Monday, January 14, 2008

Revisiting the Clintons and race

By Rick Morris

As I previously indicated here, I have been feeling some glee at seeing the Clintons suffer accusations of racism during the presidential campaign, since they have been poisoning the political discourse of our country for decades by lightly accusing political opponents of the same sin. But after discussing this matter on last night's FDH Lounge program, I found myself examining more angles still regarding this controversy.

One of The FDH Lounge Dignitaries, Chris Galloway, pointed out that there is a chance that the Clintons are asking to be thrown into the proverbial briar patch here -- that is, the Clintons know that the racial angle is a short-term loser with the South Carolina primary looming, but it will be a long-term winner in the events to follow. Ultimately, no matter how many black voters turn out, a black vs. white dynamic is a loser for a black candidate even in a Democratic primary. Interesting thought, and you certainly can't disbelieve it on the grounds that the Clintons aren't sufficiently cynical to perpetuate it.

Also, we got a call during the program from Andy from Toledo, one of the most faithful callers to our show during our first year. As a black man who supports Barack Obama and is significantly to the left of the Clintons, Andy had an interesting point to make. Since Bill Clinton was the greatest president ever in the morally dubious category of "Speaking In Words That Must Be Constantly Parsed," he knew exactly what he was saying when he branded Obama's campaign and life story a "fairy tale" -- moreover, black voters know this. With the coordinated points of attack emanating from the good old Clinton War Room (the "fairy tale," Obama and MLK being phony speech-givers, Bob Johnson's not-so-subtle about Obama's past weed and coke habits), black voters see the Clintons turning their "By All Means Necessary" mode of attack on one of their own -- and they don't like it.

There are signs now that the Clintons may be seeking a racial cease-fire with the Obama campaign, and while I would have previously thought it would have been because they were dealing from a position of weakness, I'm now rethinking that. Perhaps Chris is right and they want to move on because they've already accomplished their purpose: planting in the minds of white voters on Super Tuesday that angry black voters are out to take over the party and the country.

All that we can tell for certain right now is that events are going to get much more divisive and interesting before they settle down -- and as an emphatic non-Democrat, I am gleefully enjoying the show.

No comments: