Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Profiles in personality

Ezra Klein at the American Prospect recounts a character-revealing moment for Barack Obama. Bill Richardson was inattentive at a public forum and didn't hear the moderator's question. Then the turn to answer came to him. Here's what happened next ...

I had just been asked a question -- I don't remember which one -- and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn't going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, 'So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?' But I wasn't paying any attention! I was about to say, 'Could you repeat the question? I wasn't listening.' But I wasn't about to say I wasn't listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, 'Katrina. Katrina.' The question was on Katrina! So I said, 'On Katrina, my policy . . .' Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, 'Obama, that was good of you to do that.'

We all remember moments like that from our school days. At least I do. Tigerhawk asks whether one could imagine Hillary (or Rudy Giuliani) whispering hints to a rival caught in a spot like that.

The Anchoress, for her part, recalls an illuminating moment in the career of President Bush. The Secret Service Agent assigned to him was being physically prevented from following him past a security cordon during a function overseas. Here's what happened next.

The image of public figures is often a carefully constructed artifice. Unguarded moments provide a momentary glimpse past the cartoon facade into the real man. That glance often reveals a complex picture. The video showing Saddam Hussein's stolid last moments as he mounted the scaffold illustrate that blackguard though he was, the former president of Iraq was no coward.

Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, "Man is a mystery: if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time."


Blogger RWE said...

Contrast this with Hillary Clinton, who, when late for church and realizing that her Secret Service driver was not taking the most expeditious route for security reasons, proceeded to pound the poor man over the head with her Bible.

I don’t think that is what is meant when a politician is described as “Bible-Thumping.”

Dr. Emilo Lizardo said “The true measure of a man is what he does when no one is looking. History is made in the dark.”

1/29/2008 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Kneave Riggall said...

"Saddam was no coward."

Schopenhauer wrote something to the effect that the truly evil do not fear death because they know that the world ends when they do. The point being that Saddam's failure to recognize the existence (importance? humanity?) of others was what made him evil in the first place.

1/29/2008 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger RattlerGator said...

If given the chance in the general election, I will not be voting for the man. But I am proud as hell of him.

I've stood between the black world and the white world my entire life, quizzing myself over the endless curiosities both "sides" constantly present.

It can be a wearying existence.

Barry Obama, Barack Hussein Obama, whatever your preference, the man appears to be a genuinely decent guy. Quintessentially American and quite a testament to the opportunities available in this great nation.

1/29/2008 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger jj mollo said...

Obama had nothing to lose by helping Richardson, and might gain from it. Besides, there's a difference between competition and pettiness. You may be shooting him tomorrow, but you can still sing Christmas carols with the Hun.

I can't believe HRC would have done any different.

1/29/2008 04:55:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

OK, he is a nice guy, but he is still a socialist.

1/29/2008 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug_S said...

IMHO, it does not matter if the world ends with your death, that is still a frightful eventuality.

Dostoyevsky said after being mock executed by the Tsar that living on a six inch ledge for the rest of your life was infinitely preferable to facing death.

Funnny, Ayn Rand said something similar to S when asked about her impending death. Of course she did not believe in an afterlife. She said something to the effect that you all and everything in the world will simply cease to exist.

1/29/2008 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

That's quite an egocentric position Miss Rand has there, that when she dies the whole world ceases to exist.

1/29/2008 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Maybe she was being ironic rather than solipsistic--

yes, Obama does seem to be a nice fella. I wish he warn't such a lefty. Carternomics here he come. Jeeeeeeezzzzz.

1/29/2008 08:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

McCain, For Amnesty before he (said) he was "Against" it.

McCain, in his own words.

Two minutes of Classic Flip-Flops!

1/29/2008 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hillary the Bible Thumper!

1/29/2008 10:37:00 PM  
Blogger bobal said...

I want a woman who bashes the security detail with the koran.

1/29/2008 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger a psychiatrist who learned from veterans said...

I think it was Aristotle who said, 'Who should be considered happy?' Part of the answer was 'Those whose children are happy (after the parents are gone).' Ayn Rand's comment may just reflect her view that it is an unperceived event.

