So, again, who are being accused of racism? Posted by: McQ
on Friday, January 11, 2008
This gets stranger and stranger. Our first "black president" and his wife (and campaign) are being accused of being "racially divisive" in their opposition to Sen. Barack Obama:
A series of comments from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her husband, and her supporters are spurring a racial backlash and adding a divisive edge to the presidential primary as the candidates head south to heavily African-American South Carolina.
The comments, which ranged from the New York senator appearing to diminish the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement — an aide later said she misspoke — to Bill Clinton dismissing Sen. Barack Obama’s image in the media as a “fairy tale” — generated outrage on black radio, black blogs and cable television. And now they've drawn the attention of prominent African-American politicians.
“A cross-section of voters are alarmed at the tenor of some of these statements,” said Obama spokeswoman Candice Tolliver, who said that Clinton would have to decide whether she owed anyone an apology.
“There’s a groundswell of reaction to these comments — and not just these latest comments but really a pattern, or a series of comments that we’ve heard for several months,” she said. “Folks are beginning to wonder: Is this really an isolated situation or is there something bigger behind all of this?”
Wow. Talk about wearing your feelings on your sleeve. Are the Clinton's treading on thin racial ice, or is this all part of the expected political tussle and one side is taking it too personally?
Clinton supporters responded to that suggestion with their own outrage.
“To say that there is a pattern of racist comments coming out of the Hillary campaign is ridiculous,” said Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. “All of the world knows the commitment of President Clinton and Sen. Clinton to civil rights issues — and not only the commitment in terms of words but in terms of deeds.”
Referring to the King quote, Sheila Jackson Lee, another Clinton supporter, said Clinton was trying to contrast King and Obama, not to diminish King: "It really is a question of focusing on the suggestion that you can inspire without deeds — what is well known to the child who studies Dr. King in school is that yes, he spoke, but he also moved people to action."
Heh ... what blacks may be learning is the Clinton commitment to winning at all costs. But it still goes back to what is and isn't acceptable campaign behavior in this regard. For instance I heard Bill Clinton's reference to Obama's campaign as a "fairy tale". I didn't take it as having any inference to race. I gathered Clinton felt Obama was a political lightweight who hadn't, in Clinton's opinion, been closely scrutinized. I didn't hear the MLK remarks, but attempting to make too much out of something risks the danger of a backlash to the backlash.
Most people recognize veiled racism when they hear it, and most of them react accordingly when they do. But when you try to go attack your opponents words as "racist", you had better have a good case. Because if you cry "wolf" about that, you're most likely to see you and your opinion dismissed in subsequent conversation.
And that doesn't just go for race. Gender, ala Hillary Clinton's hints here and there, suffer the same problem.
But this is interesting to watch isn't it? And it is simply a foreshadowing of the problem any Republican candidate faces (x 100) should he run against Obama or Clinton.
Bill Clinton called into Al Sharpton's radio show just now to make the point that the "fairy tale" he was referring to in New Hampshire was the media's coverage of Obama's campaign — specifically, his war vote — not the campaign itself.
"He’s put together a great campaign. It’s clearly not a fairy tale, it’s real," Clinton said. "He might win."
"I was addressing a specific argument," he said. "That doesn’t have anything to do with my respect for him as a person or as a political figure."
Clinton's explanation is in synch with how I understood it the day he made it. But it points to how ticklish any run against Obama is going to be, simply because there are some out there that are going to interpret anything vaguely negative as a racial attack.
Then Clinton leveled the attack he was making when he used "fairy tale" in the first place:
That is the central argument for his campaign. "It doesn't matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I'm the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always."
You can see Clinton's "fairy tale" comment on video here and they also have the full transcript of the comment as well. Judge for yourself.
"Most people recognize veiled racism when they hear it, and most of them react accordingly when they do. But when you try to go attack your opponents words as "racist", you had better have a good case. Because if you cry "wolf" about that, you’re most likely to see you and your opinion dismissed in subsequent conversation."
Ah but you forget. We are talking about Democrats here. Any charge of racism BY a democrat is therefore Valid. As well as any charge of sexism BY a democrat is also valid.
If a republican had made the remarks that the Clintons have done then noone on the left would think twice about leveling charges of Racism against them.
This is just the double edged sword cutting against them instead of for them this time.
If Obama gets the nomination he would do himself well to stay away from parks where "suicidal" thoughts may suddenly take over. Stay away from windows, and open air enviornments as well. I wouldnt put anything past the Hildabeast. I would say a woman scorned ... but that would be insulting to women and also could be considered sexist as well.
