It’s victim politics a-go-go! First up in an interview in GQ, Mark Penn (whom the magazine describes as “her beleaguered chief strategist”) shares some thoughts on why Hillary lost:
…Look, there’s no question that the Obama campaign took comments that could not in any way, shape, or form in an objective reality be seen as racist, and they told surrogates to characterize them that way. And I think that was the… And not only that, but when you look at who was making the comments, people who devoted their lives, you know—President Clinton was there in Little Rock—who devoted their lives to kind of repairing the breach racially in this country, it was doubly, it was really doubly unfair and troubling.
All of which is awfully rich coming from someone associated so closely with the couple that brought you the politics of personal destruction. But Rich does have a point, and Obama’s surrogates have found a new target–those white racist reactionaries…at the limousine liberal Manhattan magazine that dubbed Bill Clinton the first black president a decade ago:
Myrlie Evers-Williams, 75, the widow of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers, told an NAACP luncheon group Tuesday that political spin masters and the news media are painting the Obamas as unpatriotic and dangerous radicals. She said the attacks are serious enough to use the term lynching, even though that usually refers to racially-motivated killings.
Evers-Williams, a chairwoman emeritus of the civil rights organization, said New Yorker magazine’s recent cover is an example. The magazine’s cartoon cover shows a turban-clad Barack Obama bumping knuckles with a gun-toting Michele Obama as an American flag burns in a fireplace…
“As I watch the political scene unfold, I realize there is more than one way to lynch someone,” said Evers-Williams. “I look at the picture of the New Yorker and to me that was subtle, political lynching. You can call it satire if you want.”
While his surrogates and supporters patrol the old media, Obama himself takes on those upstarts on the right:
GLAMOUR: An AP poll shows that while the positive ratings on Michelle are higher than those of Cindy McCain, her negative ratings are higher as well. I’m curious about how as a husband that makes you feel. Does it mystify you? And what do you want to say to those Americans who don’t know the woman that you know?
SENATOR OBAMA: It’s infuriating, but it’s not surprising, because let’s face it: What happened was that the conservative press—Fox News and the National Review and columnists of every ilk—went fairly deliberately at her in a pretty systematic way…and treated her as the candidate in a way that you just rarely see the Democrats try to do against Republicans. And I’ve said this before: I would never have my campaign engage in a concerted effort to make Cindy McCain an issue, and I would not expect the Democratic National Committee or people who were allied with me to do it. Because essentially, spouses are civilians. They didn’t sign up for this. They’re supporting their spouse. So it took a toll.
Which is of course, yet another page from the Clinton playbook: it’s hard to think of any potential first ladies prior to Hillary in 1992 being used as campaign surrogates; as late as 2003, Howard Dean’s wife basically stayed home while he campaigned.
No wonder television’s comics are afraid to make sport of Obama, despite his myriad flaws, not the least of which is buying into his own messianic press clippings. Fortunately, there is one iconoclast willing to say that the emperor-to-be is bereft of his Burberry suit.