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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Let's get real

So far in the interminable campaign we've killed trees over $400 hair cuts and bowling scores. The airwaves have been cluttered with words about pseudo-presidential seals, cackles and cleavage.

Then there were the kerfuffles over advisors' words about monsters and the political advantages of terrorism strikes. Today, we're into medicine with concerns about male anatomical surgery and the emergence of a pseudo-Dr. Phil to tell us we're a bunch of whiners.

Did gasoline drop to 99 cents a gallon when I wasn't looking? Will I be able to retire on time again because the stock market has miraculously restored my nest egg and my home's value has shot back up? Does the world no longer hate us?

No wonder fewer and fewer people are voting.

I stop paying attention to Jesse Jackson a lot time ago so his desire to politically castrate the presumptive Democratic nominee is meaningless. A gifted orator, yes. But he sealed his fate as a political leader 24 years ago when in another allegedly "off guard" moment he "slipped" in a conversation with a political journalist and referred to New York City as "Hymietown."

In fact, Jackson's poor taste comments could be the equivalent of a Sister Souljah moment for Barack Obama (although a Google search suggests it could only be the most recent!). Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign's trajectory rose when he responded forcefully to her remark that "If black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?"

Jackson's disrespect for Obama, for allegedly "talking down" to African-Americans, may only help Obama in the eyes of people who see the Illinois senator as too liberal.

Or for people who bought into Clinton's 2008 theory that Obama was simply another Jackson when he won the North Carolina primary. Or Clinton's contention that Obama "played the race card" on him.

I'm tempted to spend less time on Phil Gramm's observation that America "has become a nation of whiners" and it is suffering only a "mental recession." Gramm, after all, still holds the record of most money spent per delegate in a losing presidential campaign.

His remarks on behalf of John McCain's candidacy were truly unhelpful -- particularly when McCain had to deal with them in Michigan, where the meltdown of the US auto industry has created truly tough economic times and where Obama could face problems because of the Michigan primary brouhaha.

Gramm's refusal to back down (yet) certainly didn't help either.
"I'm not going to retract any of it. Every word I said was true."
Not so McCain.
"He does not speak for me. I speak for me. I strongly disagree. The person here in Michigan who just lost his job isn't suffering from a mental recession."
The stakes in this campaign -- economic, military, judicial to name a few -- are far too important to be sidetracked by this nonsense. Can we finally get serious and elect someone on the basis of what they say about the issues facing us -- and not because they seem like a guy you'd want to go have a beer with.

Remember how much trouble that got us into.

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Anonymous Joel Patterson said...

fewer and fewer people are voting?
Umm, even when you control for population growth--the voter turnout is rising over the past few elections.

Now, if you wanted to make a point that as media coverage of politics gets stupider and stupider, it's no wonder fewer and fewer people watch the nightly news or read daily newspapers--I think that point might be easier to support.

July 11, 2008 9:31 PM  
Blogger Outraged Liberal said...

I'll grant without a whimper than primary turnout this year was astronomically better. I'd need to do some work though on the trends in recent elections.

And I will definitely grant you that there is link between declining news consumption and the intelligence of the reporting :-)

July 12, 2008 9:23 AM  

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