Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Kitchen Sink and Hope Wont Be Enough

Senator Hillary Clinton is going to need more than throwing the kitchen sink of criticism about her opponent and front runner Senator Barack Obama if she's to win the nomination for the Democrats. Hope wont be enough either.
After denouncing Mr. Obama over the weekend for an anti-Clinton flier about the Nafta trade treaty, and then sarcastically portraying his message of hope Sunday as naïve, Mrs. Clinton delivered a blistering speech on Monday that compared Mr. Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience to that of the candidate George W. Bush.

“We’ve seen the tragic result of having a president who had neither the experience nor the wisdom to manage our foreign policy and safeguard our national security,” Mrs. Clinton said in a speech on foreign policy at George Washington University. “We can’t let that happen again.”

With a crucial debate on Tuesday night in Ohio, both Mrs. Clinton’s advisers and independent political analysts said that, by going negative against Mr. Obama at a time when polls in Texas and Ohio show a tightening race, Mrs. Clinton risked alienating voters. Mrs. Clinton has always been more popular with voters when she appeared sympathetic and a fighter; her hard-edged instinct for negative politics has usually turned off the public.

“There’s a general rule in politics: A legitimate distinction which could be effective when drawn early in the campaign often backfires and could seem desperate when it happens in the final hours of a campaign,” said Steve McMahon, a Democratic strategist working for neither candidate.

In Mrs. Clinton’s speech Monday, she also portrayed herself as “tested and ready” to be commander in chief, while accusing Mr. Obama of believing “that mediation and meetings without preconditions will solve some of the world’s most intractable problems.” Mr. Obama has said he would go further than Mrs. Clinton to meet with leaders of hostile nations, but he has also said he would prepare for those meetings carefully and would not be blind to the leaders’ motives.

On another matter, Mrs. Clinton’s aides criticized Mr. Obama on Monday for not distancing himself from outside groups running advertisements that promote his candidacy, a practice that Mr. Obama has sometimes criticized. An Obama spokesman said in response that Mrs. Clinton had tacitly permitted similar spending without comment.
Voters have decided over the past 10 primaries that Hillary simply isn't their choice. The man from Hope hasn't helped either. President Bill Clinton has been seen as much as a hindrance to Hillary's efforts as a help.

Obama's on a serious roll. If Hillary is to overtake Obama in the total number of delegates, she's going to need to do more than just okay in the debate tonight. She needs a knockout blow.

Supporting publication of photos of Obama in African garb isn't going to cut it. His inexperience and failures of achievement of note are serious drawbacks to Obama's message of hope and change, but coming from someone who has similar drawbacks isn't going to help Hillary.

So, unless Hillary has something more, the debates tonight aren't going to sway voters all that much.

And another photo of Obama in tribal garb has surfaced. Sweetness and Light has the photo and details (but it may be swamped by everyone rushing to see what the fuss is about). This photo shows him wearing different African tribal garb, and I have the same thoughts about this as I did the first photo. Big deal.

Name one of Obama's achievements.

The AP apparently had this photo, based on the watermark associated with it. The photographer of the man holding a photo of Obama in tribal garb is Karel Prinsloo, and you can view some photos attributed to Prinsloo here.

Rob Port at Say Anything doesn't really think much of the photo and whether Obama is or was Muslim. That he's a self-professed member of the Trinity United Church of Christ is enough to give him the creeps. I'm surprised more media outlets aren't willing to take on that task, or is it too sensitive to raise questions over a church that uses the language of race to describe everything and there are disturbing links between this church and Louis Farrakhan and Libya, among others.

Jammie writes that the IRS is now taking a closer look at Obama's church after a speech he gave there. Nice.
A spokesman for the denomination says it received notice of the inquiry on Monday.

The IRS says there is reason to believe the speech violated restrictions on political activity for nonprofit groups. The denomination denies any wrongdoing.
Did you expect the church to come out and say yes, we broke the law? Seriously? I don't know how much weight to put behind the IRS efforts, but politicians routinely go to churches all the time to burnish credentials and gain support from congregations. If you dig enough, you'll probably find Hillary and McCain likely stepped over this line as well at some point.

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