Hillary Clinton Crosses the Right-Wing Line

I tell you, I'm really starting to believe that Hillary is scum. I'm sorry to put it that way, but she is starting to turn me off in entirely different ways than her husband did. And the two of them together is a lethal combination of ambition and hubris. Joe Conason writes in Salon:

Having watched many nasty political campaigns, however, including some far worse than this one, I tend to discount the constant hysteria over "dirty tactics" that is now background noise in almost every election. But Hillary Clinton's campaign crossed a symbolic boundary this week when its operatives sent around clips from the notoriously Clinton-hating extreme-right press to denigrate Barack Obama and his advisors. It was slightly eerie to watch those items arrive in the mailbox along with photos of Sen. Clinton at an editorial meeting of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review -- where she was seated next to that newspaper's owner, a certain [right-wing billionaire] Richard Mellon Scaife. [...]

One of Clinton's best qualities is her fearlessness, and it is hard to imagine her shrinking from the challenge of a meeting with Scaife and his staff. She may well have felt that in the presence of the man who had more or less accused her of conniving in the death of Vince Foster, she clearly held the moral high ground. If so, however, her campaign plunged from that plateau by dispatching a pair of articles from the American Spectator and World Net Daily in an attack on Merrill "Tony" McPeak, the retired Air Force general and chief of staff who now serves as one of Obama's principal military advisors. Both stories sought to create the impression that McPeak is not only anti-Israel but anti-Semitic -- and thus taints Obama -- because of crude comments he made during a 2003 interview with the Portland Oregonian. The obstacle to a more balanced Mideast policy, he said, resides in "New York City and Miami." In those cities, he said, "we have a large vote -- vote, here in favor of Israel. And no politician wants to run against it." He went on to apportion a share of blame to the religious right as well.

What McPeak's remarks revealed is less an anti-Semitic mind-set than an ignorant reading of the Jewish community's attitudes toward Israel, the Palestinians and the peace process. [...]

Perhaps the Clinton campaign felt justified in slamming McPeak because of his own recent assault on Bill Clinton, whom he accused of "McCarthyism" over an innocent comment praising the patriotism of Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Indeed, McPeak was required to apologize for an ugly sexist statement about Sen. Clinton, and he sometimes sounds like a loose cannon who should be locked up in the policy shop. Whatever McPeak's offenses, however, the Clinton campaign went too far in responding. When it starts circulating material from the same ultra-right rags that have routinely accused the Clintons of felonies and treason, its behavior reeks of cynicism. Shall we all start reading World Net Daily for news and guidance?


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