Monday, February 25, 2008

Latest Obama/Clinton Row: "Turbangate"?

Barack Obama has a lot of 'splainin' to do, or so some in Mrs. clinton's camp seem to think. Last year there were false rumors circulating from her campaign team that Mr. Obama was a Muslim (the new "boogeyman" of the post-9/11 world), but Mrs. Clinton put the rumormongering to rest by firing the aid who circulated the story. Now there's another row-a picture of Mr. Obama visiting his father's village in Kenya, and being dressed in the traditional garb of a Luo tribesman by one of the Luo elders. Given his father's provenance, we might respond with a collective "so what" to such a "revelation."

But no! There seems to be something rotten in the state of the Clinton camp, though denials are flying all around. Apparently the sight of Mr. Obama wearing a Luo turban so afrights the sensibilities of the established Democratic and Reopublican elites that her team, while denying any involvement in circulating the picture, nonetheless will milk it for all its worth. She continues to tout her foreign policy "credentials" (whatever those might be) against his inexeperience. This from a woman who thought the second Iraqi war was a good idea, until the winds of public opinion shifted! Yes, wonderful foreign policy "credentials."

And Mr. Obama is quite upset over this. As one who will never vote for him because he is, in my estimation, so far to the left that there is no continent that would stretch so far as to reach him, I nonetheless would say he should simply let it slide off like so much rain water. So the chap goes to his father's ancestral village and dresses in the tribe's native garb, which includes a truban. I think he should just own it proudly, say a few words about the proud heritage of the Luo, and maybe mention the fact that if he were of the Clan MacGregor of Glenorchy, wearing the ancestral kilt given him by the clan chiefs, there would hardly be a media row. What is Mr. Obama so upset about? Surely, taking a cool, calm approach to it all would help his case immensely, even adding a touch of humor by mentioning the fact that there is a running joke among the Luo, that it will be more likely for the United States to vote for a Luo president than for Kenya to do so (no Kenyan president has ever come from this tribe).

Mr. Obama may very well invoke Cicero's charge against Catiline: "Quid facis? Quid cogitas? Sentimus magna vitia insidiasque tuas!" (What are you doing? What are you plotting? We sense your vice and treachery!) Of course, there might be a more subltle and creative way to keep Mrs. Clinton from capitalizing on such this story, and that is to play it in as cool, calm and collected manner as possible.

Here's the BBCNews story.

No comments: