As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, November 02, 2007

It's On

It may be late in the game, but the two main challengers to Hillary Clinton are making effective pitches, and they're calling foul on the tactics that have allowed her to rise to the top. This idea that people are "ganging up" on Hillary, and trying to make that sound like "picking on a girl," is pernicious. Any front-runner would get the same scrutiny. And Obama is not falling for it.

"I am assuming and I hope that Sen. Clinton wants to be treated like everybody else. And I think that that's why she's running for President.

"When we had a debate back in Iowa awhile back, we spent I think the first 15 minutes of the debate hitting me on various foreign policy issues. And I didn't come out and say: 'Look, I'm being hit on because I look different from the rest of the folks on the stage'. I assumed it was because there were real policy differences there [...]

"I don't think that people doubt that Senator Clinton is tough. She's used to playing in national politics. And in fact that is one of the things that she has suggested is why she should be elected -- because she's been playing in this rough-and-tumble stage.

"So it doesn't make sense for her, after having run that way for eight months, the first time that people start challenging her point of view, that suddenly she backs off and says: 'Don't pick on me. That is not obviously how we would expect her to operate if she were President."

You can't straddle both sides of the fence. You're either tough to too brittle to be attacked, not both. This is more a problem with the campaign than the candidate, but clearly they're trying to get a "get out of scrutiny free" card from their opponents, and it's silly.

John Edwards put together a devastating YouTube on "The Politics of Parsing".

This is something every politician does, but in Hillary it's particularly acute, and it's the difference between advocating strongly for issues you care about, or doing the negotiation that's part of politics in your head before you even reach the bargaining table, which is the weakest tactic imaginable.

Things are definitely heating up on the Democratic side, but the question is whether or not Brand Clinton is too far out in front for it to matter.

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