong with Obama?

ByRobin of Berkeley
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So what is the matter with Obama? Conservatives have been asking this question for some time. I’ve written a number of articles trying to solve the mystery.  

Even some liberals are starting to wonder. James Carville railed about Obama’s blasé attitude after the catastrophic oil spill. The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd revamped Obama’s “Yes We Can” motto into “Will We Ever?”

The liberal women of the TV show “The View” have expressed sympathy for Michelle Obama’s living with a man so out of touch. Peggy Noonan, hardly a vehement Obama foe,  recently pronounced him disconnected

Obama’s odd mannerisms intrigue a psychotherapist like me. He also presents a serious diagnostic challenge.  

For one, Obama’s teleprompter and the men behind the Blackberry keep him well-scripted. We know so little about the facts of his life.

But it’s more than just a lack of information. Obama himself is a strange bird. He doesn’t fit easily into any diagnostic category.

Many people attribute Obama’s oddness to his narcissism. True, Obama has a gargantuan ego, and he is notoriously thin-skinned.

Yet a personality disorder like narcissism does not explain Obama’s strangeness: his giggling while being asked about the economy; his continuing a shout-out rather than announcing the Ft. Hood shootings; or his vacations, golfing, partying and fundraising during the calamitous oil spill.

Take also Obama’s declaring on the “Today Show” that he wants to know whose ass to kick. Consummate narcissists would never stoop to this vulgar display of adolescent machismo.

Obama is flat when passion is needed; he’s aggressive when savvy is required. What’s most worrisome is that Obama doesn’t even realize that his behavior is inappropriate.

So if it’s not just simple narcissism, what is wrong with Obama? Since I’ve never evaluated him, I can’t say for sure. But I can hazard some educated guesses.

If I saw a client as disconnected as him, the first thing I would wonder: Is something wrong with his brain? And I’d consider the following theoretical diagnostic possibilities. 

Physical problems: There are a multitude of physiological conditions that can cause people to act strangely. For instance: head injuries, endocrine disturbances, epilepsy, and toxic chemical exposure.

It makes me wonder: Did Obama ever have a head injury? His stepfather in Indonesia was purportedly an alcoholic abuser. Was Obama subject to any physical abuse?

Drugs and alcohol: Damage to the brain from drugs and alcohol can also cause significant cognitive impairments. Obama once said that there were 57 states — and didn’t correct himself. Memory problems can be caused by both illicit and prescription drug use.

Obama admits to a history of drug use in his youth. Did his usage cause some damage? Does Obama still use? 

Asperger’s Syndrome: Also known as high-functioning autism, Asperger’s causes deficits in social skills. A person with Asperger’s can’t read social cues. Consequently, he can be insensitive and hurtful without even knowing it. 

Could Obama have Asperger’s? He might have some mild traits, but certainly not the full-blown disorder. In contrast to Obama, those with Asperger’s get fixated on some behavior, like programming computers. Obama lacks this kind of passion and zeal.

–Mental Illness: Obama’s family tree is replete with the unbalanced. His maternal great-grandmother committed suicide. His grandfather, Stanley Dunham, was particularly unhinged: He was expelled from high school for punching his principal; named his daughter Stanley because he wanted a boy; and exposed young Barry to not just drunken trash talk, but unrestricted visits with alleged pedophile Frank Marshall Davis (who might or might not be Obama’s biological father). Barack Sr. was an abusive, alcoholic bigamist.

Since mental illness runs in the family, does Obama have any signs? Yes and no. No, he is not a schizophrenic babbling about Martians. But there are red flags for some other conditions.

While Obama doesn’t appear to hallucinate, he seems to have delusions. His believing he has a Messiah-like special gift smacks of grandiose delusions. His externalizing all blame to conservatives, George W. Bush, or the “racist” bogeyman hints at persecutory delusions. 

Along with a delusional disorder, Obama may fit for a mild psychotic disorder called schizotypal disorder. It may explain some of Obama’s oddness. 

People with schizotypal disorder hold bizarre beliefs, are suspicious and paranoid, and have inappropriate and constricted affect. They have few close friends and are socially awkward. A schizotypal is someone like your strange cousin Becky who is addicted to astrology, believes she is psychic, and is the oddball at social gatherings.

Schizotypal Disorder does ring some bells vis-à-vis Obama. One way the diagnosis doesn’t fit, however, is that schizotypals are generally harmless, odd ducks. Not so with Obama.

Trauma: My gut tells me that Obama was seriously traumatized in childhood. His mother disregarded his basic needs, dragged him all over the place, and ultimately abandoned him.

But I think there may be something even more insidious in his family background. While I can’t prove it, the degree of Obama’s disconnect reminds me of my sexually abused clients.

With serious sexual abuse, the brain chemistry may change. The child dissociates — that is, disconnects from his being — in order to cope. Many adult survivors still dissociate, from occasional trances to the most extreme cases of multiple personality disorder.

Apparently, young Barry was left in the care of Communist Frank Marshall Davis, who admitted to molesting a 13-year-old girl. As a teenager, Obama wrote a disturbing poem, “Pop,” that evoked images of sexual abuse — for instance, describing dual amber stains on both his and “Pop’s” shorts.

