Karl Rove's Advice for Hillary Clinton

Writing in the Wall St. Journal today, Karl Rove offers some advice for Hillary Clinton with respect to challenging Barack Obama:

Mrs. Clinton can do much more to draw attention to Mr. Obama's lack of achievements. She can agree with Mr. Obama's statement Tuesday night that change is difficult to achieve on health care, energy, poverty, schools and immigration -- and then question his failure to provide any leadership on these or other major issues since his arrival in the Senate. His failure to act, advocate or lead on what he now claims are his priorities may be her last chance to make a winning argument.

Other than that advice, the column is a disappointing, and in my view, inaccurate portrayal of Obama as a leftist hiding in centrist clothing. I think Obama is a centrist. See my new post comparing his and Hillary's progressive voting record and rankings.

< Guardian: Obama Campaign Urges Clinton To Concede | Who's More Progressive, Hillary or Obama? >
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    Why (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by tek on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 12:54:48 PM EST
    is Rove advising Clinton? Obama is already following Rove's Machiavellian advice.

    The truth is, there's nothing more Hillary could do. What's defeating her is her own party establishment and the media.

    ROVE IS PULLING FOR OBAMA (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by john5750 on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 06:02:45 PM EST
    Republican Party always wanted Obama to be the nominee; flushed his coffers with cash; saw him as easier Democrat to defeat.

    Republican Party activists have been organized by the GOP to throw their weight behind Barack Obama, the Democratic rival of frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

    Early in Obama's campaign, top Republican fundraisers flushed his coffers with cash, something the deep pockets hadn't done for any candidate in their own party.



    Although I can't know what is in Rove's mind, but (none / 0) (#9)
    by rdandrea on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 01:41:15 PM EST
    I suspect that having 16 years or more of opposition research on the Clintons, he figures she's the easier candidate to beat.  It's easy to beat a person you can demonize; it's much harder to beat a movement.

    I disagree that it's the party establishment that's responsible for Clinton's downward slide.  I think it's her own campaign.  For example, having Bill out there high-profile hasn't helped her "find her own voice."

    Other strategic and tactical mistakes by high-level staff are taking their toll as well.  I recall a fairly negative reaction here in Colorado when Penn lumped us with the states that "aren't important."

    The media just covers the race.  If you don't want it in the media, don't say it.


    easier candidate to beat? (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by sancho on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 03:32:11 PM EST
    when has rove or his group last beaten either hillary or bill? they know their best shot at them is getting the democrats to do it. and it seems to be working.

    Sorry about the extra "but" (none / 0) (#10)
    by rdandrea on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 01:42:27 PM EST
    Copy and paste error.  I wish we could edit our posts.

    Obama is Machiavellian? (none / 0) (#11)
    by MKS on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 01:46:03 PM EST
    The criticism of Obama has been that he's naive....not tough enough....

    I come to this blog and learn that David Axlerod is like Rove, and Obama is Machiavellian....

    I feel better about Obama.....  


    Given Rover's performance (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 12:39:12 PM EST
    during the Bush years - from dodging a perjury indictment to the (for the Rethugs) debacle of 2006, when he had The Math, the last thing anyone seeking to be elected should do is listen to him.  Either for positive or negative guidance.

    Rove misses the mark (none / 0) (#2)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 12:40:34 PM EST
    if this is how the GOP goes after Obama the GE candidate, they can't win. Frankly, it sounds like they intend to rehash their 2006 campaign against the scary Nancy Pelosi.

    How clever (none / 0) (#3)
    by Richard in Jax on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 12:45:34 PM EST
    What Mr. Rove is telling Ms. Clinton to do is in fact very much against the self interests of the Democratic Party. Imagine that. If Clinton takes this route she legitimatizes it for McCain and HE WILL USE IT! She is being told to start the demolition of Obama and to use the GOP's preferred tool in doing so, allowing a smooth transition for McCain. I certainly hope this is obvious to all Democrats involved. Rove will never do any thing for the Democrats that doesn't give the GOP a return in spades. That is a fact.

    ...and yet I doubt (none / 0) (#5)
    by Lena on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 12:54:52 PM EST
    that Obama has censored his own attacks on Hillary (attacks that have used right-wing Republican talking points to smear HRC) because such attacks are "very much against the self interests of the Democratic Party." Has Obama asked himself whethere he is legitimizing attacks for McCain to use against HRC in the GE?

    Your post presupposes that Obama is the nominee. I would argue that if Obama can't stand up to the "lack of achievement" argument, then maybe the primary voters should know about it now, rather than later.


