The Low Road to Victory
- From: jose <josefsoplar@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2008 10:09:45 -0700 (PDT)
The Low Road to Victory
The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive
result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and
more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-
filled contests that preceded it.
Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process;
and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham
Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly
responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and
the 2008 election.
If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs.
Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to
challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator
Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers
should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives
say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part
of what was once a 20-point lead.
On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first
Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton
television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929
stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold
war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If
you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator
If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is
the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the
opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on
ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We
would be able to totally obliterate them.”
By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance
of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly
exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who
don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her
candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is
more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.
Mr. Obama is not blameless when it comes to the negative and vapid
nature of this campaign. He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton’s
bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more
inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about
“bitter” voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All
that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative
youth and inexperience.
No matter what the high-priced political operatives (from both camps)
may think, it is not a disadvantage that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton
share many of the same essential values and sensible policy
prescriptions. It is their strength, and they are doing their best to
make voters forget it. And if they think that only Democrats are
paying attention to this spectacle, they’re wrong.
After seven years of George W. Bush’s failed with-us-or-against-us
presidency, all American voters deserve to hear a nuanced debate —
right now and through the general campaign — about how each candidate
will combat terrorism, protect civil liberties, address the housing
crisis and end the war in Iraq.
It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the
Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a
bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once
had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing
it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to
have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back
to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to
call off the dogs.
Another night of our Rasputin Spring: The New York Times, in full
panty-twist over Hillary's survival tactics, as The Great Emasculator
refuses to climb down off Obama's back.
- Prev by Date: POLL: Who's smarter, Bush or McCain?
- Next by Date: Obama's Media Army
- Previous by thread: POLL: Who's smarter, Bush or McCain?
- Next by thread: Obama's Media Army