Thursday, February 14, 2008

Power Tends to Corrupt, and Can "Superdeligates" Be Corrupted?

"Disemboweling is evidently the theme du jour. As the political wars rage in this amazingly acrimonious primary season, the skin has been ripped off the establishment in both parties, and their guts have been exposed. We're seeing the pulsing inner workings of partisan ideology as never before," comments Camille Paglia in her monthly Salon column.

Paglia adds, "On the Republican side, conservatives marshaled by leading radio hosts (e.g. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hanity, Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin) have hotly rebelled against the onrushing nomination of Sen. John McCain, who has been vilified for years for his slippery positions and his schmoozing with liberals." This phenomenon led Eric Boehlert to comment in AlterNet, "If there's one thing the Republican Noise Machine is allergic to, it's reason. And decency, and respect, and rational behavior."

Meanwhile, back on the Democratic side, Paglia also notes that "(R)ank-and-file party members have been shocked to discover that there is a ruling elite of 800 superdelegates, who have the power to crown the presidential nominee and who can be easily swayed or corrupted by lobbying." In fact, grass-roots organizations such as MoveOn are alarmed by the lobbying waged by those in the Clinton and Obama camps. The recent attempts by Hilary Clinton to have Chelsea lobby these "superdeligates" on her mother's behalf led MSNBC reporter David Shuster to tastelessly remark that Hillary was pimping out her daughter. Needless to say, Shuster was forced to publicly apologize and served out a suspension as penance.

The media spectacle itself led Huffington Post blogger Stephen Kaus to succinctly comment, "Sister Frigidare Tries to Ice MSNBC." That brought to mind a 2000 Salon column penned by Camille Paglia. In discussing Hillary's 2000 U.S. Senate run, Paglia speculates, "(M)y gut instinct as a lesbian is that Hillary may well have experimented a bit in college, but everything about her since then screams Refrigerator Woman, cut off at the neck except when her faithless husband plays Huck Finn penitent and turns up the heat in the sugar shack."

Needless to say, all this devolved into a further dust-up over the perceived sexism and misogyny rampant in the media coverage of the Clinton presidental campaign by MSNBC hosts, most notably Tucker Carlson, who sneeringly implied that Hillary's such a castrating bitch to where "I'd have to cross my legs every time she enters the room."

Keith Obermann must be as red with embarrassment as a beet swimming on its backside in its borscht over all this.

On a side note, Paglia has this question for us to ponder: "(W)hen will someone turn a punishing spotlight on the rampant abuse of absentee ballots in this and prior elections? The press was reporting before the California primary last week that there were up to 2 million absentee ballots. They presumably added to Hillary's margin in that state, because they were completed and mailed before Obama's late surge. But there needs to be far more stringent control of this questionable practice, which can be manipulated by aggressive party operatives trolling through working-class or immigrant neighborhoods." This can cut across many ways, be it inside the church sanctuaries and on our college campuses as well. I do vote via absentee ballot as a convenience, but the potential for abuse is an issue that must be examined and explored throughly.

Before we hear more snickerings from the media locker room, this word from Ivory soap. Pure. Natural. Clean.

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