Just as Democratic candidates have been having a simmering spat about mudslinging, I have been waging a friendly 'battle of wits' over the use of this tactic with my pal and colleague, Lee Ward.
Mudslinging was first raised in a obvious set-piece, sound bite by Hillary very early in the Las Vegas debate. "When somebody starts throwing mud at least we can hope it's accurate and not right out of the Republican playbook," Clinton said, after Edwards questioned whether she could restore trust in the White House.
Edwards the next day on CBS's 'Face the Nation' called Hillary Clinton's mudslinging charges "absurd," warning that attacks on her so far are "milquetoast" compared with what's to come in the fall of 2008..
I would probably prefer the term 'muckraking' to the term mudslinging, the latter is based on an ancient Latin proverb," Fortiter calumniari, aliquia adhaerebit,' or "Throw plenty of dirt and some of it will be sure to stick".
Lee takes a firm unequivocal stand: I agree with the sentiment expressed by others that the mud slinging is counter-productive and detrimental to the party and Democratic efforts to retake the White House..
I"m a little more ambivalent, whether it should be called mudslinging and whether it sometimes doesn´t enhance the debate and clarify the candidates and their personalities.
Today, Jay Tea in kind of a negative reinforcement on his post on wizbang classic Go Hillary! in giving his reasons why he is growing more smpathetic to Hillary, were precisely the reasons I still have trouble with her nomination. Basically, it's her 'tough as nails' approach to protesters and all adversaries, that some conservatives like Jay have a closet respect for.
And the latest ratcheting up of this tension between the three Democrat candidates occurred when Obama said,
I sit on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So I have frequent interaction with world leaders who come to visit here, (the US) and I take trips on various fact-finding missions, whether it's to Iraq or Russia or Africa. But you know, probably, the strongest experience I have in foreign relations is the fact that I spent four years living overseas when I was a child in Southeast Asia "(in Indonesia, when he was six to ten years old)
Sounds innocent enough, but Clinton piled on, "Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges that the next president will face," Mrs. Clinton said. "I think we need a president with more experience than that." Ouch!
And Edwards communications director, Chris Kofinis rounded out the fray. "Now we know what Senator Clinton meant when she talked about 'throwing mud' in the last debate. Like so many other things, when it comes to mud, Hillary Clinton says one thing and throws another."
So the slanging match is definitely on, but what we are having with the Dems, is alot of slinging but not much mud, whereas the Republicans have a lot of mud but not much slinging.
M.J. Rosenberg gave me the idea of the title with an excellent post at tpm cafe/ The Coffee House site.
What's the deal? The Bernard Kerik issue should be enough to knock Giuliani right out of the race. The guy America's Mayor pushed to be in charge of homeland security is, is appears, an out and out crook. Then there is the sex molester priest on Rudy's staff.(Monsignor Alan Placa) That, by itself, should finish him off.
But it doesn't. In fact, none of the other Republicans mention any of this. Why? They don't want to be accused of "mudslinging" or of giving Democrats ammo we can use should Rudy be the nominee.
Of course, we'll use this stuff anyway, whether Republicans bring it up or not. They don't write our playbook.
The striking thing, for me, is that it is so damn unpatriotic for Rudy's opponents not to tell GOP primary voters who he is. Romney, McCain and the rest are so afraid of a voter backlash against them for mudslinging that they essentially protect Rudy. As a result, he could become the nominee.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!