I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Democrat" Taylor Marsh on Obama and Hillary

Before I get into this piece, let me say up front that I'm well aware that Taylor Marsh is a good friend of Pam Leavey of The Democratic Daily, who has appeared on our radio show several times and we consider a stand up person. And Taylor herself has a long history of doing good work for the progressive cause. But I really have to question what's going on at Taylor's place with this rather odd piece regarding Barack Obama.

In case you were hiding under a rock, CTV, a news station in Canada, recently released a story saying that Senator Obama's campaign had informed Canada ahead of time that he would be opposing NAFTA in its current form, but that it was "just political rhetoric' and implying that he didn't really mean it. Taylor Marsh jumped all over that one, apparently thinking it would score some big points for Hillary Clinton, who Marsh enthusiastically supports.

Well, it didn't take very long before a spokesperson for the Canadian embassy came out stated in no uncertain terms that the story was bunk.
A spokesman for the Canadian Embassy to the United States, Tristan Landry, flatly denied the CTV report that a senior Obama aide had told the Canadian ambassador not to take seriously Obama's denunciations of NAFTA.

"None of the presidential campaigns have called either the ambassador or any of the officials here to raise NAFTA," Landry said.

He said there had been no conversations at all on the subject.

"We didn't make any calls, they didn't call us," Landry said.

"There is no story as far as we’re concerned," he said.

Please note the wording here from the Canadian embassy. It's not the usual political bullet dodging, implying that somebody misunderstood something, or "he said she said" on this. It's just a flat denial that any such calls took place.

Yet in her most recent piece, Ms. Marsh takes a remarkable route in determining why this story shouldn't be believed.
[S]ince when do we automatically believe "spokes people?" Scott McClellan during the Scooter Libby trial comes to mind. Dana Perino on, well, just about any subject does too. There are all sorts of things that go on back channel, with a spokesperson the last one to know. As for McIsaac at CTV, they network stands by the "facts" in the story they reported. You'll have to decide if that is any different on the merits.

Ok. I've finished picking my jaw up off the floor. Please note the tone and lack of spin in the answer. Simply a flat denial. Obviously, the Press Secretary of the White House has one job and one job only - to spin the news in the best possible light to the press in an effort to make the President look good. Are we really to compare Scotty McClellan to Tristan Landry, whose phone has probably not rung in the last ten years on any matter more pressing than the toner cartridge running out in the office printer? What is the motivation for the Canadian embassy to suddenly go on record in defense of Obama and possibly releasing a flat out lie? To support McCain? To show a preference for Obama over Hillary to run against St. John?

I understand that Taylor has a lot invested in seeing Hillary get the nomination, and I understand that many people have their own preferences for their own reasons. But this smells of a smear piece against Obama over one of his better positions - that opposing NAFTA which we've written on here extensively. I remember when Taylor Marsh's banner used to read, "Democrat Taylor Marsh." Now it just says "Taylor Marsh" at the top. At this point I have to wonder... did you drop the "Democrat" anticipating a day when you would have to carry water for the GOP in an effort to derail Obama in support of Hillary Clinton?

Take a look at the polls, flawed though they may often be. After this Tuesday, absent an absolute miracle in Texas, Hillary's campaign will be done unless she executes some sort of political legerdemain involving the super delegates which will tear the party asunder and hand the election to John McCain. This may be the time to go back to supporting the progressive cause and back the party candidate rather than fighting a self-defeating war on behalf of Senator Clinton. You're not helping anyone but John McCain with this sort of thing.