My daughter is four years old so the most sophisticated comment she can make about the current Democratic primary race is, “did Obama win?” In a few years she will be able to understand more of what goes on in these races and I wonder what lessons she will take from their outcome.
Let’s look at the just concluded Pennsylvania primary.
- Said that her Christian opponent was not a Muslim “as far as I know.”
- Agreed to the “rules of the game” when primary season began but now wishes to change the rules in any way that will win her victory.
- Has executive judgement that prompts her to hire a lead strategist who would engage in business practices that boldly contradict her stated platform. Rather than outright fire said strategist, she essentially demotes him and his poisonous influence can still be felt in her campaign.
- Years ago advised her then President husband that his response to unenthusiastic working class voters should be “screw ’em”.
- Totally fabricated a story about being under “sniper fire” during a visit to Bosnia thereby trivializing every man and woman currently risking their lives in a war that should never have been authorized, a war she voted to approve.
- Put aside politics as usual and refused to denounce a reverend respected in the religious community who made controversial comments that are protected by our most sacred doctrine, freedom of speech.
- Attempted to bring his country together and put his reverend’s comments in context by delivering the most important speech on race relations since Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech more than 40 years ago.
- Had the guts to tell an audience of supporters that the way Republicans win elections is to use wedge issues like gun control, religion, and immigration to distract voters from the real issues that affect their daily lives. He told his supporters that it was not sufficient to throw the usual talking points at these voters. These voters were falling for the Republican okeydoke because they had given up on anyone in Washington helping them with real issues like health care, employment and rising costs. They needed to know that they were being heard and understood.
- Consistently takes the high road in his campaign, most recently passing up an opportunity to rub his opponent’s nose in her own deceit during a presidential debate.
So, to whom did Pennsylvania give a 10 point margin of victory? Candidate A. What lessons did they teach our children last night?
- Lying is ok if you just call it a “misstatement”.
- Rules are for losers. To win, you have to make the rules fit your situation.
- One great way to win is to insinuate falsehoods about your opponent.
- Say whatever pleases your audience at the moment. You may get called on it but there will be no lasting consequences.
I can only hope that the good people of Guam, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Oregon, Kentucky, South Dakota, Puerto Rico and Montana think about what they are teaching their children before they go to the polls.