EDITORIAL >>Huck jokes, Hill stumbles
The remark, or the furious reaction on political blogs, seemed one more time to deliver a fatal blow to her campaign. She had gathered a little momentum from primary triumphs in Indiana and Kentucky, but it dissipated in the furor about the assassination remark.
Her critics said she was trying subtly to advance the argument that she should get the nomination because Obama provoked such demons among racists that he was at peril of being slain. Reading her remark should convince anyone that it was not her purpose. To voice such an idea, even subtly, would be stupid as well as craven. As Kennedy’s son said, it was clear that she was simply reciting historical instances of prolonged campaigns to answer the din of critics who said she should have quit the race so that the party could be united early.
But the remark was troubling for another reason. It is an insensitive ear that does not detect the reaction to careless allusions to such fragile topics as the attempted assassination of politicians who arouse strong emotions: the Kennedys, George Wallace, Ronald Reagan. Clinton may simply have been unaware of the sub-rosa whispers about assassination, although Huckabee’s crude attempt to get a laugh about an attempted assassination of Obama should have been notice enough.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are supposed to have the most practiced, unerring ear in politics, but their blunders in this campaign, though often only misinterpretations in a supercharged atmosphere, have been seismic. It is not a strong recommendation for her leadership. Wisdom in the small graces of politics is just about as important as grasp of the issues.