The Abrams Report: The Politics Of Fearmongering

On his Wednesday show, Dan Abrams looked at various charges and countercharges that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have leveled at each other recently (he found them both equally guilty of misstatements). However, Rachel Maddow of Air America (and MSNBC, give this woman a show, what on earth are you waiting for?) felt much stronger than either Dan Abrams or Peter Beinart of The New Republic about Hillary Clinton's fearmongering strategy to distinguish herself from Barack Obama:

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DA: You really think the “3 am” ad is a cheap shot?

RM: The “3 am” ad is such a cheap shot, it’s actually the first thing that’s made me mad at Hillary Clinton. It almost made me as mad as the thing she said, ‘oh as far as I know he’s not a Muslim.’ Those have been the two worst things that she has done.
The ‘3 am’ ad was wrong because it cedes the argument to the Republicans over the Democrats in terms of whether or not Americans voters ought to be scared into voting for someone .

DA: Peter, to me, that just suggests when you’re a Democrat, you can’t talk about national security issues in the primary.

PB: The truth is the Democrats have been scaring Americans about foreign policy for the last 100 years. I mean, I heard Rachel earlier say the Franklin Roosevelt said “freedom from fear.” Franklin Roosevelt spent the entire late 1930s scaring Americans about the Nazi threat, and thank goodness he did. The real debate should be how serious do we think the terrorist threat is. That’s a genuine argument you can have. Rachel may think it’s less serious than John McCain; she may be right. But it’s perfectly reasonable to have the debate.

RM: There’s a difference between talking about the threats that are faced by a country and talking about how to stand up to them and how we as a nation can face them as…with unified…with unity and from a position of strength. It’s another thing to say “Be afraid! Vote for me.” which is what Hillary Clinton is doing, which is George W. Bush politics.


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