To unite the Democrats | Arkansas Blog

To unite the Democrats



Paul Krugman offers some ideas: (The "trumped-up scandal" is the uproar over her RFK reference.)

So what should Mr. Obama and his supporters do?

Most immediately, they should realize that the continuing demonization of Mrs. Clinton serves nobody except Mr. McCain. One more trumped-up scandal won’t persuade the millions of voters who stuck with Mrs. Clinton despite incessant attacks on her character that she really was evil all along. But it might incline a few more of them to stay home in November.

Nor should Obama supporters dismiss Mrs. Clinton’s strength as a purely Appalachian phenomenon, with the implication that Clinton voters are just a bunch of hicks.

So what comes next?

Mrs. Clinton needs to do her part: she needs to be careful not to act as a spoiler during what’s left of the primary, she needs to bow out gracefully if, as seems almost certain, Mr. Obama receives the nod, and she needs to campaign strongly for the nominee once the convention is over. She has said she’ll do that, and there’s no reason to believe that she doesn’t mean it.

But mainly it’s up to Mr. Obama to deliver the unity he has always promised — starting with his own party.

By the way, lest you doubt that the Obama campaign helped blow up this fake "gaffe" -- just as it got away with playing the race card by claiming the Clintons were playing it -- check a couple of sources routinely unfriendly to Clinton: the NY Times account and that from Talking Points Memo, which is thoroughly committed to Obama.

Over the weekend, the Obama campaign circulated a transcript of Keith Olbermann's steroidally outraged special comment from Friday, in which he blasted Hillary as "heartless" and claimed that the RFK remarks signaled that Hillary's motives are "not merely troubling, but frightening."

But both Obama himself and Axelrod have said that they don't believe that she meant the worst by her comments; Obama suggested they had been merely "careless."

Asked by ABC's George Stephanopoulos whether the campaign was trying to keep the controversy bubbling by pushing Olbermann's Hillary-As-Lady-Macbeth interpretation, Axelrod answered:

"As far as we're concerned, this issue is done. It was an unfortunate statement, as we said, as she's acknowledged. She has apologized. The apology, you know, is accepted. Let's move forward."

Generally, when a campaign circulates an opinion piece in this fashion, it's a quasi-endorsement of the positions contained therein. On the other hand, it's pretty standard political practice for campaigns in such situations to take a public high-road position while simultaneously encouraging reporters sotto voce to believe the worst of their opponent.


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