||[Mar. 26th, 2008|09:41 am]
When Obama called his grandmother a "typical white woman" that was a genuine example of mis-speaking. I'm sure he didn't mean to sound so dismissive. What he aimed to say was she had typical views, but the adjective slipped out of its proper place in the sentence and located itself elsewhere- and he was left with a mini-crisis on his hands.|
And when he announced to a flabberghasted audience that 10,000 people had just died in a tornado strike in Kansas- when the actual death toll was 12- that was- well- I'm not entirely sure what that was: he was tired, it had been a long day, he'd misheard something an aide had whispered in his ear. Whatever it was that caused the mis-speak, it wasn't anything that particularly redounded to his discredit; it wasn't a lie; it was just a little side-slip into the surreal.
I'm having greater difficulty putting a benign spin on Clinton's claim that she came under fire at Grozny airport. I know memory can play you tricks because my own memory is none too brilliant these days- but if I found myself remembering traumatic incidents that could be proved never to have happened I think I'd be worrying about my mental health. Being shot at is a life-changing experience; it isn't something that becomes a little fuzzy with time. Unless you're suffering from Altzheimers you know whether you've had that experience or not. Someone fired an air rifle in my direction once; it's indelible. No, this wasn't a simple mis-speak (I'm coming to hate that word); It was a construct, presumably agreed in advance between Clinton and her speech-writer- designed to big up her reputation as an international stateswoman and confer some sort of ersatz warrior glory- which would come in handy if and when she faces McCain. But it was stupid claim- because it was so easy for her enemies to check and falsify. Silly woman- she just went and swift-boated herself.
Politicians lie. It's what they do. I don't want to suggest Obama is cleaner than Clinton; I believe he's said all sorts of things that don't check out- about his relationship with that sleazy guy back in the hood, for example- but he hasn't yet screwed up the way Clinton has screwed up over Grozny. The thing about Clinton's mis-speak is it's so televisual, so meme-worthy. Already there's a clip on YouTube that says it all: first the self-aggrandizing speech, then the footage from the airport- featuring the reception committee she says wasn't there and the little girl she stooped to embrace. It's a killer, it really is- and if her candidacy continues it's going to get played and played and played.
As lies go it wasn't a bad one- it was a bit of puffery; it didn't start a war- but the trouble is it's not a lie that can be obfuscated by a lot of lawyerly talk. She can burble all she likes about mis-speaks- and all her opponent has to do is run the footage. There are no bullets, she doesn't run for cover; instead she smiles and greets and dawdles. Seeing is believing. Nothing but nothing can cloud the clarity of those pictures.
I don't know about the UK, but in the States race is still a highly charged issue, no matter how much people try to deny it (the right tends to deny racism in society, the left racism in themselves, and neither side is being honest). Imagine the uproar if a white politician referred to someone as a "typical black man" - enough said.
I really don't care that Obama's reverend might hold anti-American or racially controversial opinions, or that Obama himself is as guilty as anyone of stereotyping someone based on gender or race. After all, we all do it to some degree or another, and to deny it is the height of self-delusion. So I do not see these social gaffs (and that's all they are, I believe) as something that will have a significant impact on my vote this November. But from the standpoint of pure politics, Obama is not endearing himself overly well to the majority white vote in America, a demographic that, right or wrong, does not react well to either blunt national critique (it's seen as unpatriotic) or negativity toward whites (for the boomer generation, at least, it brings up ugly memories and fears of past racial discord).
The mark of a good statesman is partly a question of whether one can sidestep these potential landmines, and/or mitigate the damage. It will be interesting to see how well Obama weathers the storm.
As for Clinton - I think you're spot on. Her capacity to lie is no greater than any other person seeking office, but in the age of YouTube she should know better than to do or say anything that contradicts video. It feels as though this is just one more nail driven into the coffin of her candidacy, and it's getting almost ghoulish watching the media vultures hovering around the corpse. Something is going to have to give in the next month or so.
Point taken. A British poltician would have been roasted too. Difference is there aren't any black men or women within snatching distance of the top jobs in British politics.
I suspect Clinton has made herself unelectable with her airport remark. There's no way she's going to make us forget those pictures. Now's the point where she should conceed defeat and declare her support for Obama. The longer this process goes on the more damaged the Democratic candidate is going to be.
I'm just scared to death that all this foolishness is going to end with us getting another Republican autocrat in office. That would be HELL.
It is becoming more and more a distinct possibility. Notice how quiet McCain's camp is right now? Just waiting for the bloody victor to emerge from the Democratic fight, and then pounce.
It's a distinct possibility. McCain is going to be attractive to a lot of people.
That's what I am afraid of.
Our favorite candidate dropped out of the race some time back. *Darn it!*
I maintain that not all the voters have been heard from yet, and yes, although it looks like Mrs. C. will not win the nomination, these voters have the right to be counted. ALL the voters! Also, I have stated this elsewhere on LJ -- If there is to be a convention to select the candidate, then why are the media and others trying to decide it NOW? I still think that the two will have to split the ticket. Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama, whether they like it or not. They need each other. Independents are swinging almost 70% to McCain now, probably sick and tired of the bickering. Clinton supporters are threatening to vote Republican if Obama is chosen, while Obama supporters are also saying the same thing if Clinton is chosen. As the polls stand now, McCain is shown as beating either one of them by a margin of 5%, while the same polls show Obama ahead of Clinton by only 2%. So it looks like if the election were to be held today, McCain would win, UNLESS both Democrats were on the ticket, thereby rallying the support of all Democrat voters.
1960: Democratic National Convention. John F. Kennedy's acceptance speech for the nomination: "I NEED you, LBJ." - after months of bickering and dislike. JFK needed the support of the South and the West, and Johnson was popular there.
So perhaps the two camps should get together now and do a deal.
Tearing each other to shreds when they should be fighting McCain- it doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Race in America is a subject of which it is almost impossible to have an intelligent discussion in the political or media sphere despite constant calls for one. For example, witness the feigned "outrage" that resulted when Hillary claimed that without Lyndon Johnson, the 1964 Civil Rights Act never would have been passed. Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of history knows that this is true.
But Obama claimed that this was an attempt to "downplay" the importance of Martin Luther King. Talk about dishonest!
Yes, that's a confected argument. LBJ was an evil sonofabitch but- from what i've heard- he was passionate about civil rights.
So was Nixon (the guy who gave us "affirmative action"), and Spiro Agnew!
Nixon could have been a "great" president, if only......