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I Guess I'm Just Racist, Or Sexist, Or Both

I find myself deeply envying Barack Obama's power over the political debate in this country. He apparently has the ability, with a mere sentence or two, to take topics off the table and remove them from discussion. And we all better comply with his pronouncements over what is fair game fro discussion, and what is not.

For example, his religion. Yes, there are those scurrilous, stupid rumors that he's some sort of "crypto-Muslim" who's going to take over the White House -- and, I dunno, maybe tip over the Washington Monument so it points towards Mecca or something -- and he needs to be "exposed." The most common rebuttal is that he is a Christian, in good standing, and a member of a Christian church for decades. But we're not supposed to look too carefully at that church, or its paranoid, race-baiting, hateful leader who's been a close friend and advisor (in matters temporal as well as spiritual) to Obama's for nearly all that time, and not supposed to doubt Obama's word that Reverend Wright managed to keep his nuttiness out of Obama's sight (but hardly anyone else's) all that time.

Or his relationship with the press. A reporter had the gumption to ask Obama a question at a staged event, but he blew her off with a "later, sweetie" remark that would have gotten any Republican gelded as a sexist, condescending pig. Instead, all he had to do was apologize for both the pet name and the fact that he never did answer her question, and all is forgiven.

Now we have the latest commandment: Thou Shalt Not Criticize My Wife.

I spent a lot of time defending Chelsea Clinton. Well, to be more precise, I spent a lot of time arguing that to use her in any sort of political discussion of her parents was highly inappropriate. She had no say in who her parents happened to be, and had spent nearly all her life simply trying to live as normal a life as she could, not seeking the public spotlight, just trying to find her own way in the world apart from the limelight both her parents sought so eagerly. She stayed out of their careers, for the most part (token appearances aside), and I thought that was her right -- and it imposed an obligation among those of us who consider ourselves detractors of her parents to respect that decision.

That all ended when she became an active participant in her mother's campaign. I took it most personally when she started e-mailing me -- some dipshit thought it would be either funny or educational to put me on Hillary's mailing list, and then some other dipshit thought it would be effective to have Chelsea start writing e-mails for that same list. (Or, more likely, some campaign drone would write the e-mails and have them sent out in Chelsea's name, probably but not guaranteed with Chelsea's review and approval.) At that point, she had made the decision to be a political public figure, and her campaign appearances and efforts became fair game.

Likewise, Michelle Obama could have played a low-key role in her husband's campaign. She could have pulled a "Laura Bush" and remained quietly supportive, but focusing her attention on her family and not seeking the public limelight.

Instead, she decided that she wanted to play a more prominent role, even sometimes striking out on her own for independent campaign appearances, giving speeches and attending events as a "proxy" for her husband.

And it was at one of those events that she misspoke, and said "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country" in relation to her husband's political success.

OK, let's give it its full context:

"What we've learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback, and let me tell you something, for the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment."

I'm not going to discuss the semantics of what she said -- twice, from prepared statements, so the "misspoke" argument falls flat on its face. That's been hashed and rehashed enough. Rather, I'm going to look at Senator Obama's latest comment on the matter.

When the Kentucky Republican Party put out an ad featuring that quote, and having a bunch of citizens (OK, most likely Kentucky Republicans) rebutting it, he got a bit irked. He sent out the message: "If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful, because that I find unacceptable -- the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family. For them to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her I think is just low class and I think they -- most of the American people would think that as well. I would never think of going after somebody's spouse in a campaign."

Is this another sign of Obama's sexism? So soon after he was caught calling a woman he didn't know "Sweetie," he's now running around defending his wife from the vile, underhanded, unscrupulous tactic of taking her words from a public speech and repeating them? This Ivy League lawyer needs her husband to protect her from people who quote her honestly? She can't stand up for herself? And simply defending her isn't enough, he wants to immunize her from any future criticism?

There's only one way that he can possibly justify that, and that is if Michelle Obama simply absents herself from any more active work in her husband's campaign. That's the rules, at least as I see them -- if you're going to play an active role in politics, then you've forfeited the right to declare yourself "private" and exempt from the routine give-and-take of politics.

Don't like the rules? Then you don't have to play.

