Racism, Obama, & The Democrats

“I still want to see (Obama) run for the nomination though and not just because he won’t win the general. The Democrats always act as if disagreeing with a black man is caused by some sort of racist impulse. That’s why, for the most part, they ignored anti-semitic crank Al Sharpton during the last Democratic presidential primary. However, Obama would be too much of a “rock stah” to ignore, so they’d have to beat him up and all the charges and counter charges of racism among Democrats would be just too delicious to miss.” — John Hawkins, Dec 5, 2006

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.

…But other black Clinton supporters found themselves wincing at the Clintons’ words, if not questioning their intent.

A Harlem-based consultant to the Clinton campaign, Bill Lynch, called the former president’s comments “a mistake” and said his own phone had been ringing with friends around the country voicing their concern.

“I’ve been concerned about some of those comments — and that there might be a backlash,” he said.

Illinois State Senate President Emil Jones, a prominent Obama supporter, echoed those sentiments.

“It’s very unfortunate that the president would make a statement like that,” he said of Bill Clinton’s criticism of Obama’s experience, adding that the African-American community had “saved his presidency” after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

“They owe the African-American community — not the reverse,” he said. “Maybe Hillary and Bill should get behind Sen. Barack Obama.”

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., through a spokesman, used even stronger language. “Following Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa and historic voter turnout in New Hampshire, the cynics unfortunately have stepped up their efforts to decry his uplifting message of hope and fundamental change.

“Regrettably, they have resorted to distasteful and condescending language that appeals to our fears rather than our hopes. I sincerely hope that they’ll turn away from such reactionary, disparaging rhetoric.” — The Politico on Jan 11, 2008

The Democratic Party loves nothing better than to play the identity politics card and pit groups of Americans against each other. Meanwhile, they treat black Americans like second class citizens. Yes, they’ll take their votes and give them a little lip service, but white liberals think black Americans aren’t competent enough to get by without their help. That’s what their support of Affirmative Action and racial set-asides are really all about.

Now, you get to see both those factors in action. You have black Democrats, who are hypersensitive about race related issues seeing a black candidate being denied the presidency by Democrats because of his race — and let’s face it, Obama may win the nomination because he’s clearly the better candidate and because the mainstream media seems to be lining up behind him, but if he doesn’t get the nomination, it’ll be because he’s black.

Seriously, for all the talk of experience vs. change, neither Barack nor Hillary is experienced, but Hillary is much more of a Washington insider than Obama. Plus, Barack is charismatic and likable, while Hillary isn’t. Barack has enormous grassroots support while Hillary doesn’t. Barack polls better against the GOP than Hillary. Barack is better liked by independents than Hillary. Barack has much less baggage. He has less corruption problems — and they both have pretty much the same views on the issues.

But, Hillary’s white, Barack’s black, and a lot of Democrats aren’t going to vote for a black man — and the Clintons understand that. Whom do you think they’re trying to reach out to with their comments about “spadework, “shuck and jive,” and the suggestions that Obama is a drug dealer? They’re sending a little message out there to white Democrats that says: “Do you really trust someone who’s not white to be President of the United States?”

It’s not pretty, but Hillary will do anything it takes to capture the presidency and Obama has shaken her enough that she’s willing to stoop to that level. All I can say is that I hope this opens some eyes to the Democratic Party’s incredibly exploitive attitude towards black Americans.

PS: Here’s an alternate theory on why the Clinton campaign is making subtle, racially charged attacks on Obama (although this may credit them with being more clever than they are): Obama doesn’t nurse racial grievances, he’s not a race hustler, and he has taken a lot of care during the campaign not to play the race card. This is one of the reasons that he’s well liked by a lot of moderate and independent white voters who retch at the very mention of parasites like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.

So, what the Clintons may be doing is getting Obama’s supporters to tarnish him by proxy on this issue. Even if Obama doesn’t do it personally, if there’s a tsunami of people around him playing the race card — even if there’s some validity to it — a lot of white voters who are warm to Obama may assume that he’s another Jesse Jackson after all.

PS #2: Whether my alternate theory is right or not, Obama should be very careful. A significant part of his appeal is based on being a “different” kind of politician and if voters ever decide he’s offering more of the “same old, same old” on race as other Democratic politicians, it will reduce his appeal significantly.

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