Friday, March 14, 2008

James Carville's diversion

James Carville's call in today's FT for us all to lighten up and accept hardball politics is a tad disingenuous. Claiming oversensitivity in the press and by the campaigns to "mildly offensive" comments, he provides cover for Clinton to let 'er rip:
Politics is a messy business, but campaigning prepares you for governing. It prepares you to get hit, stand strong and, if necessary, hit back. So our candidates need to buck up, toughen up and recognise that time spent whining and sniping is time not spent addressing the real concerns of the people.
By carping about oversensitivity to a few over-the-top remarks (and cleverly opening with a defense of the rival camp's eminently defensible Samantha Powers), Carville diverts attention from what's truly objectionable about Hillary Clinton's campaign: she is deliberately undercutting the viability of her own party's frontrunner in the general election. By absurdly claiming that she and John McCain "cross the commander-in-chief threshold" while Obama does not; by qualifying her denial that Obama is a Muslim; by deploying surrogates to state baldly that Obama can't win the general election and to insinuate that he appeals narrowly to black voters, she is well on the way to tearing the Democratic party apart.

Carville's cheerful (and tired) memories of his wife insulting the other party's candidate, and of more distant egregious insults in the political arena, are irrelevant. Clinton is violating Ronald Reagan's 11th Commandment: thou shalt not speak ill of fellow [party members]. For that
she deserves to be driven into the political wilderness.

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