My initial reaction to Bacongate was, "Well, it's just another gaffe. Obama couldn't possibly be dumb and mean enough to call Palin a pig." Yeah, she mocked him during her convention speech, but it was all about his record (or lack thereof) and soaring rhetoric. Which isn't nice, perhaps, but that stuff is fair game in a political campaign. Could he really be so thin-skinned and self-serious that he'd start hitting back with personal insults?
At first I thought it was a mistake for the McCain camp to demand an apology. As I told my close personal friend Glenn Reynolds, I thought they should have said something like:
"We're pleasantly surprised by Senator Obama's newfound sense of humor, and look forward to watching it develop over the coming weeks and months."
You know, rise above it, while still reminding everybody that Obama is a stiff, humorless, gaffe-prone scold.
But now I'm having second thoughts. I think he meant exactly what the crowd obviously thought he meant, because it fits a clear pattern of behavior.
Putting aside the astonishing smear campaign against Palin, which is definitely not grassroots, just look at some of Obama's past antics. In no particular order:
"Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same."
"I think that... campaigns start getting these hair triggers and the statement that Joe and I put out reflects our sentiments," he said, according to the pool report, apparently criticizing his staff for going overboard, as he did occasionally in the primary.So he's not the hostile, panicky jackass. It was his staff's fault. Yes We Can... Pass the Buck!
But hey, I could be wrong. These could all be coincidences and/or innocent mistakes. Maybe it's everybody else's fault. Maybe he isn't really throwing rocks and hiding his hand.
P.S. And before you start? In the words of the immortal Harvey Keitel: "I didn't make a statement. I asked a question."
P.P.S. A couple of other examples people have pointed out: Obama ignored the fact that Palin is the governor of Alaska and called Wasilla "Wasilly" (which was what triggered her "community organizer" comeback, which in turn apparently triggered his ongoing meltdown), and he called that female reporter "sweetie." Again, those both can be passed off as innocent mistakes until you fit them into this pattern of behavior. I guess for his fans, it doesn't count as rude, immature behavior as long as he has a serious look on his face.
P.P.P.S. Mocking McCain's war injuries and alienating everybody older than Obama would certainly qualify. Either it's on purpose, which goes way, way beyond jerkiness, or they didn't do a simple Google search to learn why McCain has trouble using a computer keyboard, which means they're panicky idiots.Posted by Jim Treacher at September 10, 2008 01:35 PM