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Obama And Attack Politics

As people plead for Obama to "wake up" and hit McCain harder, here's something to keep in mind: After his period of semi-dormancy in the summer and fall of 2007 he never did lay into Hillary all that dramatically in the fall and early winter. He certainly did get tougher on her--in particular by hammering her vote for the Kyl-Lieberman Iran amendment. But as I remember it, it was actually John Edwards who played a crucial role in bringing down Hillary. Edwards was the one who truly started drilling into Clinton's ethics and honesty, and her connection to corrupt Washington-insider politics. (It also helped that Hillary had some coincidental bad luck just as this was happening--i.e. the bogus story about not leaving a tip and the somewhat less bogus story about the planted question.) That's when the tables really turned and Obama, who profited more from the new dynamic far more than Edwards, moved into an Iowa front-runner slot that he never fully relinquished. It was never the case, though, that Obama truly whaled on Hillary--something those people who want him to start swinging really hard should bear in mind. The man may simply have his limits. Which is why some 527 backup might be pretty useful for him right now.

--Michael Crowley