Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hillary Clinton KOs Obama: The Pavlik Effect

I call it the Kelly Pavlik effect. A few days ago, when all was lost and the wide sweep of the press had Hillary KO’d in the early rounds, I turned to my wife and fellow boxing fan.

“Who’s that guy beside Hillary on stage? Doesn’t it look like Kelly Pavlik?”

The 25 year old middleweight from Youngstown Ohio knows what it is to be down on the canvas staring up bewildered into the ring lights. In the third round of this first match up with the great middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, Pavlik must have wished his head were shot up with Novocain as he wobbled to his unsteady feet. Pavlik had made the decision that others so often fail to make, the decision that John McCain had to make as he lay for five years with broken arms in a North Vietnamese prison camp. You have your choice in going down. You can go down on your knees or you can go down fighting. That’s the moment when you hear the horrifying echoes of all your opponent’s taunts, and the announcements of all your past failures, and the sick sound of the thudding body blows crashing against your ribs.

You’re going down, son, you’re going down.

It’s not exactly the same in politics as it is in boxing, yet there was a bit of that heart in Hillary Clinton as she rocked the nation with upset victories in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island. The press had buried her completely, and while they may now wriggle and sort through their past utterances in search of any phrase which would buttress their failed prognostications, the weakness of the media coverage is self-evident. The mainstream press is today eager to find a way to tell viewers they didn’t count Hillary out, but they all did.

However, everyone forgot to tell Hillary Clinton who knew in her heart she was a better candidate than fledgling Senator Barak Obama. A day after the Hillary rout, it is clear that the campaign was aided in good measure by the Ohio governorm Ted Strickland, and an eloquent and loyal Congresswoman Stephanie Jones-Tubbs. Jones-Tubbs’ short speech a week before the Ohio primaries was level and pointedly loyal, a punch landed straight to the chops of those many disloyal Democrats who abandoned Hillary Clinton in favor of smoke, lofty oratory, and easy promises.

Here’s a round by round description of Hillary Clinton’s gritty fight.

The pressure that the press, establishment Democrats, and party wonks applied to get Clinton to quit the race began to anger men and women alike. Typical of that kind of pressure was exemplified by Newsweek editor Jonathan Alter who made the rounds of popular morning television shows on MSNBC and FOX and major networks like ABC, CBS, and NBC to explain why Hillary couldn’t possible stage a comeback after “eleven straight losses.” Such blatant cheerleading for Obama went beyond journalism.

• Television ads helped, but what helped more was that Hillary put aside the homogenized fanfare of her campaign people and began to set down on her punches. That is a matter of heart, ladies and gentlemen, and it comes at the moment when all is lost and the only thing you can do is believe in yourself and make the decision to go down fighting.

• The truth is that Hillary’s verbal jabs were much sharper than the round-shaped Cumbaya vagaries of “change you can Xerox.”

• The truth is that Obama’s judgment, in his business dealings with Antoin Rezko, was clouded and raised ethical if not legal issues.

• The truth is that Obama’s deception about his chief economic advisor’s tete-a-tete with Canadian embassy officials hurt him immensely, even to the point of attracting the brain-dead free-pass Obama press to the story.

• The truth is that Democratic Party shills in the press should stop trying to bait Hillary into answering questions about Obama’s religion. It’s slimy, it doesn’t work, and it only highlights the shadow world of Chicago backroom politics. Did it ever occur to them to ask Obama about his religion?

• The truth is that Barak Obama’s nervous nellie duck-and-cover anti-war stance is widely viewed as opportunistic and cynical and, if implemented, would be a disastrous plan. Another Hillary line that worked: “John McCain has experience. I have experience. Barak Obama has a speech he made in 2002.”

• The truth is that the Obama “movement” in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island was countermanded by another “movement” more in tune with 2008 reality. The Obama camp objection to Hillary’s 3:00 a.m. ad was whining of the least thrilling sort. You’ve got to take them check hooks if you want to be the champ.

• The truth is that Obama’s northeast latte elite strategists like John Kerry decided they would make themselves “cool” by putting their support behind any African-American candidate who shared their values of limousines, latte, and large mansions. (Vermont has two or three African-Americans but plenty of latte, Volvos, and a professorial class)

• The truth is that there was a strain of latent press misogyny which was encouraged to develop and permitted to expand so long as it served the purposes of getting Hillary off the stage. It took the real deal of a man like boxer Kelly Pavlik to make those men in doubt of their own gender to realize they could strongly support a woman without becoming one.

John Kerry appeared on Fox News this morning to disparage the Clinton victory and he will be followed by others who have already invested themselves too far in a candidate teetering already from the first punches landed. Another of Obama’s media mouthpieces, David Axelrod is making the television rounds to disparage the popular vote. Whether from Axelrod or Kerry or whomever, it’s still a “Twinkie defense,” destined to lose.

Unwilling to face the facts, the latte limousine liberals can only pound on the table. But as they go through the predictable song and dance, they’re hearing another faraway sound welling through the packed house. That’s the beginning of the ten count, Barak, so you’d better get on up off the floor and fight.

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