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OF DOUBLE STANDARDS AND THAT 'KNOCKOUT' PREDICTION

 

By Steven Barnes

 

Friday, March 7, 2008.

 

I remember lecturing at the Smithsonian Institute a few years back, about the institutional need to control the "story" that people tell about your goods, services, or industry. Stories, you see, don't follow a linear script; they are webs of emotional association that bypass temporality or ordinary ordering of significance. The child's sled "Rosebud" looms larger in a dying man's dreams than all of his other successes or failures over a stupendous life in "Citizen Kane."

Watching my wife got a little depressed on Super Tuesday 2 with Obama’s defeat in the Democratic primaries in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, was frustrating. I'd warned her not to expect a knockout. In fact, while the media pushed the "knockout" scenario over and over, I never heard that from Obama, figuring that he was too smart to do anything other than keep playing his safe rack-up-the-delegates strategy.

Remember a few weeks back? Texas and Ohio were supposed to be firewalls to crush his momentum. Hillary needed wide victories in both, just to break even. Then, just before the election, it was: "If he doesn't take all four states it indicates buyers' remorse." Wow! Lowering expectations, controlling the story. Smart.

I do resent this "the press hasn't vetted him" routine from the Clinton’s camp. Repeat a lie often enough, and people consider it to be the truth. Excuse me! Do you know what elementary school Hillary attended? What about John McCain’s high school?

 

It seems to me that every inch of Obama's life has been dragged through the public eye to a microscopic degree, but by repeating over and over again "he hasn't been vetted" it's obviously made a certain number of people believe this nonsense.

 

Politics as usual. I am so proud of him that he hasn't lashed back in ad hominem attacks. Can you even imagine that if Michelle Obama had been disbarred for perjury that this wouldn't have come up in Clinton attack ads?

 

Obama has to keep to the high road, if nothing else as a demonstration that it is possible to deal with the political scene without wallowing in the mud. I don't blame Hillary for playing the game the way the boys on Capitol Hill play. Not at all. But I don't respect her for it, either.

So now Obama has to shake it off and keep going. Michigan and Florida? If you want to seat them, then give both candidates a chance to campaign there, otherwise you're going on pure name recognition and pre-existing party structure.

 

If she tried that, I'd very seriously consider McCain. Or maybe moving to Canada. But if she campaigns and beats Obama fair and square in Michigan and Florida? Cool. No problemo.

 

Steven Barnes is a best-selling novelist, television writer and art critic. His latest book, Great Sky Woman, is now on sale at AmazonHe blogs as Darkush.

 

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