Commentary Magazine


Reruns and Jiujitsu

As many have noted, Hillary’s best moment last night was her answer to the final question. What crisis had she faced and how did she handle it? Did anyone notice she reran her husband’s key pitch in numerous debates and speeches from 1992? Almost word for word, she opined that the hits she’s taken are nothing compared to the pain of ordinary people everyday across America. Back then, Bill was making up a phony “recession gap,” but Hillary perfectly linked it to the suffering of our veterans, eliciting sympathy for them and her simultaneously.
This is the essence of the early Clinton magic, making it seem all about her and not about her at the same time. Clearly, the applause for her was genuine, while Obama’s less than inspiring answer to the same question only underscored concerns if there’s a there there.

On the other hand, Republicans better take note that Obama is a jiujitsu master. In almost every answer, whether warranted or not, he indirectly and directly attacked Hillary or McCain. In answer to his $90 million dollars worth of earmarks–well, the real issue is John McCain’s support for a war costing us billions a month, that’s why we have budget deficits. Hillary, too, got pounded again and again, and failed to counterpunch. It may have made her seem the more sober of the two candidates, but Obama’s style is take-no-prisoners aggressive
wrapped in a velvet glove. He’ll work the body repeatedly, until his opponent is fatigued. McCain can’t afford to let him gain the advantage with that tactic, and will need to hit back early, often, and just as fluidly.

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