Sunday, April 13, 2008

Haircuts, Drivers' Licences, Bitterness and Hypocrisy

Having read the various apologetics from Obama supporters in their comments to Annie Kenet's post earlier today, "Obama Rules" Broken, I'll weigh in, too.

Of course the current "bitter voters" story is dumb.

Of course Mr. Obama's comment about gun-toting, bible-clinging, bitter Pennsylvanians has been spun out of proportion and robbed of context in the uproar that has followed.

And of course it's unfair to an Obama candidacy that is about a whole lot more than one, ill-conceived comment.

Thing is, this is how the American political process always plays out.

These press pile-ons are ridiculous, dysfunctional, and the root cause of the triumph of incompetence that twice led the nation to elect George Bush as its president.

But pardon me for noting that Mr. Obama's defenders are sounding an awful lot like schoolyard bullies who've thrown lots of sucker-punches, but break into unabating tears after receiving a taste of their own medicine for the first time.

Nothing contributed more to Mr. Obama's January 3rd Iowa caucus victory than the manufactured silliness that followed an October 30th Democratic candidates' debate, when Hillary Clinton supposedly equivocated about a New York State bill that dealt with drivers' licences for illegal immigrants.

Of course, this was a local state matter, entirely out of the federal domain, entirely irrelevant to the serious issues affecting the well-being of the nation, and entirely removed from Mrs. Clinton's control or influence in Washington.

So where was Mr. Obama then, when the press savaged Mrs. Clinton as a vague, untrustworthy flip-flopper?

Ummmm... he was jumping on the bandwagon, hitting hard too, building momentum, and watching the votes roll in:

Hillary Clinton, in the recent Democratic Debate, was savaged by John Edwards and Barrack Obama for her apparently contradictory stances on immigration. She said she favored the plan by the state of New York to issues drivers licenses for illegals, but said it wasn't the best thing to do, but that it was needed to bring illegals out of the shadows.John Edwards attacked Hillary Clinton for saying two things in the space of two minutes. Barack Obama also chimed in claiming he didn't understand Senator Clinton's answer. However, when asked by Tim Russert where he stood, Barack Obama essentially held the exact same position as Senator Clinton.

Similarly, much earlier in the campaign, when the cost of John Edwards' haircuts rose to national prominence as an election "issue," where was Mr. Obama?

We know the answer.

He was sitting back, watching Mr. Edwards' candidacy be delegitimized and destroyed by a media narrative that repeatedly hinted at the candidate's "masculinity deficit."

And, of course, all the while, Mr. Obama was watching his votes roll in.

Let's face it. Mr. Obama's candidacy has benefited enormously from these previous media hit-jobs.

Now, it is he who misspoke, and it is he who is on the receiving end. Like it or not, this may just be the beginning for him.

In an ideal world, this minor gaffe would not be a big deal.

U.S. politics, however, is no ideal world.

These are the kinds of issues, regrettably, that seem to galvanize the media and resonate with voters. U.S. elections are won and lost on this silliness.

Mr. Obama did not rise to defend his adversaries when they got "the treatment."

And from where I sit, he can't sit back and reap the benefits when it happens to his opponents, but credibly cry foul when it happens to him.

That is just hypocrisy.

And America has a few too many hypocrites in office, already.

Bitter hypocrites, in fact.

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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