Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cat fight in Wisconsin

There’s not much been happening in the Presidential primaries. John McCain has made it all but official with 919 of 1191 delegates needed to clinch. Barack Obama continues to score convincing wins and build on his small lead over Hillary Clinton (now 1319 delegates to 1250 with 2025 needed to win). Barack may need to write a new victory speech, as the one last night after the Wisconsin victory got a little long and dull for those of us who had heard it all before. And there are no more primaries or caucuses until March 4 when Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont vote.

The only mildly interesting development was Barack Obama’s wife being accused of saying she had never been proud of America, and John McCain’s wife taking a little swipe at her in response. Here is what was said:

"What we have 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 am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I have seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues. It it's made me proud." Michelle Obama speaking in Madison, Wisconsin on February 18, 2008.

“I am proud of my country. I don’t know about you? If you heard those words earlier, I am very proud of my country,” Cindy McCain introducing her husband in Brookfield, Wisconsin on February 19, 2008.

"I love my country, and wouldn't be in this if I didn't care deeply and didn't believe that the kind of possibilities I had as a kid should be available to every single child." When asked if she had always been proud of her country, she replied "absolutely" and said she and her husband would not be where they are now if not for the opportunities of America. Michelle Obama speaking in Providence, Rhode Island on February 20, 2008.

So what did Michelle really mean? Being “really proud” for the first time is not the same as saying you’ve never been proud. And Michelle was born in 1964, which means she became an adult in the early 1980s. In Presidential terms, that means she wasn’t really proud of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, or George W. Bush but leaves open the possibility that might have been really proud of Jimmy Carter, who was President before she became an adult. Now as she is a Democrat, who would expect her to be really proud of Reagan, Bush, and Bush? So what she really meant was that she wasn’t really proud of Bill Clinton!

We’ve seen this before. The comedian and pundit Bill Maher got booted off ABC for saying “We have been the cowards lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly.” This was also judged unpatriotic. But who was Bill Maher calling a coward? The cruise missiles he alludes to were the ones fired by Bill Clinton in August 1998 at targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in response to the U.S. embassies bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. The coward: Bill Clinton.

Or maybe this is just a story for a slow news day.

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