Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kicking Us When We're Down

The second most disturbing thing about this video, to me, is not the mentally deranged Roman Catholic priest who seems to be hyperventilating as he spews his venom, but the gleeful reaction of the parishioners in Barack Obama's church, Chicago's Holy Trinity. And there's nothing new about their reaction. These vile lies have been repeated with glee all over MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, the New York Times Op-Ed page, the Huffington Post and a host of other news/opinion outlets. It has, in fact, become "conventional wisdom" that Hillary Clinton is a hypocritical white bitch whose political aspirations are rooted in a sense of entitlement. (And how DARE a bitch feel entitled to run for president.)

The most disturbing thing about this video is the lackluster response from Obama.

John McCain responded promptly and unequivocally, saying, "I think that kind of language and that kind of treatment of Senator Clinton is unwarranted, uncalled for and disgraceful."

Obama waited four days to respond, and then issued a statement saying he was "deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn't reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause."

On the same day as Obama, Plefger issued a sort of backhanded non-apology: "I regret the words I chose on Sunday. These words are inconsistent with Senator Obama's life and message, and I am deeply sorry if they offended Senator Clinton or anyone else who saw them." (That phrasing, "I apologise IF you were offended" is a classic non-apology, implying that perhaps there's something wrong with you for taking offence; and "I regret the words" implies that he doesn't regret the message, just the way he conveyed it.)

The next day, Friday, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said, "We remain disappointed that Sen. Obama didn't specifically reject Father Pfleger's despicable comments about Sen. Clinton. We assume that he will... We think that he should because when Sen. Clinton's supporters see those comments, they are understandably angered by them. And it's important, I think, for the spirit of unity that we are all trying to create for Sen. Obama and his campaign to condemn them specifically."

We're still waiting.

This ongoing Hillary hating is all the more personal and nasty because she's lost. Obama supporters are just kicking us when we're down. I understand why a lot of women are starting to feel that they can't support Obama in the general election. I'm starting to wonder if I can.

And to those who say that Obama is not responsible for any old thing that gets said in his church, remember this: Pfleger was a member of the Obama campaign, actively stumping for him in Iowa; he was a member of an advisory committee to the Obama campaign called the Catholics for Obama Committee; he is a donor to the campaign; and he is a long-time friend and political supporter.

Obama's wishywashy half-hearted response, that he was "disappointed in Father Pfleger's divisive, backward-looking rhetoric", doesn't mention any of the hurtful issues: the sexism, racism or personal demonization of Hillary Clinton that was Plefger's main message and has been persistent throughout this campaign.



James Bow said...

Well, as you know, he quit his church as a result of these controversies, so that seems like more of the response you are looking for.

But I think you are letting your Clinton partisanship focus too much on the fringes of his campaign, while ignoring the fact that the fringes of Clinton's campaign are giving as good as they get. You posted a video of Obama's pastor whom Obama has now disassociated himself from. Compare that with this video:

Now, of course, it would be foolish to take this as indicative of anything more than a infinitesimal minority of Clinton supporters, but earlier you challenged your readers to find any indication of anti-Obama racism that matched up with perceived anti-Clinton sexism. Well, there you go.

I think we need to step back from this campaign and see that both sides have fringes which are getting heated, but that doesn't speak to the majority of Clinton and Obama supporters who are Democrats first, and will happily vote for either Clinton or Obama ahead of John McCain.

Yappa said...

Hi James,

Thanks for the comment. I don't see a parallel between the Pfleger video and your video at all.

1. Association: As I say in my post, Pfleger is a member of the Obama campaign and a longtime political ally. This video is just some woman; there's no indication that she is anything other than a supporter.

2. Content: Plfeger nastily mocks Hillary, saying, "When Hillary was crying and people said that was put on I really don't believe that was put on. I really believe that she always thought: this is mine I'm Bill's wife, I'm white and this is mine... I'm white! I'm entitled! There's a black man stealing my show!"

This woman said, "The Democrats are throwing the election away for what: an inadequate black male who would not have been running if it had it not been a white woman that was running for president. ...I can be called white but you can't be called black. That's not my America. It's equality for all of us. ...I'm no second class citizen."

Pfleger is clearly racist; the woman mentions race but I don't agree she says anything racist.

3. Context: Pfleger was cheered and got a standing ovation; this woman was quickly thrown out of the building.

4. Pfleger is performing a rehearsed piece. This woman is obviously extremely emotional after being disappointed by the committee ruling, and is speaking out of disgust and anger at the moment that she's learned the decision.

I do not agree with the woman at all about why Obama is running or winning. But there is no parallel here.