I'm proud to say I've been a fan of Guy Rundle's work for many years -- everything from the high-end intellectual analysis of political theory to the hysterical comedy routines for Max Gillies -- and I am really, really enjoying the excellent work he's doing for crikey.com.au as he follows the Obamas and the Clintons round the country.
Here he is this morning, in full flight, on the subject of Clinton's utterly disgraceful bottom-of-the-barrel 'plagiarism' accusations. You can see the logic of her behaviour -- attack Obama's biggest weapon: his eloquence -- but the failure of emotional intelligence here is palpable. It's hard to believe she doesn't know what this looks like; it's like being frozen with embarrassment in a restaurant as you watch a fellow-diner sashay back to her table from the ladies' loo, blissfully unaware that she's got the back of her skirt tucked up into the waist of her pantyhose. Most observers are speechless at such times, but not, I'm glad to say, Guy:
'The Obama plagiarism charges were leaked by the Clinton camp, and Hillary then came round the front to argue that it was the media who was raising the issue so how could she not comment? Etc. ...
The strategy could well rebound because, while it would be unfair to suggest that camp Obama would never do this sort of thing if on the backfoot, the mixture of cheap shots, deniability and logic chopping feels so damn Clintonesque that it can't help but suggest the worst of times, when Bill was caught with his pants down – Hah! You see what I did there! Suck on that Henderson! - arguing about what the definition of ”is” is. It's a measure of how utterly desperate, or kool-aided up, they are that they've taken what is not so much the low road as the subway. Why now on badger-ukelele primary eve (a term I just invented using Wisconsin's state mascot) rather than droppin da bomb before the Cowboy-Buckeye-Maplesyrup-Red (let's just hope that "Firewall" name sticks) primary? Presumably because there's so few delegates up for grabs, and Bama owns Hawaii's ass, bottom, no say it goddamit, owns its ass! Camp Clinton is using this one as a trial run to see how dirty they can get before there's blowback.
Still, what really scares me is how inept Obama was in batting it back. Goddamit from brushing it off – "I prefer to think of it as homage" – to dead-bat – "the words expressed the thought perfectly so I used them, you can't footnote everything in a speech" – to a straight reversal – "well it's a good thing Hillary wants to debate the issues" – to the Manchester approach "you want stabbing, you" - I'd thought of half a dozen cute replies as soon as I heard it, and I bet you had too.'