I think the new round of attacks among presidential candidates started when Senator Clinton accused Baack Obama of plagiarism last week. Obama explained why he used a few lines from his friend, Deval Patrick about the value of words and called the accusation “silly.” As a result, Clinton received the longest booing in the debates so far and then said that she was honored to be with Barack Obama in the race. But in politics “being honored” does not mean anything, at least not for long. The truth is that the “silly season” of politics has arrived and it will unsurprisingly only get more and more silly and nasty.
Obviously, Clinton has chosen to be harsh and attack Obama’s character and policies to get more support and halt Obama’s momentum. There is no evidence that her new wave of attacks will help -- since it didn’t seem to help during the past few months -- but she is determined to do this, and I have to confess she is good at it. To show how tough she can be, she not only used the phrase “Brack Obama, shame on you” the other day, but also mocked Obama’s message theatrically at a recent campaign rally in Providence, Rhode Island: “Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified, the sky will open, the light will come down, celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know that the world is perfect." It doesn’t seem that the Clinton campaign will stop the attacks before the critical March 4th primaries in Ohio and Texas.
However, I do not believe that the silly season started with Clinton or Obama. The credit of going silly should be given to The New York Times for claiming a “romantic relationship” between McCain and the middle-aged blonde and charming lobbyist Vicki Iseman.. Especially for calling the relationship "romantic, that there is nothing we can check, no one we can ask, no digging we can do.” However, these days people are talking about this “romantic relationship,” referring to the Times article. I don't know how the Times can handle the ethical issue of that particular sentence, but I know that the silly season has truly arrived.
It’s not just Times going tabloid – a news show on CNN even referred to it as: “Tabloid Times?” -- because when it is a silly season, anybody could go silly, especially when nobody is sure who is behind some of these attacks. The rumors about Clinton and her personal aide, Huma Abedin, are one example. The attempt by mainstream media and particularly right-wing websites to play on the “Obama” and “Osama” similarity in sounds is another.
Silly claims such as those of lesbianism and Islamic extremism could have found “a fertile ground” for the general elections. After all, the silly season has just started.
(Published in California New Service)