Today’s post has one branch of it’s roots in a blog post I read this morning called “Obama Calls Out the Silliness of VP Idea”. I’ve been saying for months now that I had hoped that when all was said and done that whoever received the nomination would then turn around and ask the other to be VP because I felt that, underneath it all, they actually complimented each other a bit (although I admit I was secretly hoping it would be Obama asking Hillary). I’m aware that it was, at best, just a bit of wishful thinking and, at worst, probably even extremely naive…but I felt that it could have worked. But that was before Hillary went negative. Her constant attacks, via commercials and statements made about his voting record, his experience, his tactics, and more (relating him to both Karl Rove and Ken Starr at two separate points), have created a divide in their party, and even a situation in which Obama felt compelled to travel down the dark path of negativity himself, calling for her tax records to be released and then inviting public scrutiny when they weren’t. Although I feel I must say here (thanks to blogger seethirty for calling me on blaming Hillary exclusively in one of my responses to a post of his) that Obama is an adult and is completely capable of staying away from negative campaigning, even if just for the political reason of staying on message. But to give credit where credit is due, it was Hillary that fired the first shot in an extremely thinly veiled attempt to slow Obama’s progress in the primaries. I get the feeling that the attacks have less to do with her own reservations about his preparedness, or even her concern for the country should Obama win…she’s just trying to slow him down ’cause she wants to win. While that may be a “duh” moment for everyone else in this country…to me and any other realist-idealist, knowing it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck. Makes me a little wary of her.But the larger issue is that all of this negativity has now made even the possibility of this “dream-ticket” impossible. In responding to the originally mentioned post I made the comment:“I agree that it is very backward for either of them really to be calling to the other to back down and be the VP…they haven’t left much room for that to be considered a genuine option…after the negative campaigning, how are we as voters supposed to believe that the offer is honest, and that they believe in each other to do the job? How could we as voters see it as anything other than a complete political move based entirely on gaining votes? “I’m upset that what could have potentially been a balanced ticket isn’t even an option any more because of the campaigns run by the candidates. Nancy Pelosi, speaking New England Cable News reporter (linked here to the story in the CNN Political Ticker), said that the possibility had basically become a non-issue. And, although she cites a specific instance where Hillary commented that even “Senator McCain would be a better commander-in-Chief than Obama,” I think it runs further back than that. I think the chasm created in the Democrats of the country and the prying at the chasm that has been done by both campaigns has all led up to the situation where we now stand. No matter who wins the nomination I believe we stand to lose a potentially powerful combination in the White House over the next four years because of the in-fighting going on for the Democratic nomination. I can’t think of stronger candidates for the VP for either candidate, short of Al Gore coming back to serve another 4 years in that role. But, I guess that doesn’t really matter, because there’s no way, after all this primary season has seen, that they could pull together on a ticket and have us trust them together…(If you hadn’t read or heard anything about this latest uproar, here is a link to the NY Times article on it, and here is the story in Washinton Times…take your preference.To end today, I wanted to acknowledge a conversation I’ve had over the course of the day (man, you’d think I don’t have to work like the rest of the world) with one of the blogger’s whose post I cited in my last post from March 10th about polarization. The gentleman (“Ed Darrell” – I’m assuming that’s his real name) commented back to me that, although I had taken his use of the word “hysterical” to mean one thing, he had actually meant something different:“Noting and refusing the sexist implications from the word’s origin, “hysteria” generally means a neurosis characterized by calm periods interrupted by periods of “hallucination, somnambulism, amnesia or other mental aberration.” A second definition offered by The American Heritage Dictionary is “excessive or uncontrollable fear or other strong emotion.”I think that accurately describes Crichton’s flight from reason here. If he thinks DDT is not harmful and deadly, if he thinks Carson’s work not top notch and accurate, if he thinks DDT an easy and cheap answer to malaria, he’s hallucinating. He may look calm, but he’s hallucinating.”I just wanted to give him credit here in the blog continuum for his intention. By his intended definition, “hysterical” could be an acceptable word to use. And, although I did point out that the intended definition isn’t always the one taken by the reader (as evidenced by both my original response and subsequent post on my blog, and the original response from a user calling himself only “George”), and that we must be careful of our word selection, I think it only fair to stand at least somewhat corrected due to my using his blog posting as an example of polarization. The lesson here is that polarization is so common that these mistakes can happen for that alone. Part of the reason that I used his blog as an example was that I had, immediately prior to reading it, just read the other post I used as an example and found myself in that frame of mind. Ed’s fault? Certainly not. But I believe this polarization to be a growing trend propagated by select media sources and our current political climate coming down from the top. Not everyone has the opportunity to have the enlightening conversation about a writer’s exact intent when reading something and that’s why we have to be careful. If we truly want to propagate honest and open debate and discourse we have to be aware of exactly how we are saying things and making our points. Ed, thank you for your handling of our exchange. You have added just a little bit more meaningful communication to the world.
World War Z by Max Brooks
currently listening to:
going old-school with Incubus’s 1999 break-through album Make Yourself