Sunday, August 24, 2008
I'm not much for the political wars. I'm too old and jaded to expect much of either party beyond marginal differences -- not that those can't be important, this year more than most. But that's why I usually leave that stuff to those who haven't had the fire in the belly quenched and who have real talent for it (like Dana). But this caught my notice today.
Someone named Bill Sammon over at Faux News is recounting Joe Biden's "embellishments" that may prove fodder for Republican spinmeisters. If this is the best they can do (it being Faux News, I assume Sammon is a Republican spinmeister), then they are in real trouble. The "embellishments" include Biden supposedly saying he had been "shot at" while visiting Baghdad's Green Zone (hey, if I hear live fire, that means I've been shot at, as far as I'm concerned), which hasn't been "checked out" yet, and an unnamed "close Bush confidant" saying that a conversation Biden recounted having with the President "never happened," despite it being the kind of thing that could have occurred while putting heads together at some state dinner or somesuch. But the silliest one of all is this:
Biden also used unusually strong language to ridicule those who believe in creationism or intelligent design.
"I refuse to believe the majority of people believe this malarkey!" the senior senator from Delaware exclaimed.
But less than six months earlier, CBS News conducted a poll that found a majority of Americans (51 percent) do believe that God created humans in their present form. Even larger majorities reject the theory of evolution, according to the poll.
After the HBO show ended, a reporter asked Biden whether his dismissal of a belief held dear by most Americans might come back to haunt him if his White House bid gained traction.
With characteristic bluntness, Biden shrugged and said yes.
What's more important from the spinmeister's perspective, how many people who believe such malarkey and believe that it is an issue important enough to choose a President over would be likely to vote for Obama and Biden anyway? It's more singing to the choir and on an issue that's not likely to stampede any voters, the way gay marriage did or that the Republicans hoped immigration would, but didn't, in 2006.
But Sammon may be right about one thing. Maybe Americans aren't ready for a politician who has "bluntness" (read "honesty") as part and parcel of his character. We like people, like McCain, who think that "truth" is just a political luxury that can be cut out when times are tough.
What could Obama have been thinking?
As Mencken said, you'll never go broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
They most certainly do believe malarky. Lots and lots of malarky. Many believe in multiple malrkies. I've met folk who believed simultaneously - Creationism, Holocaust denial, Southern apologetics, and Moon landing denialism. There may have been others.
Whereas on their side, all they've got is a doddering old fibber who serves up gaffes on a nearly hourly basis and a campaign staff whose most brilliant comeback is "He's just like Paris Hilton!1!"
All Faux can do, faced with this, is whine "Do TOO believe that malarkey!" and pout in the corner.
They're pathetic. Especially since they want people to believe "malarkey" is "unusually strong language." Even the creationists know better, after all Judge Jones put them through. They took it on the chin from a Republicon-appointed conservative judge, for crying out loud.
What Faux means to say is, there's finally a Democrat who's not considerate of their delicate sensibilities, who's not cowed by them in the least, and who shrugs off their attack-monkey antics, and I do believe it's going to drive them nuts.
I thought this election season was going to be painful, but now I expect I shall thoroughly enjoy it. The entertainment factor alone promises to be outstanding.