It is a sure sign of the idiocy of today's 24/7 media whirlygig that a casual catty remark made by an unpaid campaign advisor to a Scottish newspaper during a book-promotion tour becomes the center of the political universe. Alas, 'tis all too true. Our own local academic celeb Samantha Power, of Harvard's Kennedy School, blurted out some ill-chosen verbiage about Hillary Clinton during an interview with the Scotsman about her latest book. Power is an unpaid senior advisor to Barack Obama. Believe it or not, today all the buzz is about the Obama camp calling Clinton a monster. Welcome to the funhouse!
This falls right under the heading of "haven't they learned by now" that I mentioned in a post yesterday: when Obama, his supporters, or the media treat Hillary like she's doing something wrong, something unseemly, by continuing to campaign, they help her.
But they just won't stop mocking and belittling her, often in the most sexist manner -- whether it's Margery Eagen comparing her with Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction or Larry David calling her "Sybillish" and on the brink of madness.
Obama can hardly clam up Eagen and David, but you might think he'd keep his own team under control.
There's another, more serious reason for Obama to sweat this "monster" mash-up, though: he really doesn't need Samantha Power to draw attention to herself right now.
Power (with whom I have spoken several times over the years), is primarily known for her work on genocide issues. But she has a bit of a reputation for being perhaps not the greatest friend to Israel. She can be seen as advocating a position that the broad Middle East problems will not be solved until Israel stops maltreating the Palestinians. That may not be exactly her stand, but there's more than enough truth to it to justify the wariness about her among many staunch defenders of Israel. Of whom, there are quite a few who vote in Democratic Party primaries. Including in, say, Pennsylvania.
I'm not trying to take sides in that controversy; just pointing out that Obama has recently come under attack on his views on Israel, and anything that draws attention to the role Power plays in his campaign is certain to revive those complaints.
Update: Like John de Balliol abdicating at Stracathro, Power has met her end in Scotland; she has reportedly resigned from Obama's campaign.