The LuLac Edition #484, May 24th, 2008
PHOTO INDEX: THE LATE SENATOR ROBERT KENNEDY AND SENATOR HILLARY CLINTON.
I’ve been trying to process this latest Hillary Clinton statement since I heard about it Friday night. I had a busy night Friday working on some camera shots for another You Tube project, stopping by to see Mom at Heniz and buying gas for the ragtop in anticipation of the Memorial Day weekend. I’ve refrained from commenting until I thought it out and I’m not sure I’ve even done that precisely but here are my reactions.
1. Senator Clinton’s language on Friday is being attacked as insensitive because she used the Kennedy assassination as a reference point when responding to why she should stay in the race against Senator Obama. She has used the analogy of her husband locking up the nomination after the California primary as well as referencing what happened to Senator Kennedy. After playing her remarks over and over again, I saw someone talking about the month of June in historical perspective. That’s it, I saw no ulterior motive or a parallel between the death of Senator Kennedy and the threats against Senator Obama.
2. She looked tired, wan and maybe didn’t use the best words but I don’t think she meant to convey that she was hanging around “just in case” someone took a shot at Mr. Obama. Her choice of words were poor but what I saw was a stream of consciousness that was meant to convey a historical point, not a death wish for anyone. Senator Obama to his credit has said that all candidates get “careless” in their remarks, showing once again a great deal of class.
3. People of her generation (which I include myself in) know the date June 5th, 1968 just as my parent’s generation know the date of April 12th, 1945 when Franklin Roosevelt died or Nov. 22nd when John Kennedy was killed. At my grade school reunion last Sunday, one of the first things that came up was Bobby Kennedy’s death. It is something that we remember every year. Clinton even admitted that the Kennedys were on her mind. Bringing up Bobby Kennedy’s death was not wishing ill on Mr. Obama, it was just bringing up what happened in June, when the California primary usually decided things. The California primary brought Kennedy victory in 1968, Goldwater a win in 1964, McGovern a decisive win in 1972 and Reagan a big win in 1980 that all but decided those races. In addition to her husband’s win in 1992, you can see how decisive the California primary has always been. When Kennedy died, it took two months for another candidate to coalesce around the peace movement. Eugene McCarthy at that point was clearly not up to it and it wasn’t until George McGovern took the banner days before the convention that someone stood in Kennedy’s place. To me, there was a lot unsaid in her comments, I feel there might have been too many memories bouncing around in that boomer’s political head. Maybe if she had brought up those instances I have mentioned, she might not have been criticized so roundly.
4. The criticism. Senator Clinton responded to a question about some of the unfair treatment she has received in the media, some telling her she should leave the race even after Iowa. With the firestorm that greeted these comments, especially on MSNBC, it appears the media proved her point. Commentator after commentator grimly appeared on the network treating this story as if she spewed a bunch of venom and hate. Keith Obermann’s comments were particularly hysterical and made me wonder if he had a mix of vodka and dexatrim before taking to the air. It was a gaffe, a mistake and a poor choice of words. Unfortunately, it will put the final nail in her campaign coffin and most likely cost her the Vice Presidency. But in a way, it vindicates everything she has been saying about the boys in the media, especially the male broadcasters on MSNBC who were trying to show us who’s capacity for histrionics was bigger than the others.