Sunday, January 27, 2008

Depending on Who's Writing the Story....

Depending on who’s writing the story, Obama won in South Carolina because Black people voted for him 2 to 1. But that’s not the real story. What is really important to those of us who have been trying to get kids to vote—is that the turn out of young people was twice what it was four years ago and that the vote among young people was close to 2 to 1 in that category as well. It’s easy to write off a Southern State because one of the candidates is Black. But does that mean that our first Black President – who spent the last week in South Carolina campaigning for his wife without making race an issue (not), might not have the kind of power with this constituency that everyone thought he had. Or, as one of my not-to-be-mentioned friends suggested, maybe the same thing is happening with young black voters that is happening with young white voters. Maybe the older Baptist preachers, like the older organization women, don’t have the ear of young voters.

Here’s the other incredible news. Remember when the Clintons said that Obama was no Martin Luther King or John F. Kennedy, well tomorrow President Kennedy’s daughter and his brother Ted, are endorsing Barack. This is huge. In addition, the San Jose Mercury News and Xavier Bacerra, former chair of the Hispanic Caucus also endorsed. Again it’s easy to dismiss Teddy as just another incredibly important liberal. But no one can dismiss Caroline. She knew her father. She carries on the Kennedy legacy. She is part of an important political dynasty and she has decided not to endorse a Clinton dynasty. And maybe she, like Senator McCaskill will say, “it’s not that I don’t want Clinton... it’s just that I do want Obama.” I love this election. Not because of a preference for a candidate, but because it actually may be an election—a real race. When was the last time that happened?

Depending on who’s writing the story, the South Carolina Primary lead is about Obama’s victory speech, which got back to his message about hope—although I think he needs to get rid of all those stupid “change” signs and just keep talking about ‘hope’. Or it’s a story about Hillary in Tennessee hardly spending a minute and a half on the results of South Carolina. I watched her speech, which was not easy because after about three minutes most of the cable stations dissed her, and went back to the South Carolina coverage. But I wanted to hear her say something gracious about Obama and Edwards and it just didn’t happen. So I guess if you are writing with a Hillary perspective you say, “she knew she was going to lose so she needed to take the opportunity to talk about the future.” I guess that works. But if you are writing from an Obama perspective, you say, “She not only lost, but she lost 2-1. That’s not only a defeat, it’s a sign, a signal about where the election is going.”

I am not ready to make a judgment about who said what about whom and whether it was politic. But I can say that, just as the media was responsible for Hillary’s win in New Hampshire, Bill Clinton was responsible for her loss in South Carolina. You can argue with me about this but I took yet another anecdotal survey and people who were hard core Hillary supporters are so angry at Bill that they don’t want him back in the White House. They do not buy the “he made this a race issue” and his conversation is “fairy tale”. How stupid does he think the public is? Obama did not play the race card. Bill held that hand and used it in a rhetorically brilliant way.
When I was completing my Master’s degree in Rhetorical theory, we studied all the most effective rhetorical techniques, among which were use of repetition and turning the argument around so it would appear that the opponent said what you were actually saying. And that’s what Bill Clinton did. Read what he said. In addition, it is always a good idea to blame the messenger, in this case the media, and admonish them for something they did not do. The “Shame on you” in the CNN interview was wonderful. People hate the media and when someone actually accuses them of being unfair or even worse, biased, it’s the rhetorical ploy of asking them to look at themselves and be sorry, is likely to work. But it didn’t work in this case because there was no basis in fact. So rather than hanging their heads in shame, the media said “What the hell is he talking about?”, and proceeded to cover the facts in the story – which were Hillary was playing catch up and Barack was confident and comfortable with his campaign.

So depending on who’s writing the story, you can feel Hillary was right to move on and look at the States to come. February 5th could be a turning point for any of the three Dems and three Repubs. Or you might say Hillary needed to acknowledge the Barack win before she dismissed it—and Bill dismissed it as inconsequential. Again I have no predictions other than Mitt, but I think that if Hillary is the candidate of change, she may need to start to change. That will require a conversation with people Chelsea’s age. At the very least it will require a conversation with someone who has not protected and insulated her from the reality—she is in a real race, whoever is writing the story. We’re just sayin...Iris


Anonymous said...

"That will require a conversation with people Chelsea’s age."

But Chelsea is not talking! She's a cardboard cut out standing next to mom or dad. People, especially young people, see that.

Young voters grew up with Billary. They saw and want something different.

That's the view from teaching college students this past fall.


Unknown said...

I'm excited and elated about Obama's win. He's my candidate. And of course I'm irritated, to put it mildly, with our last Democratic president. But I think the most important endorsement just got announced--Toni Morrison, who called Clinton "the first black president," will endorse Obama. We move from hyperbole to reality.

m_harding said...

One of our best friends has his PHD in Rhetorical Theory from the University of Western Ontario - It must be a great school - because we havent understood a damn word he has said for over 25 years.

The only thing that keeps us from feeling stupid, is that we're pretty sure he hasn't understood a damn word he has said for over 25 years either.

Lots of speeches with no meaning in the campaigns.

Plenty of doubletalk walking verbal vacillating voiced phonetically polished philbustering tongue taunting T.V talk babble bashing bible-belt boys. (And Hillary)

Most folks seem to like that, probably why Bush got elected. Everytime I hear him on the news , I have to scratch my behind,a deep "uuuhhhh?" comes through my gaping mouth, and a giant question mark appears above my head. Im convinced he is an escaped muppet. I am sure someone has their hand us his butt,squeezing out that stupid grin. Sesame Street come clean!

I know its none of my business.- I do - I know its none of my business.

(And im refering to the noise coming from the the U.S network media, and NOT THIS BLOB.)

I hope voters see through the campaign media spinners,with their divisive tabloid soundbites, and realize that the U.S doesn't NEED a black President, or a woman President, but a GOOD President.

Another good read Iris.

You're degree seems to have served you better than our friend. Thanks!