Is ‘The Finger’ The Nail In Obama’s Coffin?

KCrowley asks in the comment string of the original story whether I think this is the ‘nail in Senator Obama’s coffin’? So, do I think this will be the ‘nail in the coffin’? Short answer: No. Long Answer: Hell, No. Not hardly.

Did it happen? Did he flip off Hillary Clinton?

No Quarter thinks so and has several updates built into their story. The Los Angeles Times ‘Top of the Ticket’ blog. is running the story and the video. The print LAT is also carrying the story. The same story is running with another view of the event on video in The Baltimore Sun. Memorandum has a large run down of the sites that have attacked or commented on the incident. Taylor Marsh jumped on the story very early after being directly contacted by Pamela Leavey. The Chicago Tribune’s blog ‘Swampland’ has the video and story. Even Fox News has front paged the gesture as the story of the day with new video. [Think it might come up again in the general election when talking about the judgment needed in the WH?] According to Google here are 443 related stories in the Media starting US News and World Report.

Of course, after a debate where he had difficult personal questions to answer, he says no more debates are necessary. Of course not. As Taylor Marsh notes,“He simply can’t afford them.” He has shown time and again that he doesn’t do nearly so well when he has to deviate from his ‘script’. [And I guess hard personal, sometimes phony, questions are never part of a general election campaign?]

His verbal supporters, by and large, are fanatic in their nearly religious support of the Obama crusade. They love the fact that he used a juvenile gesture to stick it to the establishment.

I find the entire incident amazing, sad and pitiful. He’s successfully playing to an audience that likes that exact type of gesture and it’s dismissive content. What does that say about how he’ll react in the general election when attacked from all sides at once?

What if he successfully wins the election and has to deal with Congress and foreign leaders? Will this dismissive element play into his presidency?

We have an example of just such dismissive elements in a presidency today. George W. Bush has used this exact tactic time an again with Congress and foreign affairs issues. Do we really want more of the same?

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25 Responses to Is ‘The Finger’ The Nail In Obama’s Coffin?

  1. Janis says:

    Him saying no to more debates bugs me. What’s he going to do when someone he can’t shut off is sitting across from him?

    I have to admit, as an HRC supporter, I’m shaking my head as I’m writing this — of course he’s saying no. He sucks at them and he knows it. But if he thought he could do better, and he wanted to show he could, wouldn’t he jump at the chance to show it? If you screw up, aren’t you going to want to show off that you could do better? Aren’t you going to leap at a chance to do better?

    Those questions weren’t that hard; he’s got to know this. He’s GOT to have known that Ayers would come up, and that he needs a canned response to that question. He’s got to. He cannot possibly have thought he’d coast up to this point, and then what? When he gets in the WH, it gets easier?

    This is insane. I’ve tunneled into BizzaroWorld.

  2. BizarroWorld may be the single best description of this primary I’ve heard yet!

    And you bring up a discussion and analysis frame that I had not thought about throughly: If he could do better than Hillary Clinton wouldn’t he be eager to show it on as much television as possible?

    Everyone has their best forum but he doesn’t have the ability as President or the nominee of walking away from the questions that anger or irritate him. If he does badly in those positions we are all in trouble.

    It’s a good way of thinking of his refusal to debate. It’s worthy of trying to shove it into the media.

  3. kcowley says:

    Stuart, bummer. I was going with Pamela’s audacity of hope, but thanks for the very thorough reply.

  4. I doubt that Obama would try his “scratch” if he were running against a man in the general election. Doing it to a girl was a cheap ‘n easy shot, especially since it was Charlie, George, and he himself who inflicted his debate wounds. BO’s actions are consistent with the attack mode that trickles down through his “believers.” Geez, this guy is keeping me busy as hell. As a month-old blogger, I’ve written about his insidiousness from so many angles that I can’t believe more keep popping up. I hope you’ll drop by.

  5. John Brown says:

    This would be an interesting story and a potential coffin nail for Barry O. if one thing was different…

    The story about him flipping her off would need to be TRUE.

