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Criticism of a Candidate's Positions on the Issues = "Dirty Stuff"?

John Weidner (Random Jottings) (hat tip: InstaPundit) soundly critiques Earl Ofari Hutchinson's "What Will Obama Do When There's No Hillary Firewall?". "Dirty stuff," to Hutchinson, seems to consist of, well, factually accurate criticisms of policy positions. Thus, Hutchinson writes,

There was an early hint of the dirty stuff that will come his way. The instant that Obama announced his campaign last February, National Rifle Association executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre wasted no words when asked about Obama's strong support for a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, and severe limits on handgun purchases during his tenure in the Illinois Senate.

He called Obama's pro-gun control stance "bad politics." LaPierre's admonition was an ominous warning that the powerful gun-lobby group would oppose Obama, and so would millions of other passionate gun owners that take their cue from the NRA.

And that is "dirty stuff" because ...?

Pon Raul:
Lately all candidates seem to be calling any criticism "dirty."
2.15.2008 4:49pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Not just dirty; heck, it's darned near Swiftboating....
2.15.2008 4:49pm
Lonely Capitalist (mail):
bacause...

...it hurts their messianic candidate.
2.15.2008 4:52pm
ejo:
it's not "hopeful" and it isn't a harbinger of "change"?
2.15.2008 4:52pm
one of many:
indroducing issues and policy positions into a modern political campaign, now that is dirty - because no campaign is prepared to deal with them. A campaign (especially a presidential one) is about important things; haircuts, inuendos of drug use, and who the canidate went to college with decades ago. It's dirty politics to attempt to distract a campaign from dealing with the important things, like explaining away criminal contributions.
2.15.2008 4:52pm
jpe (mail):
I'm an Obama supporter, but I can't stand his method of campaigning, which is a lot of negative campaigning by way of negative inference ("I'm the honest candidate" implies the dishonesty of the others, and is no less nasty than "you're dishonest."), and a lot of get-the-smelling-salts hypersensitivity. The post is a fine example of the latter. So far it's worked great in the Dem primaries; I doubt it will be as effective in the GE.
2.15.2008 4:57pm
ejo:
kind of like mentioning the name Tony Rezcko or noting the far left minister of his church-it's dirty stuff, no doubt about it.
2.15.2008 4:57pm
titus32:
Many of Obama's supporters have been very quick with the "smear" tag. Hopefully this will not stifle discussions of his policy positions (especially when they start being discussed).
2.15.2008 4:59pm
jpe (mail):

Hopefully this will not stifle discussions of his policy positions (especially when they start being discussed).

It will, and not entirely unreasonably. While it might be nice if GE policy discussions were high-minded, they frequently dart back and forth over the smear line (or perhaps the hyperbole line. Example that comes to line: 'X's policy Y is objectively pro-[very bad thing]').
2.15.2008 5:05pm
John McCall (mail):
Er. Pace the comments here, I'm not sure what evidence there is that Earl Hutchinson is some sort of Obama supporter.
2.15.2008 5:20pm
whit:
"LaPierre's admonition was an ominous warning that the powerful gun-lobby group would oppose Obama, and so would millions of other passionate gun owners that take their cue from the NRA"

can you imagine similar language being used in regards to, for example, abortion?"

"XXXXXX's admonition was an ominous warning that the powerful abortion-rights lobby group would oppose Obama, and so would millions of other passionate abortion-rights advocates that take their cue from NARAL"
2.15.2008 5:31pm
one of many:
Aside from the good joke potential, Hutchinson did not unequivocably call issue politics dirty politics. He actually wrote [t]here was an early hint of the dirty stuff that will come his [Obama's] way" then discussed the LaPierre exchange. From the viewpoint that conservatives are evil machievellians who only manage to retain a grip in power against virtuous liberals through dupes, dirty tricks and political-slight-of-hand it is only to be taken as given that the NRA will engage in dirty tricks if they oppose Obama. It may be that Hutchinson finds sustantial politics to be dirty tricks, but more likely he just "knows" that republicans will use all kinds of dirty tricks in an election.
2.15.2008 5:33pm
Tareeq (www):
Er. Pace the comments here, I'm not sure what evidence there is that Earl Hutchinson is some sort of Obama supporter.

It's probably just invidious stereotyping of black men named Ofari. I've always liked Hutchinson, so I'm sorry to see him coming into Eugene's crosshairs on what appears to have been a bad day.

At least he's not referring to criticism as "censorship," "silencing," or "marginalization" as some on the left do.
2.15.2008 5:37pm
dre (mail):

"Dirty stuff," to Hutchinson, seems to consist of, well, factually accurate criticisms


of his ears?
2.15.2008 5:50pm
MXE (mail):
He called Obama's pro-gun control stance "bad politics."

