Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Advice to Obama: Go Negative Now

Obama's campaign stalled last night. True, he won Vermont and is doing well in Texas caucus returns, but the double-digit victories of February vanished. Clinton won a narrow victory in Texas and clean wins in Ohio and Rhode Island. However, Clinton's campaign went very negative in the week and a half, and that seems to have pushed the election her way. Obama needs to stop playing so nice and show that he counter a negative campaign of the sort McCain is preparing for the Democratic nominee in the Fall. He also owes it to the party to show Democratic voters all of Clinton's weaknesses, so they can decide to vote for her or not with eyes open. Obama needs to remind the Democrats that she hasn't been "vetted," as she says - she's got lots of liability and vulnerabilities.

A shot of her saying "vast right wing conspiracy." The Tyson's Chicken $100,000 profit. Perhaps re-do the "red phone" ad she waged against Obama, only with her picking up the phone and saying, over and over again, "It's for you, Bill." Then, when it's actually for her, saying, "Now, what do I do?" Remind voters that Clinton's real experience (not just goodwill tours as First Lady) was as a corporate lawyer and member of the Wal-Mart board of directors. She was there for six years, from 1986-1992. It was a mistake not to mention that in Ohio; he needs to do so in Pennsylvania. Voters need to know that she's not "pro-Union," that she hasn't been "fighting for working people for 35 years."

McCain will make mincemeat of her claim. Imagine: "I was in the Senate while you were on Wal-Mart's board of directors..."

And, of course, Iraq. In 2004, Clinton called for more troops in Iraq, associating herself with... John McCain. Throughout 2005, she opposed efforts to end the war and withdraw troops, changing only in 2006 when public opinion shifted. She also stated in 2004 that "No, I don't regret giving the president authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade." Now she says otherwise. She says that if she had known then what she knows now, whe wouldn't have made the vote. What did she not know? - That she could vote for the war and still run for president. If people want to vote for Hillary Clinton for president, they can do so, but they need to do so with their eyes wide open. Obama owes it to the Democrats to explain that Hillary Clinton is not "vetted."


Dr. Strangelove said...

Hillary argued forcefully that Obama was too inexperienced to be Commander in Chief and that his enchanting rhetoric of "change" was just that. And she finally brought out the "red phone" spot to bring the first point home. But that's about it, really.

Despite the desperate attempts of pundits to stir up animosity, however, what continues to characterize the Democratic race is its remarkable gentleness. There have been no ads warning, "Hillary is Bad for America," or, "Obama is a Politician You Can't Trust." There have been no ads interleaving Obama's face with a Koran, or Hillary's face with that of Monica Lewinsky. No one has hinted at affirmative action. No one has mentioned Whitewater. Except for one little Walmart/Rezko exchange at the infamous South Carolina debate--an exchange initiated by Obama, by the way--there has been nothing even remotely resembling mudslinging.

Even the kind of mudslinging LTG now recommends that Obama stoop to--a strategy of dubious value for the party, I think--still falls short of the blunderbuss the Republicans would aim at either candidate. We are fortunate that a Hillary/Obama ticket is still possible. Frankly, on June 8th when the last primary is over, Hillary and Obama really need to meet one-on-one with nobody else around and figure out what will happen next. I hope neither candidate chooses to poison the atmosphere to the point that this becomes infeasible.

Dr. Strangelove said...

How has Hillary been inconsistent regarding her position on Iraq? She still refuses to apologize for her 2002 vote on the resolution to authorize the use of force, saying that it was the right call given the intelligence and assurances presented to her by the Bush Administration. She continues to oppose setting a specific date target date for withdrawal. She believes that sending in a lot more soldiers right away would have been the better approach--if you're going to do it, do it right--but it is far too late for that now and we should pack it in.

jason said...
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jason said...
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The Law Talking Guy said...

1. When asked during the Ohio debate if she wished she could take back the 2002 vote, she said "yes." She's never said that before.

2. I think the "red phone" ad is plenty of mudslinging. As is her "shame on you" and accusing him of "Karl Rove" tactics and the like. Not to mention the whisper campaign that Barack HUSSEIN Obama is a Muslim. I'm sure her campaign corrects people all the time when they hear that. Er... wait. So yes, there's been mudslinging. Obama has, unfortunately for him, done very little of it, and it is wearing.

3. Clinton, not Obama, initiated the brutal spat at the South Carolina debate. He was plainly unprepared for her assault during that debate. The conventional wisdom says that she went negative in SC and lost as a result.