    Since it isn’t, I don’t think it will do much other than embarrass those who hinted at its veracity in a last-ditch effort to maintain a dying Hillary campaign.

    Ever see a 2-fingered flip-off before? Didn’t think so.

    Yours truly,

    John Brown
    Ten Digits… And Counting!

  6. Give all debates to the League of Women Voters, and keep them coming.

    Please get this whole process back to being professional.

  7. debunker says:

    Of course there won’t be anymore debates, he doesn’t think it’s necessary because he thinks he’s the nominee and further debates would only be a waste of his time and possibly damage his image (performance). Why take the chance? Yes, he’s coasting and his arrogance is showing.

    The longer this goes on, the more sarcasm and arrogance seen from Obama’s camp, his supporters and the candidate himself. While I never was planning on voting for Obama in the primary, I would have in November, if he were the nominee.

    After B.O.’s recent antics, he lost my G.E. vote. I either won’t vote, or will vote for McCain. (never thought I would even consider those options six months ago!)

    NO to B.O. in Indiana!

  8. Debunker: What an odd choice!

    Have you been voting for very long?

  9. alrudder says:

    Actually Stuart, this is the nail in Hillary’s coffin: LINK

  10. In this latest debate, Obama was in a ,”damed if I do, damed if I don’t” situation. He decided to take the high road and to not respond to Hillary’s vicious attacks-in kind. So, he is being portrayed as being weak, unwilling to defend himself, and having no back bone. If he had followed suit by slinging the mud back at Hillary, he would have been portrayed as vile, disrespectful, and not living up to his promise of change. (using standard Washington character assassination) So, there was nothing he could have done to statisfy the media, which is employing a lurid tabloid format.
    I, and many others, are livid at the line of questioning that Charlie Gibson and George S. pursued. It was the media as it’s worst!! ABC should be taken to task for allowing this fiasco. As noted by Obama, it took over 45 minutes for a meaningful question to be asked. Why was there a need to rehash the Rev. Wright saga? Surely it has become old news. Does ABC really think the electorate is more concerned over the lapel pin iusue than Iraq, soaring gas prices, foreclosures etc.? I THINK NOT. It’s a disgrace that George S. was programed on Sean Hennity’s show (by Shawn) to ask the Ayers association question. All of this furthers my observation that the debates have become just one more casuality in “the dumbing down of America” The questions appeal to the most base human instincts , ala. Jerrry Springer Show mentality.
    On a side note, the “bitter” gaff made by Obama was not totally incorrect. In both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections voters, in both “red” and “blue” states, responded to exit poll questions. One question was, “What were the primary issues which promoted you to vote for your candidate of choice?” A very high majority of voters in the “red” states listed gay marriage, guns, and abortion as their motivating issues. So you might say that we have had to suffer through this eight year nightmare because red state (small town) folks were more concerned about who I might go to bed with, than nuclear proliferation!! Gays somehow represent more of a threat to their families than terrorists. Rest assured that as the general election approaches “McBush” will again rely on these “small town, “Bible thumping” issues to strengthen his base.
    How unfortunate that we constantly complain about politicains lying to us. Then, when one emerges who is willing to take the political risk of telling us the truth, we become offended. Again, ala. a “Few Good Men”—“The truth, you wouldn’t know how to handel the truth!”

  11. Buzz

    “The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” — Oscar Wilde

  12. alrudder

    Stuart did say it’s not the nail in Obama’s coffin and quite frankly I doubt the tape of Hillary talking about MoveOn that the HuffPo wrote about that “suddenly surfaced” is the nail in her coffin.

    Personally I left MoveOn a long, long time ago. I know many who feel that MoveOn is not always a help to our party. After all the Democratic Party is not filled with a bunch of young, hip activists who think that invoking the gestures of hip-hop icon JayZ is cool.

    Whether or not Obama’s finger (or fingers) movement was intentional, his hip-hop emulation was and it was rude and juvenile.

  13. Buzz

    You sure saw something others didn’t see in that debate — Obama didn’t take the high road, he was flumoxed and speechless and failed to respond because he was hit so hard with the same stuff he’ll be hit with in the general election that he could not handle it.

