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Samantha Power’s Resignation Makes Obama Look Weak

I have little love for Samantha Power's foreign policy prescriptions (which I find eminently worthy of a Harvard academic) but I will say that her lickety-split resignation from the Obama camp after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster" was probably the … Read More

By / March 7, 2008

I have little love for Samantha Power's foreign policy prescriptions (which I find eminently worthy of a Harvard academic) but I will say that her lickety-split resignation from the Obama camp after calling Hillary Clinton a "monster" was probably the silliest episode yet in an overlong cartoon of an election season.

Power was giving an interview to The Scotsman newspaper:

"We f***** up in Ohio," she admitted. "In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win. "She is a monster, too – that is off the record – she is stooping to anything," Ms Power said, hastily trying to withdraw her remark. Ms Power said of the Clinton campaign: "Here, it looks like desperation. I hope it looks like desperation there, too. "You just look at her and think, 'Ergh'. But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive."

There's nothing out of sorts here. Power's only moment of naivete came in announcing something was "off the record" in a transcribed audience with a member of the UK press.

Clinton, of course, rampaged through Tokyo before demanding Power's resignation, which the Obama camp served up with alacrity. Here's Power's goodbye:

"With deep regret, I am resigning from my role as an adviser to the Obama campaign effective today,” Power said in a statement Friday. “Last Monday, I made inexcusable remarks that are at marked variance from my oft-stated admiration for Senator Clinton and from the spirit, tenor, and purpose of the Obama campaign. And I extend my deepest apologies to Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and the remarkable team I have worked with over these long 14 months.”

Many pundits have credited Clinton's twin victories on Tuesday in part to her cheery appearance last weekend on Saturday Night Live. She clearly benefited from that show's trenchant mockery of the media's soft treatment Barack Obama, which resulted in a tougher line of questioning of the candidate just before the Texas and Ohio primaries. (He stalked offstage in San Antonio like a wounded gazelle after being pressed about his questionable relationship with the Chicago sleaze merchant Antoin Rezko, and his lying populism over NAFTA.)

The week before, you'll recall, Tina Fey proudly called Hillary a "bitch" on air and demanded the country wake up to the fact that a shrill, unbearable woman is exactly what it needed right now. One might have expected, then, a shrewder Clinton reply to the Power remark along the lines of "I'm the monster who's ready on day one;" but alas, this touchy Mothra roared and the Obama mouse gave all.

His supporters have cause for real alarm. It's not "dignified" of their man to resort to defensiveness or automatic capitulation as a means of countering the well-oiled (and oily) Clinton attack machine. I suspect he will face a nicer audience from John McCain — if not from McCain's uncontrolled phalanx of conservative backers — but that doesn't distract from Obama's core wimpiness.

Indeed, in her shrieking and sanctimonious efforts to regain the front-runner status, Clinton has actually made a worthwhile point about her opponent: If he can't effectively stand up to her, how the hell can we expect him to stand up to Al Qaeda?

 

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