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Obama must choose

Barack Obama faces a decision which will affect his political future, and that of his party.

His strong performance thus far, not only in fundraising but also in vote-getting, has attracted a few jabs from the Clinton camp (including Hillary's Nuclear Weapon, former President Bill Clinton himself). To date, these have been sharp blows, but not too hard. They just wanted him to experience the taste of his own blood in his mouth to see if he has the stomach for it.

Take the recent feint on race, which resulted in a huge flap. Despite the absence of any real "racial remarks" from the Clinton side, Obama's campaign and (more importantly) his unaffiliated supporters rushed to condemn "racial politics" so fast that the candidate was unable to control the reaction. Almost overnight, then, instead of being "above politics as usual," he was trapped in the same old politics of race, with the same old faces coming forward.

Bill Clinton pointed out the hypocrisy of Obama's main comeback to any criticism or claim of superior experience from Hillary's campaign: that she voted for the Iraq War Resolution. Clinton notes that while Obama did speak against it at the time (when he was in the Illinois State Senate), his rhetoric was toned down in 2004, and he expressed ambivalence on the issue - at one point saying he couldn't say whether or not he would have voted for it himself.

And he really hasn't any other comeback. Hillary's rush to present a detailed "economic stimulus plan" shows the problem clearly. Whether or not it's a good plan is almost irrelevant: the point is she is thinking in terms of concrete solutions and specific policy proposals to address problems, not assuming they will all take flight on gossamer wings when the New Day dawns.

So Obama must choose: he can continue down the road to the nomination by fighting back, as in calling Bill Clinton a liar. If he takes this path, he ain't seen nothing yet.

The Clinton political machine realizes this is Hillary's only practical chance at the White House, and they won't be taking prisoners. Obama will have to abandon his whole "new kind of politics" and "getting rid of partisanship" rhetoric to get down and dirty - and it still won't be enough.

They will flay Obama alive - and if they end up losing the general election (or even if he beat the odds and won the nomination, but loses the general himself), they will blame HIM for "dividing the party." Sure, it may not be true, but their spin machine has a long and practiced record of making lies sound true, or at least true enough for the media to accept them.

Obama has an alternative, though. If he keeps to the high road, mutes his criticism of Hillary, and refuses to play "politics as usual," he will lose, just as other nice-guy maverick liberal challengers have in the past (think Hart '84 and Bradley '00), BUT he will keep his reputation intact, save some millions in his campaign fund for the future, and be the Heir Apparent for 2012 should Hillary lose. Even if she wins, he is young enough that 2016 isn't so far away.

Obama has the largest donor base ever assembled, and recently won access to John Kerry's 3 million-name email list. Kerry isn't giving him the list itself, but many will donate and/or ask to be put on Obama's own list, making it ever longer. He can add some years of Senate service to his resume, and be sure of standing invitations to the Sunday talk shows.

He can't beat Hillary by being a "nice guy" who doesn't play "politics as usual," but he can survive and position himself for an easier run in the future.


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Comments (14)

Obama is toast.BRE... (Below threshold)
Rich Mann:

Obama is toast.

BREAKING:

Larry Sinclair accuses Obama of using cocaine with him, and having homosexual relations with him, in 1999, while Obama served in the IL legislature.

Sinclair offers to take polygraph.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVeFVtcdSYY


Hey, you drag a $100-bill t... (Below threshold)

Hey, you drag a $100-bill through a limousine, and . . .

;-)

Jim A - "Obama has the ... (Below threshold)
marc:

Jim A - "Obama has the largest donor base ever assembled, and recently won access to John Kerry's 3 million-name email list. Kerry isn't giving him the list itself,"

(Summing up my best Kerry-esque French) Au contraire mon ami.

By some stroke of misfortune I've been on the Reluctant Warrior's mailing list since 2004. (it was worth it's weight in comedic value though)

Not less that 36 hours after Kerry was onstage with Obama-whama-slamma my inbox was filled by a missive from Obama extolling the virtues of him as the next "leader" of the free world.

(Unsurprisingly, it had comedic value as well.)

Emmm. that should read " no... (Below threshold)
marc:

Emmm. that should read " not more than 36 hours..."

Its true that he hasn't exp... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

Its true that he hasn't experienced much in the way of the Ozark Long March's displeasure but give them time.

"You can't *pay* for entertainment like this."

marc ~ Kerry allowed Obama ... (Below threshold)

marc ~ Kerry allowed Obama to send out an email to his list, but that doesn't mean Obama gets a copy of the list itself. That list is worth quite a bit of money, and if Kerry lets it go he will expect to receive cash value for it.

That way, he won't have to ask Tuh-RAY-zuh for caviar money for a while . . .

That way, he won't have ... (Below threshold)

That way, he won't have to ask Tuh-RAY-zuh for caviar money for a while . . .

Jim, shouldn't he sell that mysterious hat he received from the special ops guys he dropped off in Cambodia first? I mean,if we are going to talk about smelly fish eggs....

GMAC -"You can'... (Below threshold)

GMAC -

"You can't *pay* for entertainment like this."

God. Like I'd WANT to watch this idiocy?

Let's see. We're wathcing the Clintons unlimber the big guns and go after Obama. Obama, in turn, is trying to defend himself against the Clintons. Hillary realizes that THIS is her big chance, her one and only attempt to get that brass ring she's wanted so long and put up with so much for. She'll kill Obama politically if she has to - skin color and party loyalty be damned.

On the Republican side we've got the archtypes battling it out - the War Hero, the Preacher, the Mayor. Woo, haa.

When did our political system turn into a damned Reality Freak Show? Or is this a Prime-Time Soap Opera? No matter WHO wins this mess, we all lose. I'm not finding this entertaining at all - especially considering that WHOEVER wins is going to be President for 4 years - and there's NO way to change to another channel!

I don't agree. I think Obam... (Below threshold)
drjohn:

I don't agree. I think Obama slamming Clinton is way slick. He has a large part of the base and this is likely to draw more independents than a traditional approach.

It's really clever.

Obama should run this video... (Below threshold)

Obama should run this video in his next ad:

http://www.breitbart.tv/html/33364.html

It's just too good to make up.

Evidently, it is not dawnin... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Evidently, it is not dawning on Democrats that Bill and Hillary think that they are entitled to whatever Democratic office they want.

Jim, you're forgetting some... (Below threshold)

Jim, you're forgetting something. For 8 years obama will have to make no mistakes. Way too many votes to screw up.

SPQR -On the good ... (Below threshold)

SPQR -

On the good side - if she FAILS, we likely won't see her running in '12. She's damn near past her 'sell by' date now, and I don't see her being any more attractive then.

Of course, there's always Chelsea. Think they'd shove her into politics?

JLawson, no I don't think C... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

JLawson, no I don't think Chelsea is going to show any talent for politics, to her credit.




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