I think Samantha Power made a really dumb mistake, and I think she had to resign. I'm sad about this, but more for the potential effect on his campaign than on the idea of losing her. If he does win the presidency, she will obviously have a role in, if not his cabinet, then his foreign policy approach in general. That's mostly what I care about.
The Clintons have obviously finally gotten under Obama's skin. I do think he needs to regroup fast, and I think he needs to come out swinging. I still don't think he needs to go negative in a nasty sense, but he needs to point out some really big issues. The McCain thing is a biggie. His campaign surrogates need to hit that point HARD in every news outlet -- that Clinton is willing to throw a partymate under the bus for the general election. You're allowed to go after each other in a primary to a certain extent, but you're not supposed to basically flat-out say "The Republican would be better than my opponent" -- that's crummy, and if the superdelegates REWARD her for behavior that is so obviously destructive to the party, well...then the party is irreparably broken. I thought both Jonathan Chait
and Andrew Sullivan
(who I don't love, but has grown more progressive over time) made good points about that.
I'm glad, however, that in the wake of her McCain comment, people starting to call her to task for her claim to be so much more experienced in foreign policy -- i.e that she's a "wee bit silly" to take credit for peace in Ireland, and that her claims to have helped open the borders in Macedonia are ridiculous because they opened the borders the day before she got there. (She also went on her trip to trip to Bosnia where she was supposedly almost shot out of the sky with Sheryl Crow and Sinbad -- not really a high-powered diplomatic coalition.) He needs to bring this up. A lot. If she's making this about her experience, he has to point out that, although she has a very unique, particular kind of experience, it is NOT actually the sort of foreign policy experience that matches up to McCain, if that's the bar that she's setting. At the same time, he should reframe things and point out that a whole lot of foreign policy experience doesn't make a lick of difference if you're still making the wrong judgment calls. i.e. did her trip to Bosnia teach her that it's a good idea to authorize wars without reading national intelligence estimates? He's currently making all these points, but he needs to be LOUDER. And he shouldn't throw mud unless he really has to, but I think it's reasonable to say that calling for her to release her tax forms isn't a Ken Starr tactic, but her insistence on bringing up Rezko constantly might just qualify.
Just some thoughts...Mostly, her campaign tactics have just reinforced the view that I held before this all started -- that Clinton politics is machine politics, is GROSS politics, and if we have the opportunity to move away from that, we should grab it with both hands. Also, Terry McAuliffe
and Mark Penn are wretched, insincere hacks who I really don't want to see on my TV screen ever again if at all possible. (Can't make a judgment on Wolfson, because I don't think I've actually seen him speak in person, but the other two actually ooze political slime from their pores and it makes me shiver to watch them.)