Thursday, February 21, 2008

This is How It’s Done (Part 2)

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I recently highlighted some clues to the way I see the Clinton machine organizing their attacks on Barack Obama, in Hillary’s last desperate attempt to tarnish him before the Ohio and Texas primaries - by trying to make him seem weak to blue collar white male voters.

As if on cue, within minutes of the announcement that Obama had won the Wisconsin primary, the attacks intensified, even as Hillary was being introduced for her post-primary speech by Tom Buffenbarger, head of the machinists’ union:
Prior to Hillary Clinton’s speech last night in Youngstown, Ohio, Buffenbarger delivered nothing short of an Obama diatribe.

While campaign introductions typically sing the praises of the upcoming candidate, Buffenbarger's speech barely mentioned Clinton until the conclusion. It was all about Obama, and it was laced with venom and ad hominems.
Taking off the gloves, he said, “Barack Obama is no Muhammad Ali. He took a walk every time there was a tough vote in the Illinois State Senate. He took a walk more than a 130 times. That's what a shadow boxer does. All the right moves. All the right combinations. All the right footwork. But he never steps into the ring.”

But it was Obama supporters for whom Buffenbarger saved his most vitriolic contempt, and he proved that the Democratic Party’s coalition is nothing if not fragile. Channeling Howard Beale from the movie "Network," he yelled into the microphone, “Give me a break! I've got news for all the latte-drinking, Prius- driving, Birkenstock-wearing, trust fund babies crowding in to hear him speak! This guy won't last a round against the Republican attack machine. He's a poet, not a fighter.”
Clearly, Hillary wasn’t opposed to Buffenbarger’s efforts to chum the waters with red meat, as she launched right into her standard stump speech without even acknowledging Obama’s win in Wisconsin (perhaps leading Obama to launch his victory speech early in order to cut her off before she could try to build on the hostile introduction!)

In keeping with the theme, the Clinton campaign announced yesterday that they intend to attack Obama’s qualifications to be Commander in Chief, which I fully expect to be a big focus during the upcoming two debates, starting today.

Finally, there was this indication that Hillary’s big money donors are pooling their resources to form a 527 group in order to aid her campaign. I’m willing to bet that they won’t be running ads touting how Hillary will be “ready on day one” to get the country “back in the solutions business!”

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