Would trauma explain Obama’s disconnect? In many ways, yes. A damaged and unattached child may develop a “false self.” To compensate for the enormous deficits in identity and attachment, the child invents his own personality. For Obama, it may have been as a special, gifted person.

Let’s return now to my original question: What is wrong with Obama? My guess is a great deal. The answer is complex and likely includes some combination of the above.

Along with the brain issues are personality disorders: narcissism, paranoia, passive-aggressiveness. There’s even the possibility of the most destructive character defect of all, an antisocial personality. Untreated abuse can foster antisocial traits, especially among boys.

If my assessment is accurate, what does this mean? 

It means that liberals need to wake up and spit out the Kool-Aid…and that conservatives should put aside differences, band together, and elect as many Republicans as possible.

Because Obama will not change. He will not learn from his mistakes. He will not grow and mature from on-the-job experience. In fact, over time, Obama will likely become a more ferocious version of who he is today. 

Why? Because this is a damaged person. Obama’s fate was sealed years ago growing up in his strange and poisonous family. Later on, his empty vessel was filled with the hateful bile of men like Rev. Wright and Bill Ayers. 

Obama will not evolve; he will not rise to the occasion; he will not become the man he was meant to be. This is for one reason and one reason alone:

He is not capable of it.

A frequent AT contributor, Robin is a psychotherapist in Berkeley and a recovering liberal. You can e-mail Robin at robinofberkeley@hotmail.com. She regrets that she may not be able to acknowledge your e-mail.

Mr. Sestak: Full-term delivery or cover-up of an abortion

Another Rant by BettyJean Kling

Mr. Sestak you are the epitome of hypocrisy. After 9 months the White House and Senator- elect Joe Sestak have delivered a bouncing baby boy named Bill Clinton. What do you take us for ?

What an imperfect way to get out of a federal charge because you fools have a few very big problems. The position as unpaid advisor  does not fit the description of a JOB, nor the description of a high position and Bill Clinton clearly does not fit the description someone from the White House.

The story doesn’t even make sense. Why would anyone be enticed to get out of a Senate race for an unpaid advisory position?

“After more than ten weeks of outstanding questions, the White House has offered a version of events that has important differences from what Congressman Sestak has been saying for months – that he was offered a ‘job’ by ‘someone in the White House’ in exchange for leaving the Pennsylvania Senate race.

Why would that someone now go along with this story after being silent about the details all this time? Clearly he made a mistake telling the truth in the first place and now has to play ball. First he was forced to abort the truth and now they are trying to deliver us this baby and pass it off as the truth. And it took you fools 9 months to hatch this line of crap? Gimme a break! Even other Democrats are embarrassed by this line of crap!

First if I were Specter- I would be outraged and next- as a Pennsylvanian I urge every PA voter to vote against a man who traded his honesty for his party after running against a man on those very grounds!

Another interesting thing is drumming up a suspense theory for the Republicans to jump on and make fools of themselves over! Isn’t it odd the way Sestak keep this quiet long enough to sweeten the pot and keep the Republicans thinking there was a big story against his party only to slap them all in the face with a supposed Gottcha! Well Mr. Sestak – If that is all this was all about in the first place – why didn’t you, Bill Clinton and the White House come clean 9 months ago? A little bit of diversion maybe?

Mr. Sestak shame on you. You are just as dishonest as Arlen, you are the epitome of hypocrisy! Here is Joe Sestak in his own words the day after he was offered the “JOB” from someone at the White House again saying that he said it and his answer was an honest answer.

PA vote him gone! These Democrats cannot be trusted anymore than the Republicans can but we simply cannot keep voting them in when we catch them in these lies. No Joe did not take the job and he did expose it but he stopped short of the whole truth and now he is embroiled in what amounts to a cover-up. Is that who you would entrust as your Senator for the next 6 years and probably 30 years?

Americans Rising: November 2, 2010

 Posted by John at 9:35 PM-POWERLINE
America Rising : An open letter to the Democrat Polsters

This video doesn’t exactly represent our point of view–we never fell for Obama’s “hope and change” scam–but it does speak for many millions of Americans. It’s nicely done. We’ll see a lot more of this kind of populist calling of Democrats to account between now and November:

UPDATE: Apparently liberals have been trying to drive this video off YouTube. IF -The original link no longer works; this one does, for now at least: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2010/01/025329.php

Iacocca’s words apply to Obama too!


Seems Iococca wrote this about Bush but it’s perfect  for this administration as well .  I would add that these thoughts include every Democrat and Republican now sitting in those seats in DC. They have all been complicit in this mess. They must all go. Vote em out – vote em all out via Voter Imposed Term Limits! There are 435 Congressional seats and about 36 Senate seats we can and must replace this November – TMU is looking for 470 good women and men to run! America needs you! 

Just as true today as it was when his book first came out.  He was, and still is, a brilliant businessman!  Often we need to be reminded of Iococca’s words.    Remember Lee Iacocca, the man who rescued Chrysler Corporation from its death throes?  He’s now 82 years old and asked in his book, ‘Where Have All The Leaders Gone?’.

