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Billy Club

Well, Hillary Clinton's getting it both ways again. First up, one of her leading campaign officials -- Bill Shaheen from here in New Hampshire -- gets to bring up Barack Obama's drug past by saying that "you know the Republicans would if he were the nominee." Then, after throwing that bit of mud, she gets to distance herself from the splashback by getting rid of Shaheen. It's a standard move in dirty politics.

It seems that Hillary has a bit of a problem in maintaining ethical discipline among her supporters, both the paid and unpaid sort. She's also had to sack two volunteers for helping spread the rumors that Obama is some kind of "secret Muslim" in the last couple of weeks.

But for those of us in New Hampshire, the drug thing could have more lasting consequences.

You see, Bill Shaheen has never held any sort of public or political office. But he's a key advisor to someone who has held some very high positions -- including three terms as governor.

His wife, Jeanne Shaheen.

Jeanne Shaheen, who narrowly lost her race for the US Senate in 2002 to John E. Sununu in an election tainted by the infamous phone jamming scandal, an incident that sent a couple of GOP leaders to the federal pen and cost the state Republican party big bucks in restitution to the Democrats. (Not enough people in prison, not enough time in prison, and nowhere near enough money, but that's just my opinion.)

Well, Sununu's first term is up next year, and the Democrats have been spoiling for a chance to take things back. A whole slew of candidates announced that they were going to challenge him.

And nearly every one of them changed their minds once Jeanne Shaheen announced she was going to go for a rematch.

Bill Shaheen has a long history of shooting from the lip. But this one could hurt his wife's chances to claim the Senate seat so many believe was stolen from her. (Personally, I don't think the phone-jamming made that much of a difference, but it STILL needs to be pounded intoo people's heads that you do NOT ass around with elections in a free democracy. Just attempting to rig things needs to be hammered down.)

If Clinton wins the nomination, she won't dare help Shaheen too much, because she will have to keep her distance. And if Obama gets it, he won't be overly inclined to offer her much assistance after her husband's cheap shot. So if either of the two leading Democrats gets the nod, Shaheen will have to run with very little national assistance.

Plus, there's a good chunk of us New Hampshirites who don't mind politics being a contact sport, but demand that they observe some rules of propriety and fairness. And what Bill Shaheen did crossed the line.

So, in the end, the real winner of this part of the Clinton smear campaign on Obama could be a first-term Senator from New Hampshire.

Don't you just love the rule of unintended consequences?


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Comments (7)

Don't count on it, as the l... (Below threshold)

Don't count on it, as the liberal MSM won't hamper her bid by bringing this up, and in any event, by the time the Senate campaign kicks into high gear, this will be 'old news' and irrelevant to the issues that are important to the good people of New Hampshire.

Why do you think a Dem nomi... (Below threshold)

Why do you think a Dem nominee Clinton wouldn't be able to help Jeanne Shaheen in a general election just because of something (stupid but true) her husband said a year earlier? I don't see it being a big deal.

Obama's candor is admirable, but hard drug use in a potential President's past doesn't go away with simple candor.

So Billy Shaheen gets ahead... (Below threshold)

So Billy Shaheen gets ahead in the world by being married to a successful politician - not through talent or hard work. And he becomes the co-chair of the Clinton campaign in NH. That fits.

Readers should also be aware that mud-slinging is a core competency for Billy. In 2000 he was chairman of the 2000 Gore campaign in NH, and he led a crowd of people who threw mud at Senator Bob Kerrey and called him a "cripple". Vice President Gore didn't fire him and called the assault "good clean fun". Many in NH remembered that, and Gore lost NH. If he had won NH or Tennessee he would have won the 2000 election - even without Florida.

And of course, it's pathetic to see the Clinton campaign losing, and their best response is to unleash their usual character attacks and try to blame it on everyone else. Is anyone surprised? And it's funny to see that no matter what their excuses for the usual "politics of personal destruction" and the lame attempts to play the innocent victim, no one really believes them. And finally, look at how ludicrous this is: Clinton is attacking someone else's character.

Ladies and gentleman this is why electing Clinton is an excellent example of why Clinton should never get elected. Unprincipled people like Billy Shaheen come to her - drawn like flies to fecal matter. She collects these people and uses them to do her dirty work. Her political methods are to demonize anyone who gets in her way. ("When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nair.") Sometimes that works, but more often that not, it doesn't. And when she lies about it, no one believes her, because we've all heard it before.

Do we really want four years of this?

It is funny how Obama's adm... (Below threshold)

It is funny how Obama's admitted use of narcotics is glossed over by the media and liberals as if he is heroic by his admissions. Yet George Bush has been accused of narcotic use with no admission or evidence and the liberals and media say he is not qualified or is weak.
I am glad Sheehan exposed again the dirty tricks of the Clinton world but to think she won't get the nomination is naive. She has it. It will happen. They, Billy and Hillary, did not even start to play dirty. ww

wavemaker, I didn't say the... (Below threshold)

wavemaker, I didn't say the nominee COULDN'T, just that there's good reason to think they WOULDN'T. If it's Clinton or Obama, as I said, it would be a matter of weighing the above negatives versus the positive of getting a Democrat into a Republican Senate seat. And that is a tough call.


