This edition of Inspection has been updated since the first draft to include my observations regarding North Carolina and Indiana.
I’ve been pondering a region; a gulf; a canyon so deep; so wide, that the Grand Canyon would be a skunk’s footprint in comparison. How fitting to use a skunk: because this same divide is far more odiferous and seems set on permanent spray mode. I, of course, am referring to the O’Bama/Clinton divide that still lingers despite cries of, “It’s over…” which have been spouted practically since the first caucus.
At least they’re a little more reality-based right now. Well, a lot more.
I know, its all BillHillaryGeraldinesWrightsBaracksupportersBlacksWhites fault. If you wish, take whatever simplistic slice you want out of that non-word and go ahead… cast your slimier than fish bait blame. Then leave me alone, because I find simple answers only satisfy simpletons with big egos and empty peanut shell minds. Truth is usually far more complex than this “evil vs. good” meme’ which seems to thrive inside the human cortex.
Do I really mean, “Go away?” No, not really. Some wonder why I go on debate sites and engage those I deeply disagree with; or even defend those who I am not that fond of. Why? Because I believe it’s the right thing to do. I enjoy it, I really do. Kind of like being on the receiving end of an old fashioned bully beating… only to be able to spin around and slam my toes into some far less than “intellectual” ranter’s exposed crotch.
If you haven’t guessed it by now, I’ve always hated bullies. Some might claim I should be frothing at the mouth about Hillary then but, frankly… as you will see, I feel “bully” would be over statement at best. But if “bully” fits, then Hillary is just more in your face. Barack is more “let others do it for me.”
Indeed: and this will enrage some, I don’t think “bully” fits at all in any sense. While I have had a few minor problems with what has been said by her, and those in her campaign, I have actually found the reaction more problematic: far over the top in relation to what was actually said. Indeed I have come to the conclusion that anything said will be turned into the most horrific construct possible by adding words, phrases and concepts poured straight out of the fertile imagination of the accusers. Yes, and I do mean the kind of fertilizer for the imagination: if it could be used for crops, would make you roll up the car windows if you were passing by a farmer’s field.
Since I enjoy such abusive banter one of the most happier times I have spent; net-wise, was on a site called Political Pulpit that changed names and, eventually, went dark. (Maybe a lighter shade of grey since its creator: David Allyn, still prowls the net attempting to at least respect other opinions, if not offering an actual home to them. Like all of us: he succeeds… sometimes. Surely these days of Barack vs. Hillary he probably feels his task with me is approaching Job-ian.) At the Pulpit: a meeting place for unlike minds… which if you think of it is all we really have, I learned and grew as much as I debated. This is a process that started in my family who drove Mom crazy arguing, but still getting along after the debate temporarily dies down. (“Can’t we have a peaceful meal once?” We eventually just read at the table and, when she complained, “What, would you rather hear us argue politics?” She usually got real quiet after that.)
Now I do most of my debating over at Volconvo.com. Except as of late I find myself giving off the image to some that I’m defending someone I’m not the biggest fan of: Hillary. Let me clarify. She’s simply not my kind of pol. But I don’t find her to be a vile piece of human waste, or even some conniving wench who will say or do anything. Too many of the portraits I find being drawn these days are cartoon images that only satisfy those who think cartoons are anything but a slight representation of reality. Like any human: especially politically driven ones, she has big problems. Anyone who has that much drive, and is willing to be a punching bag 24/7, certainly has some problems underneath it all. How they deal with their problems: take it out on those they disagree with, or pour it back into their work; and then endeavor to do better, makes the person, and the politician… and then affects the nation. Hence the Clinton administration. Hence Bush II. I’ll leave it up to you which one fits in which category, though I’m sure regular readers know my opinion.
It’s more all about the kind of candidate I prefer. My historical heroes, politically, are Eugene McCarthy and Barry Goldwater. They both said what they believed and were shot down for it. It’s probably best my kind of guy, or gal, has never attained office in my lifetime: they’d never get a damn thing done.
