NYT laments Clinton victory in Pennsylvania

The nation’s most hypocritical editorial page issues another gem, entitled “The Low Road to Victory”. It calls for an old-fashioned Fisking:

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

According to the New York Times, negative campaigning is the job of the New York Times. They’ll take care of the mean, vacuous hatchet jobs so the Democrats don’t have to.

Also, 10 points is inconclusive? Reagan defeated Carter by 10 points and won 44 states.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

Getting tired of it? Actually, we Pennsylvanians had to wait a long time for the candidates to pay attention to us. When we did, we didn’t like what we saw in Obama. And by the way, on what planet does negative campaigning not work?

If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.

The “political operatives” say that, do they? Those operatives wouldn’t happen to be the NYT editorial board, would they?

On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.

Islamic terrorism is the most dangerous threat facing our country today. For many people, such as me, it’s the only issue of consequence. But according to the NYT, it’s out-of-bounds even to mention it. We can’t even mention it in the context of crises from throughout the last century.

If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”

Anyone who recognizes the value of deterrence is not prepared to be President, I guess.

By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don’t like negative campaigning. She undercuts the rationale for her candidacy that led this page and others to support her: that she is more qualified, right now, to be president than Mr. Obama.

As Lisa Schiffren asks, what on earth has changed about Hillary Clinton since the NYT endorsed her? It used to be she used her super-powers for good (ie, against Republicans), but now she’s using them against a Democrat.

Mr. Obama is not blameless when it comes to the negative and vapid nature of this campaign. He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton’s bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about “bitter” voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative youth and inexperience.

When Clinton is negative, she’s bad. When Obama is negative, he’s rising to her bait. I get it.

No matter what the high-priced political operatives (from both camps) may think, it is not a disadvantage that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton share many of the same essential values and sensible policy prescriptions. It is their strength, and they are doing their best to make voters forget it. And if they think that only Democrats are paying attention to this spectacle, they’re wrong.

I have no idea what they’re trying to say here.

After seven years of George W. Bush’s failed with-us-or-against-us presidency, all American voters deserve to hear a nuanced debate — right now and through the general campaign — about how each candidate will combat terrorism, protect civil liberties, address the housing crisis and end the war in Iraq.

We should have a nuanced debate about fighting terrorism without mentioning it? How’s that going to work?

It is getting to be time for the superdelegates to do what the Democrats had in mind when they created superdelegates: settle a bloody race that cannot be won at the ballot box. Mrs. Clinton once had a big lead among the party elders, but has been steadily losing it, in large part because of her negative campaign. If she is ever to have a hope of persuading these most loyal of Democrats to come back to her side, let alone win over the larger body of voters, she has to call off the dogs.

This makes no sense. This race could have been won at the ballot box, if the Democrats operated under the same rules as the GOP and the United States. If not for the superdelegates, the race would be over. The purpose of the superdelegates was to give the party elites the chance to overturn the voters’ choice. Now the Democrats are reaping the dividend of their bizarre rules. Bravo.

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