The Spectacle Blog

Geraghty Calls My Bluff

By on 10.17.07 | 4:54PM

Over at NRO's The Campaign Spot, the perspicacious Jim Geraghty challenges my column today to the effect that I said Hillary Clinton's Democratic opponents might benefit from making an issue of her massive record of corruption.

He writes: "... on every scandal, most grassroots Democrats came to her defense, and insisted she was the blameless victim of a partisan witch hunt. When health care reform went down in flames, they had to overlook her faults. Chinese fundraising? Renting out the Lincoln Bedroom? Time and again, they looked at emerging facts - or perhaps the proper metaphor is closed their eyes - and declared, 'it is not her fault, she has done nothing wrong.'"

He then says that it would hurt, not harm, the other candidates' political chances to attack Hillary because "Democrats aren't just supportive of Hillary Clinton's rise to the presidency: they're emotionally and intellectually invested in it."

Read his whole post. It's a good one. I actually think that every point he makes about the Dem voter psychology is right on target. If Obama, for instance, goes after Hillary, the odds are that he would be digging his own grave.

But -- and here is the "aha" moment -- he's getting crushed by the Clinton juggernaut anyway. The only chance he or anybody else has of beating her is to roll the dice. In this case, the winning dice roll would cause the big media to not just repeat but make a cause (again) of the Clintonite corruption, so much so that even though most Democratic voters would want, psychologically, to rally to her side, they would be brought up short by the impression that Hillary would be so much of pinata that they risk losing the White House yet again. Changing metaphors, making the ploy work would be the equivalent of a quadruple bank shot in pool, along with a sidespin bump at just the right time.

But if you are Joe Biden, for instance, what is there to lose? Especially since the charges he could make against her have the virtue of being true.

So I agree with everything Jim wrote. But if I were advising one of Hillary's opponents, I'd tell them to start attacking her anyway. Then again, that might just be me looking for a good public spectacle to watch.

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