Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A peace of my mind

By Carl

This absolutely ridiculous bickering between the Clinton and Obama camps must stop. Now.

Don't try to get the last word in, Barack. Hillary, just let it go.

Why, you ask? It's simple. It's getting to the point where the "winner" will lose the general election.

I base this on a poll released yesterday:

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll asked voters who has the personality and leadership qualities to be president. Republican John McCain had 60 percent, Democrat Barack Obama had 59 percent and Democrat Hillary Clinton had 55 percent.

"The presidential race now looks like a toss-up -- perhaps even with a Republican edge," Paul Starr, co-editor of the liberal American Prospect magazine, wrote in The Washington Post on Sunday. "If Democrats don't stay smart, tough-minded and realistic, we could blow it yet again."

It's bad enough that Hillary already has trouble convincing people that another term of the Clinton-Bush nexus is a good thing. It's bad enough that Barack Obama has enough skeletons in his closet to drape an entire couture collection off. People are tired, and scared, and scaring them more is not a good thing.

September 11 did change a lot of things, but one thing it should have changed was the politics of fear, but Republicans managed to find a way to go to the well one more time-- wolves at the door, Swiftboating, "flip flopping" their way to the White House with an incumbent who is an insult to the title "President."

They'll go to the well once more, make no mistake about it. Despite Obama's admirative utterances, the Republicans are bereft of ideas and the substantive ones they've managed to bleat out are tired and ineffectual.

John McCain appears to be the nominee (it's still early, of course), they'll run a platform of steady stable command with experience, and paint the Dems as the Not Ready For Prime Time players (particularly if Obama wins).

This catfight has to stop. It's distracting the candidates from the one truth: we need a plan to recover from the first eight years of this millennium.

Frankly, I'm surprised more at Obama than Clinton in this respect: Obama's message of hope was resonating with the electorate, and as soon as he was attacked, he exposed an extremely thin skin, as well as the "politics as usual" knife-fighting tactics he's been railing against.

It's almost as if two consummate politicians had him by the strings and were dangling him for their amusement, it's worked that well. Truly, which sounds worse to you: sitting on the board of directors of Wal-Mart, the biggest company in your "home" state, or representing a slumlord that you are still accepting donations from? Keep in mind that the majority of Democrats live near a Wal-Mart, shop there, and have friends who work for the company.

When I watched that exchange during the debate (I saw a tape last night), I realized Hillary set Barack up. Yes, there was a reaction when Obama mentioned Clinton's position, but the reaction of the audience when Clinton had the chance to mention "Obama" and "slumlord" in the same sentence made me think that perhaps she was premature in leaving South Carolina.

If one can find any gold in this pile of dung, it's that by levelling these charges now, both candidates have inoculated themselves against those charges being a surprise in the general election. If you recall, in 2004 no one challenged Kerry's patriotism. No one called Al Gore a liar in 2000.

Maybe they should have. The thing is, Hillary's dark points are already known, already out there. I suspect that because Obama is such an unknown quantity, these e-mails about him being a Islamist, and swearing his oath on a Koran, and turning his back to the flag during the Pledge of Allegiance have resonated so well on the right wing.

Obama's electability numbers predate this wave of revelation, and the "slumlord" one is going to stick, big time, in states like California and New York and Georgia, with large urban minority populations.

Hell, Hillary did extremely well in Las Vegas in the Nevada caucuses, which should have been heavily tilted towards Obama.

Hillary has less to gain but more important, a lot less to lose, in a spitting contest with Obama. This would be a good time for both camps to send out feelers for a truce.

You've both drawn blood. Let it go. By the way, Barack? You might
want to pull that finger back in, as well, or didn't you learn the Lazio lesson?

(Cross-posted to
Simply Left Behind.)

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