Hillary’s “best shot” displeases left, but why?

Scott has already discussed Hillary Clinton’s final Pennsylvania ad, which provides images of various crises presidents have had to deal with, and suggests that Clinton, more than Obama, can handle such grave matters. Here’s the ad again:

The Democratic left is calling “foul” on the ad because it shows an image of Osama bin Laden. That same left is fond of criticizing the Bush administration for not killing or capturing bin Laden. Why, then, is it out-of-bounds to include his image?

The party-line answer (which arguably fails to take into account deeper emotional factors) is that Republicans used bin Laden’s image in an ad against Max Cleland during a 2002 Senate race. Cleland, who had become way too liberal to suit Georgians, voted against creating the Homeland Security Department. He did so, as Peter Wehner notes, under pressure from unions that didn’t like certain provisions relating to the way employee relations would be handled in the department. Thus, there were clear differences between Cleland and his opponent, Saxby Chambliss, over how to respond to the threat terrorists like bin Laden posed. For years, however, the Democratic left has been peddling the myth that the Republicans committed a grave offense by “questioning the patriotism” of Cleland, who had been seriously injured in Vietnam.

Hillary Clinton is as ready to engage in this sort of posturing as anyone. However, she no longer has the luxury of pandering to Moveon.org, Keith Olbermann, and the rest of the delusional left. She needs to appeal instead to ordinary Democrats in Pennsylvania, nearly all of whom, presumably, are unaware of Max Cleland’s “bloody shirt” and any related psychological baggage. These voters probably believe it’s relevant to ask which candidate will best handle serious threats to our nation’s well being, and may well count bin Laden and his ilk among those threats.

The consensus among those who follow these things is that Clinton, though vastly outspent by Obama in Pennsylvania and despite her “faulty recollection” of her trip to Bosnia, has been successful in appealing to these ordinary Pennsylvania Democrats. We’ll find out tonight.

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