Pam's Points: Are politicians speaking to the hearts and minds of voters?

Pam's Points: Are politicians speaking to the hearts and minds of voters?

August 12th, 2019 by Pam Sohn in Opinion Times

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden poses for a photo during a visit to the Iowa State Fair last week in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Photo by Charlie Neibergall

What rolls off your tongue?

In case you've been blissfully tucked in a cave away from political news all weekend, you might not yet have been treated to the repeat plays of presidential and senatorial campaign clips.

For those unaware, one of the most-played "gotcha" moments was of Democratic front-runner Joe Biden at the end of a long Iowa campaign day when he was talking about the need to educate all children fairly.

We have this notion that somehow if you're poor you cannot do it," Biden said. "Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids." He immediately caught the gaffe and corrected himself by adding "wealthy kids, black kids, Asian kids."

Then came the pile on. We'll start with Bill de Blasio's tweet: "Poor" kids are just as bright and talented as white kids? To quickly dismiss @JoeBiden's words as a mere "slip of the tongue" is as concerning as what he said. We need to have a real conversation about the racism and sexism behind "electability."

This from the mayor who, after five years, still hasn't fired the white cop who put a department-prohibited chokehold on a black man whose only crime was selling single cigarettes, then maintaining that chokehold while the black man repeatedly said "I can't breathe" until his air supply was completely gone and he died.

Yeah, let's talk about racism and electability.

Better yet, let's talk about matching words with action.


What's in your mind?

A slip of the tongue is also a far cry from three recent photos tweeted from a Mitch McConnell campaign event.

The first, tweeted out by "Team Mitch," McConnell's official re-election campaign, came immediately on the heels of the mass shooting in El Paso and reads: "The Grim Reaper of Socialism at #Fancy Farm today." Beneath that headline were two photos in split screen. One photo shows five tombstones bearing the messages: R.I.P. Amy McGrath, R.I.P. Merrick Garland, R.I.P. Alison Lundergan Grimes, R.I.P. Green New Deal, and R.I.P. Socialism. The other photo shows a grinning McConnell.

McGrath is McConnell's 2020 Senate opponent. Garland was President Obama's nominee to the Supreme Court who McConnell refused for a year to give a Senate vote or hearing. Grimes was McConnell's 2014 Senate opponent.

The second tweet and photo, made at the same McConnell campaign event, was not posted by the campaign, but rather by an attendant observer with the Twitter handle, "feminist next door."

The tweet reads: "Pictured: seven young white men in 'Team Mitch' T-shirts, gathered round a distressed looking cardboard @AOC [a cardboard cutout of New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], groping and kissing her. The caption, 'break me off a piece of that.' Future federal judges of America."

The message of the photo was clear. The young man in the foreground, was holding his thumb down. One was grasping the life-size poster by the waist and pretending to kiss the congresswoman. Another of the young men mimed his hand as if to clutch at her throat. All of the men were posing for the camera.

AOC retweeted the picture to McConnell, asking: "Are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch?"

The campaign said the young men were high school students not associated with the campaign, and their actions were not condoned.

Never mind that all of the young men wore matching "Team Mitch" shirts, and never mind that some of them also were pictured in another photo — one that was released by the "Team Mitch" campaign on the campaign's Instagram page. In that photo, made at the same Fancy Farm event, they smilingly held up oversized mugs of Trump-appointed Supreme Court Justices Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.


And what's in your heart?

In talking about matching words with hearts and minds, it seems hardly fair to mention President Donald Trump, since he shows us only spiteful words, an empty heart and not much mind.

You should recall his recent address to the nation over the shootings in El Paso and Dayton when — even with a teleprompter in front of him — he said, "May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo."

Still, Trump and his campaign leapt on Biden's education remarks in Iowa. Trump's senior counselor, Kellyanne Conway, tweeted that Biden's remark "sounds racist." Seriously? This from the mouthpiece of a president who fans the flames of racism regularly with comments about "s__thole countries" and "go back" slurs?

But Biden didn't slip up last week when he said Trump has "poured fuel on the fire" of white supremacy in America.

"Indeed, we have a president with a toxic tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced the political strategy of hate, racism and division. So it's up to us," the former vice president said in a blistering speech in Iowa.

Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that "Joe Biden is not playing with a full deck. This is not somebody you can have as your president."

A Biden campaign aide told NBC in response: "Donald Trump's deck is all jokers."

In other words — bring it, Donnie.

Let the games begin.

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