Candidate Criticism: Not A Zero Sum Game
I made this comment in Pach’s earlier post about Obama’s Reagan comments, but it could have applied to any candidate.
The temptation is to think that criticism of Obama benefits Clinton or Edwards and vice versa when viewed through the lens of their supporters, but it isn’t a zero sum game. Speaking for myself I can say that our allegiance is to a counternarrative which we hope will create the possibility of progressive change no matter who gets elected.
From that standpoint, if one candidate sees another receiving negative feedback for something they are less likely to engage in it themselves. The likelihood that Clinton or Edwards is going to step in it now and start praising St. Ronnie in the next few days is remote. We win.
That seems to be a schema that is almost impossible for people whose allegiance is to a particular candidate to understand, and thus we’re accused of being agents of a candidate who isn’t on the receiving end of a particular critique. We’re not. We’re trying to shift the whole dialog by shifting all the candidates, using one to pressure the rest.
It may not be what some people are looking to hear, but it is nonetheless both true and necessary in the world of less-than-perfect candidates.