Lee Iacocca’s words have been updated to fit Obama: ( see notes at end) 

“Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage with this so called president? We should be screaming bloody murder! We’ve got a gang of tax cheating clueless leftists trying to steer our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even run a ridiculous cash-for-clunkers program without losing $26 billion of the taxpayers’ money, much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, ‘trust me the economy is getting better..’

Better? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America , not the damned, ‘Titanic’. I’ll give you a sound bite: ‘Throw out all the politicians along with the president!’

You might think I’m getting senile, that I’ve gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore.

The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs.. While we’re fiddling in  Afghanistan   ,  Iran   is completing their nuclear bombs and missiles and nobody seems to know what to do. And the liberal press is waving ‘pom-poms’ instead of asking hard questions. That’s not the promise of the ‘ America ‘ my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I’ve had enough. How about you?

I’ll go a step further. You can’t call yourself a patriot if you’re not outraged. This is a fight I’m ready and willing to have. The Biggest ‘C’ is Crisis! (Iacocca elaborates on nine C’s of leadership, with crisis being the first.)

Leaders are made, not born. Leadership is forged in times of crisis. It’s easy to sit there with thumb up your butt and talk theory. Or send someone else’s kids off to war when you’ve never seen a battlefield yourself. It’s another thing to lead when your world comes tumbling down.

On September 11, 2001, we needed a  strong leader more than any other time in our history. We needed a steady hand to guide us out of the ashes. A hell of a mess, so here’s where we stand.

We’re immersed in a bloody war now with no plan for winning and no plan for leaving.  But our soldiers are dying daily.

We’re running the biggest deficit in the history of the world, and it’s getting worse every day!

We’ve lost the manufacturing edge to  Asia   , while our once-great companies are getting slaughtered by health care costs.

Gas prices are going to skyrock again, and nobody in power has a lucid plan to open drilling to solve the problem.  This country has the largest oil reserves in the WORLD, and we cannot drill for it because the politicians have been bought by the flea-hugging environmentalists.

Our schools are in a complete disaster because of the teachers union.

Our borders are like sieves and they want to give all illegals amnesty and free healthcare.

The middle class is being squeezed to death every day.

These are times that cry out for leadership.

But when you look around, you’ve got to ask: ‘Where have all the leaders gone?’ Where are the curious, creative communicators? Where are the people of character, courage, conviction, omnipotence, and common sense? I may be a sucker for alliteration, but I think you get the point.

Name me a leader who has a better idea for homeland security than making us take off our shoes in airports and throw away our shampoo?

We’ve spent billions of dollars building a huge new bureaucracy, and all we know how to do is react to things that have already happened.

Everyone’s hunkering down, fingers crossed, hoping the government will make it better for them.  Now, that’s just crazy.. Deal with life.

Name me an industry leader who is thinking creatively about how we can restore our competitive edge in manufacturing. Who would have believed that there could ever be a time when ‘The Big Three’ referred to Japanese car companies? How did this happen, and more important, look what Obama did about it!

Name me a government leader who can articulate a plan for paying down the debit, or solving the energy crisis, or managing the health care problem. The silence is deafening. But these are the crises that are eating away at our country and milking the middle class dry.

I have news for the Chicago gangsters in Congress. We didn’t elect you to turn this country into a losing European Socialist state. What is everybody so afraid of? That some bonehead on NBC or CNN news will call them a name? Give me a break. Why don’t you guys show some spine for a change?

Had Enough? Hey, I’m not trying to be the voice of gloom and doom here. I’m trying to light a fire. I’m speaking out because I have hope – I believe in America . In my lifetime, I’ve had the privilege of living through some of    America ‘s greatest moments. I’ve also experienced some of our worst crises: The ‘Great Depression,’ ‘World War  II,’ the ‘Korean War,’ the ‘Kennedy Assassination,’ the ‘Vietnam War,’ the 1970’s oil crisis, and the struggles of recent years since 9/11.

Iacocca’ wrote words above have been altered to fit Obama’s administration as outlined below.

Andrea Wolf Stalnecker

I have the book in question. It’s from the first page of the first chapter (entitled “Had enough?”) of the book “Where Have All the Leaders Gone”. Other than the fact that he IS a liberal and bashes all things conservative (I do not identify with either party so I do not like one president over another), the book is pretty good.

The problem is the statement attributed to Iacoca should be in quotes because it’s not all his words. In the book, the word “bozos” appears where here it was replaced with “leftists” and “cash for clunkers” is referenced where Iacocca singled out Katrina. In two places where the rewrite includes a reference that the economy is getting better..’” the actual phrasing is “stay the course”.

Unfortunately, there are other areas where parts are cut out that need to be removed in order to suggest Iacocca could be speaking of Obama. … See More

I know I’m going to offend people who don’t want the truth, but to advance an agenda on lies or rewrites suggests the agenda does not have much basis. I’m NOT a fan of Obama, but I’d rather point out REAL problems, not support the spread of misinformation.

Please, be gentle, folks. I believe this country needs serious change and it has for a LONG time. Let’s just do it right! 🙂

Thank you Andrea- I agree!

