Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Break Those Chains

So, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr (and my father's) Birthday today, I thought I would riff on the dumbest race related issue facing this country (and Lord knows, there are plenty of legitimate issues to keep us occupied for a long time).

In a Democratic contest for President that has fielded a woman, a black and a southern white man (running in third place) as viable candidates, we should be celebrating the progress we have made in honor of MLK's Day.

Instead, Bill Clinton went from being the first "black president" to being a bigot and Barack Obama went from being questioned whether he is "black enough" to being the oracle for race relations in politics? Oh, please -- enough already. Can the Democrats stop acting like abused spouses? As Shaun Mullen so aptly put it, in Dems Shoot Themselves In the Foot on Race: "Race may be the ultimate red herring as well as the most potentially destructive element of the Democratic presidential race."

I'm not a conspiracy theorist (at least most of the time), but I really wonder if somehow Karl Rove isn't behind this latest version of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth of the 2008 campaign.

After all, Rove coincidentally happened to opine on the subject in a Wall Street Journal piece, Why Hillary Won. In discussing why Hillary Clinton managed to win in New Hampshire, Rove unbelievably complimented Clinton's responses during the debate before the primary, as well as regarding her "emotional" appeal that was credited with helping her prevail in New Hampshire. This time, Rove's venom was directed at Obama and his responses to those situations:

His trash talking was an unattractive carryover from his days playing pickup basketball at Harvard, and capped a mediocre night.

* * * *
There's more -- and more powerful -- material available. Mr. Obama has failed to rise to leadership on a single major issue in the Senate. In the Illinois legislature, he had a habit of ducking major issues, voting "present" on bills important to many Democratic interest groups, like abortion-rights and gun-control advocates. He is often lazy, given to misstatements and exaggerations and, when he doesn't know the answer, too ready to try to bluff his way through.

For someone who talks about a new, positive style of politics and pledges to be true to his word, Mr. Obama too often practices the old style of politics, saying one thing and doing another. He won't escape criticism on all this easily. But the messenger and the message need to be better before the Clintons can get all this across. Hitting Mr. Obama on his elementary school essays won't cut it.

The fourth and biggest reason why Mrs. Clinton won two nights ago is that, while Mr. Obama can draw on the deep doubts of many Democrats about Mrs. Clinton, he can't close out the argument. Mr. Obama is an inspiring figure playing a historical role, but that's not enough to push aside the former First Lady and senator from New York. She's an historic figure, too. When it comes to making the case against Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama comes across as a vitamin-starved Adlai Stevenson. His rhetoric, while eloquent and moving at times, has been too often light as air. (Emphasis added).

Talk about racist. Inexplicably, those comments -- the "trash talking" sports references in referring to a black male, as well as the Imus type "lazy" appellation, were not given much notice in the media at all. And then, shortly after this hit job, the race war began. In fact, I recall reading one story about the racial accusations flying back and forth between Obama and Hillary that actually accused Clinton of making the "he's lazy" remark. Somehow, some way, Rove had something to do with it. It's his style. After all, who benefits if the Democrats battle it out this way?

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Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.


Anonymous said...

Hi there. Did you see the debate last night? It looked to me like they have called a truce on the first black man/first woman running for President thing, and have asked to be considered on their individual merits. I guess we'll all see how it plays out in the press and how well their campaigns stick to that.

Re Rove, I wouldn't doubt it if he has somebody in the press who would make it look like the Clintons were responsible for his comments. He's such a creep. (but we knew that already, didn't we:))

JudiPhilly said...

I didn't see the debate, but I did read about the truce. I think the democrats will try to stay away from this issue, but the press will try their damnedest to keep it going.

Re: Rove -- somehow, someway I just know he was behind it. It's so his style -- creep that he is. And it's a prelude to what we will see during the general election from the Republicans if either Obama or Clinton win.