Thursday, March 27, 2008

Exaggerations on Selma & Bosnia...

I rarely cross post stories on my two main blogs, but I thought this particular post would be one that is appropriate for both blogs and I'm curious as to the way those of you who read here feel about this particular issue.

One of the standards of political passion seems to be what the "other guy" did that was wrong is always somehow "worse" or "different" than what your preferred candidate did wrong. Sometimes if you are not passionately attached to either candidate it can be a fun experience to watch if you look at it from an analytical point. What's really interesting in this case is the reaction to Hillary Clinton's exaggeration versus the reaction on Barack Obama's exaggeration; part of this is timing...

The Clinton campaign exaggerated an experience to make it look as if she had more experience when it came to the dangers that can come with foreign policy situations, the Obama campaign exaggerated an experience to make it look as he had a larger connection to the black community and the civil rights movement than he had. She wasn't in danger in Bosnia, he was born well before Selma. If you are a hard core Clinton supporter it won't make a difference, just as if you are a hard core Obama supporter that won't make a difference. If you are undecided it's very well possible that the Bosnia situation could have an impact on your decision because chances are you won't even know about Selma unless you've read just a few of the pieces that covered that when it happened. It's old news now that did not get a lot of coverage at the time and most likely unless the media or the Clinton campaign or the McCain campaign tries to make this a story the only way it will have an impact will be in the negative ads that will be ran if Obama is the Democratic Candidate. I think it's a given this scenario would be used against Clinton as well if she is the candidate.

The media reporting at the time of the Selma incident gave Obama a pass they mentioned the truth but it never caused much of an outcry beyond a few blog and alternative media sites:

"They looked at each other and they decided, 'We know that in the world, as it has been, it might not be possible for us to get together and have a child, but something is stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Ala., because some folks are willing to march across the bridge.' And so they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born. So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Ala.!"

Obama was born in 1961; the Selma march was four years later. Obama said later that he meant to credit the entire civil rights movement with his parents' union, not just the Bloody Sunday marchers.

On the Clinton side:
Sen. Hillary Clinton said she "misspoke" last week when she gave a dramatic description of her arrival in Bosnia 12 years ago, recounting a landing under sniper fire.

Clinton was responding to a question Monday from the Philadelphia Daily News' editorial board about video footage of the event that contradicted her assertion that her group "ran with our heads down" from the plane to avoid sniper fire at the Tuzla Air Base, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bottom line? Most of us expect candidates to play with the truth, we openly hope for honesty and the truth from all of them but politics is more based on spin than truth all too often. It's also fair to say had the "Bosnia revelation" come out earlier in the campaign it probably would have gotten less media attention, when Obama had his "Selma moment" the media was not focusing on him with as much of a microscope as happens now that we are really well into the primary season. Which suggests another point about politics, it's not so much when you exaggerate, it's when you get caught that can have a bigger impact.

Here's a key question for my readers that I would love to know, how many of you knew about the Selma exaggeration before you read about it on this blog (past or today) versus how many of you knew about the Clinton exaggeration before you read about it on this blog...To all my beloved lurkers, I'd love your thoughts on this as well so if you don't want to comment, email me and I'll tally up the numbers to share later. (The email is


Scott G said...

I knew about the Selma deal, but I didn't pay a lot of attention to it. I also am not paying a lot of attention to the Bosnia remark, but I think it is the funnier of the two because she made it seem like President Clinton would send her into harm's way when he could not go. And even better, he would send Chelsea.

I can kind of a little bit see mixing up Selma with the larger Civil Rights movement, but it is hard for me to swallow a vivid memory of bullets, evasive maneuvers, and death defying acrobatics when it didn't happen. And then to say that she had one memory while her staff had another. I can remember extremely well both times I was ever around guns where the holder intended to shoot another person and I was extremely drunk both times.

What I don't like about the Senator Obama Selma is, why does he feel he has to prove he is black. I figured it out by looking at him and everyone should be able to. And those that will say he is not "black-enough" are most likely basing that on the wrong things anyway and will not be persuaded by Selma tie-ins.

Cyberseaer said...

Politicians exaggerate and spin the truth? Get the hell out of here. This is why I shouldn't read this blog, it just pops all my delusional bubbles and depresses me and make be want to crawl in the corner and cry for days on end. ;) (I put the winky eye on the end of that comment to show humor just in case a few of you too serious readers want to let me know what an A-hole I am and that I should go away. NAH-NAH-NAAAH!!!!)

I can proudly say that I didn't know about either comment until I read Lisa's blog. The network and cable news sucks and mostly adds editorals that noone cares about and is more entertainment than news. And in a rush to get the highest ratings, the news will show the most depressing stories at the time to make people feel better about thier own problems and woes.

Since I don't care about any of the front runners, including McCain, I find this mud slinging funny and sad. Funny, since this is the same high school crap that I have seen since the first Bush/Clinton battle back in the late 80's. The American public are given choices of who will screw up the country the least instead of who can lead us out of trouble and make this nation great in the eyes of the world once again. That is what makes me sad and angry that the greatest nation on Earth has crap to offer us for leaders.

Though I am not a big JFK fan, except for a little field trip in Dallas (kidding. That was a joke, as sick as it may be), but he did try to raise the bar for the American people instead of trying to help them stay comfortable in thier own mediocrity.

The last great president was FDR when he made temporary social programs to help people's self worth rise by having them work and feel productive and he lead this country into a war that was just in fighting an evil menace and make people pround of thier homeland.

Some sixty years later, we are hated by the world, we have this self loathing and guilt that we feel we must pruge, and we are lazy and want to elect a person who will let us suck off the goverment's tit for a little longer. What the hell happened to us? In one generation we came from being admired and feared in the eyes of the world to now being hated and being the consumers that make the rest of the world rich. And people wonder why my generation, the Gen Xers, are pissed off more so than the baby boomers of the sixties.

So let's get through the next joke of an election and then try and get someone who will actually do some good instead of pointing fingers to those who are worst than he.

Scott G said...

I am appalled cyberseaer, how dare you misspell purge. People like you do not belong on public forums. ;-) (just in case someone thinks that a person who can't spell "the" when typing really is attacking you)

Cyberseaer said...

Touche Mr. Scott G., touche.

Lisa Renee said...

Scott that's a good point about the "sending into harms way". It never ceases to amaze me how candidates time and time again are not careful enough when it comes to what they say realizing that one mistake is going to get much more focus than ten positives.

C, I agree with you as to why our generation is more frustrated and angry. Then in addition to that most of us will not end up being better off than our parents. I also don't disagree with you as to how stupid some of this campaigning has gotten on all sides, the negativity, the attack ads and very little focus on the real issues. Most likely because some of the very same issues that were important in the 1980's still have never been resolved.

The reality is some of what government wants to fix, they can't really fix at all so rather than be honest with us they create a situation where increased governmental regulation and interference actually causes more damage to the economy than them just butting out...

Then of course our whole civil liberties...My preferred candidate is out, while I really don't want it to be Obama, chances are it will be him versus McCain. Which unless something dramatic happens, I do believe McCain will be the one elected which would mean more of what has happened during the past 8 years...

Scott G said...

I think it is beginning to look like no matter who the Democrat is, McCain will win. I just wish people could see the bigger picture and realize that the nomination is just the beginning and not the end. I am still holding out hope for a John Edwards/Denzell Washington ticket.

Lisa Renee said...

Now that would be a ticket I'd be behind with some major passion.