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...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Willie Hortoning of Obama

People frustrated with the lingering Reverend Wright situation are now going into silly overdrive. They're desperately trying to beat the racist tom-toms regarding the Obama-Wright controversy.

As if Mrs. Ben Bradlee's incoherent appearance on Charlie Rose last week wasn't enough, now we have a Washington Post opinion piece by Shankar Vedantam asking if Reverend Wright is the "Willie Horton of 2008"?

You'll recall Willie Horton as the guy who did Michael Dukakis in, as far as Democrats are concerned.

According to them, it is these dirty tricks such as "Swift-Boating" and bringing up the spectre of Willie Horton, that sabotage a candidate's presidential bid, and never, oh perish the thought, of the ridiculous ineffectiveness of the politician himself.

This allows them to constantly make the same mistakes, Presidential campaign after campaign, having learnt nothing from them, but to point fingers at the Machiavellian shenanigans they so fetishise, rather than to examine, like a reflective body politic, their own failings (starting by having chosen the wrong candidate).

You saw this attitude most vividly in 1972, in 1988, and 2004 -- the three most meaningful elections, which were supposed to be "message" elections.

That is, they were supposed to have sent a message to Conservatives and its Republican leader that The People were not amused by the status-quo and wanted radical societal change, led by a change at the very top.

Guess what happened?

If Sally Quinn's (the above-mentioned Mrs. Bradlee) viewpoint is to be believed, the latest railroading of a fine man has nothing else to do but with his race.

"And a message of black liberation theology is basically Confucius` message of do unto others as you would have others do unto you. We are our brother`s keepers. Obama has said that many times. But you look at a lot of the white Christians, and we`re 90 percent religious in this country. Most people in this country are Christians, and you look at the Christians and they go to their white churches. And you wonder how they can call themselves Christians and still look at other people as though they are inferior."

I'll let you ponder how she arrived at the conclusion that the Golden Rule sprung from Confucius. But contrast this to what Mr. Vendatam quotes:

"What this Wright guy has done is tagged Obama as a black guy," Neuberg added. "He is more aggressive and attacking, and that engages in people's minds and that makes race salient.

If Neuberg is right, Wright might well be the 2008 version of Willie Horton, the black Massachusetts inmate whose case was used against Democratic candidate Michael S. Dukakis in 1988. Talking up the controversy, moreover, gives Obama's opponents a potent weapon: They can hook into voters' hidden fears and racial attitudes without ever saying a word about the radioactive subject of race."

Only to those who are voting for a man because of his race, because it feels good above all else so to do, can they imagine that race is the paramount concern of other voters against choosing him.

...and not his kryptonic choice of associates, and the nauseating anti-American rhetoric they (of all colours) vocalise.

By constantly putting this idea into people's minds, I suppose they are even trying to bypass Reverend Wright all together, and prepare the narrative already. The failure of Senator Obama's election as US President will be due to race and these nasty dirty little political tricks, they'll say. In effect, he'll have been his own Willie Horton, without any need of an assist from crazed pastors.

I have news for you, guys.

Reverend Wright is only relevant because he made a spectacle of himself in so bald-faced, malevolent a way, as to make it an impossibility for anyone to cover his antics live. He was the best show in town for 3 days, without a single solitary Republican having been behind it.

This is not one you're going to be able to pin on Rove or Haldemann.


Put the Blame on the Dame
Confederate Yankee Says Dukakis Never Had Willie Horton to Dinner
Hot Air Reminds Readers Al Gore Brought Up Horton First

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  • "if Reverend Wright is the "Willie Horton of 2008"?"

    Well, in a way Dems will never acknowledge, perhaps.

    Remember that the Horton snowball was first launched in the Democratic primary... by Al Gore.

    Al certainly had his moments before Clinton cost him the presidency by making him walk the plank for him.

    By Blogger JSU, at Mon May 05, 02:02:00 am GMT-4  

  • Remember that the Horton snowball was first launched in the Democratic primary... by Al Gore.

    I knew the first reply would mention that, JSU!

    Absolutely true, it is too.

    Al certainly had his moments before Clinton cost him the presidency by making him walk the plank for him.

    I remember reading that President Clinton used to shake his head in utter disbelief at the lack of INNATE political instincts VP Gore had, and certainly these show up most in a national campaign.

    This is something I do not see in either Senators McCain and Clinton, but I do see very much in Senator Obama.


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon May 05, 02:09:00 am GMT-4  

  • Ahem, I'd also like to pre-empt anyone's reply about the Golden Rule/Confucius sentence.

    I am not suggesting The Golden Rule comes solely a Christian tradition. Obviously, we all know that many religions and cultures had the same admonition.

    But for people of Sally Quinn's mindset, it's almost as if nothing positive could ever be attributed to the religion of Christ (both past and future).


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Mon May 05, 02:21:00 am GMT-4  

  • Excellent post Victoria! This year it looked like the Dems could not lose the White House; now it is looking like they probably will not win it! When they finally nominate Obama, many, many Democrats will vote for McCain! (This will not just be thanks to Rev Wright, but also thanks to Michelle Obama!)

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Mon May 05, 08:18:00 am GMT-4  

  • What angers me the most about this is that nation is ill served by having one party actually trying to win elections and the other party holding a gun to its own head and demanding concessions from others or they'll shoot!

    It would be a disaster if the "winning" party would start to feel they could nominate ever more fringe candidates (who might placate internal party members) because they feel the other side will self-destruct anyway!

    win first, be morally pure later...

    By Blogger Ron, at Mon May 05, 12:37:00 pm GMT-4  

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