Gimme a break . . .<p... (Below threshold)

Gimme a break . . .

How did Shaheen "cross the line" here? By repeating what Obama already ADMITTED to doing, and suggesting it might hurt in a general election (but of course not in the primaries, as Democrats don't care how hopped-up and on what their nominee might be)?

This is "dirty politics" and "the politics of personal destruction" now? What a bunch of PC garbage!

ANYTHING a candidate says or does is fair game in an election. If you don't want your past behavior thrown in your face in a campaign, don't put your own dirty laundry in your book, mmmkay?

Have we come to the point where you can't even mention your opponent at all?

Politics ain't beanbag. If you can't take the heat, don't do cocaine in the kitchen.

I fault Hillary for distancing herself from Shaheen, and suspect she might not have taken the drastic step had not her volunteers been TWICE busted circulating FALSE info about Obama lately.

Jim Addison:Is thi... (Below threshold)

Jim Addison:

Is this dirty politics? Yes. The Clinton campaign has blown a huge lead in NH, and now they aren't coming back with any substantive differences between the two candidates. This is taking the low road.

Is that allowed in a campaign? Sure. But there's always a price to be paid.
1. First of all, she has said that her campaign wouldn't do this. She has decried this kind of dirty politics, and now her campaign is reversing course.
2. She risks a backlash. Any candidate that resorts to personal attacks always risks turning some voters off. A lot of candidates that get attacked like this run ads like, "There she goes again, attacking our guy. She can't say anything positive, so she brings out the knives."
3. This move comes on the heals of polls that show that she has blown a huge lead in NH. Going dirty smacks of desperation.
4. The attack itself lacks substance [pun intended]
(a) There is little more that what he already wrote about and talked about.
(b) It happened a very long time ago, and voters are asking themselves, "At what point do we hold someone responsible for what they did as a kid or very young adult?" Is it really relevant to who they are today?
(c) This incident and the earlier leaks from the Clinton campaign seems to imply that they know lots more, but they aren't saying. OK, but who believes them?

The Clinton campaign is using sock-puppets, e-mails, and innuendo to get the positive results from smearing Senator Obama while avoiding any of the negative consequences. I don't think that will work. And just as "the cover-up is worse than the crime", that's really the story here.
1. We have seen the Clintons use this technique before.
2. We have seen this Clinton campaign caught doing dirty tricks (e.g. plants).
3. We have been told for months how disciplined the Clinton campaign is, but now we're being told that they did not authorize this attack.
4. The Clinton campaign didn't authorize it, but then didn't condemn it or fire Billy Shaheen, either.
5. And finally, does anyone really believe anything Senator Clinton says?

One final word about drug use...

There are some conservatives who feel that no matter when a person might have used drugs, that makes them totally unacceptable as President. I have to ask why.

The first argument is that it shows a lack of respect for the law. If that was really a concern, Senator Clinton would be in prison and not in the Senate running for President. There's no comparison between Obama's moral, ethical, and legal standards and the Clintons.

Some believe that anyone who uses drugs can't be President because it proves that they do not have the moral fiber. I think that as a country we've pretty much passed that point as a country. We've elected a divorced man. we've elected and re-elected a serial sexual predator. And now were considering electing that serial sexual predator's enabler and the bag man for the Arkansas Mafia.

Another argument is that a drug user may be mentally unstable. I can come back to President Clinton and his mental health problems. But also, if Obama had mental issues, those issues will express themselves in other ways. (As Clinton's certainly did.)

Another argument is that it says something bad to our kids. I can see that, but the Clintons set a very bad example for our kids, and the country didn't seem to care. If someone has used drugs and says, "When I was young and stupid, I was young and stupid." That can work. Obama has not tried to hide his past. Instead, he has tried to use his past to talk to young people in a positive way.

And finally, voters may worry that a President with a prior history of substance abuse might be dangerous. I can understand that, but it comes back to the length of time. President Bush has been asked about his drug use and history, and he won't give information about 25 years ago. He did admit to a DUI and did admit that he stopped drinking because he worried that he had a drinking problem. Voters needed to think about that. It is always possible that Bush could crack under pressure and resume drinking. Is it worth the risk? The answer is that it probably is OK, given that he has been dry for a long time and given that their are people around him to prevent anything really bad from happening. If his drinking interfered with his job, he could be legally removed from office.

From where I'm sitting, this is not a big deal. If someone is so conservative that they just won't vote for someone - ever - who doesn't have a perfect past going back through grade school. OK. I understand your position. The problem is that you probably aren't voting for a Democrat anyway.






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