Where I Come Down On The Obama/Clinton “Fighting”

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

There’s a lot of debate about whether the fight between Clinton and Obama is good for the Democratic Party and/or whether or not it will hurt the Democratic nominee (whoever it is) in the general election.  Many on the left have expressed concern that the infighting between Clinton and Obama will result in a "damaged" candidate for the general election, once one is chosen.  Republicans, of course, are hoping this will be the case.

I’m in a different camp.  While I prefer Obama, I think Hillary Clinton would make an excellent and capable President.  So, come November, I would happily pull the lever for her.

And as for the infighting, I don’t think it is a bad thing.  First of all, it’s not that ugly.  While they are obviously doing what they can to attack each other, and will probably step up the "attacks" in the weeks to come, so far it hasn’t struck me as overtly negative or unfair.  Of course, it’s all politics, so the bar for what counts as "unfairness" is pretty high.  But candidates and their campaigns can — and should — get away with a lot.  This isn’t nerfball.

But except at the extreme margins (which tend to get emphasized by the media), both Obama and Clinton seem to be waging their battles with a healthy modicum of respect and dignity, and even wit and humor.   Their most difficult tasks will be to keep their surrogates in line.

Essentially, what is happening now is test of a test of each candidate’s composure, character, and determination to attain the position to which they are applying.  They both are qualified; they both are "deserving"; and either one would excel in that position.

So the supposed "infighting" between the two is not bad for the party; if anything, it is good.  It tests them.  And come November, the supporters of the loser will rally around the nominee.

It’s all good.

AS AN ASIDE:  I don’t think a lot of things that Hillary is saying is helpful.  Lately, she’s been touting McCain’s experience on a number of different issues, presumably as a way to distinguish McCain and Obama.  The problem is: it looks like she’s praising McCain.  It makes me want to slap her and say, "He’s on the other side!"

Case in point:

In a Cabinet-style setting, surrounded by retired military leaders, Sen. Hillary Clinton said the public should ask whether Democratic presidential rival Barack Obama has met the criteria needed to become the nation’s commander in chief.

“I think that since we now know Sen. (John) McCain will be the nominee for the Republican Party, national security will be front and center in this election. We all know that. And I think it’s imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander-in-chief threshold,” the New York senator told reporters crowded into an infant’s bedroom-sized hotel conference room in Washington.

“I believe that I’ve done that. Certainly, Sen. McCain has done that and you’ll have to ask Sen. Obama with respect to his candidacy,” she said.

Is that a good tactic?  Yes, Hillary.  Both you and John McCain, the people you claim have "experience", voted for the Iraq War, something which two-thirds of all Americans (and 80% of Democrats) oppose!  How does placing you side-by-side with McCain make you look good, Hillary?

Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlog wonders exactly what "threshhold" did Clinton cross to become cammander-in-chief (does sleeping with Bill count?) and comments:

This is getting ridiculous. It’s one thing for Clinton to build herself up. But constantly comparing herself to McCain, constantly praising McCain over the man who may be our candidate in the fall, is beyond annoying. Is that supposed to make her appear stronger? If she wants that comparison, we’ll make it. On the most important foreign policy decision of this decade, on the biggest foreign policy disaster in recent American history, Hillary Clinton and John McCain made the wrong call – both sided with George Bush and voted for the Iraq war. If this is the judgment they would bring to the threshold of the Oval Office, if these are the decisions Hillary and McCain are going to be making when the phone rings at 3AM, who needs either one of them.