Senator Obama needs a reminder that he is not the president yet -- and even if he was, the kind of authority he's asking for -- to declare certain areas simply "beyond the pale" and off limits for discussion -- is not one we've ever granted any president, or anyone else, for that matter.

So Michelle Obama made a rookie mistake. (What kind of mistake is debatable. Personally, I think it was the one a lot of politicians make -- she was too honest, and let her true feelings show a bit too clearly.) That's to be expected -- she is a rookie, much like her husband, when it comes to national politics.

But they're playing in the big leagues, and rookies aren't cut any slack there. If they have what it takes to play -- and win -- in the big leagues, they better be ready to prove it. There are no special rules for novices, and there shouldn't be.

Not even if Senator Obama says there are.


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Comments (37)

I feel the same way Jay Tea... (Below threshold)
Steve H.:

I feel the same way Jay Tea. Once you step into the ring, let the punches fly.

<a href="http://rotstar.blo... (Below threshold)

Obama neutered the Clintons and now he is attempting to do the same thing to McCain -- or is it a preemptive strike?

Michelle Obama made no rook... (Below threshold)

Michelle Obama made no rookie mistake - she deeply believes in her views and cannot say anything else - she is an open book into both her and Obama's minds and beliefs.

Obama has become the person... (Below threshold)

Obama has become the personification of "imperious."
I'm waiting for the "let them eat cake" remark next.

It was the Tennessee Republ... (Below threshold)

It was the Tennessee Republicans.

Yankees tend to muddle all those mid-south flyover states together into one big hillbilly conglomeration; kinda like there's no difference between Vermont and New Hampshire.

Is Imus available to tell ... (Below threshold)

Is Imus available to tell us what she thinks of her?

Hear, hear. Well written. A... (Below threshold)
Jessica Se Quois:

Hear, hear. Well written. Applause.

Any woman that play the rol... (Below threshold)
Mark L:

Any woman that play the role of Boadicea or Elanor of Aquitaine in a political campaign has no complaint about getting swatted with a metaphorical sword.

And any idiot should be able to see that Obama isn't a Muslim and could not possibly be a Muslim. Or a Christian, for that matter. Both of those religions have this thing about "placing no other God before Me" in them. Obama is too busy worshipping himself.

The MSM has already held it... (Below threshold)

The MSM has already held its election but if the general public elects Obama as our president he is likley to get a rude awakening that there are issues that require and answer or action and cannot be dealt with by just scolding or labeling a distraction. I think Mr. Obama's wife is somewhat of a loose cannon and I feel is clearly the stronger personality of the two in that marriage - much like the impression I had with Theresa Heinz and John Kerry. Obama's scolding is in the same vein as Bill "I've never had sex with that woman" Clinton's approach. Mr. Obama would survive as a president if - like during the Clinton administration - history takes a vacation.

Thought I'd take a quick sp... (Below threshold)

Thought I'd take a quick spin through newsland to see what I could find about how "low class" and "unacceptable" Obama finds Democratic attacks on Cindy McCain:

ABC News: "The Democratic National Committee has aggressively targeted Cindy McCain over her decision not to release her tax returns, and DNC officials said Monday that they would continue to do so, saying the issue raises questions of "transparency and credibility." "

Chicago Sun-Times: "...(Michelle Obama) has taken on major fund-raising and surrogate speaking roles on behalf of her husband, even phoning superdelegates to try to close the deal for him. Michelle Obama has her own chief of staff and press secretary..."

NY Times May 19 Editorial is devoted to attacking Cindy McCain over her tax records (and noted that Heinz didn't do so).

Yahoo!7: "The Democratic National Committee has been encouraging journalists to ask Cindy McCain, the wife of the presumptive Republican nominee Senator John McCain, why she will not release her tax returns."

AP: "Sen. McCain is routinely is ranked among the richest lawmakers in Congress, but he and his wife have kept their finances separate throughout their marriage. A prenuptial agreement left much of the family's assets in Cindy McCain's name.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Cindy McCain's refusal to release her tax returns gives the appearance of a double standard on the part of her husband.

"What is John McCain trying to hide?" Dean said in a statement. "Throughout this campaign, he has acted like his own calls for openness and accountability apply to everyone but himself. Now he thinks he can bring that same double standard to the White House.""

