Monday, February 04, 2008

The Clintons' Patronizing Strategy

More comments from James:
This from Jonathan Alter takes apart the Clinton attack machine's distortion of Obama's comments regarding Reagan.  And most importantly, it makes the argument that the lies might not work, even in the primary.  Earlier tonight I wrote about how this would backfire in the general election by pissing off voters Clinton needs if she wins.  But I am worried that it will work in the primary.  Alter makes a strong argument that the bogus attacks shouldn't work, and won't.  He says voters are too smart to fall for it.  I am not as confident, but I sure hope he is right.
Key excerpts:

The Republican story goes back to an interview Obama did with a Nevada newspaper in which he praised the way Ronald Reagan communicated with the public and changed "the trajectory of American politics." He added that, unfortunately, the Republicans had some fresher ideas than the Democrats in recent decades.

These are completely ordinary comments. In fact, as Obama pointed out in the Myrtle Beach debate, Hillary is considerably more effusive about Reagan in Tom Brokaw's new book, "Boom." Bill has also made many statements over the years that were much more complimentary toward Reagan. Nobody paying attention thinks either Obama or the Clintons likes Reagan's right-wing politics.

But instead of moving on to another line of attack with more grounding in what Bill Clinton called "indisputable facts," the Clinton campaign decided to bet that this Reagan horse could be flogged for more votes among less educated voters in South Carolina who might be inclined to believe Hillary's preposterous version.


The Clintons' Patronizing Strategy

The latest attacks on Obama insult voters' intelligence.

By Jonathan Alter
Newsweek Web Exclusive
Updated: 11:29 AM ET Jan 24, 2008

The last major presidential candidate from Illinois, Adlai Stevenson, was approached by a voter in the 1950s. "Governor, you have the vote of every thinking American," she said. "That's nice," Stevenson replied. "But I need a majority."


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