Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Obama by Unanimous Decision


It was like one of those Heavyweight fights that ends with a Decision, not a Knockout. The Feb. 26 Ohio MSNBC Debate, the 20th debate in the endless Primary season, saw Sen. Hillary Clinton give her best debate performance — and she still lost on points.

After Clinton lamenting (whining) about her being asked the first question all the time (hey, who has been claiming front runner status for months now?) couple with a very strange citing of a recent Saturday Night Live skit, even asking if Obama wanted another pillow, the debate started with a long, confusing, going-nowhere discussion of Health Care with no mention at all of Single Payer. Then it was on to NAFTA, where Sen. Barack Obama won hands down.

Hillary, the top student in the front row, could barely contain her glee and wait to jump at the chance to answer when Tim Russert was scarcely into his question about her “exuberant” promise during her 2000 Senate campaign to bring 200,000 new jobs to upstate New York, when the actual outcome is 30,000 jobs lost. And leap she did with a well-prepared answer noting that when she made the pledge, she “thought Al Gore was going to be president.”

That was followed by Clinton’s dissembling about releasing her tax records, as the other candidates have already done. She’ll “get around to it” was the best she could come up with. Same thing with the 10,000 pages of records related to her schedule as First Lady. Said records have been released from the National Archives and HRC notes they will go before both presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush before she again gets around to letting the public see the basis for her “years of experience” claim.

Throughout the debate, Tim Russert was quite rude to Clinton. So much so, that I believe she could have upped her score by talking a couple whacks at him. She was far more civil in the face of his boorish badgering than I would have been. Russert treated Obama in this manner just once by my count.

But Obama rose up on a number of points. After enduring barrage after barrage of Clinton’s wildly thrown blows, he counterpunched each time with succinct devastating jabs. First off, he slam-dunked the war issue. After Clinton called his opposition to the Iraq invasion mere “speeches,” Obama noted that he was running for the Senate when he came out with said speeches! Yep. That’s right, he’s one of the “three per-centers” who “knew then” what Hillary claims she knows now and he staked his entire Senate campaign on it. Not quite a TKO, but awfully close.

The decision was his when close to the final bell; he admitted that there is a “vanity and ambition” aspect to any political race. He acknowledged it and then went on to deal with the specifics of issues. Had Hillary Clinton been able to show the self-insight, much less publicly admit to her overarching ambition these past long months, she may well be the true front-runner as the campaign winds down. Instead, her incessant front row student “look at me I’m smart” persona has only emphasized that ambition, turned off millions and derailed her “inevitability.”

Obama was hammered with the fact that Minister Louis Farrakahn came out with a recent Obama endorsement. He forcefully rejected Farrakahn and was forced to endless repeat it. Yet Clinton was never chastised for her supporters’ actual smears–like war-criminal Bob Kerrey’s recent HRC endorsement where he noted Obama’s middle name–red meat code for Muslim haters. Kerrey has also been flogging the “fact” that as a child Obama spent time in a “madrassa”–more red meat the GOP will undoubtedly use in the General Election should Obama be the nominee.

This sadly led to an inevitable “my Israel right or wrong” dick-measuring contest. Both candidates vied for the right to be called Israel’s “best friend” in the US Senate. This conflating of righteous support for Jewish civil rights and opposition to anti-Semitism with blind support for Israel (Obama referred to and embraced the “special relationship” Israel enjoys with the US) marked the low point of the debate, if not the campaign. A good referee would have separated the fighters from this death clinch.

In the end, both candidates showed how vastly superior they are to the Republican nominee. But HRC will go down in history as the great Joe Frazier has –surpassed by a once-in-a-lifetime foe.

MICHAEL DONNELLY probably won’t vote for either Dem, but he sure thinks that it really is “historic” what is going on within that usually self-defeating party this election. He can be reached at






MICHAEL DONNELLY has been an environmental activist since before that first Earth Day. He was in the thick of the Pacific Northwest Ancient Forest Campaign; garnering some collective victories and lamenting numerous defeats. He can be reached at

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future
Rob Urie
Name the Dangerous Candidate
Pepe Escobar
The Aleppo / Mosul Riddle
David Rosen
The War on Drugs is a Racket
Sami Siegelbaum
Once More, the Value of the Humanities
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
Neve Gordon
Israel’s Boycott Hypocrisy
Mark Hand
Of Pipelines and Protest Pens: When the Press Loses Its Shield
Victor Wallis
On the Stealing of U.S. Elections
Michael Hudson
The Return of the Repressed Critique of Rentiers: Veblen in the 21st century Rentier Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Drumbeats of Anti-Russia Confrontation From Washington to London
Howard Lisnoff
Still Licking Our Wounds and Hoping for Change
Brian Gruber
Iraq: There Is No State
Peter Lee
Trump: We Wish the Problem Was Fascism
Stanley L. Cohen
Equality and Justice for All, It Seems, But Palestinians
Steve Early
In Bay Area Refinery Town: Berniecrats & Clintonites Clash Over Rent Control
Kristine Mattis
All Solutions are Inadequate: Why It Doesn’t Matter If Politicians Mention Climate Change
Peter Linebaugh
Ron Suny and the Marxist Commune: a Note
Andre Vltchek
Sudan, Africa and the Mosaic of Horrors
Keith Binkly
The Russians Have Been Hacking Us For Years, Why Is It a Crisis Now?
Jonathan Cook
Adam Curtis: Another Manager of Perceptions
Ted Dace
The Fall
Sheldon Richman
Come and See the Anarchy Inherent in the System
Susana Hurlich
Hurricane Matthew: an Overview of the Damages in Cuba
Dave Lindorff
Screwing With and Screwing the Elderly and Disabled
Chandra Muzaffar
Cuba: Rejecting Sanctions, Sending a Message
Dennis Kucinich
War or Peace?
Joseph Natoli
Seething Anger in the Post-2016 Election Season
Jack Rasmus
Behind The 3rd US Presidential Debate—What’s Coming in 2017
Ron Jacobs
A Theory of Despair?
Gilbert Mercier
Globalist Clinton: Clear and Present Danger to World Peace
James A Haught
Many Struggles Won Religious Freedom
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Dear Fellow Gen Xers: Let’s Step Aside for the Millennials
Tom Clifford
Duterte’s Gambit: the Philippines’s Pivot to China
Uri Avnery
The Peres Funeral Ruckus
Reyes Mata III
Scaling Camelot’s Walls: an Essay Regarding Donald Trump
Raouf Halaby
Away from the Fray: From Election Frenzy to an Interlude in Paradise
James McEnteer
Art of the Feel
David Yearsley
Trump and Hitchcock in the Age of Conspiracies
Charles R. Larson
Review: Sjón’s “Moonstone: the Boy Who Never Was”