The great John Prine, who sung about it 40 years ago.
Did you ever wake up with a question? I do, most days. Some days it's "why the hell does every joint in my body ache?" but this morning it was "who the heck was that thick-necked, flat-headed, dim-witted woman ABC News put up in the debates the other night? I mean this moron could not even ask a question??!!
Armed with a complete name and an address, it was not hard to find that others had asked the same question. Jake Tapper at ABC (some irony here!), notes that:
McClatchy tracks down Nash McCabe of Latrobe, PA, the 52-year-old woman now best known nationally for asking Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., during the ABC News debate about his not wearing an American flag lapel pin, an example for many critics (including Obama) of how trivial American politics (and American media coverage) has become.
Out of work, "McCabe met her husband, Lloyd, in April 1983 at a dance. They married two months later. Six months after that, she says, he was injured in a coal mine accident. He hasn't worked since. They never had children. He had back surgery. The muscle relaxers he took damaged his heart. He's had three bypasses, nine angioplasties, seven stents and a pacemaker. Three months ago doctors found a brain tumor. His choice: surgery that he may or may not survive, or life in a wheelchair" -- he's scheduled to surgery two days after the Pennsylvania primary.
"Over 25 years of marriage, McCabe was the breadwinner. She said it took eight years to get her husband disability payments, during which time they racked up huge bills."
She's been a nurse's aide, a cashier, secretary then manager of a cleaning company that closed. She was recently laid off from a job as a clerk-typist. She and Lloyd have borrowed money from her parents. She recently inquired to see if she and her husband qualify at a food bank.
And yet, given the opportunity to ask a possible future president of the United States, she asked about a flag pin.
Aw jeez. But the question is not really answered here, is it? I mean the woman is clearly an idiot with a lot of problem, and she cannot get her priorities straight to save her life, but Why and How did she get on national TV? How did ABC News manager to stir this muck up from the bottom of the pond? Did they do weeks worth of focus groups in Western Pennsylvania?
A bit more light drilling, and I come to this article on the blog of The Philadelphia Daily News which notes that:
"ABC News found Nash McCabe the old-fashioned way -- they read about her,
and her thing with the American flag, in the New York Times earlier this month .... So Nash McCabe wasn't located at random at all. Instead, someone at ABC News decided that they wanted to go after Obama on the patriotism issue, and they actively sought a Pennsylvanian who they knew wanted to bring it up ....
That original New York Times article (by a former Newsday colleague, Paul Vitello), the one that started this whole ball rolling. It wasn't really about flag pins or patriotism.
It was about race.
Here's the headline over the picture of Nash McCabe: "In Ex-Steel City, Voters Deny Race Plays a Role."
Vitello writes that he found little support for Obama in Latrobe [99% white], and the crux of his article is this:But when dismissing Mr. Obama, voters in this former steel center, whatever their racial feelings, seem almost compelled to list their reasons, if only to pre-empt the unspoken race question.
Because he voted “present” too often as an Illinois state senator.
Because he speaks very well, but has not talked about reviving the coal industry.
Because he would not command the respect of the military.
Because there is something unsettling about his perfect calm, they say.
So, The New York Times is basically stating that many voters are finding odd or vague reasons not to support a candidate who president who happens to be black. And without any thought to the subtext, ABC News plucked one of those reasons and brought it to the center stage of democracy.
Yes they did.
This phenomenon of closeted bigots raising make-weight excuses to be opposed to Barack does not start and end with the troubled, dim-witted Nash McCabe though, does it?
I see folks picking at nits with Obama while ignoring McCain's push to gut Social Security and Medicare, the Iraq war dead, the Iraq war injured, the mounting national debt, the war mongering against Iran, the rising price of gasoline at the pump, the collapsing economy, McCain's push for a massive amnesty for illegal aliens, McCain's past support for gun control, McCain's adultery, the Keating Five corruption fiasco, McCain's pyrotechnic temper, McCain's refusal to release his taxes, McCain's obvious memory lapses, McCain's tenuous grasp of key foreign policy facts, and McCain's refusal to release his medical history.
Do I think racism underpins the creation of make-weight questions about Obama?
I certainly do. When people ignore the broken fundamentals of John McCain while creating contrived problems about flag pins with Barack Obama, there is not much question as to what is going on. This is an attack plan that fools no one.