Did She Just Say That?

Happy July 4th to all of my friends and rel­a­tives back in the US. Pam and I tuned in this morn­ing to the news and polit­i­cal talk shows, expect­ing a pretty unevent­ful roundup of pre-Fireworks chat­ter, and were sur­prised to see some news­wor­thy items. One was a final reac­tion by pun­dits to the Repub­li­can National Committee’s head, Michael Steele. For the past cou­ple of years, Steele has been ‘the gift that keeps on giv­ing’ to Lib­er­als like myself, and it was always hys­ter­i­cal when he came out with one of his either undig­ni­fied or ridicu­lous state­ments. The lat­est one, how­ever, seemed to go over the line. At a fundraiser in Noank, Con­necti­cut, some­one caught Steele in the fol­low­ing video that became one of those gaffes heard round the world:

“The [Gen­eral] McChrys­tal inci­dent, to me, was very com­i­cal. I think it’s a reflec­tion of the frus­tra­tion that a lot of our mil­i­tary lead­ers has with this Admin­is­tra­tion and their pros­e­cu­tion of the war in Afghanistan. Keep in mind again, fed­eral can­di­dates, this was a war of Obama’s choos­ing. This was not some­thing that the United States had actively pros­e­cuted or wanted to engage in. It was one of those areas of the total board of for­eign pol­icy [that was at least?] that we would be in the back­ground sort of shap­ing the changes that were nec­es­sary in Afghanistan as opposed to directly engag­ing troops. But it was the Pres­i­dent who was try­ing to be cute by half by flip­ping a script demo­niz­ing Iraq, while say­ing the bat­tle really should in Afghanistan. Well, if he is such a stu­dent of his­tory, has he not under­stood that you know that’s the one thing you don’t do, is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? Alright, because every­one who has tried over a thou­sand years of his­tory has failed, and there are rea­sons for that. There are other ways to engage in Afghanistan…”

Now I won’t go too much into how wrong that is on so many lev­els (not the least of which is that it’s his­tor­i­cally inac­cu­rate — there was no ‘choice’ involved and the US, led by George W. Bush, attacked Afghanistan after the ter­ror­ist attack on the World Trade Cen­ter and the Pen­ta­gon on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001), but the con­dem­na­tion from Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans has been pretty severe, with the excep­tion of the always-surprising Ron Paul, who said that Steele, “has it right and Repub­li­cans should stick by him.”
At any rate, we did a double-take when we heard this from Cyn­thia Tucker, the Pulitzer prize win­ning reporter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Wow! It’s not often you hear some­one deliver as blis­ter­ing a cri­tique as that. In fact, I dare say if any­one else had said what she said, (par­tic­u­larly some­one who wasn’t also black) they might have been accused of being racist.

It’s pretty clear that Steele is toast. As I hinted ear­lier, that’s a shame for Democ­rats (Al Hunt a few moments before this clip sug­gested that Steele was actu­ally a Demo­c­ra­tic Mole). How­ever, he (and Ms. Tucker) did pro­vide some early fire­works for this July 4 morning.


July 5 is also a big date, at least for Pam and me. On this date, 5 years ago, we left Cam­bridge, MA and began our jour­ney to Canada. While I’m always a lit­tle pen­sive on the 4th, remem­ber­ing those long after­noons on the bank of the Charles river get­ting ready for the fire­works and singing patri­otic songs, I also remem­ber how excited we were to be start­ing a new chap­ter in our lives. These days, I don’t intro­duce myself as a ‘new Van­cou­verite’ any more. I now con­sider the lower Main­land my home, and despite more than a few glances back at the US, we have no plans to return to liv­ing there. The July 4 of 2005 will prob­a­bly be the last one we spent as US residents.


3 Comments to “Did She Just Say That?”

  1. AvatarJan Karlsbjerg

    She should be allowed to say what she thinks regard­less of her skin color (*1). I hate the par­tic­u­lar branch of polit­i­cal cor­rect­ness that you can only make fun of “your own people”.

    Did you know that all Amer­i­can TV sports com­men­ta­tors must now be paired up so that there’s always a rep­re­sen­ta­tive set of com­men­ta­tors with a micro­phone? A right handed and a left handed per­son, a tall and a short per­son, a slow and a fast per­son, so that they won’t get in trou­ble if they com­ment on a player’s handed-ness, height, speed, etc.

    Also, she’s right.

    Note 1: If I under­stand things cor­rectly, free­dom of speech and equal­ity for women and equal­ity for peo­ple regard­less of skin color weren’t actu­ally in the orig­i­nal con­sti­tu­tion, but it’s still the kind of stuff that Amer­i­cans usu­ally bring up on July 4th any­way. :-)

  2. AvatarDavid Drucker
    Author Comment

    Guess that part of me comes out on that day.

    BTW, just in case it wasn’t clear, I wasn’t say­ing I thought she was racist, just that (although it’s prob­a­bly a shame that it’s still the case), only she could ‘get away’ with say­ing it. Imag­ine those same phrases com­ing out of Rush Limbaugh’s mouth and Steele would be safe in his job with peo­ple lin­ing up behind him.

    Oh, and of course, she’s right.

  3. AvatarWest End Bob

    Glad you and Pam made the move, as are “drf” and I, David.

    Yup, Van­cou­ver is “home” now, and we’re luvin’ it .…

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