I know quite a few folks who are supporting Barack Obama in the next presidential campaign. I'm trying to keep an open mind about him, as with all the others on the Democratic side. One thing I will admit I have liked about Obama has been his call to rise above partisan politics and work together to find solutions. All the more reason I was surprised this morning to read that Obama's team has sent out a document attacking Clinton, which reads at best as being in poor taste, and at worst as being racist.
Perhaps some rogue Obama staffer is responsible, just like with the "1984" ad that I also thought was in poor taste. That one, you'll remember, played on the old saw about Clinton's voice being annoying. To me, it came across as incredibly misogynistic. The person responsible for that ad turned out to be someone loosely associated with the campaign, working for an advertising company hired by the Obama campaign. He subsequently left the ad company.
Now comes an "opposition document" labeled "Hillary Clinton (D-Punjab)’s Personal Financial and Political Ties to India." The document attacks Clinton and her husband for both personal financial holdings in Indian companies, as well for campaign fundraising with Indian ties. This bothers me on several levels. First, D-Punjab? WTF? Let me wipe the slinging mud out of my eye! So much for Obama's website statement that "Americans are tired of divisive ideological politics." Guess he thought we could use a little more nastiness on the campaign trail. That was just petty, and I expected a little more class from his campaign than that.
The main complaint about Clinton's Indian donors is aimed at money she accepted from Cisco Systems, which did lay off American workers and replace them workers in India. Note to Obama staff: Cisco's not the only company doing this. I had quite a time recently being bounced around Banaglore, or somewhere, trying to get my Earthlink DSL issue resolved. I know Obama prides himself on the huge number of small donations his campaign has collected, and that is indeed impressive. But I'm not sure this issue of Clinton accepting money from a company that outsources to India is what we should be getting ourselves worked up about. A quick look at Obama's donors shows the president and the CFO of EBay, chairman of Walt Disney Company, numerous executives from Google, and many many executives and employees from Microsoft. Et tu, Barack?
The document continues with an attack on individual donors who have had legal troubles. Um, Obama? Have you already forgotten your old friend Antoin Rezko? Back in the 1990's he gave you lots of money for your campaigns, and held fundraisers and rallys back when you were having a tough time in your congressional campaign. C'mon, you remember: he even helped you and your wife out when you bought a house. They bought the lot next door, and sold you land so you could widen your lot. Remember?
I just wonder, and worry, that this is a new side to the Obama campaign. I certainly hope we won't see more of this kind of smear tactic in what is going to be a very long presidential campaign. I hope that Obama did not approve of this attack, and I hope he will have the cojones to say it was wrong. Other wise, "fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride."