Ambinder: Obama and His Campaign Have Added as Much Acid to the Conversation as Clinton

Marc Ambinder takes a look at the ‘”Democratic activists” who are “accusing Hillary Clinton of undermining Barack Obama, the party’s most likely presidential nominee” and he finds that Obama and his campaign have “added as much acid to the conversation as Clinton.”

Ambinder is right, Obama and his campaign have added plenty of acid to the conversation. I’ve pointed that out here more than once and so have writers on The Dem Daily. Yet, Obama supporters act so indignant and claim still that he and they are taking the high road…

How dare she?¬†For weeks, the Obama campaign has accused Hillary of scorched-earth politics — of attacking the likely nominee, and by extension her own party. But politics is not a casual sport. This is the hardest job in the world, and nothing about the preparation gauntlet is cruel or unusual.

Obama and his campaign have added as much acid to the conversation as Clinton. His key aides regularly blast her supposed penchant for secrecy, her tendency to lie — or, as Obama himself said, “hoodwink” at every turn. They’ve hammered relentlessly at her exaggerations, they’ve catalogued comments deemed racially insensitive, and they’ve questioned her fitness and judgment and morality. Surrogates have called her a liar, a hysteric, a monster, and worse. Obama has said that Clinton is “willing to say anything to get elected.”

Obama is aiming for her Achilles heel as aggressively as she is aiming for his. Both them are right to do so: Why should Clinton give Obama a pass if she genuinely feels he’s unqualified? Why should Obama give Clinton a pass if he genuinely feels she is a scoundrel? This internal competition will produce a nominee more vulnerable to John McCain, or one who has figured out how to stand firm against Republicans.

The bottom-line here, if we all take a deep breath and play our cards right is that the “risks for Democrats are worth it,” Ambinder notes. It may seem oh so unpleasant now, but with some luck and cooperation among supporters, we could emerge with a tough as nails nominee who will trounce McCain.

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11 Responses to Ambinder: Obama and His Campaign Have Added as Much Acid to the Conversation as Clinton

  1. Pingback: Ambinder: Obama and His Campaign Have Added as Much Acid to the Conversation as Clinton | Hillary Clinton Chronicles

  2. Pingback: Ambinder: Obama and His Campaign Have Added as Much Acid to the Conversation as Clinton | Barack Obama Chronicles

  3. Gilbert Martinez says:

    I have a hard time equating arguments on experience with personal attacks on a person’s integrity. Experience is something that is much more quantifiable than saying someone “will do anything to win”. How do you defend against personal attacks? You do your best, but it’s basically a he-said-she-said tactic that the GOP uses all the time when the talk about Democrats being “unpatriotic”. I find Obama’s personal attacks particularly disgusting because they rely on a decade and a half worth of sexist/misogynistic framing of Hillary by the right. And an even longer history of sexism in this country generally.

    I think we are falling into a dangerous course by considering this election in the context solely of the here and now. That no matter what either Dem candidate does, we must support the eventual winner against McCain no matter what she or he does. Disenfranchising voters–or only franchising them if the vote is already pre-determined–has long term implications. Sitting silently in the face of relentless race-baiting and sexism puts a strain on race relations in the future and makes progress for women harder. Those actions should have consequences. Obama is using the we must fall in line threat to abuse the process and, personally, the process is something more sacred than who actually wins. The process has been perverted and that has long-lasting implications that we should address. The good of the country should demand that the process be protected just as much as it demands a Democrat in the White House. In the case of disenfranchising voters we are entering very dangerous territory. With Bush v Gore in the recent past, we should be extremely careful about the precedents we are setting.

    I strongly believe deliberately disenfranchising voters is worse than a McCain presidency. We don’t know what McCain will do–good or bad–but we know disenfranchisement belies the fundamental premises of democracy. This fundamental premise is weighing very heavy in my mind right now and if voters are deliberately disenfranchised no amount of soaring speeches will ever get rid of that stain in my view. Even if Super Ds gave Hillary the nomination, but not allowing FL and MI to be counted, I do not think I could maintain my allegiance to the Dems.

