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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Fair game

This is nonsense:

Sen. Barack Obama ripped into a Republican ad today that targets comments made by his wife, Michelle, and called the GOP tactic "low class" and "detestable."

[. . .]

Obama was careful not to act as if he had already clinched the nomination, but he also tried to present himself as the candidate who will be taking on Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the fall.

The Republicans seem to have come to the same conclusion and a GOP Internet campaign in Tennessee has an ad featuring Michelle Obama's comments during the long Democratic campaign that "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."

[. . .]

"But I do want to say this to the GOP. If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because that I find unacceptable," he said.

Michelle Obama is not sitting on the sidelines just minding her own business. She is a part of Obama's campaign, and anything she says on the campaign trail is as much fair game as what the candidate says. Now, her critics can be taken to task if it is believed they distort what she says -- that, too, is fair game. But trying to cut off any criticism of her at all? Unacceptable. In that same interview, Michelle Obama was asked if it were true she had vetoed the possibility of Hillary Clinton being vice president, and she said, no, she had not. The question implied that she has a lot of influence on her husband, and her answer didn't exactly dismiss that possibility.


Mon, 05/19/2008 - 10:41am

That's unfortunate. I was sort of hoping McCain would be defeated because his policies are wrong, not because of his pill-popping, sugarmama, mistress-turned-wife.

But, as Sean Connery told us was the Chicago-way, if they put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue -- in a strictly metaphorical political kind of way, of course.

Harl Delos
Mon, 05/19/2008 - 4:03pm

It seems a shame that the GOP ads about Michelle seem to have an audio glitch.

Instead of it going "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country", as I heard it on CSPAN, the ad sounds like "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am (garbled) proud of my country".

There's a difference. You're proud of your kid from the day he was born, but when he darts into traffic and pulls someone to safety before the semi runs over him, you're really proud of him.

Yes, it's fair game to criticize what she's said, very much so, but it's NOT fair game to claim she said something else, and then criticize THAT.

Obama's central campaign theme has been that there's something wrong with the way we conduct politics in this country, and his opponents keep making his point for him. When Truman said, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen", but he was talking about the heat produced by the cooking appliances, not the heat produced by a molotov cocktail.

I noticed first that I like Elizabeth Edwards better than her husband. Then I noticed that I liked Michelle better than Barry. Bill is acting pretty strange these days, but he's still not nearly as vicious as Hillary.

I can't say the same is true on the GOP side. Barbara Bush's comments when she toured the stadium where Katrina victims were being housed, about how much better off they were than before the storm? Turned my stomach. Cindy "Miss Budweiser" McCain seems to be even worse than Theresa Heinz Kerry.

I had SUCH hopes that there would be someone this time that we could vote FOR, instead of just a bunch of lesser evils....

Mon, 05/19/2008 - 9:36pm

Harl ...

To make you feel better, the bad audio clip hides the adjective "really." You wanted that word and, by golly, she said it.

From Breibart:

"What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something -- for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I've seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues, and it's made me proud." [Please note there is a slight audio glitch during the word "really" and so the full quote has been included in this caption.]

Steve T.
Tue, 05/20/2008 - 2:22am

The only thing sillier than Obama's really odd objection in the first place is the cable media's willingness to "analyze" the "issue" for a whole news cycle in the second place.

Anderson Cooper on CNN is "examining" the "question" of presidential spouses as fair game tonight(!), complete with a panel of (not experts, but predictably) party spin doctors.

Wherever did Barack acquire the notion that a candidate for First Lady's political views are none of the American voters' business? Why isn't the story Obama's bizarre attitude? Is Obama's outburst sincere, and another example of his political naivete? If not, how are we, and Anderson Cooper for that matter, to account for Obama's inappropriate touchiness?

It is already becoming sadly clear, of course, that we're going to have a season of Democrat party spin which, instead of engaging when voters ask for more information on their candidates' less palatable beliefs and intentions, will try to deflect even the most legitimate concerns with the following vacuous and silly line:

"Well, Anderson (or whomever), I just think that trying to GO THERE will be a losing strategy for our enemies -- and what about this other person who did this other thing over here, Anderson?"

Don't let 'em keep silent in response to your real political concerns by mischaracterizing your inquiries as attacks. No decent candidate will feel attacked by voters who seek the facts of his or her politics.

So, after the spinners and party stonewallers finish lecturing you on what a losing strategy it will be for your vast cadre of co-conspirators to call attention to this or that political fact - be double-sure to insist they still provide the political answers you need in order to vote wisely.

Z Man
Tue, 05/20/2008 - 7:01am

I agree Mrs. Obama is a big part of the campaign and her comments are fair game. Not sure why Barack was making such a big deal about it, other than to warn that dems may go after Mrs. McCain, who has her own considerable baggage. Case in point, her tax returns, which she refuses to disclose. Does anyone not think these will have to be made public, especially after media pundits start to make this an issue?

Steve T.
Tue, 05/20/2008 - 9:23pm

It may be as Z Man suggests that the "dems may go after" Mrs. McCain, but stirring up anxiety over not-yet-disclosed tax returns may make them look mean once the returns are public and it turns out there's no there there.

This matter of answering real questions with anxious finger-pointing only underlines my caution above -- the dems, it seems to me based on recent TV interviews, have already rolled out an unpersuasive strategy, to be used when faced with uncomfortable requests for salient political facts regarding their candidates. And that party strategy, apparently, is to bring up somebody, anybody else and accusing them of doing something, anything else in a real time attempt to cobble together a false parity, between your legitimate query and whatever smoke screen they've just thrown into the wind in hopes of obscuring matters. One hopes voting viewers will be turned off by people who assume we'd ever stand for or fall for such treatment.

In short, when the subject is Michelle Obama, for example, the fact that Mrs. McCain will have to provide some information on another topic is a) NOT relevant and b) it is a DODGE that makes the apologist as well as his or her candidate appear all the more guilty of hiding something.

In short, voters should not permit themselves to be misdirected in this fashion, certainly not as a matter of "dem" presidential campaign strategy, and I hope pointing out the ploy this early will enable viewers to recognize the artful dodgers instantly and judge them accordingly.

We'll see where the real issues are once ALL our legitimate political concerns have been answered to our satisfaction.