Politics: June 2008 Archives

Negativity Works

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Hendrik Hertzsberg, eulogizing Hillary Clinton's campaign:

...it's hard to find anyone who will dispute that if she had not voted to authorize the Iraq war, or if her delegate-hunting strategy had been as astute as her principal opponent's, or if that opponent had been a slightly more ordinary politician, or, perhaps, if her campaign messages had been more coherent and less negative, then she would have breezed to the nomination and made history all by herself.

Emphasis mine.

Maybe. Or maybe she didn't go negative early enough. For all of the media hand-wringing over her campaigns' attacks on Obama and her stupid pandering (both of which, I should say, I found shameful), she pretty thoroughly whipped him in most states that held primaries, which -- far more than the caucuses that Obama dominated -- favor the less politically engaged, who are the most likely to be persuaded by attacks and inconsistent messages. So maybe if she really wanted the nomination, she should have started smearing Obama from the get-go. Maybe she could have peeled away some of his support in Iowa, or really creamed him in New Hampshire, completely reversing his momentum instead of merely slowing him down until he could roll in South Carolina.

Regardless, the one mistake Clinton made that Hertzberg missed is that for almost a year, until January, Clinton campaigned like she was entitled to the nomination. She assumed she was going to steamroll, barely even campaigning in Iowa until it was too late. She was "inevitable," until she wasn't. She then adopted the "underdog" pose, fighting tooth and nail for every vote in the last half of the campaign. If she had scrapped like that for the first half, she might be the nominee.

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Illinois, only in Illinois

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Democrat Mike Madigan, Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, issued a memo today to Illinois Democratic legislature candidates urging them to call for the House to investigate whether impeachment proceedings should be brought against our governor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich. The memo (warning: large .pdf) includes a list of reasons why the Governor should be impeached as well as talking points and answers to potential media questions. Some of the reasons are better than others (good reason: in the recent Ali Ata trial, Blagojevich was publicly identified as "Public Official A," implicating him as accepting campaign contributions in return for jobs; bad reason: Blagojevich proposed a gross receipts tax last year. I don't like taxes, but do we impeach officials for stupid policy?), but on the whole I think an impeachment investigation is warranted.

Of course, being Illinois, there has to be an element of ham-handed stupidity. The memo counsels the candidates to deny Madigan's involvement and refuse to comment on the implications of impeachment for Lisa Madigan (current Illinois Attorney General and daughter of the memo's propagator) and her aspirations to the governor's office. Have these morons never heard of the internet? This stuff gets out no matter what. Republican House Minority Leader Tom Cross of course pounced, pointing out that in a memo calling for impeaching the Governor for, among other things, lying, Madigan recommends the candidates lie.

For more, see The Capitol Fax.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from June 2008.

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