Andy Martin on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton
“Factually Correct, Not
BARRY AND THE WITCH: FROM OBAMA TO ARMY BRATS
(CHICAGO)(November 21, 2007) Regular readers of this column know Senator Barack Obama does not catch a lot of slack from me. In fact a recent diatribe in The Nation Magazine accused me of leading as “right-wing smear machine” that had devastated Obama’s campaign. http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20071112&s=hayes
But, as regular readers also know, I “call ‘em as I see ‘em,” and when Barry’s right I back him. Especially against The Witch.
Obama actually said something truthful this week about his childhood. Usually Obama is feeding us his gauzy myths about “Dreams from My Father,” and similar disinformation.
Obama said “I spent four years living overseas when I was a child.” See e.g.: http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2007/11/20/the_passport_primary.html#more
The Witch promptly pounced with the sarcastic reply that “Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at age 10 prepares one to face the BIG…”
Actually, Obama was right; he was telling the truth. And The Witch was wrong. But then how would she know. She grew up in Park Ridge (Illinois).
And, I can speak in Obama’s defense from personal experience.
First, the obvious: children crave conformity, uniformity, continuity, stability and predictability. All of us know that, because all of were children at some point in our lives. Some of us still are. If anyone doubts my sociological observations, you can peek at Eboo Patel’s memories of childhood in today’s Washington Post, http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/eboo_patel/2007/11/american_thanksgivings.html. “Mom, I want a baloney sandwich in my lunchbox. PERIOD.” Now that’s conformity.
I grew up on the campus of Wesleyan University in Middletown Connecticut. That was our park. I delivered papers there, and happily accepted slices of pie, cake and other baked goods from the fraternity houses where I delivered newspapers. It was in some respects an idyllic existence. What could be more predictable than having a job, and making deliveries seven days a week? At age 11. And growing up with the same kids from first grade until seventh grade.
Then my family moved to Oxford, England where I lead a double life for the next two years, Adolescent by day. Oxford student by night. It was a mind bender. I was thrown into two alien worlds, one with other adolescents and one with mostly young adults. Learning and living in that strange environment made me more flexible, and more comfortable in all sorts of ways. We traveled to the World’s Fair and stayed in youth hostels. We were on the continent, visiting new friends.
I came home, alone (yea!), a young man on an ocean liner, and landed in New York as someone who had left as a child and returned as an adult. I would never be the same.
Had I stayed in Middletown, well, who knows. But I was never the same. I had seen the world. Had met Vietnamese kids (before anyone knew where Viet-Nam was) and had seen my best friend cry his heart out the day the King of Iraq was assassinated.
Anyone who has lived in different worlds, in different stages of life, knows that these experiences change us forever. Even “study abroad” during college can be transformational. Which is why college kids love going to Europe, love backpacking summers, and sometimes stay on during college or after graduation.
Clinton seeks to equate traveling in her Air Force jet as the president’s wife with the transformational childhood experiences Obama had in Indonesia. She’s dead wrong. You gotta love The Witch. The wronger she is, the nastier she gets. (You can hiss here.)
Traveling in an American presidential bubble is no way to see the world, or to transform your character, personality and views on life. On Air Force 1-1/2? Meeting “the people?” Come on Witchie. Well, Hillary did kiss Suha Arafat. (Hissing allowed.)
Kids playing, that’s transformational. Obama is 100% correct.
The best proof has nothing to do with me, Obama or The Witch. Just look at Army Brats.
Why have the children of our military families, who have to move every several years, at home and around the world, been so successful as a group? Because travel, exposure to different people, sometimes even different cultures, all help to make someone flexible, and provide coping skills in adult life. Just ask Senator John McCain.
Again drawing on my own adult experiences in Asia and the Middle East, it was the skills I learned dealing with international kids in prep school and at Oxford that allowed me to travel through some of the most dangerous conflicts in recent history, often exposed to great risk, and always be protected by local people who took a liking to me. I’m alive to prove it. (You can hiss here if you support my opponent in the primary.)
Indeed, one of my selling points as the “most qualified” Republican to face Senator Dick Durbin is that I have lived a full life all around the world, while he has been totally immersed in politics and political chicanery all of his adult life. Not much exposure there. Unless you think that backstabbing prepares you for foreign adventures. I know the world. Durbin doesn’t.
And so, this week The Witch betrayed her provincialism. She attacked Barry Obama where he is actually strongest. Obama had real problems as a child. But he saw the world and survived.
While I don’t come from a multi-racial family and so my experiences are much more limited than Obama’s, I grew up in a partially immigrant family. I was bilingual from birth. I had a hard time, as I am sure Obama did at some point, understanding why some people would discriminate against my wonderful Greek relatives. Indeed, I am almost unique among Republicans in that I experienced familial discrimination firsthand. Which is why I am so committed to civil rights and civil liberties. Back to childhood. Again.
And so, Hillary, you leave my Barry alone. If Barry needs beating, I am the man to do it. Just ask The Nation. Obama knows I will thrash him when he inflates his resume. Or dreams dreams that never materialized in reality.
As for You, my Dear Witch, you are the poorer for never having experienced what Obama and I did: a disruptive and transformational childhood. On the other hand, you have lived with Bubba and all of his mistresses. Now that was transformational. But look what it transformed you into.
Note: For those of you who have wondered why ContrarianCommentary.com has not tackled the story of The Witch, your prayers have been answered. ContrarianCommentary.com has a Hillary series on tap, hopefully starting next week. Watch for The Witch Watch: Searching for Hillary. Only in ContrarianCommentary.com. And nowhere else.
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of ContrarianCommentary.com. © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world events with forty years of experience. He is currently a candidate for U. S. Senator from Illinois. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Columns also posted at ContrarianCommentary.blogspot.com; contrariancommentary.wordpress.com. Comments? E-mail: AndyMart20@aol.com. Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites: ContrarianCommentary.com.