The morning after

By EDITORIAL  |  March 5, 2008

More troubling than these garden-variety ploys is Clinton’s sleeping-children-ringing-red-telephone commercial, which was apparently so successful in Texas. The unavoidable message of this ad is that she is ready to be commander in chief and Obama is not. If the single most important vote of her Senate career is any indication, she was without a doubt tough on Iraq. And look where the nation is now. That commercial takes a page from the McCain strategy book. It hurts Obama, but it also helps McCain. It is naked self-interest. It is based on a concept of the imperial presidency that has compromised America’s standing throughout the world. The surface of Clinton’s attack does raise an uncomfortable and legitimate question about Obama. He would be wise to answer it forcefully if he is to put it to rest.

If the chattering of the conservative media mouths is any indication, Republicans would rather face Clinton in November than Obama. And with good reason. Polls, for all their limitations, show that McCain has a far better chance of beating Clinton.

The greatest peril Democrats face at the moment is that Clinton, in trying to beat Obama, will play into Republican hands.

Even when Republican misdeeds are factored out of the past two national elections, we are left with a nation in which a very narrow margin separates the politics of light from the politics of darkness. This is also true of the margins within the Democratic Party. The next 90 days will determine which side will prevail. Sometimes style is substance.

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