Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cutting Obama SOME slack

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama has made a series of verbal gaffes. Whether it was his 57 states comment, forgetting the name of the city he was speaking in (Calling Sunrise, Florida - Sunshine and saying "Thank you, Sioux City!" when he was in Sioux Falls, Idaho), mispronouncing words and getting dates wrong. His Memorial Day speech has been roundly panned for his factual errors rather than being examined for policy statements it contained. The items in the speech being jumped on are his opening statement (where he acknowledges the dead people in the audience) and the paragraphs where he discussed his extended family's service in WW II.
On this Memorial Day, as our nation honors its unbroken line of fallen heroes -- and I see many of them in the audience here today -- our sense of patriotism is particularly strong. (H/T Newsbusters)
and leading in to explain why he is pushing for more funding for Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (btw when the word syndrome is used you should question the science behind the diagnosis)
"I had an uncle who was one of the, um, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps. And the story in our family is that when he came home he just went up in the attic and he didn't leave the house for six months."
--Barack Obama, Memorial Day speech, Las Cruces, NM. (H/T NRO's Corner)
Well, unless his uncle was with the Red Army he never got near Auschwitz which is in Poland and was "liberated" and then placed under communist rule for 4 decades by the Soviet Union. This prompted people to research his families military history and another mistake was found.
My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton's army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain. I don't oppose all wars.
Well, research showed his grandfather was drafted in June of 1942 and it was a great-uncle (not an uncle) and his unit liberated a concentration camp saved by U.S. troops - Ohrdruf (rather than Auschwitz).

The title of this post was about cutting the candidate some slack so maybe I should start. Most of his verbal gaffes can be attributed to the nature of campaigning. Politicians will make mistakes when they are giving dozens of speeches each week. As far as the mistakes regarding his families history, I'll give SOME slack for a different reason - he was born 20 years later and stories change over time (the fish was THIS big). Additionally, I doubt any of the WW II stories were told first hand. My dad and all my uncles who were old enough served in WW II. However, I don't believe I ever heard a single one of them talk about it. That generation came home and got to work living a life that had been interrupted by war. The only accounts about their service was from my mom or an aunt just saying which theatre a couple uncles served in (Pacific).

While I can give Obama a little slack, I have a major problem with the mainstream media (and Jay Leno & his late night buddies) basically giving him a pass on all his mistakes. For decades any slip of the tongue from a Republican is leaped on and used to prove either stupidity or dishonesty yet a similar gaffes from a liberal is excused or ignored. During the 2000 campaign the media gleefully played gotcha with George Bush asking him to name the heads of a few countries. There is no chance at all the the In The Bag Media would play gotcha to embarrass Obama. Inexcusable difference in handling of candidates.

Separately, I capitalized the word SOME in the title for a reason. Sure I'll ignore some slips of the tongue and miss pronouncements. However, a Harvard educated presidential candidate who aspires to be commander in chief of our military should have a better understanding of geo-political history. People who pay attention are starting to see that an empty suit is close to being a major party nominee for president. However, the actions (or inaction) of the regular media will ensure the majority of voters (AKA: people who don't pay much attention) are shielded from his shortcomings. Last time we had a candidate this poorly vetted we ended up with Jimmy Carter. Another Carter now that's a scary thought.

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Blogger Ben said...


I would agree that candidates deserve some slack while keeping up these absurd campaign schedules.

However, Obama keeps making these mistakes, and I am not sure in this case it was just an innocent slip up.

May 28, 2008 at 2:08 PM


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