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Wilentz Blows Lid Off Obama Race-Baiting Campaign

TNR’s Sean Wilentz has a blockbuster article — Race Man: How Barack Obama played the race card and blamed Hillary Clinton. Excerpt:

A review of what actually happened shows that the charges that the Clintons played the “race card” were not simply false; they were deliberately manufactured by the Obama camp and trumpeted by a credulous and/or compliant press corps in order to strip away her once formidable majority among black voters and to outrage affluent, college-educated white liberals as well as college students. The Clinton campaign, in fact, has not racialized the campaign, and never had any reason to do so. Rather the Obama campaign and its supporters, well-prepared to play the “race-baiter card” before the primaries began, launched it with a vengeance when Obama ran into dire straits after his losses in New Hampshire and Nevada–and thereby created a campaign myth that has turned into an incontrovertible truth among political pundits, reporters, and various Obama supporters.

Starting from this as a base, I’ve continued a project of expanding and documenting the timeline of racial grievances between the campaigns. [The post in its current March 24 form is extensively updated from the February 27 original, and is a continuing effort.]

=== === ===

First, we catalog the incidents — both those Wilentz included, and some (as stuck pigs are squealing) that Wilentz left out. I have reviewed contemporaneous media and blogs, adding context especially to the critical period from Jan 7 thru 14. Incidents omitted in Wilentz’s review are color-coded to distinguish them as this project proceeds.]

