Sunday, May 25, 2008

Unseemly In Any Context: One angry video sets Hillary straight

I can't say I'm a fan of Keith Olbermann, the host of "Countdown" on MSNBC, because I've never watched the show. But I might start watching him after viewing this video of his reaction to Clinton's assassination remark (this link takes you to The Fix at the Washington Post where you can watch the clip without ads).

Billed as a "Special Comment" and delivered in the spirit of Edward R. Murrow's opinion pieces criticizing Senator Joseph McCarthy, this was a blistering, high energy critique of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. And it wasn't all wind and fury. Olbermann deftly referenced previous assassination allusions made by candidate Clinton, reinforcing the impression that this was not a 'slip of the tongue' or 'out-of-context' anomaly, but rather a simple window into the way her mind works: "I'm going to keep campaigning into June, after all Obama could be dead by then."

I'm not saying that she thinks like that in the sense that she;s actually wishing something bad happens to her opponent, but rather she's wedded to a way of thinking about politics that hopes for the worse if that's what serves your agenda best. Given that the Clintons are already heavily identified with that mindset, you'd think Hillary would try harder to disavow it, or distance herself from it, but instead we keep getting flashes of it, suggesting a flame still burns that is more about personal ambition than public service and the public good. This is not someone I want to see in the White House.

(About the only thing that I didn't like about Olbermann's piece was his final remark, "Good night and good luck." That belongs to someone else and although this "comment" piece came close to the spirit of Edward R. Murrow, I think there are plenty of other ways to sign off without borrowing his.)

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