Thursday, March 06, 2008
Momentum Change or Market Correction?
I suppose there are two main narratives coming out of Tuesday’s primaries.
One is that by increasing her negative attacks on Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton has turned the race around and seized the momentum.
The other is that the media, preferring a close race to a lengthy string of Obama routes, took every opportunity to highlight stories that would bring him back to earth, giving Clinton a chance to eke out a couple of token wins and slow his march to the nomination.
Although I tend to think it’s the latter, I’m fully with the Obama campaign in their determination to act as if it’s the former.
In response to the expectation (and explicit threat from her campaign strategist, Mark Penn) that Clinton will accelerate her negative attacks, after having learned that it seemed to work in Ohio and Texas, the Obama camp indicated that they intend to return the fire with a more targeted focus on Clinton’s experience, honesty, and past ethical lapses.
Although I’ve urged Obama to stay above the fray in the past, I think the timing is much better now to throw a few leading jabs as a supplement to his recent willingness to counterpunch.
By now, he’s already proven that he can inspire voters and win support with a positive message of hope and transformative change, something Clinton has been unable to match.
She can shown she only compete by tearing Obama down, by pounding him with a relentless string of exaggerated, misleading, and sometimes completely fabricated slurs, offered in the name of “vetting,” but mostly intended to appeal to latent racism or fearfulness in her targeted low education, low income, voters.
With a significant lead in a Democratic Party that clearly doesn’t want to field a bloodied and wounded candidate in the general election, the time is right for Obama to signal to the party elders that he isn’t going to let Clinton slime him into submission.
If they don’t want a bloody battle reminiscent of Leonard vs. Duran, they had better get Obama’s back by coalescing around his campaign and pressuring Clinton to stop the party destroying tactics that are her only path to a tarnished nomination.
Or everybody gets hurt!