  1. Bill Clinton’s comment includes Obama among the “boys” (Edwards, Biden, Richardson, Kucinich, Dodd, Russert, etc.) in ‘Even though those boys have been getting tough on her lately, she can handle it.’ [2007-11-12] Obama supporters leverage this to claim Bill called Barack “boy“. [2007-11-12]
  2. Jones County Democrats Secretary Judy Rose (one of 25o Iowa “Women’s Leadership Council for Team Hillary” members) forwards the infamous “Obama MUSLIM” e-mail (circulating virally since at least January 2007), [2007-11-21] to a short list including a Clinton staffer (who condemns it) and Jones County Democrats Chair Gary Hart — who breaks the story on dailyKos [2007-12-04] relating his “guess” that message had the Clinton campaign’s “tacit approval”. nationwide furor ensues. Hart later concludes ‘her intent was to alert him of negative campaign tactics’ and confesses ‘I probably did make a mistake in making it sound the way I did in the first place’.
  3. Clinton NH co-chair Bill Sheehan speculates on how Republican opponents might exploit Obama’s admitted drug use. [2007-12-12]
  4. Hillary apologizes to Obama in person, on the tarmac at Reagan National. [2008-12-13]
  5. Obama NH co-chair Ned Helms associates the Sheehan comment and the MUSLIM e-mail incident to infer a ‘pattern … How many times are we going to see the isolated incident followed by the denial’. [2008-12-13]
  6. Obama spokesman David Plouffe launches a fundraising e-mail bacsed on Sheehan’s remark. [2008-12-13]
  7. Sheehan abruptly resigns from the campaign [2007-12-13].
  8. Clinton pollster Mark Penn says “cocaine approximately 850 words into a Hardball discussion of the Sheehan brouhaha (spun up and kept aloft by Chris Matthews, Obama surrogate David Axelrod and Edwards surrogate Joe Trippi). [2007-12-13]
  9. Clinton supporter and former Senator (D-NE) Bob Kerrey claims (errantly and oxymoronically) that Obama attended a “secular madrassa” as a child in Indonesia. [2007-12-17]
  10. Former NYT editorial page editor Gail Collins tosses the expression “fairy tale” into play: ‘ “It” is about Barack’s promise to sweep away the old, unlovable red-meat politics and create a nonpartisan “coalition for change that stretches through red states and blue states.” Which Hillary, veteran of the right-wing-conspiracy wars, regards as a fairy tale.’ Bill Clinton has not previously been a habitual user of “fairy tale” as a euphemism for “bullshit”. [2008-01-05]
  11. In NH debate, Edwards joins Obama in crossfire vs Hillary as status quo (‘Any time you speak out powerfully for change, the forces of status quo attack’). Hillary responds ‘we don’t need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered’. [2008-01-05]
  12. WaPo reports ‘Clinton ordered her advisers Sunday to reorient their message to more aggressively focus on the idea that Obama is all talk and no action’. [2008-01-06]
  13. Obama attacks the “false hope” theme, suggesting Hillary would not have put a man on the moon, rebuilt Japan and Germany after WW II, or freed the slaves. [2008-01-06]
  14. Politico reports Hillary’s advisers fear a NH primary loss. Polls have Obama 8-10 points up. Unnamed Clinton adviser confides “We’re going to lose South Carolina”. [2008-01-06]
  15. In Portsmouth NH, Hillary tears up at a meeting with undecided women voters. [2008-01-06]
  16. MSNBC First Read reports ‘The new argument the Clinton camp is making about Obama is “Talk vs. Action.” ‘ and ‘the campaign also is trying its best to soften Clinton up’. [2008-01-07 09:22]
  17. “Iron My Shirt” pranksters are ejected from Clinton rally in Salem NH. [2008-01-07]
  18. Introducing Hillary, Dover NH event host Francine Torge mentions JFK assassination. [2008-01-07]
  19. Obama again mocks Hillary’s “false hopes” comment, portraying MLK at the Lincoln Memorial conceding ‘Sorry, guys. False hope. The dream will die. It can’t be done.’
  20. Hillary credits LBJ (in contrast to prior Presidents) with essential role in realizing MLK‘s “dream”. [2008-01-07]
  21. Obama surrogates pounce on Hillary’s alleged disrespect for Dr. King’s memory. Bystanders chime in, spurred by false summary reports on FOX and deceptive excerpts in NYT (among other media). See extended discussion in section following. [2008-01-07]
  22. Bill Clinton allegedly insults Nelson Mandela (praising Mandela and Yitzak Rabin for their fortitude, but avowing there’s nobody he’d rather have with him in a tough spot than Hillary). [2008-01-07]
  23. Hillary opines ‘I don’t think it was by accident that Al Qaeda decided to test the new prime minister’. [2008-01-07] Obama surrogates agitate “fear card” furor. [2008-01-07]
  24. Bill Clinton, at Dartmouth, characterizes Obama’s account of his Iraq War posture as a fairy tale. [2008-01-07]
  25. Bill Clinton’s Dartmouth remarks are reported at length … but not the “fairy tale” throwaway line. [2008-01-08 09:20]
  26. Obama invokes JFK and MLK in rebuttal to Clinton’s “false hopes” charge, but denies comparing himself to either. [2008-01-07]
  27. (Stealth Obama surrogate) Donna Brazile interprets the Dartmouth clip on CNN as Clinton calling Obama himself (or his candidacy) a “fairy tale“. [2008-01-08 16:00]
  28. Brazile further characterizes Bill Clinton’s “tone” as that of ‘calling Obama a kid’. (Unshakable belief takes hold among Obama supporters that Bill literally called Obama a “kid“. They extrapolate “kid” as a code-word euphemism for “boy“.) [2008-01-08 16:00]
  29. Gary Hart endorses Obama as a candidate in a unique position to end race as a factor in American politics’. Nobody notices. [2008-01-08]
  30. In a shock to pollsters and pundits, Hillary Clinton wins New Hampshire primary. [2008-01-08]
  31. The search for explanations includes to the “Bradley Effect” — the theory voters will express racial prejudice in the privacy of the voting booth, but not in pre-election polls . Wilentz asserts the Obama camp “vigorously” pressed this claim. I can’t confirm the aggressiveness of this push from published sources, but senior Obama aides reportedly identified the effect as a potentially adequate explanation for the NH result. (Wilentz claims ‘Clinton campaign officials later told me that reporters contacted them saying that the Obama camp was pushing them very hard to spin Clinton’s victory as the latest Bradley Effect result’.) [2008-01-08]
  32. Obama national co-chair Jesse Jackson Jr. attributes Hillary’s tearful moment to racial insensitivity (since she did not cry over Hurricane Katrina and other events affecting African-Americans) and as something ‘we’re still analyzing within the Barack Obama campaign’ [2008-01-09]
  33. New York Post headlines Bill Clinton’s “fairy tale” remark. [2008-01-09]
  34. NYT’s Adam Nagourney further misreports the “fairy tale” remark, alleging Bill ‘described the story of Mr. Obama as a “fairy tale”’. [2008-01-09]
  35. NYT columnist Maureen Down misreports the “fairy tale” remark, alleging ‘Bill churlishly dismissed the Obama phenom as “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen” ‘. [2008-01-09]
  36. Obama personally endorses misinterpretation of “fairy tale“, and further suggests Clinton is accusing him of taking a cakewalk [racially charged term]. [2008-01-09]
  37. Discussing Gore 2000 and Kerry 2004 campaigns in small-state primaries, Clinton supporter Andrew Cuomo utters the phrase shuck and jive — a common idiom (despite its racial origins), and especially so among candidates and their PR handlers. Cuomo is not an active surrogate and did not utter the remark in reference to Obama (or even directly to the Clinton-Obama contest). Nationwide “race baiting” furor ensues. [2008-01-09]
  38. Rep. James Clyburn, reached overseas by reporters, is taken in: ‘To call that dream a fairy tale, which Bill Clinton seemed to be doing, could very well be insulting to some of us’ [2008-01-10]
  39. In a 17-minute endorsement of Obama, Sen. John Kerry invokes parallels with JFK and MLK. [2008-01-10]
  40. A UK Guardian opinion piece quotes (paraphrases?) an unnamed “Clinton adviser”: “If you have a social need, you’re with Hillary. If you want Obama to be your imaginary hip black friend and you’re young and you have no social needs, then he’s cool.” [2008-01-10]
  41. Obama campaign minority outreach specialist Candice Tolliver insinuates a pattern of race-baiting — ‘not just these latest comments but really a pattern, or a series of comments that we’ve heard for several months’. [2008-01-11]
  42. Jesse Jackson Jr., through a spokesperson, accuses the ubiquitous “they” of using “reactionary, disparaging rhetoric”. [2008-01-11]
  43. Bill Clinton calls in to (stealth Obama surrogate) Al Sharpton’s radio program, clarifying “fairy tale” remark, and noting ‘You have a hard choice, and if you decide to vote for Senator Obama I respect you because it is a source of enormous pride in the African American community’ [2008-01-11]
  44. Hillary expresses personal offense at racial interpretations of recent comments (‘any fair reading of what both of us said would be clear and I think it’s regrettable that these are being in a way used to try to divide people in our country during this election and I’m not going to have any part of it … I personally find it offensive.’) [2008-01-11]
  45. Obama campaign produces an inventory of racial grievances (“shuck and jive“, LBJ/MLK, Mandela, drug use, and “fairy tale“). The South Carolina Memo is rapidly and widely circulated. Campaign officially disclaims it as a research compilation prepared on request for a single activist. [2008-01-11]
  46. NYT columnist Bob Herbert misreports the “fairy tale” remark, by referring to ‘the former president … saying of Mr. Obama’s effort: “The whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” ‘ [2008-01-12]
  47. NYT columnist Bob Herbert misreports the LBJ/MLK remark, accusing Hillary of ‘taking cheap shots at, of all people, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’ [2008-01-12]
  48. A Clinton pollster confides to Ryan Lizza ‘The Hispanic voter—and I want to say this very carefully—has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates’ in an article in which Lizza himself states ‘There are lingering tensions between the Hispanic and black communities which [Obama] doesn’t want to inflame’. [2008-01-12]
