Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Graceless In Defeat

This is exactly the kind of desperate campaign flailing that we do not need.

When Bill Clinton tried to marginalize Barack Obama as the "black candidate" by comparing him to Jesse Jackson, he was condemned nearly universally.

Now, Hillary Clinton is trying to make herself into the candidate of white people and is putting forth some sort of argument that says that Barack Obama only appeals to African Americans.

Senator Clinton had a choice. She could have dropped out and begun supporting Barack Obama's efforts to defeat John McCain in November or she could have let the primary schedule run its course and admit defeat May 20th or June 15th or whenever the inevitable becomes official.

Instead, she has decided that she is going to cleave up the Democratic Party by brazenly declaring that her coalition of white people should be able to overrule the primary system that all candidates agreed upon before the campaign began.

The Senator now is attempting to galvanize her white supporters to come out full force in protest of Barack Obama solely because he is an African American candidate. That is their reason. That is what they mean when they question his "electability" even though Mr. Obama is polling just as well against John McCain as she is and even though polls pertaining to an election that will occur 6 months from now are mostly invalid predictors.

Senator Clinton, you're going to sandbag any chance you had at the Vice Presidency, an important role in the Senate, or a future Presidential nomination. What for?

It can't be just about pride, can it?

I'm sure you'll be very proud of yourself for trying to carve up the Democratic Party solely on racial lines and aiding Mr. McCain in the process. You're campaign is getting pathetic. I hope your white supporters (i.e. your supporters) are capable of seeing the destructive nature of your plan for prolonging your own defeat. Voters of West Virginia and Kentucky can do us all a great service by rejecting Senator Clinton's bat-shit crazy declaration of war.

I'm "white" and I have always supported Barack Obama for President.

Hillary cannot defeat John McCain without me. How's that for electability?

Update: Mark left this link in the comments. It's a good read. There are a few other good ones on the same theme that are equally worthwhile to check out. I especially appreciate this piece by Joe Conason that has been making the rounds.


Mark said...

Nice Post, E. Check out this editorial.

bayoustjohndavid said...

"When Bill Clinton tried to marginalize Barack Obama as the "black candidate" by comparing him to Jesse Jackson, he was condemned nearly universally."

I'm not trying to be belligerent, but why do Obama supporters persist in the fairy tale that race was first injected into the election in South Carolina? Clinton's statement was crass because Obama supporters, and Clinton haters in the MSM, had already insisted that quoting Obama's own book or using the term "fairy tale" were somehow racist. If race had not already been injected into the election, it would have still been stupid, but not nearly as stupid. If he wanted to diminish the importance of S. Carolina, Jesse Jackson was the only person he could name -- don't play as stupid as Keith Olbermann and say John Edwards.

For the record, I think Joe Conason may have too charitabe, but I also think Paul Krugman made some valid points. Mostly, the intellectually dishonest insistence on dating the racial politics from Bill Clinton's S. Carolina bothers the crap out of me. Not that I'm saying you intended to be dishonest, but acting like the racial politics started in S. Carolina is.

Funny how Obama supporters have stopped naming the references to Obama's own book as the start of the racial politics as the GE draws nearer. Could be that the people at the top of this top down people's movement know that the charge of race baiting is a much easier sell in the Democratic primaries than in the GE.

I honestly don't know how anybody can take any of the fairy tale spinners seriously.

I started to post this comment last night, before Mark's comment -- hence the redundant link. But I wanted to think about it. I thought about it. I think it's at least uninformed, if not dishonest, to pretend that the race baiting started with Clinton's Carolina comment.

You do know how the Republican's will mwntion the cocaine use that Obama writes about in his own book, don't you? The GOP, or its surrogates, will certainly cross the line into race baiting, but they'll dsmiss charges of race baiting by saying, "Obama's supporters cried 'racism' when Clinton supporters questioned the cocaine use in Obama's own book." Trust me, the Amaya Smith memo has not been forgotten. The fact is, both Democratic candidates did things to win the nomination that will make it harder to win the GE.

E said...

Well you raise some interesting points.

It was not my intention to imply that race-baiting began with Mr. Clinton's comments in South Carolina. I evoked Bill's Jesse Jackson reference to contrast the media uproar that occurred as a result of that comment with what, at the time I published the post, was a rather mild treatment of Senator Clinton's much more inflammatory comments.

BSJD, I do think that you've become a little belligerent about Obama and race. Are you suggesting that Obama's autobiography about finding his personal identity counts as bringing up race in this primary? Is that what you're tracing the race-baiting to?

Furthermore, while I have no doubt that your fears of Republican attack tactics are grounded in the reality of the right-wing game, Senator Obama has proven, I think, that he is capable of overcoming such sensational politicking. Hillary Clinton tested every limit of the Democratic electorate's patience for that type of campaigning and failed.

I think more than anything, if you've really watched this primary process unfold, you have to admit that there is a giant divide in the Democratic Party. There are those in the Clinton camp that see their strategy of taking the Republican attack machine head-on as being the best way to win. These people are the Clintons themselves, Begala, Carvelle, Terry Mcauliffe, Ed Rendell, etc. They believe in their ability to come up with soundbites and talking points that can match the message machine of the right. It worked in the '90s.

