Expect overwhelming response to critic of Hillary
IN THE few weeks since Hillary Clinton announced she was running for president, a striking element of her campaign strategy has emerged: criticise her and her team will turn the big guns on you.No one does the politics of personal destruction better than the Clintons while all the while claiming to be a victim of it. They kept there fist so far up Newt Gingrich's mouth that it was hard for him to mumble without being savaged. Then they had a sympathetics media to help them out. That may not be enough this time. Most of the fire has been coming from the left so far which may complicate her fight, but don't expect the left to continue to press after she is nominated. They will turn on a dime and start trying to shove their fists down the mouth of the Republican opponent.
Dick Morris, a fierce opponent of Clinton who was her husband’s closest political guru for years, has described criticism of the couple as the “new mortal sin” in American politics.
“Nobody’s allowed to do it,” he observed last week. “Certainly none of their opponents. If they dare to, Hillary sends in one of her boys, who practically accuses them of being unAmerican.”
Chris Matthews, a television talk show host and former presidential speechwriter popular with Democrats, said: “Is this the strategy? You cannot dare criticise us?”
Robert Shrum, the top adviser to Al Gore in the 2000 presidential campaign and John Kerry in 2004, warned Team Clinton that “attack, attack, attack doesn’t always work, as the people in the Charge of the Light Brigade found out”.
Clinton’s spokesman had unleashed a ferocious assault on her main rival, Barack Obama, for failing to disown some stinging remarks by David Geffen, a film mogul who raised $1.3m (£650,000) for him in Hollywood last week.
It was not the first time Clinton’s campaigners had retaliated in such a way. John Edwards, another rival for the Democratic nomination, was savaged by her advisers when he suggested last month that senators and congressmen should refuse to fund the surge of new troops in Iraq. “Silence is betrayal,” he claimed.
Edwards did not name names, but Team Clinton took his remarks personally. Howard Wolfson, who led the attack on Obama last week, railed against Edwards for failing to live up to his “bragging” in 2004 about running a positive campaign.
Fighting dirty while accusing your opponents of diving in the mud has been a hallmark of the Clintons for years, according to Shrum. It happened to Robert Dole, the Republican nominee in 1996, he recalled. “He was constantly accused by the Clinton campaign of being negative while it was relentlessly running a barrage of negative ads.”