Pathological Pandering: A Case Study

Hillary and Nancy

Today, on the day she attended Nancy Reagan’s funeral in Simi Valley, California,  Hillary Clinton praised her for confronting AIDS, which emerged during her husband’s first term, telling MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell….

“It may be hard for your viewers to remember how difficult it was for people to talk about H.I.V./AIDS back in the 1980s. And because of both President and Mrs. Reagan – in particular, Mrs. Reagan – we started a national conversation, when before nobody would talk about it. Nobody wanted anything to do with it.”

As anyone who was alive at the time remembers, however, and as the families and friends of gay victims of the disease will never forget, the Reagans went out of their way to ignore AIDS as long as possible. Despite desperate calls for action from the government by the frightened and mourning gay community, Mrs. Reagan  did not mention H.I.V. or AIDS publicly until 1985 and did not give a speech about the disease until 1987. Harshly judging the Reagans in retrospect may or may not be too harsh, but praising Nancy for what Clinton today called her “low-key advocacy” defies reason and reality.
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The Flat Learning Curve Continues: Obama Skips Nancy Reagan’s Funeral. Of Course He Does.

Obama's job learning curve: still flat.

Obama’s job learning curve: still flat.

I wasn’t going to comment on this until two of my many clueless Facebook friends had to mock an indignant article about it on a conservative site. I don’t think Obama skipping Nancy Reagan’s funeral is worthy of outrage, but it is sad. It’s almost as sad as the degree to which the people who elected him have never comprehended what his job is.

Obama is not attending Nancy’s funeral because he was previously committed to attend a vital event called South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival. Michelle Obama will speak at the funeral, but she is also speaking at the festival, making it obvious that the President could also do both if he wanted to. He doesn’t want to, just as he didn’t want to show respect to a sitting Supreme Court Justice who had died suddenly by attending his funeral.

That’s Obama; we should know him by now. He’s a petty, small man, but more important, he doesn’t seize opportunities to repair the poisonous partisan divide that he helped create because he doesn’t understand the symbolic nature of the Presidency, or just doesn’t give a damn. That attitude—I think both are true— has played a major role in creating the non-functioning government and the societal divisions he will leave as his primary legacy. Continue reading

Cowardice Trumps Duty: The Oprah Bio Freeze-Out

Sometimes professionals reveal the flaws in their ethical armor in their handling of the little things.

Celebrity shark Kitty Kelley, who has wounded other celebrities with dirty-linen airing, unauthorized biographies (supposedly her hatchet job on Frank Sinatra caused Ol’ Blue Eyes to consider having her whacked), has sunk her teeth into Oprah Winfrey. The usual, well-worn method that get such bio-trash sold is a media tour, and Kelley is a veteran of it, having used interviews and talk-show experiences to make best-sellers out of her bios of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Reagan, the British Royal Family, and the Bushes. But these were just icons, super-stars, idols, royalty and world leaders; now that Kelley is taking on the Big O, all bets are off. It has been reported in multiple sources that the usual facilitators of Kelley’s book plugging efforts have been turning Kelley’s publicist down. They don’t want to cross Oprah. Continue reading