April 13, 2008


What Clinton wishes she could say JOHN F. HARRIS & JIM VANDEHEI, 4/13/08, Politico)

In fact, the Democratic race has not been especially rough by historical standards. What’s more, our conversations with Democrats who speak to the Clintons make plain that their public comments are only the palest version of what they really believe: that if Obama is the nominee, a likely Democratic victory would turn to a near-certain defeat.

Far from a no-holds-barred affair, the Democratic contest has been an exercise in self-censorship.

Rip off the duct tape and here is what they would say: Obama has serious problems with Jewish voters (goodbye Florida), working-class whites (goodbye Ohio) and Hispanics (goodbye, New Mexico).

Republicans will also ruthlessly exploit openings that Clinton — in the genteel confines of an intraparty contest — never could. Top targets: Obama’s radioactive personal associations, his liberal ideology, his exotic life story, his coolly academic and elitist style.

This view has been an article of faith among Clinton advisers for months, but it got powerful new affirmation last week with Obama’s clumsy ruminations about why “bitter” small-town voters turn to guns and God.

There’s nothing to say that the Clintonites are right about Obama’s presumed vulnerabilities. But one argument seems indisputably true: Obama is on the brink of the Democratic nomination without having had to confront head-on the evidence about his general election challenges.

That is why some friends describe Clinton as seeing herself on a mission to save Democrats from themselves.

Ms Clinton has done neither her party nor her country a service by basically giving Senator Obama a pass. Presidential nomination contests need not last as long as they do, but the one purpose served is that they generally expose candidates weaknesses in the long run. It's a catastrophe for the Democrats that his are coming to the fore only after the nomination is settled.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 13, 2008 10:18 PM

Hillary is kicking herself for not living up to her reputation of ruthlessness.

Posted by: ic at April 14, 2008 12:25 AM

How could a Clinton run such an incompetent political campaign? Did Bill run as badly, only was able to talk himself out of sticky situations? Or is Hillary's team really that much more incompetent than any other major campaign in recent memory?

This latest gaffe by Obama is a great example of opportunity missed. Her campaign focused on the arguably true "Pennsylvanians are bitter" side of the snub and not on the "church attendance and gun ownership are morally equivalent to bigotry and xenophobia" angle, which allowed Obama and the media to ignore the real smear in his statement. How stupid does her campaign have to be in order to throw Obama a lifeline when he's about to be swept away by the raging torrent of his own words?

If Bill had campaigned like this, Bob Dole would have won in a landslide.

Posted by: BrianOfAtlanta at April 14, 2008 7:44 AM

As though Clinton(s) are any different than Obama. She isn't running an effective campaign against him because she is fnding it impossible to draw a distinction, female doesn't trump black.

The wonderful service to our country currently being rendered with both Hill and Obama in the race is actually seeing who these people really are.

Normally by this point, the media is fully on board with their biased tactics promoting the Dem candidate and attacking the GOP one, of course, all with a veil of proper journalism. But today we have tribal warfare and both Obama and Hill seem human and mistake prone as their foibals are being exploited rather than covered up.

Meanwhile, the GOP guy, used to running with the built in difficulty factor applied by the media, just cruises.

Posted by: Perry at April 14, 2008 8:14 AM

Another problem is that Hillary's worldview and political past are not that different from Obama's. She can't attack him on substance without exposing herself.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at April 14, 2008 10:05 AM