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

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Suicide Mission

So Barack Obama has pretty fairly taken advantage of Hillary Clinton's campaign being caught flat-footed by not wrapping up the nomination on Super Tuesday, and he has swept 10 straight contests by huge margins. She still has a chance to pull this out, but it would take a major change in the current dynamic and I simply don't see that happening. This YouTube from last night, where an Obama surrogate can't name any of his legislative accomplishments, has potential, but that's kind of the fault of the surrogate, not the candidate, who has as many accomplishments as Clinton (ethics reform, finding loose nukes, pandemic flu preparation, death penalty reform in Illinois, health care in Illinois, anti-racial profiling bill in Illinois, shall I keep going?).

Clearly they need to change the dynamic. And there are two debates in the next six days, so there will be chances. An example of what not to do is to shovel soft money into an anti-Obama 527. I can't tell you how stupid this is. And for me it's personal.

The new pro-Clinton 527, the American Leadership Project, incorporated with the IRS on Feb. 15, and lists as its chief a former Clinton White House deputy press secretary and former Gray Davis aide, Roger Salazar, according to its federal filing [...]

The group is targeting through TV ads, mail, and phone communications white women under 50 in the Ohio area — specifically Cleveland, Columbus, Youngstown, Charleston (W.Va.), Wheeling- Steubenville, Zanesville, and Parkersburg (W.Va.).

White men will also be a focus, and if there are any excess funds Latinos in Texas and middle class families in Pennsylvania will also be targeted.

ALP has developed three ads aimed at tarnishing Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as a talker and not a doer — the ads are called “If speeches could solve problems" — and they will contrast Obama and Clinton on issues of importance to middle-class voters, such as the economy, health care, and the mortgage crisis.

Jake Tapper has more. The description makes them sound at least somewhat substantive, but something tells me that they'll eventually head into this territory:

Tom Buffenbarger president of the machinists' union (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers) was the the latest in a string of Clinton junkyard dogs unleashed upon Obama. Prior to Hillary Clinton’s speech last night in Youngstown, Ohio, Buffenbarger delivered nothing short of an Obama diatribe [...]

Buffenbarger called Obama a “thespian,” and he sarcastically referred to the junior senator from Illinois as a “wunderkind.” He compared Obama to “Janus, the two-faced Roman god of ancient times.” And he pleaded with the crowd to boo Obama’s labor record [...]

But it was Obama supporters for whom Buffenbarger saved his most vitriolic contempt, and he proved that the Democratic Party’s coalition is nothing if not fragile. Channeling Howard Beale from the movie "Network," he yelled into the microphone, “Give me a break! I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius- driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies crowding in to hear him speak! This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine. He's a poet, not a fighter.”

This is EXACTLY the language used to demonize Howard Dean in a famed Club for Growth 527 ad in 2004.

Clinton has been trying this "speeches vs. solutions" thing for a couple weeks without success. You can't tell me that a massive soft-money operation isn't eventually going to go down this road. I don't think it'll work either way, but in desperation, I can't see this being a completely clean operation.

And here's my biggest problem. Roger Salazar and Jason Kinney are two of the leaders of this project. Salazar is a spokesman for the California Democratic Party, and Kinney is the Communications Director for State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata. My party dues money goes in part to these guys, and they are now engaging in a suicide mission against a fellow Democrat.

You stay classy, California Democratic Party...

(where's concern troll Steve Maviglio to tell us that they should all focus their energies on the Republicans instead?)

UPDATE: Here's their first ad:

If this is all they've got, they ought to save their money. "If speeches could create jobs, we wouldn't be facing a recession"? Um, wasn't the worst speechifyer in Presidential history, George Bush, the President overseeing this recession?

It's not negative at all, and this seems to be just creating financial parity so they can keep going in Ohio and Texas. But it could, of course, metastasize. Plus the soft-money aspect, after the Clinton campaign criticized Obama for not being committed to public financing, is pretty weak.

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