Saturday, April 12, 2008


Just when it looked like it was safe to go back in the water, along comes Hillary Clinton doing her instant remake of “Jaws.” Is this how she plans to close the now 6 point gap with Obama, in Pennsylvania, by pouncing on statements he made at a private gathering, last week, in Northern California ?

Or, better still, is this high octane hardball how she intends to gain leverage, and widen the three point lead a recent poll gives her over McCain if the election were to be held today?It’s hugely absurd to watch an unholy alliance between the senators from Arizona and New York, both of whom smell blood in the water, neither of whom thinks principles are anything more than something one finds in one’s bank account.

But, what was it exactly that Barack said that has Hillary agitated, and showing off her newly cleaned fangs? Clinton assailed Obama for observing that working class voters, out of bitterness, “cling to guns or religion.” Obama later elaborated that his focus was on how guns and religion are often security blankets for those who have no other way to deal with their frustration, a frustration that is virtually guaranteed to continue if either Clinton or McCain occupy the Oval Office come January, 2009.

What fascinates most is how conveniently, and readily, both Clinton and McCain channel another senator, Joe McCarthy, when challenging whether or not Obama is “American” enough. It’s not so much her insistence that the Illinois senator is “demeaning,” but that he is arrogant and, more importantly, that his remarks “are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans.” But, the question is, which American’s values does Hillary reflect?

How convenient now for her to invoke what she calls her “Midwestern values and an unshakable faith in America and its policies.” Are we to infer from this attack, as was the case with Reverend Wright,, that she thinks Obama’s faith in America is shakable? And, if so, how can we sit idly by and allow yet another politician to challenge the “patriotism” af another in order to accrue political advantage? It’s terrifying to think that anyone running for office, in 2008, can be allowed to swoop down, and play the Joe McCarthy card against their opponent, without being called on it.

Again, specifically, which American values are the former First Lady endorsing, those, as she says, of “Americans who believe in the Second Amendment because it’s a matter of constitutional right. Americans who believe in God because it’s a matter of personal faith” and, if so, what about the First and Fifth Amendment separation of church and state? Does Mrs. Clinton support those, too, or just the amendment most likely to push her lead, in both Pennsylvania and Indiana, back to the double-digit range?

Her nascent love affair with the Second Amendment, and big thumbs-up to those folks who think they have a divine right to bear arms, is her way to reassure the gun guys that, if elected, she won’t take their toys away at a time when the Supreme Court is, for the first time in 70 years, deciding whether or not to let the Washington, D.C. ban on handguns stand. Her support of the gun lobby puts her squarely in McCain’s lap, and in his camp.

This latest Second Amendment posturing of hers is egregiously ironic in light of the fact that her husband, while president, attempted to get serious gun legislation through Congress a decade ago in response to the school shooting in Flint, Michigan of Kayla Rolland by her six year old classmate.

Yes, indeed, it was Hillary’s husband, Bill Clinton, who appeared on primetime TV, nine years ago, to say that “every single day there are 13 children who die from guns.” Imagine how many more children die today. Notably, Clinton ’s gun control legislation stalled because he faced a Republican Congress. Now, nearly a decade later, were she to be elected president, gun control legislation would stall not because of a Republican Congress, but because of a Democratic president. What next? A campaign ad showing Hillary Clinton lighting up a Virginia Slim, and pledging her support of the tobacco lobby?

Just to be clear, Hillary is taking up what she calls “unshakable faith” in America, she’s taking up the Almighty, defense of constitutional entitlement to possess weapons, and there are even some who contend that she might go so far as to neutralize her position on a woman’s right to choose if that’s what it takes to widen her margin of victory in Pennsylvania.

Moreover, the Clinton camp’s argument that Obama is “elitist and out of touch,” and that they are the ones whose values best reflect those of the working-class in this country, is especially ludicrous in light of recent revelations that Obama’s net worth is a fraction of the Clintons. But, one’s net worth shouldn’t be used as a yardstick for one’s values, one way or another, any more than the fact that one is a Harvard-trained attorney should be used to impugn him as one who has a superiority complex.

How can one fail to notice that Obama is a gentleman. He is a gentleman to concede that his remarks were poorly chosen. Indeed, it’s not his remarks, but his running mate that is poorly chosen. Is it now a prerequisite for one campaigning to know how to fend off a shark attack? Do we want jaws, and wars? Presidents who deprecate the notion of diplomacy as naivete? Ones who visualize military urgency , in the form of 3 A.M. phone calls, instead of foreign policy strategies?

After today’s unwarranted, and unsound, attack on Barack Obama, there can be little doubt that Hillary Clinton is every ounce a political opportunist whose posturing on so-called “Midwestern values” instantly morphed when she ran for senator of New York, and who will morph again should she run against John McCain when she may try to prove that she’s a better Christian, bigger defender of the right to bear arms, has higher testosterone levels, hence would be a stronger commander-in-chief, and may even push alternatives to legal abortion by increasing funding to programs like Aid to Dependent Families.

As for health care reform, the only major change we may expect from a Hillary White House, in that arena, will be more Americans required to carry medical insurance at the expense of stocking their shelves, and refrigerators with much needed groceries.

When all is said and done,, Clinton and McCain are not only united in challenging Barack Obama’s American values, but they both ensure that George W. Bush’s agenda will remain intact for at least another four years. And, if Hillary were to win back the White House, we’d be exchanging one bully for another.

Not that voting for Obama guarantees things will change radically, but it does assure one thing, that the iron hand can thrive in the velvet glove, and the possibility for dialogue and statesmanship still exists, as well as leadership that doesn’t resort to the tired old practice of impugning patriotism in order to prosper.

If, as we suspect, Senator Clinton is setting herself up to run against Senator Obama as McCain lite, in Pennsylvania and Indiana. so she can gain more working-class votes, then we should be hearing concession speeches from Hillary not from Obama.