Via BuzzFeed, five minutes of fun at the start of tonight’s debate. I agree with William Jacobson: In some ways, this is a tough subject for Brown to broach. To make the case effectively he’s got to get into details about the debunked genealogy, her dubious explanations for identifying as Native American, and her insistence on doing so professionally at Harvard even though she didn’t meet the professional guidelines for it. That’s hard or impossible to do in a 60-second opening statement; as it is, his argument that she’s lying amounts to “c’mon, she obviously doesn’t look Native American,” which is both true and not dispositive. I think he ended up fine by turning it into a “release the documents” attack, which puts her on the defensive, but I wonder what would have happened if she had gotten ostentatiously indignant. It’s always dangerous for a male candidate to attack a woman opponent personally; if she had turned this into a sustained “you’re impugning my family!” lament, the optics could have been bad.
But she doesn’t. She’s actually pretty sanguine about the whole thing. Not sure if that’s proof that she’s a bit more dignified than an average politician, who’d be eager to seize an opportunity to play the victim, or if she’s still too green to detect an opportunity like that when one’s in front of her. But I’m curious to see if either of them revisits this topic at the next debate.