Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Carville on Carville

Today’s Washington Post has a piece by James Carville, who defends his “Judas” comment about Gov. Bill Richardson. When Gov. Richardson, a longtime Clintonite, endorsed Barack Obama last week, Carville said:

Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic[.]

In defending his statement Carville claims it was silly that everyone called his words offensive and ugly (Bill O’Reilly was “appalled”.) I agree with Carville. There’s nothing “appalling” about speaking in extreme metaphors. All things considered, a dig with a learned biblical reference can hardly be said to have lowered the tone of this Democratic primary.

However, what is frightening, and what Carville fails to address, is the sentiment behind the comparison. Carville actually believes that Bill Richardson’s obligation to the Clintons should have trumped any policy considerations or party consequences. Being on board with the Clintons means you go down with the boat. Period.

What’s always been amusing is the juxtaposition between the intensity of those who adopt this code and the revulsion of those who do jump ship. Carville is a throwback – a Clinton true believer. And in a year when so many of the Clintons’ sullied Washington supporters have decided to take an “Obama shower,” in Dennis Miller’s coinage, Carville finds himself in a deep crisis.

There is no language strong enough to convey the outrage that comes when prophecy fails. But in this piece Carville did manage to strike that uniquely Clintonian note of hypocritical victimization:

Politics is a messy business, but campaigning prepares you for governing. It prepares you to get hit, stand strong and, if necessary, hit back. I’ve worked on enough campaigns to know that the most aggrieved candidate rarely emerges victorious. And for all of the hypersensitivity we’re seeing this cycle, this campaign has not been particularly negative or nasty compared with previous elections.

Well, it wasn’t Barack Obama who broke down crying during a spiel about the rigors of campaigning.

And if James Carville says the Clintons have not run a “particularly negative” campaign against Obama, we can only imagine what’s coming in the last futile lap.


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