The Candidates Feel Sad:
For big fun, check out the campaign websites of virtually every major candidate for President and their "statements" on the shootings at Virginia Tech. They fun part is in seeing how they can say how bad they feel without seeming self-serving and not repeating what other candidates said (or might say). But the most fascinating part is how completely each statement reflects each candidate's projection of him or herself.
Like John McCain's is the basic, simple template: "I am shocked and saddened to hear the news of today's events. This inconceivable tragedy was a horrific act of cruelty that took the lives of so many innocent young people, cutting their lives short and inflicting tremendous pain on all of those who loved them. Cindy and I extend our deepest sympathies and prayers to the students, faculty, friends and family of the Virginia Tech community." Get it? Straight talk, no glitter, no rhetorical flourishes.
Hillary Clinton is the everymother now, and her statement says she wants to give the families a big ol' bear hug: "As a parent, I am filled with sorrow for the mothers and fathers and loved ones struggling with the sudden, unbearable news of a lost son or daughter, friend or family member." It's on her campaign site's blog, clever tech savvy woman that she is, so the comments section allows us all to keep that proverbial conversation going.
Continuing his embodiment of bald opportunism with a chilling reptilian smile, Rudy Giuliani slyly slips in one of his unending 9/11 references by saying, "On this day of national tragedy, when we lost some of our finest to a senseless act, we stand together as a country to mourn those who lost their lives." Did you see that? "Some of our finest"? Ain't that straight outta the WTC talk?
Mitt Romney not only offers condolences, but, as befits a man desperately trying to shore up his street cred among conservatives, he also offers a shout-out to the cops: "Our full support is behind the law enforcement officials who are involved with stabilizing the situation and conducting an investigation."
Bill Richardson's statement befits a man who still actually goes to work every day, issuing a statement as a governor, not a candidate (although it's posted at his campaign website).
For quality, stylish, nearly artistic grieving, where else do you think you'd go? Bring it home, Obama: "In Blacksburg, they were daughters. They were sons. They were our nation's new leaders. We mourn them. We will miss them..." It's practically a goddamn haiku.
But the heart and soul, really, belong to John and Elizabeth Edwards, who, as they do everything these days, released a joint statement. They evoke their own tragedies without naming them: "We know what an unspeakable, life-changing moment this is for these families." After quoting a Methodist hymn, they say, "Our dearest wish is that this day could start again, with the promise of these young people alive." At some point, we're all gonna grow weary of the moral authority of the Edwardses, much as we've moved on from John McCain, ex-POW, but for now, it'll do.