Hillary Clinton's Shockingly Unbelievable Character Attack on Barack Obama
In a Recommended Diary at Daily Kos, Turneresq was stunned at the dastardly Hillary Clinton (what a surprise)! The title of the diary reads:
Clinton Blasts Obama; Says He Has Character(!) Problem
The diarist introduces the post thusly (emphasis mine):
Amazing. Obama has had what can be described as an excellent week. By all accounts, he had a good day at the two Iowa forums yesterday. We also have NUMBEROUS [sic] polls showing Obama closing the gap in NH and taking a (modest) lead in Iowa. He has also gotten some favorable coverage in the MSM including getting the cover of Time Magazine.
So it is with that background, I bring you this rather unbelievable attack from the Clinton campaign.
I don't want to reproduce the whole post - you can click here to read it - but the essence of turneresq's disbelief is that Hillary Clinton would stoop to attacking Sen. Obama's character, as captured by this post at the NYT Caucus blog (emphasis turneresq's):
At a news conference here just now, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton expanded her attacks on Senator Barack Obama by suggesting that he has a character issue because of his assertions that his health insurance plan covers all Americans (which she disputes) and because his old political action committee spread around money in early presidential nominating states [Eriposte note: Sen. Clinton is not the only one disputing Sen. Obama's assertions on his healthcare plan - it is a *fact* that his plan does not cover all Americans, contrary to his repeated claims. On the second point, the issue being raised by the Clinton campaign is not just that he is distributing money from his Hopefund PAC - for which the infamous Norman Hsu was one of the fundraisers - but rather that it is being done in a manner that is (a) completely hypocritical given Sen. Obama's repeated attacks on Sen. Clinton for using money from PACs and (b) partly raises concerns about the legality of the distribution].
Asked if Mr. Obama had a character problem, Mrs. Clinton first said it was up for voters to determine, but then added:
"It’s beginning to look a lot like that – it really is, where we can’t get a straight answer on health care, where somebody runs on ethics and not taking money from certain people is found to have at least skirted if not violated F.E.C. rules and to use lobbyists and Pac money to do so. You’re going to have ask the Obama campaign, but I have said for months that I would much rather be attacking Republicans and attacking problems of our country because ultimately that’s what I want to do as president.
Now, let's not forget something that turneresq never mentions in the diary. This unfortunate cycle of character attacks got started with Sen. Edwards and more specifically Sen. Obama launching false attacks on Sen. Clinton's character, sometimes using false Republican talking points and sometimes copying the egregious tactics of Bill Bradley against Al Gore in the 2000 election. Paul Krugman has also recently pointed out how Sen. Obama has been attacking Sen. Clinton using false right-wing talking points on healthcare (also see this post by Steve). Indeed, Sen. Obama - Time magazine's "Candor Candidate" - is the person who got the "character attack" express rolling not too long ago:
Asked if Mrs. Clinton had been fully truthful with voters about what she would do as president, Mr. Obama replied, “No.”
In responding to a question from Tim Russert on the above statement, guess what Sen. Obama said? (Click here to find out). Now that turneresq's Sen. "Class as usual" Obama is on the receiving end of the same type of attack that he (Sen. Obama) unfortunately started and unjustifiably sustained against Sen. Clinton, I get the feeling we'll get to hear a lot more whining about how it is only the Terrible Eeeevil Monster Clinton who attacks Democrats on their character. After all, the Clinton Double Standard aka CDS is alive and well in the Straight-Talking Reality Based Community.TM
I also want to take a moment to comment on Turneresq's observation on what might be motivating Sen. Clinton's attacks on Sen. Obama:
With the aforementioned positive news for Obama, and people starting to openly talk about him winning, the Clinton Campaign is coming out with guns blazing.
If I may, I'd like to add some recent history, from the same NYT article cited above (emphasis mine):
Senator Barack Obama says he will start confronting Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton more forcefully, declaring that she had not been candid in describing her views on critical issues, as he tries to address mounting alarm among supporters that his lack of assertiveness has allowed her to dominate the presidential race.
For months, Democrats, including some within Mr. Obama’s campaign, have questioned whether his promise to pursue a brand of politics that transcended partisanship had so handcuffed him that he could not compete in the most partisan of arenas.
Alan D. Solomont, a former contributor to both Mrs. Clinton and former President Bill Clinton who is now raising money for Mr. Obama in Boston, said there was a growing consensus that Mr. Obama had to ratchet up his intensity and draw sharper distinctions with Mrs. Clinton, of New York, and other rivals.
“The only way that he’s going to be able to be clear with the American people,” Mr. Solomont said in an interview, “is to draw a distinction between his candidacy and his ideas about change and those of other candidates. It’s fair to say that he is beginning to do that, but he hasn’t done enough yet.”
That should provide some context to the origin of Sen. Obama's false character attacks against Sen. Clinton and for the faux outrage that we will now see when Sen. Clinton says something similar (emphasis mine):
“But I have been for months on the receiving end of rather consistent attacks – well now the fun part starts,” Mrs. Clinton said, punctuating the word “fun.” “We’re into the last month, and we’re going to start drawing the contrasts, because I want every Iowans [sic] to have accurate information when they make their decisions.”
Let's just say that it is unfortunate that the 2008 Democratic Presidential campaign has transformed to the state of the 2000 Democratic Presidential campaign.