    We’ve seen the same thing to a lesser degree in previous debates and the difference this time was he was bombarded — he was treated in fact much like the media has treated HRC all these months.

    Get used to seeing him founder on the debate stage because John McCain will eat him alive — Obama doesn’t have the stuff to stand up to him. He proved that when we saw he didn’t have the stuff to stand up to the ABC moderators and HRC.

  14. CognitiveDissonance says:

    The sad thing is, if he had been treated equally by the press all this time, he would have taken those questions and hit them out of the park. The flag lapel pin question is a good case in point. How hard would it have been for him to say that he feels that patriotism is all about actions, not pins. That love of country means acting on the ideals of your country. He could even have riffed into the Constitution and how it has been under attack under George W. Bush. Democrats would have applauded that answer. But what did he do instead? He whined about it, claimed that it was a silly question. Let’s don’t forget. That wasn’t one of Charlie or George’s questions. It was asked by a Pennsylvania voter. So what he basically did is figuratively flip off a voter he needs to win over. And it would have been so very easy to hit that question out of the park once and for all. Because he whined about it, it will just keep getting asked over and over and over again.

    The media has actually not been doing Obama a favor with their fawning lack of vetting. They have allowed him to arrogantly think that it doesn’t matter what he does, they will always cover for him. They won’t, as anyone who has been around for more than one election cycle knows. There will be increasingly more questions about Ayers and Wright and Auchi and Rezko and the Woods trail to PLO terrorists. Fox is dripping this tuff every night now. Rush is starting to pound it, too. And just like the Wright tapes, it will get out to the more mainstream sources. He has to know this. No matter how much he and his ‘bots whine about it, this stuff is important to voters. Character is everything. And he should have had good answers to this stuff a long time ago. In fact, he should have had answers and welcomed the forum to answer them definitively once and for all. With well-crafted answers, more Democrats would be feeling some confidence that if he is nominated he won’t pull us down to a 49-state defeat. Sadly, all he did was show us why that is likely to happen.

  15. Truth Seeker says:

    People, Senator Obama flipped off Senator Clinton last Thursday.


    The media has fallen down big-time on this disgusting behavior on Senator Obama’s part. Since when is “flipping off” your opponent acceptable political discourse? I have been writing all Democratic members of Congress asking them to disavow Senator Finger and support Senator Clinton.

    Throughout this primary season, I have seen widespread misogyny on the part of the public and especially the media. Recall Senator Finger’s pointed use of “she” at the debates when referring to Senator Clinton even though she is sitting right next to him.

    Women, are we going to take this? We can do something about this. Contact and email Democratic members. Contact Howard Dean at

    Ladies, the time is now and the last big state is Pennsylvania. We can do it.

    Also, log onto, contribute, even 10 dollars would be tremendous. And, volunteer to call for Hillary, especially in PA. There is an application that lets you help with phone and it is free!!

  16. Andy Witmyer says:

    “Did it happen? Did he flip off Hillary Clinton?”

    Uh… no? He was scratching his face…? Are you guys serious…??? It’s sad that it’s come to this – are we really so desperate for negative news?

  17. Andy

    Maybe some people aren’t so hip to the Obama is the perfect candidate hype.

  18. Robt. Young says:

    Superdelegate’s willingness to circumvent popular vote in the name of what “they know what is best for USA and/or their omniscience to select a winning candidate” is elitist. Status derived from positions of authority, nepotism or tenure shouldn’t allow for an elitist attitude. Hopefully, these persons who hold prominence in our party will adhere to their substituencys’ will, and willbe held answerable for their “enlightened” decisions.

  19. It doesn’t follow that Obama couldn’t do well in a debate against McCain. Did you see him on Stephanopolous this morning. He had his lines and they were okay, but his delivery sucked. He mostly looked old and stupid, over his head, and that ain’t winning nothing.

  20. Darrell

    Who looked old and stupid? Obama or McCain? 😉

    Don’t underestimate him. We all underestimated Bush who looked rather young and stupid and look where that got us. .

