The New York Times ran an Op-Ed piece this morning slamming Hillary Clinton's campaign tactics before her Pennsylvania primary victory. The Drudge Report wondered if it was a withdrawal of the Times' earlier endorsement.
The column took issue with the TV ad that "featured" Osama bin Laden, and said it was part of a pattern to divisive tactics, and Clinton "took the low road to victory." The sentiment echoed stances by the Huffington Post and Keith Olbermann, among others. It's a sentiment I disagreed with here.
The Times wrote:
On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad — torn right from Karl Rove’s playbook — evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” the narrator intoned.In the 2004 campaign, Rove's tactics related fears of terrorism and to the Iraq War. He used scary images to drive up support for Iraq and the incumbent president who started that war, of whom voters otherwise didn't approve or trust.
Senators Obama and Clinton have nearly identical positions on Iraq and Afghanistan, so if an image of bin Laden drives voters Clinton, it has less to do with them being scared into something against their better judgment, but affirms that voters see her as better equipped to deal with threats in a dangerous world.
Furthermore, bin Laden should not be off limits. We want a president that can catch him and deal with his threat; just as we wanted a president to see us through a devastating economic crisis, or nuclear missiles off our shore, or an Evil Empire-- crises this column suggests should be off limits.