Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Geraldine Ferraro, a Clinton supporter, and one of the smartest politicians this side of Dan Quayle, popped off earlier this week with what has been deemed by the media an egregiously politically incorrect statement.
Ferraro, a former Democratic Vice Presidential nominee said to Fox News, "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
If she was trying to underline the Clarion's point about the divisiveness of the continuing fight for the Democratic nomination she could not have done a better job. Of course, the remark set off an immediate firestorm.
Hillary Clinton had to disavow association with it, as she disavowed connection last week with one of her lead advisors calling Obama a Kenneth Starr, as she brushed off the week before one of her Latino, Texan supporters saying, "When blacks had the numbers, they didn't do anything to support us. They always used our numbers to fulfill their goals and objectives, but they never really supported us, and there's a lot of hard feelings about that. I don't think we're going to get over it anytime soon." That's a lot of accidental negativity from your camp, Mrs. Clinton.
Ferraro called the response to her remarks reverse racism. And at an undisclosed location Karl Rove smiled.
Was Ferraro simply speaking truth to power? Saying what the rest of the pundits and the country are afraid to admit? After all John Edwards was a young, dynamic, good looking, single term Senator, who was a terrific orator, with a moving personal story. Did the Democratic Party fail to coalesce around him simply because he was white? Ferraro would have us believe it was Obama's novelty that drew people to his campaign.
How tragic and wrong!! It is this kind of callous cluelessness that underlines for the Clarion the difference between the old way, politics as usual of Clinton and the change Obama represents. Obama drew millions of new people into the process not because of his race or appearance, but because of his message. Change. Change the old way of doing business, listen to new voices, think about new possibilities. To imagine just the starting point, the Clarion daydreams of the vast differences between an Obama appointed cabinet of new faces and a Clinton appointed cabinet of recycled hacks.
Edwards was rejected because his campaign preached moving back to the old Al Gore model. Edwards focused on what was wrong with America, its divisions, faults and failures. Obama's message of positive change trumped that, "Yes, we can," blew, "Those people are screwing you," out of the water. Edwards' message had already lost twice, Gore and Kerry. Edwards didn't lose because he was white and Obama black, he lost on the substance of what he stood for.
Contrary to Ferraro's small minded, parochial attack, very few people were enamoured with the idea of a black nominee in the beginning. It was thought unrealistic and a surefire general election loser, look at the "token" candidate attacks and Jesse Jackson comparisons made by Bill. This was meant as a reminder that in the view of the Democratic establishment Obama was not a candidate of substance, but rather a symbol.
But as we now know it backfired horribly as Obama went on to win in states with small black populations like Vermont and Wyoming, like Wisconsin and Utah. To paraphrase a line that the Clinton's used to like, "It's the message, stupid."
The Clinton's continuing attacks on the messenger are handing the White House back to the Republicans despite the fact that they have been in charge for eight years of unmitigated disaster.
Good point, the discussion shouldn't be inherently taboo. What did you think of Obama's speech on race in America, yesterday in Philly? We are still crafting our reaction piece.