Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mutual Destruction (Without the Assurances)

And so it continues. In the seemingly interminable march toward the April 22 Pennsylvania primary both Democratic candidates continue to take shots at each other while John McCain pretty much lays low and let's them have at it. Things are working out pretty well for him, especially since Hillary Clinton is doing most of his work for him right now. Who needs campaign surrogates when a whole other campaign will just do it for you?

As Arianna Huffington writes, the Clinton campaign is pretty much just doing the Republicans' work for them. It's like McCain has two complete campaign operations at his disposal.

The thing is, I don't see any way for Hillary to win this thing, even if she ends up actually getting the Democratic nomination (which itself is a long shot).

The entire Clinton campaign right now is pretty much focused on winning the Democratic nomination. This is apparently supposed to be accomplished by tearing down Obama to the point where he isn't seen as a viable candidate. No thought seems to be given to what happens next. Remember, there's still a general election to consider.

At this point, conventional wisdom seems to be saying that Clinton is hurting Obama's chances in the general election. But beyond that, she's hurting her own chances! Consider the now infamous comment she made about John McCain and her having passed the commander-in-chief test. Basically she said, "Yeah, John McCain would make a good commander-in-chief." What are the odds that McCain is going to return that favor if they meet in the election? What's the likelihood that he'll say, "Yeah, being first lady and listening to poems in Bosnia is pretty much the same as having been a war hero and long-time member of the Senate with an extensive background in foreign and military policy." I'll admit that I haven't been sitting in on McCain's strategy sessions, but my guess is that such a statement won't be forthcoming.

The longer the attacks go on - especially if they continue in the same vein - the lower Clinton will be pulling both Democrats while boosting McCain's relative position in the general election. This is bad news for Obama and for Clinton.

Even for someone who wants to be president as desperately as Clinton obviously does, this doesn't sound like a smart strategy.

On the other hand, maybe it's not about that at all. Maybe Obama Girl is right and Hillary just has a crush on John McCain.

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