For African bloggers, the campaign has taken its toll

It’s another day in Primary Land, and for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that means another round of stump speeches, handshakes, attacks, denials and the inevitable media interviews.

“The grueling campaign had clearly taken its toll,” a news story pointed out not so long ago. “[Hillary Clinton’s] voice was hoarse and her expression enervated, and she coughed so much during an interview with an Oakland TV station that it had to be cut short (after nursing her vocal cords with tea and honey, she picked up where she left off).”

The date of that story? February 6, 2007.

Five weeks later, both campaigns are still lumbering on with one goal in sight: The chance to face presumptive Republican nominee John McCain in the November election for the Presidency of the United States. Thrilling, isn’t it? Not to everyone, apparently. The campaign has lasted so much longer than anyone’s expectations that even the members of the media are admittedly tiring of the race, as one reporter recently admitted: “There’s only so many stories you can write, and we’re running out of them.”

For African bloggers checking in on the Democratic race, long gone are the pithy remarks about Clinton and Obama and the hopeful interest in U.S. presidential politics. A certain new tone has entered into the fray: Perhaps it’s irritability or defiance. If I had to pick an adjective to tag these posts, I’d label them as “partisan.” You are either for us or against us; it’s as simple as that.

One way to detect certain campaign fatigue is to gauge when candidates spend more time on scandal control than debating the issues. Our first major gaffe came when former vice presidential candidate, and current Clinton supporter, Geraldine Ferraro, made what Kenyan blooger Siasa Duni refers to as a “racist comment.”

[Ferraro] declined to apologize directly for the firestorm she created when she told a local California newspaper that “if Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.” Ferraro told [Diane] Sawyer she was “absolutely not” sorry for what she'd said, suggesting she had tried to pay Obama a compliment. Ferraro said she was saying that “the black community came out with … pride in [Obama's] candidacy. You would think he would say ‘thank you’ for doing that. Instead, I'm charged with being a racist.” Ferraro told “GMA” she was drawing a comparison to her own history, contending that if she had not been a woman Walter Mondale would not have chosen her as his running mate in 1984 — a point she also made in the newspaper interview.

A second scandal, or actually a parallel scandal, occurred when Obama foreign policy advisor Samantha Power branded Hillary Clinton a “monster” in an interview with a Scottish political columnist. Power also resigned from her post.

In a tangential issue, Afrodissident, from South Africa, takes Hillary Clinton to task for claiming she pressed her husband in vain in 1994 to send troops to Rwanda in an attempt to stop the genocide that killed an estimated 800,000 people.

The level some politicians are prepared to stoop to makes one sick. That the senator feels impelled to get political mileage out of a tragedy that the West could have prevented just shows how desperate the woman must be. If anything, the Clintons should be hanging their heads in shame for their behaviour (or the lack thereof) during the genocide.

Afrodissident points out that it’s untrue that Hillary Clinton attempted to change her husband’s mind because that claim was disproved in a 2001 article in the Atlantic Monthly (and later book) regarding the Clinton administration’s actions during the genocide. The author? Samantha Power.

Next up, not so much a scandal, but hammering home on what has become a central theme of the Democratic campaign. It regards a memo released by the Clinton camp questioning Obama’s capacity to become the Commander and Chief of U.S. military forces.

After re-writing the memo on his own, Angry African on the Loose, a blogger from South Africa now living in the U.S., takes Hillary Clinton to task regarding fair play in elections:

HillBillary. Two can play this game. But the difference is that Obama doesn’t want to get involved in a pig fight or mud slinging. It sticks and smells in there. So we’ll just have to do it for him. We are willing to come down to your level. And when the Mac comes – we’ll take him on as well. Please don’t go there. We have too much respect for you. You don’t need to be a Republican wannabe. We want to remember you as either the first serious woman contender or the first woman President. Make us proud. Don’t play the Republican game – that will come later. It doesn’t look good on you. And we want to remain proud of you and know that you are one of us – where who you are defines how we talk and treat each other. You are a Democrat – be proud, but be just.

