May 08, 2008

Ms. Rubin, Writing in Commentary

(Dear Jennifer—whom I forgive for having nicer clothes than I do, and darker, curlier hair.)

Barack Obama accused John McCain of “smearing him” by claiming that Hamas wants Obama to be President. But this isn’t a smear, it is fact. A spokesman for Hamas, you will recall, did endorse Obama. [. . . ]

Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition had this comment:

It’s understandable that Obama would like to make this go away. However, the reality is, Hamas is comfortable with Obama and they endorsed him. It’s the truth, not a ‘smear.’

As for the McCain camp, this will be an early test of their willingness to go toe-to-toe with Obama. Will they let this Obama remark pass? Or set the record straight and make clear Obama is, as he did in the “100 year” fight, fudging the facts? And we can expect more of this. Every bad fact for Obama or questionable association is a “smear” and every attempt by the McCain camp to set the record straight is “gutter politics.” It is up to McCain’s team to decide whether they will play along or call foul.

I subscribe to the theory that Obama has already made himself look bad by going after McCain. The better retort was, "ah, those crazy Hamas people; they have no idea what is and isn't in their best interests."

Or, as Michael Totten put it (Glenn quotes him here):

Obama could easily make this go away: “Hamas will be VERY sorry if I am America’s president. They need to be careful what they wish for.” He doesn’t have to say anything else, but I doubt it occurs to anyone on his staff to go after Hamas instead of McCain. To me, that’s the obvious fix. What could McCain possibly say after that?

Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately), Obama is not that sophisticated. This could still end up being an advantage—after all, people may perceive him as "refreshingly naive" about the dirty, dirty business of politics.

But if he goes on the offensive every time someone brings up any little unhandy datum, he's going to look really bad by the time the general rolls around.

Posted by Attila Girl at May 8, 2008 09:50 PM | TrackBack
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