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How Low Will Hillary Go? Her Negative and Gotcha Campaign Is Beneath A Presidential Contender


Ronald Reagan used to say he believed in the 11th Commandment when he was running for president which was to never speak ill of your fellow Republicans.

It seems as if the Democrats and Senator Clinton in particular do not have any such 11th Commandment in this year's contest for the Democratic nomination for president.

The Democratic campaign has become one big "gotcha" and negative event. Being upset at your opponent is legitimate and disagreeing on issues is also okay but the fake attempts at outrage on Clinton's part about some of Obama's remarks and actions smack of total political opportunism.

Senator Obama's remarks about people in small towns being bitter and clinging to religion and guns to compensate for their anger actually made quite a bit of sense.

I went back to my small town in Indiana recently and the main factory which once employed 5000 people has closed down. Don't you think the former employees were angry and bitter at this turn of events?

When I was a teen-ager growing up in Indiana I had a rifle, a shotgun, and a BB gun. This was very normal as was the fact that the town of less than 12,000 people probably had more than 50 churches. People went hunting and went to church. And, they became angry or bitter if they lost their jobs--in this case at a car factory-due to conditions beyond their control--including bad management and globalization.

So, Obama's remarks--which may have been stated better--were--no pun intended--right on target.

What was odd was how indignant and upset Senator Clinton appeared to be by his remarks. Of course, she most likely was not that upset at all but saw an opportunity as her campaign struggles to find a reason to continue.

She pandered to people in small towns extolling their great virtues while basically sounding quite elitist in her own remarks.

And, then in the ABC News poorly constructed debate--which was the worst debate so far of this long year of debates--what were the ABC correspondents thinking? --Hillary and also Obama pandered to the gun owners in the upcoming primary states of Pennsylvania, Indiana and North Carolina.

You would have thought both of the candidates were going hunting the next day the way they were afraid to speak out forcefully on what they truly think which is a belief in strong gun control legislation.

Senator Clinton in the ABC News debate continually made snide remarks and nasty digs at Senator Obama. Teaching a course now on presidential campaigns from 1960 to the present, I was sadly reminded of how Richard Nixon used to criticize his opponents and then pull back and say he would never criticize his opponents after he had done just that.

The implication in all of her supposed outrages at Obama is that she is a better person who deserves the Democratic nomination for president. She continually says that voters know everything there is to know about her record meaning that we do not know everything there is to know about her opponent.

The former First Lady is getting good at throwing out doubts about Obama and letting them linger. She has gotten her anger and sadness at his actions and remarks down to a science.

However, the voters are not being taken in by her actions of despair over Obama and his choice of a church or choice of being on a committee with a former Weather Underground person who is now a professor in Chicago or his "elitist" remarks on small towns.

Clinton certainly has chutzpah but she is sounding so unreal in her comments of late. She is adding an unnecessary bit of phoniness to the campaign which should be focused on issues, issues and issues.

One wonders if we want a person as president who cannot remember what the conditions were on the ground when she landed in Bosnia. Most people would remember if they landed in a war zone with bullets flying or whether they got out of the plane and all was peaceful. Do we want someone in the Oval Office who is this forgetful?

Remember the furor caused when President Reagan couldn't remember the details of Iran-Contra? That was much more complicated than landing in an airplane in Bosnia and trying to recall what actually was happening outside.

And, it is upsetting for Senator Clinton to be looking backwards so often to her husband's administration. While her husband was trying to build a bridge to the 21st century it seems as if she is trying to build a bridge back to the 1990s.

What good does it do to look backwards? This won't help America solve its many domestic and foreign problems of today.

Her looking back takes away from her stature and makes it look once again as if she is only running because she has had a husband who was once president of the United States.

You cannot have it both ways--either run on your own record and accomplishments--or say publicly that this is a joint effort and tell all of us what role Bill Clinton would play in her administration.

Clinton is not running an uplifting campaign. Her anger at Obama appears totally fake. Her looking back to her husband's administration is meaningless for voters today.

And, finally if she feels Obama can beat McCain in the fall and Obama is ahead in delegates, the popular vote, and in the number of primaries and caucuses won, then what is her reason for staying in the race?