Keeping Your Enemies Closer

May 8, 2008 at 2:21 am (Uncategorized)

Interesting that Clinton struggled for her latest victory but Obama coasted to his… it doesn’t decide anything, but it’s sure keeping our household guessing. My gut feeling is that Obama is still going to take out the race, but Clinton is such a terrier and clearly so hungry for the ticket that I have to concede she’s probably still capable of anything at this point, like a zombie who just won’t die.

I’ve been finding myself curling my lip a little reading about their stoushes because I find it all a little unseemly and counter-intuitive. Surely, I think to myself, this just makes the Democrats look grubby? Doesn’t an all-in slanging match between the two candidates for the nomination just tarnish the image of the whole party, whilst the Republicans are looking dignified and unified by having avoided this protracted contest? This is probably quite conventional thinking, I’m sorry to say, so I’m happy to be able to share with you Llew’s rather more nuanced opinion.

During a conversation about the mud-slinging between Obama and Clinton, I said something similar to what I’ve just said above. And Llew said well, yes, that’s certainly in line with some of the commentary he’s been reading, but what about this: they’re both battle hardened now, whilst McCain is all soft and complacent and won’t know what hit him (actually, given his active service record, I think he’s a fair shot for anticipating a good fight). Also, all the dirty laundry falling off Obama and Clinton is already in the public domain. Everyone’s seen them trading spitballs. Thus far, the two Democrats have aimed whatever ammo they can find at each other; they haven’t even started looking at McCain. They’ve barely acknowledged his existence. They certainly haven’t started digging for the dirt on their Republican opponent. Well, maybe their back room minions are so engaged as we speak, preparing a dossier of near-libelous slime to hurl at him once the actual Presidential race begins… but right now, they’re focused firmly on knocking the other out of the race for the nomination. First things first.

I can see Llew’s point. In some ways it’s strategically brilliant. They’re looking pretty dusted up right now, Hils and the Big B, but there won’t be any – or many – nasty surprises either of them will have to face down the track when one of them is facing off against McCain. They’ll have been there, done that. Ho hum. And yet he’ll be a fresh, unblemished target, no doubt with his fair share of embarrassments and indiscretions just like any other would-be incumbent. Suddenly, getting all that muckraking out of the way early seems like a very canny move. Whoever takes out the Democratic nomination in the end, he or she shall be going up against McCain already extremely well-oiled and well-armoured. And that could be interesting. That could be very interesting indeed.

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