Patterico's Pontifications

4/18/2008

Sometimes Actions Speak Louder than Words (Updated)

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 11:28 am



[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s hot political buzz centers on Barack Obama’s middle finger. Here’s the story from the LA Times political blog Top of the Ticket:

“It’s Sen. Barack Obama, according to the caption on YouTube posted just minutes ago, speaking to a friendly crowd in Raleigh, N.C., today.

He’s talking critically about his opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, and the kind of distasteful gotcha politics that occur in Washington. And he says, “That’s all right. Sen. Clinton looked in her element.”

Watch the video right then. The presidential candidate raises his right hand to seemingly scratch his cheek.

He doesn’t use his whole hand though. Just one finger. Briefly. A couple of strokes.

He pauses. He smiles slyly as the crowd begins to mumble and then he tries, somewhat distracted, to continue his remarks, smiling as the buzz spreads through the crowd.

He’ll no doubt deny it later, but that mischievous smile seems to confirm plenty. And the crowd sure sees something.”

Here’s the YouTube video so you can decide for yourself:

UPDATE: Here’s the image from another side. This is much ado about nothing. I wonder when the LA Times blog will update?

H/T ChenZhen.

— DRJ

55 Responses to “Sometimes Actions Speak Louder than Words (Updated)”

  1. Now this looks like much ado about nothing IMO. Perhaps if it was longer or more overt or blatant, I could see it being an issue. It really just looks like he has an itch to scratch.

    G (722480)

  2. There’s video available from the side angle, and he’s unmistakeably scratching with two fingers. People making an issue of it are going to look like fools.

    Maggie (bb0d1f)

  3. People making an issue out of it must be his friends. It’s just a distraction, nothing’s going on there. Keeps us away from the incendiary stuff though.

    Vermont Neighbor (629f2e)

  4. He’s not giving anyone the finger here.

    But do all his events have the feel of an MTV Video Awards program?

    Rich Horton (b106f7)

  5. Maggie,

    Can you give me a link to the side video you mentioned? I’d like to update the post with that information.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  6. But do all his events have the feel of an MTV Video Awards program?

    Yes..

    Vermont Neighbor (629f2e)

  7. Baracky is above all of that. He is the hope for the future, the promise of a new tomorrow. He is the truth, the way, and the light. He will change the world.

    JD (75f5c3)

  8. Maggie,

    Can you give me a link to the side video you mentioned? I’d like to update the post with that information.

    Comment by DRJ

    Ballon Juice has a still shot here.

    ChenZhen (489b64)

  9. hi i enjoyed the read

    joe (6acf5f)

  10. He’s not giving anyone the finger here.

    But do all his events have the feel of an MTV Video Awards program?

    And McCain’s have that ‘Early Bird Special’ feel, don’t they?

    Levi (76ef55)

  11. It’s a misdirection play to:

    1. Distract from real issues; and

    2. Generate an association in voters’ minds that if this attack on Obama is so silly, then the other attacks on him probably are, too; and

    3. Generate sympathy for him for being attacked over something so silly.

    I sense real fear in his camp that he is gonna lose the nomination, starting w/PA, where a big HRC win might convince the superdels that he’s not really electable.

    Best thing to do: declare it a non-issue, then ignore it completely(*).

    *this advice does not apply to those who shorted popcorn futures and who have our sympathies.

    ras (fc54bb)

  12. Man, Levi, even your attempts at humor fail.

    G (722480)

  13. G, Levi is at his funniest when he’s trying to be serious. It’s like watching a troupe of 1st graders perform Hamlet.

    Steverino (e00589)

  14. 1. Distract from real issues; and

    Like flag pin lapels and how everyone spent the 80’s, right? Real issues like those?

    Levi (76ef55)

  15. “It’s a misdirection play to:”

    No. It’s just plain old retarded.

    stef (491089)

  16. Amateur at the speaker’s club. He hasn’t learned to control his hands — or he’s the best actor we’ve got.

    He scratched, heard the crowd to his left, wondered, figured it out, tried to figure out how to play it.

    htom (412a17)

  17. Like flag pin lapels and how everyone spent the 80’s, right? Real issues like those?

    Makes me long for the last campaign, when the left wanted to make it about how everyone spent the 60’s.

    Pablo (99243e)

  18. Like flag pin lapels

    you know, that was originally his issue and one he returned to on his own accord, whether to protect Pennsylvania votes or to distract the media. Can’t help but ask why a flag *would* bother you; a Confederate flag.

