Saturday, September 22, 2007

Briar Patch Politics

In today’s Washington Post, Peter Baker reports that Dubya is so certain that Hillary will be the next president that he has practically invited her over to fit the windows for drapes. As if she didn’t have the measurements from her last residency. The astounding part is that a roomful of broadcast journalists took that revelation hook, line, and sinker. It’s sad to see clueless media types get so badly played that they don’t even realize how cynically they are getting used.

One of the more popular theories about Karl Rove’s resignation from the White House is that it gives him a free hand to stick it back into his bag of dirty tricks and pull out some rabbits. As soon as he turned in his West Wing pass, he ran right to a microphone to start trashing the junior carpetbagger from New York. His assessment of Hillary's weaknesses immediately garnered the whiff of wishful thinking. Clearly some elements of the GOP think the distaff Clinton would be the easiest opponent to run against next fall. By relentlessly attacking Hillary, her supporters rally around her and Dubya’s anointing her with the candidacy becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I really don’t care whether this strategy works or not. I don’t have a yellow dog in that fight, but it is fun to watch. However, we just might watch this house of games get turned against the players. Turd Blossom and whoever thinks they are the conservative kingmakers now better be careful what they wish for since these things have a way of biting back.

Karl Rove as a son of the South clearly knows the legend of B’rer Rabbit and the Briarpatch. However, nobody under the legal drinking age has ever had a chance to see the Disney version of the Uncle Remus tales in theaters. And Song of the South has never, ever, been released in the US for home viewing in any format. The master negatives are gathering dust in the darkest back recesses of the Disney vault, down past even the cryogenically frozen head of Uncle Walt himself. The Lost Arc of the Covenant has a better chance of seeing daylight than B’rer Rabbit and his friends.

Ironically, Splash Mountain, one of the most popular Disneyworld rides, is themed around the exploits of these folk characters. Not that any of the kids riding the ride will recognize them. The dated racial stigma of the movie has made it anathema in popular culture, but the stories have clever morals and pop cultural relevance that need to remembered.

Another Uncle Remus story with topical relevance that has garnered unfortunate racial connotations is the Tar Baby story. Mitt Romney played into the hands of gotchya political correctness watchers by using the metaphor completely accurately but naively and cluelessly.

John McCain forgave the rather sleazy Rovian tar baby rumors of a different sort in order to hitch his star to Dubya back when we were about to get assaulted by liberation roses in Iraq. Since then he has had a much harder time distancing himself from a regime whose interrogation techniques McCain has good first hand familiarity with. Maybe McCain can get some Democrats to start a whisper campaign that they could beat any Republican except McCain. Go ahead and throw him in that briar patch.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: Does the Dubya/Rove good cop/bad cop routine help or hurt Hillary?

Update (9/23/07): For another comparison between a cartoon character and a presidential candidate, see this post.


Jeff and Charli Lee said...

At this point, Bush and Co. have lost so much credibility that I doubt anything they bash (or endorse) will carry any weight. Although I'm probably underestimating the power of his hypnotic trance over his starboard supporters.

Anonymous said...

They played this game 4 years ago to land Kerrey the nomination because they saw him as the most beatable. Hillary's got a lot of baggage and could prove rather divisive. She MIGHT, repeat might, give the GOP their best chance. Depends in part on which vague personality emerges from the pack.

Song of the South is not as "lost" as you might think. Outside the US it was released on video several times and a DVD may be in the works. Certainly nothing like the Loony Tunes Censored Eleven which are never going to see the light of day anywhere. The Bre'rs got a lot of play in the Gold Key comics of the 70s. I saw the movie a couple of years ago, and to be honest it's horrible. And I don't mean the racism (which isn't terribly racist, mostly just paternalistic and very much a product of its times). It's BORING. Long, long stretches of talk interrupted by a grand total of 3, count 'em 3, animated segments.

yellojkt said...

I have different memories of the movie because I saw it when I was so young. Mostly I think I saw segments of it on The Wonderful World of Disney all the time. I also read all the Little Golden Books that just focused on the animated tales.

Anything done in 1946 concerning Reconstruction (and SotS is AFTER the Civil War) race relations is going to seem painfully stilted in today's world.

yellojkt said...

And knowing that this is exactly the game they played with Kerry makes it even more unforgivable that the media isn't calling them out for it this time around.

2fs said...

I don't particularly trust Hillary Clinton, and I'm well to the left of her politically...but what really irritates me is the way the media has ceaselessly anointed her as the Democratic candidate practically since Bush won the '04 election. Given the pathetic level of coverage concerning candidates' actual positions, and the unwillingness of the average American to investigate such material when it does exist any further than the headline, the media's constant promoting of Hillary Hillary Hillary has made her into the Campbell's Soup of candidates: a lot of people will buy her just because she's a familiar name, barely even noticing there are other brands available.