The latest from the Democratic campaign trail? She’s playing a dangerous game, Hillary Clinton, but damned if she isn’t doing it with some intelligence. After playing almost exclusively nice with Barack Obama in person at the last Democratic debate — saying how “honored” she was to be sharing the stage with him — Clinton then immediately turned around and ripped into the Illinois senator on Saturday, crying “for shame!” over a piece of direct-mail correspondence from his campaign that questioned her health care plan.
OK, well played — Clinton gets that she’ll have to slug it out in the trenches if she wants to ignite a comeback, battling over issues and using contrast to decry contrasts drawn with her. Well… maybe not. In a Rhode Island campaign appearance Sunday afternoon, she mocked Obama’s hopeful rhetoric, declaring it not the answer in fighting entrenched interests. “I could stand up here and say, ‘Let’s just get everybody together, let’s get unified, the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing, and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect,'” Clinton said, as people cheered and laughed. Again: bad idea, this mocking of hope and optimism, especially for a candidate whose husband ran as “a man from Hope.” I don’t doubt that Clinton has a perfectly serviceable sense of humor, but it’s been evidenced repeatedly that she’s demonstrably awful with a jab. Repeated use of this technique will unleash a world of hurt and spurned “third-way” voters, even if she were to rally and win the Democratic nomination.