Saturday, March 15, 2008

Deep Divisions

This post has been brewing in the back of my mind for awhile and events the other day finally pushed it up to the top. A political friend of mine got pretty roughly handled on a Democratic friendly site. I do not happen to agree with his choice of candidates and for good reasons. I don't back up an inch on what I have to say about the candidate, but my friend is a highly placed political operative who has demonstrated to my complete satisfaction a sense of responsibility and ethical behavior. One who deserves to be treated with respect no matter that I oppose his candidate. If that candidate has been guilty of poor behavior you would not expect one of her team to trumpet that, and if that person believes it is a tempest in a teacup you would not expect him to issue a mea culpa. You could rightfully expect a polite defense of the candidate, that is what was there. This person is not mindlessly screaming ****** at the other candidate or his supporters, his discourse was polite. This tendency is unfortunate; the candidates are making whatever rhetoric they are; but their Internet supporters are insulting each other at every turn. A good deal of what is attributed to one candidate or the other is actually generated by free lance supporters. And the screaming ensues.

I've heard a bit about Taylor Marsh's site and at some times in the past I'd read some of her stuff so I went and looked. (you can Google her site, I'm not going to give her link credibility) Her rhetoric is pretty heated, inflammatory even. There is some plain junk, but mostly it is her spin with heat. I'm seldom accused of understatement, myself. It is very candidate partisan stuff that I don't find particularly good analysis, but it's not just junk. The comments section is another story altogether. I took the last 30 posts regarding the presidential candidates and found maybe 5 that did not flat out refuse to vote for Obama or to vote McCain if Obama stole the election. The Internet isn't a good measure of public attitude, but the rhetoric was rude and very angry. There was not one proObama post in those 30. Something is afoot.

One of my regular stops is Balloon Juice; John Cole doesn't like Hillary and gets a tad heated. The comments section gets a bit more heated. I haven't bothered to do a count considering the multiple posts from each commenter, but the proHillary segment is under 10%. They are not nearly as angry on the whole as Taylor's crowd, but they are distinctly unhappy and they don't get treated with kid gloves, either. There are a number of posters who will not vote for Hillary, though it is still a minority. Again much of the heat surrounds some things of dubious provenance.

I am not a fan type, I do not engage in messianic thinking to begin with and I particularly do not do so with politicians. I have at least one specific reason to be unhappy with both candidates; they both completely and utterly stink in regard to the 2nd Amendment and that is no small deal to me. I also think it speaks to an authoritarian mind set that I don't like. It should be clear that I am not a fanboy. I do not now, nor have I ever bought into the 90s rightwing Hillary hate agenda. I also don't buy into the idea that her persecution by the Republicans gives her a pass on the actual smelly crap she got up to. Those behaviors were never acknowledged as lacking by her nor has she ever shown any indication or regretting them sufficiently to not engage again. Obama's dealings with Rezko show some bad judgment in associations, at least. Obama has been pretty slow to deal with his minister's rhetoric. Frankly, taking Christ's words and measuring the US against them leaves me in serious doubt that "Bless" is the word god would use, but I'm not running for President in a country that makes Religion some kind of test.

I cannot take anything I've heard from the Obama campaign and turn it into opportunistic divisive politics. It would, in fact, be stupid politics for him to do it; there is no payoff in it. It would undercut his biggest campaign appeal. I have not heard it from the campaign does not mean I have not heard it at all. There is a complete difference between what official supporters of a campaign say and what joe schmoe has to say on the Internet. I have not the least difficulty finding some real serious problems with very official Clinton behaviors. If these analyses are at all subjective, they are that in a very small degree. I check things pretty closely before I react to them, and quite frankly I would rather give a Democrat the benefit of doubt. Republicans have not earned that.

I do not have time nor the patience to catalogue the blunders of two campaigns and analyze them in one place. I will take one Clinton piece to use to show that some of this stuff is just overheated reaction by both sides. At a point in this contest it became a silly point that there was a dream team, utter nonsense for the Obama camp at least. Where it actually started I'm unsure, but the media made something of it. The Clinton campaign didn't just pooh pooh the idea; Hillary went as far as to call it something to consider with her at the top. The Obama campaign pointed out that they were leading the delegate race. It is standard politics to diminish your opponent and it is, in that, an insult. It is an insult of the minor sort, it isn't fear, it isn't race, it is I'm best and you're not. That would seem to be the entire point of their contest. It is an assertion that is entirely subjective and it is entire silliness and it is entirely a part of politics. Just as the reaction of 'that's silly we're leading' is also a minor insult and also the way to play it. The messianic thinkers immediately go nuts over the entire thing. Damn people, even if this whole campaign had been pretty polite; it still is not tiddly winks and there are going to be pokes and jabs. It is a part of the process to put candidates under stress and see how they perform. Getting your knickers in a knot over this stuff diminishes the real gaffes.

This exercise is not intended to diminish the import of various things that have happened. It is not intended to indicate that this is not a divisive contest, it certainly is. This is intended to get people to separate the wheat from the chaff and know what is actually going on. If we're going to kick this Party this hard we have a responsibility to not do it on the basis of nonsense. Oddly enough, a year that should be a bonanza for the Democratic Party may be its undoing.


KISS said...

Transparency ala Bubba. Hillary will not devulge her past and present earmarks. She will in the future devulge these..ya, when when fleas shun dogs.
From Spin Cycle: "Without torturing the details, the one thing we learned is that she plans to be absolutely transparent about stuff she hasn't done yet. Per spokesman Phillippe Reines: "We are now going above and beyond...the common practice on Capitol Hill and releasing all of our requests going forward."
Everthing about Hillary is in the future never what has been in the past, She learned this from Billy the great denile artist.

Chuck Butcher said...

If I had ever found Hillary Clinton to be transparent or straight dealing I would not have the obvious problem I have with her. I think NY likes her real well as Senator and I'd be real happy for them to continue to like her - in that role.