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Tilting at Windmills

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March 12, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

OBAMA'S LUCK....In a newspaper interview a few days ago, Hillary Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro suggested that Barack Obama owes his success this year to being black. "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she told the Torrance Daily Breeze. "And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is."

Over at TPM, Josh Marshall ponders whether there's any truth to this and concludes, reasonably, that there probably isn't. Being black has both helped and hurt Obama, just as being a women has both helped and hurt Hillary Clinton, but on balance it's pretty unlikely that Obama's color is a plus on his electoral ledger.

I'd just like to add one thing. Implicit in Ferraro's statement is the idea that if Obama were a charismatic young white guy, there's no way he'd be getting any attention. And that's just plain crackers. Charismatic young John F. Kennedy won the presidency in 1960. His brother, charismatic young Robert F. Kennedy, attracted huge support in 1968 and might have become president as well if he hadn't been assassinated. Charismatic young Gary Hart nearly stole the 1984 Democratic nomination from Walter Mondale. And charismatic young Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992.

Being young and charismatic has been a pretty good combination in the Democratic Party for the past 50 years. And being against the Iraq war from the start is a pretty is a pretty good credential in the Democratic Party this year. Contra Ferraro, if Obama were a white man he'd still be getting plenty of attention.

Kevin Drum 12:53 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (166)

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I hate to say it (ok, no I don't) but these older women who support Hillary sure are cranky.

Posted by: craigie on March 12, 2008 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

If he were white he could mix in a lot more John Edwards style rhetoric on class and probably be twice as popular as he is now.

Posted by: Ben on March 12, 2008 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

The comment was out-of-line but its use to attack Hillary and the focus put on it are unfair.

I think Obama is getting the nomination; contrary to your earlier post, I think the superdelegates' drawing out their decisions only hurts Hillary, because she is so determined to win that this gives her more of a chance to make an ass out of herself going too far to convince the delegates. Sure, her popularity might turn around in a big way, which would be a reason to nominate her, and this delay gives her a chance to do that, but at this point I think it's unlikely that something like that is going to materialize for her. She needs an image overhaul and she needs to get the message out there to revitalize her campaign. A lot of people apparently see something in Barack Obama they very much want to vote for.

Posted by: Swan on March 12, 2008 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

I think the superdelegates' drawing out their decisions only hurts Hillary, because she is so determined to win that this gives her more of a chance to make an ass out of herself going too far to convince the delegates.

It gives her a chance to hurt the reps of Democrats in general, too, with her inclination towards close-to-the-line or line-crossing behavior.

Posted by: Swan on March 12, 2008 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK


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Posted by: swarty on March 12, 2008 at 1:02 AM | PERMALINK

Why is Geraldine Ferraro talking to The Daily Breeze? Isn't she kind of big-time to be talking to a consortium of two-bit coastal SoCal papers?

Posted by: samba00 on March 12, 2008 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

Craigie - good insight - are you also a Harvard man like Obie and Bush?

Posted by: jim on March 12, 2008 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

"being a women"? Are you saying Hillary is more than just one woman, Kevin? First a "delegate count matters" woman, and also a "no, it's the votes that count" woman, and also the woman who signs onto the DNC rules about early primaries and also wants to seat Florida and Michigan? ;-)

Posted by: Bill on March 12, 2008 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

I concur craigie.

One of the things that bothers me most about Hillary and her campaign is their sense of entitlement towards the nomination. They are angry and bitter at Obama for having the audacity to dare challenge Hillary's right to the throne and they lash out accordingly.


Posted by: Joe on March 12, 2008 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

If Geraldine Ferraro were a white man would s/he be getting any attention?

Posted by: kensanfran on March 12, 2008 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

If the Obamadroids and -bots are so concerned about racism, then why don't they focus on countering the truly vile crap that GOP Rep. Steve King has been saying about their candidate, instead of collectively thinking that they've got to have the scalp of a political has-been like Geraldine Ferraro to wave as some sort of cheap campaign trophy, like it's payback for Samantha Power?

Stupid, stupid, stupid ...

Posted by: Scurvy Dog on March 12, 2008 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I agreed with pretty much everything you wrote about the Hillary feeding frenzy this morning, but I think this time around you're being a little too calm and toned down. Saying a black guy owes his success to skin color is pretty damn offensive; it's using race to insult and denigrate. A comment like that deserves disdain rather than measured consideration.

