Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hillary Clinton's a GOP Attack Campaign Stalking Horse?

Hillary Clinton's being bashed big time for running a GOP-style attack campaign against Barack Obama (see Daily Kos, for example).

Now that
Clinton's come back with a big win in the Keystone State, we can expect more of this outrage, which is getting even more unhinged, if Tom Hayden's essay at the Nation is any indication:

My wife Barbara has begun yelling at the television set every time she hears Hillary Clinton. This is abnormal behavior, since Barbara is a meditative practitioner of everything peaceful and organic, and is inspired by Barack Obama's transformational appeal.

For Barbara, Hillary has become the screech on the blackboard. From First Lady to Lady Macbeth....

Going negative doesn't begin to describe what has happened. Hillary is going over the edge....

outrageous insult and accusation ever inflicted on her by the American right over the decades. She is running against what she might have become. Too much politics dries the soul of the idealist.

It is abundantly clear that the Clintons, working with FOX News and manipulating old Clinton staffers like George Stephanopoulos, are trying, at least unconsciously, to so damage Barack Obama that he will be perceived as "unelectable" to Democratic superdelegates. It is also clear that the campaign of defamation against Obama has resulted in higher negative ratings for Hillary Clinton. She therefore is threatening the Democratic Party's chances for the White House, whether or not she is the nominee.

Since no one in the party leadership seems able or willing to intervene against this self-destructive downward spiral, perhaps progressives need to consider responding in the only way politicians sometimes understand. If they can't hear us screaming at the television sets, we can send a message that the Clintons are acting as if they prefer John McCain to Barack Obama. And follow it up with another message: if Clinton doesn't immediately cease her path of destruction, millions of young voters and black voters may not send checks, may not knock on doors, and may not even vote for her if she becomes the nominee. That's not a threat, that's the reality she is creating.
This extreme right stalking horse meme's popular (recall Andrew Sullivan's recent deployment of the "Rovian-Atwater" smear), but I particularly like how the "youth" movement's going to save the Democratic Party.

The fact is
that turnout levels are down among less-than-30-year-old voters without a college education, so perhaps Hayden sees a resugence of '60s campus radicalism that will lift Obama's fortunes (Sullivan thinks so too, speaking in an Obama-esque, transcendental style).

Note, though, that if folks are going to get upset with the far right, they should take it up with the real thing: By the looks of recent GOP developments, it's certainly getting nasty on the campaign hustings.

An outside conservative group is running a Willie Horton-style Chicago crime ad against Obama (via YouTube):

Also, the McCain campaign has recounced this Obama atttack ad sponsored by the North Carolina GOP (via YouTube):

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