Every once in a while when commenting on the actions of a political figure, I can't help but refer to the movie "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."
Its stars include Burt Reynolds, Charles Durning, Dolly Parton and Dom DeLuise among others and I don't refer to it out of any connection with prostitution, but rather out of a connection with politics. ... OK, let me rephrase that.
I refer to the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas not when a politician is involved in extracurricular sexual activities, but when a politician is avoiding direct questions and trying to leave an impression that may not be real.
In the movie Charles Durning does a great number called The Side Step, that includes the lyrics, "Oooh, I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don't, I've come and gone. And ooooh I love to sweep around the wide step, cut a little swath and lead the people on."
That is exactly what Barack Obama did on his Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace. Obama had ducked the interview for more than two years and finally agreed to it only when Wallace began running a time clock every week showing how many days Obama had been avoiding him. I guess with the recent criticism over Obama refusing to debate Hillary Clinton in North Carolina the Illinois senator figured he better do something a bit more aggressive.
But when he finally did the interview, Obama played it safe.
That is the best I can come up with after an interview that ran for a half-hour plus.
He is nice, non-threatening, self-assured, post-racial, genuinely concerned about the anti-white comments made by his former Pastor Jeremiah Wright, and really, really folks, far removed from any ideological association with unrepentant 1960s era radical Weather Underground member Bill Ayers, who bombed government buildings and now teaches his leftist philosophy as a professor of education at the University of Illinois. (Just makes you want to run right out and sign your kids up for that college doesn't it?)
Nope, none of that bad stuff. Barack is just as sweet as honeysuckle and concerned as a human being can possibly be about the fate of the human race.
He did do a lot of things right. He came across as honest, down to earth, even made the point that his rich upbringing makes it difficult to connect with some of the folks who have taken umbrage at his comments about guns, religion and bitterness.
In fact, Obama was so vanilla in his appearance that the panel of commentators who commentated on his interview after it was over really couldn't put their fingers on anything that was remarkable about it, except that it was unremarkable.
From a public relations standpoint you have to score big numbers for Barack's PR, media relations and communications people. Obama obviously thought this was hostile territory, otherwise he wouldn't have ducked the interview for so long.
Thus to come away from it unscathed means someone, or a team of someones, did one hell of a job preparing him for the worst so he came off looking so, well, vanilla, when he actually did the interview.
Maybe someone with more time and better electronic gear than I have can spend today rerunning the segment to see if there are any usable sound bites in it, but frankly, I think there would be far more work involved than possible rewards.
No, Obama's media and communications team did a very good job preparing for his interview with Wallace, and that is about all I can say for it. Wallace did not go easy, or loft softballs to Obama either.
He asked about Rev. Wright several times, he asked about Ayers, he asked about the Clintons, he asked about John McCain, tax cuts, and I don't know what else. Wallace ran the spectrum of Obama issues, and Obama deflected them with nothing remarkable one way or another.
There is one area that I might find some disagreement but it isn't about Obama, it is about Rev. Wright. The good Reverend did an interview Friday night in which he claimed he is being unfairly criticized for his anti-white rhetoric from the pulpit.
The Reverend claims that the media is only showing snippets and sound bites of what he really said, and is deliberately leaving a false impression.
Fox News did the responsible thing and posted one of the Reverend's sermons on the network website in its entirety, offering viewers the opportunity to watch it and decide on their own.
I watched it. I found it to be particularly offensive, in many areas hateful, un-Christian like, full of outright racism, lacking in historic perspective, and pretty much exactly as the media portrayed it.
I didn't see an effort to go forward and do better in the area of race relations, I saw an effort to keep a congregation locked in the biases of a bygone time. But, hey, that is just my impression. You don't have to take my word for it, watch the video yourself.
Barack continually referred to Rev. Wright as "my former pastor," which makes the point, and of course he (the Senator) has been seen on the news a lot lately wearing a USMC t-shirt and playing basketball. That image rebuilding video goes a long way in offsetting the dismal performance Obama did when bowling for blue-collar workers in Pennsylvania.
I guess the t-shirt is to show support for the troops, particularly Marines, unless he got it from the Utah State Motorcycle Club. We'll have to explore that in another column.
So that's it. Another sterling performance by another American politician who wants to be president of the United States but isn't too interested in the electorate seeing too much of what he is like behind the veil.
But at least Chris Wallace can get on to other things without referring to his Barama'o'meter every week. The clock stopped at 772.
On the other hand, the Juliet Huddy clock is now at 462 and ticking, even though Fox News did a 10-minute segment of The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet Saturday afternoon. Little Brother is watching.
Sunday, April 27, 2008