Some folks have been claiming for a while that the Dems are going to reach a point when the interests of the various interest groups in the party become irreconcilable. We’ve already seen some of that in the conflicts between the concerns of environmentalists vs. blue collar workers and "conservative" democrats vs. the netroots/far left.
Could this be more of the same? Women vs. blacks?
Was Hillary vs. Obama a mistake that artificially forced such a conflict? A black female candidate would’ve prevented it altogether.
The incarceration rate of black males skyrocketed during Clinton’s eight years in office. While he may not have targeted them, Clinton certainly didn’t have a problem throwing black men in jail for non-violent drug offenses if it meant he could claim that he was tough on crime and in order to bolster his political standing.
Hillary herself chose to emphasize - as she put it - LBJ’s role in enacting MLK’s agenda.
Hillary is too smart not to know how such an assestion would play in the African-American community.
I continue to believe that Hillary is not fit to be President because she effectivley voted to give Bush power to go war in Iraq. She has no judgment. That is the bottom line.
Accordingly, she will say anything to win. Her efforts to "contextuailze" the efforts of MLK - someone who espoused the virtues of non-violence and who was killed because of his values - shocks the conscience.
If Hillary is nolminated, I will not vote for her. I am not alone.
It wasn’t just Bill’s "fairy tale" comment, McQ (which I agree, was not racist). Bill also stooped to calling Obama a "kid" in a context that has an implication that very much *is* racist. I grew up white in Alabama, and that "kid" remark was the kind of thing said by haughty, condescending whites in power to humiliate young Black men who strove to actually accomplish something. It very much does have nasty overtones.
Hillary’s remarks basically knocking on MLK were poorly chosen, but I don’t think they were racist, just incredibly stupid and poorly-timed.
OTOH, some other Clinton campaigners/supporters said some things that very much were racism: the innuendoes about being a dope-dealer, the madrassas, "shuck and jive." That’s classic quasi-racist manipulation, and it was so blatant in Bob Kerrey’s case as to insult our intelligence— saying "I don’t mind that Barack Hussein Obama has a Muslim background and grew up in a Muslim country and went to a Muslim school." That’s basically tantamount to saying "yeah, I don’t mind that Joe Smith’s initials are the same as Josef Stalin, that he has a distant cousin in jail for car theft, that’s not who he is."
It’s the old bull about pretending to defend someone while actually taking digs at them based on the content of what you say. And it’s never acceptable. Especially with all this controversy still swirling about New Hampshire (fair or not— and IMHO it’s unfounded— it’s still very much there), coupled with the lack of any auditing system for S. Carolina’s entirely electronic vote-counting system, we have a potentially toxic combination of racist and quasi-racist insults against Obama along with distrust of the electoral system and outright suspicions of fraud. If this isn’t a way to utterly destroy a democracy in 3 easy steps, I don’t know what is.
Although I’m a Democrat and have almost never voted Republican before (I’ve basically been a Bill Richardson supporter), I’m not going to vote for Hillary, even if the Dems do give her the nomination nod. Just the insults to basic good taste and intelligence are enough to drive me far away— the Clintons represent precisely the win-no-matter-how-much-wreckage you cause mentality that is destroying our nation. And I won’t support it, even if she does have a D by her name.
I grew up white in Alabama, and that "kid" remark was the kind of thing said by haughty, condescending whites in power to humiliate young Black men who strove to actually accomplish something. It very much does have nasty overtones.
I grew up in "racist Alabama" also, in fact, I still live in Alabama. The word "kid" has never had any such racial overtones. It has, for as long as my memory goes back, been used to refer to someone (male or female and black or white) who is young and inexperienced, which is EXACTLY what the former Prez was trying to point out. After all, her "experience" is one of Hillary’s main campaign themes. You’re seeing "racism" where none is intended or implied.
In fact, the word "kid" would hardly ever be used in Alabama anyway. "Kid" is more a Yankee affectation. The Southern affectation is "boy," as in "Ain’t from round heah, are ya boy?" You must be from Mobile or Birmingham where God’s English has been thoroughy corrupted by Yankee ways!
This country is really in for it. If Obama wins, we’ll have the she-didnt-win-because-she’s-a-woman crowd weeping, wrenching garments, gnashing teeth, and writing ridiculous op-eds. If Hillary wins, we’ll have the he-didnt-win-because-Amerikkka’s-a-racist-country crowd doing the same on a worldwide scale. And there will be movies. Oh, will there be movies!
I won’t be able to read a newspaper for months, possibly years. Oh well, I hear they’re going out of business anyway.
If Hillary is nolminated, I will not vote for her. I am not alone.
Oh, but you surely dont have numbers that will make a difference to her. Whoever the Dems nominate will have a massive base turnout. Negatives will not make a difference in The Most Important Election In Our Lifetimes (TM)