Obama heckled for 3 minutes in Massachusetts

A shocked Obama doesn’t know how to handle an out of control mob at a half filled auditorium where he was met with anything but the usual accolades. Hahahahahahah ! Then the cameras were told to turn off the feed so we don’t know how long it took to get that crowd under control – do we? But it not only happened in less than a year but it happened in Massachusetts of all places! Way to go Americans. Way to go!

We the People of these United States in order to form a more perfect Union…

Healthcare industry lobbies for Coakley, but I thought they were the Republican’s Astroturf?

BettyJean Kling

If Health Care was meant to benefit the people instead of the Insurance Companies and Big Pharma then the people instead of the Insurance Companies and Big Pharma would be fighting like hell to keep the 60th seat in Democratic hands right?

Likewise, if Big Pharma and Insurance companies were really the Astroturf behind the August Town Halls trying to kill health care reform, wouldn’t they be pumping money into the Brown Campaign now? Of course they would.

But what would it mean if they are pumping money into the Coakley campaign in order to keep the 60th seat in Democratic hands? Fool you once shame on them – fool you twice – then you are just a damned fool! Perhaps this will awaken you? If Coakley wins then you had better join the tea parties and march your buts down to DC and help us stop this – as you can see- its just another Obama lie! let’s see what did he call them when he said they were really working for the other side? Oh that’s right – Fat Cats! Well those Fat Cats and Lobbyists are now  desperately trying to defeat Scott Brown. Hmmmmm


This outlines the incredibly nasty deal Obama made with the big pharmaceutical companies.  It stinks to high heaven and hurts consumers.  Chicago politics at its worst.  Although it’s from Huffington Post, it is accurate (and others have confirmed it).

White House Pharma Memo 

Internal Memo Confirms Big Giveaways In White House Deal With Big Pharma

We’ve been following the special election in Massachusetts, where the GOP hopes to pull a surprise upset in the race to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat.

If they do pull it off, healthcare reform is instantly in trouble, as the Democrats drop below 60. But money is coming to the rescue of Democrat Martha Coakley — healthcare industry lobbyist money, specifically.Tim Carney identifies several of her top fundraisers. Take a look at who they represent: http://www.businessinsider.com/healthcare-lobbyists-des…

  • Thomas Boggs, Patton Boggs: Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Chuck Brain, Capitol Hill Strategies: Amgen, BIO, Merck, PhRMA
  • Susan Brophy, Glover Park Group: Blue Cross, Pfizer
  • Steven Champlin, Licy Do Canto, Raben Group: Amgen
  • Gerald Cassidy, Cassidy & Associates: U. Mass Memorial Health Care
  • David Castagnetti, Mehlman, Vogel, Castagnetti: Abbot Labs, AHIP, Astra-Zenaca, General Electric, Humana, Merck, PhRMA.
  • Steven Elmendorf, Elmendorf Strategies: Medicines Company, PhRMA, United Health
  • Shannon Finley, Capitol Counsel: Amgen, Astra-Zeneca, Blue Cross, GE, PhRMA, Sanofi-Aventis.
  • Heather Podesta, Heather Podesta & Partners: Cigna, Eli Lilly, HealthSouth
  • Tony Podesta, Podesta Group: Amgen, GE, Merck, Novartis.
  • Robert Raben, Raben Group: Amgen, GE.
Of course, this is how politics works. Lobbyists for various corporations and causes get involved wherever they can for candidates of both parties.
 But when you see all these big pharma (and insurance!) representatives coming with cash for a crucial vote, you know which side they’re on. And they are definitely not on the side the Democrats tried to tell you the were on are they? Why is that? Could it be that this health care bill suits them better than it suits We The People? It certainly can’t suit all of us at once can it? Obama and Reid and Pelosi told us these characters were paying the Republicans to stop the health care bill and here they are trying to make sure it passes! Hmmmmmm! IMAGINE THAT!

Dear Mr. Harold Ford Jr.

By: BettyJean Kling

Harold Ford Jr. was against it before he was for it!

This is not a matter of Pro Choice v.s Pro Life – it is a matter of another man stepping up to lie, cheat and steal in order to take a seat from another woman.  The damned Democratic Party may have just got away with that BS once by pushing Hillary aside for Barack Obama but I will be damned if they are going to get away with it again.

Harry- pack up that carpet bag and go back to Tennessee where you belong. You and those Dems just don’t get it – the jig is up we have your number and we are mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it anymore. Take a peek at what’s happening in Mass. Win or lose we are making history there and we sent one hell of a message in Jersey and Virginia too. Can’t you hear us yet? Maybe a personal letter will help? I am helping to circulate the following letter and gathering signatures so you will see just hold strongly we feel about keeping you from running against Senator Gillibrand for Senate in NY State.

Dear Mr. Harold Ford Jr.,

Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to serve New York State in many capacities – as public officials, community leaders, and advocates for the causes we believe in. All of us have worked extremely hard to promote women’s equality and ensure reproductive rights for women and we are proud to call New York one of the most pro-choice states in the country. This is the standard we expect of NY politicians, Mr. Ford, and based on your own words and deeds, you simply do not measure up.

