March 8, 2008


Playing by Clinton rules (David Brooks, March 7, 2008, NY Times)

In the current issue of Time magazine, Michael Duffy and Nancy Gibbs report on a meeting that took place in Chicago last Labor Day. All of Obama's experienced advisers told him: "You gotta get down, get dirty, get tough."

Obama refused. He argued that if he did that, the entire basis for his campaign would evaporate. [...]

This time, Obama, whose competitive juices are flowing, has apparently accepted the advice. The Obama campaign is now making a big issue of Clinton's tax returns and dropping hints about donations to President Bill Clinton's library and her secret White House papers. It's willing to launch an ethics assault. "If Senator Clinton wants to take the debate to various places, we'll join that debate," the Obama strategist David Axelrod told reporters the other day.

These attacks are supposed to show that Obama can't be pushed around. But, of course, what it really suggests is that Obama's big theory is bankrupt. You can't really win with the new style of politics. Sooner or later, you have to play by the conventional rules.

With the emptiness of his candidacy already exposed he has nothing to lose.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 8, 2008 7:42 AM

Hillary and Bill (and their minions) are blunt instruments. If Obama can slice her artfully, and then stand back to watch the bleeding, he might succeed. He doesn't have to throw anvils, just lots of darts.

Posted by: ratbert at March 8, 2008 9:42 AM