I Agree: Some Words are Off Limits During a Campaign

Even from our van­tage point here, out­side the US, it’s still hard to ignore how ugly and sor­did the cam­paign for the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nom­i­na­tion has become. How­ev­er, I don’t think we ever heard any­thing as ghoul­ish as what was report­ed this morn­ing. Appar­ent­ly, Hillary Clin­ton said this dur­ing a recent interview:

My hus­band did not wrap up the nom­i­na­tion in 1992 until he won the Cal­i­for­nia pri­ma­ry some­where in the mid­dle of June, right? We all remem­ber Bob­by Kennedy was assas­si­nat­ed in June in Cal­i­for­nia. I don’t under­stand it…

I was only eight years old when Bob­by Kennedy, the younger broth­er of JFK, was assas­si­nat­ed. I lat­er learned in school that his cam­paign was notable part­ly because of the num­ber of young peo­ple who were work­ing for him, and that he was try­ing very hard to heal and uni­fy a strick­en US, dis­il­lu­sioned and fear­ful (by the trau­ma of his broth­er’s recent mur­der) and involved in a war they did not sup­port. Sound familiar?

The idea that a young leader — a leader who has even been com­pared to Bob­by Kennedy—will soon find a bul­let head­ing for him in late sum­mer, isn’t some­thing we should be forced to con­tem­plate, or dis­cuss, or even hear mum­blings about. It’s cer­tain­ly not what I expect­ed the ‘Talk­ing Heads’ to be chat­ter­ing about this week. Leav­ing the thought hang­ing out there, that ‘Assas­si­na­tions tend to hap­pen in June, so I bet­ter stick around’ (as if the month were like some kind of hur­ri­cane sea­son), is bad enough. But to invoke that par­tic­u­lar kind of hor­ri­ble event dur­ing an inter­view while run­ning for Pres­i­dent is just sick.

When­ev­er I talk to Cana­di­ans about the US, the sub­ject of vio­lence, in par­tic­u­lar gun vio­lence comes up. The US is seen as a vio­lent place, where vio­lent peo­ple have easy access to guns, and Amer­i­cans are per­fect­ly OK with that. Often, this obser­va­tion is deliv­ered with ner­vous laugh­ter, as if the coun­try to our South were just some crazy Aunt we hope stays in the cel­lar, and that some day she won’t come bar­rel­ing up the stairs with a rifle, doing that slaugh­ter­ing thing she does from time to time.

What I’ve often felt was the worst thing about Amer­i­ca, was the fact that so many Pres­i­dents (and pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates) have been either tar­get­ed for death or killed. Hillary’s offhand­ed ref­er­ence reminds me that I’ve fre­quent­ly had to mull over the thought that Oba­ma’s run­ning mate had bet­ter be some­one I trust in the White House, because by gol­ly, he’s going to get shot, soon­er or lat­er. I agree with Kei­th Olber­mann of MSNBC. We all must acknowl­edge that assas­si­na­tion is (for lack of a bet­ter word) a loaded word.

Here’s his response (in 2 parts). For those who don’t want to watch the video, I’ll try and find a tran­script. Nev­er­the­less, I don’t think it will com­mu­ni­cate just how out­raged he is, and I am.


Update: It looks like Dick Mor­ris. a for­mer advis­er to the Clin­tons has a sim­i­lar, if not iden­ti­cal opinion:

Every­body who has thought seri­ous­ly about the Oba­ma can­di­da­cy, includ­ing me and prob­a­bly includ­ing the Sen­a­tor him­self, have reflect­ed on the hor­ri­ble pos­si­bil­i­ty that he would be assas­si­nat­ed. One can­not think about Oba­ma, the Kennedy-esque can­di­date with­out wor­ry­ing about his safe­ty. But we all observe the dis­ci­pline of not rais­ing the issue in pub­lic. We all wor­ry that to do so would be to encour­age some mani­ac to take a shot. Now Hillary has vio­lat­ed this unstat­ed but hereto­fore uni­ver­sal taboo and brought up the pos­si­bil­i­ty. That is not to say that she is hop­ing for a mur­der. But it is to say that the pos­si­bil­i­ty is upper­most in her mind and a sig­nif­i­cant part of her ratio­nale for stay­ing in the race. And, by rais­ing it, she has made it more possible.

(From dickmorris.com )

8 Replies to “I Agree: Some Words are Off Limits During a Campaign”

  1. Excel­lent post, David — I com­plete­ly agree! 

    Aren’t you glad you and Pam are out of this mess? 

    David and I will be join­ing you soon, thank goodness .…

  2. I dont want to endorse what Clin­ton said in the least. But I buy her expla­na­tion. I don’t think she fin­ished her state­ment. When you watch her video, she even catch­es her­self say­ing the word “assas­si­na­tion” and get­ting uncom­fort­able with it.

    That said this should­nt even be an issue cause her ass should have been out of the race months ago.

  3. Shootin’ (par­don the expres­sion, but we ARE still here in the US) for a June 7 or 8 arrival. Def­i­nite­ly count­ing the days now .…

  4. bz — I guess I don’t doubt her expla­na­tion, but I don’t see her being uncom­fort­able with the word so much as being tongue-tied, repeat­ing ‘I don’t know, I just don’t know’ over and over again. That sounds to me like some­one who is hid­ing some­thing they real­ly want to say.
    Well, as Faux News says, ‘We Report. You Decide’ (What a joke that one is!) here’s the video:

  5. It’s pri­mar­i­ly for good (we’re both com­ing up with the dog) — we still have prop­er­ty in Flori­da we have to sell. Until we do, it will mean trips back. Don’t you and Pam need a win­ter get­away on the Gulf Coast?!?

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