Your views as a Member of Congress, a candidate and a political commentator do not match your current claim that you’re pro-choice.  Being pro-choice means you stand up and fight for a woman’s right to her own medical decisions, even when it’s not always popular. You played politics with women’s choice in your Tennessee Senate Race – proudly calling yourself pro-life and spending campaign money on ads to showcase your anti-choice record. Today, in The New York Post, you decry the “pro-life” label, but when it suited your political ambitions in 2006, you stated clearly that you’re “pro-life” and that you “don’t run from that.” You certainly seem to be running from it today.

Senator Gillibrand, on the other hand, even before she sought political office, proudly volunteered with pro-choice groups in her spare time. As a member of Congress she had 100% voting records with NARAL and Planned Parenthood. We never questioned where she stood on protecting a women’s right to choose, even as she ran for election in a relatively conservative district. Now as Senator, she has continued the fight for choice, having stood boldly against the dangerous Stupak amendment to protect a women’s right to choose in the health care debate. She is and has always been our unwavering champion.

This, Mr. Ford, is why women across the state and pro-choice groups such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood have spoken out against your possible candidacy. It’s not about bullying, but rather about making our voices heard. You are not pro-choice, you do not share our values and as such you will find yourselves lacking support among pro-choice women in New York.

Please know that we will work tirelessly to promote Senator Gillibrand’s strong record on choice and expose your non-existent one. We will make sure women all throughout New York know that with your words and with your votes, time and time again, you have shown us where your heart truly is when it comes a woman’s right to choose.

In the Spirit of Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan: “Everyone is entitled to his[or her] own opinion, but not to his[or her] own fact”. The facts are clear, you are not a champion of a women’s right to choose. Senator Gillibrand is our champion and we are proud to support her for U.S. Senate.


Judith Hope

Please advise, by return email to me, Judith Hope judithhope@mac.com if you are willing to sign on to the letter. It would be very helpful, as well, if you would circulate the letter to others who may be willing to sign, and let me know ASAP

Many thanks for your help on this.  It’s important.

Supporting Hillary:

As the dew is drying off the roses and the repulsive gossip book of fabrications attempts to divert our attention from the failures of Obama, a curious phenomenon is occurring. More and more unlikely supporters are coming to the fore to repudiate this negative Hillary campaign rhetoric. While they never raised a finger to help her while she waged her valiant effort alone but for the voters, perhaps watching a true champion fight fair compared to what they have come to learn about Chicago style dirty politics, (not at all the change we were promised) has not only given them food for thought but no stomach to sit by or help them do it to her again. She did not deserve it then and she sure as hell does not deserve to be his scapegoat now! It’s called having a conscience – I guess there is hope for America!

To Heilemann, Halperin and Politico: I’ll Proudly Defend Hillary Clinton, On the Record

Peter Daou
Political consultant, former adviser to Hillary Clinton

Ben Smith writes a cover story for Politico titled Game over: The Clintons stand alone. The piece is based on John Heilemann and Mark Halperin’s ‘Game Change‘, the latest in an ever-expanding series of 2008 campaign books — none of which, in my view, capture the entire story of what happened in that historic Democratic primary. (I include in that assessment David Plouffe’s The Audacity to Win, which is undeniably a definitive version of what transpired inside the Obama campaign from the perspective of an exceptional campaign manager, but overlooks key reasons for Hillary Clinton’s defeat and doesn’t articulate the full scope of the online commentariat’s impact.)

I am reading Game Change now and will update this entry once I’ve completed the portions about Hillary Clinton but I wanted to post something immediately in response to the Politico story.

Ben Smith is a savvy, well-connected reporter and Heilemann/Halperin are about as plugged into Beltway culture and DC power centers as anyone can be — whether that’s good or bad I’ll let others judge. I became acquainted with Halperin during the campaign — and with Smith — but never spoke to the former about the book, nor with the latter about his article, so I’m coming to this as an outside observer. I don’t dispute that Heilemann/Halperin have high level sources. I just want to be sure their readers get an accurate picture of Hillary Clinton’s conduct during the campaign.

Smith’s Politico article makes the case that the Clintons have few remaining defenders:

What’s notable about the highly publicized release of “Game Change,” however, is the virtual silence from the Clinton camp. The lack of public outrage seems to mark the sputtering end of what was once known as the Clinton political machine and underlines a fact that onetime Clinton loyalists acknowledge: The book’s primary sources about the former candidate and current secretary of state are her own former staffers and intimates. As a result, there is no campaign of veteran Clintonites spinning the press corps and trying to pre-emptively discredit the book’s scathing depiction of Hillary Clinton as a rudderless candidate and a cheerleader for vicious tactics against eventual winner Barack Obama. … “Game Change” peels back a decade of careful renovations off Hillary Clinton’s carefully constructed public face, casting her in the terms that defined her at her lows in the mid-1990s: scheming, profane, sometimes paranoid, often tone-deaf.

Here’s my response: as a former adviser and a senior staffer/department head at her presidential campaign, I’ll proudly defend Hillary Clinton and I’ll do whatever I can to counter lies, smears and mischaracterizations.

