Skip to comments.Hillary on Obama: Fear and Hatred on the Campaign Trail
Posted on 12/05/2007 6:57:42 AM PST by Roberts
Hillary on the attack.
That's the narrative of the Democratic contest this week, and it may be the dominant theme until the January 3 Democratic caucus in Iowa. (See here and here.) Sliding in the polls in Iowa--and falling behind Senator Barack Obama--Senator Clinton has begun to swing hard at the Illinoisan. Not just at his ideas, but at him, at his character. Clinton spokesperson Howard Wolfson said the other day, "Senator Obama is a fabulous orator, but we need more than words. We don't need someone who says one thing and does another, somebody who talks a good game but doesn't have the courage of their convictions. And on issue after issue, Senator Obama says one thing and does another." The Clinton campaign sent out an email on Monday calling Obama Karl Rove's preferred Democratic (ouch!) and blasting Obama for supposedly not understanding his own health care proposal, for lying when he has said he has not harbored presidential ambitions for years, and for allegedly running a slush fund (meaning a leadership political action committee, which he manages in the same manner Clinton runs her own leadership PAC). In other words, the fellow who has inspired thousands--if not millions--is a sleazy, hypocritical, incompetent sham.
On Monday, Clinton called Obama a "talker" not a "doer" and a purveyor of "false hopes." She mocked his candidacy: ""How did running for president become a qualification for being president?" On Tuesday, the Clinton campaign suggested that Obama's campaign was mounting dirty tricks against Clinton in Iowa and New Hampshire.
This is much tougher an attack than anything Obama has hurled at her--and he has been critical of Clinton. (The first negative ad against Clinton has gone up, and it's being pushed not by Obama but by a liberal advocacy group.) And it shows--take your pick--either the meanness or toughness of Clinton and her posse. I lean toward characterizing it as the former.
When talking to Clintonites in recent days, I've noticed that they've come to despise Obama. I suppose that may be natural in the final weeks of a competitive campaign when much is at stake. But these people don't need any prompting in private conversations to decry Obama as a dishonest poser. They're not spinning for strategic purposes. They truly believe it. And other Democrats in Washington report encountering the same when speaking with Clinton campaign people. "They really, really hate Obama," one Democratic operative unaffiliated with any campaign, tells me. "They can't stand him. They talk about him as if he's worse than Bush." What do they hate about him? After all, there aren't a lot of deep policy differences between the two, and he hasn't gone for the jugular during the campaign. "It's his presumptuousness," this operative says. "That he thinks he can deny her the nomination. Who is he to try to do that?" You mean, he's, uh, uppity? "Yes." A senior House Democratic aide notes, "The Clinton people are going nuts in how much they hate him. But the problem is their narrative has gone beyond the plausible."
That is, the Clintonites--and the campaign--may be overreacting. Will Democratic voters really buy the Clinton argument that Obama is an inauthentic and a dissembling scoundrel? Until the caucus-goers of Iowa speak, there is no way to know if Clinton's DEFCON-1 assault on Obama will succeed or backfire. But the Clinton attacks do say something about Hillary Clinton. She's adopting a whatever-it-takes strategy, mixing legitimate criticisms with truth-stretching blasts. And her campaign aides have adopted a we-must-destroy-him mindset that they justify by viewing Obama as a political lowlife.
Whatever-it-takes often works in political campaigns. But we all know that hatred can be blinding. Clinton is, as has been noted, running the risk of alienating those kindhearted souls of Iowa by slamming the lovable, likable and inspiring Barack Obama. She could end up looking a bit desperate. Candidates are always responsible for their campaigns, and they can be judged accordingly. If the Clinton campaign throws anything it can against Obama--with little regard for accuracy or decency--that will reflect her own character and values. It could, to turn her words against her, be a disqualification for the job.
Clinton is playing with fire. In explaining to reporters that she will be tougher on Obama, she said, "Now the fun part starts." That was tasteless. It's a remark that certainly can--and will be--used against her. And some Democratic voters might worry that the comment reveals too much desire for (political) blood.
In politics, there can be a thin line between tough and mean. (Ask Rudy Giuliani.) The future of Clinton's campaign--and perhaps the future of the United States--will be determined by how this woman navigates the difference.
The pattern ends with Clinton/Obama as the Rat ticket in 2008.
"Attack? THIS was an attack."
I always figured that the reason David Cornhole doesn’t have any lips, is that were permanently attached to the Clintons butts.
Hillary may not be Liberal enough for him
How considerate of Vince to wash the blood and powder residue off his hand after shooting himself in the head!
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