Those who might claim either Hillary or Barack are that type of candidate, well… sorry, I disagree. They’re both very talented pols in some ways, in other ways not. They are both alter what they say, and how they say it and even their goals, according to conditions and who they are talking to. Any Barack supporter who would claim otherwise must have had their headphones on Heavy Metal, and high, as Barack squirmed around the Wright issue. I fear that non-controversy made soap opera has yet to come close to “final episode.”
But even if they were “my kind of politician”: that is not what we need this election cycle. We desperately need anything, anyone, who has a chance of winning and will start running, walking or even baby stepping away from the all the precedents set during the last eight years. How much; how fast, which ones first, are almost unimportant. Even a little bit; turtle crawl speed, is better than staying where we are or going further down this dark, bleak, death and torture-filled road we are on. We desperately need someone who, when hit, will hit back: hard… even if the hit has to be out of bounds and unfair. In my opinion we have been run by an administration of bullies deluxe; headed by one of the worse bullies in recent U.S. history: and McCain has abandoned his straight talk express to follow same the yellow stained, crooked road, of Bush. You can’t win by just talking: as John Kerry proved. Being a better talker isn’t the answer. The most crucial thing here is winning: nothing else is more important.
Do I think one has a better chance of winning than the other? No, I don’t: mostly because of factors that have nothing to do with either of them like stolen elections and the media who seems content to enable the worst on the Right. Doesn’t really matter how many skeletons either have in the closet, or how much they’re hated… what isn’t there will be made up by Swifties. So let’s just leave it at I’m more than very nervous about November.
I was a Dennis supporter. Neither Barack, or Hillary, tickle my brain cells in the sense that, “Oh, boy I get to vote for…” Once again I’m stuck with voting for the less annoying, the less bothersome and the somewhat more palatable: a common experience I think most Americans loath… but I feel is simply a sign the process is flawed, and probably always will be; and has been, to some extent.
I actually am not quite sure which one of the two I find fits the “less evil of the two” profile… yet: although I came a tad closer after Indiana/North Carolina. Still the difference between the two is, and always has been, for me slight in this sense. If Barack had more meat on him due to being on the national stage as long as the Clintons, maybe I might. Anything previous to “national stage” is interesting, but doesn’t prove much. One can do a lot of marvelous things on smaller stages one cannot do: should not do on a big one. I know both aesthetically, and professionally.
But still the accusations flow… and not out of just one camp, or one group of supporters…
This week, on a thread over at Volconvo, I once again read that; because she was “the only one on the ballot,” Hillary claiming Michigan as a win is a lie; an example of dirty slime-filled tactics… well, I could go on with the usual barrage here but either you agree with them or, like me, you say, “Wait a damn minute…”
I shouldn’t place all the blame on the posters at Volconvo. I heard the same point I just mentioned being slathered over ears of listeners to Sirius Left, on the various sites I write for, and in other… more mainstream, media. Mike Feder was sub-ing this past week on Sirius Left and they: host and callers, were going on and on about her being the only one on the ballot in Michigan, and how the Dems were to blame for Florida. I called and explained that “the only one on the ballot” simply wasn’t true and that, in Florida, it was the Republican legislature who broke the rules: decided the primary would be early. (Yes, unfortunately, they do get to decide that in Florida. No one I know of has ever claimed that since Jeb ruled the state hasn’t been royally screwed up when it comes to elections.)
A caller to the same program later claimed I was only half right, but somehow never got around to explaining what half was “wrong.” Well, unless you accept “Democratic Party operatives wanted an early primary too for a while” in any sense proves my points “wrong.” If saying “for a while” the Democratic Party “wanted” anything means we should punish them, this nation would be throwing people in detainment camps/prisons for doing nothing wrong except maybe; possibly; according to others “wanting” something, and nothing else.
Gulp. Maybe I’d better back off from that point.
Gulp, maybe Barack supporters should back off from that point too least they become too much like the reprobate they hope Barack will replace.
