At a news conference yesterday in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Senator Clinton tried to stoke the dying embers surrounding the Reverend Wright into once again a burning controversy in the belief that gender will always trump race in this winner-take-all high stakes game of political poker. Accordingly as the controversy was subsiding into an obscure historical footnote Senator Clinton once again raised the issue saying that “given all that we have heard and seen, he would not have been my pastor,” adding “while we don’t have a choice when it comes to our relatives, we do have a choice when it comes to our pastors or our church” (1). Here the senior Senator from New York appears to question Obama’s judgment claiming higher moral ground in that she would not tolerate such outrageous behavior. Then she attempted to seal the argument by saying that “while we don’t have a choice of when it comes to our relatives….” Hum, husbands? Didn’t she have a choice there? And what a choice it was all things considered. Didn’t she exercise a certain lack of judgment on that one? And didn’t she nevertheless stand behind hubby Bill through all the philandering, and the national scandals that they entailed? The problem with the Clinton candidacy is that every rock she throws becomes a boomerang.
The Clinton campaign is getting desperate demonstrating what David Brooks has called the “Audacity of Hopelessness”. In their attacks on Obama the Clintons have resorted to savaging not simply the messenger but the message itself, openly mocking the very idea of creating a new national consensus. In their efforts to denigrate the young Jedi, the Clintons have drawn distinctions between themselves, John McCain and Barack accusing Obama of failing to measure up to the ‘commander-in-chief’ standard. In that vein Hillary has been canvassing the country talking up her experience participating in deliberations at the highest levels of government and coming under fire as she landed in Bosnia to negotiate peace. After much pressure, White House papers—including her schedules and appointments—were released which put to lie these bogus claims. It appears, beyond her failed attempt at health care reform, that the former First Lady did what all former First Ladies have done; keep to social events, ceremonial dinners, and a few private causes. In Bosnia, it transpires, the former First Lady did not negotiate for peace nor did she come under fire while at the airport. It seems Hillary has been engaging in a bit of hyperbole, embellishing her resume in the hopes that perhaps she can slip into the officer’s club.
The knife-fight in the sandbox that is the Democratic campaign has degenerated into a contest fought over pseudo-issues while the country teeters on the edge of financial collapse. While Barack is forced to clarify his relationship with his pastor and Hillary is forced to clarify her role as First Lady, the widely watched Standard and Poor’s/Case-Shiller index revealed that “U.S. home prices fell 11.4% in January the steepest drop since data for the indicator was first collected in 1987” (2). A “broader 20-city composite index also fell dropping 10.7 percent in January from a year ago. That makes it the first time both indexes dropped by double digit percentages” (2). The report also said that the “declines are growing in severity”, with 13 of the 20 cities reporting their biggest single monthly decline in January” (2). As noted earlier this crisis has devastated not only the construction industry but is threatening the lending institutions and the financial markets. The Clinton’s have reduced this campaign to a miserable exercise in trench warfare in which the combatants struggle to the death over issues of little importance while the nation, and perhaps the entire world, stares into the abyss.