Friday, May 9, 2008

Touch the Face of Truth

Two great articles have washed ashore from the sea of media drivel.

Thomas Friedman, imaginative and insightful foreign affairs analyst for The New York Times, writes:

We are not as powerful as we used to be because… values of our parents’ generation—work hard, study, save, invest, live within your means—have given way to subprime values …the American dream…with no money down and no payments for two years.”

Much nonsense has been written about how Hillary Clinton is “toughening up” Barack Obama so he’ll be tough enough to withstand Republican attacks. Sorry, we don’t need a president who is tough enough to withstand the lies of his opponents. We need a president who is tough enough to tell the truth to the American people.

Who will tell the people? We are not who we think we are. We are living on borrowed time and borrowed dimes.

Then, there is Peggy Noonan, who knows how to touch the face of truth, writing in The Wall Street Journal:

This is an amazing story. The Democratic Party has a winner. It has a nominee. You know this because he has the most votes and the most elected delegates, and there's no way, mathematically, his opponent can get past him.

The Democratic Party can't celebrate the triumph of Barack Obama because the Democratic Party is busy having a breakdown. You could call it a breakdown over the issues of race and gender, but its real source is simply Hillary Clinton. Whose entire campaign at this point is about exploiting race and gender.

To play the race card as Mrs. Clinton has, to highlight and encourage a sense that we are crudely divided as a nation, to make your argument a brute and cynical "the black guy can't win but the white girl can" is -- well, so vulgar, so cynical, so cold, that once again a Clinton is making us turn off the television in case the children walk by.

The question "Who will tell her, who can make her go?" is really the question "Who will save the Democratic Party in 2008?"

…maybe saving the party this year will be women's work. Maybe the Democratic Party establishment, such as it is, men and women, black and white and all other colors, will rise up together. Maybe that would be a perfect rebuke to race-baiting and gender-gaming.

Hillary Clinton and I, as well as many of her strongest supporters, are old enough to remember all too well the catastrophic 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago, riots in the streets, name-calling and finger-pointing from the podium and the VIP seats. Then, of course, nominee Hubert Humphrey lost narrowly to Richard Nixon, while some Democrats stayed home to nurse their anger and unspeakable disillusionment (1968 was also the year of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy).

As my wife Annette wrote to The Wall Street Journal in response to the Peggy Noonan article, “Somebody has to have the ovaries to tell the truth.” Who will tell Senator Hillary Clinton she will not be President? Or even Vice President. Not majority leader or Governor of New York. She is committing political suicide. At best. At worse: the Jonestown Massacre.

Hillary Clinton hides behind an Associated Press report she quotes that "found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

“Hard working Americans”?

“White Americans”?

If it wallows in the mud like a pig, it may be a pig. If it squeals like a racist pig....


Tina said...

I'm a white American, an older woman, and a hard worker, but I have a mind of my own. There's entirely too much demographic stereotyping going on these days !
Reminds me of Brave New World, in which foetuses were conditioned in test tubes to say stuff like, "I'm glad I'm a Delta; Alphas have to think too much." "I'm glad I'm a Beta because Deltas have to do grubby work." And so on, and so forth. The color of one's collar (I just looked down at mine and it is a red, yellow, and green floral pattern!) is not one's political destiny.

no spring chicken said...

I agree with Tina on being tired of all the demographic stereotyping, but I also think that a lot of the public discussion in the campaign has been complicated by the fact that nobody dares talk about race, except maybe the late night comedians. But if we allow race into it, there's a demographic that she's ignoring-- and that's that black voter turnout, which was weak in 2000 and 2008 is going to be huge in November, as is the youth vote. Also unless Hillary Clinton's supporters are willing to vote against the interests of women, against some hope of health care solutions, and for the War in Iraq to go on forever, they're going to vote for Obama
This is not your father's Oldsmobile.

Joy said...

can you please remove me from your list - I have no idea what this is or how i am affiliated... thank you

Paw Paw Bill said...

Joy, Joy, Joy, I sometimes add names to my list on sheer suspicion of a brain. There has obviously been some mixup. I regret the error and apologize for any inconvenience. I will remove your name, as you have requested.

annette said...

There has been a reluctance to discuss race per se in this campaign. I think this is by design, and is a good thing. There has been much said about Obama as a "post racial" candidate." I believe this is the stance he chose and the one that fits him most naturally. The astonishing way that the Rev. Al and the Rev. Jesse have remained in the background (largely) thru all this deserves comment. I believe they have been urged to do so and understand the wisdom of it. Their stance (in the past) has been to argue the unfairness of racism in America, and to demand recognition of this. They have come before white America with the message "you owe me" and have in some measure hoped that white guilt might advance their cause. Fairly, or unfairly, most white Americans today aren't accepting much guilt. And this is why Obama isn't your father's oldsmobile. He presents himself as "I am one of you (white and black). This country has been good to me. You owe me nothing. We (black and white) owe future generations." NOT polarizing the races has been a huge part of his campaign. Unfortunately, when you open a discussion on race in America, you bring out mainly the crazies on both sides. And as the meelee goes on, even moderates tend to side up along racial lines as the crazies get crazier. Talk will not make black people whose lives have been harder because of discrimination disbelieve their own experiences. Talk will not make white people who have never owned a slave, understand some hip hop music with its violence and anti-white, anti-woman, anti-law message. WHAT MIGHT CHANGE THINGS, though, is a happening: the election of a brilliant statesman as the leader of America who just happens to be black. White Amercia could become better as people come to respect Obama's intelligence, competence, and decency. The consciousness of white America might expand. Black America could become better as people feel 100% accepted and respected. Black children might aspire to the halls of congress, and not the corridors of San Quentin. Obama has maintained a wonderful and delicate balance throughout this campaign as regards racial issues. And Hillary has tried in every subtle way possible to upset this balance. If she could possibly polatize the races, bring out the crazies and start the namecalling, pit blacks against whites...she might cut into Obama's white support. Fortunately, having played a big race card and a big gender card, she's about done and is going down. We can only imagine what squeaky clean McCain (well his wife says that) will add to the discussion. BUT, it is time for a clean, decent, intelligent thing to happen to this country. Obama 08.

Paw Paw Bill said...


Tina said...

Well stated, Annette...and Bill, do keep me on your list. :-)
I do know what it's about, and I like what I'm reading.


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