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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Caught in the Hillary Trap

I met Rush Limbaugh once, many years ago, as he started his syndicated radio program. I watched him address a gathering of less than 100 guests at the Santa Maria Hilton.I talked with him briefly at the radio station I worked for.

I don't presume to know much about him. He didn't say anything to me that was particularly memorable. My impression of him was simply that he was a smart broadcaster, a former DJ like me, who was establishing himself in the new format of talk radio. He was polite, soft spoken and even shy as he began his venture.

I've never met Hillary Clinton. But she is asking for my vote for President. On what basis should I respond to her request? Who is she?

That is the nature of the Hillary trap.

My impressions of Hillary Clinton have been formed over the years by what I've heard and read and seen. Much of that opinion was shaped by Rush Limbaugh and others. Knowing that, I still find myself finding common purpose with the staunch partisans who defined her - against my own political views and values. And what they say now is, Don't you see? This is who we told you she is. Negative, vindictive and driven by lust for power.

Perhaps her reflection in the media mirror has become so distorted that she herself isn't sure who she is. That's a troubling issue as she tries to reach Democrats.

This weekend, both boxers went to their corners and sat with their corner men to review the fight and decide on strategy in the next round.

I think it's obvious that her corner will advise her to keep swinging and take a shot below the belt when she can. She'll take her chances on the wobbly media referee and go for a split decision if she can.

Obama has a riskier strategy which he can't change now. He's got to score some knock out punches and show himself to be the "Gentleman Jim" fighter he can be. If he goes Mike Tyson on her, he'll bite her ear and stop the fight, but he'll lose the decision and prove he's just another pug.

As Democrats, we're all caught in the Hillary Trap.

Obama is asking, "How do you want your candidate to win?"
Hillary is asking, "How badly do you want me to win?"

Hillary looks like the class geek on the issues.
Obama looks like the Homecoming King.

But the reasons that David Gergen said he'd take the Clinton's in a knife fight may be the reason that it isn't obvious to me what Obama should do. Once again, Obama is going to have to show us that he knows who he is rather than be sucked into the Hillary Trap.

Check the New Republic Discussion.

UPDATE: 3.10.08

Just released today is Joe Gandelman's blog column:

Bill Clinton Went On Rush Limbaugh's Show
Day of Texas Primary

Listen to the audio clip

...Strange days indeed. Most peculiar mamma!

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