Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The Snub of Disunion

I missed the speech in favor of helping my eight year-old master her multiplication tables in between swim practice and dinner, but I could not miss this story which seems to be the only thing anyone has to say about the State of the Union speech in the local news coverage. The "Snub of Disunion" will certainly be the talk of the morning. It’s hard for me to see how this hurts Obama since all of his appeal stems from how distant from Hillary he seems to be. He is the anti-Hillary candidate (at least in the minds of his supporters). There’s an outside chance that some more mature voters will be put off by what they consider to be a childish stunt--but I think they’re likely to be voters who wouldn’t tend in his direction in any event. Much was made in the local coverage of the fact that Ted Kennedy DID shake Hillary’s hand and greet her with warmth--as if to imply that this is what is always proper in a mature and distinguished statesman of experience. It’s probably true that such behavior helped to propel the career of Ted Kennedy within the Democrat Party. But it did not, you will notice, propel Mr. Kennedy to the White House (of course, he had quite a bit of "other" behavior to consider as well and he has exhibited his share of indignation--at least to Republicans).

On the whole, I’d say this "stunt" or exhibition of righteous indignation (take your pick) probably helps Obama with his core constituency--young, anti-Clinton Democrats who have a taste for drama and who like to seem fashion-forward in their politics. They’ll love it and love Obama for doing it. Whether this group is large enough to carry him through Super Tuesday is still doubtful in my view. But my taste for drama is strong enough that I’m going to enjoy watching it . . .

Oh, and yes . . . I believe the President had something to say this evening also. Perhaps I’ll get to reading that in the morning. But let me add that Hillary Clinton couldn’t have pulled off that upstage of a President’s LAST State of the Union Address if she planned it for a year. And what’s worse . . . everyone knows that Bill could without a thought. What’s worse still? That he’d probably just as easily upstage Obama if given the chance.

Discussions - 3 Comments

Julie -I think this is the 2003 SOTU. Hereis last nights...

George: I guess now you know I was really being truthful when I said I hadn't read it yet! Thanks for noting the mistake. It's corrected in the original now.

Julie, the Clintons are deliberately race baiting, and constantly comparing Obama's candidacy to that of Sharpton and Jackson. They're using race in a way that hasn't been seen in our country for a long, long time, at least not at the national level. In urban centers, such as Chicago, New York City and Philadelphia for instance, race has been a major feature of the mayoral campaigns. But we've not seen what the Clintons are doing at the national level since George Wallace.

That being the case, Obama HAS to find a way to express his disgust at what the Clintons are doing. Now he doesn't want to go out there and get into an exchange with Bill Clinton, for that's precisely what the Clintons want him to do. They're pigs, and they want Obama to roll around in the muck and the mire with them. They know that they'll win that battle, the battle of the ugly grinders.

Obama couldn't just go up and get in her face. The Clintons would have responded as they did to Rick Lazio years ago. If Obama had even stepped up to her to say something, that would have been portrayed as him using his size and masculinity to intimidate Hillary. Hillary approached Obama and Kennedy, REPEAT, SHE APPROACHED THEM. That was probably planned. I wonder if she did so PRECISELY to trigger an Obama response. Her campaign may have hoped that Obama would seize that chance to express his displeasure with Clinton's tactics. Had Obama taken the bait, and simply stepped up to her to say something short and sharp, he would have been accused just like Lazio of "invading her space."

The snub was a perfect half measure then.

He couldn't go up to her and say hello because he can't overlook the fact that her campaign is taking a sizable chapter from the George Wallace playbook. But nor can he go up to her, look her in the eye, and tell her what he thinks and feels. Because that would have been too "threatening," another one of those words they used against Lazio.

He's in a real difficult spot, and I think he's done about as much as he can.

However, that campaign does have to respond to the Clintons. And what they should do is unleash Obama's wife. Obama shouldn't take on the Clintons directly, but his campaign should mirror image the Clinton campaign. Hillary affects a clean campaign style, while her husband is ripping and tearing into Obama. Obama should continue his "change" nonsense, while unleashing his wife on Hillary and her "husband."

Contrast would be perfect, Hillary and her arrangement, versus a man and a woman truly committed to one another, trying to lift the party beyond the Clintons and their sleaze. There's an INCREDIBLE amount of outrage in the Dem ranks towards the Clintons. Mrs. Obama could be the spokeswoman for those Democrats. And what would be Bubba's response, is he going to go after her, and publicly attack a black woman who is simply defending her husband. Obama's campaign can easily turn the tables on the Clintons. But I don't know if they see it.

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