Journalism.org: "Michelle Obama is an active spokesperson in her own right who aggressively campaigns for her husband. She consents to interviews and makes speeches, which lead to increased media exposure. Cindy McCain, in contrast, takes a more subdued approach, standing by her husband and granting fewer interviews."

And we'll conclude with a USA Today editorial arguing that not all attacks are fair game - specifically, attacking Michelle Obama for what she says is NOT ok, but attacking Cindy McCain for not releasing her taxes, even though her finances are kept separate from John's, IS ok (what was that about a double standard, Howie?) - "This is not to say that all criticisms of spouses are fair. The Tennessee GOP critique of Michelle Obama based on one line in February about being proud of her country for the first time in her adult life -- she later said she meant that she was proud of the political process for the first time -- is, at best, a manipulative effort to suggest that the Obamas are unpatriotic or ungrateful.

In Mrs. McCain's case, her vast wealth raises legitimate questions about potential conflicts of interest and how she could be indirectly aiding his campaign through such practices as allowing him the use of her company's jet. For her, the issue is less a personal attack than it is a criticism of her secrecy on money issues. Her situation is similar to that of Teresa Heinz Kerry, an heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune, and wife of 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry, who eventually agreed to release a portion of her tax forms. In both cases, the imperatives of ensuring open and honest government trump the privacy desires of candidate spouses."

Nope, I don't see anything about Obama telling Howie or the DNC to "knock it off" because he's watching them.

I think Cindy McCain's drug... (Below threshold)

I think Cindy McCain's drug embezzlement from the American Volunteer Medical Team over a number of years using the names of unknowing fellow volunteers to cover her "withdrawals" will overshadowing anything we know about Michelle Obama so far.

"I would never think of goi... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

"I would never think of going after somebody's spouse in a campaign."

Uh, hasn't the O!bama campaign already gone after Bill Clinton?

I agree with Senator Obama.... (Below threshold)
Todd Gatts:

I agree with Senator Obama. I don't think attacking a candidate through their families reflects well on our American way of electing our officials. I realize it has become part of the political landscape, but I don't think it should be.

I think this country spends way too much time waiting for a person to slightly misstate a position so that we can pounce on it; turning a tiny fragment of a moment into a commentary on a persons whole life. It's a silly way to go about finding a good person to run the country.

For those of you who are conservative, you probably were not proud of your country when President Carter failed to resolve the Iranian hostage crisis. Coming on the heals of Nixon and Ford, in the midst of stag-flation, it was not a time in our history when many of us felt the country was doing well. If you were asked how you felt about Ronald Reagan, you might say something like, "This is the first time in a generation I have felt proud of my country again."

You know you would. I know you would. I know I did.

There are honest Americans, living amongst us, who think this country has been on a sixteen year trip where multiple Presidents have embarrassed themselves, their friends, our allies, and our country. It is intellectually dishonest -- you are foolin' yourself -- if your think that it is impossible for honest, hard-working, patriotic Americans to feel like we are coming out a terrible time in our nation's history, and for the first time, in a very long time, we can feel some pride returning to our country.

Take Mrs. Obama's comment how it was intended, as an expression of how proud she is in her husband, how excited she is to see her country live up to its own ideals: all people are created equal; every American can grow up to make a better life for themselves, their family, and our country; every American can grow up to be President.

Michelle Obama is just so s... (Below threshold)

Michelle Obama is just so soft and fragile...

Yeah... Right...

All these whining Obamanati... (Below threshold)

All these whining Obamanations, bait and switch comments and now Todd glorifying Mrs. O while denigrating the past two decades of American history


It used to be so much bette... (Below threshold)

It used to be so much better when the sheep would actually be able to FORGET the stuff the candidates said. But this? Youtube, the internet - you can find what any candidate said about anything in seconds! How are they supposed to maintain deniability when their words are out there for anyone to see ACCURATELY!

It ain't fair, I tell ya! If I were Obama, first thing I'd do once I got in office was to sign an executive order CHANGING everything I said to how it SHOULD have been said! To change what I said to want I MEANT - even if that's variable as hell depending on who I'm talking to! "Screw freedom of expression, and accurate reporting - they'll believe what I want 'em to believe, report what I WANT them to report - or they'll face the consequences!"

