Alex Massie

Eating their own

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Good grief. Here's Kevin Drum:

Hillary said today that presidential candidates need to pass a "commander-in-chief threshold." And who's done that? "I believe that I've done that," she said. "Certainly, Sen. McCain has done that and you'll have to ask Sen. Obama with respect to his candidacy." Bingo! Instant TV material for McCain this fall.

Kevin asks:

Now, there's no question that this stuff sucks. Hillary sucks more on this score since her team has been doing more of it than Obama's team, but they should both knock it off.

That said, though, I have a question. It occurred to me today that primary opponents attack each other all the time, and yet I don't remember ever seeing a general election ad taking advantage of that. Once the general election starts, nobody seems to think it's worthwhile trying to make hay out of old attacks.

That may be the case. But that was before YouTube. And there's another key distinction that makes Hillary Clinton's behaviour quite remarkable. It's one thing for her to suggest that she's a better candidate and would make a better President than Barack Obama, it's surely quite another to argue that John McCain has better credentials* for the Presidency than a man who might end up being your party's nominee. That's a large and important difference.

Perhaps this has happened before, but I can't recall seeing a serious, credible candidate dismiss their party's other serious, credible candidate in this fashion. Perhaps readers can enlighten me.

*Of course, it's quite possible that Hillary does think McCain would be a better President than Obama.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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