Friday, January 25, 2008

The Lies and the People who Told Them.

Clinton's Campaign Sees Value in Keeping Former President in Attack Mode - Patrick Healy @ NYT
Black America Feels the Sting of Ex-President's Comments - Darryl Fears @ Washington Post
Lies and Democracy - hilzoy @ Obsidian Wings

Hilzoy makes a rather smart statement when she notes that most Americans simply are not the kind of political junkies who will track down every misleading statement a candidate makes. More to the point, they shouldn't have to resort to that. So the attacks that the Clinton campaign levees against Sen. Obama that are based on factually inaccurate statement, or as we like to call them in Texas, lies, shows how the Clintons are thumbing their noses at the electorate. The Clinton's believe their tactics are working, as the NYT articles shows. Former President Clinton will remain in attack mode on the campaign trail, essentially tag-teaming the Senator from Illinois and making me wonder who we would actually vote for in a national election--Bill or Hillary. Yet it seems that such tactics are taking a toll on the black base of support Sen. Clinton needs to send her over the top. The Washington Post article cited above relates various stories of blacks in South Carolina and in New York who are sickened over President Clinton's comments while black radio hosts are publicly denouncing the former president for turning his back on black voters.
Hilzoy's post, about how lies in a campaign run counter to the idea of citizenship and voting in a democracy, makes the excellent point that by spreading these lies, the Clintons do far more harm than good for the electorate, particularly when those who supported the Clintons uncover the truth of these statements released by the Clinton campaign. The reality is showing itself in South Carolina and across the nation through black radio hosts. And the media has taken to debunking these statements rather quickly and publicly while Sen. Obama has attempted to restrain himself in going on the attack himself.
I can understand the Clinton's frustration with the media on that point, but they have no one to blame but themselves. You cannot state a lie in today's 24/7 media and blogosphere without seeing those lies immediately exposed. And once the media smells blood in the water, they come swimming by to check it out. It's only their nature and the nature of their editors. So by keeping the former president on an active campaign schedule, the Clinton campaign is telling the public that they do not care about the truth, but only about winning the primary. Perhaps, as some like Ezra Klein have said, this is a good thing for when Sen. Clinton goes up against the Republican nominee, but I believe it's disingenuous and dangerous, particularly if the nation truly wishes to move past the politics of Rove and Bush.

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