Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I'm not...but if I was...

Now that the New Year parties are over, are you afraid that you'd have to wait for eye-rolling stupidity? Rest assured, 2008 starts with a bang. But cast your eyes backwards for a moment, if you would.

A few years back (which I'm horrified to realize is actually early 2002), everyone's favourite US President gave a carefully orchestrated press conference where he said that the Twin Towers attack was intended to disrupt the economy of the US and Western interests, to upset the markets and the almighty dollar. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine (who'd enthusiastically converted to revolutionary-about-town status) sent a much cc'd letter about Bush's comments with a preamble that started with "I don't want to say I told you so, but..." before going on to discuss the evils of the Bush administration, the world's disparity of wealth, the dangers of US imperialism, etc.

I agreed with a few of his points, but the tone of his letter did not strike as me as one of his shining moments. By the time you've said "I don't want to say I told you so," the so in question has been told. It's a cheat. The preamble's a dodge to either look cute or to duck some responsibility for what you're going to say. Agreed? No? Yes?

Of course, one can be just as self righteous without that particular gambit. Prime Minister Harper for all his faults (and we could be here all day) tends to let his mouth run on when he's in a snippy mood. No US style Swiftboating for this media-shy gunslinger, just an accusation or two that somebody else can clean up after. Some see this as a truth-talkin' virtue. Some see it as the mark of somebody who really wants to look tough. Given his attack on the voting rights issue (which his party helped to pass), some suggest that he has a short memory or doesn't like to read.

Whatever. He shoots his mouth off, rather than finding somebody else to do it. He might do it while hiding behind curtains and ducking into back doors to avoid the press (nervous mousie that he is), but at least he hasn't created a sub-committee to mouth off on his behalf.

Then there's Huckabee. He's playing a sort of theme-and-variation on 'Not saying I told you so,' by incorporating the 'I could say something nasty, but I'm gonna be the big man..." thrust and parry. Most effectively played shortly after you've said something nasty.

In short, he drafted a negative ad, hinted at the negative ad, played the negative ad for the press, then wanted some respect, congratulations, or perhaps a hug for dropping it.

I can't make this stuff up
. A snippet:

On Monday, he made himself the butt of his own joke, urging journalists to take careful note of the negative ad he had withdrawn because he wanted to run a positive campaign. "It's never too late to do the right thing," he said.
Well. It takes a special kind of man to call a press conference to say "I ain't sayin', I'm just sayin'."

His campaign manager is Ed Rollins, who has time with both Reagan and Ross Perot under his belt. He is quoted as saying "To me, hitting somebody, knocking somebody down, is a great feeling. Firing out a negative ad just feels amazing."

But cancelling it, that was all Huck's idea. Now...how about that hug?

This level of behaviour shouldn't surprise anybody. But as a harbinger of things to come...maybe 2008's tone has been established. Happy New Year, all.


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