The tactic is now well tested: A Hillary Clinton surrogate spouts something over the top and typically race laced about Barack Obama, Clinton looks the other way for a few days while the surrogate's snark percolates in the media, and then when enough mud has stuck, she belatedly issues a statement of regret, repudiation and rejection.
And so it was yet again with L'affaire Ferraro.
In a campaign when the news keeps coming 24/7, nearly a week transpired from the time that Geraldine Ferraro did a pretty fair Archie Bunker imitation in claiming in an interview that Obama had gotten to where he is because he is black until Clinton finally distanced herself from the reprehensible remark. In the meantime, the news media was aboil with the story, which the unrepentant 1984 Democratic vice presidential candidate calculatedly kept ratcheting up.
Ferraro has now resigned from a position on Clinton's finance committee but will keep on bloviating in the finest Gloria Steinem style about how unfair it is that a black man is upstaging the first serious White House run by a woman, Amazingly, Ferraro now claims that she is being criticized because she is white. (The victimhood thing is really getting old, gals.)
Meanwhile, a far younger and I daresay wordly wiser woman, Obama foreign policy advisor Samantha Power, also did the resignation thing last week after calling Clinton "a monster" in what was supposed to be an off-the-record interview, but at least apologized on her way out the door.
There is a default position for the serial attacks that Clinton's posse keep making against Obama with numbing regularity, but it makes her look just as bad: She just can't seem to control her husband and other surrogates. If that is the case -- and it isn't since she could have made it absolutely clear at any point that such attacks are off-limits -- what does that say about her claims that she has the managerial cred and experience to lead America?
I had a modicum of respect for Clinton coming into the campaign. I believed that she has been a not bad senator and while not my first choice, would be a not bad president. And Obama is certainly fair game insofar as whether he has what it takes when the red phone rings at 3 a.m., but not because he happens to be an African-American.
So it breaks my heart to say that while Power's characterisation was impolitic, she was right: Clinton is a monster.
Clinton is a monster who will tacitly approve any comment short of using the N-word that focuses unwanted attention on Obama. And she will employ any tactic necessary no matter how obscene or divisive in her lust for a nomination that seems to slip further from her slimy grasp with every passing day.
Clinton is a monster and that is truly horrifying when you consider the monstrosities that we have had to endure through over the last seven-plus years.
And you know what? Clinton's monster mash just might work. She could conceivably slither her way to the nomination and then on to the promised land that eluded Ferraro and Walter Mondale 24 years ago through attacks that arouse the racist underbelly of American society followed by belated apologies. Do you think it's an accident that so many hard-core conservative Republicans have been limbaughing over and voting for her in open primaries?
The beauty of this ugliness is that each time it is unleashed it is incumbent on Obama to fire back. And each time he fires back the focus shifts away from his message and what the campaign should be all about to his blackness.
Monstrously scary, isn't it?