With defeats in the big states of Texas and Ohio, Barack Obama will up his attacks against Hillary Clinton. Will that destroy him?
Barack Obama has captivated the world by running a characteristically positive campagin anchored around hope and change. He almost seems to nice to run for public office. With his losses in Texas and Ohio however, the Obama campaign has shown signs of shifting to a more combative stance. But how will he get away with counterpunching without undermining everything he stands for? Or more important, could they just drop the character attacks and focus on issues? Those two questions are what everyone’s talking about — Jack Cafferty, CNN, TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, I could go on.
The CNN article up top raises some very interesting points on how Obama can go on the offense without derailing his machine. Allow me to reiterate the three major points raised by Roland S. Martin,
Obama must hit Clinton hard on being a “Big D” Democrat who doesn’t really care about the “Little D” Democrats. Remember how she essentially brushed aside Obama’s wins in Utah, Idaho, Montana, Washington state and other places as nothing but red states they have no way of capturing in the fall? By changing the discourse by suggesting she will only care about Democrats in large states, Obama will be able to speak to the hearts and minds of those small states, and more importantly, rally those superdelegates who felt put off by Clinton’s dismissive comments.
Second, jump right in her face on the foreign policy front. She claims she was integrally involved in the release of Kosovo refugees and the Irish peace talks. Fine. So demand to know why if she was so involved in foreign policy, the Clinton administration failed in Rwanda and had a horrible plan on Somalia? There were clear international failures during the eight years of President Bill Clinton, and she needs to be forced to say what she did and didn’t do. Obama has used the cherry picking argument, but has been weak in selling it. Nail it to try to nail her.
Finally, Professor Obama has to return. One of the reasons he did so well in the Los Angeles, California, debate is that he chose to go head-to-head with her on policy. Everyone said that’s her strength, but he held his own. He needs to make a more convincing argument when it comes to the economy. The economic plans they have are not overwhelmingly different. What he has to do is come out of the podium and make it plain. Speak to voters in Mississippi about the tragedy of the Gulf Coast; tell voters there and in Wyoming why he will help their kids go to college; present his urban and rural economic renewal programs to the voters in Pennsylvania. Don’t concede any ground to her on these points.
American electoral politics is fun to watch. I have tracked Obama for over a year now and I have seen how he has grown as a candidate. He is one of my role models; an idealist thrust into the harsh pessimistic world of politics he wishes to change. I admit, I am starting to see the chinks in his armor but then I hope he takes this as his chance to show the real person underneath. This race will drag on to the convention in June. Until then we will see whether his hope is indeed audacious.