Let me start by recounting how I first got to know her. Nearly four years ago, I was asked by her long-time communications maven Howard Wolfson to join her senate campaign. I was very happy running my site, the Daou Report, and advising a number of organizations in the then-nascent field of digital media consulting. I considered it an honor to be asked, but I knew it was a life-changing decision. Heeding Howard’s warning that once I became part of ‘Hillaryland’ anything I said or did could become a media story (examples here and here), I had a series of conversations with people I trusted and whose unique perspective could help me make an informed decision.

I discussed it first with close friends and family.

I then spoke to Joan Walsh at Salon, who hosted/supported my site and always gave great advice. I spoke to Arianna Huffington, who openly warned me against giving up the world of blogging to join the Clinton team. I spoke to David Brock at Media Matters, who had a long history with the Clintons and understood the media landscape in great depth. I spoke to John Kerry, who I respect deeply and for whom I worked in the bitterly contested 2004 election. I fought on his behalf when he was trailing badly going into the 2004 primaries, and after he won the nomination, I lived, worked, ate and slept in his war room for the epic battle against Bush/Cheney/Rove. He understood and taught me the rigors of a campaign better than anyone I knew. And because one of my overarching tasks for Clinton was to connect her to the netroots, I spoke to bloggers like Digby, Markos (Kos) and others to get a sense of the challenge ahead.

In the end, I couldn’t miss the once in a lifetime opportunity to work with one of the most dynamic, inspiring women in the world. And even though the entire focus when I joined her was on the senate campaign, I, like many others, was looking ahead to the 2008 race. I’ve blogged for years about the pervasive abuse of women and the rampant sexism that affects our world, and the idea of electing a woman president was beyond exciting.

Our first meeting was set for 15-30 minutes but lasted over an hour. Contrary to the myth that she was clueless about the Internet, Hillary was well aware of the importance of technology, of the role of the online community, and most importantly to me, the value of a strong progressive infrastructure centered around blogs, CAP, Media Matters and the like. We discussed the Middle East and my childhood in Beirut during Lebanon’s bloody civil war. Not unexpectedly, she knew virtually everything about every topic we discussed. And she was as down to earth and funny as anyone I’d ever met in politics — or outside politics.

A week later, fighting flared up in Lebanon. Very early on a Sunday morning, my home phone rang. I answered groggily. It was Hillary, calling to make sure my friends and family in Beirut were OK. That’s the person she is, the person I encountered throughout the campaign, privately and publicly.

But this is not about psychoanalyzing Hillary Clinton or probing her personal attributes — others have made a living doing that. It’s not about making her out to be a saint. Nobody is. This is about describing how she ran her campaign and how she treated her opponents when the cameras and microphones were off.

Was I on every call and at every strategy session? No. Can I vouch for every single thing said and done at the campaign. Of course not. But having participated in countless senior strategy meetings, crisis management and rapid response drills and emergencies, “war rooms within war rooms” (a term used by Heilemann/Halperin), debate prep, calls, emails and private conversations with the candidate, and having slept with my BlackBerry under my pillow and been stationed at the center of her communications operation for the duration of the campaign, I can confidently state that Hillary Clinton did not push for ‘vicious’ or dirty tactics against any of her opponents, nor did she encourage or ‘cheer on’ that behavior from her staff. The ethos of the campaign, which she conveyed in word and deed, was that she would win because she was best prepared, worked the hardest and had the most compelling ideas.

She was centered, dignified and focused throughout, although her frustration and pain did show through at some moments. She knew the media environment was stacked against her, against any woman. She knew what she was up against and drove forward into the furious headwinds of sexism and rightwing-fueled Clinton-hatred.

For Hillary Clinton, it wasn’t about being a woman, it was about being the best.

The unraveling of her huge lead in the polls in late 2007 is an incredibly convoluted and harrowing tale of words, actions, decisions, interpersonal dynamics, internal campaign struggles, dysfunctionality, careless mistakes, leaks, “surrogates gone wild,” (my term for overzealous supporters), reactions, underreactions, overreactions, strategic/tactical brilliance and incompetence, emotional highs and lows on the part of all the candidates and campaigns. Anyone who tries to reduce it to a few pivotal moments or to a simple character narrative does history an injustice. It was literally a minute by minute unfolding, accelerated and complexified by millions of online activists and commentators, who could shape and reshape conventional wisdom in a matter of moments. Any single decision could have changed the course of events — and of history. I have little tolerance for critics who simplify the whole election as some sort of reflection of the supposedly terrible character of Bill and Hillary Clinton, conveniently ignoring the Obama campaign’s brutally effective hardball tactics and overlooking the infinite dimensions — and messiness — of a presidential image/message war.

The fact is, both campaigns slogged it out, played rough, and one came out victorious. And it would be wrong to act like only Hillary faced historic obstacles. Barack Obama was a formidable candidate and opponent who faced almost insurmountable odds. He deserves all the credit for winning and even more credit for appreciating Hillary’s value when the contest ended.

Still, it’s important to state for the record, contra Game Change (or at least Politico’s interpretation of the book), that if anything, Hillary’s campaign let her down, not the reverse. Nor was it just one person’s fault. Her entire senior team bears responsibility. I take responsibility for the role I played. It’s easy to demean her when you’re an anonymous source for a book (and an easy way to absolve oneself of guilt), but let’s get real: far too often, she carried the campaign through sheer force of will and through an endless wellspring of personal fortitude.

