According to Ben Smith, Presidential candidate Barack Obama, who called for Don Imus to be fired over an improvised remark, riffed on the Virginia Tech mass murders as follows:
"There's also another kind of violence that we're going to have to think about. It's not necessarily the physical violence, but the violence that we perpetrate on each other in other ways," he said, and goes on to catalogue other forms of "violence."
There's the "verbal violence" of Imus.
That's one hilariously tin-eared response to a tragedy, lifted straight out of a Jesse Jackson stump speech from 1984. And comparing Virginia Tech to Don Imus is pure self parody.
Of course, if you are running for President, or if you are yapping on the radio for hundreds of hours per year, some of your improvisations are going to fall terribly flat. One could reasonably expect a little forgiveness following an apology, but that is exactly what Sen. Obama did not extend to Imus.
Mickey Kaus writes:
Barack Obama's misguided attempt to connect the Virgina Tech murders with the Imus slur ("quiet violence") and, yes, loss of health care benefits due to layoffs and overseas competition, doesn't come off quite as obscene as you'd expect when you listen to it--because Obama's delivery is too fatigued and subdued, even depressive, to trigger the sense that he's manipulating anybody. Still, it's not exactly evidence of a fresh intelligence, or even basic common sense, at work--much less rising to the occasion. It suggests a mindset that tries to fit every event into a familiar, comforting framework he can spoon-feed his audience without disturbing them. ...
Mickey appears to be picking up on my point that Obama's autobiography has all the hallmarks of being a written by a literarily gifted depressive. Certainly, during Obama's Ross Perot-like rise to near the top of the Presidential candidate heap over the previous couple of years, he didn't show signs of depression. Perhaps, however, he goes through a mild manic-depressive cycle, although not as a blatant as Perot's in 1992. Lots of high achievers do -- you claw your way into power, money, or fame during an up phase and hang on during a down phase.
I don't follow politics enough to have a worthwhile opinion, but I've been picking up hints from the press in the last month that perhaps his depression, if such it is, might be back. Mild manic-depression shouldn't disqualify him for the White House, but it's the kind of thing we ought to know about a candidate -- unlike in 1992 when nobody in the media except Saturday Night Live mentioned that Perot was enormously manic-depressive.