Your own concerns about Mr. Obama's candidacy reflect that of 90's Clinton-loyal Democrats. Just how, you ask, are Obama's people going to claim racism in a general election where the opponent doesn't care? Just how are Obama supporters going to deflect the cocaine issue to the general electorate? Just how is the Obama campaign going to be able to hang with the big boys?

And that's a fundamental difference between Clinton stalwarts and Obama stalwarts.

Frankly, I don't want to fucking fight the message machine anymore. I don't want to pick my candidate based upon who can best counter Republican attacks with a message machine of their own. What Mr. Obama's campaign is attempting to do is to move beyond that type of infotainment politicking.

Honestly, if Mr. Obama loses to John McCain because Americans are so racist and petty and that they can't see beyond the superficiality of the Senator's cocaine use as a college student, it's worth it to me.

It's worth it to me to find that out about my country.

I'm tired of compromising on election day for candidates that insist on beating the Republicans at their own game. Our Party has learned from the Bush years. Who has fostered the growth of the progressive movement? Dean people, Daily Kos people - the game is changing.

Clinton supporters continue to insist that we need to go back to 90s tactics that 00s Republicans have already learned to subvert. We gain nothing from that trip in the time machine. Democrats need to realize that the Clinton victory in the 90s was an aberration. The Devil Rays beat the Yankees sometimes. Democrats cannot win playing that rigged game.

Your frustration with the media is interesting. I could argue that the higher standard to which the Obama campaign holds the media is somewhat responsible for the failure of Hillary Clinton's dumb-it-down campaign philosophy.

Being so defensive about the race card being used against the Clintons is utterly ridiculous. The only person that had a racial disadvantage in this election was Barack Obama - you know the African American candidate overcoming centuries upon centuries of entrenched racist attitudes to secure the Democratic nomination against a candidate with way better name recognition and political machinery.

bayoustjohndavid said...

Just to show how I've looked at this whole election, I'll quote from an email exchange I had w/ a friend last Summer, obviously no link -- you'll have to take my word that I typed it last last June:

With that in mind, I'm really getting sick of some the liberal attacks on Hillary Clinton. I have no problems with the Nation's criticisms, but I took my name off the Huffington Post's daily brief when Arianna had that anti-Hillary post centered around Jeff Gerth's book. I don't even want to add the Huff. Post's readership numbers.

Funny thing is, my friend thought Clinton was a shoo-in, I thought there was a better than 50/50 chance that somebody would knock her off -- probably Edwards or Obama. As a matter of fact, I prefered either one, but I didn't like seeing liberals repeat the right wing attacks of the nineties.

I was certainly no Clinton loyalist in the nineties, but I also wondered how much better any president could do in era of religious belief in the market. I don't know that that era has ended, but at least Obama will have a Dem congress, if elected.

Beyond that, I guess that there are certain things we just see differently. And I really don't understand the continued belligerence of Obama supporters. But two things I have to disagree with:

Are you suggesting that Obama's autobiography about finding his personal identity counts as bringing up race in this primary? Is that what you're tracing the race-baiting to?

You're smarter than that. I already mentioned "fairy tale," but I didn't mention Obama's assertion that the Clinton camp was responsible for the Somali photos or the quickness of Obama supporters, mostly outside of the campaign, to assume that Clinton was responsible for the first Jeremiah Wright videos.

And, of course, drug use. Frankly, I've been flabbergasted since that started. If it were an Edwards/Clinton race and Edwards had written about cocaine use, does anybody really and truly, even remotely begin to believe for even just a second that the Clinton campaign wouldn't have tried to make an attack based on Edwards' admitted cocaine use?

So, of course, I reject this formulation:

Honestly, if Mr. Obama loses to John McCain because Americans are so racist and petty and that they can't see beyond the superficiality of the Senator's cocaine use as a college student, it's worth it to me.

I don't think that they're so prudish that they're going to worry about what somebody did as youth or very young man. But I do think that there are many more Americans, by an order of magnitude, who will object to calling it racist to raise the subject than who will actually object to the usage.

I'm not worried about the voters who wouldn't vote for a black candidate under any circumstances, because they'd probably all vote Republican anyway. However, there's a sizable percentage of white Americans who would be less likely to vote for a black candidate, but for whom it wouldn't be an impossible sell -- in some cases a tough sell, in others not so tough. When such people hear what they feel are unfair, or just incessant, charges of racism they tend to get "f*** it" attitude. The only thing that turns them off faster is calling them rednecks or Archie Bunkers.

The signs that the Republicans are planning to use that reaction in their campaign are already evident. But I started to see that reaction from people in January. At first I thought it was the Clinton-hating media overdoing the race baiting charge, but Obama, or the Obama campaign, certainly encouraged it. I can think of two people already that I've gone from trying to convince to vote for (probably) Obama in November, to trying to convince to sit home in November.