Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Donkeys and Elephants: Who plays Robin Hood, and how?

Last night, the Democrats (or is it “Democats”) had a speech-fest in Denver, aired on PBS, climaxing with Hillary Clinton’s address. Her oration (only about 20 minutes) was crisp and to the point: she supports Barack Obama, and we must elect Barack Obama, etc. The Huffington Post carries a copy of the text and video that the visitor can enjoy now, here.

I’ve generally perceived of Hillary Clinton as a bit more “conservative” than Obama, even if her health care plans were perhaps comprehensive. Perhaps that like saying that Walter Mondale is more conservative than Sen. Paul Wellstone, whom he had to replace after the 2002 tragedy. Her husband, “My Boy Bill” (“Carousel”), became a bit of a “Republicrat” and left office with a budget surplus. Look where we are now (as in the new film “I.O.U.S.A.” from Roadside Attractions).

But, there was a repeated tone in the convention or playing the “I’m a victim” card, or “I’m dependent and that had better be OK” ace. One woman from North Carolina, laid off after years with Pillowtex, talked about offshoring, cheap labor, and the loss of a wayt of life here. One thing she said rang true. She said she had to put family first. That didn’t necessarily mean the children she bore. That meant obligations (to parents and siblings) that she had no opportunity to choose. We see that same problem in the film “October Sky” where Homer Hickum’s brother has to go to work in the coal mines (and give up any personal dreams) when his father gets black lung disease (so the upper middle class can live better without getting its hands dirty).

So perhaps you can say that Bush and Cheney played “Robin Hood” in reverse: robbed the poor and gave to the rich. McCain has his work cut out for himself, to figure out how to answer this. I don’t know if he can.

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