The caller didn’t even bother to address the fact: absolute fact, that Hillary wasn’t the only one running for the Dems in Michigan. Maybe he didn’t know: after all Barack supporters have repeated this “no one but Hillary was on the ballot” fiction so many times I think they believe the lie is true.
“Lie?” This brings up a valid point here… since we know that there wasn’t “nobody,” but Kucinich, Dodd and Gravel too, how could I respond to those who claim so? Well, I could respond like this…
“Why are Barack supporters lying to us? Why is Barack sitting back and letting his supporters: his surrogates, lie to us? Is this the plan, to lie about Hillary and destroy any chance she has? And what about Barack… to let others lie for him… How filthy, how cowardly. It’s worse than Nixonian, it’s Rovian, It’s…”
I think you see where I’m going with that nonsense. I’m actually referring to how we frame the debate here: frame those who are in our way. Such framing has little to do with truth and far more to do with partisan agendas. Intra-party it can be pure poison, and please don’t write back pretending I think Hillary hasn’t done it too. She has. She just doesn’t claim to be following some “high road” while supporters do it for her.
Then we could go all minister on him. What, so many years and not even hear a whisper of “God damn America?” Not one hint heard that it had been said? Hell, I could even support to how his supporters seem, and I do mean “seem,” to serve as attack dogs while Barack” framing him as a “coward,” stays above it all. Has to be intentional, right? I could go on the web and blog, somewhere…
“Why that vile piece of human waste, at least Hillary and Bill have the decency to do most (Please remember: “not all.”) of their own attacking!!!!!!!”
Yes, using these examples, and many more I’m positive I could dredge up with a circus like “greatest of ease,” I could start screaming, moaning and accusing along with the worst of the Barack supporters. Since one poster started his comments out with “your bitch is going down…” wouldn’t be fair for me to use the same phrase only add “n” to it, if that kind of attack is “appropriate?”
But, you’re right. No, it isn’t. And way too many in the Barack support community… (I keep typing “Barach” instead and correcting, so an odd mix of notes from Bach and Burt Bacharach’s This Guy’s in Love with You keep swimming in my head, musically. I desperately want to drown either so I can listen to just one.) …don’t understand their over the top rhetoric serves their cause, and their candidate, poorly.
Now, here’s what I think is really happening…
We have spent so many years under the thumb of these tactics we have forgotten civility, we have forgotten how to fight and disagree without becoming Rove, Hannity, Limbaugh, O’Reilly… Even under the other Clinton: Bill, we had to put up with it because it was the same tactics used against him.
To make myself clear: no one is “pure” here. Not Barack. Not Hillary. Not the supporters. No one. And playing a game of “who is more pure” loses elections.
I don’t want anyone to switch from Barack, or Hillary… though I’d sure love if people would switch from McCain, that’s not the purpose here either. Of course, once again… many are dancing on Hillary’s grave and going as far as claim this to be “the end of the Clinton era.” It’s most likely the end of her bid for the White House in 08, and probably beyond. No matter what happens she’s still a senator and someone Barack or McCain will have to work with.
Maybe that’s the whole point behind this edition of Inspection. It’s a plea for all sides: please step back. Neither side has been saintly: and it’s always far too convenient to think your side is. Please think about the rhetoric you and your fellow supporters are using. And, yes, think about the rhetoric your candidate is using too. But, most of all, think more rationally about the rhetoric the other candidate is using: don’t attempt to do whatever one can to turn it into what it isn’t, or may not be. We will get through this. Whether we’re damaged to the point of four more years of disaster isn’t really up to either Hillary or Barack, no matter what either, or their supporters, says or does. It’s up to us, for now: we still have six months: in politics that can be a millennium.
Once we’re past election time it will be too damn late. All of this “it’s BillHillaryGeraldinesWrightsBaracksupportersBlacksWhites fault” won’t mean a damn thing: except we’re all screwed.
Barack’s Big, and Hillary’s Tiny, Win
I’ve never been someone with a lot of friends, and often people take a disliking to me for no apparent reason. Some days I wonder, “Do I smell bad, is there a curse on my family name, or do I have some fatal character flaw I’m unaware of?”
