NYT: The Low Road to Victory

New NY Times editorial below the fold...

The Low Road to Victory

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad -- torn right from Karl Rove's playbook -- evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen," the narrator intoned.

If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton's argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: "We would be able to totally obliterate them."

By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don't like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama is not blameless when it comes to the negative and vapid nature of this campaign. He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton's bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about "bitter" voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative youth and inexperience.

No matter what the high-priced political operatives (from both camps) may think, it is not a disadvantage that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton share many of the same essential values and sensible policy prescriptions. It is their strength, and they are doing their best to make voters forget it. And if they think that only Democrats are paying attention to this spectacle, they're wrong.

After seven years of George W. Bush's failed with-us-or-against-us presidency, all American voters deserve to hear a nuanced debate -- right now and through the general campaign -- about how each candidate will combat terrorism, protect civil liberties, address the housing crisis and end the war in Iraq.

It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind with they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.

I do find it extraordinary that the Times, which endorsed Sen. Clinton now seems to wish this race over.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, negative campaigning (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

Also, the vote counting hasn't even ended yet they broadly declare she didn't get the margin she 'needed' whatever that is. They couldn't even wait until all the votes were counted? I guess they were going off the early exits showing a 4 point Clinton win, which would of course have been spun as a loss. Talk about jumping the gun ...

by VAAlex 2008-04-22 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

It was probably pre-written beforehand.  They feel strong enough that the results will bear out that they decided to run with it.

by rfahey22 2008-04-22 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: always remember

Again, the NYT endorsed Hillary.

by mefck 2008-04-22 06:50PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

Well considering she needed a 20 point win just to keep pace with the margins she has to get the rest of the way out, I'd say they have a point.

When all the votes are counted, she will now have to win a greater percentage of the delegates from here on out than she needed to before today, and there are less delegates out there to help her.

She may have won convincingly, but the delegate math got even worse for her tonight.

by KevinT 2008-04-22 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

Then it's a good thing her case isn't with pledged delegates anymore, and hasn't been for a while.

by VAAlex 2008-04-22 07:24PM | 0 recs
Re: sour grapes?

Sour grapes?  They endorsed Sen. Clinton.

by mefck 2008-04-22 06:47PM | 0 recs
The Times is right.

But the way some hardcore Clintonites are going, they want her to still be in the race when he's sworn in in January.

It'll be over in May. We can survive a few more weeks of the bloodletting, before McCain becomes unbeatable.

by MBNYC 2008-04-22 06:53PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

Uh, oh...

by Shaun Appleby 2008-04-22 07:03PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

This diary is very close to violating copyright infringment.  You should watch out for that.

by nklein 2008-04-22 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

You don't know much about copyright law if you actually believe that.

by mefck 2008-04-22 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

LOL - Obama is the one who is responsible for the negativity. She's been pretty clean. I'll take her campaign any day of the weeek over Obama. This isn't the first time that the NY Times has come after Clinton and it won't be the last.

No one but Obama supporters will take this crap seriously.

by Little Otter 2008-04-22 07:19PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

¿Que?  Honestly the cognitive dissonance is staggering sometimes.  Surely you must see this as, at least, a disturbing response from a journal of record which endorsed your candidate in the first instance.

Do you honestly think they just cooked this up around the water cooler?

by Shaun Appleby 2008-04-22 07:24PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory
BO is in Indiana giving a speech. Never mind saying congrats to his opponent, he never even said thank you to the people in Pennsylvania that work for him. NOT ONE  WORD!
Its is like it never happened... "just ignore them" eh ?  
BO you suck and that is sad.
by JoeySky18 2008-04-22 07:24PM | 0 recs
JoeySky18: the low road to trolldom.

In fact, I heard Obama both congratulate Hillary and thank those who worked for him in Pennsylvania.

If you had any interest in the truth, you'd apologize for lying.

by tbetz 2008-04-22 07:41PM | 0 recs
Obama's speech. Hear it yourself.

Up on YouTube now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-BszlG4x Qo

Congratulates Senator Clinton at 1:49, thanks the "hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians" at 2:00.

by tbetz 2008-04-22 08:00PM | 0 recs
Re: NYT: The Low Road to Victory

If not congratulating your opponent is what gets your goat, you shouldn't be supporting Hillary.

CNN--"For the second election night in a row, Hillary Clinton failed to acknowledge or congratulate Barack Obama after he won the day in dominating fashion."

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/200 8/02/12/clinton-still-no-congratulations -for-obama/

by DreamsOfABlueNation 2008-04-22 09:02PM | 0 recs
Ouch for Hillary!

It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

by Lefty Coaster 2008-04-22 07:28PM | 0 recs

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