Monday, January 23, 2006

Senator Clinton's Picking Political Cotton

Over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, many grand speeches were put forward remembering the man and the message of the adored civil rights leader. And then there were folks already on the campaign trail for 2008.

Al Gore delivered a fiery speech that tried to tie-in King's many encounters with an over-arching government poised to spy and track his words and movements to the current furor over the National Security Agency's roving warrantless wiretaps. It may well go along side the announcement by Representative Jack Murtha as one of the few times the Democrats actually went on record as being distinctly and vociferously against the current Administration and were not apologetic in saying so.

And then there was the address given by Senator Hillary Clinton at a Harlem church. There seemed to be too much jockeying in the stances that the junior Senator is taking as of late, and this "plantation" remark was yet another drop in the bucket for the 2008 race. Certainly a politician running for reelection in 2006 is given a wide berth for politicking, but the latest efforts by Sen. Clinton just smack of too much polling, too much shifting for an elusive center position that will win her the Presidency.

Molly Ivins, a syndicated columnist, had a humorous but truthful assessment of such strategies by quasi-liberal candidates running for office. In "Not Backing Hillary", Ms. Ivins makes some prescient if not plain observations on the state of affairs within the Democratic party. Her statements amount to, "people want what the Democrats should be standing up for on issue after issue, so make a stand on it for crying out loud." When Sen. Clinton talks about the Iraq conflict, she without hesistation clamors for the most hawkish pro-military platform that a Republican could want in a vein effort to paint herself as strong in foreign affairs. And so continues the key wedge issue for 2006, 2008, and into the forseeable future.

Coincidentally, Molly Ivins had this rebuke for the war cheerleaders:

Bush, Cheney and Co. will continue to play the patriotic bully card just as long as you let them. I’ve said it before: War brings out the patriotic bullies. In World War I, they went around kicking dachshunds on the grounds that dachshunds were “German dogs.” They did not, however, go around kicking German shepherds. The minute someone impugns your patriotism for opposing this war, turn on them like a snarling dog and explain what loving your country really means. That, or you could just piss on them elegantly, as Rep. John Murtha did. Or eviscerate them with wit (look up Mark Twain on the war in the Philippines). Or point out the latest in the endless “string of bad news.”

To expand on the suggestion of Ivins, Mark Twain did have reservations about America's imperial designs on the Phillipines, and a quick search turned up "The War Prayer" by the satirist. Certainly, there is plenty to read about, hence this link to search on the subject, "Mark Twain on the Philippines". Many of the sentiments might well be applied to the current tango that the United States has ongoing with Iraq.

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