I didn’t watch the Democratic Debate last night on CNN, but I did read a recap this morning, and it made me sad. Overt bitterness between candidates is nothing new, of course. But I feel angry with the Clintons for introducing the negative tone into the race, and I feel frustrated with Obama for failing to turn it to his advantage thus far.
If anything, Senator Clinton is benefiting from the nastiness at the moment, and not because Obama can’t dish it back. In fact, he’s quite good at this verbal sparring, but it’s unattractive on a candidate whose success is based on our willingness to engage in childlike hope about our country’s future. Meanwhile, it makes Clinton seem tenacious and smug. Maybe Joe Klein thinks that Bill is trying to sabotage her campaign, but right now it looks like tactical brilliance.