Amusingly, the Politico headlines Hillary Clinton’s Meet the Press interview today “Hillary Clinton attacks Barack Obama.” The headline is somewhat inaccurate, as Clinton spent much of that interview defending herself from some dishonest attacks coming from the left. But it’s not entirely inaccurate, as she does use her defenses to poke holes in Obama’s record, or lack thereof. I guess I just “attacked” him too, by Politico’s way of thinking.
On the basic substance of the racially-tinged brouhaha between the Clinton machine and the Obama campaign, the Clintons have more of the facts on their side. That’s not to say that they are purer than snow or that they have all of the facts on their side. Both campaigns have played identity politics as the race has tightened, with Hillary first playing the girl card after her debacle in the Philadelphia debate and now Obama playing the race card starting a day or two before the New Hampshire primary. And the Clinton campaign has attempted to play the Muslim and drug cards against Obama, gambits that failed and that Hillary lies about in this interview. But on substance, the columnists and commenters who are accusing the Clintons of belittling Martin Luther King or of calling the entire Obama campaign a “fairy tale” are being dishonest. The fact is Obama hasn’t done enough to be able to honestly compare himself to either MLK or JFK, and he has made both comparisons and been given a pass by the press for it. But when the Clinton machine has pointed this out, they’ve been hit hard with racial politics from the Obama camp and its surrogates and waiting allies in the Democrat party. Dishonesty from Bob Herbert and Donna Brazile is nothing new. What is new is that the dishonesty is being directed at the Clintons instead of in their service.
In the interview on Meet the Press today (edited for brevity), Hillary Clinton tries to climb down from the petard from which she dangles. It’s an identity politics petard that she and nearly all Democrats have been wielding against Republicans for decades.
“This is, you know, a, a — an unfortunate story line that the Obama campaign has pushed very successfully. They’ve been putting out talking points. They’ve been making this — they’ve been telling people, in a very selective way, what the facts are.”
Predictably, the Silky One is defending the more dishonest faction and siding with the Obama camp.
“I must say I was troubled recently to see a suggestion that real change that came not through the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, but through a Washington politician,” said Edwards in front of a congregation of nearly 300 people.
“I fundamentally disagree with that. Those who believe that real change starts with Washington politicians have been in Washington too long and are living a fairytale.”
This Democrat infighting will probably leave some lasting rifts in the party, but there’s little about it for Republicans to take any joy in. We can enjoy the bloodletting now but whether the nominee turns out to be Clinton or Obama, or a ticket that includes both, rest assured that identity politics will be the Democrats’ first, second, third and last angle of attack from the convention through the election. And if they don’t win, they’ll denounce America as either being too sexist to elect them or too racist to elect them. Or both.
Update: Hillary also used the MTP interview to claim credit for the success of the troop surge in Iraq. You know, the one that she opposed the whole time.
Update: Questioning whether Obama is qualified to be president isn’t an “attack.” He’s not (and neither is Hillary). But this…this sounds like an attack.
Here is what [BET founder Bob] Johnson said today:
“I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won’t say what he was doing but he said it in his book.”
When Clinton spokesman Jay Carson was asked about Johnson’s comments, he denied they referred to Obama’s admitted drug use. “That’s not what he was talking about,” he said.
The Clinton campaign’s excuse is that he might have been talking about Obama’s community activities. That doesn’t even pass the laugh out loud test.