This started as an email, in response to an editor who rejected a nasty screed against Obama. Before posting it, another editor wrote me too, commenting on how unacceptable the article was.
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I went to a Hillary rally last night and had dinner afterwards with two friends who are Hillary supporters.
Hillary at a rally in Bristol, PA
Donna, who is one of my "drinking liberally" buddies, asked me what I was feeling, as an Obama supporter, amongst such a throng of Hillary supporters. "Sympathy," I replied.
I know, because we've talked about it, that Donna will get behind and campaign for Obama when he wins. She says "IF." And I know how much more passionate many of the over 50, over 70 women are about wanting to have their first female president. So I do feel sympathy for them, knowing that the odds are so against them. I also understand how angry they are. When they complain about how terribly Obama supporters are bashing Hillary, I know that Obama supporters are feeling the same way. There's a lot of anger out there, on both sides, a lot of indignation. I'm feeling indignant when I see Hilary's attack ad, running in PA, whereas Obama is not running attack ads. Of course, I may be seeing things differently than Hillary supporters.
My other Hillary supporting dinner companion, a guy I went to kindergarten with, could have said the same kinds of stuff as the article writer said. Last time we got together, I insisted we not talk politics. I knew where it would go. I'm used to it. My brother considers liberals to be "wackos," and supported Bush both times. This dinner, there was no avoiding talking politics. My friend said he was terribly offended by Obama having Rev. Wright as a minister, was disgusted by Michelle Obama saying "This is the first time I'm proud of America."
"No, that's not what she said," I told him.
Getting a bit excited, he replied, "Yes it is. I heard her."
"No. You've got it wrong, " I recountered. "She said, 'This is the first time I'm REALLY proud. There's a big difference"
Then after we were discussing Universal health care, which Donna agreed with me on, he asked us, "If you had to pick one kind of government, which would you pick?... "
I knew where THAT was going-- capitalism communist or socialist. I stopped him and I told him I loved him (thinking how we'd been friends over 50 years,) that I know he's brilliant, and smarter than me (he's an inventor who holds several patents) but, using my most, eloquent language, I explained to him, "when it comes to politics, you're a f*cking idiot. We both laughed. What the hell. At least he registered to vote in this election, for the first time in 10 or 15 years, he reported. Go figure. What can I say. Old friends come with warts... and I do still love him.
Now about that article, which said, among other things:
I would probably have accepted the article you rejected. There's a lot of that kind of talk out there and its being spoken by passionate Democrats. I don't want to shut out their voices, even if I totally disagree with them.
The people at the Hillary event cheered louder and longer than the people at the Obama event I attended the week before, lapping up the canned stump speech lines Hillary has honed over the recent weeks. But the crowd was much smaller. And for me, the event was very disappointing. I'd come ready to ask a question and Hillary didn't do questions.
Obama did at least a half hour of questions, even though he arrived late. Hillary had arrived at about 7:15, 45 minutes early. That wasn't a problem, since the event was scheduled from 6-9 PM.
So she should have had plenty of time to ask questions.
The thing is, it's safer to skip the questions. When you answer questions, you go off script, off message and you expose yourself to risk-- the risk of making a mistake, a mis-statement, a mis-speaking. I mean real mis-speaks, not ones that are repeated over and over again as part of planned stump speeches. It takes much more courage to answer questions. The big plus of answering questions is you go further , out on a limb, but you also further enable potential supporters to find out who you are and what you are about.
That's why I'm looking forward to the debate at Philly's Constitution Center tonight.
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