The Spectacle Blog

Re: Penn’s Hindsight

By on 6.13.08 | 3:02PM

Sorry so late in responding, Phil. You write:

What happened is that Hillary reverted to a 1992 war room mentality, not realizing that the environment was drastically different. As a result, her attacks just reinforced why people wanted change, why they desired the new kind of poltics Obama was promising.

A couple of points here. "Reverted"? I don't think Hillary ever abandoned the "war room mentality" against Republicans, it's just that she never expected a primary challenge strong enough to require using it against her Democratic rivals.

I think you misinterpret the extent to which "people wanted change" in terms of political tactics. Democrats certainly don't "want change" in the sense that they want unilateral disarmament in attack politics. In fact, what Democratic primary voters were looking for was the candidate who could most effectively attack Republicans. Democrats may have turned against Hillary in part because of her use of negative tactics against Obama, but I think it was more because the Oct. 30 debate exposed her vulnerability to the kind of attacks she'd face in the general election campaign.

After two close and bitter defeats at the hands of Team Bush, the foremost sense in which Democratic primary voters "wanted change" was in their desire for a presidential candidate who can win in November. They think Obama's it. I remain skeptical.

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