Then, some days, I realize that last nugget is true except “unaware” and that I don’t view it as “flaw;” as much as being as honest and fair as I feel I can be in any given situation. Being human I would never claim I’m always correct in my assessment, but of course neither is anyone else. Taking that position in life can be hell when political correctness amongst those who are close to you politically, theologically, or just “close,” runs amuck.
For instance: after the last primary cycle I have come to the conclusion that I’m pretty sure I really don’t trust, and possibly don’t like, Barack O’Bama… and perhaps even less than I trust Hillary Clinton: someone who has never been the highest on my list in that regard. Oh, I’ll vote for him, but that’s all. And expect criticism to keep flowing from the various PCs I visit, and my home Mac, however long he remains this high on the national scene. Despite my misgivings I do hope he attains his goal and far, far more important than that: I hope he proves me wrong. One thing is perfectly clear: any option other than O’Bama is pretty much off the table. That’s mostly just fact. The reasons why it’s “fact” I could, would debate: and have debated, with Barack supporters. But this is not why I’m typing this into this library screen right now.
To explain myself I’ll provide one: quite recent, example…
Barack and his supporters have kept claiming that he’s trying to “follow the high road.” While I’ve had a few hints that he’s not quite as high on that road as he claims to be, my real complaints have been regarding his supporters from whom I’ve read on the various sites I debate on… “bitch, c#@t, sl!t, whore, witch…” and so many variations on the Reich Wing’s trick of telling me they know exactly what’s in someone else’s head I’ve already filled my toilet mentally several times trying to vomit them back out. I don’t like it any more when “elite” is tossed around.
But on to my singular example… Barack’s most recent ad campaign ad during the Indiana primary has brought me to the point of seriously questioning just how much “change” he really wants, or if the claim that he wants to travel the “high road” is nothing more than pandering to those who would eat him up even if he slathered moose piss on him as long as he says he’d never do that.
On NPR’s Morning Edition, just before the primary, they were playing examples of recent political ads. They played Hillary’s ad first. Basically it was another “I’m the better candidate and the most likely one to answer the phone.” Every candidate says “I’m better,” in one form or another. To be honest, it wasn’t a very good ad in the sense of “effective,” in my opinion. But Barack’s, well it was damn strong and quite effective… and very damning. Ominous music. Snapshots of turmoil and tragedy. After mentioning 9/11, gas prices, the economy and the other various versions of eight years of hell the Bush/Cheney team has brought us, the tag on the end said that Hillary claimed she could do this better and then…
“Isn’t it about time we had someone we can trust as President? Isn’t it about time we had someone who will tell the truth as President?”
Maybe you believe Hillary is always a liar and Barack will always tell the truth. Maybe you believe she can’t, and Barack always can, be trusted: ever. That’s you’re right. Personally I would never even come this close to claiming either. But there’s one simple and obvious fact: this ad is not in any way, “the high road.”
The ad underscores a possibility I’ve suspected all along: Barack’s running a campaign while claiming to be on “the high road,” while his supporters do the dirty work. Hillary does her own, with the help of Bill and friends. (I have found most: not all, of what Barack supporters claim to be less nasty than… oh let’s say this piece which claims Hillary is intentionally courting racists. The responses are somewhat vile too.) In the mean time I find his supporters (not “all”) sometimes feel free to follow the lowest damn road they can find. Anyone who thinks a candidate can’t be held responsible for what supporters say is probably in for a pretty damn rude awakening come the Fall, just like Ms. Ferraro and Rev. Wright found out when their words were twisted into something they weren’t.
In other words: it’s already happening and political vampires who greedily suck on such vile filth haven’t even hit the main course yet.
To be clear: I’m not happy with either, but I would never vote for McCain. There’s far more going on here than Hillary, Barack or any nasty business between the two of them. I just wish Hillary, Barack, and their supporters would be more cognizant of that before they spew more accusations and hate.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over thirty years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all 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.