Okay, This Is Slinging Mud

I swear, I had no intention of writing this much on the Obama/Clinton rivalry when I woke up this morning.  Still, it’s hard to pass up a headline that reads, “Clinton N.H. Official Warns Obama Will Be Attacked on Drug Use.”

The headline speaks of a Billy Shaheen, Hillary Clinton’s co-chair in New Hampshire, and how he uses Barack Obama’s prior drug use as part of the shiny new in-electable argument the campaign has carted out.

Like Andrew Sullivan, I can’t help but think this is a huge mistake, and most likely indicative of how worried the Clinton camp is about Obama’s momentum.

Now, Barack’s prior drug use has never been officially out of bounds, but for any politically astute person, it should be.  The reason for this is quite simple, unlike the past two presidents, Obama has been laudably open about his drug use, first writing about it in his first book, and remaining honest about it whilst on the campaign trail.

I think most voters will be receptive to the surprising candor with which Obama has treated his transgressions in the past.  It humanizes him in acknowledging that he is capable of mistakes, while at the same time shows outstanding moral character in not running from those mistakes.

Thus, this does not have the same effect of a surprise drug charge being brought up by anonymous sources.  There you might have something, the shock alone good for a good drop in the polls.  But by being so open, Obama has largely innoculated himself against attacks on his prior drug use.

Sure, there are some folks that won’t vote for him because of it, but I think these are represented most by the hardcore social conservative values voters who probably weren’t going to vote for Obama anyway.

As a result, the raw electability argument goes out the window.

For Mrs. Clinton, Shaheen’s statements puts her in a rather prickly little corner.  In the worst case scenario for her, not only does this attack have the potential of validating and intensifying what voters already feel in that she is running the most negative campaign, but it also ties her irrevocably to her own husband’s dubious non mea culpa about his prior drug use.  As an added bonus, she gets to be the person who will be portrayed as attacking someone for their honesty, not exactly something one would wish for considering that many Democrats are skeptical about her own honesty.

In this situation, Mrs. Clinton has only one of two options.  Backing Shaheen’s statement I think would be political suicide.  So she can either denounce the comments, or remain silent.

Considering that Clinton is hurling everything including the kitchen sink at the number one contender, I think it more likely that she will remain silent, hoping that the charges cause a negative reverberation within the electorate.

But I think, if she has any integrity whatsoever, she should denounce the comments on grounds of decency.  Otherwise, she runs the risk of actually throwing the mud she falsely accused her opponents of throwing only a couple of weeks ago.

One Response to “Okay, This Is Slinging Mud”

  1. mike says:

    Clinton is losing momentum, and Obama is gaining. The nomintations for President at http://www.citizendriven.com are Ron Paul and Barack Obama. Who knows…

    “Drink Iron City”

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