  49. NYT reports Bill Clinton’s clarification of “fairy tale” context on Al Sharpton’s radio program. [2008-01-12]
  50. NYT reports “Clintons Move to Tamp Down Criticism From Blacks”. Obama spokesperson Bill Burton stirs the pot: ‘Voters have to decide for themselves what they think of this’. Donna Brazile relents: ““At this point, we are willing to let this lie.”” 2008-01-12]
  51. Hillary appears on Meet The Press, defends Bill’s “fairy tale” remark. [2008-01-13]
  52. Obama personally hypes the LBJ/MLK flap in a conference call, and calls Hillary’s MTP defense “ludicrous“. [2008-01-13]
  53. Michelle Obama addresses Trumpet Awards in Atlanta, deliberately reinforces the discredited interpretation of Bill’s “fairy tale” remark. [2008-01-13]
  54. Bruiting compound falsehoods, Obama personally alleges that Hillary ‘made an ill-advised statement about Dr. King and suggested that Lyndon Johnson had more to do with the Civil Rights Act … For them to suggest that we’re injecting race as a consequence of a statement she made that we haven’t commented on is pretty hard to figure out’. [2008-01-13]
  55. NYT reports “Clinton Accuses Obama Camp of Distorting Her Words”. Obama spokesperson Bill Burton fans the flames: ‘People were offended at her words, and she can explain them however she’d like’ [2008-01-13]
  56. Obama campaign releases an accusatory compilation closely resembling the South Carolina Memo, in response to Hillary’s explanations on Meet The Press. [2008-01-13]
  57. Still-a-candidate John Edwards chimes in on the LBJ/MLK controversy, “fundamentally disagree[ing]” with HRC’s purported assertion that ‘real change that came not through the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, but through a Washington politician’. [2008-01-13]
  58. HRC attends African-American church service, praises Obama to the rafters … but BET’s Robert Johnson, accompanying her, reacts to the LBJ/MLK flap: ‘Barack knows better than that, why he would let his people let that come out just shows to me either he is not in control of what they are saying or he’s allowing them to say it knowing it’s wrong’. [2008-01-13]
  59. BET billionaire Robert Johnson, introducing Bill & Hillary in a town hall forum, alludes to Obama’s drug use (doing something in the neighborhood. I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in his book’). [2008-01-13]
  60. Obama camp demands repudiation of Johnson’s drug use remarks. [2008-01-13]
  61. Clinton camp releases Johnson’s statement, (implausibly) denying any drug use innuendo. ‘My comments today were referring to Barack Obama’s time spent as a community organizer, and nothing else’. [2008-01-13]
  62. MSNBC’s Dan Abrams suggests the media are promoting a fight: ‘Tonight, the inside Washington media buzzing about the supposed war over race breaking out between Clinton and Obama, but in reality the DC media I believe invented this war and sucked the candidates into race baiting gotcha politics.’ [2008-01-14]
  63. NYT reports ‘supporters of Mr. Obama … were concerned Mrs. Clinton and her allies might be deliberately raising the issue of race … “I don’t want to believe that, but I’ve got to tell you I’m wondering,” said Representative Elijah E. Cummings’. Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro opines ‘The spin will be put on it that they are talking about race. The Obama campaign is appealing to their base and their base is the African-American community … What have they got to lose?’ [2008-01-14]
  64. Hillary is booed, and some members of a largely black audience walk out, as she starts to speak at a New York labor event honoring Martin Luther King. [2008-01-14]
  65. Hillary and Obama exchange reciprocal “olive branch” statements. [2008-01-14]
  66. Clinton supporter Rep. Charlie Rangel sounds off in a (pre-recorded?) interview on cable channel NY1: ‘How race got into this thing is because Obama said “race” … to suggest that Dr. King could have signed that act is absolutely stupid.’ [2008-01-14]
  67. NYT reports ‘but in television interviews, [Obama] also accused the Clinton campaign of playing up the race issue as “strategy” and of being “silly.” ‘ [reported 2008-01-15, interview referencess uncertain]
  68. Reporters question Obama on his pastor and spiritual mentor’s praise for Louis Farrakhan as one who “truly epitomized greatness.” Obama releases a statement: ‘I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan’. [2008-01-15]
  69. NYT profiles Obama’s pursuit of Latino votes, with notes on history of black/Latino political frictions. [2008-01-15]
  70. Las Vegas Sun contrasts the olive branch vows with sniping between surrogates: ‘supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton had made clumsy statements that appeared to play to stereotypes of black men in recent days and weeks, while supporters of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama had begun to accuse the Clinton campaign of stoking racial bitterness. [2008-01-15]
  71. NBC’s Domenico Montanaro profiles ”10 Days That Led to a Controversy Over Race” [2008-01-15]
  72. In the Las Vegas “Black and Brown” debate, Obama is asked about the South Carolina memo, ‘our staff get overzealous. They start saying things that I would not say. And it is my responsibility to make sure that we’re setting a clear tone’. His slant on the LBJ/MLK question seems to affirm Hillary’s: ‘… that’s what I draw from Dr. King’s legacy. You know, what happens in Washington is important. And we’ve got to have elected officials that are accountable and serious about moving forward’. [2008-01-15]
  73. Rep. Clyburn tries to calm troubled waters, takes umbrage at the idea of Obama (as a black man) being asked if he’s qualified, but allows that Hillary (as a woman) probably faces even steeper barriers. [2008-01-15]
  74. Rep. Rangel regrets his earlier comments, hopes we can all get along. [2008-01-15]
  75. Belatedly, Robert Johnson apologizes in writing for drug use innuendo: ‘In my zeal to support Senator Clinton, I made some very inappropriate remarks’. [2008-01-17]
  76. Bill Moyers’ special segment offers firsthand witness testimony affirming the Clinton version of the LBJ/MLK relationship. [2008-01-18]
  77. Obama supporter and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, speaking at Ebeneezer Baptist (MLK’s old post), brazenly adopts the “fairy tale” straw man with Bill Clinton in attendance, and later (just as brazenly) claims her use of the phrase made no allusion to his. [2008-01-21]
  78. In a stump speech litany on purported Clinton campaign attacks, Obama implies they have lied about his religion. (‘I respect other people’s religions. I just don’t like it when they lie about mine’) [2008-01-25]
  79. Bill Clinton “bitches out the media” for playing up racial angles in SC primary campaign. “once you accuse somebody of racism or bigotry, or something, the facts become irrelevant. There are facts here.” [2008-01-26]
  80. NYT columnist Bob Herbert reports that (Clinton supporter, Former Atlanta Mayor, UN Ambassador and Civil rights movement original) Andrew Young made an off-color quip that Bill Clinton had gone with more black women than Obama. [taped possibly 2007-09-05; first known report 2007-12-08; Herbert’s NYT column 2008-01-26]
  81. Bill Clinton, buttonholed by a reporter at a SC polling place on election day, mentions Jesse Jackson‘s 1984 and 1988 SC primary wins in passing, casting Obama’s SC expected win as a historic parallel. ‘Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice, in ’84 and ’88. And he ran a good campaign. Senator Obama’s run a good campaign here, he’s run a good campaign everywhere.’ [2008-01-26]
  82. Angry blogosphere “exploded with accusations” at Clinton’s mention of Jesse Jackson. [2008-01-26]
  83. Obama SC victory speech ‘reminding the crowd of the attacks he’d faced from the Clintons over the past two weeks. “We are up against an idea that it’s acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election,” he said. “We know that this is exactly what’s wrong with our politics.” ‘ [2008-01-26]
  84. Barack Obama on ABC’s This Week affirms WJC’s comment (Jesse Jackson ran historic races in 1984 and 1988, and there’s no doubt that that set a precedent for African Americans running for the highest office in the land’) but attributes Clinton’s use of the precedent to “racial politics” (‘Well, you know, I think that that’s his frame of reference … a lot of South Carolinians looked at it through a different lens.’)
  85. Obama supporter Jesse Jackson concurs in WJC’s remarks regarding Jesse Jackson, discounts any adverse racial interpretation, and indicates Obama has made similar remarks. [2008-01-28]
  86. Clinton-hater Frank Rich’s NYT propagates a series of imaginative “race card” accusations — not having enough black faces (and one in the “servile” role of moderator) in a TV special; asserting (and defending!) the “creepy” (but empirically-grounded) notion that Latino voters have not shown affinity for black candidates; a remarkably inverted interpretation of Mary Frances Berry and Roger Wilkins’ plea to resolve the Michigan/Florida delegate seating impasse. [2008-02-10]
  87. Drudge Report posts the “Somali photo“, asserts that Clinton staffers circulating it. Obama campaign immediately accuses Clinton of ‘the most shameful, offensive fear-mongering we’ve seen from either party in this election’. [2008-02-25]
  88. Obama campaign exerts pressure on black elected officials to renounce support for Clinton. [2008-02-29]
  89. Blogger Ann Althouse suspects subliminal race-baiting in Hillary’s “It’s 3 AM” ad, in the form of the letters “NIG” in a fold of sleeping child’s “GOOD NIGHT” pajamas. [2008-03-01]
  90. Miscellaneous objections to alleged racially coded language. [Advance warning: I Kid You Not.] Hillary’s repeated reference to the “Black and Brown” Debate in Las Vegas (sponsored jointly by African-American and Latino organizations on MLK’s birthday) as the “black and brown” debate; reference to primaries and caucuses as “races”; reference to Obama supporters as “fans”; references to the campaign’s motor conveyance as a “bus”; the word “HANG” visible in “CHANGE” poster obscured by two faces at Obama rally. [references on request]