  21. Kendall Johnson says:

    Robt. Young

    There is no popular vote without Florida and Michigan.

  22. Pamela, I don’t believe that “I saw something that others didn’t see in that debate.” If viewers were not comatose, this is what they should have seen.
    Barack was proded by George S. to engage Senator Clinton on these “non-issues”. They goaded him by asking him how he felt about Hillary’s Bosnia “mis-speak”. Their efforts were not successful. What he did accurately say was that both he and Senator Clinton were human beings, and therefore not infaliable. He pointed out that both he and Hillary have been taped and on video almost constantly over this saga of a campaign. Every word and jesture is annalyized for a secret hidden meaning. When fatigue sets in, mistakes and/or mis-speaks are bound to happen. Therefore, he refused to respond to the Bosnia snipper fire issue.(the high ground) He was further goaded by the interviewer’s observation that his “campaign staff had responded” He admitted that they had BUT that he chose NOT to respond. I know that I am not hallucinating. As Hillary thru one punch after another, his facial expression was one somewhere between disgust and disbelief. The questioners did all in their power to turn the first half on the debate into something resembeling a cheap newstand tabloid but Obama wisely choose NOT to take the bate. Why should he have to respond again, again, and again to the Rev. Wright incident when he already addressed it? The man took a political risk and delivered his Philadelphia race relations speech, which some are saying was the greatest and the most honest apppraisal put forth on race in decades. After Senator Obama made the ‘bitter” gaff in San Francisco the other day, he came out the very next day and admitted that he had “mangled” what he had been attempting to convey. Then he went on to clarify his message. After almost a full eight years of mistakes by “The Decider” (more like lies), do our two candidates have to be eligible for sainthood or be declared infallabale (ala the Pope) before there considered viable for the job?
    I personally have been disappointed with all of the debates, not because of the candidates but because of the format and questions. We really need to return them to the more profeesional over-sight of The League of Women Voters. The audiance SHOULD NOT be allowed to clap, boo, or hiss during the debate. The entire atmosphere is now like a re-run of World Fed.Wrestling.
    Lastly, I would like to make an observation which I hope is not considered out of line. I was previously crticized by you,Pamlela, for making some anti-Hillary statements which you advised that I should refrane from making. I believe you said that my negative Hillary comments did our party no good and could easily be used by the GOP nominee in the general election against us. So, please advise why you think that, “Get use to seeing him flounder on the debate stage because John McCain will eat him alive—Obama doesn’t have the stuff to stand up to him” represents? If this is not giving aid and comfort to the enemy, I don’t know what is!! Buzz

  23. Kendall Johnson says:

    Obma will lose the general election because the media will stop protacting him. The republican money he has been receiving will stop and will start going to McCain. Then Fox, CBS, ABC, NBC and MSNBC will start in with the Bill Ayres, Rezko, Reverand Wright, Farrahkan, his elitst contempt for the working class (whites), etc………

    The media will break him as quick as they made him. They will turn him into an anti-american terrorist sponsering thug. They will weave these elements in a way that will make people distrustful and fearful of him, and unwilling to give him control over our foreign policy. Put this together wth his thin resume, and people will be running away from him in droves.

    The point is that John McCain won’t have to do much to sell himself, since he’ll be the only alternative. The public will be afraid to vote for Obama by the time the republicans and the media are done with him. So they will vote for McCain, because they will feel like they don’t have a choice.

  24. Buzz

    Breifly… because I need to call it a night… What Obama fared was not unlike the earlier debate wen the moderators and Obama and Edwards all went after Hillary. Remember that one? I think people need to understand that they will not be easy on him come the general election. That is not aid and comfort. I remember full well what the media put Kerry through in the general election and Hillary Clinton has received far worse treatment over themonths from the media than Barack Obama did in ONE debate.

  25. And Buzz…

    Frankly Ithink it sucks that the media treats both of them badly – but it’s part of getting vetted. The media should ask tough and unpleasent questions so we the voters know who our candidates are.