Monday, April 21, 2008

Selma Freaking Alabama???

So I'm lying in bed this morning, half-awake, getting ready to get up, get dressed and get on the road to Harrisburg.

The TV's on Fox News. They go into the 10 o'clock hour, and suddenly it's Carl Cameron talking about John McCain kicking off something he calls the "Time For Action Tour" in Selma, Alabama.

Selma. Alabama.

Holy freaking crap! That's when I notice that Cameron is telling me this while standing in front of an arched bridge over a river and now I realize that John McCain is about to speak at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

Edmund. Pettus. Bridge.

Some clever Republican political strategist has just proven himself too clever by half. Whatever PR value there is in having a Republican talk about the need to "take action" on poverty, it's more than canceled out by the glaring idiocy of sending him to the Edmund Pettus Bridge to talk about civil rights and John Lewis:
"There must be no forgotten places in America, whether they have been ignored for long years by the sins of indifference and injustice, or have been left behind as the world grew smaller and more economically interdependent. In America, we have always believed that if the day was a disappointment, we would win tomorrow. That's what John Lewis believed when he marched across this bridge. That’s what he still believes; what he still fights to achieve: a better country than the one he inherited."
What the bloody hell is this? Going to the buckle of the Bible Belt and talking about "the sins of indifference and injustice"? Talking about "places left behind"?

To start with, nobody in Alabama needs or wants a lecture about "injustice," and certainly not from a Republican senator. Look at the calendar: 2008. Anybody old enough to have marched with John Lewis in the 1965 voting-rights march is now more worried about Social Security and Medicare than anything else.

Second, if you want to talk about "places left behind," leave Alabama out of it. Anybody with Google can easily discover that the economy in Alabama has been growing faster than the overall U.S. economy for several years, for example:
In 2006 and 2007 24 new auto plants opened in Alabama. Although Birmingham residents are most familiar with Lincoln's Honda Manufacturing and the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant in Vance, supplier plants also play a significant employment role. Since 2003, supplier plants have reported 6.8 percent growth in jobs. Jefferson County's supplier job growth has increased 41 percent.
But the most obvious blunder involved in John McCain going to Selma and talking about John Lewis is that John Lewis is a Democrat. And not just a generic Democrat, but a feisty liberal Democrat.

John Lewis, partisan Democrat, is sure to be enraged by watching the McCain campaign attempt to co-opt Selma and the Edmund Pettus Bridge for a GOP campaign photo-op. And if the McCain campaign tries to use that photo-op in an advertisement, the Democrats will immediately trot out Lewis to preach a sermon about the transparent bogusness of John McCain.

For crying out loud, while John Lewis was preparing to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, John McCain was preparing to kill Commies in Vietnam.

Who can account for the fathomless idiocy of a GOP strategist who, not content to have a genuine Commie-killing war hero as his candidate, decides it's a clever move to co-opt the most famous episode in the life of a Democrat like John Lewis?

Maybe once Crazy Cousin John figures out what a dumb move this Selma trip was, his infamous temper will take hold of him and he'll strangle the GOP strategist who dreamed up this idiotic stunt.

If any Republican campaign wants to stage a photo-op at a famous bridge and invoke the name of a famous Democrat, my suggestion would be Chappquiddick and Ted Kennedy.

1 comment:

  1. Clever by half like a fox ...

    Just as GOP had the "Southern Strategy" which largely put Nixon into the White House, so now in strange reversal of opportunity McCain (and advisers if you like) see Obama most likely as opponent in November, a close election, and the black vote (running overwhelmingly for O) the prime bloc to be split.

    As for John Lewis's being a Democrat, it is the sad major fact in U. S. politics that overall race has long counted for more than party (and, alas, party more than content of character, but that is another issue). The most significant outcome of this election may well be rather than who wins but that an American of African ancestry could have been a major contender well beyond ethnic boundaries.

    I do quibble about the assertion, "Anybody old enough to have marched with John Lewis in the 1965 voting-rights march is now more worried about Social Security and Medicare than anything else."

    I was not at Selma but I was a civil rights worker in Mississippi in '64. Sure, SS and Medicare are significant factors in my life at this stage, but greater concern with regard to my government remain social justice and have, out of the experience particularly of recent years, become the country's susceptibility to tyranny.