Tuesday, March 25, 2008
For me, it started with the crucifixion in the late 1990's of Bill Clinton by Newt Gingrich and his venomous GOP lynch mob that culminated in the former president's highly partisan impeachment. That watershed moment over some very foolish sexual indiscretions forever changed the political landscape. Since then, politics has become a literal cesspool. Quite frankly, I'm sick of it. Sick of all the ad hominem attacks; the hypocrisy; the sexual scandals; the lies; the deception; the corruption. All of it. Politics was always a dirty game, but today it reeks. And there's universal culpability, from the politicians, the media and among voters themselves. What matters most today in politics is everything that truly doesn't matter at all.
The new "scandal" to break this week involves Sen. Hillary Clinton's revisionist history over her 1996 trip to Bosnia in which she described her arrival as something akin to traveling down Vietnam's Mekong Delta at the height of that war's violence. Instead, CBS film footage of that landing indicates it was more like the Easter Parade, complete with a smiling, clearly safe, Clinton being read poetry by an 8-year-old on the tarmac. The only bullets she's dodging are the ones this week over this obvious embellishment. Watching the Tuesday morning news shows, it's clear that BosniaGate is all the media's talking about. They're feeding on it like starving leeches. It's the OJ trial all over again. But are they talking about Clinton's major policy speech yesterday on easing the mortgage crisis? Nah. Who cares about all that economic junk anyway, right? The credit crunch, the hemorrhaging stock market, record gas and oil prices, inflation, unemployment...bo-ring. What really matters to most Americans, what will really change their lives, is BosniaGate, right?
To be sure, a politician as smart, savvy and possessing a brilliant legal mind as Hillary Clinton clearly was lying about her brush with death. No doubt about it. Are we really to believe she simply mixed up her trips? Just how many times in her life/career has she had to duck to avoid sniper-fire? Seems to me that's not something you'd easily forget. But here's my question: so what? I am no more shocked over her truth-stretching as I am over Barack Obama's claim of having no idea that his 20-year pastor and spiritual advisor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, is guilty of making incendiary anti-American, anti-Semetic speeches. The Democratic front runner from Illinois is another extremely bright, opportunistic politician with a Harvard Law degree. It's truly hard to fathom that in 20 years he had no clue whatsoever that Wright was fanning the flames of hate with his highly controversial sermons. But again I ask, so what?
Hillary's Bosnian fantasy, and Obama's memory lapses over Rev. Wright, are not the central issues facing Americans today. They are not going to put food on our tables. They are not going to provide us with health care coverage. They will not lower gas and home heating fuel prices. They will not help educated our children. They will not put Americans back to work. They will not stop global warming. They will not end the Iraq war. They will not secure the country from terrorist attack. We need to stop obsessing over this garbage as if it actually has any relevance in our daily lives.
When we start demanding of our politicians, and of the media, that they focus on what truly matters--policy--maybe then will the political landscape change for the better. But until voters stand up and shout "I'm mad as hell and I'm not gonna take it anymore," we're simply going to get more of the same salacious, sensationalistic crap rammed down our collective throats.