One final scandal, this one not really affecting either presidential candidates, but New York governor, and former rising Democratic star, Eliot Spitzer, who was nabbed by federal authorities for his alleged role in a prostitution ring. Spitzer resigned from his post a few days after the scandal broke.

In his blog, the Spike, Ivo Vegter from South Africa, compares reactions from the Democratic and Republican parties to the growing number of sex scandals in U.S. politics. He finds one party guilty of hypocrisy.

The liberal left claims to be, well, liberal. It claims to tolerate just about anything in terms of private behaviour. Rightly, in my view, liberals say it’s none of the government’s or public’s business what goes on behind closed doors.

On the other side is the self-styled “moral majority”, who define morality in rather more narrow terms. They claim moral behaviour in private defines a person’s character, and therefore it is a prerequisite for public office.

Now when someone gets caught with his pants down the moral conservative simply says, “resign”. This is perfectly consistent with the conservative’s political position. With the liberal left it’s different, however. Their reaction depends not on their own objective principles, but on the subjective principles of the culprit. When a Democrat (like Bill Clinton) gets caught with his Peter where it doesn’t belong, they say it’s just a bit of hanky-panky and it’s not that serious. But when a Republican gets caught with his pants down, they’re all over it like a rash, if you’ll excuse the image. That’s when they accuse Republicans of hypocrisy.

Liberals would have a lot more credibility if they didn’t yell “hypocrisy” every time a moral conservative gets caught in an immoral position. Because by doing so, they betray their own hypocrisy instead.

For bloggers attempting to look beyond the day’s scandals for their take on U.S. politics, Dr. Ethiopia from Abesha Bunna Bet compares the legacy of George W. Bush in Africa with that of former President Bill Clinton.

Being from Africa, i can speak for a lot of people when i say that Clinton’s charm is felt all the way in Africa. Even my Grandpa liked Clinton. Nonetheless, if you were to ask an African why is he such a big fan of Clinton? I am sure he would start with “uhhh”. And then probably something along the line, “he was a peaceful President unlike Bush.”

So . . .

For Africa – – – Clinton or Bush? And which one of the two has helped Africa tremendously?
I have a news for most Africans who managed to hate Bush for whatever reason. Bush had the greatest effect on the African continent and its people than any other American President.

…i wouldn’t say i am a fan of President Bush, not that there is anything wrong with that, i just happen to disagree with the guy based on some (not all) of his political decisions.
But i love Bush for what he had done for blacks (yes Africans). What he had done for the African continent so far is something that deserves a deep appreciation. When it comes to blacks in Africa he had so far led by example. And his steadfastness for issues such as AIDS is simply – PRODIGIOUS.

From Kenya, Random Kenyan has good words for candidate Barack Obama.

Can you imagine how many children he has inspired? I bet those kids in Mt. Elgon and Kuresoi somewhat believe that they can, that they will get there, that it is possible. Hope. Not that they will be president some day or will run for the highest office in the United States of America but that just keeping the spirits higher, we can.

The many unfortunate people he has proven to that they can?

And Archer pointed out in a comment:

It’s been said that WHEN Obama becomes President, Nyanza will become the 52nd state, and all boda bodas will have chrome spinners and hydraulics!

For those looking for John McCain, ONC Today from South Africa knows right where you’re going to find him come January 2009: In the White House.

Hilary Clinton won the important Texas and Ohio state, bringing her back in the race for the Democratic Candidate. She is now almost neck to neck with Obama Barack. I for one think those two are wasting their time with all this campaign and bashing each other bumper to bumper. John McCain is going to be the President of the US.

Simple Reason: Obama is black, Hilary is a Woman. I don’t think America (nor the world for that matter) is ready for a black or woman leader but that’s what I think!

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