Smear 'Em if You Got 'Em


Thank Yahweh for Mike Huckabee, or else this attack by Clinton surrogate Bill Shaheen would be the most boneheaded smear of the election.

"The Republicans are not going to give up without a fight … and one of the things they're certainly going to jump on is his drug use," said Shaheen, the husband of former N.H. governor Jeanne Shaheen, who is planning to run for the Senate next year. Billy Shaheen contrasted Obama's openness about his past drug use—which Obama mentioned again at a recent campaign appearance in New Hampshire—with the approach taken by George W. Bush in 1999 and 2000, when he ruled out questions about his behavior when he was "young and irresponsible."

Shaheen said Obama's candor on the subject would "open the door" to further questions. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Shaheen said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."

Oh, the gormlessness, the pretense of hypothetical attacks, the veneer of worry: It was beautiful. Sadly, Shaheen apologized immediately afterward, although he remained careful to leave the insult hanging in the air. He clearly thinks—or wants primary voters to think—that being open about one's drug use is worse than covering it up or lying about it. Apply that logic to the mountain of Clinton stories that will percolate if she's the nominee (Ron Burkle, donors to the Clinton global initiative, laundered campaign donations) and you understand why Democrats are cooling on her.

In related news, Robert Novak noted that Clinton attack on Obama's PAC from about a week ago. I said it was a stupid attack; Novak and his sources agree.