Newsweek's Meacham: Obama Will Make Voters Face Their Prejudices Against Democrats

February 12th, 2007 6:36 PM

Jon Meacham, Executive Editor of "Newsweek" joined the Obama bandwagon on Monday’s "Imus in the Morning" program. Mr Meacham declared that Senator Obama’s presidential candidacy was a good thing because it will make people face their prejudices, not only in terms of race, but against Democrats as well. Meacham further declared Senator Hillary Clinton to be old news. Later, in the segment, Meacham praised John Kerry, particularly his "finest moment" when he denounced the Vietnam war and claimed Senator Kerry’s statement asking "how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake," is prescient now, and Mr. Meacham regrets that the Democrats are so rough on the Massachusetts Senator.

Mr. Meacham, appearing in the 6:00 hour of the Imus program discussed Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy, and noted that he thought Obama had a shot at winning and that his candidacy would make voters face their own preconceptions:

Don Imus: "All of those people have no chance, or Villsack or these other people, they have no chance. He [Obama] does have a chance doesn’t he?"

Jon Meacham: "I think Obama has a good chance, and what’s good about it is it’s going to force everybody to examine their prejudices and their preexisting ideas not only about race, but about what Democrats are like. He’s, you know, an early and often critic of the war, and you watched Senator Clinton in New Hampshire doing a tap dance over the weekend about her vote, and I think there are a lot of people who just don’t want to hear about the nuances of why they voted for war at this point."

Mr. Imus responded by opining he thought Hillary Clinton was old news, an assessment with which Mr. Meacham agreed:

Don Imus: "She seems like old news, kind of, doesn’t she?"

Jon Meacham: "You know, that’s exactly what I think, and this is a personal opinion. But I think there’s some Clinton/Bush fatigue in the country. Since 1980, except for one year, there’s been a–no, actually no, a Bush or Clinton has been on the Democratic ticket or Republican ticket since ‘80 pretty much. And so it’s–I think people, you know people will take a look at her and God knows, everybody knows that things are serious and they want somebody who’s gonna be sensible and strong, but sensible and strong."

Following the discussion of the Democratic Presidential race, Mr. Imus mentioned Senator John Kerry, who was to appear later in the program. Jon Meacham lamented that Democrats had been rough on the Massachusetts’s Senator:

"Well, there is something liberating about that. What I–I always wanted to ask him and haven’t had a chance to, how does he feel about being the member of the party that the moment you almost become president, the Democrats immediately have you for lunch and never speak to you again? You know, it happened with Gore for a long time; it happened with Kerry. It’s very interesting to me, where as Republicans revere their elders, the Democrats just turn on them. And these guys, who’ve come really close, I mean, I’ve forgotten the number, you know, some votes, some pretty small number of votes in Ohio and Kerry would be, you know, in his third year-- starting his third year as president."

And Mr. Meacham recalled what he describes as John Kerry’s "finest public moment" and related it to Iraq:

"Well, I think it’s an interesting question for him, or it would be interesting if, because I think of it this way, possibly his finest public moment was when he was so young and that wonderful line about how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake? And that’s been resonating with me as we watch things deteriorate. You know, shooting down these helicopters; Iran supplying the insurgents, and our apparent refusal to even talk to these guys which is what Baker and those guys wanted us to do."

What Mr. Meacham describes as Senator Kerry’s finest moment came in the same hearing where he disparaged his fellow Vietnam veterans, accusing them of war crimes:

"They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam."

Yet Mr. Meacham neglected to remind viewers of this portion of Senator Kerry’s testimony. But then again, maybe some would raise questions as to just how fine a moment this was had Meacham mentioned the statement above.