You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.

Did Obama Take A Dive?

In a great column dissecting the somewhat pathetic tendency of presidential candidates to feign outrage at the slightest provocation, John Dickerson makes a good analogy: 

In professional soccer, basketball, and football, officials penalize players who overdramatize fouls or injuries that haven't taken place. Perhaps politics should find a way to incorporate the same rules.

Leaving aside the fact that as far as I know this isn't actually true of the NBA or NFL (or else Vlade Divac would have fouled out of every game before halftime), it's a reasonable point: Given that the Obama counterattack seems to have thrown the Clinton campaign way off message, one can't help but wonder if there was at least some element of gamesmanship to their response. In light of the very real smears about their candidate that are floating around, it's easy to understand why the Obama folks want to be extra vigilant, but the ferocity of their response seems totally disproportionate to the provocation (much the same way as Hillary's outrage about those Obama mailers came across as way over the top). The risk for the campaigns is that one can only cry wolf so many times before reporters, like referees, get jaded and start ignoring their complaints (as with, for instance, the incessant and usually pointless emails from Mitt Romney's press shop).

The bottom line, I think, is that heated primary campaigns where there are very few substantive differences between the candidates deteriorate very quickly into silly sniping, and it will be nice when the whole thing is over.

--Josh Patashnik