It's the OBAMA way!

bryanDI thin... (Below threshold)


I think Cindy McCain's drug embezzlement...

Yeah, I see that getting a lot of traction, along with your assertion that McCain was a traitor and informant while in the Hanoi Hilton.

This lame attempt at galant... (Below threshold)

This lame attempt at galantry on behalf of his dopey wife makes him appear to be more of the snivelling little shit that he is.

This is the worst part as f... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

This is the worst part as far as I'm concerned:

Obama:"they should be careful, because that I find unacceptable"

What the hell did he mean by "they should be careful"?

Reminds me of John Kerry's campaign spokeskid, Chad Clanton, openly threating television stations that we going to run "Stolen Honor". He said something like "they better hope we don't win".

How can anyone support and vote for people with that mentality? The f'ing morons say President Bush is trashing the Constitution, but their candidates openly threaten the free press and that's o.k.

"It ain't fair, I tell y... (Below threshold)

"It ain't fair, I tell ya! If I were Obama, first thing I'd do once I got in office was to sign an executive order CHANGING everything I said to how it SHOULD have been said!"

Heh, 1984, baby.

"He apparently has the abil... (Below threshold)

"He apparently has the ability, with a mere sentence or two, to take topics off the table and remove them from discussion."

I think he wants to talk more about things that, you know, are actually important. Not bowling scores or a sentence his wife said, or eating a cheese steak. (All individually received much more attention than his health care plan)

He's not my ideal candidate and you don't have to lend me one iota of credibility on this - but I do think he wants to discuss important issues, not fluff. It may take getting used to for those accustomed to the fluff - like Jay Tea and Wizbang readers. This is what I think he means by "changing the tone."

What the left wants is feel... (Below threshold)

What the left wants is feel good speeches about "the future" and "change". All symbolism, no substance. Where is the proven leadership? Where is the executive branch experience? What exactly does he think he will get if he meets with Iran or North Korea without precondition? They are great questions that the MSM refuse to pursue. I know I am just your typical gun toting, religious embracing, immigrant hating white person, but golly, at least act like you know what you are doing. I am embarassed that the electorate is falling for this inexperienced clown. ww

bryanD, If Cindy McCains dr... (Below threshold)

bryanD, If Cindy McCains drug use in the past is a democrat talking point, can the republicans use Hussein O's drug use and homosexual affair in the back seat of a car in '1999'? It seems not since the media's only concern is covering for the druggie because he's the black Messiah and can do no wrong. Shrillary isn't too clean either, accepting $109 + million in payoff's, covered as payment for speaches, for hundreds of pardons should be investigated. Again only the 'D' after their name keeps them out of prison. God this election has been and will continue to be fun for us old folks. Watching the young elite shoot themselves in the foot to see if it hurts couldn't come at a better time. Stock up on food and heavy coats, Hussein is going to limit how much you eat and turn down your heat or turn up your air conditioner because his grandma living in a mud hut don't like us. His idea of right, not mine.

jp2, of course Obama wants ... (Below threshold)
Baron Von Ottomatic:

jp2, of course Obama wants to frame the conversation away from his weaknesses (naive world view, choice of kooky mentors/associates, angry-at-whitey wife's comments, and general inexperience) to his preceived strengths (Uncle Sam = Santa Claus, hope, change). Every politician is going to say what it takes to get elected. The issues Obama declares to be "unimportant" or "distractions" in actuality give us an indication of the way he thinks, whose council he might seek, and how he would try to govern if elected.

All politicians are phonies and if they can bowl doesn't mean shit. But if you're going to associate (for decades) with loonies/criminals or send your wife out as a surrogate to campaign on your behalf they become legitimate issues. At least as much as a DWI arrest from 30 years ago, right...

Remember all the lefties pr... (Below threshold)

Remember all the lefties predicting that if Bush got elected the first amendment would be trampled into the mud, progress on civil rights reversed, political opponents jailed and all the puppies in the country would die. Looks like they were right only 8 years too soon.

