Guest post by Grey
Via Jake Tapper, a report filed by Brinda Adhikari of ABC News covers Al Sharpton’s reaction to the Obama/Wright affair:
“When asked how the African-American community at large would respond to Sen. Obama’s denunciation, Sharpton said that “some are going to agree, and some are going to disagree.”
He quickly added: “But none of that is going to change my vote. There’s no difference between what Barack Obama said he believes in today than when we first heard him four years ago at the 2004 convention.”
Gosh, Al: you really went out on a limb! The three blind mice could have given that same quote. And while we’re on the subject, I’d like to know why the media act as though there were only one black Reverend (see Sharpton, Al) and one black leader (see Jackson, Jesse) in the entire country. Are there no other voices of interest? And why do the media care about their opinions only when the subject at hand is race? It’s like some kind of strange Bat signal: “Quick! Something happened to an African American: get Sharpton!” Isn’t that a little reductive and patronizing, as though Al and Jesse had no opinions on anything else?
Bob Somerby writes about the origin of political story lines; in particular, he focuses on Clinton and the “kitchen sink” strategy. Via “the magic of Nexis,” Bob traces the current use of that phrase to our friend Patrick Healy of The New York Times:
“HEALY (2/26/08):After struggling for months to dent Senator Barack Obama’s candidacy, the campaign of Senator Hillary Clinton is now unleashing what one Clinton aide called a ”kitchen sink” fusillade against Mr. Obama, pursuing five lines of attack since Saturday in hopes of stopping his political momentum.
The effort underscores not only Mrs. Clinton’s recognition that the next round of primariesÃ¢â‚¬”in Ohio and Texas on March 4Ã¢â‚¬”are must-win contests for her. It also reflects her advisers’ belief that they can persuade many undecided voters to embrace her at the last minute by finally drawing sharply worded, attention-grabbing contrasts with Mr. Obama.”
As it turned out, Sen. Clinton roundly beat Obama in Ohio and defeated him in Texas, too, but “fusillade?” Really? And just when “cannonade” was so easily within reach. The problem is this: there are a plethora of references to Clinton’s “kitchen sink” strategy, but a dearth of examples. Funny, that.
Tom Bevan examines Rev. Wright’s history and finds that he’s always sounded as we’ve recently heard him, which makes Obama’s “I wasn’t there, I didn’t hear it, and how dare he impugn my character and call me a politician!” tour even less credible. A (former?) parishioner agrees:
“What you saw is what we saw every single week,” said Brenda McGadney-Douglass, an associate professor at the University of Toledo who attended Wright’s Monday appearance and was baptized by him. “This is exactly the way things go in our church.”
Melissa McEwan attended a Clinton town-hall event in Indiana today and found her compelling. Melissa was an Edwards supporter and was once employed by his campaign; she is now uncommitted, which makes the following rather poignant:
“It was a townhall-style event, so Hillary gave a short speech and then took questions from the audience. (The guy who introduced her said she had “testicular fortitude,” which prompted her to note when she took the mic that both women and men could have fortitude of their ownÃ¢â‚¬”and she has it! Lots of applause.) She was totally compelling, extraordinarily competent, a great extemporaneous speaker with an unbelievably detailed grasp of the issues, and funny as hell. (“I wouldn’t trust the Bush administration to organize a two-car parade.” This gave me the image of Bush and Cheney each driving clown cars in different directions, which sent me into fits of giggles.)
The one thing KenBlogz and I just couldn’t. get. over. was how profoundly not the Dragon Lady she is, despite what we are meant to believe. KenBlogz’s comment was, approximately, “The way the media represents her is a complete lie; they might as well say she stabbed someone onstage, which would be just as truthful as the way she is represented.” This, from an 18-year-old. The reporter in front of us (we were in the media section) reading The Drudge Report through most of her speech would no doubt be shocked by his observation.
In person, from about 10 yards away, Hillary was as warm, friendly, charming, and engaging as any politician I’ve ever seen. And the crowdÃ¢â‚¬”way more diverse than I expectedÃ¢â‚¬”adored her. She got several standing ovations.
In the parking lot afterwards, I heard a womanÃ¢â‚¬”middle-aged, wearing a union t-shirt, either white or LatinaÃ¢â‚¬”telling her friend she was glad she came. “She totally won me over,” she said.”
More, from a comment she posted in the dedicated section:
“[A]nother great moment was when Hillary was asked about the war, and, during her answer, she asked if anyone had served in Iraq, and was quiet, while a few people raised their hands.
Slowly, the applause started, and rippled, and then the whole place broke out into a huge ovation for the veterans.
It was a very blub-inducing moment.”
We often hear about Obama’s “magical touch;” reporters breathlessly recount tales of Obama’s ability to “close the gap” once the little people get to see him, but comments like the one Melissa posted are usually overlooked. The media have a story to tell, and only one candidate can be McDreamy; they’ve settled on Obama, but there are equally inspiring stories about the way Sen. Clinton ignites our hopes and dreams. That doesn’t fit the narrative; rather, it turns it on its head, so the scavenger hunt for a few, honest reporters continues.
A remainder on the funnier end of things; Ana Marie Cox blogs about the current cover of TIME magazine, LOLcat-style.