Friday, May 23, 2008

Being pushed and assassination

Reading the UK's Telegraph (I believe it a London paper, though it's post address is in Kent), I came across a blog entry with this headline: Clinton: 'Maybe Barack Obama will be assassinated'

Toby Harnden, Telegraph foreign correspondent in DC, starts his entry this way: So now we know why Hillary Clinton is staying in the race. Uttering one of the most outrageous public statements of any candidate who has run in this long and arduous presidential campaign, she told a South Dakota paper today: “My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it."

Calculated, of course; tears one time, this crap another. The British reporter continues:

The spin from Camp Clinton is that she “was simply using the Kennedy assassination as a benchmark to underscore that nomination fights can go a long time and that she was in no way implying anything else”. Well, that’s possible. Tiredness could have played a part. But Senator Clinton is a trained lawyer and a highly disciplined politician who weighs every word. Do you think she “misspoke” again? You can watch the video here.

I agree: a lawyer, a Clinton, an experienced spinner, no way she makes that kind of mistake. The issue is what she meant by it. Apologies are easy, and matter little. What matters is getting the point out first; apologies are cheap. And mean little.

Apologizing standing in a supermarket with a large sign saying “Salad Dressing” behind her), Clinton’s just come out and said that if it was seen as offensive “I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever.” She looked gutted and clearly realises that – whether she meant it or not – it was a huge blunder.

This could certainly be big trouble for her. It’s wall-to-wall already on cable tv. Everyone knows that the issue of assassination and Barack Obama is extremely sensitive. His supporters regularly express fears that he could be killed just as John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were. Occasionally, Clinton supporters cite it as a reason why she would be the better choice – he’s unlikely to last anyway.

Further: My hunch is that this was a “Kinsley gaffe” – a mistake a politician makes when they inadvertently tell the truth. This is what Mrs Clinton really thinks.

And: An aside, as the prolific and clear-eyed Jake Tapper of ABC News blogged here, it’s not quite true that Bill Clinton locked up the 1992 nomination as late as June.

And (and I do dig this): All this unseemly talk could be a blessing for Obama because it could give him a way out of the increasing pressure for him to accept Clinton as his vice-presidential running mate – something that, as I’ve blogged before, would be disastrous.

His comments and analysis and keen and perceptive (even with the now-and-then spelling mistakes).

No comments:

Post a Comment