The Plank

Poisoning The Well

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Lest anyone imagine that Hillary Clinton's praise for John McCain at the expense of Barack Obama was a one-time mistake, Jim Fallows points out:

In a live CNN interview just now, Sen. Clinton repeated, twice,
the "Sen. McCain has a lifetime of experience, I have a lifetime of
experience, Sen. Obama has one speech in 2002" line. By what logic,
exactly, does a member of the Democratic party include the "Sen. McCain
has a lifetime of experience" part of that sentence? ...

I have reached the point of wanting to scream every time I hear
about the primacy of "experience," knowing how skillfully the 46-year
old Bill Clinton waved that argument away when it was used against him
16 years ago by a sitting President who simply dwarfed him in
high-level experience.* But to pose it in a form that is poison for the
party should Obama be the nominee??? To produce a clip that the McCain
campaign could run unedited every single day of a campaign against
Obama? That is something special.... If Bill Clinton poisoned the well for other possible
Democratic nominees in quite the same way back in 1992, I can't think
of it now.

The conclusion of Spinney's (and Gerson's) analysis was that Obama
had put Hillary Clinton into a position where in order to win, she had
to damage not just him but the party. That is why, as everyone is
saying, the big victor today is John McCain, and not just in the
obvious way.

--Christopher Orr

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