=== === ===

Next, the LBJ/MLK “Outrage”: You’ve been Drudged and FOXed

If you were offended by Hillary’s remarks “diminishing” the accomplishments of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in comparison to President Lyndon Johnson, you probably heard a counterfeit cut before you ever heard the real one. If you’ve been paying attention, you probably know that by now.

But if you really paid attention, you’d be really offended by something more you probably don’t know.


First, there was an important prelude, earlier that day. Here’s the NYT report:

Clinton’s Civil Rights Lesson
By Sarah Wheaton

DOVER, N.H. — … Francine Torge, a former John Edwards supporter, said this while introducing Mrs. Clinton: “Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” passed the civil rights legislation.

That sounds offensive to the memory of JFK, and was disclaimed immediately by the campaign:

Phil Singer, a Clinton spokesman said: “We were not aware that this person was going to make those comments and disapprove of them completely. They were totally inappropriate.”

But we find a different and more detailed version of Torge’s remarks in this NBC report.

“If you look back, some people have been comparing one of the other candidates to JFK, and he was a wonderful leader,” she said. “He gave us a lot of hope. But he was assassinated, and Lyndon Baines Johnson actually did all of his work and got both the Republicans and Democrats to pass those measures.”

Better connected, logically and textually; refers only to the work of Presidents; and (unlike the verbiage tacked on in the NYT post) draws no line that denies credit to MLK.

The mention of assassination is sensitive — but not racially insensitive. It’s blurted out by a starry-eyed small town gal hosting the big cheese — not by a traveling campaign pro.

Anyway, this is the stage-setter for FOX’s interview later that same day.
Later on, FOX News reporter Major Garrett asked Hillary Clinton a leading question, and she answered. When did you hear or read her answer? What was the question? And what did (or didn’t) she say?

You might have heard this — a FOX network “tease” [2008-01-07 6:12pm EST] on Garrett’s blog, suggestively and severely mischaracterizing her answer:

[HRC] appeared to diminish the role Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. played in the civil rights movements, saying it wasn’t hope that King inspired that made the difference but President Lyndon Johnson’s decision to fight for and sign the Civil Rights Act into law.

Offended? You might be, as I might.


You might have heard thisGarrett’s lead-in to a video news segment, a total fabrication putting the following words in Hillary’s mouth:

“You know, Major, Dr. King was important but the real driving force in civil rights in America was President Johnson because he signed the civil rights legislation.”

She said nothing of the kind.

Or you might have read this version in the New York Times, relating part of the answer but taking it misleadingly out of context.

“Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” Mrs. Clinton said in trying to make the case that her experience should mean more to voters than the uplifting words of Mr. Obama. “It took a president to get it done.”

… rather than the full quote the NYT (and most other media) refused to run until days later:

And so the storm blew up out of context, and out of proportion, and out of reason.

=== === ===

Here’s the full transcript of Hillary’s “MLK moment”, in the Major Garrett interview:

GARRETT: You mention Senator Obama. Let me read you a quote from a speech he gave today, saying:

[OBAMA: ] False hopes. Dr. King standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, looking out over the magnificent crowd, the reflecting pool, the Washington Monument:

“Sorry, guys. False hope. The dream will die. It can’t be done.”

False hope. We don’t need leaders to tell us what we can’t do. We need leaders to tell us what we can do and inspire us to do.

GARRETT: Would you react to that?

CLINTON: I would, and I would point to the fact that Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, president[s] before had not even tried, but it took a President to get it done.

That dream became a reality. The power of that dream became real in people’s lives because we had a President who said “we’re going to do it”, and actually got it accomplished.

This is a one-minute excerpt of a seven minute interview in which he first inquires whether she had an “Ed Muskie moment”, and invites her to speculate as to whether the American people can accept a President with “an emotional scale that’s that broad”. For best viewing see the embedded Flash video in Garrett’s blog post, at about the 3:43 mark. See also Aaron Bruns’s original and more accurately-written embed post. [2008-01-07 4:47pm EST]

46 Responses

  1. ronk: A most excellent catch. I knew Obama did it, because who stood to gain most from it? It was only common sense. Or is that liberal? I get so confused.

  2. Too little, too late, I’m afraid. I read the article and the comments – most of the commenters basically ranted in multiple paragraphs against the article as unproven, an anti-Obama diatribe and not credible because the author is a friend of the Clintons, without even bothering to address the points raised in the article. The Obama supporters (the extreme ones, I mean) will gladly suck in all “evidence” of the Clintons “dirty race baiting campaign” as gospel truth with no proof whatsoever but will immediately reject out of hand any article that is less than adulatory of their hero.

  3. I don’t know why the liberal blogosphere did not go up in arms over Barack Obama’s “liberal” comments last night during the debate. He said he was the “supposed liberal” and he insinuated that his plans were not liberal just “common sense.”

    If Hillary said that, they would be up in arms and excoriating her for disavowing liberalism. But since St. Barack said it…

    I remembered when Hillary was asked about being “liberal” during one of the earlier debates. She said the term liberal has taken on a different meaning and she considered herself a progressive. You finesse the issue, definitely, but you don’t go about claiming your plans are not liberal when they clearly are.

  4. The Obama people are pretty amazing. They find something in Barack McMondukakerry’s history that is embarrassing (like McMondukakerry dressing up like the Ayatollah Khomeini at an Al Qaeda picnic.) They surreptitiously release the embarrassing information and then, filled with the audacity of hope, accuse their opposition not just of releasing it but releasing it with the intention of invoking the reprehensible memory of the Ayatollah Khomeini at an Al Qaeda picnic so to besmearch the peerless honor of their sainted candidate.

    What gall and temerity Chicago pols have.