Nobody wants to relive 2008, but history is being written now. Generations from today, students will read about a historic campaign where barriers were shattered, and I for one, don’t want the wrong story to be told.

Follow Peter Daou on Twitter: www.twitter.com/peterdaou

Hillary: Game Change Truth

The staffers, who reported ill will against Hill and Bill as well as many of us could not accept that the DNC stole from her what she rightfully won and bravely stuck with her party, were wrong to take it out on her. The truth about Hillary is shown below, but instead of realizing that she was showing the world no matter what they did she would fight on – we hurt that she would stick with a party that would do this to her.

Too bad Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s history of the 2008 election did not include the caucus fraud and the wheelin and dealin that sold and stole the super delegates right out from under her while she was winning and instead bribed the delegates. Oh she was a trooper alright and she won that election but they sucked it away from her just the way they are buying the health care now votes now. Imagine what she would have had – had they not stolen the caucus states and bribed the delegates from the states she won. We tried to tell you – it sounded implausible but all you have to do is watch how they are running things now and it is pretty obvious that nothing is beneath them is it?

Welcome to Chicago style politics and goodbye to American Freedom—we are now more like third world politics than America but as for Hillary read on to see what character really looks like and weep because you settled for less!

The True Character of Hillary Clinton

Joe Scarborough
Host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, former member of Congress
Posted: January 12, 2010 04:00 PM
Crossposted From http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-scarborough/the-true-character-of-hil_b_420599.html

There is much ground covered in Game Change and much that readers can take away from Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s history of the 2008 election. But as Bob Woodward suggested today on the set of Morning Joe, a reader’s guide to the headline-grabbing book may also be in order.

The Washington Post news legend focused on the part of the book that personally caused me the greatest concern. While I understand the news value of Harry Reid’s brainless quotes on dialect and skin tone, I was most surprised by the observation of one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides that the New York senator lacked the character to be President of the United States.

A few thoughts in defense of Secretary Clinton:

A good deal of the interviews for Game Change were written in the summer of 2008. To put that time frame in perspective, that was at the end of one of the longest, most grueling primary seasons in modern history.

The Clinton campaign endured a long political death march along a blistering trail that led them from the snows of Iowa and New Hampshire to the bars and bowling alleys of Pennsylvania to the emotionally charged and historic Democratic Convention in Denver. By the end of that brutish season, even the most loyal Clinton supporter could have been excused for temporarily losing their judgment due to exhaustion. Perhaps, in a weak moment, a Clinton supporter lashed out at their boss and blamed her for their spending a year away from family and friends in lousy hotel rooms in godforsaken settings. Maybe this staffer was stunned by Hillary’s failure to close the deal in Iowa or plan beyond Super Tuesday. Maybe, just maybe, this person said something to the authors that they no longer believe.

I hope that is the case. Because what I saw throughout Hillary’s 2008 campaign was a candidate who kept fighting back even after being badly wounded in Iowa, negligently served by her staff, and treated miserably by a biased press corps.

Hillary Clinton received what should have been a knockout blow in the election season’s first contest by finishing behind Barack Obama and John Edwards in Iowa. The press smelled blood and rushed in for the quick kill. Pollsters began predicting her demise days before voters marched into the voting booths in New Hampshire. Even Bill Clinton apologized to a group of college supporters the night before the election for not being able to make his wife younger, more exciting, and more articulate.

I thought the 48 hours before the New Hampshire primary were the most humiliating any national figure of Hillary Clinton’s stature had to endure in recent political history. It was a political execution that was broadcast across the world in slow motion. And it was ugly.

But Hillary Clinton had other plans. The New York senator shocked every pundit and pollster from Manchester to Manhattan, outperforming the final NH polls by a dozen points or more.

For the next few months, the Clinton campaign took one body blow after another. The media coverage was deplorable. In fact, it was so biased in some quarters that more than a few living legends of broadcast news privately shared with me the embarrassment they felt toward their own profession.

Still, Clinton kept fighting on.

We were told that like New Hampshire, Ohio would be Hillary’s Waterloo. After all, Obama was outspending her there by a margin of 4 to 1.

She still won.

Then we were told that Barack Obama’s victory in Texas would seal the deal and make history.

Hillary won again, despite again being outspent 4 to 1.

Then pundits told America that West Virginia would be a battleground for the type of blue collar voters that helped put JFK on the path to the White House in 1960. If Obama won there, like another young senator, he would be on his way to the Oval Office.

But Hillary won yet again, this time by an astounding 41 points.

The battle next shifted to Pennsylvania, where the two candidates would have a month to make their case to voters. We were told that Pennsylvania would be where Obama would finish Hillary off. After all, the more people got to know Barack Obama, the more they would like him. And, well, the opposite would surely be true of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Working class voters across the Rust Belt got that chance to meet Hillary Clinton up close and personal. So did suburban moms, rural farmers, and urban dwellers. Hillary was dramatically outspent on TV and badly outmaneuvered by a brilliant Obama ground game.

But at the end of a Tuesday night in April of 2008, Hillary Clinton had once again picked herself up off the floor and won an election that shouldn’t have been close. In fact, this one wasn’t close, but it was Barack Obama who found himself on the wrong side of a lopsided margin.

