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An Occasional Note on the 2008 Campaigns, No. 10

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

An Occasional Note on the 2008 Campaigns, No. 10

On one of the many TV morning news show that I skimmed across before setting out for work this morning, it was stated that John Edwards won 7 percent of the vote in West Virginia on Tuesday. Odd, I thought, since no mention has been made of what numbers other candidates have polled ever since the choice—in the media, but not on the ballots—was narrowed down to two. Heck, about 28,000 votes were cast against John McCain in the Republican primary in WV but that didn’t make it off the newsroom floor.

As any news junkie knows, when something big is about to happen but it has been embargoed, news organizations can’t resist a broad hint disguised as an oblique new angle on an old story. And so I shouldn’t have been surprised when the national evening news broadcasts led not with Clinton’s victory in WV, but with John Edwards’ endorsement of Obama—which took place in Michigan just minutes before the bulletins went to air.

Edwards’ speech was odd to say the least. “Only one man..., only one man...., only one man....” he reiterated as he listed Obama’s credentials for leading the nation. Why not “Only one person”? Was Edwards trying to re-energize as many of Clinton’s “time for a female president” supporters as possible? Or was he trying to say “Only one of the two men who will be contesting the election in November”? Either way, it was an eye-gouge and ugly to watch.

Over the past few weeks, the media had been reporting that Obama didn’t campaign much in West Virginia, and if that is the case, I think it was a mistake. It reinforces the belief of most voters that all candidates care about is winning. If they’re not likely to win in a certain state, they don’t put their money and time into it. By not campaigning, the implication is that voters’ concerns matter less to the candidate than his or her personal time and finances do.

Which places said candidate on a par with those bored customer “service” reps you call with a consumer complaint, or the hurried telemarketers who want to talk you into buying something as quickly as possible so they can get on to the next call and rack up more commission payments.

Weird day all round, really. On our walk to the bus stop this morning, my baby boomer neighbor said he found Clinton “too mean-spirited”, and on the bus on the way home, the young woman across the aisle from me had Hillary stickers plastered all over her tote bag. Where and when will this long national nightmare end?

*************

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

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