Saturday, May 24, 2008

And more on that 1968 thing

I know I promised things would be more fluffy around here lately, but I'm sorry, this is really irking me.

In reference to Hillary Clinton's remarks suggesting that in 1968 the primaries went until June (which we all remember, because RFK was assassinated, but never you mind that)so it's ridiculous for her to drop out of the race at this point:



People have short memories these days, but fortunately they also have Wikipedia. Let's specifically note that in 1968, the primary season did not begin until the New Hampshire primary on March 12. In 2008, the season started with the Iowa caucus on January 3rd. So for the analogy to even be correct, RFK would have to have been assassinated in August.

Also, hello? 1968? Clinton is bringing up 1968 when trying to suggest that a prolonged primary battle isn't bad for the Democrats? The year that the Democratic convention was overshadowed by anti-war demonstrators getting beaten by police live on TV? When Hubert Humphrey, a vaguely racist, hawkish man whom I'm sure also appealed to "hard-working, white Americans", was beaten by Richard freaking Nixon?

In 1992, I believe the primaries did actually begin in January, just like in 2008. So why not just mention her husband's securing the nomination in June that year? Why bring up the RFK thing at all?

You know, I do think she should stay in the race if she so chooses. She's actually correct in what she says (which is the frustrating part), in that a prolonged primary fight isn't historically unprecedented or anything.

I just wish she didn't display a Bushlike fondness for utilizing proverbial memory holes. To overlook the assassination angle entirely, which is tough, didn't she think it was a bad idea to mention a year that was terrible for the Democrats? Didn't she think anyone would remember?

15 comments:

belledame222 said...

"shut up, Hillary. SHUT UP HILLARY. it's for your own good at this point along with everyone else in the damn world. SRSLY."

no, really: -what- is she -like?- god, I'm sure it's painful to have the crown snatched away by an upstart this late in the game, but really: the rest of the world does NOT feel your pain. at minimum, couldja -try- to not sound like a giant asshole? no? -sigh-

Ravenmn said...

Great point. Kennedy was never presumed to be a candidate in 1968 (sure, maybe in 1972) and he didn't announce until March.

LBJ was the presumed candidate for the Democrats as president. Even though Eugene McCarthy was announced, it was a real shocker when he got 42% of the vote in New Hampshire - which occurred in mid-March that year.

The 68 Democratic campaign didn't get much press until after Johnson declined to run. That speech shocked everyone, even the Democratic insiders (according to wikipedia). I still remember my Mom gasping audibly when we watched LBJ's announcement on TV in late March. I was too young to get the importance but her reaction made me realize that this was huge.

Another thing about perspective: the media was concentrating on the war in Vietnam at the time. The Tet offensive began on January 30 and U.S. soldiers were dying at amazing rates. That feeling we have today: that Iraq is a distant place and the war is something we can safely ignore: we'd lost any chance of those illusions when the North Vietnamese proved their strength beyond any doubt.

McCarthy and Kennedy's candidacies were specifically antiwar. Neither Clinton nor Obama come close to the antiwar credentials nor the campaign promises to end the war immediately that were real choices for voters in 1968.

I agree, there are a lot of reasons why Hillary should have left mention of 1968 aside.

Daisy said...

I tried to look up an excerpt from Norman Mailer's ARMIES OF THE NIGHT, which has some great passages about RFK. The BEST, in fact. I regret I don't own a copy now, who knows what happened to it, or I'd quote it directly. (So, keep in mind, I'm no Norman Mailer!)

I think Hillary is speaking of the emotional response RFK brought out in people, which in my memory, far surpassed JFK's. Maybe just the promise of Camelot Revisted, blah blah blah, but Mailer thought it was something else that people had seen in Bobby as Attorney General, a fuck-you fighter-attitude (mixed with the Kennedy glamor, of course), and a willingness to deliver on promises, far more than JFK ever did. Bobby liked to fight, witness his public feud with Jimmy Hoffa. In popular/media language/symbolism of the time, Bobby was the shanty Irish working class brother who shot his mouth off, while JFK the classy diplomatic one, Ted the quiet mousy one (which is why it was so shocking when he had his own scandal @ Chappaquiddick, but I digress)... it was as if Bobby could say/do anything, since he had the Kennedy magic behind him. My family certainly wouldn't have wasted any time deliberating over whether to vote for RFK or not. Are you kidding? Humphrey, by contrast, was seen as "more of the same"--rather as Hillary is now. I can totally see her comparison, it just sounded SO BAD.

Obama has that same charismatic luster and sheen about him, that indefinable movie-star quality that RFK had. Mailer said something like, "it made one giddy to think of him as president"--it meant the USA could do anything and everything, or NOT do anything and everything (I wish I remembered his wonderful phrasing... I mean he WAS Norman Mailer for a reason...) ... he was young and vital and on fire.
RFK had the most charisma of any of the Kennedys, and I think that is what she refers to.

We now have historians looking back and saying RFK might have fucked everything up for precisely these reasons... he was a fighter and showed no inclination to be NICE when people pissed him off. (But in his defense, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he likely saved the Republic and prevented WW3, so genuflect when you say his name.)

Hillary is basically calling Obama a great movie-star and savior, too good for this world...and when he is shot (as only the good die young), she will have to play Hubert Humphrey. (Awful!)

See:

Anatomy of a Controversy:
Anatoly F. Dobrynin's Meeting
With Robert F. Kennedy
Saturday, 27 October 1962


(quote)

The U.S. president elected to transmit this sensitive message through his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who met in his office at the Justice Department with Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin.

