Always with the Clintons | Arkansas Blog

Friday, September 26, 2008

Always with the Clintons

Posted By on Fri, Sep 26, 2008 at 6:46 AM

National media remain obsessed with Clintons. Today, the NY Times picks up a refrain of Obama's most ardent supporters that Bill Clinton hasn't been sufficiently enthusiastic about Obama's candidacy.

The article is misleading in spots. Clinton, in fact, spoke Obama's name a number of times and made his endorsement of  Obama clear on the Letterman appearance that set off Chris Rock. He has presented this week, in response to questions on Letterman, the Daily Show and Larry King, dispassionate analyses of the race. Obama partisans want enthusiastic Democratic cheerleading.

In every case, however, Clinton made clear his preference for Obama's candidacy and his policy differences with McCain and Palin. This is deeply rankling nonetheless to the most committed of Obama supporters. I tend to think it makes him more believable among critical swing voters.

Many of the voters in the middle simply like McCain and think highly of his integrity. I think they're wrong. But simply tearing McCain or Palin down and noisily cheering Obama -- particularly after the rough primary season -- would look like unprincipled party hackdom on Clinton's part. It also wouldn't move undecideds.

What the continuing Clinton obsession does is play right into the Republicans' hands. They were the ones who wanted to make this election about the Clintons from the beginning. Democrats hurt themselves by continuing the obsession. Obama is the candidate. He must win on his merits, not on the excitability quotient demonstrated by Bill or Hillary Clinton.

It's a touch contradictory that the Democrats who slashed Clinton in the primary as a voice of the past -- and representative of an administration that wasn't that hot anyway -- now seem to believe that the level of this reviled character's commitment to the cause could be pivotal. I think they overstate his importance. And by doing so, cloud the real issues.

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