De Slap Me; De Slap You

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If he doesn’t want to be a dot on the historical chart, Senator Barack Obama needs to stop being St. Obama, take off his gloves and fight the Queen of Mean in the gutter.

[Elections 2008: Commentary]

The heavyweight boxing match between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton can today be considered to be in its ninth round.

It has always been how dare this upstart and the Black community to challenge the hand that fed them, especially for those who had always regarded Clinton’s husband as the “Black president” that Blacks never had. 

The fight wasn’t supposed to have gone this far.  But despite the heavy betting in favor of the she who had had it all, Senator Clinton, first lady to a governor, first lady to a president, senator from that state of robber barons, New York, and the other candidate, John Edwards, a former vice-presidential candidate and a former senator, Senator Obama surprised everybody by winning the first round, delivering devastating blows to his then two opponents. 

But Hillary, having learned the tricks of the trade, by intimidating and scaring away individuals like the wimpy and scurrilous so-called “America’s” Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, came back in the second round, New Hampshire, to land some of her own blows, winning that round. 

In the third round, South Carolina, the boxing match instead turned into a sort of WWE wrestling match.  As we know how WWE wrestling matches are choreographed, and how dirty that could be, Clinton deployed her husband, Bill, on the side of the ring to hit Obama with a two by four while the referee was being distracted by the Queen of Mean. 

But the crowd booed; in this case, the media.  Obama deflected the attack and went on to win the third round decisively.  The Queen of Mean didn’t know what hit her, and she quickly expelled her husband from the ring side, instead letting him take shots from the arena. 

Imitating the immortal “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” Muhammad Ali’s boast against Sonny Liston, but without the aura of the great man, Senator Clinton promised the world she was going to end the fight in the sixth round, on “Super Tuesday.”

But when the round ended unfortunately for her it was Barack Obama who was still standing tall, having landed more blows himself and winning a lot more points.  Surprised by the blows, Senator Clinton wilted, losing the next several rounds as her opponent continued to pile on points. 

Like every gladiator, especially with knowledge of dirty and gutter in-fighting, she warned that she was going to throw the kitchen sink at Obama; and throw the kitchen sink she has.  The blows she has landed by winning round nine, including the big states of Ohio and Texas, have knocked Obama back to the ropes, and he may just have been saved by the bell. 

Let’s face it, guys.  Senator Obama went from being an amateur to the big heavyweight fight at Madison Square Garden, when he was picked to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. 

That one punch at the Madison Square Garden established him as a formidable fighter.  But the test of how prepared he was, was to come in 2006 when he ran for the United States Senate against another formidable Republican opponent, Jack Ryan, a successful investment banker who made millions, but decided to leave that field and went into teaching at an inner-city school. 

A contest of juggernauts - pitting a successful investment banker against a successful Harvard University Law School Journal President and community organizer.  But that test never happened, due to no fault of Obama’s, but to the sucker punch delivered to Jack Ryan by his actress wife, Jeri Ryan—remember Star Trek—who accused her husband of forcing her to perform nude in front of other people at Clubs.  Ryan was forced to drop out, and the Republicans scurried around to come up with that carpet-bagger Ambassador Alan Keyes, the perennial also ran in heavyweight bouts, the presidential primaries, but who never seems to ever get out of the first round.  Of course, Obama wasted no time in knocking him out with a one-two punch.

On Tuesday, the two gladiators, Obama and Clinton, fought the ninth round.  For all intents and purposes, it has to be agreed that Senator Clinton delivered some devastating blows to Barack Obama, knocking him back to the ropes.  It wasn’t like Obama didn’t see the blows coming.  While waiting for the ninth round to come, Clinton had signaled Obama that she was going to throw the whole kitchen sink at him, according to the New York Times

First, it was the Clinton’s connivance with NBC’s Saturday Night Live (SNL), that did a skit portraying the media as fawning over Obama.  The Clinton campaign exploited this, and the media swallowed this carefully orchestrated attack. 

There is this herd mentality of the American media that says as soon as one shouts loud enough, they would follow it line and sinker.  The media began their ritual soul-searching as to whether they had been biased against the Queen of Mean.  The opposite of being biased, is also being biased against your opponent, and the media has been pounding on Obama since then.
Then, last Sunday, on CBS’s 60 Minutes, the moron Steve Croft decided to bring up the rumors swirling around in the internet about Obama being a Muslim.  Croft decided to ask Clinton whether she believed Obama was a Muslim.  Rather than answering a “no” to the question, Senator Clinton demurred and prevaricated with her answer with, “oh, if I were to take him at his words,” or “as far as I know,” thereby fueling the rumor, especially that of an Obama supporter in the interview who had mentioned these concerns about Obama. 

As an individual who would have been regarded as a fair journalist, why didn’t Croft pose a counter question to Obama as to the ugly rumors swirling about Clinton’s private life, or whether Obama believed the Clintons had anything to do with the death of Vince Foster.  Where was the fairness in this question and where was the fawning/cuddling of Barack Obama? 
The third kitchen sink was the advertisement in Texas, which questioned Obama’s qualification to be president and commander-in-chief.  It showed a phone ringing in the White House at 3 a.m. in the night. 

Mrs. Clinton is seen fully dressed in her designer dress picking up the phone.  Listen, I must admit it was a devastating and negative effective ad, first used by late President Lyndon Johnson against McGovern. 

The media lapped up this caricature without questioning why a president should be fully dressed at 3 a.m. in the morning, waiting for a phone call.  The media never asked when was the last time she ever picked up a red phone.  Of course, totally ignored was Obama’s quick response to the ad, pointing out how Clinton made the wrong decision, the first time she picked up that “red” phone. 

The fourth kitchen sink was self-inflicted, when Barack Obama’s economic adviser decided to play amateur diplomacy, and with for all people the consul-general of Canada in Chicago.  Imagine!!  The first rule of a presidential primary campaign is never meet with foreign diplomats, as Senator Kerry learned the hard way, as when he started boasting about how presidents in other countries preferred for him to win the presidency in 2004. 

In fact, why meet with an underling like a consul-general, who proceeded to transmit a convoluted account of what had been discussed, implying that Obama was merely mouthing his anti-NAFTA rhetoric for political purposes only.  While the Canadian government has denied that Obama’s private position was different from his public position, a bit late, it is also whispered that it was the Canadian Prime Minister who made public the original transmittal from his consulate in Chicago. 

As earlier stated, the ninth round of this heavyweight boxing fight between Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton has ended, in what has been christened “Mini Super Tuesday,” with Senator Clinton landing the largest blows, with her wins in the huge states of Ohio and Texas. 

Senator Obama is still standing, after receiving the heavy blows and he is still far ahead in points because of his past performance in earlier rounds. 

If he thinks he is going to coast to victory in this vicious fight, he is totally mistaken, because the Queen of Mean fights very dirty.  There is no hurrah in being a loser; the world of politics is littered with the carcasses of the Al Gores and John Kerrys of this world. 

The adage that “good guys finish last time,” is quite appropriate here.  You cannot compete against a man/woman who is used to playing in the gutter, while you are trying to protect his/her dirt spraying over your immaculate dress.  No, it doesn’t happen that way. 

You have got to get down to the same gutter, defeat your opponent, go to the shower and clean yourself, raise the championship belt aloft, smile at the crowd, call for unity and praise your opponent for giving you a great fight. 
Do we even remember who Senator Kerry beat for the nomination? Yes, we know who Bush beat; John McCain, because he is running again. 

If he doesn’t want to be a dot on the historical chart, Senator Barack Obama needs to stop being St. Obama, take off his gloves and fight the Queen of Mean in the gutter. 

As we say in Africa, “Do me I do you, God no go vex.” In other words, slap me and I slap you back, God will not be angry. 

Onyeani is publisher of New York-based The African Sun Times

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