4. Obama needs to argue convincingly that HRC is too inexperienced to be Commander in Chief, which he can do easily. Being First Lady is just not experience in governance. It's her 8 years in the Senate versus his 4, that's all.

Dr. Strangelove said...

1. I don't see this as a change in position.

2. I had forgotten about the "Karl Rove" tactics remark. Yes, that was negative. As for the whisper campaigns, I'm sure Obama's campaign also corrects people all the time when they say HRC is a lesbian. Er, wait. Yes, there are lots of rumors out there, LTG. And neither candidate goes out of their way to defend the other against them. But on the mudslinging really has been quite minimal.

3. As for the SC debate itself, from the clip I saw, Obama trotted out the Wal-Mart accusation, and Clinton responded with Rezko. But as for the SC race as a whole, I agree with the conventional wisdom. I've discussed this at length in earlier postings.

4. He has tried this argument before, but he has never really hammered it home. I agree that would be a good tactic for him.

Raised By Republicans said...

Don't forget the 60 Minutes bit. When Hillary was asked, "What do you make of these false claims that Obama is a Muslim etc?" Hillary responded, "I take him at his word if he says he's a Christian."

I think trying to say that Hillary has been consistent on the war is rediculous. It is obvious that what she did in 2002 was vote for the war on the logic that if it went well, voting against it would give the Republicans in 2008 amunition against her and if it was a disaster the Republicans would be up to their necks in it and she would be relatively better positioned to get out from under.

Here is a link to a New York Magazine Article that documents the many faces of Hillary on the war.

In 2003: "Whether you agreed or not that we should be in Iraq, failure is not an option"

In 2005: "I do not believe that we should allow this to be an open-ended commitment without limits or end. Nor do I believe that we can or should pull out of Iraq immediately . . . We must set reasonable goals to finish what we started and successfully turn over Iraqi security to Iraqis"

In 2008: "Our job is to do everything we can to help this [Iraqi] government succeed . . . I am hopeful that the administration—which doesn’t listen to any of us, anyway—will finally realize that the policies it has pursued from the very beginning, when they rushed to war, when they refused to let the U.N. inspectors conduct and complete their mission, when they committed strategic blunder after blunder, have undermined America’s leadership in the world and have put at risk the long-term war against terrorism . . . But I have to just say it—I do not think it is a smart strategy either for the president to continue with his open-ended commitment, which I think does not put enough pressure on the new Iraqi government, nor do I think it is smart strategy to set a date certain"

So, yes, Dr. S. Hilllary's position has - arguably - been consistent since 2005. But in 2003 she was MUCH more hawkish. That's what she's trying squirm out from under.

HistoryBuff said...

As I recall there was a lot of pressure to vote for the war--you were considered unpatriotic if you didn't vote for it. Also I believe that congress didn't have as much information about WMD as the executive branch did.

What I can't understand is, why does Hillary let Obama get away with saying that he didn't vote for the war? He wasn't in Congress at the time, he was still back in the Illinois Senate. He did make a very rousing speech against the war, but he was in a different environment. I don't really think it counts as a vote against the war.

Dr. Strangelove said...

I think Obama's speech in 2002 was strong enough to indicate he would have opposed the authorization to use force. 21 of the 50 Democrats in the Senate voted against the resolution, including the other current Democratic Senator from Illinois (Durbin) so it is reasonable to believe Obama would have done the same.

The argument Hillary has been trying to make--the correct one, I believe, albeit more nuanced than most Obama supporters appear to grasp--is that Congress was not asked to vote for this war. Congress was asked to grant the President the authorization to use force if he deemed it was necessary. Given the way Bush presented the threat, the plea to "untie his hands" was fair.

Of course, it turns out Bush was lying through his teeth. There was far less evidence that Iraq had WMDs than Bush represented, and anyhow WMDs had nothing to do with Bush's decision--he was determined to invade Iraq no matter what. And certainly no Democrats voted for Rumsfeld to screw it up as he did.

Dr. Strangelove said...

On the floor of the Senate, October 10, 2002, Hillary Clinton explained her decision to vote for the resolution. Here are some excerpts. They confirm what I was trying to say above.

"Even though the resolution before the Senate is not as strong as I would like in requiring the diplomatic route first and placing highest priority on a simple, clear requirement for unlimited inspections, I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible."

"This is a very difficult vote. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever had to make -- any vote that may lead to war should be hard -- but I cast it with conviction... I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort."

HistoryBuff said...

I think if I had been in her place I would have said and done exactly the same thing.