Hard News by Russell Brown


Breaking up the Band

It surely takes something special to make a biography about another person as rampantly self-serving as Michael Bassett's new book about David Lange seems to be.

The book is likely to be objectionable in any number of ways, but Bassett's casting of Margaret Pope as the Yoko Ono of the fourth Labour government -- she broke up the band! -- likely comes top of the list. The idea that Lange himself might have possessed some actual political thought, rather than functioning as a mere mouthpiece for his lover.

If only the Devil Woman hadn't captured the Prime Minister's heart, Bassett seems to say, we'd all have made history. Huh.

Back over at the circuses, I thought the All Blacks' first outing for 08 was quite okay. Indeed, I feel better for having seen it. On a dry track they'd have put 25 points on the paddies, such was their dominance of all facets of the game. Dan Carter was the actual Dan Carter (and not the chap who's been playing most of the Super 14) for about half the time, Conrad Smith channelled Bruce Robertson for a few glorious seconds, and even our third-string prop didn't seem greatly troubled by the vaunted Munster front row. And Richie McCaw? Awesome.

So … there's a winning streak of one, and even Stephen Jones isn't predicting an upset in Auckand this weekend. It's a long time yet till a game against the Wallabies and the inevitable Battle of Coaches. So perhaps Chris Rattue could just shut up and stop pretending he can't bring himself to watch the Al Blacks.

And, staying with the getting-over-it theme, perhaps now that Hillary Clinton has made her lively and gracious speech of concession and thrown her support behind Obama, perhaps people like this woman who had her daft, petulant letter published on the San Francisco Chronicle website could get a grip, assuming they're not actually wingnut trolls:

We are homeless now and we are desperately seeking a home. We feel we have been ''abused'' by the Obama campaign and by the Democratic party.

Why would we go back to our abusers, especially when they continue to minimize our thoughts and feelings? The feminist in some of us certainly trumps any party loyalty we may have had and actually trumps any views we may have on Roe v. Wade or Iraq.

The more the party tells us how ''silly'' or ''stupid'' we are to ever consider supporting McCain, the more we become convinced of how we are not silly or stupid.

There is a message to be taken from this.

Continued scorn for Senator Clinton or my support for her is clearly not the way to get my vote. Continued pressure on Senator Clinton to get us into the fold is not the way to get my vote.

Obama himself needs to get my vote!

Continued denial by the party that half its voters just don't like their candidate is not the way to get my vote.

Any suggestion that I am bitter, delusional, should get over it because I lost, in mourning, desperate, or otherwise inadequate is not the way to get my vote.

What is the way to get my vote?

I don't know but, for me, it's not by making Hillary VP. For others, it seems to be.

Will it take sensitivity and outreach from Obama for me? A double team effort? Nah! I have no interest in seeing or listening to Obama.

Outreach from Hillary? Sure! But would it be with freedom for her to address women's concerns about sexism? I don't think so because the party wants me to just ''unite'' and forget how divided it really is.

Just like the superdelegate ''drip, drip, drip'' to Obama, there seems to be a ''drip, drip, drip'' of Hillary voters away from him. Understanding us may be the first way to stop the flow.

Thank you for listening.

So you'd vote for the anti-reproductive rights Republican over the NARAL-endorsed Democrat because your goddamn feelings are hurt? And Obama has to earn your vote "himself" but you're not interested in seeing or listening to him? I'm actually hopeful these people aren't really going to do this to themselves. Mostly.

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