Friday, February 01, 2008

Obama goes negative with mailer

This recent mailer from the Obama campaign that attacks the Clinton healthcare plan, similar to the plan originally proposed by former Senator John Edwards, is not an example of playing by the rules of inspiration and the politics of hope. Fear-mongering is never about hope. Cheap attacks are hardly inspiring. See Huffington Post. According to Ben Smith at Politico, it was so bad that the Clinton campaign convened a conference call to denounce it. The Senator from Illinois didn't convince me in his talking points at last night's debate in Los Angeles that his plan was a better one than Edwards' or Clinton's. Scaring people was Plan B, I guess, since Plan A failed. The Denver Post announced an endorsement for Clinton today and said it was, in part, because of her capacity to deal with the health insurance crisis. According to the article at HuffPo, a former John Edwards adviser on health care named Peter Harbage was on the conference call about the mailer and he said that he believed the Obama campaign mailer drives the debate on the issue to "the lowest common denominator." Sounds about right. Will the Obama campaign denounce the obvious fear-mongering? If they don't, they'll likely have to answer for the route they've chosen to take.

- Steve Clemons on Universal Healthcare/Healthcare Coverage, Clinton v. Obama

February 3, 2008: Obama Hires 'Harry and Louise' to Attack Hillary's Plan for Health Care: Republicans Thrilled! by Irwin Redlener, M.D. (Huffington Post)
Senator Obama is a very smart guy, and I would like to think that he wouldn't mind a re-do on this issue. But, of course, that is a no-no in American presidential politics. So, Obama is left in the extraordinary position of now having to defend a position that most progressives would never embrace -- in essence leaving large numbers of people without health care. And to top it off, he's now attacking universal health care and making a reincarnated Harry and Louise to do the dirty work. I suspect that many Democrats will simply see this as a desperate "go Republican" strategy that could have the unintended consequence of setting back the cause of universal health care.