Sunday, June 01, 2008

SWAMPOODLE REPORT: SPECIAL SATURDAY

Sam Smith

Saturday showed that Barack Obama is much better at picking up delegates than at dumping divinities.

His relationship with the Trinity Congregational has seemed curiously idiosyncratic from the start and his awkward exit doesn't help much. Christopher Hitchens reports that "in April 2004, Barack Obama told a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times that he had three spiritual mentors or counselors: Jeremiah Wright, James Meeks, and Father Michael Pfleger for a change of pace, a white Catholic preacher who has a close personal feeling for the man he calls (as does Obama) Minister Farrakhan. . . Meeks' main political connections in the white community are with the hysterically anti-homosexual wing of the Christian right. If Obama were to be read a list of the positions that his clerical supporters take on everything from Judaism to sodomy, he would be in the smooth and silky business of 'distancing' from now until November."

My own guess that Wright et al were relief for - rather than a reflection of - the ponderous Obama, that they provided the excitement that porn and sports offer for lesser male mortals, raises the concern of where Barack will get his Jesus jollies now. I think I hear the ghost of Billy Graham knocking at the door.

On the other hand, Saturday's rodeo at the Democratic Rules Committee found the Obama crowd infinitely more graceful and wise than their opponents. As Donna Brazille put it, "My mama taught me to play by the rules and respect the rules. . . When you decide to change the rules, especially, in the middle of the game, it's called cheating." Nonetheless, the Obamites did change the rules. . . by compromise. At the end of the day, this left them looking reasonable and fair, while the Clinton crowd acted like a bunch of angry, spoiled kids.

Of course, it's now being said that Clinton's problem was sexism, which is a little like saying that the reason Al Sharpton isn't in the White House is because of racism. Even if the media steadfastly failed to report it, Clinton has a long record of dishonesty, was almost criminally prosecuted and had three business partners who went to prison. The public knows it, as reflected in polls on candidates' perceived honesty, even if the media tried to cover for her.

And watching the repugnant Harold Ickes and Lannie Davis try to rescue Clinton brought to mind still another unnoted factor: Hillary Clinton's problem may not be so much that she is a woman but her choice in men, starting with her husband.

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PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM

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Your editor has been a musician for many decades. He started the first band his Quaker school ever had and played drums with bands up until 1980 when he switched to stride piano. He had his own band until the mid-1990s and has played with the New Sunshine Jazz Band, Hill City Jazz Band, Not So Modern Jazz Band and the Phoenix Jazz Band.

NOTES ON THE MUSIC

Here are a few tracks:

SAM SMITH'S DECOLAND BAND

'SHINE' 

JELLY ROLL

PHOENIX JAZZ BAND

APEX BLUES   Sam playing with the Phoenix Jazz Band at the Central Ohio Jazz festival in 1990. Joining the band is George James on sax. James, then 84, had been a member of the Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller orchestras and hadappeared on some 60 records. More notes on James

WISER MAN  Sam piano & vocal

OH MAMA  Sam piano & vocal