  5. Hi All – yes Ronk Thanks so much . it is so true that anyone who was ‘objectively’ looking for the truth in that false controversy would have found it easily . but yeah – objectivity, in this primary, has gone out with the trash on friday .

    I have been reading & following the Black Agenda Report for about a month now . They have also caught the essence and the shallowness of him – and they do it well .

    From today
    Freedom Rider: Progressives Cave to Obama


    I would also recomend ..

    Obama’s White Male Voters: Do They Hear Something Blacks Don’t?

    and this one
    Bush Wins in 2008


    The only reason I am posting these links is because I know some of you are working and these are the most current three – trying to make it easy , so you don’t have to scan around to try & find the Obama stuff and their feelings on it . Also , these authors link their articles very well to the original sources …

    Enough from me – lol ..

    that’s what friends are for

    She’s a Fighter ! I will Fight with her

  6. Critical thinking and analysis have been thrown out the window. The article was great, but reading the comments makes me sick. What if this man is elected? I am terrified that they have created a propaganda machine that has infiltrated all discourse. The entire term will be focused on sustaining the story of Obama the saviour.

    What is interesting is that the original January 27 th story about Clinton’s Jessie comment started from Tapper and the liberal white boys wen ballistic. Never understood the logic of how the analogy to Jessie was marginalizing Obama. How Jessie and admired leader of the civil rights movement was to be shunned and avoided. How disgustingly twisted allegation of racism. It goes something like this: Whites hate Jessie, any comparison to Jessie makes Obama black, (something no one noticed)therefore, Obama is a black candidate. I still am stunned at the perverted logic of this propaganda fire that took place exactly the morning after the SC primary. It was so concerted, within minutes Josh Marshal, Ezra , Kos, were mouthing the gyration. Then the MSM picked it up, the fake outrage was a sight to behold.

  7. The race card was a carefully made decision when O did not blow out C in NH. He has no natural constituency so they had to manufacture one. They know they would fragment the party but reasoned probably that Dems would have to come together for the GE. He had to play the race card for SC because of the Clintons’ long history of civil rights but that is not enough to win the nomination. Next they went for the “creative” educated class by appealing to their vanity as visionary and able to see into the future and what others “just do not get.” That also is not enough to win the primaries so who could they rope in next. They went after angry white guys and general all around mysogynists.

    It appears that they believe they have time to repair enough of the damage after the nomination is won but before the election because the alternative will be so horrible. The problem of course is how truly pissed folks are at these strategies and that a large number of Dems do not hate McCain perhaps enough to vote for O regardless. The rifts in the party may never fully heal.

  8. Good for Wilentz, although wasn’t he one of the signers of an early academics-for-Obama petition? It’s high time someone said the obvious: Obama delberately invented the racial wedge here. The heck with Rove–this was pure LBJ-in-Texas, “make him deny he’s a pig-fucker” at its best/worst. I wouldn’t even mind it, if Obama and his acolytes weren’t so hypocritical about it. At least Rove and LBJ wouldn’t get indignant if their tactics were thrown back at them.

  9. You guys really need to read the black blogs and black radio. Many blacks were complaining about the remarsk. We black folks can think for ourselves.

  10. You guys really need to read the black blogs such as Jack and Jill politics or Too Sense and listen to black radio. Starting with Billy Shaheen’s comments in December 2007, many blacks were complaining about the remarks.

  11. mgj — Black folk certainly can think for themselves, and debate, and disagree among themselves, and they do.

    And like any kind of folk, they can be misled, and get all upset about things that didn’t happen, or didn’t happen the way somebody said they did.

    And black folk (maybe more than most folk) know enough think twice about why people tell ’em what people tell ’em.

    Keep an open mind and stay tuned (check the updates). It didn’t necessarily happen just so.

  12. mgj: It turns out that there are as many varieties of black blogs as there are progressive blogs. We have black bloggers who contribute to our comments and send us helpful links from some of their favorite blogs. We are aware of a diversity of opinion on this subject.
    But think of it this way: who had the most to gain from separating the Clintons from their african-american friends? How could playing the race card ever benefit Hillary?
    It couldn’t.
    There was no motive and it is definitely not in either Bill or Hillary’s character to do so.
    This is the part of the puzzle that Obama supporters often overlook. The Clintons had nothing to gain by it.
    Thanks for playing.

  13. mgj- There’s a difference between complaining about the remarks and thinking they’re part of a racist appeal. If Shaheen’s (pretty stupid) comments about how the Republicans might go after Obama for drug usage = “Shaheen going after Obama for drug usage,” then riddle me this: Are all those (pretty stupid) blogs on Daily Kos and elsewhere, about how Obama might be assassinated, actually advocating his assassination? I didn’t think so.

    As I said above, I actually don’t mind dirty stuff in politics. But I do mind Obama Rules vs. rules for everyone else. That’s just creepy bullshit.

  14. RD: That’s the thing, precisely. When this all broke, Clinton was doing 80%+ with the black vote in SC and elsewhere. In fact, SC was her first firewall if things went off the rails in IA/NH…amazing as it sounds just a couple of months later! Obama saw that, and went for the jugular. (My grudging admiration for the man’s total bloodlessness is seeping through, isn’t it?)

  15. Rich: and for her refusal to play the politics of division, she gets my heartfelt admiration.

  16. Let’s just keep this thing alive until Pennsylvania. I know it’s not the healthiest thing, but at this point it’s equal measures pro-Clinton and anti-Obama for me. As Hunter S. Thompson said of Humphrey, “I don’t know if I’ve ever been so disgusted with a human being in politics.” That’s not literally true, of course–I’m more disgusted with any Republican–but on the Democratic side it’s damn near true. I’d rather have a President Bob Casey, which is saying something (for one thing, it probably says that I’m not a woman).

  17. By the way, my fun tonight was to contest Obama’s existential status as an African-American on Daily Kos. I see there is one rec (thank you, Osiris!) and five replies. I don’t intend to read them.

  18. I was going to let the Shaheen remark pass until I saw Mark Penn’s appearance on Hardball. What bothered me more than him saying the word cocain was the smug smile on his face when saying it. That to me was sign that the Shaheen comment was no accident.

    I was also bothered by Clinton’s fairy tale comment. Unlike some people, I don’t think there was a racial undertone in that comment. Nor do I think that his comment related to Obama’s candidacy. I was bothered by him misconstruing Obama’s position on Iraq. His tone was very ugly.

    As for the LBJ comment, I think that was laudatory of him to sign the civil rights law, but the way in which Hillary Clinton had construed her statement, it is understandable why some people were offended by the comment. LBJ did not voluntarily sign the civil rights bill, that occured as a result of many blacks– and whites– protesting and participating in sit-downs and freedom rides. Many people have to do those things to get LBJ to act. It should also be noted that Kennedy’s assasination played a part in the passage of the law. While her comment was true on one level, on another it was very simplistic.

