Another cease-fire?

Since the contest for the nomination is effectively over, let’s stop jumping up and down on the Clinton campaign’s political grave. Time to focus on McCain’s flaws and Obama’s manifold virtues.

This week has seen intensifying fire from the Obama camp directed at the character of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I’m reluctant to second-guess a bunch of folks who have run an astoundingly competent, creative, and disciplined campaign, but this strikes me as a mistake, and I’ve decided to resume the interrupted cease-fire I imposed on myself between Wisconsin and March 4.

There are more than enough good things to say about Obama and more than enough bad things to say about McCain to keep us all busy. The more the Clintonites and their affiliated websites and surrogates &#8212 HillaryIs44, Taylor Marsh, Paul Krugman, Joe Wilson &#8212 sound like Republicans, attacking Obama’s character even at the expense of saying nice things about McCain, the more the Obama team should sound like Democrats, ignoring their now-defeated intra-party rival and looking forward to November.

If Hillary Clinton has character flaws or skeletons in her closet, now would be a good time to pass them over in dignified silence, remembering that Senator Obama will want her support, and that of her husband, between now and November and that President Obama will want her help as a Senator and perhaps as Senate Majority Leader. The right response when Carville compares Bill Richardson to Judas is a horse-laugh.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com