Still Right to Fight

The Media May Regret Mobbing Clinton

Opinion | Sean Delaney | June 2008

Just back from several years in Vienna, The US looks strange indeed. For one thing, it seems that everybody in the US thinks that Senator Barack Obama is going to be the next President. But the Democratic Party, as well as the rest of the country, and the world for that matter, has forgotten about democratic process that is the democratic selection of the Democratic candidate. Okay, so the term Democratic appears too many time in this paragraph, but people need to be reminded that this is the process by which we elect officials in the United States, not by reading polls, a problem that Tom Dewey had in 1948 when he went to be thinking he had won the election  and woke up finding Harry Truman had just been elected.

There have been a series of so-called scandals involving Senator Hillary Clinton. The most recent was an interview, when she commented on how the Democratic nomination could last until June, as many have before. She mentioned her husband’s experience as well as that of George McGovern, who became the nominee after the probable nominee, Robert Kennedy was assassinated shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968 following his success in the California primary, by a 24-year old Palestinian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan, who said he was opposed to Kennedy’s stance on Israel.

The media, right and left, have jumped on this, condemning her for what they say was the suggestion of a risk that Obama, too, will be assassinated. Keith Olbermann, normally one of this author’s favorite commentators, has even gone so far as to say that whatever Senator Clinton says no longer has no bearing on the election, or anything else for that matter.

"With those words senator, you actually invoke the nightmare of political assassination," Olbermann said, "you actually invoked in the specter on an inspirational leader at the seaming moment of triumph for himself and a battered nation yearning to breath free silenced forever." Good words, perhaps, and eloquent. But misguided.

False offense, like false modesty is fundamentally manipulative, and make one want to shout out, like the Bard, "Me thinks the fellow doth protest too much." As ‘fake offended’ by Clinton’s remarks as anyone can be, everyone seems to miss the point. Nobody is really offended by this, nor by former Barak Obama’s recanting of a fake story about his Uncle, no wait his Great Uncle, being the first on the ground to free those imprisoned in Auschwitz, or was it Buchenwald.

The whole attitude is what is wrong, this venal game of gotcha that is distracting us from discussing the real issues, that include, war, recession and political competence among so many others.

It is said that if Europeans were to be allowed to vote in the next US presidential election that Obama would be the clear winner. If this is true, it is clear that they would be just as duped as the rest of the nation. Obama’s operation reminds me – a Chicagoan – of the Richard Daley political machine of yesteryear. As does Clinton’s. But this may not be the worst thing in the world; organization and loyalty, and taking care of the little guy count for a lot. But loyalty is also no guarantee of competence.

Do not forget that JFK – with few accomplishments to his name – was the product of a corrupt political machine, and do no forget that Truman – with a far better record – was extremely unpopular, even more so in his own party. And do not forget that Clinton’s husband clinched the nomination in June, as did FDR, and that following California, RFK would most probably have gotten it.

It seems that this powerful, smart, and experienced woman has no chance in the US media. They would rather say nothing but good thing about the young senator for Illinois (My own state) than anything at all about the experienced senator from New York. For the media, it is all over.

But wait, there is still democracy, even in this party, and nobody has won just yet, any maybe won’t until the convention. So best not count the fighter until she is really out.

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