Well, a week is a long time in the death of politics, and never close the book on anything, but let it be noted that this is the week that Hillary finally became invisible. It’s taken months longer than anyone thought, but in the last 48 hours she seems to have more or less winked out of existence.
With the news breaks leading with McCain’s insistence that he would start talking to Russia about arms control and treaties – well I mean that’s not talking to our enemies, it’s not as if they’re a shadowy dictatorship with annual May Day parades of military hardware through Red Sq – hang on. Anyway, with McCain busy crafting a policy of talking to just about all of his enemies apart from the transcendentally nihilistic ones, like Bush, and Obama campaigning hell-for-leather in the swing states, Hillary’s been in Puerto Rico, where she’s leading by around thirteen points for the contest’s primary on Sunday, oddly enough for a heavy Catholic joint.
It’s also about the only place that will have her. She’s in Montana today without hassles, but only because no-one else is, and you can range for hours without running into anyone with a tape recorder ready to record the latest gaffe.
Really, it’s the Obama/RFK remark that finished her, but not for any rational reason. In terms of holding the line on a basic progressive platform she’s said worse – the hardworking whitepeople thing most recently – and Obama accepted the explanation that it was a mis-statement. But at some barely conscious level, for many people, it was simply the last straw, a deal-breaker in the never-passionate Hillary-public relationship – one cutting-remark-at-a-dinner-party, one drunken-afterpub-brawl, one-toilet-seat-left-up/down/up too many.
So now we’re not calling and hoping she’ll get the message. Let’s face it , this was never going to be a long-term thing. Fact of the matter is, when we think about it – we’ve had a bit of professional consultation – we were still kinda upset about how the whole Bill thing ended and hadn’t really resolved it and we now feel a lot of the attraction was staying in touch with him. You called it a coalition, we call it co-dependence. We thought it was the start of something big. Actually it was the end of something huge.
Hey we’re not saying it wasn’t powerful for a while. Matter of fact — we laugh about it now — at one stage it looked like we’d only remember Bill cos he introduced us to you. Can you imagine that? Seriously can you? Funny really, now it looks like we’ll barely remember you at all.
We’re really, really sorry. It just never occurred to us, in all those years when we were with Bill, that you were, in the end, appalling. We think it’s best if we don’t see you for a while. The period we had in mind was ummmmmmmm, the rest of your life. We know we’re bound to run into you in like the dry cleaner or the UN and that’s going to be tough – especially if you’re with Bill, cos let’s face it, we still love that guy. Yeah of course he’s worse. That’s kind of the point. You want undying love, get a Tamagotchi.
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Thank god you’re hanging out in Puerto Rico cos we never go there, not even for borderline s-x tourism. Seriously we have to go and answer this call. What? Well the thing’s on vibrate. Jesus.
So it’s all Obama now, and I think the allegory may have exhausted itself. Goddamit, if this guy wins it won’t be for want of trying not to. Today’s genius move was to connect to a sense of history by noting that his grandfather had been part of the American forces liberating Auschwitz, after which said gentlemen ‘went to the attic for six months’ and didn’t talk to anyone.
Powerful, moving stuff, the only problem being that of course the Americans didn’t liberate the Polish camp Ozwiecim – it fell to the Soviets. Obama’s uncle was part of the force that occupied Buchenwald, the largest death camp on German soil. Possibly Obama confused it with Birkenau, Auschwitz’s companion camp run as a work for resource for IG Farben in that substantial part of the Holocaust that was a capitalist -run project.
Indeed, the story is doubly inaccurate in that the Americans didn’t liberate Buchenwald, Buchenwald did – as Germany collapsed Communist inmates staged an uprising, and the camp had been liberated by the time US forces got there. But Obama is playing into the ‘good war’ myth of WW2 to make an end run round McCain’s ‘greatest generation’ credentials, so the idea of people liberating themselves is too inconvenient.
Whatever the case, there ain’t many rules, but one is you don’t confuse death camps like they were restaurants. “Monday we went to Pizza Hut…no it was TGI..Treblinka maybe…I dunno….”. Quite possibly the family story was handed down incorrectly and Obama always thought it was Auschwitz, but it’s the sort of thing you check – once you’ve made the crappy decision to participate in Holoschlock politics on the most tenuous of connections.
The reverse effect of getting the camp wrong is of course double penalty points, since it looks like the third-hand experience moved you not at all. Quite possibly it’ll be right up there with Al Gore’s explanation as to why his family went on growing tobacco for years after his sister died of lung cancer – the family was so frozen in grief that they couldn’t act decisively.
As Gore did, Obama appears to be making a point about social services, and so, in that quintessentially American way, rendering history as first time tragedy, second time therapy. Why was Obama’s uncle up in that attic? Possibly because he’d deserted from the Red Army, and those guys don’t mess around. But mainly because there wasn’t the understanding we have today of what’s needed.
Yes, that’s the lesson you want to take away from the eruption of radical evil in the middle of the century – a need for more counselling services. Intended in part as a way of giving Obama some parity with McCain’s claim to be connecting to a sense of historical depth – via the radical Islamism as a transcendent evil malarkey – it serves to make him look even further distanced from the historical period that people want to draw on as a ‘finest hour’.
McCain isn’t of that generation either – he’s about the same age as the bloke standing on stage during the movie Woodstock saying ‘the brown acid is bad’ (who now, apparently, resides in North Fitzroy) but McCain sounds like he’s WW2 vintage, and is doing everything to increase that assumption.
The whole incident reinforces a terrifying sense that Obama is just so insouciant and diffident that even the American people’s newfound interest in the condition of their lives — rather than the culture war agenda being run out of the media — will not withstand his disregard of the symbols and rituals of the electoral process – or worse his half-hearted subscription to them, such as the belated use of a flag pin.
Really, man, it’s time to get serious. We’re willing to make a commitment here, but it’s a two way autobahn here. If you’re not serious about this just let us know and we’ll go crawling back to our girl, GI Bill. You see if we don’t.