Opinion

Move over, Nellie Oleson — Opie's in town

By Angie Vogt, political commentary

Do you hear what I hear? It sounds like nails being driven into a box ... no, it’s a coffin.

I don’t want to speculate too soon, but I think it’s the coffin carrying the Hillary Clinton campaign. If you caught the last debate on Tuesday night, you know what I’m talking about.

I find this the most hopeful week of all in the presidential race. Hillary Clinton has fallen from grace not because of a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” but because voters could clearly see through her vacuous, self-inflated sense of entitlement.

We conservatives saw it all along, of course. What we didn’t see was how easily it could be dismantled. Nothing complicated, just a simple dose of time-honored wisdom. When faced with somebody mean-spirited, respond with kindness. When faced with someone selfish, be generous. When faced with someone angry, be happy. This is what I saw in Wednesday’s debate.

The low and dirty tactics that are so commonplace in the political arena just didn’t work this time. The photo that surfaced last week of Barack Obama wearing traditional Somali garments was a desperate attempt at humiliating him, reminiscent of the famous 1988 Bush-Dukakis film clip that showed Michael Dukakis riding in an army tank wearing a goofy helmet and looking more like a frat boy in a parade than a presidential candidate. It worked 20 years ago. People see through it now. Of course, the Clinton campaign had to denounce it.

Remember Nellie Oleson from “Little House on the Prairie?” Imagine a debate between Nellie Oleson and Opie Taylor. Neither candidate really offers much substance in their policy views. Neither candidate has executive experience, leading large organizations or government resources. Yet, one candidate clearly looked kind and confident. One candidate avoided sarcasm and nit-picking, such as Clinton’s insistence that “denouncing is not the same thing as rejecting,” when a question came up regarding Obama’s “denouncing” of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

But here’s the best news of all. For once, the Democrats are beginning to get past the identity, race and gender baiting of Hillary’s generation. Neither the ambulance-chasing Jesse Jackson nor the bombastic megaphone-carrying Al Sharpton are part of Obama’s campaign team (though they are trying hard to elbow their way in, much like Christine Gregoire did after Washington state pollsters announced

Obama’s huge lead in the polls).

My generation is tired of political correctness and how touchy everybody is. I miss a good Polish joke every now and then (my husband is Polish). Fine, I’m blonde, so make it a blonde joke. And we’re just in time for some good Irish jokes for St. Patrick’s Day. As long as the intention isn’t mean-spirited.

I will say as a proud, card-carrying member of the vast right-wing conspiracy that Senator Barack Obama is a breath of fresh air. His European-style socialist politics scare me, and I doubt I’ll vote for him, but it’s always fair to disagree with policy — that’s what an election is all about, after all.

It’s time for vigorous, intelligent debate about the future of our country and the difficulties we face in both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Federal Way resident Angie Vogt: vogt.e@comcast.net. For past columns and further commentary, visit www.soundupdate.com.

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