1/29/2008 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Margaret Truman Daniel, President’s Daughter and Popular Author, Dies at 83

As the decades passed, Americans by the hundreds of thousands knew Mrs. Daniel, too, as Margaret Truman, the author of 32 books, including biographies of both her parents and 23 mystery novels in her popular “Capital Crime Series,” all set in and around Washington.
Mrs. Daniel thought her performance at Constitution Hall to be one of her better ones. But Paul Hume, the music critic of The Washington Post, while praising her personality, wrote that “she cannot sing very well.”

“She is flat a good deal of the time,” Mr. Hume added, concluding that she had no “professional finish.”

Incensed, President Truman dispatched a combative note to Mr. Hume, who released it to the press.

“I have just read your lousy review,” it said, adding, “I have never met you, but if I do, you’ll need a new nose.”

In the ensuing uproar, reporters pressed Mrs. Daniel for her reaction to her father’s letter. “I’m glad to see that chivalry is not dead,” she told them.

In a revealing biography, “Harry S. Truman” (William Morrow, 1973), Mrs. Daniel wrote: “Dad discussed the letter with his aides and was annoyed to find that they all thought it was a mistake. They felt that it damaged his image as president and would only add to his political difficulties. ‘Wait till the mail comes in,’ Dad said. ‘I’ll make you a bet that 80 percent of it is on my side of the argument.’

“A week later, after a staff meeting, Dad ordered everybody to follow him, and they marched to the mail room,” Mrs. Daniel continued. “The clerks had stacked up thousands of ‘Hume’ letters received in piles and made up a chart showing the percentages for and against the president. Slightly over 80 percent favored Dad’s defense of me. Most of the letter writers were mothers who said they understood exactly how Dad felt and would have expected their husbands to defend their daughters the same way.

“ ‘The trouble with you guys is,’ Dad said to the staff as he strode back to work, ‘you just don’t understand human nature.’ ”

1/29/2008 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger davod said...

"yes, Obama does seem to be a nice fella. I wish he warn't such a lefty. Carternomics here he come. Jeeeeeeezzzzz"

Obama won his State seat in a close race (against a woman and civil rights icon) by having his team check all the signatures on the voting documents then appealing.

Remember how his team got a tame judge in Califioria to release the sealed divorce records of his Republican opponent. His opponent was dropped off the Republican slate after the records revealed he and his wife attended a risque club in Paris.

Yes. He seems le man all right.

1/30/2008 03:18:00 AM  
Blogger davod said...

Yes. He seems le man all right.

Should read - Yes. he sems like a nice man all right.

I should also say. Nice maybe. More likely, smart and quick on his feet. A political operative, yes.

1/30/2008 03:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


1/30/2008 04:42:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kinky Sex, Allen Keyes, Mike Ditka, ---> Barrack Hussein Obama

Alarming News: "If I had ran against him, no one would've ever ...

Below is an excerpt from what the July 8, 2004 edition of "The Hill" wrote about the attempt to draft Ditka to run against Obama. (Ditka ultimately chose not to run. His wife was opposed, and he would have to neglect his private businesses.)
Mike Ditka emerges as possible Senate candidate

By Patrick O'Connor

In the wake of Steve Rauschenberger’s withdrawal from the Illinois Senate race, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka has surfaced as a favorite of many Hill and state Republicans, according to interviews with GOP members and staff in Illinois and Washington.

The Super Bowl-winning coach and Hall-of-Fame player is a Chicago icon whose name identification and stature would make him a well-known, if inexperienced, candidate in the race to replace Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R), who is stepping down at the end of this legislative session.

Ditka has not made a public statement about his candidacy, but Republicans on the Hill and in Illinois said they would be eager for him to enter the race.

“If Ditka ran, Democrats would claim to vote for Obama and then secretly vote for Ditka,” said Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) “It would immediately put Chicago in play.”

Kirk said Ditka could campaign with his former players in minority areas, like Chicago’s South Side, that other Republican candidates could not previously touch.

1/30/2008 04:45:00 AM  
Blogger Evan said...

And Obama whispered, 'Katrina. Katrina.' The question was on Katrina! So I said, 'On Katrina, my policy . . .'

IOW, Gov. Richardson didn't have to know the actual question to roll out his canned response to any Katrina question. Color me unimpressed.

1/30/2008 07:53:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Gitmo, Gitmo!

1/30/2008 03:13:00 PM  

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