The Clintonian ‘Divide-and-Conquer' Strategy

Both David Brooks and Maureen Dowd are skewering Hillary "I ducked, really I did" Clinton in New York Times columns today. Dowd even accuses her to trying to muck it up for Obama, so that she can run against McCain in four years. What's sad is that it seem plausible for the Clinton's style of trailer-park politics. Dowd writes:

Even some Clinton loyalists are wondering aloud if the win-at-all-costs strategy of Hillary and Bill — which continued Tuesday when Hillary tried to drag Rev. Wright back into the spotlight — is designed to rough up Obama so badly and leave the party so riven that Obama will lose in November to John McCain.

If McCain only served one term, Hillary would have one last shot. On Election Day in 2012, she'd be 65.

Why else would Hillary suggest that McCain would be a better commander in chief than Obama, and why else would Bill imply that Obama was less patriotic — and attended by more static — than McCain?

Why else would Phil Singer, a Hillary spokesman, say in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday that Obama was trying to disenfranchise the voters of Florida and Michigan. "When it comes to voting, Senator Obama has turned the audacity of hope into the audacity of nope," he said, adding, "There's a basic reality here, which is we could have avoided the entire George W. Bush presidency if we had counted votes in Florida." So is Singer making the case that Obama is as anti-democratic as W. was when he snatched Florida from Al Gore?

Some top Democrats are increasingly worried that the Clintons' divide-and-conquer strategy is nihilistic: Hillary or no democrat.

(Or, as one Democrat described it to ABC's Jake Tapper: Hillary is going for "the Tonya Harding option" — if she can't get the gold, kneecap her rival.)

And Brooks writes on the effect of Hillary's plan to divide the party if they won't back her and the philanderer:

Last week, an important Clinton adviser told Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen (also of Politico) that Clinton had no more than a 10 percent chance of getting the nomination. Now, she's probably down to a 5 percent chance.

Five percent.

Let's take a look at what she's going to put her party through for the sake of that 5 percent chance: The Democratic Party is probably going to have to endure another three months of daily sniping. For another three months, we'll have the Carvilles likening the Obamaites to Judas and former generals accusing Clintonites of McCarthyism. For three months, we'll have the daily round of résumé padding and sulfurous conference calls. We'll have campaign aides blurting "blue dress" and only-because-he's-black references as they let slip their private contempt.

For three more months (maybe more!) the campaign will proceed along in its Verdun-like pattern. There will be a steady rifle fire of character assassination from the underlings, interrupted by the occasional firestorm of artillery when the contest touches upon race, gender or patriotism. The policy debates between the two have been long exhausted, so the only way to get the public really engaged is by poking some raw national wound.

Previous Comments


Hillary and her henchmen's vindictiveness is turning me off. I said I would vote for her if she got the nomination, but now, I may go third party if there's a viable candidate.

golden eagle

This is one of the reasons why I'm an independent - mess like this. I hate to say it, but maybe four more years of Bush's policies will knock some sense into people's heads. Maybe we haven't suffered enough for people to unite.


Only three months ago, I argued with a friend who has long been very anti-Clinton. He stated he would not vote for Clinton if she got the nomination. I argued that we should. After their behavior since then, I will not ever vote for her either. He won't get any more arguments from me. I'd rather vote for Ralph Nader. She talks about who her pastor would not be, but why don't the media now examine what her religious practice is since she is making it a campaign issue?



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