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Dealing with Palin: Obama Intimidated, Clinton Calling it in.

Ah, Catch-22.

Via Jen Rubin we get this highly amusing story:

Team Clinton Says Obama Intimidated By Palin Factor

Reporters tried to get Mrs. Clinton to talk about John McCain’s running mate at a tiny press conference after the event, but she refused even to mention Mrs. Palin’s name, saying only, “I am campaigning for Senator Obama and advocating on behalf of the Democratic Party and our positions.”

Stop the presses.

With the McCain campaign running tactical circles every day around the Obama outfit—which has failed, somewhat unbelievably, to come up with even a semi-compelling response to the Palin selection—one might think Mrs. Clinton, to say nothing of her sidelined husband, would be a useful surrogate on the counterattack right about now. Apparently, the Obama campaign does not agree.

It’s really a marvelous piece, once you get past the fact that the author clearly wants to go unto his beloved Lightworker and pound some sense into his Hope-and-Change bringing head – with a sledgehammer, if that’s what it takes. Let me sum it up: us big, bad, awful Republicans have dared say mean things about Blessed Obama, and he just can’t hit back effectively, somehow. Seeing as Hillary has unaccountably lost the telepathy that has been, of course, her trademark superpower since that radiation accident in 1998, she’s forced to do what Obama merely asks her to do, which she does. Precisely. And not a bit more. But Obama won’t ask her to do more!

OK, now let me translate: the McCain campaign is currently having almost indecent amounts of fun messing with Obama’s head, messing with his operating plan, and generally giving him two for flinching (and Obama flinches a lot). Not ever being really in this situation before, he’s flailing – and he’s focusing on Sarah Palin right now, because clearly this is all her fault. The problem is, she’s kind of hard to hit. A large part of Obama’s campaigning style involves passive-aggressive bullying – witness his repeated attempts to race-guilt McCain, which he really should have stopped trying after it didn’t work the first time – but while a man can beat a woman in politics, God help him if he tries to bully her. Highly unfair? Yup. Does anybody normal care that it’s highly unfair? Nope.

Hence, Hillary – but Hillary doesn’t feel like playing that game on her lonesome. The Senator knows how these things go. If she strikes out on her own then she can get disavowed in a heartbeat, just like all those poor sad-sack acolytes whose job it is to say the things that Obama dare not say, lest it wreck his mana. Clinton’s not an acolyte, and she’s got long-term plans, thanks. But if the junior Senator from Illinois wants the junior Senator from New York to be his ninja, the junior Senator from New York will of course be happy to oblige the popularly-chosen Democratic nominee. All he has to do is ask. But she’s not going to show any initiative. He has to ask. Which he won’t do, because then he’s stuck with the ultimate responsibility for what she does – and avoiding that would be why he’d want Hillary to be his ninja in the first place.

No, there’s no painless way out of this mess for him. That’s why I called it “highly amusing.”

Moe Lane

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