    As a Democrat, I was also bothered by the way Bill Clinton was campaigning for his wife. The zeal that Clinton had in campaining negatively turned me off. I was a senior in high school when Clinton became president, and I don ‘t recall Clinton ever being zealous as I did with Obama. It was very obvious that this was personal.

    Given that the Clintons have a history of throwing people under the bus such as Lani Guinier, etc, I am not surprised if they had exploited racism. Here is a quote from an article by Ryan Lizza published in the New Yorker:
    “When I asked Bendixen about the source of Clinton’s strength in the Hispanic community, he mentioned her support for health care, and Hispanic voters’ affinity for the Clinton era. “It’s one group where going back to the past really works,” he said. “All you need to say in focus groups is ‘Let’s go back to the nineties.’ ” But he was also frank about the fact that the Clintons, long beloved in the black community, are now dependent on a less edifying political dynamic: “The Hispanic voter—and I want to say this very carefully—has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.”

    I think that this quote shows what they were doing.

  19. MGJ: The Bendixen quote makes my point exactly. He was stating a universally-known fact about Hispanic voter behavior. Any politician or strategist in a community with black and Hispanic voters who denies what Bendixen says there is a liar, full stop. Is it racist, or race-baiting, to state the obvious? This is a perfect example of something you can criticize–it’s arguably bad form to say it, and saying it does in some sense enable the phenomenon in a way that, say, protesting against it does not–but to say that the comment itself is race-baiting, in the total absence of any Clinton campaign effort to take advantage of the phenomenon Bendixen noted, strikes me as wrong in a bad-faith way.

  20. I just love the hypocrisy. Many Democrats go up in arms about Republicans using the southern strategy which is basically exploiting racial fears. How is that different from the Clintons exploiting the black and brown divide? It is okay because they are the Clintons. I believe in having principles. Contrary to Wilentz, I don’t need the Obama campaign to tell me that something is wrong in the way the Clintons have campaigned.

  21. I have a nugget of a thought.

    The founding fathers devised a system of checks and balances with three branches of government. They didn’t foresee the emergence of the two party system.

    They believed that a free press was essential to a free society, but they didn’t foresee the emergence of a corporate press either. Neither did they foresee the concentration of press power in a few corporations, and indeed a few peoples.

    What has happened, and the American constitution doesn’t prevent it, is the use of the press in the manipulation of the political system. Press has amazing power in the election of the two (perhaps three) branches of the government. We now see that this process can be manipulated, we also see that it could be manipulated to get a select group of people in power.

    I think the weak point here is that the original intent (which perhaps anticipated a chaotic group of consulting individuals with many different and sometimes opposite agenda) has evolved into powerful groups and individuals who can wield great power in shaping the work of the government.

    Republicans made a farse of the American system during the time of President Clinton. But you can still argue that the system ultimatly functioned as it was meant to. During the time of Bush, a very dangerous thing has happened. Not only has Bush disregarded the American Constitution to a degree never seen before, he has proven that it can be done. The latter is perhaps much more dangerous than the former.

    (disclaimer: I am not American. So please forgive me for my limited knowledge of your history and system.)

  22. mgj: You are still not getting it. Ask yourself how the Clintons could ever hope to benefit from introducing a racial element to the campaign. If you can’t sit quietly for 10 minutes and perform the thought experiment in your mind, please refrain from commenting. We are talking past each other.

  23. mgj, Your description of LBJ and the unbelievably difficult and complex fight to get civil rights legislation through Congress was the work of LBJ. As a southern democrat he did not have to do a damn thing and could have easily let it all die with the very large number of those in congress opposed. This is what most expected him to do, but he did not. This was a historic fight he could have side stepped. MLK was our great moral light. LBJ did the dog work. Read more about it rather than relying only on what political talkers are telling you.

  24. ghost2: If you insist on showing up the Americans with your understanding of our system of cheques and balances, we may have to force you to take an oath and deprive you of your single payer health care. Don’t make us come up there. 😉
    I think you are on to something with the corporate influence. they have become our 2nd estate. Is that right? 1st estate nobility, 2nd estate The Church? I equate corporate influence to The Church.

  25. mgj — See the recent update on the LBJ/MLK remarks, though I’ll have to finish the link tomorrow.

    And somebody has been plying you with counterfeit 60’s history. Please investigate more deeply, at your own pace.

  26. You are not getting it. How can Obama benefit from race being mentioned when he is campaigning as a post -racial candidate?

    The problem with Wilentz’s article is that he fails to note that Obama was asked if Clinton’s Jesse Jacksson comment was racist or racial, he answered NO.

    Wilentz could have also included Obama’s opinion on the LBJ comment in which he denied that it being racist.

    Wilentz also fails to note that the Clinton campaign would poo poo Obama’s winning a state by saying there was a sizable African-American population.

    Wilentz also fails to note that Obama had done well in Nebraska, Idaho, Alaska, etc. States that hardly have any black people so why he would need to race bait.

    It could be possible that since the black vote has been taken for granted so long that they thought that by November all was forgiven.

    Blacks began voting for Obama when they saw that he won Iowa before that HRC was 20 points ahead.
    I want you to know that like most democrats, I am okay with either of them.

    I will say however is that Clinton and her supporters have constantly belittle this man even when he bested her in organizing and campaign funding. Wilentz article is reflective of that attitude. It never occurs to her or her supporters that people can arrive at conclusions on their own.

  27. Ron.K

    I have a B.A. in political science and history. I also took many clases on the civil rights movement and political movements as well. My point is that HRC fail to into account of how political movements work. It is an interaction between the government and the movement. I did not deny thet LBJ wasn’t brave and such , but that she overlooked how change takes effect.

  28. mgj — the first thing you have to learn is that you have much to learn. HRC’s account is correct per all but fringe historians, and everybody I know who lived through it and was part of it.

  29. What do you mean by fringe historians and social change theorists? Are you telliing me that David Garrow, Manning Marable, and Robert Weisbrot as fringe historians. Please.

  30. In February 16, 2007, Jake Tapper wrote an article titled: Obama Clinton Battle For African American Endorsement. At that time Clinton led Obama by 60%. As Obama started to get endorsements he was still not gaining in the polls. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Story?id=2880798&page=1

    Obama in the primary could not have gotten to where he is without the Black vote.

    Yes African Americans can think for themselves but from what I was hearing people were getting short versions of what Hillary said about LBJ and the distorted version of the fairy tale story. Just enough to create the buzz. Like all the other voters it then became the Clinton’s are racist. Let me tell you Maxine Waters would not endorse a racist. If anyone thinks that this is plausible they are out of their minds. I think the AA community was bamboozled, like any other group there is no internal immunity to being manipulated by a clever campaign. How could Hillary have hoodwinked so many members of the Black Congressional Caucus? The notion of thinking they were some how bamboozled is ridiculous. These folks have worked for years, they built alliances, they had been through struggles.

