"Recount" And Rewriting Reality, With Poisoned, Calculated Rhetoric For June (Part Two)
By Omar P.L. Moore/May 27, 2008
This editorial was supposed to end right after the Tom Petty quote -- but it doesn't because of the following now widely-reported event that unfortunately makes this editorial a longer and more discomforting read.
Why, you may wonder?
Well, because more horrific and disturbing is this Popcorn Reel Political Editorial's new and alarming postscript: in comments last Friday Senator Clinton attempted to utilize fear again by tapping into the most hateful and basest recesses of those perverse souls in America who would secretly or openly wish for the premature end of the life of any presidential candidate or any person. Some in the country mask their desire for such a fate by saying that they are concerned for the safety of Senator Barack Obama. In any event, during a stop in South Dakota on Friday, May 23, Senator Clinton, in trying to dispel the idea that she should end her campaign, said that "my husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."
Why would one have to mention the late senator's untimely demise when answering a question about why it wouldn't be prudent to drop out of a race that is mathematically impossible to win? Why would it be necessary for Senator Clinton to do this and conjure up by strong implication the idea that Senator Obama himself could be at risk for his own physical safety? Why was the word "assassination" even uttered by her, especially when Robert F. Kennedy, also a New York senator years ago, wasn't even in the lead at the time running for president when he was felled at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968? The sheer gall of these comments -- which Senator Clinton has since weakly "apologized" for -- are all the more sinister and offensive, especially since she had made similar comments in March and earlier this month -- on precisely three other occasions in the last three months, according to Keith Olbermann, who gave the senator a piece of his mind on Friday and to Ben Smith of Politico.
Some of Senator Clinton's supporters and defenders insisted that she was "tired" when she spoke on Friday and uttered the word "assassination". But was Senator Clinton also tired when she uttered the same "assassination" remarks in an interview with Time Magazine on March 6 of this year? (It turns out the only ones who were tired were the mainstream press, which amazingly but not surprisingly failed to sound the bugle and did not trumpet or repeat the senator's offensive and deeply troubling remarks in the magazine as a national news story.)
Was Senator Clinton "tired" when she made very similar comments (albeit without the word "assassination" included) twice on May 7 of this year?
A tired commander-in-chief is not what one would want in troubled times like these, neither at 3 a.m. nor otherwise.
Senator Clinton's remarks about the late Robert F. Kennedy are especially disturbing, especially when considering what she said on The Exchange with Laura Knoy on October 11, 2007 in response to a question about trying to stop the mudslinging and attack politics of the 1990's, politics lobbed primarily by the Republican party. Senator Clinton, who on Ms. Knoy's show that day said she had had enough of the attack politics from Republicans, also said that "it's not been fun being on the receiving end of it for all of these years." Most telling though, was what Senator Clinton said next: "I never attack first. I want to run a positive campaign. I have been laying out my policies, I've been talking about what I will do as president, but I will also not stand by and watch me or any other Democrat attacked. And therefore we will wage a vigorous campaign . . . The only way to stop [attack politics] is by defeating it. We did it in '06 when despite their best efforts to raise the fear card again, America didn't buy it. And we will do it again in '08," she said (at the 40 minute and 56-second mark of the interview with Laura Knoy of New Hampshire Public Radio.)
Prophetic quoted words indeed. Ironic words indeed, from the senator who this month talked about a USA Today article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me." The same Senator Clinton who in March said on "60 Minutes" that Senator Obama was not a Muslim, "as far as I know." The same senator who neither condemned nor rejected Geraldine Ferraro's comments on Obama being "lucky" to be black during the same month.
