In a podcast with Sam Stein earlier this week, Howard Dean observed that politics replaces war, and not as a metaphor. His point was that war used to be how power transferred, and now we've come to a point where politics facilitates that.
With that in mind, I understand that campaigns are nothing less than verbal war. With the Iowa race tightening, there's a lot of sound, fury and accusations flying back and forth.
However. Speaking just for me, David Brock's plan to demand that Bernie Sanders release his medical records to prove he's physically fit for the office, and to do it as Hillary Clinton's surrogate, is just stupid.
It reeks of desperation and pettiness.
A top surrogate for Hillary Clinton is prepping a new attack in an intensifying and increasingly personal war against rival Bernie Sanders -- calling on the 74-year-old to release his medical records before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1.
Clinton defender David Brock -- founder of the Correct the Record PAC, which coordinates directly with Clinton’s campaign -- is expected to hit the airwaves this weekend from Charleston, the scene of the third Democratic debate on Sunday night, and challenge Sanders to cough up a clean bill of health and doctor’s note in the next 16 days, according to a Democrat familiar with his thinking who was not authorized to preview any strategy.
Now, notice the source. Anonymous, unauthorized to preview the strategy, but still leaking the strategy. Still, let's just assume that it is indeed the case that Brock plans to do this.
The sense in Clinton quarters that Sanders is not receiving the same level of scrutiny as the former Secretary of State feels all to familiar, reminding campaign veterans of eight years ago, when Clinton and her supporters said Barack Obama had not been appropriately vetted and was getting a free pass from the press.
This new attack strategy, focused on Sanders’ fitness for office, dovetails with focus group findings from Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who has seen voters raise age as a potential problem for Sanders. Clinton, 68, has also faced questions from the right about her age.
By now, regular readers know how I feel about ageism. I hate it. It should be a non-issue for both sides in this campaign, and they should keep to the issues and leave the personal attacks out.
Hillary Clinton should step on this before it actually goes any farther. If this was a trial balloon, consider it popped.
John Podesta, Clinton's campaign manager, tweeted this:
Update #2: David Brock just released a statement about this. Given the anonymous "Democratic" source, and the fact that Brock had not been contacted for comment by POLITICO, I'm going with the theory that someone is playing some games here.