Friday, January 11, 2008

Barak Obama, Karl Rove, Andrea Mitchell: Word up!

I’m losing my religion. On one side of the scale is liberal news reporter Andrea Mitchell, an ardent Clinton supporter. On the other is conservative Republican political advisor to George Bush, Karl Rove.

Mitchell appeared on Joe Scarborough’s Morning Joe program to provide commentary about the Saturday ABC debate forum for the Democrats. Karl Rove wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal’s Op-Ed page on Thursday, January 10.

I can’t believe that both these supposedly intelligent individuals, to whom America presumes to look for political and social guidance, could have so badly misinterpreted a certain remark made by Senator Barak Obama to a coy and self-deprecating Hillary Clinton. Not only did these two high-voltage media pundits misinterpret Obama’s remarks; they misinterpreted his remarks in the same precise and very dull snippet of language.

Remember the scene:

A WMUR TV reporter Scott Spradling asked Hillary why voters were “hesitating on the likeability issue”…and were…”liking Obama more.”

Hillary’s answer was disarming and candid.

“Well, that hurts my feelings,” she smiled pensively.

To which Obama, with a respondent but self-possessed male charm, remarked to Hillary:

“You’re likeable enough, Hillary.”

Now both Mitchell and Rove have both said that Obama’s remarks were “dismissive.” Rove went on to describe Obama’s “trash talking” as an “unattractive carryover from his days playing pickup basketball at Harvard.”…et cetera. Andrea Mitchell used exactly the same word, “dismissive”, in her a.m. television appearance to describe Barak’s rejoinder. Can idiots so complete as these (Mitchell and Rove) be the best the media has to offer?

Obama’s remark was a measured and subtle compliment, too subtle to reach the deadened synapses of Rove and Mitchell apparently. It was an acknowledgement that Hillary was an accomplished and powerful competitor without characterizing himself as a fawning sycophant. It was recognition of polity and propriety, a youthful African-American male paying tribute to the power of women and to that woman in particular. It made me wonder what kind of books Mitchell and Rove read. Do they read Jane Austen or Shakespeare? Or is it all Machiavelli and John Galbraith?

In fact, Obama’s remark was tender and appreciative, without being slavish and “churlish,” as Mitchell added to her own “dismissive” remarks. I’m not voting for Obama, mainly due to his opposition to the war in Iraq, but I’ve begun to like and respect the guy. There’s something culturally dumb not to have understood Obama’s remark as it was intended in reality. Maybe one day Obama will take them together by the hand for a tour of the tough Chicago neighborhoods where Obama worked and where words do not have to be filtered through the cemented, smug, establishment culturalism of elitist media moguls before they are fully understood.

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