Posted by: Wagster on March 12, 2008 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

I couldn't believe Ferraro said this and then I couldn't believe when she defended to day suggesting that she was a victim of reverse racism. It was nuts. But mostly just a kind of absurd sideline to the whole thing. Why on earth should anybody care what the hell Ferraro thinks about anything?

But the thing that does bother me, very much, is that it seems as if the Clinton camp wants to make it clear that they intend to stand tough on this. They followed up their half-assed disavowals with the attempt by Maggie Williams to actually turn this around on Obama, suggesting that he was somehow responsible for bringing race into this, actually turned my stomach. I think a lot of the rhetoric especially among the respective campaign rank and file supporters has been absurdly overheated. But I think this kind of crap really crosses a line into some pretty disgusting territory. Shes really burning some bridges here.

Posted by: brent on March 12, 2008 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Obama is "lucky" to be African-American? Wouldn't have gotten where he is if he wasn't? Sounds like Ferraro is channeling Thernstrom and all the other opponents of affirmative action--she can't stand the notion of a black candidate doing better than HRC. Poisonous.

And Ferraro goes on to claim that the Clinton campaign can't fire her because she's not connected to it. Fine, then, don't fire her, just tell her she's no longer a member of the finance committee.

There is a lot of meaningless noise coming from Obama supporters about "perceived" race-baiting by the Clinton campaign that, for the most part just doesn't stand up. This incident, on the other hand, deserves to be taken seriously.

Posted by: Henry on March 12, 2008 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

You're missing something, Kevin. All those charismatic young inexperienced white guys -- Kennedy, Kennedy, Hart, Clinton, etc. -- were running detailed, substantive campaigns on major issue differences with their opponents. Our guy Obama is running primarily on his own persona as the embodiment of hope and change. You can't do that and get adoring swarms of upper-middle class liberals and young people if you're a white boy. Sorry.

Posted by: gyrfalcon on March 12, 2008 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Geraldine is projecting. Just because she benefited from affirmative action doesn't mean Obama is as well. And for all the dopes like Ferraro thinking white guilt is driving Obama's support, remember this. We're democrats. We actually have honest-to-goodness black friends, we don't need to elect one.

Posted by: enozinho on March 12, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

-- were running detailed, substantive campaigns on major issue differences with their opponents.

Voting to invade Iraq and Iran isn't a "major issue difference"?

Posted by: Scott Forbes on March 12, 2008 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Scurvydog,

Obama went after Steve King over the weekend. But the difference is that we expect Republicans to be pathetic racist tools. The Democrats however, are supposed to be a bit smarter.

Get it? Got it? Good.

Posted by: swarty on March 12, 2008 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

I'm, per my handle, going to play deliberate contrarian on several issues.

First, is Obama that charismatic? I think not. I first saw him in the fall of 2006, when Dallas County Dems had him down here for a fundraiser. I wasn't blown away. Last month, when hearing his campaign radio spots before the Texas primary, I thought he had a lot of odd pauses in his diction. Again, nothing that said charisma.

I think that, as much, if not more, than with Bobby K, what we're witnessing is crowd psychology as much as anything.

Second, what Ferraro was talking about was not political experience, of course, but political visibility. I agree with gyrfalcon that, were Obama white, he wouldn't be getting the same play.

Brent: I saw Ferraro's follow-up comments as snark more than anything, and actually, a pretty damned good case of it.

That said, I agree that her original comment could have been phrased much better, not just better, but much better, than it actually was.

Oh, if Cynthia McKinney gets the Green nomination, we can all vote for a black woman and forget about both Obama and Clinton anyway.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on March 12, 2008 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Have to second Scott here.

My main concern with Clinton is that she really screwed up the Iraq AUMF. Kevin did too, but to his credit, he has since admitted this fact, and that is all you can do when you are wrong. I have done this many times, I am wrong a lot.

Clinton has never owned up. She really, really messed up with that vote. And unlike Kevin, she was a goddamn senator. It is a huge, dark, bad, disgusting mark on her record. And, it hasn't even really been trotted out in a significant manner as a reason as to why she is the wrong choice.

When you screw something like the Iraq war vote up, it is a huge deal. Huge. Morons like me knew that all Muslims are not the same, that Al-Q had no ties to Iraq, and that invasion was going to be a bad deal. I think Clinton did too, but was willing to roll the dice.

That is not the sign of a leader, it is the sign of a manipulator.

And Obama was not there, so his claims to have known better should be discounted accordingly...who knows how he would have voted if he had actually been in the Senate.

