The "ready on day one" Democratic Party candidate Clinton put the assassination of presidential candidates in play by her remarks about the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
Clinton quickly demurred and apologized to the Kennedy family saying she was only trying to make the point that anything could happen on the way to the White House; that topic of Senator Ted Kennedy’s brain tumor the same week had caused her to think of the tragedies of the Kennedy family. Yet she never apologized to Obama in public for raising the linkage of the Kennedy assassination to him.
This was now the 3rd time she raised the specter of the Robert F. Kennedy assassination and it must be seen in context of the allegations of race baiting on behalf of her by Bill and coupled with Bill’s calling the Obama campaign "a joke." Then add the demeaning "joke" by the right winger for Vice President Huckabee wherein he implied that Obama was less than brave at the sound of gunfire. This was said to the right wing club commonly known as National Rifle Association.
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If Hillary had wanted to draw attention to the "anything can happen" syndrome she could have mentioned Ed Muskie whose presidential hopes were dashed when he appeared to cry in front of the national televised press cameras because of the negative press attention given his wife. Or when John Eagleton had to withdraw as McGovern’s Vice Presidential pick when it was disclosed that he had mental health treatment.
Or when a PR stunt turned bad for Dukakis and he was seen looking more like a chimp than the commander of a tank; or the use of the racist, crime terror theme of the Willie Horton TV commercial which made Dukakis look both ill suited to lead the nation’s military and soft on crime. That is if you wish to name three non-fatal incidences that altered presidential hopes. But that is not what the ever-ready strategic thinking Clinton did.
As a result of this negative campaign branding and the reference to the tragedy of the assassination of the young, "hopeful" Robert F. Kennedy, to whom Obama’s campaign image has been likened, the stature of Obama, the young "hopeful" black candidate has been degraded. Thus, this constant linkage conjures up assassination as a means of stopping the threat such a "change" candidate brings to the established government.
The last time in recent American history when there was hope for change was the nineteen sixties. It was a period of cultural change, a time when there was hope for what appeared to be meaningful, egalitarian, structural change. But in the end, it became a time of the death for both hope and meaningful change by way of assassination. The now iconic TV snapshots of the assassinations of three perceived "agents of change," John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, are now media legend. For mainstream America they are also media fodder, rarely seen in context or understood for the devastating consequences they wrought.
We now have another time of change: the historic if symbolic entry of a woman and an African American as President of the United States. As Obama is the apparent "agent of change" Democratic Party the question arises: is Obama being marginalized enough to allow opportunistic extremists to stage an assassination? And this question must be seen in the context of the extreme racism in this nation.
But there is an even more ominous scenario we Americans face in this "time of change," and it’s a familiar one:
We are in a time of a greatly unpopular war, with a Republican President bent on "victory" at all costs; defiant of the elected representatives of the people in the Congress and Senate; suspect of many crimes and misdemeanors with impeachment in the air; with a legacy as the worst President in American history. The assassination of Barack Obama may be an act that will enrage the African American community; awaken the dormant rage of this highly suppressed, marginalized society.
The outbreak of violence in Los Angeles in 1992 could be the minimum one could expect of this kind of mass protest. And while that kind of outburst of justifiable rage is dangerous enough there is another kind of manipulated nightmare to fear: that such protests may create the opportunity for the Bush-Cheney regime to declare martial law and cancel the 2008 elections. Its predecessor is the uncompleted plan of Richard Milhous Nixon’s cohorts who planned to plant bombs at the Republican convention in San Diego and then frame Leftist for the bombings, place them in ready concentration camps, and declare a state of national emergency.
Obama’s natural comfort level in large arenas vs. Clinton’s "shaking the hands of the hard working white people" have shaped the perception people have of Obama as aloof and elitist, a caricature of the uppity black man. For practical political purposes he must now gear both his remaining campaign for the nomination and that of the general to more tactical appearances in smaller venues, in closer proximity to the populace. That places him all the more in danger.
There are only two questions remaining:
One, do we believe Hillary innocent of contrivance? Or are her statements the harbinger of unintended consequences?
Her overworked explanations aside, at best I believe Clinton, along with her mentor Bubba Bill and her preferred contender McCain, holds a real disdain for the credibility of Obama as a candidate worthy of the presidency and harbors a desire to see Obama go away. At worst, she calculates everything she says and does, as mentored by Bill.
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