Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Kindness, Unity, Healing

Joe Biden could do a lot in support of the Valentine's Hearts his wife put up on the White House Lawn if he just says a few nice, bland things about the death of Rush Limbaugh. Just be polite, y'know? Bill Clinton might have a go at saying a few actually nice things in a jovial way, as he has (accurately) mentioned in the past that Limbaugh had nice things to say about him as governor of Arkansas and putting together a group of like-minded centrist Democrats to pull things away from the Dukakis liberal cliff. Limbaugh mentioned it in later years also.  It was a great idea, but turned out to be mostly for show. Though I did notice that Clinton's campaigning was always along the lines of saying insulting things about those frightening conservatives and then insisting "I'm the only one who can save you from them."  His governance was less liberal - he made his living as an anti-conservative, not a pro-liberal, except in trading off boomer/Woodstock imagery. Very effective. If Bill does say a few nice things, it will allow him to get in some additional digs along the way.

The Bushes will say nice things, perhaps a little more understated and hands-off than they should for someone who carried water for them in hard times. Romney will be even more distant. Obama might make an attempt at the brief bland acknowledgement, but is likely to come off as merely aloof and condescending. If he tries to go for anything more, it will be something that his supporters see as wise, judicious, and fair, but will in fact be divisive and insulting not very far below the surface.  Obama is not actually a kindly person, so he can't manage those things. We'll see.  He might do better. I have no confidence Biden will handle this at all well. 

It is a significant opportunity for people to be generous of spirit.

Reminder:  Not only news organisations, but public figures plan out long in advance what they are going to say when someone dies.  There might be miscalculations, but there are no accidents there. I never thought about what I would say at Rush's death until today.  The Boston Globe has been thinking about it for years, discussed at the highest levels.


Texan99 said...

I'm remembering uneasily that I struggled to say anything nice about Justice Ginsberg, and mostly just kept my mouth shut. I tried to stick to the "she had a remarkable life" kind of thing, or admiring her friendship with Justice Scalia.

Christopher B said...

Not having listened to Rush much (really, almost never, though I did read one of his books) I don't remember his attitude towards Biden back in the day, that might have some bearing. I expect a certain amount of 'strange new respect' for his generally jovial attitude in contrast to 'mean tweets'. That said, some people never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

Sam L. said...

For those who CAN be generous of spirit. and DO. I haven't listened to Rush for some years. His radio time and my driving time just didn't match up.