McCain “Really Didn’t Love America Until…” Either & The Unreality of Political Blogging

Michelle Obama has been under attack for some time for a comment she made: “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” She’s since explained that what she meant was her country’s politics, and that it is, of course, comparative hyperbole, not really a literal absolute. Seems reasonable enough to me to be a non-issue.

But conservatives, seeing blood, pounced. They attacked her patriotism. They worked this comment into their overall narrative of the Obama’s being elite, self-centered ‘too-fancy and enamored of themselves’ folks. It was an easy sell for them.

Myself? I’m embarrassed for anyone that styles themselves an honest, straight shooter that bought into this faux-controversy: who see cable talking-head narratives as reality instead of theater. I’m disgusted at the quiet glee that otherwise interesting and thoughtful conservative bloggers take in peppering their posts with the quote, and the pride they take in seeing media accounts of ordinary citizens hating on the Obamas for it. I have little patience for the two-faced pretense of supposedly analyzing it with the quiet motive of simply repeating it over and over.

No less than the always charming Laura Bush has come out defending Mrs. Obama and her defense is dead on.

“I think she probably meant I’m ‘more proud,’ you know, is what she really meant,” Bush told ABC News. “You have to be very careful in what you say. I mean, I know that, and that’s one of the things you learn and that’s one of the really difficult parts both of running for president and for being the spouse of the president, and that is, everything you say is looked at and in many cases misconstrued.”

And now, the ridiculousness of it all has come to a head, because MSNBC has caught Presidential candidate John McCain saying something quite similar, repeatedly, with no outcry from anyone. Quoth John McCain: “I really didn’t love America until I was deprived of her company…”

Ooooo, didn’t appreciate America until locked in a cage and tortured? What a selfish twit, right?

No. Wrong. Sigh.

In real life, people say things all the time that are silly, overwrought. They get worked up about something, and then, in a moment of clarity, come down off it. And because in real life they have to deal with other human beings face to face, day in and day out, they often realize how foolish they were being, and they apologize for them. Not because of equally phony formulaic political demands for public apologies. Because they actually, though simple self-awareness, come to feel foolish about their behavior.

Just once, I’d like to see campaign cable spin-miesters or their bloggy enablers suddenly look sheepish and self-aware, just like ordinary humans do all the time. Say “wait a minute, what the heck am I going on about?”

The fact that virtually no one ever does that, when they do it all the time in real life, is as sure a sign as any that political blogging is still fairly far removed from both humanity and reality. People play against partisan type from time to time, sure. They have their opinions. But somehow they virtually never get upset about something and then later, after whipping up a frenzy, reconsider. I’m not claiming that I’m innocent of it either. I just wish we could all commiserate a little more about the collective problem.

Even if you’re inclined to defend your outrage at Mrs. Obama, deny that this one, super important and telling quote, is part of that unreality game… can you at least admit to the general vice, and that you may well indulge in it?

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4 Responses to McCain “Really Didn’t Love America Until…” Either & The Unreality of Political Blogging

  1. Tim Rueb says:

    Unfortunately, when a candidate and his wife are unknown and without substance, we are often left to the lone source, which is their public persona, which includes the words they choose to use.

  2. Bad says:

    We? Who is we? All people? And lone source for… what? Thinking that you can know or understand them personally by watching a few cable clips or quotes on blogs? And words they choose to use… do you always have the exact right words at your tongue-tip? I know I certainly don’t. You really think such things are telling? A way to truly know who these people are?

    The problem is in even trying. Maybe by reading a whole bunch of books about, say, George Bush could you feel that you know the guy on some personal, psychological level of understanding. You still wouldn’t know what sort of guy he is, how you’d really mesh with him in person, but that’d probably be a decent start.

    But why do people even try to pretend they can know him or his character from watching him through a never ending political campaign? That’s the WORST context in which to try and understand someone, anyone.

  3. Tim Rueb says:

    You comment as if these people are just being elected to park cars, even then I would want to know something about them.

    As much as you like to believe the “problem is even trying” to know these clowns, the problem is we don’t know all we need to know about them to make a decision on who will control the Executive Branch of the Greatest Country on this planet.

    As a voter, I believe it is my responsibility to know as much about the candidates as possible, and avoid pretending I know them. And speaking of Obama, when a candidate has such a poor record of results, runs on a unity platform and can’t provide any tangible evidence that he is cable of even gluing two pieces of paper together let alone his own party, it make you wonder what else we can’t trust.

    McCain’s biggest problem is he’s in the Republican Party. His greatest asset is who the Democrats have to offer in this race.

    Either way, in the end, I am responsible for knowing who to vote for. And if all a candidate is providing are sound bites, well then, your objections to my methods should be directed to the candidate and not me.

  4. Bad says:

    Sure you would want to know things about them: what their politics are. What they plan on doing in office. Who they are involved with. Their voting records.

    Those things are both more important, and more humanly possible, than this pop psychoanalysis stuff… most of which is hostile to begin with, starting with a preconception or opposing/supporting the person in the first place.

    What you’re telling me about Obama is a story about a person in your mind, not a discussion of what his politics are, and whether you support the things he supports or not. It’s just not the same thing. The complaint that all the candidates are providing is “sound bites” is utterly lame. Sound bites are all you get when you rely on media sources that basically specialize in “this week’s soundbyte to get all worked up about.”

    Obama, for better or worse, has various policy proposals on the table. He has a history of votes in the Senate. And he’s politically aligned with particular people who have particular interests. All of this, better than anything else, is information that tells people about what decisions hes likely to make as President. Campaign rhetoric, on the other hand, whether you like what’s being said or not, is fluff.

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