Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quotes From Around Yon Blogosphere

Lyndon Johnson once observed that the two things that make politicians more stupid than anything else are sex and envy.

Even as Governor Spitzer struggled with the sex story on Tuesday, the Clinton campaign struggled with the envy story.


The Clinton campaign's decision not to reject or denounce Geraldine Ferraro's racial gaffe strikes me as a conscious and deliberate one. The Obama campaign saw Samantha Power resign for a less offensive remark. But Ferraro is now on the networks and airwaves amping up the volume, and Clinton, in classic passive-aggressive mode, is merely "disagreeing." Isn't this obviously about Pennsylvania? Isn't this classic Rove-Morris politics - to keep designating Obama a beneficiary of affirmative action and Clinton a victimized white woman in order to racially polarize a primary where Clinton needs white ethnic votes?


Geraldine Ferraro is still involved in kicking ass but, as the kicker, she may be hitting the wrong target.


A campaign that degenerates into name-calling and mud-slinging will hurt Mr Obama more than it does Mrs Clinton. He has campaigned on messages of "change" and "hope" so he faces an unenviable choice in the long run-up to Pennsylvania. If he lets the Clinton team fling the brickbats without retaliation she may set the tone of the campaign. But respond in kind and his message of a new politics is tarnished. Even though he is behind there in the polls, Pennsylvania cannot come soon enough for Mr Obama.


If Obama is indeed well positioned in this campaign primarily because he is black, why is it that no black has ever achieved this position before?


I have no idea how Obama would be regarded if he were white. (He might be regarded as this generation's Jack Kennedy; the two have a similar quickness, youth, charisma, and capacity for humor.) But for any successful politician, there are many necessary conditions for their success. Would George W. Bush be president if his last name were not Bush? Would Al Gore have become vice-president if his last name had not been Gore? Would Senator McCain be a serious candidate for the presidency if he had not been held prisoner in Vietnam? Would Bush, Gore, or McCain be where they are today if they were African-American or Hispanic? (What kinds of questions are these?)


Americans, to some great extent, have internalized this cartoonish idea that politicians ought to be policy-making and policy-enforcing robots, but they almost never seem to bring the hammer down unless a politician errs in some extremely frivolous way.


The prime movers of both political parties have long tried to game the presidential nominating process—not only to choose their eventual winner, but also to pick their November opponent. And in this landmark election without incumbents, the media wing of the Republican Party, in particular, has quite visibly been playing that game. Right-leaning pundits for months now have very openly not just called for Hillary Clinton's head, but also coddled and promoted Barack Obama, salivating over the prospect of facing him in November.


Now some people say that [David] Vitter and [Eliot] Spitzer are hypocrites. Vitter has been a crusader for family values and Spitzer prosecuted prostitution rings with the same zeal that has now been loosed on the prostitution ring he patronized, reportedly even at the time he was breaking up other rings that apparently withheld their services from him. But as I have said before, hypocrisy is not necessarily a bad thing. Ted Haggard recognized that that having meth-fueled sex with a gay prostitute was wrong, which is far superior to having meth-fueled sex with a gay prostitute and thinking it was a good thing. Spitzer and Vitter recognize more than anyone how terrible it is that the loose sexual mores of our time have driven them to seek the succor of prostitutes. They know first-hand what it is like to be the victims of the sexual immorality that is all around us and because of that they have made it their life's work to try to prevent other men from making the same mistakes they have. Shouldn't that count for something?


John McCain has now made his position clearer on John Hagee: He stands by Hagee's support, even if his words have created the "impression" of being anti-Catholic.


Barack Obama has a big problem here. Sure, he’s winning a lot, but they’re just little states, like Maryland, Washington and Illinois. Hillary, Hillary is winning all the big states and everybody knows that if you win the big states in the party primary, you automatically win them in the general election. For example, did you know that the Democrat who won the Texas primary went on to win Texas in the general election in every one of the last eight elections? Therefore, Hillary will naturally win Texas in the general election. Now I’m not saying that Hillary Clinton doesn’t face some challenges, after all, John McCain won Texas in the Republican primary, which means by the same logic McCain will also win Texas in the general election. And folks, thanks to electronic voting, that might be possible. As for the states that neither Hillary nor McCain won in the primaries, I assume they will simply cease to exist. Now, the Obamamaniacs out there are saying, “Oh but Stephen, he won 26 states to her 16; he’s leading in the popular vote.” But, it’s not how many votes you get, it’s the geographic boundaries that contain those votes. Getting ten million votes in one state is way better than getting twelve million votes split between 2 states. So if Obama wants to compete, he’s going to have to win some big states, but there’s only one big states left: Pennsylvania. So his only chance here his only chance is to start making big states out of the small states he’s already won.


Cartoon by Pat Oliphant/Universal Press Syndicate


Anonymous said...

I run a blog that is aimed at the urban crowd and as a black man I'd like to go on record saying I don't think Geraldine Ferraro is racist at all. At least not in the way we generally think of a racist. She see Barack being black as an advantage and not a disadvantage. In a way she is right. His race does get him noticed but in all honesty it is not going to help him get elected at all. One of the other writers over at Highbrid Nation says Geraldine Ferraro is evil not racist, lol. He might not be too far off.

Shaun Mullen said...

Hi Mike:

Just to be clear, I have avoided characterizing Ferraro's statement as being racist. The thoughts of the people whom I cite in Quotes Around the Blogosphere are theirs and not mine. I frequently disagree with them but attempt to present a range of opinion.

I do think Ferraro's initial remarks and subsequent piling on where intentionally divisive, and that is enough for me.