Senator Clinton's latest comments, a close and dear friend said to me recently, are tantamount to former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee -- who also was a mathematical impossibility but on the Republican side against now-presumptive presidential nominee Senator McCain -- saying that he should not drop out of the race against the Arizona senator because Mr. McCain's much-reported cancer treatments and age (71 years old) make him a possible liability in that thing called life. Mr. Huckabee didn't say anything unbecoming of the man whom he may well find himself as a running mate with this summer, but two Fridays ago Mr. Huckabee did say something as atrocious, in fact much more so than Senator Clinton did regarding Senator Obama when during Mr. Huckabee's May 16 speech before the National Rifle Association in Kentucky at its annual meeting, in an ad lib response to a loud noise that occurred backstage, Mr. Huckabee said: "that was Barack Obama -- he just tripped off a chair. He's getting ready to speak, and somebody aimed a gun at him and he, he dove for the floor." Mr. Huckabee, who like Bill Clinton just happens to be a former governor of Arkansas, apologized shortly afterwards for saying something so callous, in jest or otherwise. The mainstream press was virtually silent about Mr. Huckabee's remarks, uttered just a week before Senator Clinton's.
But at least Mr. Huckabee apologized.
At a time when Senator Ted Kennedy, who earlier this week was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor and is also an Obama supporter -- the prospective Democratic presidential nominee stood in for the ailing Massachusetts senator and delivered the commencement remarks at Wesleyan University -- Senator Clinton's comments are of profound and deep insensitivity to the Kennedys to whom she passively "apologized" -- and of extreme offense to Senator Obama and to his wife and two daughters, to whom she has not apologized as of the initial publication of this editorial. Senator Clinton has said a litany of offensive things to, or at, her fellow Democratic opponent Senator Barack Obama, whether directly or indirectly, throughout the primary campaign. Though the late senator Kennedy's son, a Clinton supporter, rose to the Senator Clinton's defense last Friday, there was a deafening silence from the New York senator's camp.
Lest film not be mentioned amidst the politics, Emilio Estevez chronicled the late senator Kennedy in the film "Bobby" back in late 2006. (And just last month saw the 4oth anniversary of the tragic end to the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- and Senator Clinton had on Martin Luther King Day this year diminished the importance of Dr. King's work by saying that the civil rights leader's dream was still just that until president Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964.) And while Chris Rock may have had satirical "fun" with the assassination of himself as he played a fictional president in 2004 with his film "Head Of State", surely Mr. Rock would conclude that these latest comments from the senator of the state in which he resides were no laughing matter. And in the 2006 documentary film "Death Of A President", which contained a fictional assassination of current president George W. Bush -- a fictional assassination which was greeted by cheers and applause by two movie theater audience members during a showing of the film in San Francisco late that year was an utterly repugnant reaction to the killing of a head of state, whether mock, theoretical or otherwise.
Last Friday's debacle just goes to show that Senator Clinton, now in hyper-desperation mode (even according to one of her staunch supporters, David Paterson, the governor of the state she represents as senator) will say and do anything to become president. And that a once-smart, sophisticated and innovative senator has chosen to sink into a swamp in order to win over those in the country who would endorse and exhort such poisoned rhetoric.
Senator, have you no sense of decency?
Even within the grievous faux pas of her shocking statement last Friday Senator Clinton has continued to be dishonest to the utmost. Even in her "apology" statement she still blamed Senator Obama and his campaign as well as the media for urging her to get out of the running for president. In truth, the only thing that has been screaming out for the New York senator's exit is one thing and one thing only: the math that says she cannot possibly win the Democratic presidential nomination.
In fact, the only high-profile person whom has openly gone on record and said that the senator should end her run is former Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, who at the time was supporting Senator Clinton and had then just defected in late April, switching his allegiance to Senator Obama.
Granted, Senator Clinton "apologized" on Friday for uttering the frightening and fear-mongering "a"-word -- but given her history of at best ill-advised comments this year alone, the latest soft mea culpa is far too little and far too late.
"I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and in particular the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever," the former first lady said of her Friday remarks in South Dakota before the editorial board of a newspaper there.
The quoted language above hardly constitutes an apology. And hardly constitutes the lessening of the trauma where political assassinations in America are concerned.
The pain and the fear continue -- although it's just a matter of time before fear strikes out -- and I don't mean the film.
Video: Pundits and newspaper reporters, writers and anchors discuss Senator Clinton's comments on "Meet The Press", May 25, 2008
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