    I don’t understand two things:

    1. Obama did not want to be identified as the black candidate, the whole idea was that he transcended race, then why when he talked to AA audiences he talked about how they were “hoodwinked and bamboozled” he was not talking about the Republicans he was talking about the Clinton’s. Was this not using the race card? He never actually said what the hoodwinking was about, it was always that implication.

    2. How can you at the same time not want to be the black candidate but also expect black voters to align with you. Easy, paint the white candidate as racist. All you need is a bit of a nuance and you have them tagged. After that there is no way to get rid of the identification. Whites will then just fear of wanting to be associated with a racist and blacks will just take the id as truth.

    America still has not transcended race. Institutional racism still lingers and yet we have this false facade of having transcended race. The Obama campaign used it very cleverly. They knew what they were doing. The Clinton campaign were caught like deer in the headlights. Everything they said could be twisted to be racist. Peace of cake.

    Now my question is will Obama still want to be black in the General Election? Watch how white he becomes or sorry, transcended.

  31. piece of cake…oops

  32. In another situation, when the Chicago Sun Times asked him about the failure of the affordable housing that Rezko had in Chicago, this is what the African American community activist said:

    Q: Many Rezmar government-financed housing deals have ended up in legal battles, including foreclosure. Several Rezmar buildings are now boarded up, and others are in need of major repairs. Taxpayers have lost millions of dollars on these deals. While Senator Obama has called Mr. Rezko a legal client, campaign contributor and a friend, there’s ample evidence that Mr. Rezko was a slum landlord. Was the senator aware then that Mr. Rezko’s projects were deeply mired in physical and financial problems? Does the senator think it is fair to characterize Mr. Rezko as a slum landlord?

    Obama Answer: Housing partnerships in which low-income-housing tax credits are syndicated frequently struggle financially. The reasons for the problems such partnerships struggle are complex but frequently include urban crime, demographic changes and social factors outside the control of any developer or owner. Senator Obama was not otherwise aware of financial and physical problems attributable to misconduct by Mr. Rezko


    As a community activist for 30 years, this is where Obama truly lost me, this answer, blaming the tenants, AA neighborhood, for a developer who missmanaged the housing. By the way, Obama’s firm worked on these projects and I would think he is to blame for the failure. 30 affordable projects, that is just beyond imagination.

    (sorry for serial posts, I am in Europe at this time so I miss regular hours)

    By the same token he threw the Arab American supporters under the bus,

    What I find interesting is how Obama finds constituencies to be inconvenient and sort of abandons them. A good example is his relationship with the Arab American Community in Chicago. http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article6619.shtml

  33. mgj: You are descending into a kitchen sink argument. We are not debating whether or not Axelrod saw an opening to flood caucuses with rabid Obamaphiles as a way to win. We have gone over why caucuses are probably the least democratic way to run an election.
    Stick to the issue at hand. What would the Clintons have to possibly gain by bringing race into the campaign? You still haven’t answered that question. Just because Obama claims to be post-racial doesn’t mean he wouldn’t take advantage of prevailing cultural attitudes. All of the accusations of racism came from his campaign. Is this not correct? If he is really post-racial, why bring it up in the first place? What does drug use have to do with race? Why was only Obama allowed to discuss his own drug use when he wrote a book that is in the public record about it? Was there something legal that was violated when other people merely suggested that the Republicans might bring it up? Obama tied these two concepts together in the public’s mind when he hurled the accusation. Now, why would he do that?
    And did you hear Bill Moyer discuss the LBJ issue? Here you have a first person account of what actually went on. He was there. And he says that Hillary was absolutely correct. But it is the perception that is warped around this reality, that somehow it is sacrilege for a white woman to even invoke the name of MLK without giving him credit for single handedly twisting the arms of members of Congress to get civil rights legislation passed. It’s bullshit, mgj, and you know it.
    Every single pronouncement by a friend of the Clintons is analyzed and spun for the worst possible effect. There was no racism *by the clintons* that existed before Obama and Axelrod got hold of it.
    And in the end, he ended up permanently damaging the reputations of two people who have made it one of their life goals to bridge the racial divide here in this country and around the world. That is one of he goals of the clinton foundation. But none of this mattered. Obama successfully smeared these two people for political gain. And did he even need to? He was always going to win SC. You know it and I know it. But he won HUGE. And in that instant, Obama defined HIMSELF as a post-racial black candidate, as ironic as that might seem. There are few african-americans in the country now who will vote for Hillary. They all seem to think she’s a racist.
    It’s the most bizarre misuse of racial tension that I have ever seen. And the only way any of it makes sense is if Obama’s camp did it deliberately to sever the african-american voters from the Clintons.
    You guys have been had. We all have.

  34. riverdaughter,

    The problem with making the accustation that the Obama campaign was behind it. Is that you don’t have copies of official press releases where the Clintons are accused of race-baiting prior to the Billy Shaheen comment or before Iowa. Or recordings of conference calls. Yes there is that memorandum that was meant for internal communications, but this came about after so many people have been complaining about the comments. Moreover, as I had stated, Obama himself have denied the charges that the Clintons were racists. Wilentz’s argument is very weak. Many in the black blogs were complaining how dailykos, mydd were ignoring the story.

    If the comments made by Shaheen and Cuomo were made by conservatives, you would not say that they were accidental. When it comes to race, generally speaking liberals tend to be more sophisticated than conservatives. So when you hear Clinton’s surrogates saying these things it is quite jarring because they should know better.

    Your comment proves my point that many of the Clinton supporters cannot understand how people like Obama. It cannot be because of organizing and such. It is something nefarious such as race baiting and the media being nasty to Clinton which is true but that has been the case since the ’90s. Gimme a break. As I said, I happy with either of them . My preferance would be a Clinton/Obama ticket, because they in many ways compliment each other.

  35. mgj — Your kitchen sink argument is a profile in prejudice, one you would readily recognize in other contexts (raising objections from one angle when another fails, and raising diversionary gibes where on-point argument fails).

    You don’t recall Clinton being “zealous” before? And his defense of his wife is “personal”? Please!

    As for “fringe”, would you accept “eccentric”? Your belief that LBJ hand no choice but to move and sign the civil rights acts is clearly eccentric, and a good scholar has an obligation to recognize when his views on a subject are eccentric. As Hillary spoke from a mainstream perspective, her comments cannot be taken as race-baiting outrage — even if you and a few others have a different view of the historic context.

    Shaheen comment would be unexception from any persepctive, and Cuomo’s had nothing to do with Obama.

    Your interaction here is becoming unproductive. Do you have any details to add to the bill of particulars in the post and its second draft of history?