  4. Gilbert

    I understand the passion, but even Hillary has urged that her supporters support the nominee and has said she will. And I have no doubt that she will if that nominee ends up not being her.

  5. Kendall Johnson says:


    I am with you all the way. I can’t vote for Obama. Between the disenfranchising voters, race bating and sexism that he has displayed throughout his campaign, I cannot vote for him. He is a wolf in sheeps clothing and I’m not falling for it. I will vote for Nader, if Obama is the nominee.

  6. Janis says:

    If Obama is the nominee, just write in Hillary.

    And I’ve already said how I feel. I don’t want to go from 8 years of a cocky, spoiled brat heir-apparent who thinks he can learn on the job and disenfranchise whole states to get what he thinks he’s owed to another cocky, spoiled brat heir-apparent who thinks he can learn on the job and disenfranchise whole states to get what he thinks he’s owed.

    As a pro-choice woman, I’ve survived 8 years of Bush and before that 12 years of Reagan-Bush. To teach the Democratic party a lesson they’ll never forget, I can hold out for just a little bit longer.

  7. Gilbert: “We don’t know what McCain will do, good or bad”. That’s pure trash talk in my opinion. If you don’t know how bad McCain would be you haven’t paid attention since at least the inaugration in 2001. Even if you took BUSHCO and diluted it down by 90% it would still be an experience that would be a travesty for all concerned.

  8. Janis says:

    Darrell, this would usher in an era of utter destruction for this country, not just to have one party as the face of anti-democratic evil, but BOTH PARTIES. TWO PARTIES neither of which gave a damn or listened or cared for the voters, TWO PARTIES which openly shat on the constitution, TWO PARTIES which both viciously and coldly ignored and manipulated elections with absolutely no cause for pangs of conscience.

    It’s a bit like the liberals have been saying regards terrorism and the Patriot Act and all that garbage — if in order to defend yourself from evil, you BECOME evil, you have lost and the bad guys have won. QED.

    At that point, believe you me — Gilbert is absolutely dead right. This country is dead in the water.

    A vote for McCain will ensure that at least ONE party is slapped back to being on the up and up.

    A vote for a faux-nominated Obama will mean TWO parties are both craven and worthless, and we will neevr again be able to trust another election for as long as we live.

    With that in the balance, you are goddamned right I can and WILL vote for John McCain, hate him though I do.

    We need to stop casting this as some sort of static system where we just pick A or B, where the system itself is not changed by the results. It’s naive and foolish and unimaginably shortsighted to act as if that’s what’s going on.

  9. Janis says:

    BTW, check out the second link at Taylor Marsh here:

    If this is for real, then I guess we know why Obama does so well at caucuses. And that mealy-mouthed, “Well, snivel-snivel we heard about some of your people maybe doing it, too” at the end is a crock.

    Again — if it’s for real — I WILL NEVER VOTE FOR HIM. Ever. That man’s campaign is pure poison.

  10. Janis

    “If this is for real”

    I watched the video earlier this evening. If this is for real is right. It can easily be described as a video to make the Obama camp look bad, made by a Clinton supporter. I say that as a Clinton supporter with a strong does of reality thrown in. If you want to vote for McCain – knock yourself out and do us a favor and go find a nice conservative blog to tout him on.

    Personally I am tiring of the hysterics from both camps. If you truly support Hillary Clinton, as I have said here a few times, you would be following her lead and be willing to support the nominee — whether it is Clinton or Obama.

    Good luck to you.

  11. Janis: I’ll go along with you part way. Any outcome this year will be far from ideal. The breakdown during my lifetime, however, is that Repubics always want to steal everything, and Democrats are more than happy to steal only mose, leaving a little something for the rest of us. But even that difference is enough to matter unless you think that total self destruction beats every outcome short of that.