Finally, some good ol' fashioned, impassioned debate. The Democratic debates are finally coming to a rolling boil, after simmering on low with months and months ahead of the candidates before the primaries. As the time is finally starting to run out, the democratic candidates (the top three especially), are beginning to recognize that beating up on Bush just isn't going to get them elected -- even the Republicans are doing that. It's time to take a new aim, one decidedly closer to home, and much more lucrative (yet dangerous).
The latest debate on Thursday had most of the candidates, and especially Obama and Edwards, dumping on Hilary Clinton. It seems that despite their differences, candidates in red and blue alike are trying to bruise Clinton's record into a deep shade of purple. And for good reason - she's leading in the polls (though in some select primary states, like Iowa, she is neck and neck with Obama and Edwards, and her actual popularity as a person is always a question). But many have recognized her as a threat, and since Bush is a lame duck, why try to shoot him down anymore? Luckily undecided, this blogger isn't exactly pulling for any one candidate as of yet, but the attacks on Clinton aren't necessarily so advantageous as her opponents might have the "audacity" to hope for. Clinton may get bashed, but she's been attacked ever since her husband took office -- she's been fodder for comedic skits and pundits alike, circa the early 90's. Yet somehow, she's been able to eke out a political career, and a campaign that many saw coming, but never realized the vigor with which it would appear. In other words, sticks and stones...
The other issue with trying to attack Clinton via mudslingin' debate is that, counter intuitively, it gives her a chance to be better heard on the issues. Because in even the fiercest of debates, the attackees get a chance to defend themselves. Like Obama and Edwards, Clinton is no slouch, and she can match rhetorical wits with any candidate out there. She will volley back. She may not have the philosophical charisma of Barack, or the boyish charm of Johnny, but she brings something that is hard to define - some quality that while we cringe, we simultaneously admit sound judgment (Guiliani, unfortunately and admittedly, also shares some of this... je ne se quois). Whether Clinton's ability to keep her campaign running at full speed ahead will continue - that's anyone's guess, but right now its on track. But be assured of one thing, despite her accusations of unfair play, Clinton has more too fear if the mudslinging stops. When no one cares to criticize your mistakes, they usually aren't very interested in hearing your remedies, either.