Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Political Update for August, 2008

Race and the election

If you had one bet to make about this race since Obama sewed up his nomination, it was that race would rear its ugly head sooner or later. You would have won, but who would have given you odds.

I try and be as fair as possible here. When I give it to one side, I give it to the other. And, its easy, because running for president means you throw out logic, fairness, insight and even your own personality and just try and appear as the image that you (meaning, sadly, your advisors) tell you will work.

By election day both sides have so disappointed me with their brazen unfairness, partisanship, false modesty strangely accompanied with a total lack of humility, that I wish we had ten other choices. I've even taken a look at Ron Paul's book Revolution and thought about him a great deal. If he had run as the Libertarian candidate I would have given him some thought (although I like much of what Bob Barr has to say these days, I have trouble forgetting his bulldog like partisanship during the Clinton years and cannot vote for him).

John McCain has been my choice for president since the 2000 election. I believe he would have had a better shot as a third party candidate then or in 2004 than any other candidate in history. He made his bed and picked his bedmates since then, desperately trying to secure his base on the far right, those he had deeply disappointed and even insulted in the past, at the risk of alienating the independents who were waiting for him. It is a difficult balancing act and leaves a lot of room for Obama to court those independents, and he has put on his best suit and showed up at their doors with bouquets. Suddenly pro-gun rights, possibly pro-drilling and who knows what else - pro-life (actually, that is one place he can't go).

McCain's lean right has disappointed me. Cynically, I just tell myself, well, who can believe him? He's running for president. When he wins, he will be himself, and, that is, by nature, a compromisor and independent minded. Frankly, I don't believe either of these guys. For one thing, among other topics, I sincerely doubt that either are anti-gay marriage in their hearts. Not because I feel they must agree with me, but because it seems to me that it doesn't fit their basic natures.

As well McCain disappoints with his negative campaign ads. I don't feel that they are over the top, although I have a fairly broad spectrum of what is fair. If it is true, or, arguably true, then it is usually fair. I just felt he is better than this and he said he would be.

Obama, not surprisingly, has disappointed me too. I find him very hard not to like. He is a good speaker (not as good as they say). He is charasmatic. He reminds one of Dean Martin when he does that little jog up the stairs onto a stage, just radiating cool. But, he has cried race and it isn't fair.

He knows he has to be careful in doing so because it might turn off a lot of white voters. At the same time, he has a base too and they are very focused on race (polls show this to be more true among black voters than white voters). So, he has not smacked down his supporters who repeatedly cried race throughout the primary season, slandering Geraldine Ferraro and both Clintons. Calling someone a racist who doesn't deserve it can be as bad as being a racist. It may be racist itself.

If Obama wants to point out that he is black or part black, I have no problem with that. If he wanted to say, you should vote for me because I'm black or half black and it will be good for America to show it can elect a black man, I have no problem with that either. If he wants to say that there are a lot of people out there who will spread falsehoods about me (that I'm Muslim), that I hate white people, that I am a Manchurian candidate, I have no problem with that.

But when he makes it quite clear that "they" (when he has been talking about the McCain campaign) will point out that he is black as a negative, then that crosses the line.

I understand why black men and women will still feel paranoid about American politics despite the gains they've made in the past half century. That is probably true among all minorities. That's no excuse for throwing out this card. Save it for people who actually are racist.

Columnist Bob Herbert, who shouted from his soap box as a New York Times columnist, that recent commercials by McCain, are racist, did Obama no favors among people like myself who are listening to him and trying to give him a chance.

Herbert argues that the ad comparing Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton because it will remind people of the white fear of black men with white women. The problem is that those two unfortunate women (and rich or not, I pity both of them) are the icons for undeserving celebrities. No one would have recognized Kevin Federline.

McCain is making fun of Obama's celebrity and there is nothing wrong with that. Running for president is not for the faint hearted. Obama and Herbert should both have more of a sense of humor. Complain about commercials that are untruthful. No problem with that and McCain has to take some blame for those ads already (claiming that Obama did not visit the troops because he couldn't take the press with him, for example).

But, Herbert's argument that the commercial where Obama was parodied as thinking he was a Moses type was even more absurd, and I cannot think of another word for it. Herbert points out that the commercial uses clips of Obama where he was standing in front of what Herbert termed phallic symbols. Again, he claims that this plays to fears about black men.

