Stop Swiftboating Hillary !! [SAT Update]
by linfar, Fri May 23, 2008 at 03:00:02 PM EDT
It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance in order to support her decision to stay in the race through June. I have heard her make this reference before, also citing her husband's 1992 race, both of which were hard fought through June. I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense.
The night Bobby Kennedy was assassinated I was sitting behind a metal desk in downtown Los Angeles covering all the election news for City News Service of Los Angeles. CNS was a little wire service but one that fed all the big dogs including the AP.
My boss was a hard boiled, tough guy named Chuck Riley who frankly scared the shit out of me, and I felt as if I were chained to a tiger for the evening.
I think it was about 9 p.m. when some one called to say that Bobby had been shot. Chuck turned white. He took his cigar out of his mouth, shook his head angrily and then barked at whoever was on the other end to stop kidding around.
After he hung up he looked over at me which was easy as our desks were opposite each other and so of course there was nothing to do but look back. Both of us were wide eyed with disbelief and for a few seconds we just stared at each other. "Someone got mixed up," he said. "It couldn't have happened again!" I nodded at him. He looked away and I remember feeling relieved to no longer be stuck in his stare down, but I also remember thinking, "Please, God. Let that be right."
We were wrong, of course. And I never went home that night. We covered "the story" all night long, white faced, somber, half the time not knowing which Kennedy we were writing about; the old hurt and the new intermingling, bloody and sore and unbelievable.
Apart from 9/11 it was the most awful night of my life.
And I am sure it was for Hillary Clinton as well.
This jumping on statements as innocent as referencing the fact that Bobby was shot and so the voting went on is Exactly like jumping on her referencing LBJ in relation to MLK's legacy. It is gotcha politics!!
It is right out of the Karl Rove bag of tricks. And I am calling on all Democrats to cease and desist Right Now. Because the only person trashing the memory of Bobby Kennedy for political gain is Barack Obama in a tawdry and well worn methodology of gamesmanship that anyone who has followed this campaign is familiar with.
Hillary or one of her supporters makes a perfectly harmless remark but it has Potential to be misconstrued. And so it is. Pounce time.
This is the stuff that makes it so hard to like this guy. It is dirty. It is swift-boating, and it is damn well not okay. But more than anything else it is using the painful memory of an aweful event in American history to advance his political agenda.
STOP!! NOW!! Senator Obama. I have had it, and so have all good Democrats. You do not twist an innocent comment and step over the grave of a martyred American hero to give your opponent a black eye.
And if anyone dares to suggest that this is what Hillary was doing, give it the hell up.
What Hillary was doing was asking people to remember other times that the voting has gone on--for whatever reason. That is all. And she has the decency under the circumstances now facing the Kennedy family to apologize for being swiftboated so that no further pain or slight can reach them.
Damn. That is what is Presidential here.Update 1-- A statement from the Argus Leader, the South Dakota Newspaper where Hillary made her remarks:
The context of the question and answer with Sen. Clinton was whether her continued candidacy jeopardized party unity this close to the Democratic convention. Her reference to Mr. Kennedy's assassination appeared to focus on the timeline of his primary candidacy and not the assassination itself.Update 2--There can be no doubt who swiftboated Clinton for her remarks. It was the Obama campaign in the form of Obama spokesman, Bill Burton who said:
Senator Clinton's statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign.