Wednesday, February 27, 2008

You haven't seen nothing yet

Sen. Hillary Clinton is fighting for her political life.

She never thought she would be in this position, I suspect. Certainly many in the mainstream press didn't see it coming. That Sen. Clinton would be trailing Sen. Barack Obama at this stage of the long and winding presidential campaign, which I feel last far too long.

"They (mainstream reporters and political pundits) all are scrambling right now to try to understand why they were wrong," says Professor Catherine Squires. She is doing a study of Obama's campaign from the standpoint of media coverage. She is looking at the three national newspapers: the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, as well as national publications as U.S. News and World Report, Time and Newsweek. Squires, the first professor of journalism, equality and gender at the University of Minnesota, has been on the case ever since the Illinois junior senator declared his intention to run for president over two years ago.

"I will continue this analysis as long as he is in the race," says Squires, "because there is going to be talk about the meaning of his candidacy for some time to come. There is so much to look at, particularly since the primaries actually began.

"Since Super Tuesday, I am collecting much more data than I thought," the professor continues.

With Obama now ahead, Sen. Clinton is coming out with all kinds of mess, trying to get back in the race. Everyone uses everyone else's words, so that accusation don't fly.

Now her campaign is showing Obama wearing African garb. So what!

Unless he's buck naked, I really don't care what he wears. We aren't looking for a new president to head up the Ebony Fashion Fair.

Now, Sen. Clinton is dredging up that experience issue again. The last I saw, being the First Lady, even one as involved as she was in her husband's eight years in office, doesn't give you any experience brownie points.

Furthermore, no one who's running for high office: Obama, Clinton, or Sen. John McCann -- none are experience. Certainly current President Bush didn't have any, yet he's in his lame duck year.

"Portraying (Obama) as being too young . . . That could be the code word for (Obama) is not ready yet," adds Squires.

And if Obama does indeed wins his party's nomination, expect things to get even hotter. "We have seen the Republicans do some pretty nasty dirty tricks in the last few elections, from Willie Horton on up," the Minnesota journalism professor surmises. She speaks from personal experience: Squires' father once worked on the late Chicago mayor Harold Washington's campaign, "and I remember some of the ugly things that was going on," she recalls.

The kid gloves are slowly coming off in this campaign. Clinton is taking hers off, and McCann will later this summer.

Certainly stay tuned.

"I really don't know where this will go next," concludes Squires. "There's no Plan B, and that why (the campaign) is so great. I am having quite a bit of fun."

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