In the end, history caught up with the Clinton campaign. Hers was a battle that was doomed from the beginning by a mistaken belief that the Clinton machine would have the Democratic nomination sealed by Super Tuesday. Given her party’s rules for awarding delegates, it was a miscalculation that caused Hillary the Democratic nomination and most certainly the presidency of the United States of America.

Character is rarely revealed in its sharpest contrast after a glorious victory. Instead, you find out what a person is made of after they sustain a soul crushing defeat. In her long, tortured march toward Denver, Hillary Clinton showed more character, more resilience, and more true grit than any presidential candidate I can recall.

And in that losing cause, Secretary Clinton served as a great example of character not only for my young daughter, but for us all. It is that type of strength that we need in our leaders now more than ever. 

Illinois Victim Reaches Out to Hundreds for Help…No Resources Available

Cross posted from http://www.4survivors.blogspot.com/
Written By: Maria Phelps

Kimberly Calhoun, resident of Rock Island, Illinois, reaches out to hundreds for help for her and her young daughter with no success, and at times, no response. I have been in contact with Kimberly for weeks now, and I personally taught her how to ask for help through my victims’ template (a letter template I have created for victims trying to summarize their problems and ask for help from various organizations can be found on www.survivorsinaction.com or by contacting me directly).  Together, we gathered domestic violence resources, contact information of state representatives, local shelter advocates, along with many other local organizations and advocates that assist with domestic violence and child custody cases. Kimberly followed my instructions and formulated a concise letter that summarized her problems, demanded help and assistance, and listed resources that have failed her. She sent out this letter to hundreds of people that claim to assist domestic violence victims and children in her county and state, but after patiently waiting for a response, many have ignored her cry for help and have turned her away.  

Even her Assemblyman, Mike Boland, passed her along to the Chief of Staff, Mike Huntoon, who was less than polite and helpful to her in her time of need.  According to Kimberly Calhoun, (Chief of Staff) Mike Huntoon was “initially rude”, particularly after she gave him a list of all the local and state agencies that have failed her and her daughter when they asked for help. Calhoun stated that he said things like “what else am I supposed to do?, I can’t wave a magic wand and make these agencies work “.

 Needless to say, Kim was turned away by her own state representative in Illinois and was unable to find any assistance. As of now, Kimberly has physical custody of her daughter, but her daughter is being mistreated by the father during visitation. This child has disabilities and suffers from diabetes, and while in her father’s care, is given wrong dosages of insulin and her health is being put into jeopardy. As a domestic violence victim, Kim needs three things: a pro bono lawyer, a DV advocate, and Child Protective Services to step in and advocate for her and her child, one would think it would be relatively easy to find some help in her state, but this mother is out of resources and no one can help meet her needs.  With the father demanding full custody of this child, keeping Kim in Family Court, and Child Protective Services in Illinois doing the bare minimum to assist this mother and child, Kim is in dire need of intervention and assistance.

Below is Mike Boland’s contact information, please feel free to express your opinions and support for Kim’s situation.

Springfield Office:    
243-E Stratton Office Building                    
Springfield, IL 62706                                                                                                                                                 
(217) 782-3992 / (217) 782-5201 FAX  

District Office:
4416 River Drive  
Moline, IL 61265 (Rock Island County)
(309) 736-3360 /(309) 736-3478 FAX                                                                     

As an Assemblyman, a representative chosen by the people to support the needs of the people, Assemblyman Mike Boland should be assisting this woman and child, seeing that agencies claiming to assist victims do their jobs. Without a magic wand, this man could easily make a few phone calls for this family and put them in contact with someone that could help, as this child is in danger and is at risk. Being a DV survivor myself, I am all too familiar with the “DV runaround” this victim is getting from the masses, and I’ve been turned away in NYS myself, but this woman can’t even get a DV advocate assigned to her case. Unfortunately, there are COUNTLESS agencies offering help to victims of abuse, handing out pamphlets, offering phone numbers to call, but when one actually takes the time to make contact, there is ALWAYS disappointment on the other end–rarely help. I do hope this post reaches many, and I do hope many advocate for Kim in support, and I do hope Illinois steps up their domestic violence services for victims, because as far as I can see, they are almost non-existent.

This afternoon, Kim and I phoned the National Domestic Violence HotlineThe Christian Family Care CenterThe National Child Abuse Hotline, the State ofIllinois Domestic Violence Hotline, and Family Resources of Illinois (could barely get a conscious person on this crisis line)…..no help, no assistance, no DV advocate available, no pro bono attorney, no nothing. This situation is unacceptable, and, unfortunately, the “norm” across the country.

The National Child Abuse Hotline referred Kim to the Ombudsman office (217-524-2029), the State Liaison’s office, and then the Inspector General’s office, which we called immediately asking for intervention and assistance. These are the places to contact when Child Protective Services fails, and we are now waiting for a reply.

According to the State of Illinois Domestic Violence HotlineKim does not live in an area that caters to victims, whereas, if Kim lived in Chicago there would be more resources for her to choose from. That’s the tricky part about being a victim, picking the perfect place for the crime to happen.

Maria Phelps