Clinton Moves Far To Right In Winning PA Primary
Hillary Clinton pandered to the voters, used Karl Rove tactics, resurfaced racism and ended up threatening to obliterate Iran, in winning big in the Pennsylvania primary.
Don't take that only from me: It's the subject of the New York Times editorial this morning, "The Low Road To Victory." (The New York Times should logically switch its backing to Obama; it seems in the editorial to be heading in that direction).
Hillary politics are reminiscent, as I've pointed out before, of Richard Nixon. If she wins the Democratic nomination, she could well manage, in some respects, to get to the right of John McCain. He's got to watch out for this snake, or pair of snakes, if you count her husband, Bill Clinton. They will do anything, no matter how disgraceful, to grab back power.
All that said, Sen. Barack Obama, an honorable man and the only Democratic candidate left standing who truly represents the liberal values of that party, did not perform well in Pennsylvania.
His impolitic observations about bitterness, and Pennsylvania working people "clinging" to religion and guns, delivered in San Francisco of all places, I believe cost him dearly in Pennsylvania. He failed to make inroads in the Catholic vote, ended up losing almost as decisively as he did in Ohio, and allowed the view to spread that he might be a weak Dukakis-like candidate in November, if he does manage to secure the Democratic nomination.
David Broder, the astute Washington Post political columnist, suggests this morning that the Clinton-Obama struggle is going to elect McCain.
Although Broder might be right, this is not the most important thing for now: The key thing is that Obama must rally his forces, and wage his campaign more skillfully. He's got to parry the lowdown attacks of Clinton while not seeming to sink to the same level. He certainly must rally the liberal base of the Democratic party.
Yet, some of the states about to vote in primaries -- namely Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, are populated by the very kind of low income white voters that Obama has not succeeded in reaching. Indiana in particular has a long tradition of racism; it was one of the biggest states for the Ku Klux Klan. Obama may do well in Oregon and North Carolina, but that's not likely to be enough.
We thought, based on the vote in the Iowa caucuses, that America was putting racism behind it. But the Clintons have sinfully played the race card successfully, tying Obama to a black vote and to black radicals. That puts him in a tough place, because, as we're finding out, racism is not dead in America. Many voters are taken in by it.
Yet, as we go forward toward the Democratic convention (and this struggle is now likely to last right into the convention), the heart of the Democratic party is going to have to rally behind Obama. Otherwise, it will find itself with another Lyndon Johnson, a candidate in Hillary who will squander everything the Democratic party is supposed to represent.
After all, she's the old Goldwater girl. And that's mighty bad news for America. Worse than John McCain would ever be.
We live, as everyone points out, in dangerous times. We can't afford a person of low character in the White House. So we have to pray and work to see that Hillary Clinton doesn't get there.
As a kind of sacred text this morning, I will quote the New York Times editorial, as it appeared this morning in the Times-owned International Herald Tribune (which I get each morning on board ship during my African cruise):
..."On the eve of this primary, Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11, A Clinton television ad -- torn right from Karl Rove's playbook -- evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. 'If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,' the narrator intoned.
"If that was supposed to bolster Clinton's argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president, 'We would be able to totally oblierate Iran.'
"By staying on the attack and not engaging Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Clinton does more than turn off voters who don't like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Obama."
Now, I wonder whether Andrew Rosenthal, editorial page editor of the New York Times, will swallow his pride, admit he was wrong at first, and move to endorsing Obama. Thank goodness, the L.A. Times endorsed him months ago.
Labels: Presidential campaigning