There was a scene in the NBC-TV sitcom “The Office” (possibly the funniest show on television) where the dunderheaded boss, Michael Scott, accepts advice that he must declare bankruptcy. The buffoon boss, doing what he believes he must do strides confidently into the main area of the office and bellows, “I hereby declare bankruptcy!”
I’m reminded of that scene when considering the comical ineffectiveness of the political world’s odd expectation of candidates denouncing, renouncing, distancing, disagreeing or otherwise trying to pander to as many people as possible by pretending to be offended by something a supporter said or did.
It would be nice if politicians would act like adults and tell a screaming media to take a long hike off a short pier every time they ask for one of these phony acts of contrition. But since they never do, I suppose we’re stuck with people in public office constantly having to chastise someone on their team for opening up their big mouth.
Since we understand the rules of denouncement in politics, I sure wish we could receive a little bit of consistency on the subject.
When Geraldine Ferraro told a tiny west coast newspaper reporter that Barack Obama enjoys the fortune of being a black man in this year’s presidential race, you’d have thought the longtime Democrat had actually burned a cross in a black family’s yard.
Never mind that a candidate who receives over 90% of the black vote in Mississippi is quite obviously benefitting from the swooning and fawning he is receiving, largely over the concept of a black man becoming the first viable presidential candidate in our nation’s history.
Forget the fact that most of us know that she was only speaking the truth. One of the cardinal rules of the nasty process of identity politics is to never miss an opportunity to label your opponent a bigot.
That’s precisely what the well-oiled Obama campaign machine did.
As Ferraro herself pointed out repeatedly, it was the Obama campaign folks who went positively bonkers over her opinion. They pretended to barely contain their outrage in denouncing and renouncing her remarks.
Being a pro at identity politics herself, Madame Hillary promptly threw her longtime supporter under the wheels of the bus by feigning outrage and disappointment as well.
It didn’t take long for Gerry Ferraro to give up on the Clinton campaign and resign from her official position. But at least she refuses to apologize.
Since the Clinton and Obama folks are positively covered from head to toe with mud by now, it should be fairly easy for Sen. Clinton and her folks to go after Obama on the most obvious elephant in the room these days: Rev. Jeremiah Wright.