The day wakes fresh with a little crescent moon in a corner of the sky.
I used to think Maureen Dowd was a little tough on Hillary but now I understand why. I am getting more and more comments on why people are for Barack. I think Maureen says it well here. Playing the victim and fear-mongering no longer work. The people have learned something under more than seven years of Bush.
A Wake-Up Call for Hillary
Channeling her inner Cheney, Hillary Clinton dropped a fear bomb, as Michelle Obama might call it, implying in a new ad that if her opponent is elected, your angelic, innocent, sleeping children could die in a terrorist attack.
Only she has the wise head to go nuclear, should that Strangelovian phone call from a power-mad Putin come into the White House at 3 a.m. Her ad shows how composed she would be at the dread moment when she picks up the phone. Her nuke look is feminine, in a tailored camel-colored jacket and gold necklace, yet serious, in Tina Fey black reading glasses.
It’s hard to discern the message of the ad. The scariest thing is not the persistently ringing phone but an Andrea Yates-looking mother who’s creeping up on the sleeping babes in the dark. The point can’t be that Hillary is superior to Obama in international crisis management, because she’s done no more of it than he has. She’s only done domestic crisis management, cleaning up after Frisky Bill.
Is the message that Hillary is Ready on Night One? That she won’t have to waste any time if she’s rousted out of bed in the wee hours, because she’s wearing a pantsuit under her pantsuit? (Or is it just, as Wesley Clark said during an appearance with her in Waco on Friday, that Hillary’s “been in the White House when the tough decisions were made. I guess you’ve been at the bedside when that phone rang at 3 a.m.”)
It’s rather Mommie Dearest for the first serious female contender to try to give the kiddies nightmares. How maternal is that? But since her nightmare is losing, she doesn’t mind scaring the pj’s off of little Jimmy and Johnny.
Obambi-No-More briskly dismissed Hillary’s attempt to cast him as a global ingénue. “Senator Clinton may not be aware, but we already had a red phone moment,” he said at an outdoor rally here, with the crowd of 8,000 booing at the mention of Hillary’s ad. “It was the decision to invade Iraq. Senator Clinton picked up the phone and gave the wrong answer. And John McCain picked up the phone and gave the wrong answer. And George Bush picked up the phone and gave the wrong answer.”
(In fact, there is no red phone in the Oval Office, but maybe Obama will redecorate. He wants to put in a hoops court.)
On “Nightline” last week, Hillary once more wallowed in gender inequities, asserting that it’s harder for her to run than her opponent — a black man with an exotic name that most Americans hadn’t even heard a year ago.
“Every so often I just wish that it were a little more of an even playing field,” she said, “but, you know, I play on whatever field is out there.”
Is that how she would deal with dictators, by playing the refs and going before the U.N. to demand: “How come you’re not asking Ahmadinejad these questions first?”
Tangled in her own victimhood, she snipped to Cynthia McFadden that Obama had written in his book that “he’s a blank screen and people of widely different views project what they want to believe onto him.” She said voters were projecting their hopes onto that blank screen even though “he just hasn’t been around long enough.”
In the next breath, asked about the women who feel sorry for her, she said: “I think a lot of women project their own feelings and their lives on to me, and they see how hard this is. It’s hard. It’s hard being a woman out there.”
So projection is bad with Obama but good with her?
On a conference call Friday with Hillary’s ever-more-hysterical male strategists, Slate’s John Dickerson asked exactly when she had been tested in a foreign policy crisis. After a silence long enough to knit a sweater in, as the Web site The Hotline put it, Mark Penn cited “her work on the Armed Services Committee.”
Hillary’s boys pout that the press should find some dirt on Obama before time runs out. Their once fearsome campaign is now reduced to whining that Obama did not hold any substantive hearings of his Subcommittee on European Affairs. What’s next? Bitterly complaining that he missed a quorum call?
Hillary keeps trying to dismiss Obama’s appeal as emotional, something that can be overcome with enough mental discipline. But behind that ethereal presence he’s a wonky lawyer, just like Hillary. He reads The Times and Philip Roth and talks about the fine points of Medicare Part B in a way W. never could have when he first ran for president. (Or now.)
Hillary’s visceral attacks will not work. And the Republicans’ visceral attacks on the Obamas’ patriotism, and their usual attempt to make the Democrat seem foreign (Hussein, Hussein, Hussein!), may not have the same traction.
The president took the country to war on his gut, exploited our fears and played the patriotism card to advance his political agenda.
This time, Americans may prefer cerebral arguments to visceral ones. What a refreshing change reality would be.