>This morning, I came across an interesting article about Sen. Clinton. The article talked about her campaign style and the nature of her political tactics.
For as much as a willingness to “do what it takes” and “die hard” are marketable commodities in politics, they can also yield to less flattering qualities, plenty of which have been ascribed to her over the years. Just as supporters praise her “toughness” and “tenacity,” critics also describe her as “divisive,” “a dirty fighter” or “willing to do anything to win.”
The article goes into the history of Sen. Clinton’s “ruthlessness” and how she adapted to the country’s political culture in order to survive The Power Game. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich (a Sen. Obama backer) said: “She has learned how to be ruthless. I doubt that it came to her naturally, but she has learned.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Sen. Clinton had “endured one of the most savage beatings of anyone I’ve ever seen in my lifetime” from political enemies on the right side of the spectrum.
Okay, you get the picture. While I’m ambivalent towards Sen. Clinton, I’m not put off by her “ruthless” campaign style. It’s what our nation has been reduced to. Conservative have become masterminds at political mudslinging and, until recently, liberals have yet to catch on. It’s ironic to hear Sen. Obama supporters decry Sen. Clinton’s campaign tactics. This is not a school council election–it’s a presidential election. This is 21st century politics. Politicians will do anything to win. Just look at the recent efforts by state legislators to limit voter participation with requiring voters to show identification cards. Subservient political tactics are everywhere.
If Sen. Obama’s supporters think this is rough now, then wait until the general election when conservatives (who will probably reluctantly support Sen. John McCain or a conservative third-party candidate) pull out their tactics. If Sen. Obama wants to have a fighting chance, then he’s going to have to get dirty. The politics of hope won’t survive in the general election season. People will want to hear cold, hard facts; not idealistic, Kennedyesque speeches. That stuff is okay when you’re trying to rally your political base. But when you’re trying to win over skeptical voters, you’re going to have to convince them that you’re the better candidate. And you can’t do that with a Camelot style. The American public isn’t that naive anymore.