has picked up on the McCain "How do we beat the bitch" incident that TPM Election Central first noted
earlier in the week, but get a load of the double-triple-reverse psychology that Katharine Seelye's piece employs
Her angle (albeit not a new one) is how the McCain people are trying to use CNN's report on the bitch comment as a fundraising tool
. It's a hackneyed GOP ploy: attack the messenger and your opponent at the same time. But Seelye sees it as just another example of the sort of thing all the campaigns do:
Several presidential candidates this year have tried to cash in instantly on negative publicity, seeing it as a way to tap into anger that their supporters feel on their behalf.
John Edwards of North Carolina sent a fund-raising letter after he was attacked by Ann Coulter, the conservative pundit. Mrs. Clinton, a New York Democrat, derided a newspaper article about her cleavage and then used it in a fund-raising appeal.
Are those comparable? Hardly. You be the judge.
But we also learn from Seelye that this whole incident could really hurt Clinton
because, you know, it's a reminder of how much voters don't like her
Mr. McCainâs attack on CNN also serves to keep the episode involving the hostile question alive and as a reminder that many voters view Mrs. Clinton as divisive.
Sort of a polite way of saying Hillary really is
The piece concludes with the sort of confounding logic that makes national political coverage oftentimes seem like palm reading in a circus tent:
At the same time, the episode may remind voters that many people have strong feelings about Mrs. Clinton and make them question whether they want to live with animosity and polarization.
So it's really all Hillary's fault that some crotchety old conservative grand dame in South Carolina called her a bitch. If Hillary wasn't so divisive (such a bitch) then conservatives wouldn't get so riled up about her (that bitch) and that would in turn make fair-minded people (like those of us who read the Times
) happier because then they wouldn't have to hear angry GOPers fouling the air with words like bitch.
See? This really isn't about John McCain at all.Late Update
: More on Seelye's conclusion that the McCain "bitch" flap is bad for Hillary right here