That said, what a big mistake. And how big does a mistake have to be before people question your judgment? $ 2 trillion so far and nearly 4000 dead soldiers counts in my book as a rather BIG mistake.

That said, I will vote for the Dem no matter who it is, and think that both of them are more than capable of being president. I just think it is weird that some folks don't account for the fact that Clinton made a really, really bad decision. We should not ignore that.

Posted by: abject funk on March 12, 2008 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

Hesitantly entering the fray. . .

Gary Hart is a good catch (10 versus 4 years in the senate . . . and I don't know how competitive Gary's elections were or what accomplishments he had in the senate, but good catch). Gary really demonstrated the power of small scale campaigns in New Hampshire.

I think Clinton 1992 is a no go for me. Like it or not 6 term democratic governors in red states get special dispensation. He did came from behind with a lot of charisma, but he had a story of "executive experience" that people did believe in.

I think the Kennedys also had a story to offer. War hero, political family dynasty, DOJ crusader, and assassination (+ charisma). Before my time, but charisma certainly wasn't the only element.

Maybe I'm taking this too literally but Obama has a story to offer too and a big part of it has to do with racial identity. His current campaign would not work nearly as well without his background story/image. A white man running a national unity campaign ("common hopes, common dreams, a bond that will not break") as a former community activist, state legislator, and first term senator (who won an open seat vacated by a Republican sex addict against a crazy man like Alan Keyes) would probably have a pretty hard time getting noticed. They would also be ill advised to channel MLK or write a book called "Dreams From My Father: A Story Of Race And Inheritance". People like Obama's story.

I'm not saying Obama couldn't do it. Just saying he'd need a different story, a different stump speech, and a different method of attacking his opponent. I'd have a hard time assessing it's power without seeing it.

Posted by: B on March 12, 2008 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

Don't be silly. No way would Obama be taken seriously as a first term Senator if he wasn't black.

However, for those who flinch from admitting the obvious on his credibility, it's much simpler if you just look at the primaries: no way would he be winning if he wasn't black.

If he were white, he wouldn't have won South Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, Maryland, and Mississippi. He's gone by or even before Super Tuesday.

And really, Kevin, if you and Josh can't acknowledge the obvious in that respect, then don't even bother bringing the subject up.

Posted by: Cal on March 12, 2008 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

Talk about cranky. I am old enough to remember that when Eugene McCarthy beat Bobby Kennedy in the Oregon primary, Bobby promptly dismissed the whole state of Oregon as being on the federal dole, which some how caused it to favor "Clean Gene" over "Ruthless Bobby". All in all politics is a lot tamer now; maybe we are just more aware because every gaff & misstep is promptly headlined on the internet and 24hr news channels.

Posted by: fafner1 on March 12, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Cal, who are we to assume would win those contests other than a white dude, or Hillary Clinton?

Of course, them wining would have nothing to do with their race, right?

Oh, that's right, all contestants would have been white, so no matter. Thank goodness race wouldn't have anything to do with that scenario.

Posted by: abject funk on March 12, 2008 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

if Obama were a charismatic young white guy

We had one of those guys in the race this year. Unlike Kennedy, Kennedy, Hart and Clinton, he found himself running against history, and lost.

Posted by: Aaron S. Veenstra on March 12, 2008 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

And, I think it proves your point Cal that Obama won Iowa and narrowly lost New Hampshire, basically tied in Nevada, and won S.C. before Super Tuesday.

No one but a black man could have pulled that off. Certainly not a white Democratic candidate running against other white candidates.

Simply impossible.

(sarcasm, of course)

Posted by: abject funk on March 12, 2008 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Moving a little deeper into the fray . . .

I do wonder about about the charisma. The most powerful speeches I've seen were obviously well practiced and/or with teleprompters. That's probably the way it always is and perhaps I'm unique in discounting ghost written, focus grouped, and practiced eloquence.

Posted by: B on March 12, 2008 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

Cal, Ferraro, Clinton. The best thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is stop digging.

Posted by: enozinho on March 12, 2008 at 1:55 AM | PERMALINK

Everything Ferraro said is true. The fact that you go on a diatribe as to why you feel it is not true only further substantiates the point. Obama has been given a free pass. Hillary has been pillored by the "pundits" and the progressive blogs (not to mention wingnut ones) and many many of her supporters are sick of it.

