Round 1: Hillary 1, Edwards 0, Obama 0 Posted by: Billy Hollis
on Tuesday, February 13, 2007
A couple of weeks ago we saw Hillary avert a potential bauble over the "evil men" remark, and in fact I praised her at the time:
...I'm impressed. It's very easy to let yourself get flustered when something like that happens. A key ability for avoiding that problem is to let people laugh a bit at your expense. I didn't think Hillary had it in her, but it seems she does.
Her principle opponents, on the other hand, have had a bit more trouble in the early rounds of the campaign. McQ and Dale discussed the latest on l'affair de Marcotte. Clearly Edwards bobbled that one. The whole thing reflects quite badly on Edwards' judgement of staffing his campaign, and I think whoever on Edwards' staff recommended hiring Marcotte in the first place should also resign. Being that out of touch with the sensitivities of mainstream voters is, to me, automatic disqualification to serve on a candidate's campaign staff.
Now we have Obama making an error that will likely come back to haunt him, no matter how he tries to spin it. Via WSJ Opinion Journal, we find that Obama said:
We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged, and to which we now have spent $400 billion, and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted. (Emphasis mine.)
Obama tried to back down later and say he really meant something else, but it's pretty clear to me that he's just spinning. If that's correct, then the cynical definition of a gaffe - accidentally telling the truth - applies to this incident.
This goes to the heart of the problem Democrats have had for many years about national security. Even a negative view of Iraq would have to include the facts that Saddam isn't killing a couple of thousand people a month, that huge swaths of the country are reasonably peaceful, and that thousands of terrorists and terrorist sympathizers have been killed.
In other words, a balanced view might look at the cost and conclude that it wasn't worth it (I don't agree, but it's not an unreasonable position). That's a completely different attitude from feeling it was all wasted. Democrats seem unable, for all their talk about "nuance", to get beyond a very black and white view of national security issues. The military is always in the wrong, Republicans are always in the wrong, Europeans are always wise, dispossessed third world parties are always victims, etc. Vary from this, as Joe Lieberman did, and you become an outcast. It appears Obama has internalized this attitude quite nicely.
If the early scores are any indication, the Democrats badly need someone like Bill Richardson to step up and (1) give Hillary some real competition, and (2) try to pull the Democrats back to reality on national security issues, lest the eventual candidate is forced to run as an anti-war leftist. Despite the success of the Democrats in 2006, they can't run against Bush, Hastert, and Frist again in 2008, and I think a leftist anti-war position in a national presidential campaign is a losing strategy.
The first thing the Donkey Party did when they came to power was increase minimum wage. Now, I understand that has populist appeal, but it also imples: 1) ignorance of economics or 2) cynical manipulation. Take your pick.
One of the few things the D’s have a chance of being right on is Iraq. Not so much right, perhaps, but at least it is something the R’s may not be right about either.
Democrats seem unable, for all their talk about "nuance", to get beyond a very black and white view...
Nuance, like autocratic rule, and virtually everything else is only objectionable when it doesn’t fit the leftist narrative.
I’m sure those in the (left) know, thank their allies in the MSM regularly for not asking "impertinent"* questions.
*Senator Clinton, did not your husband, then President Bill Clinton sign into record the need for regime change in Iraq? Did not your husband declare that Saddam Hussein was, in breach of numerous UN resolutions, still in possession and actively pursuing radiological, biological, and chemical weapons of mass destruction?
Obama tried to back down later and say he really meant something else, but it’s pretty clear to me that he’s just spinning. If that’s correct, then the cynical definition of a gaffe - accidentally telling the truth - applies to this incident.
I think it was a scripted "mistake." Look at what has happened recently:
In the last six weeks all the speculation ended, and a three-way race for the Democratic nomination commenced: Hillary, Edwards, and Obama are officially in now, and they will be the serious candidates. Kerry is officially out, and Gore is de facto out (despite the wishful thinking of some on the Left).
Now the race is on, and we are entering a new phase, in which momentum is critically important. Coinciding with this new phase, and within the space of a week, each of the three serious Democratic candidates has blown an air kiss to the base:
Hillary, who has been fairly reasonable on Iraq up to this point, suddenly goes off the rails.
Edwards hires a member of the sanity-challenged community to be his blogger.
Obama lets slip that he thinks that the lives of US troops who died in Iraq were wasted.
See the pattern? After Hillary or Obama wins the nomination the polarity will reverse, and we will see the nominee reaching out to mainstream America.
the Democrats badly need someone like Bill Richardson to step up and (1) give Hillary some real competition, and (2) try to pull the Democrats back to reality on national security issues, lest the eventual candidate is forced to run as an anti-war leftist.
If the base succeeds in pushing these three candidates into McGovernism that would seem to create an opening for another candidate with some credibility on national security issues. The problem that any such candidate would have is overcoming the financial and institutional support that Hillary and Obama have already consolidated.