Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Guy Rundle on the US primaries trail

I'm proud to say I've been a fan of Guy Rundle's work for many years -- everything from the high-end intellectual analysis of political theory to the hysterical comedy routines for Max Gillies -- and I am really, really enjoying the excellent work he's doing for as he follows the Obamas and the Clintons round the country.

Here he is this morning, in full flight, on the subject of Clinton's utterly disgraceful bottom-of-the-barrel 'plagiarism' accusations. You can see the logic of her behaviour -- attack Obama's biggest weapon: his eloquence -- but the failure of emotional intelligence here is palpable. It's hard to believe she doesn't know what this looks like; it's like being frozen with embarrassment in a restaurant as you watch a fellow-diner sashay back to her table from the ladies' loo, blissfully unaware that she's got the back of her skirt tucked up into the waist of her pantyhose. Most observers are speechless at such times, but not, I'm glad to say, Guy:

'The Obama plagiarism charges were leaked by the Clinton camp, and Hillary then came round the front to argue that it was the media who was raising the issue so how could she not comment? Etc. ...

The strategy could well rebound because, while it would be unfair to suggest that camp Obama would never do this sort of thing if on the backfoot, the mixture of cheap shots, deniability and logic chopping feels so damn Clintonesque that it can't help but suggest the worst of times, when Bill was caught with his pants down – Hah! You see what I did there! Suck on that Henderson! - arguing about what the definition of ”is” is. It's a measure of how utterly desperate, or kool-aided up, they are that they've taken what is not so much the low road as the subway. Why now on badger-ukelele primary eve (a term I just invented using Wisconsin's state mascot) rather than droppin da bomb before the Cowboy-Buckeye-Maplesyrup-Red (let's just hope that "Firewall" name sticks) primary? Presumably because there's so few delegates up for grabs, and Bama owns Hawaii's ass, bottom, no say it goddamit, owns its ass! Camp Clinton is using this one as a trial run to see how dirty they can get before there's blowback.

Still, what really scares me is how inept Obama was in batting it back. Goddamit from brushing it off – "I prefer to think of it as homage" – to dead-bat – "the words expressed the thought perfectly so I used them, you can't footnote everything in a speech" – to a straight reversal – "well it's a good thing Hillary wants to debate the issues" – to the Manchester approach "you want stabbing, you" - I'd thought of half a dozen cute replies as soon as I heard it, and I bet you had too.'


dysthymiac said...

Since the septics last campaigned, I have enjoyed that nice Josh Lyman turning Jimmy Smits into a President and poor Alan Alda getting mouth rictus from smiling all the time - so an actual US election is having no effect on me at all.
We will know when the Hillary strategists have hit rock bottom:
they will have her say that his step-father is an Indonesian muslim and ... "Obama's middle name's HUSSEIN nyar nyar nyar"

Pavlov's Cat said...

Coming any day now, I should think.

tigtog said...

I really hope not. I want her to be better than that, and to make her people be better than that.

But I'm worried that you may be right.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Tigtog, I know exactly how you feel. I so wanted her to be better than that, which is why I'm overreacting a bit, I think.

A dear friend who lived in the US for six years and with whom I now talk several times a week about this election has been not just pro-Obama but actively anti-Hillary from the outset, partly because of Iraq and partly because she says she is simply an opportunistic liar. I have been holding out against this view but every time I read or hear about something like this I feel worse and worse. Said mate also holds the view that it was somehow bad of her not to leave the marriage, an opinion I know is widely held but which I still don't really understand.

Bill doesn't appear to be helping. To put it mildly.

Mindy said...

Listening to ABC radio the other day I heard some soundbites from voters who had just voted for Obama in the primaries. One said she felt that they had already had 8 years of Hillary, when Bill was President, so they didn't need to go there again. I also suspect that some feel it would be another 4-8 years of Bill.

Bwca said...

yes, wot Mindy said; but "opportunistic liar" would seem to be the type of person who usually does get elected the POTUS.

Suzer said...

Pavlov, I'll have to agree with your friend in the US, being a yank abroad myself. I've been anti-Hillary from the beginning as well, and have become more and more pro-Obama. I also think she should have left her marriage but to each his own right? Far be it from me to tell her what to do, but I don't think she's a good female role model. That being said, I could care less whether she is male or female when it comes to this election. The bigger issue is about her being more of the same. She's part of the old boys club just like the rest of them...and she just wants it too bad for herself, instead of what she can do for us.

Anonymous said...