One of the things about blogging is that if, for whatever reason, you take a few days off from posting and then return, wanting to comment on something that happened in that time period, you find that when you do chime in, somebody else (or a number of somebody elses) has pretty much said anything you might have to say on the topic.
Such is the case with Hillary’s reference in South Dakota to the assassination of Robert of Kennedy. Asked why she was not dropping out of the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination, the former First Lady said:
My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don’t understand it
My first thought was what a bone-headed comment. My second was somewhat sympathetic, understanding what she was trying to say and realizing that it came out differently than she had intended (wanting to point out that the 1968 contest for the Democratic nomination was still ongoing at the time of the California primary that year). My third thought was that the inartful remark would destroy the little remaining chance the former First Lady had to win her party’s presidential nod.
And this largely because of her family’s history, the rumors swirling about it, coupled with the pro-Obama blog and media machine, eager to cast anything she says in the worst possible light.
Click on more to read comments I found particularly insightful and the conclusion I draw from them.
Brendan Loy offers a thoughtful, but uncharitable view:
When you build a career, and more immediately a campaign, on a foundation of lies, deceit, and a willingness to say & do anything for power, people aren’t going to give you the benefit of the doubt on something like this. That doesn’t make it right for them to reach the implausible conclusion that she was deliberately suggesting Obama might get shot, but at some level, she made this bed for herself, and now she has to lie in it.
(As Glenn who links the post might say, read the whole thing.)
The modern workaholic candidate puts in 18 hour days for 18 months with hardly a day off. The fatigue gets to him (or her), and he (or she) says stupid things. Working themselves as hard as they do, the candidates make the gaffes inevitable. No human being can stay sharp when demanding so much of himself (or herself) for such an extended period of time.
Kind of how I see it. But, Brendan has a better sense of how it’s going to play. Given her family’s record, she’s not going to get the benefit of the doubt on this one, even if she deserves it (as I believe she does).
It just goes to the point that a gaffe can really destroy a candidate where the comment reinforces an image of the candidate (see e.g., Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond) or whom the media dislikes. So, this gaffe may not have made all that much difference had the media not transferred its affection from the Clintons to Senator Obama.
If the MSM would either A) be more forgiving of Republican officials who they don’t like or B) be a little tougher on Democratic officials they do like, the world would be a better place. In this case, I don’t think Barack Obama is deliberately lying, or trying to pull a fast one.
The media does have different standards for Democrats, particularly its favorites. And now Hillary is learning what happens when you lose the media’s favor. Maybe that’s why she’s been a bit gaffe-prone of late. She had gotten used to the media covering for her in the past.