    Vermont Neighbor (629f2e)

  19. Barack Glows-Like-A-Candle-In-The-Dark Obama does not have enough white people in that audience.

    nk (6b7d4f)

  20. Thanks, ChenZhen #8. I’ve updated the post.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  21. And who’s hogging the popcorn?

    nk (6b7d4f)

  22. you know, that was originally his issue and one he returned to on his own accord, whether to protect Pennsylvania votes or to distract the media. Can’t help but ask why a flag *would* bother you; a Confederate flag.

    And you morons still don’t get what he was saying, do you?

    Levi (76ef55)

  23. And you morons still don’t get what he was saying, do you?

    I guess not.

    Pablo (99243e)

  24. I guess not.

    Ooooo! He’s wearing one now! What a development! How should we pointlessly and needlessly speculate about this? You go first Pablo!

    Levi (76ef55)

  25. When I first saw the video I thought it was deliberate given his smirk and that it seemed unnatural to scratch your face with your middle finger. However, as I was running errands this afternoon I realized I scratched an itch on my face with my middle finger just as he appeared to. I don’t think he actually scratched his face, I think it’s more likely a nervous habit.

    SAM (50d718)

  26. You go first Pablo!

    OK. He’s pandering to those who like that sort of thing, despite his having discussed the foolishness of such things.

    Your turn.

    Pablo (99243e)

  27. OK. He’s pandering to those who like that sort of thing, despite his having discussed the foolishness of such things.

    Your turn.

    ‘Those who like that sort of thing’ – which idiots are these? You’re telling me that there’s a constituency in this country that bases their vote in whole or in part upon whether or not someone wears the appropriate amount of jewelry?

    Additionally, who are the Republicans pandering to when they wear their pins?

    Levi (76ef55)

  28. Levi wrote: And you morons still don’t get what he was saying, do you?

    If there was something to “get,” you would be explaining it rather than just insulting people for not “getting it.”

    In fact, Levi, I do “get it.” After his image was further damaged by the recording of his elitist fundraiser with billionaire San Francisco Democrats, and still trailing in the state whose small-town patriots he spoke of disparagingly, he’s trying to look more small-town patriotic.

    To refresh YOUR memory, this whole issue began when Obama said this to a Cedar Rapids TV reporter last October:

    “The truth is that right after 9/11 I had a pin…Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security.
    I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest…Instead I’m gonna’ try to tell the American people what I believe what will make this country great and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”

    Well, he had a perfect opportunity to “tell the American people” when that anonymous veteran allegedly asked him to wear the pin. He could have said, “Thanks, but no thanks. As you may have read, I don’t need to wear the pin to show that I’m patriotic.” But he didn’t.

    Why not, Leev? That doesn’t show conviction for his belief about “true patriotism,” wouldn’t you agree?

    Obama started the fight over the lapel pin. Now he wants to say we shouldn’t fight about it now that he’s losing. What integrity.

    L.N. Smithee (e1f2bf)

  29. If there was something to “get,” you would be explaining it rather than just insulting people for not “getting it.”

    I’ll explain it; Obama was calling Bush and his Republican government a bunch of insincere, lying, ineffective fakers that drape themselves in symbols and bullshit to pull the wool over the eyes of people like you. When George Bush puts his flag lapel on, and he sets up all his flags in the background, and he goes on Fox News and they’ve got flag splash-screens and flag transitions and flag borders, do you think that’s unintentional?

    Republicans want to ‘own’ the America brand. Republicans would have Americans associate their party with patriotism, and thus, they’d have Americans associate their opponents with the inverse of patriotism. By wrapping himself in all these symbols and images that have been ingrained in the average Americans’ psyche over the past 200 years, he’s co-opting those symbols’ credibility, and their power. We’re expected to revere George Bush the same way we revere the country, and that’s what lets George get away with all of this rampant law-breaking and this immensely destructive incompetence. You guys don’t criticize him, you can’t criticize him, because he’s conflated himself with America, patriotism, freedom, whatever.

    If Obama had more time to respond and didn’t give a shit about the Presidency, that’s probably exactly what he would have said.

    Well, he had a perfect opportunity to “tell the American people” when that anonymous veteran allegedly asked him to wear the pin. He could have said, “Thanks, but no thanks. As you may have read, I don’t need to wear the pin to show that I’m patriotic.” But he didn’t.

    Why not, Leev? That doesn’t show conviction for his belief about “true patriotism,” wouldn’t you agree?

    Obama started the fight over the lapel pin. Now he wants to say we shouldn’t fight about it now that he’s losing. What integrity.

    What doesn’t show conviction? That he’s been spotted wearing a pin? None of this makes any sense.

