Hillary Clinton is getting praise in some political circles for not taking Mark Penn and others' advice to attack Obama as not having "American Values".
I disagree with this praise for 2 reasons:
1. The main reason I supported Hillary was that both supporters and opponents asserted she would "say or do anything" to win. This was always a positive comment in my book. It meant that she had set a goal to be POTUS, thought that the country would be better off with her, and was willing to sacrifice elite opinion and general political correctness to do what she thought was right.
As it turns out, Hillary wasn't willing to say or do anything to win. It was clear that once "the black community" warned she and Bill about their criticism of Obama, and the media would savage her every move, Hillary became gun-shy and not willing to do what it took.
Hillary was in a position where she needed to go "all-in" or fold. She had worked too long to just fold, but didn't have what it took to go "all-in" against the first serious African American candidate. Obama and his crew, were shameless in their playing the race card, even though I don't believe for one second Obama himself is a racist, racial in thinking, etc.
(His wife is a different story. I think Michelle Obama is a black radical who is posing as mainstream.)
2. I think a full-out assault on Obama's values would have worked and won the nomination for Hillary. It was all teed up AFTER Obama's South Carolina win. But she pulled back. Perhaps it was her friendship with and support from Charlie Rangel, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Sheila Jackson-Lee, and others; perhaps the Clintons really thought the media would do the work for them eventually; perhaps they concluded the nomination wouldn't be worth it if they had to devastate Obama-which might depress African Americans.
But the fact is, Hillary chose not to give Obama the "Dean" treatment.
When Howard Dean was on course to win the nomination in 2004. He was absolutely attacked, and savaged by mainstream democrats. Dean didn't have an African American base to protect him. No one feared that Dean's supporters would harm the party in the General Election and maybe for years to come.
The end result is we don't know the full impact of Obama's strange political past because no one has assaulted him head-on. Sure, there have been blogs and inuendo. But if the McCain people or their surrogates are serious about winning, they will take the Mark Penn strategy to heart.
Otherwise they will lose too.
I think McCain will lose no matter what.
But his only chance is to expose Obama's past with Wright and other left-wing extremists.
And also to say it is too risky to allow Obama to come to power in today's world.
On balance it is clear that Obama is better than McCain.
The symbolism of America electing a black man matters in so many ways.
Obama would be a message to the world that Bush was a mistake, while McCain would be an indication that Americans still support Bush; and so on.
But if Obama gets swift-boated it will be the weak-kneed democrats in the primary fault who scared off a real debate on his values.