Good advice for Hillary—but can she take it?

William Kristol is not exactly a favored pundit around here, but he gave some excellent advice to Hillary Clinton yesterday on how to stop Obama, as reported at the Corner:

From Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace:

—On Hillary’s Tactics—

BILL KRISTOL: Look, she needs to take Obama down, but the way to take him down is not to have a debate on his tactics. That’s the huge mistake here. “Shame on you, you’re running a campaign inconsistent with your message, you’re a little misleading in some leaflet you’re distributing, some flyer on health care”—that’s ludicrous at this point.

He’s riding a wave of euphoria. She needs to puncture it. The way you puncture euphoria is reality or, to be a little more blunt, fear. And I recommend to Senator Clinton the politics of fear … She needs to say not, “Ooh, this campaign tactic’s a little out of line.” She needs to say, “Let’s wait a second here. Is this man ready to run against the Republicans for president of the United States in a time of war? And is he ready to be president? He wants to negotiate on January 21st with Ahmadinejad. Here’s what Ahmadinejad has said about blowing up Israel. He’s never run a serious race. He’s not ready for the job.”

She needs to take on his qualifications to be president and his qualifications to beat the Republican nominee, not complain about little campaign tactics.

MARA LIASSON: So you’re saying take him on from the right? … That is the problem for her.

KRISTOL: Well, she can’t be so scared that someone will say, “You’re taking him on from the right or sounding like a Republican,” that she doesn’t take him on.

JUAN WILLIAMS: She has got to show some fight, but she can’t do it in a way that lacks grace. And I thought she was very gracious in the debate in Austin.

What she did was—and you know, Chris talks about it as if it might have been a valedictory, as if she was saying, “Goodbye, I lose.” No.

I think she was appealing to white women and saying, you know, “I’m not going to be catty or mean to this young man, but I want to be very clear that I’m the mature one in this race, I’m the one that understands what’s at stake in terms of defeating the Republicans in November, and I’m the one who’s able to really beat those Republicans.”

And so I think it was an effective message, although the way the press played it, I think, you know, clearly, obscured or confused what she was trying to do.

The problem with the advice, as Mara Liasson suggested, is that it requires that Hillary cease arguing as a liberal and talk about reality. But Kristol’s reply to Liaisson is exactly right: That indeed is what she needs to do.

Much better than Robert Novak simply telling Hillary it’s time to quit the race.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 25, 2008 04:38 PM | Send

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