New York Times Whines About Clinton Advertising

Still Wears Short Pants, Believes in Santa

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I don't know why a New York Times editorial carries any more weight than the opinion of any pajama-wearing blogger, but we can all pretend, can't we? Still it's hard to take the editorial board seriously when it tries to take back its Hillary Clinton endorsement because she's been fighting dirty.

The most obvious question is, "Who the hell did you think you were endorsing in the first place?" The only big mystery of this election cycle is why the Clinton team waited so long to play hardball with Barack Obama. (Perhaps they thought they'd have the media on their side. But judging by the collective hissy fit held by the media after Charlie Gibson went rogue last week, the media picked its horse long ago.) And wailing about the handful of ads Clinton's run is defining dirty down.

At any rate, the Clintons have long been known for indulging in brass-knuckle politics. If the Times editorial board is going to claim with a straight face that it expected otherwise, perhaps it should hand over the space to someone who doesn't believe in Santa Claus. In fact, that bruising approach to politics is why some people are drawn to Hillary Clinton. They want someone who's not going to sit there and take lip from Republicans. To fall back on outdated slang: "She's a tough broad." And I'd bet that some of these recent attack ads reminded people of that. Especially those blue-collar Democrats who might be gun-clinging bitter religous nuts!

The editorial board of the Times should be ashamed of itself for it's naive finger-wagging about negative advertising. I expect that sort of scolding foolishness from casual political observers or academics, but journalists? Come. On.

"By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from Iraq, Mrs. Clinton does more than just turn off voters who don't like negative campaigning." Oh really? Firstly, I didn't exactly notice Barack Obama tackling the substance of issues in his ads: unless repeating the word "change," calling your opponent divisive and swearing you don't take money from lobbyists can be counted as substance. Hillary might have turned off "voters who don't like negative campaigning." But let me point out the obvious: Pennsylvania saw record turnout and Hillary Clinton won by 10 points. The Times even goes so far as to take issue with Hillary Clinton saying she'd "obliterate" Iran if it attacked Israel. God forbid she talk tough about enemies! And perhaps the Times should take a look at how the Jewish vote went in Pennsylvania last night.

The Times wants more "nuanced" debate. The Times wants to believe negative advertising doesn't work. Well, I want a ride on a unicorn. Negative advertising does work. It works well. And I'm not sure what alternate reality the Times is living in when they speak of "nuanced" debate. There have been just shy of five gajillion debates and, save for the ABC one, I've learned nothing from any of these candidates (on either side) that I couldn't have gotten from their websites.

And what to make of this line: "If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction [toward a more positive approach]. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race." Perhaps the Times really does believe that a 10-point win in Pennsylvania insignificant. Granted, it's probably too little too late, but it's certainly more significant than primary wins in red states that are never going to go Democratic in the general. Then again, maybe they wrote this based on early exit polls, which were so laughably wrong that TV talkers seemed a little surprised by the end-of-night tally.

Speaking of exit polls, I'm with Mickey Kaus on this one: "If the exit polls are this unreliable for press' result-predicting purposes, why aren't they also unreliable for all the scholarly purposes they are supposedly put to? Garbage is garbage, no?" Exactly. I had to scratch my head as I watched the CNN team admit the exit polls were wrong then base all their "analysis" on ... exit polls.