    Also, how did Obama start the fight if a reporter asked him the question? He didn’t make flag pins an issue, you did. He impugned the patriotism of your guys, wool-covered Republicans’ little brains were scrambled, so you never addressed the issue and hurled it back at Obama as some baseless, incoherent, half-assed insult.

    You and I are talking about something different here, you’re going on about flag pins like it’s some sort of real issue, I’m talking about what makes people like you think flag pins are a real issue in the first place.

    Levi (76ef55)

  30. jewelry?

    Flag = jewelry. OK. Then why did Obama bother? You know, but you don’t want to recognize.

    Additionally, who are the Republicans pandering to when they wear their pins?

    I don’t know of any Republicans that have scoffed at wearing it and then wore it anyway. Please list them for us if you know of them. Until then, I’ll assume they wear it because they like wearing it.

    Pablo (99243e)

  31. When George Bush puts his flag lapel on, and he sets up all his flags in the background, and he goes on Fox News and they’ve got flag splash-screens and flag transitions and flag borders, do you think that’s unintentional?

    Nope.

    You guys don’t criticize him, you can’t criticize him, because he’s conflated himself with America, patriotism, freedom, whatever.

    Uh huh.

    He didn’t make flag pins an issue, you did.

    Was that us or was it Hillary, VRWC operative? The lines, they blur.

    Pablo (99243e)

  32. Levi wrote: ‘Those who like that sort of thing’ – which idiots are these? You’re telling me that there’s a constituency in this country that bases their vote in whole or in part upon whether or not someone wears the appropriate amount of jewelry?

    I will pretend for the moment that your question is sincere.

    You’ve already answered it yourself in this post.

    Because everyone is stupid by default, and it’s really easy to stay stupid. It actually requires a little bit of effort to be smart, so there’s not as many smart people as there are stupid people. And because we live in a democracy, stupid people’s votes count just as much as smart people’s. Thus, George Bush.

    Now, if you think that Obama shouldn’t cater to the stupid people vote, fine. But that means he’s not going to win.

    You DO want him to win, don’tcha?

    L.N. Smithee (e1f2bf)

  33. Flag = jewelry. OK. Then why did Obama bother? You know, but you don’t want to recognize.

    ??????????????????????????????????????????

    I don’t know of any Republicans that have scoffed at wearing it and then wore it anyway. Please list them for us if you know of them. Until then, I’ll assume they wear it because they like wearing it.

    So Obama can’t put one on one day because he felt like wearing it? Why doesn’t he get the benefit of the doubt that you’re affording the Republicans?

    Levi (76ef55)

  34. “You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin,” Obama said. “Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest.

    “Instead,” he said, “I’m going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”

    In His own words.

    Pablo (99243e)

  35. …unless I think it might help me with people in Pennsylvania who might be voting for Hillary. Then, anything goes.

    Pablo (99243e)

  36. Now, if you think that Obama shouldn’t cater to the stupid people vote, fine. But that means he’s not going to win.

    You DO want him to win, don’tcha?

    He can win without the stupid people vote, he has to win without the stupid people vote. Republicans can’t win without the stupid people vote, but Democrats can, we have to, because you’ve got the stupid people vote totally locked down.

    Besides, the only people that I’ve ever heard talk about this flag pin bullshit like it means anything have either been part of the Clinton campaign or are conservatives. So you just used my words seemingly to agree with me that conservatives are stupid for caring about flag pin lapels. Was that your intent?

    Levi (76ef55)

  37. …unless I think it might help me with people in Pennsylvania who might be voting for Hillary. Then, anything goes.

    Even if that’s what’s going on, you’re telling me that means something to you? You think that would make Obama a lying, pandering, snake oil salesman, and not a politician running for fucking President?

    Levi (76ef55)

  38. Both. What’s your explanation?

    Pablo (99243e)

  39. Pablo, it tells us how much Obama’s “judgment” is worth, does it not? He can’t even stick through a “judgment” on a lapel pin.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  40. I won’t wear that pin on my chest.

    Pablo (99243e)

  41. I’m betting its a reaction to the fact that his association with domestic terrorists is being noticed.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  42. Republicans can’t win without the stupid people vote, but Democrats can, we have to, because you’ve got the stupid people vote totally locked down.

    That’s funny: in 2004, Kerry won the high-school-dropout vote by a significant margin. But there weren’t enough stupid people to carry him to victory.

    Steverino (6772c8)

  43. running for fucking President?

    No, the fucking President would be John Holmes. Maybe Wilt Chamberlain….

