A candidate in a political contest must find it very frustrating to discover that he has two enemies to fight simultaneously — the opposition party and the principle opponent of his own party. That seems to be the situation Barack Obama finds himself in.
No longer is the presidential battle a mere scrap between the two major parties. Instead, the political mantra of the day seems to have become one of “We’ll both team up to stop Obama now, and then we’ll settle our differences later.”
The parties’ collaborative efforts began to reveal themselves early last February when Hillary Clinton put out a release stating that both she and Senator McCain had the experience on the national and international scene for the job, thus implying that Obama was not to be taken seriously.
More recently, however, the Obama San Francisco speech before a private audience, the contents of which a blogger revealed to the world, more or less solidified the bond of Clinton and McCain in opposition to Obama’s campaign efforts. They seemed almost sprinting to see which one would strike the first blow against him.
In the speech, Obama was actually empathizing with the frustrations of the working-class Americans that have been brought on by actions of the Bush administration. But, when he used the word “bitter,” the Clinton-McCain duo interpreted it as demeaning the working-class people of America. Hillary went so far as to characterize his remarks as being “elitist.”
Coming from someone who has recently been forced to report an income of over a million dollars for the past year, it seems inconceivable that she could have the audacity to refer to a Black man who worked as an organizer in the ghettos of Chicago as being “elitist.”
McCain was more guarded in his criticism of Obama’s San Francisco remarks, but he did not hesitate to single him out as having an irresponsible attitude toward the working class.
And, as if the criticism from both parties weren’t sufficient, the media — both print and electronic — had a field day expounding on and distorting the “off-the-record” San Francisco remarks by Obama. It has been impossible to turn on radio or television news programs without it being referenced.
The legendary conservative syndicated columnist George Will of the Washington Post characterized Obama’s remarks as “a doctrine of condescension toward those people and the supposedly course and vulgar country that pleases them.” Needless to say, the subject has been a weeklong diatribe for the “shock jocks” of talk radio.
I may be wrong, but it seems to me that maybe, just maybe, those in charge of shaping the destiny of the country are getting a little nervous. Maybe they are experiencing shock realizing the threatening probability of a Black man actually becoming the head of the most powerful country in the world.
Matthew Little welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.