When being just another politician puts you ahead of your rival

Karl Rove’s discussion of Barack Obama’s cheap (and false) shot at him certainly undercuts Obama’s claim to be “for a different kind of politics.” But Rove’s account also shows why people thought Obama might be different. The encounter occurred because, as Rove says, Obama and Ken Mehlman were friends at Harvard law school. And other conservatives who knew Obama at Harvard have recalled that Obama treated them well.
There’s no contradiction here. I take Obama to be a basically decent person who, other things being equal, will generally treat people on the other side of the political and ideological divide well, but who finds increasingly, as he moves up the ladder, that other things are not equal. In other words, he’s like many, and probably most, politicians.
Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has never shown an inclination to treat Republicans and conservatives fairly, at least not since before 1974. The contrast may help explain why Obama has outdistanced her this year.


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