Friday, July 18, 2008

Obama's Politically Convenient Outrage

First off let me be perfectly clear, I don’t like attacks on candidate’s families and spouses. That being said, Senator Obama’s remarks in defense of his wife are pure political opportunism. Most of the criticisms of Michelle Obama are based on things she said on the campaign trail. You can’t have it both ways, statements made on the trail are open to critique. Phil Graham says something stupid he gets criticized, same goes for Michelle Obama. She made some comments that people were truly offended by, and the ensuing criticism is what happens when surrogates mess up.

Second, Senator Obama specifically mentioned Sean Hannity in his criticism. This has nothing to do with criticism of his wife; this has to do with Sean Hannity clearly articulating the numerous problems with Obama’s candidacy. McCain supporters weren’t thrilled when Hannity criticized McCain as the Republican nominee, and Obama supporters aren’t thrilled that he routinely points out Senator Obama’s radical associations. However, he’s not a name-caller. His criticisms aren’t below the belt; they are that of a conservative. If Senator Obama could find one instance of Sean Hannity calling his wife names, or treating her in a derogatory manner then I’ll take back my criticism and apologize.

Finally, what makes Senator Obama’s complaints so decisively political is his blanket condemnation of the McCain campaign and conservatives in general.

“SENATOR OBAMA: I wouldn't say the McCain campaign itself, but I would say that the apparatus of conservative columnists, blogs and the like. Talk shows, talk radio....When you see in the span of two or three or four weeks essentially the same talking points being used on a whole variety of shows or a whole variety of columns, over and over again....Hillary Clinton was subject to this, others have been subject to this in the past...It is part of our political environment that I'd like to change.”
First off, nice touch bringing Senator Clinton into this, but I didn’t hear any of this outrage when Senator Obama’s buddy Pastor Pfleger called Clinton a white supremist. In fact Senator McCain came to Clinton’s defense and Senator Obama didn’t bother. Second, is Senator Obama really going to make the argument that nasty bloggers, columnists, and personalities are only on the right? I know that plays well into the current political atmosphere where everything conservative is considered evil, but Senator Obama knows this is bunk. Every few weeks, a left wing blogger has to be told to stop making fun of the way Senator McCain’s teeth look, because his dental problems were a result of torture. It only takes a few moments to look through blogs to find accusations that Senator McCain is a war criminal because he was a fighter pilot in Vietnam. The Politico article Who’s smearing Whom shows that Obama surrogates have made numerous derogatory remarks about Senator McCain’s service. While at the same time Obama claims ‘The Smears are Coming! The Smears are Coming!’ citing that eventually he will be victim of ‘the Republican attack machine’ and 527’s. Yet the McCain campaign has been vigilant in not allowing any questionable campaigning to occur in their camp.

Obviously this is good campaigning by team hope. No one is going to challenge Obama for defending his wife. The problem is that this is another case of misrepresentation. Group all Republicans and conservatives into one group with George Bush and Karl Rove and declare them all evil. Forget that the party nominated its most un-Bush-like candidate, and just stereotype all those people as the same and forget about the truth.

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