I saw Herbert discussing this yesterday on Morning Joe and they played the commercial. Obama was standing in front of tall thin monuments in Europe. Of course, Herbert doesn't mention that it was Obama who placed himself in front of these monuments in order to use their aura to his advantage. That is precisely the posing of which McCain is making fun.

Were I guest on the show (as I often fantasize myself, although I can see how the many cranky letters I write MSNBC would rule that out) I would have asked Herbert if seeing those images made him think of Obama having sex with young white women. If not, why would he think others would. I don't think anyone had that impression. Modern society has much better phallic symbols these days than tall monuments. Has Herbert ruled out anyone other than Obama playing a tape of Obama standing in front of Washington Monument? And why, Mr. Herbert, do Americans and Europeans build these giant phallic symbols for monuments?

Had the celebrities, or even on of them, been black in the commercial, would Herbert have complained that was racist too. Yes.

Ironically, as two commentators debated this, Chuck Todd and Pat Buchanan, on the next segment, I counted a dozen or more phallic symbols, that is, long straight objects on the screen. Another subliminal? Even the ornamental scrawl across the top of the screen could be described as phallic if you wanted to see it.

Of course, watching the various journalists on television, who take such pains to appear knowledgeable, talking about the monuments being subliminal images, was amusing. If it was subliminal, how can we see them? They are actual images, not below our sensory perception. Moreover, have none of them noticed the overwhelming evidence that real subliminal images do not influence people?

Of course not. Because, they are not as smart as they would like us to think they are. More likely, that is just me being bitter because they have jobs that I would love.

VPs

I not only stick with my 2006 pick that John McCain will be president (I hate it when real pundits change their picks based on the latest polls), but want to restate my long held beliefs as who will be vp choices.

I think both nominees will surprise us and the vp candidates will not be among those who the media are pushing.

On the Democratic side, I always thought that Bill Richardson had a good shot, and believe it still despite his having almost disappeared from public consideration. I have also said that Evan Bayh was a possibility. The fact that some mock him as a boring speaker is unimportant.

On the Republican side, I still think that former Maryland lieutenant governor, Michael Steele would be a good choice, not only because he has a pleasant personality and seems intelligent, but because he is black. Cynical or not, that might help McCain a lot. Conservatives like conservative black candidates.

I also long ago opined that former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee (where did he go?) and Duncan Hunter, congressman from San Diego, would be good choices. Forget Hunter. He's an awful national candidate, but still think Huckabee has the personality and humility to be a great vp candidate. He also doesn't mind wielding the hatchet, something he did for McCain even in the debates before he irritated him a little by extending his own campaign a bit too long.

But, if McCain could forgive Jerry Falwell, he'll have no problem with Huckabee.

4 comments:

  1. I think you are spot on with the Richardson or Bayh pick for Obama's VP. I think with Richardson's experience, he would be my choice if I were Obama but then again, Bayh could pull in Indiana and all those women who supported Hillary.

    As for McCain, I really think he needs Huckabee more than he knows. I am not so sure the South is a lock this year for the GOP if Huckabee is not on the ticket. I think he might drive away some Independents due to Social Issues but I think he brings a super motivated, young group of voters who proved during the primaries that the grassroots is alive and well. And with McCain taking public financing, that will be important.

    I also liked Duncan Hunter. While he did not do much running for the top spot, I think he would do much better as VP. He is solid Conservative and very common sense oriented.

    I also like Michael Steele and J.C. Watts if McCain wants to try and blunt the African-American vote for Obama.

    Last but not least, I like Sarah Palin's grit and fire. I think she is young and needs some seasoning but she might be ready and could help tremendously with women voters.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Joseph.

    It is hard to know what to say when someone plain out agrees with you.

    I'll look into Sarah Palin.

    Stop in any time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "Great topic & it has covered several points regarding
    subliminal messaging technology. It was fun reading your article. You might want to check out http://www.chargedaudio.com as they have a whole range of articles and programs related to subliminal messages."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous11:41 AM

    Have you seen the Jon Stewart clip about the Hebert article? Check it out on YouTube...quite funny.
    Go Michael Steele.
    -Don

    ReplyDelete

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .