The Huffington Post is asking readers whether Hillary Clinton’s mocking of Barack Obama at a recent Rhode Island campaign stop will help or hurt her campaign. Since I’m about as far as possible from the median voter, I try to not offer opinions on these things. Readers can judge for themselves.
I’m an Obama supporter, and thus not very sympathetic to the Clinton campaign. But it seems to me that this is a pretty clean hit, as far as campaigns go. All Clinton is doing is questioning whether Obama’s strategy of unity is realistic. She’s also ridiculing the whole world view that informs it. But that’s what campaigns do. Saying that your opponent is naive is pretty mild stuff.
This is particularly important for Obama supporters. Obama’s arguments for a new politics do not imply that you shouldn’t criticize your opponents: instead, they say that criticisms should be accurate and not personal. As is traditional, the MSM simply refuses to understand this. There’s nothing wrong with “going negative” if it’s accurate, not personal, and newsworthy. There’s nothing wrong with saying that John McCain’s campaign is run by lobbyists, that his best political friends are lobbyists, that he favors all of George W. Bush’s policies, that he wants to keep us in Iraq for 100 years, that he wants to raise taxes (by removing the health insurance deduction) and that his policies would literally deprive millions of Americans of their health insurance (again, by removing the deduction).
We need to be prepared for this because the Obama Campaign is going to go negative on McCain—at least I hope so. There’s a lot to be negative about.
Ridicule is also important. Jonathan Kulick and I disagree on this: I think that ridicule is a very powerful and very legitimate strategy when your opponent’s politics are, well, ridiculous. McCain should be ridiculed.