Obama wins SC

Today was an extremely good day for the Obama campaign.

I am a little worried about Tennessee. After such a strong majority showing in SC, I think the Memphis vote is largely out of the Clinton machine’s or Herenton’s hands. But this state has a middle and an east, too.

Edwards should drop out, though he’ll probably wait until after the 5th. The vice-presidential nomination is his if he wants it. It would take one phone call. Well, maybe two.

That’s the last time I link or read the Times

Newspapers should not endorse candiates. At all. Especially two useless and dangerous politicans such as these. Clinton is good enough to veto Republican nonsense, but little else, and McCain will cheerfully attack Iran, start up the draft, and double the national debt in his first 100 days if he can manage it.

The “incandescent if still undefined senator from Illinois” is about to win South Carolina. Fortunately, the NYT editorial board can’t stop it with its little denials: “By choosing Mrs. Clinton, we are not denying Mr. Obama’s appeal or his gifts.” Well… actualy you are, by buying into her promise of beltway experience.

Paradoxically, every time we’ve elected a president inductively by their apparent experience level, we’ve gotten poor, uninspired leadership. I choose incandescency over definition. I’m voting for the brightest bulb in the room this year, not the one that’s been flickering the longest.

the new story

The media has created another storyline – now it’s Barack vs. Bill, the racial grudge match of the 21st century!

I was wondering when Hillary’s husband would enter the arena and play bad cop. So far, rhetorically speaking, I’m not sure it’s a great strategy for Obama to respond personally. Michelle Obama would be the ideal person to handle the attacks from Bill, to keep his sniping in the proper context – but I haven’t seen much coverage of her, or such a strategy emerging from the Obama campaign.

good writing day

I must have written about 8,000-9,000 words today, finishing off a running commentary on the post-resurrection accounts. It will serve as an outline for one of the dissertation chapters. Now all I have to do is combine that outline with about 6,000 words of citations and I’ll have a chapter draft. Jan 31, the first chapter deadline, here I come. I think I’ll make it.

H and I drove out to her sister’s house in Starkville, MS for the weekend late Saturday, giving me a reasonable uninterrupted Sunday to do nothing but write, and that’s what I did for almost 12 hours. Oh. Well, technically, it’s Monday now, 2 am…

the reverse spin

Billionaire insulted:

“As an African American, I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won’t say what he was doing that he said it in his book,” he said.

Talk about rhetorical maneuvers – here, Johnson uses one of my favorites, and one of Cicero’s favs, paralipsis, or praeteritio/occultatio, to refer to Obama’s cocaine usage. He also doesn’t finish his sentence (what would ‘we’ think about the Clintons, exactly?) – making for an attack on Obama that is content-free.

Obama is also, perhaps, a user of paralipsis:

“She made an unfortunate remark about Martin Luther King and Lyndon Johnson,” he said. “I haven’t remarked on it. And she offended some folks who thought she diminished the role about King and the civil rights movement. The notion that this is our doing is ludicrous.”

Obama went on to criticize Clinton’s interview, saying that she spent an hour focused on attacking him rather than “telling people about her positive vision for America.”

I love how he says “I haven’t remarked on it,” and then proceeds to do so. I’m not sure if an implied ‘yet’ qualifies as the trope, though it is certainly ironic.

Obama ‘inhuman’?

From Frank Rich:

Not only did Mrs. Clinton betray some (but not too many) hurt feelings with genuine humor, she upped the ante by flattering Barack Obama as “very likable.” Which prompted the Illinois senator to match Mrs. Clinton’s most human moment to date with the most inhuman of his own.

Pul-eeeze. Rich usually writes with great insight, but let’s check the tape.

Obama looks up and contributes mildly to what was, essentially, a poorly framed question by the moderator, presented as a joke and taken as one by Clinton. I’m not exactly sure how “You’re likeable enough, Hillary,” constitutes “sexist male behavior” as stated by Rich.

Was it because she called him “very likeable!” just beforehand and he didn’t use ‘very’ in his response? Is it because he didn’t look at her when he said it? He appeared to be focused on the lectern in front of him – notes? – and only had half an ear on the conversation. In any case, I wouldn’t strip him of his humanity for calling someone likeable.

If Clinton could have taken the question seriously, she might have replied: “Likeability is not, in my view, the best judge of the qualities of a candidate for the President of the United States. Barack Obama may be likeable, as you put it, but that does not, in of itself, qualify him for the presidency. You don’t have to like me to know that I’m the most experienced and qualified candidate in the field and that I deserve your vote in November.”

And THEN, if Obama had said, “You’re likeable enough, Hillary,” such a comment would take on a “Oh, perk up, Mrs. Clinton!” sense, perhaps. But Clinton treated the question as a joke, and we must take Obama’s comment in that jovial sense as well.

keep preaching, and let the white folks handle it

Recently the Obama campaign put out a list of strange remarks that the Clinton campaign has made recently, in regards to race. I find such a memo interesting in itself since Obama has been good about not playing the race card so far. Frankly, most of the stuff on the list is pretty run of the mill subtexting, but this one about MLK and LBJ is troubling:

Clinton rejoined the running argument over hope and “false hope” in an interview in Dover this afternoon, reminding Fox’s Major Garrett that while Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on behalf of civil rights, President Lyndon Johnson was the one who got the legislation passed. Hillary was asked about Obama’s rejoinder that there’s something vaguely un-American about dismissing hopes as false, and that it doesn’t jibe with the careers of figures like John F. Kennedy and King. “Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act,” Clinton said. “It took a president to get it done.”

I know candiates are busy and have to say a lot of things extemporaneously, but that little statement is… well, again I have trouble deciding where to begin.

Kennedy called for the bill in ’63, probably with some pressure from LBJ, but the driving force behind the ’64 Act was the momentum of well over a decade of organized protest, much of it centered or associated with King. It simply would not have happened at all without the efforts of King and countless other activists, black and white.

One need look no farther than how the patchy weakness of the 1957 Act foreshadowed LBJ’s presidental ambitions in ’60 to make a more useful comparison. LBJ was a fully political creature, where as King, as Clinton should well know, wrote an open letter in 1963 explaining why political timing was not of much interest to him in regards to civil rights. Without constant pressure to act from protests, there would be no action. LBJ knew how to work the system like nobody else, but you have to have a reason or a cause for that skill to be useful. This acumen, which Clinton claims to also possess, is not a positive force in itself. Plenty of Republicans are skilled dealmakers, too.

Now that is not to say that King was not a political creature himself – by the time he started speaking out against Vietnam, certainly, his rhetorical role in American politics was unique – no longer just that of a civil rights activist, but almost that of a national conscience. Clinton’s comment seems to downplay the enormous power of King’s self-built bully pulpit – he was not a President, but a national figure of great, even equal promenience – and to suggest that Obama’s proper place, like King’s, is outside the Presidency.

In other words, her remarks could be construed as saying, “Keep preaching, and let the white folks handle it.”

That is a message that I would expect from someone in our other national political party, although, to give her credit, Clinton is being a little less blunt.