Inspection- There is No “If Only…”
Anyone claiming that Hillary, and/or her campaign, have made no mistakes would be foolish; not only because even she has admitted she has made mistakes, but I suspect there has never been a campaign, a war, or any human activity minus a mistake, or two, or three or…
God knows Donald, and his campaign, have made no mistakes except… do I really have to list them?
In fact the ease with which Hillary, and her campaign, admit to mistakes could possibly be the biggest mistake being made this election. I guessing the concept here has been to admit and move on, even if there really was no mistake. I don’t think the concept is working, but I do believe that could be the concept.
One example is her apology for her negative comments regarding some, not all, Trump supporters. Now, during a campaign where I believe this has become the norm for one side, even I was surprised how quickly the apology came. Does anyone think that apology was accepted, or that apology changed anyone’s perceptions to being more positive? Do you think the comment will turn off people who already have doubts about Sir Donald, or piss off dedicated Hillary voters? If so, may I ask… how many Brooklyn Bridges do you think you own, and when do you expect those investments to bring in those vast riches you’ve been waiting for? (And waiting… and waiting… waiting… soon you’ll look like the bones left by Fry’s dog who waited for him to return in Futurama.)
By the way, why is it always the Brooklyn Bridge? You’d think; by name alone, there’d be more attractive deeds like ones that say “Golden.” Patriots might invest in NYC’s Washington, NYC area suburbanites in “Zee” bridge and only might make money when they bet which folks may jump off of it next. Hey, but who knows, I hear the state is even rebuilding it. How nice of them.
Maybe all you eager “stockholders” might see the buckaroos roll in yet.
And I repeat: “waiting, and waiting…”
Of course, when it comes to roughly half of Trump’s supporters, she’s probably right. She didn’t even come close to claiming “all,” and was rather generous concerning the rest. There can be little doubt that David Duke followers, Klan, skinheads, armchair racists, flat out racists, many militia-types, extreme right wing terrorists inspired by writings like The Turner Diaries, and those simply quite Nazi-like: all for whom media has desperately been trying to rebrand with the more user friendly term, “alt-right…” (Again, “how nice of them.”) …are certainly being energized by his campaign.
Of course right wing pundits, followed closely by purists on the left, eagerly swept in with various versions, “If only…” she had said something else, or simply not said it at all: and then followed up by the all too easy to make “perception” accusations.
Oh, and top that off with more yada, more blah, a sprinkle of yak droppings and a big old splash of camel puke.
Here’s the truth: politically, especially in an election year, there really is no “if only…”
One of the best, most current examples of this is the two day lull in us being told about Hillary’s bout with Pneumonia. Closely following that unfortunate event was a gaggle of silly goose comments by the usual jackals intending on framing it yet again with an accusation of creating poor perceptions.
This is easily countered with, instead of saying, “Why didn’t they release findings in two days?” …they had said, “Very professional folks! Making sure you know just how serious this was before prematurely releasing anything; in case it develops into something else, is very responsible. Otherwise we might be accusing her, and her handlers, of trying to milk the sympathy vote. Kudos for doing what’s right!”
Imagine now the avalanche of “if onlys” that would have followed if they had released immediately and it had developed into something else.
Imagine if they had focused in on ginning up hyperbolic concern and even tried to blame this on Trump.
Imagine if they hadn’t whisked her away and one of her spokespersons gave a speech on how hard she worked, how she cared so much she drove herself into heat exhaustion, then invited reporters to follow and report on every second of this “crisis;” essentially using this as an attempt to grab the news cycle.
Imagine if they had countered with over the top accusations if any of those options had backfired. And we know they would have backfired unless, well, unless you’re Donald Trump and the media has a desperate interest with constantly Monica-ing you.
I love the imaginary “if onlys” Most of the time not one “if only” would have worked. Many times those options would have been worse: the framing would simply have shifted to being negative in a different way; because pushing negative perceptions is the true intent behind so many “if onlys.” Please don’t even attempt to claim it’s kindly advice. The intent is to put suspicion and doubt into weak minded listener and viewer; people who have trouble doing their own thinking, people who would rather some pundit, or pol, “do their thinking” for them.
You know, like some of the followers of the purveyor of that catch phrase, Rush? I guarantee, after this, these Limbaugh worshipers will not vote for Hillary. Of course they weren’t going to anyway. Just like many Hillary voters, when they heard this comment, probably mentally unleashed some version of the catch phrase, “You GO Girl!” Those between most likely don’t trust either anyway. So where’s the loss here?
But let’s assume some of this is honest speculation. “If only” is the Butterfly Effect of the poltical world where following that alternative timeline would probably go wrong anyway. Those advocates who oppose a candidate, and talking heads who profit from creating controversy, bad framing, will find a way to do it. Since “news” is now entertainment-based, and big corporations profit from ginning up this empty headed gunk, you know they’ll do whatever they can to ensure people pile on.
Oh, by the way, I do find it the height of snide con-based rhetorical artistry when those who say “this creates the perception of…” are so obviously trying to create “the perception of.” And “two days?” Hell, most of the puppy dog media is sitting, obediently, waiting on Trump to release his taxes. Most never bothered to question the fact he never released any of these “amazing” facts about Obama and Kenya that his… fictional? …investigators had supposedly found so many years ago. Now there’s an interesting “what if:” “what if” the MSM were actually at least as focused on “what if”-ing the Donald as they are Hillary?
It all creates the perception of…
See what I did there? See how I spun it around and pointed the tactic the other direction? You can do the same with Donald Trump. You can do the same with any candidate. Obama didn’t release his birth certificate. But he did. Oh, that’s the short form. “That creates the perception of…” say those interested in creating exactly that perception.
I promise you, no matter what Hillary did: or any candidate getting a constant barrage of “if onlys,” does, that action, those words, will be too late… too early… not enough… too much… And so I repeat…
Blah. (With even more yak and camel condiments.)
“Creating the perception of…” should be laughed off the stage of public discourse because it’s a cynical, snide, barely disguised, way to try to “create the perception of…” It places on the stage of public discourse a claim that can’t be disproven unless we immediately run out and take a un-biased, non-partisan, poll, or unless we could run back time backwards then revise what was done.
Let me retract the first option. I think we can be sure that unbiased poll wouldn’t be accepted by the very same “what if”-ers.
Let me retract the second option. Alter the timeline and the only real rhetorical change would be a slight shift in the “what ifs.” After all the purpose behind “what if” remains: to create negative perceptions.
Hey, I have an idea! Let’s talk policy; talk about where Trump, or Clinton, or Stein, or Johnson, or… want to take the nation. Then let’s discuss how we each percieve their plans, not the individuals. Instead of framing the person in politically convenient ways, let’s discuss how their actual plans and policies might actually play out, where they might take us, or will they complicate our problems. Those kinds of “what ifs” I support. Those individualized perceptions I think are valid.
No? Too politically inconvenient? Requires too much thinking, too much maturity? Demands we listen to each other rather than demonize?
Yup. Yup. And a big fat… YUP. So I guess we’ll all have to put up with more, “If onlys,” for now. But maybe now some folks are a little wiser and can see through the constant drip of extra gooey “what if” guano.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all right reserved