Is Hillary Using "Tonya Harding Tactics" to Take Down Barack?


Way back in March, Carpetbagger regular Jim Benton encouraged the Clinton campaign to “stop with the Tonya Harding tactics.” Apparently, it’s a comparison that’s catching on. Jake Tapper reports:
I just spoke with a Democratic Party official, who asked for anonymity so as to speak candidly, who said we in the media are all missing the point of this Democratic fight.
The delegate math is difficult for Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, the official said. But it’s not a question of CAN she achieve it. Of course she can, the official said.
The question is — what will Clinton have to do in order to achieve it? What will she have to do to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, in order to eke out her improbable victory?
She will have to “break his back,” the official said. She will have to destroy Obama, make Obama completely unacceptable.
“Her securing the nomination is certainly possible - but it will require exercising the ‘Tonya Harding option.’” the official said. “Is that really what we Democrats want?”

In late February and early March, when the Clinton campaign’s offensive began in earnest, staffers told reporters they were calling it the “kitchen-sink strategy.” That seemed apt, though the “Tonya Harding option” certainly has a bit more flare, doesn’t it?

As for the question from the party official, I suspect most Democrats are saying, “No, this isn’t what we want.”


I suppose there was a point, maybe eight or nine days ago, when Clinton supporters could reasonably make the argument that the Jeremiah Wright controversy was so explosive, and the media was playing edited versions of Wright’s sermons so frequently, the party should wait to see if Democrats and voters in general repelled from the Obama campaign in disgust. Maybe, they thought, this was the break they’d been waiting for.



Except that hasn’t happened. Obama has rebounded from the controversy, has retaken a slight lead in the polls, and the overall campaign dynamic is not significantly different than it was before the Wright issue landed on front pages. Worse, it’s Clinton, not Obama, who’s been stuck with an awkward controversy (the flap surrounding her false claims about her 1996 Bosnia trip) that undermines her credibility.

So, we’re left with the “Tonya Harding option.” And what does that include? Clearly, Clinton’s attack on Wright yesterday is part of it, but that’s not all.

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