BHO vs. HRC….Barack Obama will be in Clinton, Iowa, tomorrow to do some Hillary Clinton bashing. Michael Crowley suggests that the public is tired of battles over HRC’s vote in favor of the Senate Iraq resolution, which would make this a tired line of attack for Obama. However:
It’s possible that Obama will spin the Iraq question into a broader proxy for about Hillary’s policy judgment and her vaunted “experience.” He’s done some of that already. The…question then is whether he can make that point more forcefully — more negatively, I suppose — without seeming to violate his talk of a “politics of hope.” Clinton advisors believe Obama’s rhetoric has boxed him in and limited his ability to go on the offensive. But maybe it’s still possible to thread the needle, to twist the knife with a measure of intellectual honesty, and basic class, that doesn’t backfire on him.
This strikes me as, by far, the most important issue for Obama. In the particular area of foreign policy, he needs to persuade people that despite her eight years in the White House and six years in the Senate, Hillary’s foreign policy judgment just isn’t that good. Exhibit A would be the Iraq vote. Judgment and temperament are the most important attributes in foreign affairs, not experience, and that has to be where he aims his attack.
More generally, though, I think he has to convince people like me that he’s actually serious about taking a new approach to foreign affairs. My single biggest problem with Obama is that behind all the Kumbaya talk about coming together and erasing red and blue, he has yet to convince me that his actual governing style would be much different from anyone else’s. As far as I can tell, for example, he has yet to give a speech that either of the other two major candidates couldn’t have delivered without changing a word. Hillary can get away with that for now, but Obama can’t. He needs to shake things up.