Monday, April 28, 2008

Clinton Tactics; Wright Is Wrong

I came upon this entry in World Changing 101 and thought it worth passing on--both the entry itself and the responses, all worth reading. I have to say that none of it surprised me. It just confirmed my own response to what seem to me despicable--and needless--tactics on the part of Hillary and her spouse. Not only is she willfully sabotaging Obama's chances in November, she is working hard to ensure her own defeat, should she be the nominee. A year ago--well, even a few short months ago--I was dismayed by all those irrational Hillary-haters. Now she is simply vindicating a view of her that I always thought to be sheer prejudice and distortion. I agreed with her about that "vast right-wing conspiracy." But not it's as though she has transformed herself into very worst that all those people could imagine of her. Has she been hexed?

I wonder what Clinton thinks of her new cheerleader, William Kristol. His op-ed piece in Monday's New York Times argues the "liberal media" are failing to give her "the respect she deserves." Kristol concludes that Obama "[is] happy to have fantasy debates with unnamed people who are allegedly challenging his patriotism. But he is not willing to have a real debate with the real person he's competing against for the nomination." "Will Obama pay no price for ducking?" Kristol asks, rhetorically--presumably referring to that single debate in North Carolina that Obama declined, after... how many already? The last of which was a farce in the guise of a political debate.

I'm sure that Kristol and his ilk are falling all over themselves in anticipation of a general election with Clinton pitted against McCain. They are counting on that history of powerful, passionate negatives to work in their favor. And as things stand now, Hillary seems to be working hard to prove them right.

I wrote in an earlier entry that Wright was right. Watching his dreadful performance yesterday, I have changed my mind. While some of the substance of what he has to say about the history of race relations in this country is incontestable, he seems to have decided at this point to use the unexpected gift of a national bully pulpit to wreck the chances of the first serious African American candidate for the presidency. His unnecessary, sneering mockery of JFK and LBJ, his snidely cute responses to genuine questions, his cocky, self-congratulatory demeanor left a very different impression of The Reverend Jeremiah Wright than the one I had before, from the Bill Moyers interview, when he seemed relatively modest and realistic. He seems now to be merely reveling in the make-or-break power he has undeservedly acquired over the presidential candidate, and the spectacle has become at once unseemly and depressing. Bob Herbert has it right in his New York Times column today. After Obama's generosity toward him, Wright's response seems particularly mean-spirited, short-sighted, and spiteful. I hope that voters in the next primary states will have the good sense and the fairness to ignore his toxic influence, but in truth I have learned to have little faith in the electoral process. If it's all about image and sound bites, Obama will have a hard time overcoming this new obstacle in his path.

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