Obama Dials Up His Trash Talk

trash talk: "to use disparaging or boastful language" (dictionary.refererce.com) or,"In the course of a competitive situation putting down your opponent verbally or saying how good you think you are." (urbandictionary.com) 

It's time to go on Obama Trash Talk Watch.  He's demonstrated a proclivity toward using such language when under stress.

That was early noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by the man Democrats love to hate, the diabolical Karl Rove, who therein analyzed Hillary Clinton's victory in the New Hampshire primary.

"[Hillary]had two powerful personal moments. The first came in the ABC debate on Saturday, when WMUR TV's Scott Spradling asked why voters were "hesitating on the likeability issue, where they seem to like Barack Obama more." Mrs. Clinton's self-deprecating response -- "Well, that hurts my feelings" -- was followed by a playful "But I'll try to go on."

You couldn't help but smile. It reminded Democrats what they occasionally like about her. Then Mr. Obama followed with a needless and dismissive, "You're likable enough, Hillary."
Her remarks helped wash away the memory of her angry replies to attacks at the debate's start. His trash talking was an unattractive carryover from his days playing pickup basketball at Harvard, and capped a mediocre night.

At least one pro-Obama blog labeled Rove's observation as racist. Silly. 

At best, Obama's comeback to Hillary was an example of borderline trash talk.  It might better fit under the category of justifiable sarcasm.

Trash talk usually conveys a tone of bravado-infected self-assurance. 

Remember when the NFL used to occasionally put a live microphone on the field?  That was before on-field trash talk became standard football fare.  From there it spread down through the college and high school ranks, and then deep into American vernacular speech, along with its similar non-verbal version - "high-fives."  Today, men and women high-five after the most mundane of accomplishments. (I saw two guys high-five when the waiter brought each a full slab order of barbequed ribs. I left before they finished eating. Maybe they leapt up on a nearby table, awaiting hugs.) 

Obama deploys trash talk under pressure, like he did at a North Carolina rally back on August 19.  It was reported there that,

"A combative Barack Obama said Tuesday that Republican John McCain ‘doesn't know what he's up against' in this election and challenged his rival to stop questioning his character and patriotism."

Or else what?  More trash talk?  That's what's come, anyway.

On September 6, at a Bon Jovi fund-raising event, Obama said,

"We're not going to be bullied, we're not going to be smeared, we're not going to be lied about," Obama said. "I don't believe in coming in second."   

High-fives all around.

McCain got the wadding beat out of him on a regular basis for several years by really bad actors, and Palin has teenage children and hunts Moose. So who's Obama trying to scare with his trash talk? Probably just pumping up his followers.

Look for more trash talk from Obama as the race tightens. Perhaps he can consult the Reverend Jesse Jackson for suggestions. Jesse has demonstrated skills along that line.

* * * *

I anticipate a reaction to this blog from the morning shift of the Obama Rapid Response Blog Team. So here's my response in advance.

(1) Trash talk, although it originated generally in the U.S. within the African-American urban environment, is not, and has for many years not been, associated with any racial group. For example, the actors who represent the WFF are trash talk exports, and most are not African-Americans. Fact it, today trash talk knows no racial boundaries.

(2) Yes, President Bush's gunslinger comments about hunting down UBL and bringing him to justice several years ago qualify as trash talk, particularly since it hasn't happened -- but then Bush won't be on the ballot this fall -- a fact you folks seem to have missed in the memo.  Plus, two faults don't equal an appropriate default. McCain doesn't trash talk, as do few who have faced death in combat against determined adversaries. Trash talk is for actors, sports figures, and the immature.

(3) Yes, all candidates for elective office profess the intent to win (except one I heard about lately who did otherwise, but won anyway). But the issue at stake pertains not to the content of the assertion, but to the tone employed. And if that nuance eludes those of you who are the disciples of the nuanced candidate, I can offer no help.

Finally, (4) if you interpret any criticism of Obama as racially-based, is that the criterion by which you able to discern with confidence the identity of my racial background?  And, am I being critical of his Anglo or his African half?  Silly isn't it. 

The accusation of racial bias against Obama has, sadly, become the whining cheap-shot of his campaign. It doesn't register like it once did because Americans have moved on. And, it certainly won't work with America's enemies if he's elected.  Plus, as there is no crying in baseball, there is no whining, from adults, in major league politics.