    Its not an argument.. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Richard in Jax on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 01:15:19 PM EST
    And my post presupposes nothing. The lack of achievement angle is not founded in truth and quite frankly there is nothing that can prep a person for the job of President. There is nothing that one can draw upon as a legislator, attorney or dog catcher that will guide a commander in chief and President. Think about it. AS for what Obama is doing to Clinton..so what? It has nothing to do with a Rovian sneak attack now does it? Personally I think all this bickering between Obama and Clinton is destructive of the Democrats self interests..we are not going to stand out by being just another tree in the forest. I , like many folks, do see this thing as Obama's to lose. If that presupposes victory for Obama I might ask you if given his streak lately such presuppositions are not just a tad bit warranted? Obama will probably take this thing, I voted for Clinton in the Florida primary, but I am a realist.

    Not convincing (none / 0) (#7)
    by Lena on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 01:32:06 PM EST
    Many would argue that attacking Clinton based on smearing WJC and talking up Ronald Reagan doesn't help the party either. Thanks, Barack!

    You write "The lack of achievement angle is not founded in truth"

    If that's the case, let him make the argument. It's campaigning, not a tea party. If he can't handle a perfectly above-the-belt challenge to his bona fides, he doesn't deserve to win the nomination.


    It's just the Obama rules... (none / 0) (#13)
    by RalphB on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 02:34:10 PM EST
    You can't say anything untoward about Precious or you're a racist, right-wing republican, clintonista troll.  Or some variant of the day.

    The racism angle is interesting (none / 0) (#22)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 02:16:36 PM EST
    Since we are largely a segregated nation in our personal lives (yes yes, everyone complain and tell me how they are different) it's quite logical and telling that most folks have no idea how to discuss race without feeling as if they've committed an offense in simply bringing it up.  We have no common ground when it comes to talking about race, we still haven't de-mythologized enough.  We idolize and enrich and make celebrity, but we don't really engage in the difficult and ugly work of dissecting our own paradigms and self-editing mechanisms.

    Of course everyone who criticizes Obama isn't doing so out of a racist inclination, but some certainly are, and many on a level they are not aware of.  Just as the sexism hits Hillary is completely out of line and unfair ways, and comes from people who would swear on the Bible they weren't sexist.  The difference is we can comfortably talk about sexism (though not sex itself, strangley), but we have no ability to talk about race in an honest and unedited manner.  Too much history, too little learning from it.  Race is more like sex itself, the act.  We're as uncomfortable talking about it, perhaps more so.  Beyond our platitudes like "all people she be treated the same no matter their race" (which is akin to sexual discussion on the level of "well, sex is how a man and woman make a baby"), we don't feel free enough or unbound enough or safe enough to really air the dirty laundry in a way that would enlighten us and help us change the situation for the better.  

    We corner ourselves, time and time again.


    I Used to Thinl (none / 0) (#12)
    by bob h on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 02:33:44 PM EST
    Rove and W were the biggest con artists America had ever seen.  Now I see it is Obama and Axelrod.

    Where it counts, I don't believe (none / 0) (#14)
    by RalphB on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 02:35:29 PM EST
    there is any real difference.

    there isn't, that's my point (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 03:40:39 PM EST
    it's wrong to say Obama is more liberal.

    buyer's remorse (none / 0) (#16)
    by thereyougo on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 03:36:25 PM EST
    is what I see for an Obama presidency, although I'd like to be pleasantly surprised. Since GWB gave us the uniter divider rhetoric, I'm not so trusting by the speeches on the  stump.

    He's actually run out of sound bytes and is using his friends words, even if the friend said its ok to use it makes him more of a messenger. Like they say in Texas, all hat an no cattle.

    March 4 will tell us if the words matter to the majority

    real Rove strategy (none / 0) (#18)
    by Foxx on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 03:43:46 PM EST
    Have people seen this interesting article


    on how the Republicans have funded Obama, because he'll be easier to beat?

    Has anyone made an attempt to determine how many of those voting for Obama are actually Repulicans who will vote for McCain in the GE?

    Letting non-Democrats vote and letting people switch registration on voting day create problems.


    I read that (none / 0) (#21)
    by splashy on Fri Feb 22, 2008 at 02:01:54 PM EST
    Much food for thought, for sure. Makes me worry about how things will turn out.

    I am sure that with Obama, we can kiss universal health care goodbye. He's shooting in the general direction, but not aiming right for it, so the bullseye will be missed.


    Rove's argument in the WSJ (none / 0) (#19)
    by lvg on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 04:49:18 PM EST
    for another, critical take on Rove's argument, see: