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Saturday, April 26, 2008

THE CLINTONS ARE STILL AT LARGE!
Part I. BLACKENING OBAMA, EVEN IF IT ELECTS JOHN MCCAIN
James S. Henry

For six months now, partly under the influence of Senator Barack Obama's refreshingly naiveAf057b9b4af44fceaec485c9fcbe01cb_2 quest  for a higher level of discourse in American politics, we've resisted the temptation to "go negative" on his arch-rival -- "Sir Hillary" Diane Rodham Clinton, the relentless one-and-one-third term New York Senator,  two-term First Lady, five-term Arkansas Governor's wife, and life-long honorary Queen of the State of Blind, Unbridled Ambition.   

Along the way, we've watched aghast as some of our closest associates -- people who describe themselves as "Democrats" and "Hillary supporters," but really turn out to be Obama haters who threaten to vote for John McCain in November if Hillary is not the Democratic nominee -- have tried nearly every trick in the book to tear Obama down.   

Clinton_blackfaceBLACK FACE

For example, on January 4, 2008,  just one day after the Iowa primary, one pundit was overheard suggesting to members of Sir Hillary's inner circle that the best way to undermine Obama's surprisingly broad appeal would be to "blacken" him. 

At the time, Hillary's campaign was still reeling from her third-place finish in Iowa, based on the fact that Barack had done so well across conventional racial, ethnic, gender, and age boundaries.   

Evidently the advice was taken. This helps to explain Hillary's odd, a-historical comments on January 7 in New Hampshire, when she compared Lyndon Johnson's role in securing US civil rights legislation during the 1960s to that of Martin Luther King, Jr. ("It took a President to get it done."

(Actually it took a mass protest movement, based on years of organization and lots of blood, sweat, and tears, to get it done. Hillary's inaccurate recollections about that period may be have been due to the fact that in 1964, at age 17, she had spent her time campaigning actively for Barry Goldwater, the Republican Presidential candidate who opposed the US Civil Rights Act.) Queenhillary

This cynical tactic also helps to explain Bill Clinton's patronizing remarks in South Carolina on January 26, when he compared Obama's campaign to the Rev. Jesse Jackson's 1984 and 1988 Presidential bids -- as if Obama were just another "black niche" candidate. 

The point is that these statements were deliberately made,  regardless of their merit, because the Clinton camp wanted to provoke rebuttals from prominent black celebrities like the Rev. Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Spike Lee.

Bill and Hillary probably knew full well that this might well cost them votes in a handful of states like South Carolina, where blacks are a majority of registered Democrats. Indeed, they were both widely criticized for their remarks.

However,  in their cynical calculus, what really mattered was that the official black response would remind white voters elsewhere that  while Senator Obama might seem to be "articulate and bright and clean" (in Joe Biden's memorable description),  he's really just (as one anonymous Clinton campaign adviser put it) "the black candidate."

DIE HARDISM...OR WORSE?

In the short term, many observers thought that such cynical tactics had backfired. Indeed they may have. Contrary to Hillary's best laid plans, Barack not only survived "Super Tuesday" on February 5, but went on to acquire a commanding lead in delegates.

Even after the most recent machine-state primary in Pennsylvania, Barack still leads by at least 133 delegates. If the latest polls in the remaining nine primaries hold up,  Hillary would need  to capture at least 73 percent of the remaining unpledged "super delegates" to win. (Click on the chart below.)Chartone4262008_2

Unfortunately, this situation appears to have only redoubled the Clintons' willingness to engage in McCarthyite tactics, including  race-baiting and "guilt by association,"  regardless of the impact on the Democratic Party's chances in November.

The Clintons are notorious for pursuing their own interests at the expense of the Party (just ask Bill Bradley, Al Gore, and John Kerry). But this spectacle is setting new records.

These tactics include trying to smear Senator Obama with the radical views of the Rev. Wright, the Rev. James Meeks, or even the Rev. Louis Farrakhan; reminding people of the Senator's admitted occasional drug use 25 years ago (as compared with Gov. Bill Clinton's denied, much heavier use of cocaine during the same period); and attacking Obama for having a few corrupt contributors in Chicago ("...NOT Chicago!!!") like Antoin "Tony" Rezko (compared with the Clintons' legions of corrupt contributors); and associating Obama with former Weatherman and now Distinguished University of Chicago Prof. William Ayers, who was never convicted of anything (while Bill Clinton had sought fit to pardon two formerRezkojpg_20080125_08_09_45_4128240 Weathermen who'd been convicted of involvement in terror-related crimes.)

The tactics also include promoting the idea that Obama can't possibly appeal to white working -class voters, Hispanics, Jews, or Catholics in battleground states, simply because.... well, you see, the country may just not be "ready" for a "black" President -- whatever those terms mean.

Of course the Clintons argue that dwelling on such material now is justified because Karl Rove and the Republicans would only focus on it later. Furthermore, Obama's prolonged side-show with his former pastor appears to have done a perfectly job of undermining his campaign without much help from them.

This is mostly self-serving flim-flam. The fact is that Hillary & Co. have run a terrible campaign, and are now reduced to relying on hyping bogus issues like Rev. Wright rather than talking about real issues.

If the Clintons had not underestimated Obama so badly, they would have At this point, if they believe that the Democratic Party will reject Obama and opt for Hillary, they are delusional -- such a move would only lead the majority of Party activists that has supported Obama overwhelmingly to sit this election out.  By continuing to battle Obama down all the way to the convention, the Clinton machine is wasting precious attention and resources that ought to be devoted to attacking the real enemy.

THE AGENDA

So why are the Clintonistas employing these Die-Hard, polarizing, kamikaze-style tactics?

Well, first, the hard-core stormtroopers down in the Bunker actually still hope to achieve a "Hail Mary" knock-out in the last few primaries,  shocking the super-delegates into a wholesale defection from Obama. They simply can't admit that it is far too late for anything other than an Obama candidacy.

Taking Second, Clinton supporters have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this battle, and many of them have been preparing for it literally for decades. Many of them genuinely resent Obama's upstart campaign, and feel entitled to reclaim their White House.

Third,  many (highly-paid) Clinton campaign operatives are not exactly looking forward to seeking real jobs in the midst of a recession.

Fourth,  key Clinton supporters desperately fear being left out in the cold if Obama wins the nomination, let alone the Presidency, for as much as another eight years. Especially for those in Hillary's "boomer" generation, that's an eternity.

Finally, and most cynically of all, if 72-year old John McCain wins the Presidency, the odds are that he will only last one term. That would give Hillary another shot in four years.

Whereas if 47-year old Obama wins, he might well last two terms -- by which time Hillary will be approaching dotage and Bill Clinton will be in a retirement community for sexual predators. 

From the standpoint of naked Clinton self-interest, therefore,  the cynical calculus prevails again.

You see, it is a far far better thing to go after one's fellow Democrat with all the malevolence that one can muster, even at the risk of ruining his chances this November, than to withdraw now and help his chances.

Naturally this kind of cynical strategy has attracted all kinds of miscreants, Republicans-in-sheeps' clothing, stragglers, pimps, shills, camp followers, and hangers-on.

There ought to be a special place in Hell for such people. 

But if there is not, we should endeavor to create one right here on Earth.

(c) SubmergingMarkets, 2008




April 26, 2008 at 04:29 AM | Permalink

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James S. Henry
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