The poor fragile Harvard e... (Below threshold)

The poor fragile Harvard educated lawyer, I'm afraid that if I take her to task again for her campaign comments that her metrosexual husband may come up from Hyde Park and kick me with his Bruno Maglis.

I said it to a friend yeste... (Below threshold)

I said it to a friend yesterday, "Lay off my wife" is the kissing cousin of "Leave Britney alone!"

Only with less tears. And only slightly more machismo.

Other than that, Michelle's fair game.

Note to Ms. Obama:... (Below threshold)

Note to Ms. Obama:

"Can't stand being criticized for what you say? Keep your mouth shut"

I think his "you should be ... (Below threshold)

I think his "you should be careful" statement just alittle too Darth Vaderish ... what is he going to do ?

"I find the lack of respect for my wife disturbing", as he chokes you ...

The MSM will ignore what ei... (Below threshold)

The MSM will ignore what either candidate actually says ...

With McCain all they will hear is "Endless War, steal from the poor, Rasist and Sexist code words"

With Obama all they hear is "Moderate, Reasonable, Thoughtful, Uniter" ...

Why is it Oboma is always having to "explain" what he meant ... its always "Thats not what I meant" with him ...

Looks like old bryanDumbass... (Below threshold)

Looks like old bryanDumbass is getting dumber each post. Old "pac-e derm" ears better get use to we from Tn.

She's not likeable. She's n... (Below threshold)

She's not likeable. She's not nice. She has a
nearly permanent scowl on her face. She's disrespectful of the country. People don't just elect a president. they also elect a first lady, and this woman as first lady of the country would just be wrong.

"For those of you who ar... (Below threshold)

"For those of you who are conservative, you probably were not proud of your country when President Carter failed to resolve the Iranian hostage crisis. Coming on the heals of Nixon and Ford, in the midst of stag-flation, it was not a time in our history when many of us felt the country was doing well. If you were asked how you felt about Ronald Reagan, you might say something like, "This is the first time in a generation I have felt proud of my country again."

"You know you would. I know you would. I know I did."

I have NEVER not been proud of my country. You know why? Because I don't see it in the simple terms you see it in. I see "my country" as its people - its ordinary hard working people.

What makes a country great? The people and the liberties they enjoy. Not its government. Not how much money there is. Not its natural resources.

While the Iranians were being held hostage, while we went through recessions and depressions, while we were at war and at peace - every moment of those times, the people of our country continued to pursue their dreams, helped others achieve theirs and did kind and noble things for perfect strangers, sometimes on the other side of the world. They went to work each day and cared for their children and their homes, they went to church and though sometimes faltered, they continued to strive to be better. They rallied behind those who were treated badly. Even the poor give to charity.

They are a force to be reckoned with because of their shear numbers.

THAT'S what I've been proud of. No matter who is in the White House or governing my state, I'm proud of America because of the people and their will to keep doing good in spite of who's in office.

You'll never see my picture on the internet holding up an "I'm Sorry" sign. And, Sir, I may feel embarrassment over the likes of someone like Jimmy Carter or pride at the strength of a Ronald Reagan, but those men, however good or bad, were never "my country".

The wife of Mubarak Hussein... (Below threshold)
Piso Mojado:

The wife of Mubarak Hussein Obama is a bitter yet privilaged female hypocrite who hates whitey and all whitey stands for.

Just what this country needs, is someone like that sleeping with the president.

You folks thought Hellery Rotten Clinton was evil as a first lady have seen nothing compared to how the wife of Mubarak Hussein Obama will be.

I agree, let the obamas int... (Below threshold)
Dave W:

I agree, let the obamas into the white house and they will make the Clinton's look like the perfect duo to put back in. Hell, most of the country will be begging for clinton after the obamas get through with this.

well actually i doubt that, but my point was made.

You are a devil worshiping ... (Below threshold)
amazing racist:

You are a devil worshiping homosexual muslim lesbian pagan athiest. Prove it otherwise. You might claim that this is just a lie. But there is no way I will ever believe you. Never! Now prove it to me!

If Obama and his bunch is s... (Below threshold)

If Obama and his bunch is so proud of America, then explain why it needs changing.

I believe that if Obama was elected. H e would try to be a Dictator for the simple reason he is already trying to say what can be discussed and what can not.






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