Bob Franken

Meaner than Mean

Bob Franken

Meaner than Mean

Posted May 17, 2008 | 10:24 AM (EST)

Let’s consider the possibilities: Maybe a great many of our political leaders truly are so dense, that they fail to realize their choice of words can inflame. The other choice is that when they claim they do not really mean to deliver heavy handed attacks on their opponents, they’re, to put it bluntly, lying.

When President Bush decides to liken talks with today’s advesaries, to the “appeasement” of the Nazi era, what should we call those who feign surprise that anyone could possibly suggest he was describing Barack Obama, who just happens to advocate such negotiations?

And what about all those comments about race from the Clinton wordsmiths, Bill and Hillary, who are deeply offended when anyone suggests they are mealy-mouthed reminders to white voters who are white that Obama is black?

As for Obama, he knows full well when he questions whether John McCain has lost his “bearings”, he is reminding everyone that John McCain is over 70 and raising sly, mean questions about whether such an old man continues to have full command of his faculties.

Actually McCain seems to be in complete control these days, as he skips from one conservative group to another saying he didn’t really mean all those things he said about them in years past.

It’s not a surprise to any of us when politicians don’t mean what they say. But what’s worse is when they do.

Even worse than that is when they lower themselves into the verbal gutter and then have the gall to insist that their construct was not intended to offend or tap into voters’ fear, ignorance and prejudice.

Demagoguery is insidious enough. When it’s passive-aggressive like this it’s despicable. Given the quality of debate these days, however, we may as well get used to it. It seems that the politicians consider the expression “How Low Can You Go”
a challenge.

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