scholars and rogues

Having it both ways

by Josh Nelson

Several times in the past few weeks, Senator Clinton has indicated that John McCain is more prepared to be Commander-in-Chief than Barack Obama is. Unfortunately, it appears as if Senator Clinton would be willing to sacrifice the good of the party (and country, IMO), in order to further her own ambitions.

March 6th:

CLINTON: Look, I have said that Senator McCain will bring a lifetime of experience to the campaign. I will bring a lifetime of experience. And Senator Obama will bring a speech that he gave in 2002.I think that is a significant difference. I think that since we now know Senator McCain will be the nominee for the Republican Party, national security will be front and center in this election. We all know that.

And I think it‘s imperative that each of us be able to demonstrate we can cross the commander in chief threshold. And I believe that I’ve done that. Certainly, Senator McCain has done that and you‘ll have to ask Senator Obama with respect to his candidacy.

Richard Wolffe questions the strategy behind this.

And I think the comparisons with attitudes toward McCain are really quite striking. You have to ask yourself what she finds so threatening about Barack Obama that John McCain is more palatable as commander in chief. And finally, if she wants to compare herself to John McCain and their experience, she‘s opening herself up to a huge amount of criticism.

Republicans seem to agree:

Matthew Dowd, a former senior adviser to President George W. Bush and an ABC News consultant, thinks Clinton’s rhetoric could end up helping the Republicans. “If you look at this race, everything that Hillary Clinton has been saying over the last couple weeks are all great sound bites and cuts for John McCain to use in the fall,” he said yesterday.

Keith Olbermann sums it up well.

When Senator Clinton today says what she said about Senator McCain, what she said about him Saturday in Austin, what she said about him Monday in Toledo, what realistically separates her from Senator Lieberman of Connecticut? And at what point might it risk crossing the line into, for all intents and purposes, an endorsement of McCain?

And who can forget Hillary’s 3 A.M. rallying cry in Texas and Ohio? The intention is clear: convince voters that Barack Obama is not prepared to be Commander-in-Chief. After winning in Ohio and Texas by working the refs and playing the victim and fear cards, the Clinton campaign has created the illusion of a close race.

Now, they’ve begun to mention the possibility of an Obama-Clinton ticket every time they get a chance, but only if Hillary is on top. Daschle told Meet the Press today exactly what he thinks about that idea.

“It may be the first time in history that the person who is running number two would offer the person running number one the number two position.”

More importantly, John Kerry, who is on a roll lately, pointed out the more important problem with the Clinton campaign’s new idea.

“The first threshold question about a vice president is, are you prepared to be president?” Kerry told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.”So on the one end, they are saying he’s not prepared to be president. On the other hand, they’re saying maybe he ought to be vice president,” Kerry said.

So the pattern of trying to have it both ways continues. Whether it is driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, full disclosure of tax returns, Obama’s readiness to be President, cherry-picking Bill’s record in the White House or comparing Obama to a monster and crying foul when they swing back, there is an established pattern of hypocrisy in the Clinton campaign.

Cross posted at The Seminal.

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