Hillary Campaign Update
by Jeff Dinelli
You know you’re in the dog days of summer when a brief spat over an answer given during last Monday’s YouTube/CNN debate by Obama regarding negotiations between the presidency and the Worst Persons in the World (apologies to KO) still has legs. As is often the case, the most interesting thing about this is how the media is covering it. The general consensus is that Hillary has managed to flex her “experienced” muscles and exposed Obama as the neophyte that he is, especially in regards to foreign policy. Hillary is right in this case, a president should never promise to meet with adversaries without groundwork being laid by a Secretary of State or Defense or someone else within the administration, figuring out what is to be discussed, the issues at hand, and what the official U.S. policy will be. Howard Wolfson and David Axlerod went at each others throats on “Hardball,” the Sunday chatfests were all atwitter, particularly at Obama calling Hillary “Bush/Cheney lite,” causing Hillary to wonder on CNN where the Illinois Senator’s “politics of hope” has gone, and John Edwards cried out can’t we all just get along? According to the Des Moines Register, Edwards may be the one to benefit from all of this, while the other two are brawling.
Two things come to mind here. First, why is Hillary even engaging a competitor she leads in the national polls by double digits? On the other hand, isn’t this what she promised to do; that if attacked, she won’t hesitate to fight back? And doesn’t this bode well for her prospects in the general election, where she’ll surely find herself on the defensive a good part of the time? Whether or not she needed to, she looked good counter-punching in this instance. Oh, and despite the fighting, Newt continues to believe it will be a Hillary/Obama ticket in ’08, while polls show the public preferring Hillary over Obama and even Rudy on national security issues.
One interesting development here, as pointed out by Matt Stearns, is the amount of praise Hillary has received from the conservative press over this smack-fest. Charles Krauthammer opines that “The grizzled veteran showed up the clueless rookie.” As Stearns wonders, is this evidence that Hillary can reach across party lines and woo independents not happy with the Republican candidates, or is this right wing praise designed to position the NY senator as the person they’d most like to run against in ’08, someone who would guarantee a huge red state turnout at the polls even if opinions of the GOP candidate are lukewarm at best?
Another story that won’t go away is the tale of Hillary’s cleavage shown on the Senate floor. This coupled with Edwards’ comment about her pink jacket worn during the CNN debate is proof positive we actually have a woman running for president, and her choice of attire will apparently be an issue from here on out. Those in the Hillary camp who are trying to point at this as a case of their candidate being judged by style over substance are attempting to make her a victim in the eyes of women across the country, which isn’t a bad move considering her weak numbers among women of her age. Lost in the nonsense of this story is what Clinton was actually saying during the debate on the Higher Education Reconciliation Act that day in the Senate. She continues to be an outstanding voice of compassion for educational issues, in this case the absurd upward spiraling of college costs.