"Bad politics"? Holy smokes, WLP doesn't pull punches! Dirty indeed. Accusing a presidential candidate of engaging in bad politics is just one step up from dropping the N-word. /sarcasm

Those dirty, slimy Republicans and their rich, powerful, shadowy lobby groups...
2.15.2008 6:30pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
dre: What part of the quoted material do you think Hutchinson would find factually inaccurate?
2.15.2008 6:40pm
Some_3L (mail):
reminds me of a joke


What do you call a conservative who is winning a debate against a liberal?

A racist.



people who can't debate the issues engage in name calling.
2.15.2008 7:16pm
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
"LaPierre's admonition was an ominous warning that the powerful gun-lobby group would oppose Obama, and so would millions of other passionate gun owners that take their cue from the NRA"

Oh, that's news. The odds are that NRA will not endorse Obama. I am startled. Next I'll learn that ACLU is NOT supportive of a constitutional amendment to allow a third term to presidents whose last name begins with B. And Huckaby is doing poorly in the remaining Demo primaries.
2.15.2008 11:04pm
Broadsword (mail) (www):
On a tangential issue, the Half-Klingon (Barak...?) did say "We must do whatever it takes to end gun crime". Note he did not say, criminal behavior. We woodworkers know it is a poor craftsman who blames his tools.
2.16.2008 5:54am
Lonetown (mail):
This is the same technique the Clintons have used successfully up ntil theran into a "magic negro".

The press will support the chosen one, just as they supported the Clintons.

Frankly, both Clinton and Obama lack any real accomplishment other than getting elected. Although Clinton has cowed her democrat comrads quite effectively, up to now but now they have an out.
2.16.2008 6:09am
rgaye:
EV It's dirty because the NRA's evil hack LaPierre said it. Doh!


I'm an Obama supporter, but I can't stand his method of campaigning, which is a lot of negative campaigning by way of negative inference ("I'm the honest candidate" implies the dishonesty of the others, and is no less nasty than "you're dishonest."),


Not a fan of passive-agressive are ya? How do you stand with Obama on the issues?
2.16.2008 9:47am
therut:
Nothing dirty by the NRA here. Just truth telling.
2.16.2008 10:55am
Brett Bellmore:
A lot of liberals are, I've observed, utilitarians, and crude "act" utilitarians, at that. As such, they believe that the end, and only the end, justifies the means.

The implication of this is that, procedurally, your behavior can be saintly, and if it's intended to advance a cause the liberal doesn't approve of, it's nasty. Because "nasty" isn't judged by the nature of the behavior, but the end the behavior is intended to advance.

Absolutely anything the NRA does to fight gun control, from this perspective, is "dirty politics", just as nothing the opposition does to advance gun control so qualifies.
2.16.2008 11:15am
Kazinski:
It was Swiftboating pure and simple. Of course the definition of Swiftboating is:

A rival campaign of issues group bringing up issues that would be disastrous to debate on the merits.
2.16.2008 2:59pm
Thomass (mail):
PersonFromPorlock:

"Not just dirty; heck, it's darned near Swiftboating...."

Just like Swiftboating... actually...
2.16.2008 11:31pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Earl Ofari Hutchinson's essays have been consistently pro-Hillary and anti-Obama. This is just another one in a series; he's not doing Obama any favors here.
2.17.2008 12:06pm
Stash:
"I'm an Obama supporter, but I can't stand his method of campaigning..."

Excuse me for being skeptical about which candidate you really support. But I'm afraid your post simply illustrates the point of the post, that drawing contrasts is not exactly a dirty trick or smear. Are you claiming Obama is lying when he says he is honest? In actuality, of course, I don't recall him ever saying "I am honest", much less in the context of implying Hillary is not.
2.17.2008 10:05pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
It would be helpful to have specific cites for things like if Obama said he was "the only honest one" or whatever his exact position on guns are. However, there is no doubt about the cult-ish behavior of his followers. The project all there hopes and dreams onto the blank slate that is Obama, and man will they be disappointed when he has to govern by the limitations of political reality like any President. If you can name a radical President who managed to disregard public opinion in American history let me know.
2.18.2008 4:52am
wuzzagrunt (mail):
EIDE_Interface wrote:
It would be helpful to have specific cites for things like if Obama said he was "the only honest one"....

His campaign slogan is: "Change we can believe in.", which I guess implies that Hillary's version of change can't be believed. That sort of complaint--if that is the complaint--strikes me as world-class caviling, but that seems to be where politics are at in the 21st century.
2.18.2008 12:11pm