    Steverino (6772c8)

  44. Well, Steverino, those are the two key characteristics of Levi – (1) his understanding of reality is 180 deg. out of phase, and (2) foul mouth or in this case, keyboard.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  45. Republicans want to ‘own’ the America brand.

    It’s called pride. Hopefully it’s not party exclusive.

    Vermont Neighbor (629f2e)

  46. “Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we’re talking about the Iraq War, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest.

    Can anyone picture this guy during WWII? I’m not a Bush fanatic (who is). But this guy needs to go back to the teachers’ lounge.

    Vermont Neighbor (629f2e)

  47. Levi wrote: Besides, the only people that I’ve ever heard talk about this flag pin bullshit like it means anything have either been part of the Clinton campaign or are conservatives.

    Well, you’re not listening so good. See if you can stop swearing long enough to learn something.

    The first person to make a fuss over flag pins on a national scale was former Democratic campaign hit man Bill Moyers, who made a big to-do about wearing a flag pin on a sweater on his unintentionally hilarious PBS show Now back in 2003, long before most of us knew of Obama’s existence.

    Moyers said he wore the pin to protest that the flag had been “hijacked and turned into a logo — the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism.” Here are some of his comments:

    On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. And during the State of The Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration’s patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error.

    Now, here’s something for you to think about, Levi: WHO was assigning all that significance to the flag pin? Conservatives, or Moyers? What conservative has gone on record as saying anything as silly as wearing a flag pin “bestows immunity from error?” I don’t know of any, and neither Moyers nor you cite a single one.

    Flag pins became an issue because of people like Moyers and you, because you think you know what flag-wavers are about, and you go through great pains not to be like them. If this truly were the non-issue you wish it was now that it’s biting Obama in his Barackside, in his response to the Iowa reporter who asked “Is it a fashion statement?” he would have said something like, “No, sometimes I wear it, sometimes I don’t.” In fact, you suggested that could have been the case in this response:

    So Obama can’t put one on one day because he felt like wearing it? Why doesn’t he get the benefit of the doubt that you’re affording the Republicans?

    Of course, I’ve already outlined why he doesn’t: because Obama instead took the opportunity to impugn the patriotism of flag-wearers. But you knew that. According to YOU, what B.O. was doing was “calling Bush and his Republican government a bunch of insincere, lying, ineffective fakers that drape themselves in symbols and bullshit to pull the wool over the eyes of people like [me].”

    So you just used my words seemingly to agree with me that conservatives are stupid for caring about flag pin lapels. Was that your intent?

    Re-read my post to you. I wrote, “I will pretend for the moment that your question is sincere.” The moment has passed. I am no longer pretending that you’re not so blinded by your hatred of conservatives, it drives you to spew mindless stereotypes about everyone right of center.

    And your insincerity, never in doubt, is proven once again.

    L.N. Smithee (acb93c)

  48. biting Obama in his Barackside

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Paul (4ca58a)

  49. L.N. Smithee, you can’t write lines like that while I’m drinkng.

    Paul (4ca58a)

  50. No, the fucking President would be John Holmes.

    No, it would have to be Peter North. That guy’s had an insanely long career…

    Paul (4ca58a)

  51. He can win without the stupid people vote, he has to win without the stupid people vote. Republicans can’t win without the stupid people vote, but Democrats can, we have to, because you’ve got the stupid people vote totally locked down.

    Nah, dipsqueak, you’ve pretty much shown us where the “stupid people” vote lies. (And a bunch of the lies they tell, too.)

    EW1(SG) (84e813)

  52. He can win without the stupid people vote, he has to win without the stupid people vote. Republicans can’t win without the stupid people vote, but Democrats can, we have to, because you’ve got the stupid people vote totally locked down.

    Not totally. Some of the retards in Florida managed to punch through at least two or three quarter of a chad for Gore rather than Buchanan, else the 2000 election wouldn’t have been as close as it was. OTOH, I defy you to cite a single election the Democrats won without the people-Democrats-think-are-stupid vote. The “vote for me, you cousin-humpin’ rednecks” strategy didn’t work for Stevenson, McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis or Gore, and it ain’t gonna work for your lord and savior Obama, either.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  53. “your lord and savior Obama, either.”

    Over at freerepublic I often see a ‘pray for president bush thread.’ Maybe even its a daily? Dunno. You think we’ll see that for Obama?

    stef (d59909)

  54. My church prays for the President every week and has done so for as long as I can remember. If Obama is President, I suspect we’ll pray extra hard for him.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  55. Judging by what we’ve seen from Obama so far, extra-hard prayers will be a necessity if indeed he is the next President.

    Paul (4ca58a)


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