That meeting has long been recognized as a turning point in the crisis, but several aspects of it have been shrouded in mystery and confusion.


Short version: Bobby stared them down. JFK woulda said "Oh fuck it, where are the Russian girls and the vodka?" (j/k)

MY short version: Hillary is speaking on a purely emotional level ("I'm trying to get elected with my opponent as BOBBY FUCKING KENNEDY!") and not a rational one.

Hope this all made sense.

Daisy said...

Sorry that was long enough to be a blog entry on its own. :(

belledame222 said...

yeah. that was the only way in which the comment made any damn sense at all, which makes it, o, so much worse.

it's just, like...your brain's just not even connected to your mouth, is it? Wtf? Now I -really- don't want her to win, because if she's this much of an ass in the -primaries,- how's she gonna fuck up against McCain? For that matter, hello, international diplomacy? Look, it's bad enough as things are without the rest of us trying to make excuses for your foot wedged permanently down your throat; this is the sort of blurt that can throw a race, fuck up negotiations and lose important votes on bills. and also, we've HAD ENOUGH of fookin eejits in the White House, thanks. no, I don't actually think HRC is a fookin eejit, but she sure is doing a great job of playing one on TV, and no, the relentless media doesn't cut it, Obama has it at least as bad. He's better at Tefloning it; he wins. -Sorry-. It's how things work. If you were better about that, you wouldn't be having this issue in the first place.

gah!

belledame222 said...

and really, Hillary, all the more reason to back the fuck down so he can pick a veep already, because if we have to rely on you it could well be that we'll end up with fucking Nixon.

p.s. shut up? please?

Steve Ballmer said...

Given all of the things throughout history which have happened in June, Hellary mentions the assassination of Bobby Kennedy? An unusually close parallel to Obama or wishful thinking or maybe instructions to the wack job racist out there?

"You guys aren't doing your job!"
That's what I hear Hellary saying!
Maybe that's just me, .... we will find out at Barak's wake.

Daisy said...

Trackback:

Suspect Device

LarryE said...

My own suspicion is that Clinton was trying to say that it's not all that unusual for primaries to go until June and even late in a campaign there can be dramatic changes.

By oh my word what an absolutely hideous way to say it.

belledame222 said...

update: i hate everyone, again

which,

"Hellary"--oh, AIYIEEEEEEE :headdesk:

-must- we? i mean, it's not that i love her passionately or anything, but really, WEAK.

and no, I don't expect she actually wants him dead.

but, yeah, it was incredibly boneheaded, and callous/really wtf? at best. "oh, well, better keep me around, after all something might happen to him, I'm just saying." like--even if it's true, how pathetic is it to be basically appealing to "hey, I could still win if the other guy got shot or something!" y'know, he could pick a veep, like, if he were unimpeded? so really we don't need the runner up nominee either way, thanks awfully though. p.s. you talk international diplomacy with that mouth?

and if this is, as speculated, her way of trying to secure the VP spot for herself, it's a reeeaallll funny way of going about it.

basically it just comes off as--she really, really, really, REALLY wants to be president, she came so close she could taste it, hell, she was the heir apparent; and here comes this -upstart- who no one had even heard of four years ago and takes it all away from her; I mean, I'm not surprised she can't just let it go? hell, any ambitious person would probably be beside themselves? but, again: there is more important shit to the rest of us than her or anyone's personal ambition.

and I am afraid that that, to me, is the -only- reason I can see for her staying on this long. I don't -blame- her for it, again--well, I did, and probably will again, but realistically, I have less of a problem with "look, dammit, it's still close, just shut up and let's ride this thing out and stop calling it before it's done" than "no, really, it's for the sake of DEMOCRACY, and you all..." come on, already, please?

bah.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Yep. You said it well.

geepopotam said...

hillary does seem to have a knack for saying things without thinking, attempting to cover herself, having her cover blown, and then attempting to weasel her way into yet another line of logic. this is of course in the fashion of most politicians that i've seen and known.
now, i must say, these "misspeaks" or "misquotes" or "out-of-contexts" are my least favorite part of politics. All the white lies, and the white lies that cover the white lies, i just can't handle it. wouldn't it just be easier if someone finally said, "i've made a huge mistake".
now, i've never heard these words from a politician. there are a few notable exceptions. when jerry springer as the mayor of cincinatti purchased the services of a hooker by way of personal check he did in fact admit that he had made a mistake. however, aside from egregious acts made by politicians, no mistakes are made.
i'm coming to the realization that i have absolutely no resolve for what i've written and must absolve to observe the trend of the "misspeaks", "misremembers" and "misquotes" in politics over the next few months.

CrackerLilo said...

If she'd just stuck with talking about her husband, it would have been fine. Instead she seemed to openly hope that her rival gets assassinated and brought up a past Kennedy trauma while they're going through a new one, for multiple layers of tackiness. "Multiple layers of tackiness" seems to be the Clinton promise, however.

I'm with Belle--SHUT UP, HILLARY!!!

Vanessa said...

Hey, thanks for all the comments, guys. And thanks to all who have linked to me recently.

A few comments:

steve: umm, yeah, thanks but no thanks. There's plenty to talk about here without stupid nicknames. Let's leave off the Hitlery Klintoon stuff, ok?

belle and geepopotam: Yeah, I think the worst part of this is the "misspoke" angle. I mean, I just have flash-forwards to apologizing to various delegates and world leaders for "misspeaking." I mean, a goog 75 percent of the job of President involves avoiding "misspeaking," really.

Vanessa said...

Oh and Daisy, I welcome your lengthy comments anytime!