Friday, May 09, 2008


Paul Begala (backing Clinton) and Donna Brazile (a Democratic superdelegate who's officially undeclared, though clearly not undecided) went at it on CNN on Tuesday night as election results came in. The exchange went on for some time. Some pro-Clinton bloggers quoted a brief excerpt of what she said, pointing to it as proof that she (and therefore Obama and Obama's supporters) feel contempt for the voters Hillary Clinton is winning -- ignoring the full context of what she said.

I expect that kind of selective quotation from some bloggers. Despite his utter contempt for Obama, I thought I could expect better from Paul Krugman.

Apparently not. Here's Krugman today:

On Tuesday night, Donna Brazile, the Democratic strategist, declared that "we don't have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics." That sort of thing has to stop.

Yes, that's what she said. A slightly longer version of this soundbite -- which made steam come out of some people's ears -- is this:

BRAZILE: Well, Lou, I have worked on a lot of Democratic campaigns, and I respect Paul. But, Paul, you're looking at the old coalition. A new Democratic coalition is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don't have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics. We need to look at the Democratic Party, expand the party, expand the base and not throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Did she say that? Yes, she said that.

But here's what else she said:

BRAZILE: ...I was one of the first Democrats who were going to the white working-class neighborhoods, encouraging white Democrats not to forget their roots. I have drank more beers with "Joe Six Pack," "Jane Six Pack" and everybody else than most white Democrats that you're talking about.

... I'm saying that we need to not divide and polarize the Democratic Party as if the Democratic Party will rely simply on white, blue collar male-- you insult every black blue collar Democrat by saying that.

So stop the divisions. Stop trying to split us into these groups, Paul, because you and I know both know we have been in more campaigns.

We know how Democrats win and to simply suggest that Hillary's coalition is better than Obama's, Obama's is better than Hillary's -- no. We have a big party, Paul....


BRAZILE: It's our party, Paul. Don't say my party. It's our party. Because it's time that we bring the party back together, Paul.


BRAZILE: When John McCain secured the Republican nomination, he had to do some homework and reaching out to the Bill Bennets. If Barack Obama secures the Democratic nomination, he will have to reach out to blue collar, white voters and neutralize Senator Clinton's advantage on the economy but --


BRAZILE: ... I think -- [Barack Obama] has to continue to do his homework and that's what he showed today in North Carolina, he must prove that in the races to come.


BRAZILE: No. It sounds like I am ready to unify my party. I'm ready to bring the party back together and I'm sick and tired of hearing people say my party, my party. This is the Democratic Party. We have stood through thick and thin and I'm sick of the divisions. That's all I'm saying.

I'm not saying that this is about -- I think Hillary is a fabulous candidate and she is doing a remarkable job in the closing days of this Campaign. But Barack Obama's also a great candidate and I respect John McCain's service. Now what does that make me?

She's not saying that the voters in Hillary Clinton's coalition are irrelevant. She's rebutting the argument that the voters in Barack Obama's coalition are invalid, while insisting that Obama needs to work toward winning Clinton's. She's talking about mending fences and making the coalition bigger.

What more do you want, Paul?

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