By Brigitte L. Nacos
Unless Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama rein in themselves and call on their supporters to stop the ever more nasty attacks on the rival candidate, Senator John McCain will become the next president of the United States. While the tit-for-tat nonsense on the Democratic side is not new in this long primary season, it has gone up a nasty notch or two in the last weeks and, even more so, in the last few days. If the candidates don’t declare and implement a cease-fire on the part of their respective camps immediately, they will hand Senator McCain and Republicans enough ammunition to prevail in November.
I have been a long-time admirer of Geraldine Ferraro, but she was ill-advised and wrong in resorting in an interview to Senator Obama’s race in explaining his obvious and by many quarter’s unexpected strength in the competition for the Democratic presidential nomination. Senator Clinton was right to disassociate herself from these remarks. I also believe that Senator Clinton should not have left any doubt when what should be a non-issue of Senator Obama’s religious affiliation came up in an interview. By not unequivocally denouncing the wicked associations and doubts of bigots, one plays into their hands. Nor does it help that Senator Clinton questioned Senator Obama’s credentials to become commander-in-chief while seemingly endorsing Senator McCain’s qualifications for that role.
On the other hand, Senator Obama’s advisor, Samantha Powers, was out of line in calling Hillary Clinton a “monster.” A gifted journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner should know what on-the-record and off-the-record means in the context of interviews. Powers was right to resign. But apart from Powers, the Obama campaign has not taken the ethical high ground as the Senator wants us to believe.
Take the latest example in the person of Maxim Thorne, a member of Senator Obama’s leadership council. This is an excerpt of what Thorne wrote in a mass e-mailing on March 6th:
“We cannot tolerate her [Senator Clinton’s] lies and stolen election.
Time for all of us democratics to wake up to this disgusting turn. As democratics this should affirm the end of her campaign.
At 3 am, Hillary said she and Bill were in bed and she knows of all the calls a President gets at different times of the day and night. Really? So much involvement - so much togetherness. Where was she when Monica was having sex with Bill? 35 years of experience? When he was intimidating Katherine Wiley and Paula Jones? Where was the judgment on the cattle futures and white water. Do we forget Mark and Denise Rich? This was an impeached President who lost his licence to practice law. He committed perjury. They settled with Paula Jones for the full amount of her lawsuit. I haven't forgotten and none of us should.
I remember the scandal when the Clintons' bags were searched when they left the White House and they had to return historic artifacts and gifts.
When Bin Laden was building Al Qaeda, Bill and she were fighting impeachment, fighting Paula Jones, fighting Katherine Wiley.”
This looks as if it came straight out of Carl Rove’s playbook. And it does not matter that this person resigned from Obama's leadership circle once the damage was done.
When the general presidential election campaign begins right after Labor Day, you can be sure that Republicans will utilize this ugly side of the current intra-Democratic competition to attack the Democratic nominee—whether it turns out to be Clinton or Obama.
A great deal of damage has been done already. Only a swift Clinton-Obama cease-fire may be able to somewhat neutralize some of the nastiness of their respective campaigns.
of focusing on the rival’s negatives, it is time now for Senators Clinton and Obama
to concentrate on what each of them will bring to the presidency in contrast to the
current president and administration. It is time to think beyond their and their campaigns' stakes.