Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bill Clinton's Race-Based Campaigning

By Joe Sims
Bill Clinton is coming under increasing attack from leading Democrats as he campaigns in South Carolina for Senator Hillary Clinton’s bid for the nomination. The New York senator is campaigning in California having all but abandoned South Carolina to Barack Obama.

The former president hatchet-like remarks have riled up Senator Edward Kennedy, former Senate leader Tom Daschle and Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina, head of the Congressional Black Caucus, the latter of whom last week sharply criticized the Clintons for their conduct in New Hampshire and now advises him to "chill a bit and "tone it down."

According to Newsweek, Kennedy angrily gave Clinton an earful saying he was partly responsible for "injecting race into the campaign." Newsweek says, the Clinton camp is fearful that Kennedy, formerly neutral, is leaning now toward Obama. Even Clinton insiders are worried, but it’s no-holds-barred campaigning: "This is excruciating," says a member of the Clintons' circle, who asked for anonymity. "But the stakes couldn't be higher. It's worth it to tarnish himself a bit now to win the presidency."

This is classic Clintonism. The ex-president repeatedly used racism in his for the White House, as borne out by the Sista Soulja episode at the Rainbow Coalition and his personal supervision of the execution of a mentally retarded prisoner in Arkansas.

Tom Daschle also ripped Mr. Clinton. Today’s New York Times reports:

Tom Daschle of South Dakota, former Senate majority leader, denounced Mr. Clinton’s conduct as "not keeping with the image of a former president." In a conference call with reporters arranged by the Obama campaign, Mr. Daschle compared the onslaught of criticism to Republican attacks leveled at him in 2004, when he lost his seat.

"This is the same kind of tactic that Washington uses quite frequently," Mr. Daschle said, adding: "I think it destroys the party. Ultimately it’s going to divide us, and it’s going to have a lasting effect down the road if it doesn’t stop soon."

The Times also reports that Bill Clinton’s role is not accidental:

"Advisers to Mr. Clinton said that some of his criticism of Mr. Obama had been choreographed with campaign advisers and that some had been spontaneous.

His attack on Mr. Obama for declaring that he had maintained more steadfast opposition to the war than had Mrs. Clinton — an assertion the former president referred to as a "fairy tale" — was discussed in advance within the campaign as a way to sharpen public and media focus on Mr. Obama’s record, advisers said. (It is unclear whether the term "fairy tale" was Mr. Clinton’s idea or was fed to him.)"

The sharpness of Clinton’s attacks along with the use of coded language clearly has racist overtones. African American, Latino, Asian and white voters are sure to draw the right conclusions.


Anonymous said...

I'd expect less grammatical errors in an article written by "editors" of a magazine.

normanmarkowitz said...

Joe's points are well-taken. Bill Clinton is a post segregation Southern Democrat who was a kid in the Arkansas of Orville Faubus, and William Fullbright, whose progressive stands on foreign affairs issues never extended to Civil Rights.
He has never been above dirty politics and racist appeals were the heart of dirty politics in the world he came from.
When it comes to the affection that many African-Americans had for Clinton, I always personally saw it as a response to his personality and the fact that his administration was certainly an improvement over Reagan and Bush I, even though its concrete policy failures set the stage for the rightwing Republican victory in Congress in 1994 and its collaborationist policies toward the Gingrich Republicans helped set the stage for Bush stealing the 2000 election.
Hopefully the teflon will finally wear off and people of progressive views will begin to see Clinton more clearly

psledge said...

Ultimately, though, Hillary Clinton is responsible for her campaign and who says what and how they say it.

Anonymous said...

Edwards is looking like the only adult in this Obama vs the Clintons battle both sides are indulging in. He may be waiting for a deadlocked convention where he can tip the balance between the two front runners or even become the compromise selection (if Gore doesn't pop up for that role.) Super Tuesday will let us see how the delegate count is shaping up.