Someone calling himself “Scarecrow” at the liberal blog Firedoglake offers his prescription for Democrats during the primary:
[N]ever repeat the talking points by which your opponents beat up on your own party . . .
An interesting idea since it means that you cede to the other party the full effect of their attacks in a shorter period of time closer to the general election. A better plan is bring to light your own party’s candidates’ shortcomings now and thus inocculate your team from the adverse impact of inevitabe attacks later.
Is there anyone, for example, who thinks that had John McCain brought George Bush’s DUI arrest to national attention during the primary, that the charge would have had virtually zero effect on election day? Of course not. The longer you can draw out discussion of the negative charge, the less its effect.
From Hillary Clinton’s own past there is a prime example: her husband’s affair with Ms. Lewinsky. In early 1998, before a year’s worth of pounding press on the subject dulled American’s senses, Dick Morris conducted an internal poll that discovered that if the charges were true, a majority of American’s wanted Bill Clinton to resign. Within twelve months that had changed, but that’s because by then he had been inocculated by repeated (ad nauseum) exposure to the charge of adultury with an intern and perjury to cover it up.
Scarecrow can try to protect Ms. Clinton from such attacks during the primary, but if he only had a brain, he’d welcome them now instead of later.