Hillary Clinton used history to make a point, but her RFK gaffe provides a valuable lesson for those studying it: “There are taboos in presidential politics, and this is one of the biggest,” Libby Copeland writes in the Washington Post. Clinton has apologized for referring to the assassination in her rationale for staying in the race, but her comments “broke a double taboo,” because many fear Obama’s race makes him a bigger target.
“To raise the specter of a rival’s assassination is to make a truly terrible thing real. It sounds almost like wishful thinking. To be unaware that one’s words tap into a monumental fear that exists in a portion of the electorate—that Obama’s race could get him killed—is an unusual mistake for a serious and highly disciplined presidential candidate.”