  36. We agree to disagree. You are probably not reading what I am saying. I did say that LBJ was courageous in signing the bill, but it is bit more complicated than that. Nothing eccentric about that.

    As for Bill Clinton campaining, I think the fact that Rahm Emmanuel and Ted Kennedy and other party leaders calling him to tone down the language confirms what I said.
    With respect to the Shaheen comment ,it has the appearance of concern trolling by asking if Obama sold drugs. And Cuomo’s words were poorly chosen. I would never use the words shuck and jive in the context of the 2008 Democratic primary . Context matters.

  37. Riverdaughter,

    You don’t understand. That’s why we have a single payer in the first place. We in Canada have neighbors who drive us crazy, and to the edge of insanity every 4 years. We see intelligent, hardworking, caring persons like Gore and Hillary, and the press is aweful to them, and Americans just choose to go with bad salesmen again.

    Yeah, that’s why we really have to have a good healthcare system!!

    (/snark, /snark, /just joking…
    … running fast from my keyboard… )

  38. “How could playing the race card ever benefit Hillary? It couldn’t.”

    Really? You don’t see how insinuating that whites wouldn’t vote for Obama (which Bill Clinton did when he compared Obama to Jesse Jackson) would help Hillary Clinton beat him in a primary election, where one of the major considerations of voters is which candidate is best able to win the general election?

    You would have to be blind NOT to see the benefit there.

  39. TJ – Nobody’s blind here. Bill didn’t spill any beans – primary voters already know Obama’s black. We also know (from every exit poll, if nowhere else) that many voters will not vote for a black or female candidate. This election is about winning in spite of that, and breaking barriers.

    The Jackson parallel was accurate – the only historically accurate parallel, as Wilentz notes – and this is just silly. The benefit is all Obama’s if he can get away with it. He sweeps black votes, and scores big with youth and upscale liberals. (You can take ’em anywhere if you tell ’em how morally superior they are.) That’s how it played out, isn’t it?

    If I thought Hillary let anyone run a race-baiting campaign in her interest, I’d consider her unfit for office — which is exactly what I think of Obama for doing so. Morally unfit.

    When you look at the record, there’s no “there” there — which is why you have to go to ridiculous stretches like this.

    I’ll have an update on comparative strategies, but really — get a grip!

  40. “TJ – Nobody’s blind here. Bill didn’t spill any beans – primary voters already know Obama’s black. We also know (from every exit poll, if nowhere else) that many voters will not vote for a black or female candidate.”

    Everybody also knows that black voters overwhelmingly vote Democratic in general elections. And yet, Republicans in the South constantly remind voters of that fact during campaigns using coded racist language. So obviously there IS a benefit to reminding voters of what they already know, and Bill Clinton also employed coded language to that effect (I wouldn’t go so far as to call it racist, but it was definitely, shall we say, racially tinged).

  41. MGJ, I understand your point regarding Sen. Obama’s saying “No, that’s not racist,” as a defense against the racism charges thrown about by his surrogates.

    But spin works. That’s why he has surrogates: to say the outrageous stuff while he appears all reasonable and soothing.

    Sen. Obama says all kinds of things while his surrogates say something completely different. I remember clearly the “Tom Bradley Effect” spin after Sen. Clinton’s NH win.

    Why no outcry about this stuff? Why no questioning about this claim? Because there appears to be a double standard. And that sucks.

    Sen. Obama doesn’t need an easier go from the media to win the White House. He put himself out there specifically because he though he’d be right for the job and could take the pulverizing of a campaign.

    So chuck him into the blender (Sen. Clinton gets blendered every day), turn it on, and see how he fares. Don’t point at other people and screech about the religious nutbars on their side or releasing tax records—this is about HIM. His record. His actions. His associates. His judgment.

    He’s running on his judgment. So why not examine it?

    If you do examine his record, you may conclude, as I did, that Sen. Obama is a gifted, intelligent, ambitious politician. He’s not above it all. He’s smack in the middle of it.

    And Sen. Obama is not post-racial any more than Howard Stern is the king of all media.

    Saying otherwise doesn’t make it so. His campaign tactics as outlined above are pretty good evidence to the contrary. That he recognizes the potency of identity politics and uses it—well, good for him, I guess. I don’t know how much good it does the rest of us, but hey anyway…

    Sen. Obama has marketed himself as somehow transcending the bare-knuckles business of governance. He pitches that this and his biography gave him better judgment than his opponents based on his Iraq war stance. So judge the senator’s anti-war stance based not on his word but on his record, and I think you’ll see that Pres. Clinton was correct: it is a fairy tale.

    This is not about his candidacy, his intelligence, how he makes the most of his opportunities, or anything else. It is an assessment of a claim by the candidate himself.

    To come screaming out the door saying this assessment is all about race is a big fat lie. Not obfuscation—a lie.

    But excellent short-term marketing, that. Calling someone racist is a slur that smells bad enough for everyone to turn and hurry away whether the charge is true or not.

    It’s classic FUD—fear, uncertainty, and doubt. (I can do a whole thing on FUD, but I won’t.)

    So if Sen. Obama’s marketing doesn’t have an effect on you, what’s left? If you stop listening to his speeches and look at his actions, what do you find?

    A lot to be desired.

    Please don’t take my lame attempts at humor as me being disrespectful. I’m not. I have to keep my humor intact or I am doomed.

  42. “He pitches that this and his biography gave him better judgment than his opponents based on his Iraq war stance.”

    Sorry, I haven’t had enough coffee. Shd be:

    Sen. Obama pitches that because of his biography, he has better judgment. We can see that based on his stance against the Iraq War.

  43. mgj,
    i’ve read jack and jill politics on numerous occasions, and have found them to be on a one-track mission to destroy hillary clinton and get obama elected. they dismiss anything and everything good she has ever done, exalt obama, and rationalize or ignore every lie, mistake, or outright manipulation carried out by obama. they also regularly hate-monger and work themselves and their readers up into a foaming rage.

    frankly i am now too afraid even to venture there anymore. they have become such a home for hate that i’d rather avoid them altogether.

  44. […] framed the Clintons on accusations of race-baiting, through an elaborately orchestrated race-baiting campaign of his […]

  45. If you are able – try and get the segment in the (I think it might have been the first debate) with Clinton, Obama, Edwards and Richardson, that was just before MLK Day.
    Each of the candidates, EXCEPT obama, say something nice and when Obama speaks he says “oh ya the King Day” thats all and goes on to something else – his attitude is very dismissive. HONEST watch it – you should post it as a video if you can.

  46. […] only way to beat Hillary was to smear her with false accusations of racism and race-baiting, and that is exactly what his campaign did. Out of an understandable sense of community, only a brave few African-Americans stood up for her […]

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