Clinton’s Campaign Still More Insulting

J.B. Sivanich

Last Friday, Barack Obama committed one of the biggest errors of the 2008 campaign so far with his quote explaining the bitterness felt by small-town industrial workers in Pennsylvania. In the quote, he said, “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
The quote ignited outrage; it should be noted that it was said at a fundraiser in San Francisco, adding salt to the wound. While I grant that it was an error — politicians should never try to explain other people’s feelings — I do not believe that the quote deserves as much backlash as it has received.
Hillary Clinton ran a response advertisement in which a Pennsylvanian woman says, “I was insulted by Barack Obama’s comments.” While she may have been justified in the claim, I think it’s clear that Hillary Clinton’s campaign has been much more insulting to the American public.
After Clinton lost in Iowa, she gave a speech on how she was the real candidate of “change” that Americans were waiting for; ironic, especially in the fact that she was accompanied on stage by former President Bill Clinton, with his former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, and the former Gen. Wesley Clark, who made his name during the Clinton presidency.
Then there was the whole Jeremiah Wright ordeal, which culminated in Hillary’s husband questioning Obama’s patriotism. After officially swearing off the subject, she brought it up again two weeks later as she reiterated that if it was her decision, “[Wright] would not be my pastor.”
Justifying this return to the subject, she said that she was merely reacting to a reporter’s inquiry; after a small amount of research, though, it came out that she avoided these questions after she formally quit the subject.
Last month, she attempted to tout her national security credentials by erroneously saying that she flew into Bosnia during the Kosovo crisis under sniper-fire. Tapes proved the opposite, showing her standing on a tarmac while listening to an 8-year-old recite a poem about peace.
She later blamed the memory lapse on “sleep-deprivation,” which begs the comment that Americans will have to hope that she does not suffer from a likewise bout when she is leader of the free world, especially if she has to answer a phone call of national security importance at “three a.m. in the morning.”
This is a reference to Clinton’s very controversial ad showing images of a sleeping child with a voice-over asking voters who they would want in the White House to answer a phone call at 3 a.m. dealing with national security.
The ad was ridiculous in its lack of content and its use of extreme imagery — sleeping children, dark lighting and a low, throaty voiceover. It was disrespectful toward voters, who should not have to be force-fed emotionally provocative advertisements.
It was disrespectful because it showed the campaign’s belief that viewers would not be able to see through this attempt to create a crippling — and false — sense of fear.
Clinton biggest insult to the American people was her claim that pledged delegates do not have to actually cast votes for who their constituents voted for, and her asking for Obama’s pledged delegates to switch at the national convention.
Though this may technically be legally possible somehow, it is more un-American than a monarchy. At least in 2000, George Bush was playing by standards — the electoral college, flawed as it may be — written in the Constitution and used in every presidential election since the country’s birth.
By suggesting this, Clinton is trying to take power away from the people in a way that is so blunt you would think that this is Russia. This brings up three questions when considering a Hilary Clinton presidency: What tactics would she resort to in order to grab power? What other American values would she eschew? And how could she sleep at night knowing that she holds the same position that George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson held?
It’s this overly patriotic, undemocratic and fear-based campaigning on the Clinton side that smells suspiciously of our current president and reveals the campaign’s low opinion of the American people.
It will be a gross irony if Obama’s comment leads to his loss of the nomination, as he will have run a far less insulting campaign than Clinton but will be sunk because he was considered insulting.