Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Presidential Election is Less than 21 Months Away, Part II

To be fair, I might end up enjoying the Democratic Presidential primary battle. The first Hillary-Obama spat has now taken place, and Jim Geraghty's report of it makes me think I'm going to enjoy this almost as much as mocking John Kerry...

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd talked to Hollywood mogul David Geffen, a former Bill Clinton backer who’s now backing Obama. Geffen ripped Hillary. He called her “incredibly polarizing”, referred to the Bush and Clinton “royal families,” speculated that Bill Clinton was still sleeping around and thus represented a scandal waiting to erupt; called the Clinton machine (their network of supporters and operatives) “very unpleasant and unattractive and effective;” called the former President “a reckless guy”, mocked his pardon of Marc Rich, declared the Clintons “unwilling to stand for things that they genuinely believe in” and that they lie “with such ease, it’s troubling.” Finally, he asked if anyone was more ambitious than Hillary.

The Hillary campaign read this in Dowd’s column and shot back, “A day after Barack Obama goes out and eschews the politics of slash-and-burn, his campaign embraces the politics of trash.” The Obama campaign responded, “We aren’t going to get in the middle of a disagreement between the Clintons and someone who was once one of their biggest supporters. It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln Bedroom.”

Later in Iowa, Obama himself added, “It’s not clear to me why I would be apologizing for someone else’s remarks… My sense is that Mr. Geffen may have differences with the Clintons, but that doesn't really have anything to do with our campaign.”

At the candidate forum in Nevada yesterday, Hillary didn’t directly say whether she believed Obama was obligated to disavow Geffen's comments, but instead, she lamented… come on, you can guess the standard-issue Clinton response to these situations… you got it! The Politics of Personal Destruction™! Yes, Geffen’s criticisms and observations amount to an attempt to personally destroy her.
Apparently, this is being spun as a loss for Obama. I'm not sure why, unless Democrats still feel the instinctive need to wrap their arms around the Clintons and protect them from mean people. From Geraghty's report, that may well be the case, since people like Bill Richardson chose to defend Hillary from Geffen's attack. The pundit class seems to believe this takes the shine off of Obama, who's supposed to be above the fray of all this mean name-calling.

Whatever -- I thought the line from the Obama campaign was pretty damn funny, and "Hillary as victim" card can only be played so many times before even Democrats realize there's no substance to the charge. In a way, both candidates look petty, but isn't that par for the course with cat fights involving Hollywood moguls? In any case, I'm hoping this gets linked to Britney Spears soon. Wait -- Scrappleface just established a link.


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