Why else would a person as ill prepared as Obama still be getting such good press if it were not for the "guilt thing".

Posted by: puppydog on March 12, 2008 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

I think that Ferraro's comments are so far off the mark that they border on the absurd. What luck being a black man in this society.
The Clinton's refusal to immediately fire Ferraro indicates that she wants to drag Obama into the gutter with her. As a life long Democrat I find her tactics completely offensive. Those are types of statements that Jesse Helms or Rush Limbaugh would make. We as Democrats need to stand up and demand a more respectful discourse within our own party.
Clinton and her supporters need to stop being so selfish and mean.

Posted by: marinko on March 12, 2008 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

Here's some food for thought: Ferraro said almost precisely the same thing about Jesse Jackson 20 years ago, so we have to assume the phenomenon she and some of the posters here are referring to has been present in American politics for at least that long

When we compare the overwhelming advantage black men have in obtaining elected office in this country to the reality that there've been only 2-3 elected as a Senator, Governor, or President over that time period, the only reasonable conclusion is that blacks must be completely incompetent at running for office

WOuld some of you Clinton supporters like to elaborate on why it is you think black men are so woefully incapable of parlaying their intrinsic advantages into electoral wins? Maybe they're all as "ill prepared" as Obama?

Seriously, do you people even listen to what you're saying? This is well beyond the dog-whistle stage. Cal, puppydog - you should be ashamed of yourselves

Posted by: crayz on March 12, 2008 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

Male Bovine Excrement. The JFK comparison is nonsense as he has over a decade of national political experience along with his WWII experience to base his candidacy on when he ran for President, Obama has only had a couple of years on the national stage and little else. To say that JFK shows that someone with as limited a resume as Obama could be this competitive without the racial factor in play (especially when the only real opposition in the party comes from a woman with a last name that evokes strong feelings in a culture that is nowhere as good about watching out for sexism/misogyny as it has become where race is concerned) because both were charismatic young candidates seriously diminishes what JFK brought to the table when he ran versus what Obama brings. With RFK he had been his brother's AG which gave him serious national experience as well as a record within the executive branch, also something Obama was lacking as well as having the legacy of his assassinated dead brother also pushing him forward, which Obama also lacks. So I have to say this defence fails the factual test in a major way IMHO.

I do see Obama's race as being a major factor in his winning as much as he has. Without the extremely high AA support he has behind him where would he be in both popular vote numbers and in delegate numbers? Nowhere near where he is now (although he would still be competitive I think, although whether he would be leading I am not so sure) I dare say. Demographics are what they are, and to point to them is not to be racist, and it is clear that the single largest factor in his lead comes from the near total lockup of the AA vote, especially since SC after managing to smear the Clinton campaign and both Clintons personally as race baiters willing to exploit racial divisions to win (something they had never been accused of before let alone shown to do in their lives until running against Obama, which in and of itself should have made people a bit more skeptical, especially given the strong track record they both had in advancing AA interests throughout their lives until this campaign) with.

I have said all along that what I saw was the Obama campaign using/playing the race card to great effect against the Clinton campaign, in many cases without anything remotely resembling a credible basis (the MLK/LBJ and Fairy Tale examples being two of the more offensive examples although far from the only ones, JJ jr's tears for Katrina victims comment after the NH loss was another, as was the clearly without any basis in fact claiming of the Bradley effect in NH by his campaign to explain that defeat since the Bradley effect means when a AA candidate polls higher than they get in the vote, which was not the case for NH he got what he was polling at) to do so with. Indeed, it was watching this happen, and how the MSM let him get away with it as well as too many progressives who I thought cared more for reality/facts than their partisanship and the encouragement of his campaign to let this continue which has resulted in the continuation of smearing the Clinton campaign as race baiters ever since than turned me from having questions about his viability in the GE to thinking he was clearly a dangerous candidate for the GE as well as a massive hypocrite and not what he appeared to be and claimed he was in terms of practicing a new kind of politics, this looks exactly like the old kind to me. After all, he and his campaign turned the Clintons into race baiters and smeared them with it despite their having no such history prior to running against Obama (indeed the Clinton history with AA issues was so good that WJC was called by many in that AA community the first black President) which the GOP can show to prove he is an old style politician who will say and do anything, including smearing the last Dem President as such despite such a history as WJC has on racial issues.

Far from being hurt by his race Obama has used it to great effect, including using it to rack up a near total lock on the AA vote, which in the Dem nomination fight is a major constituency, but in the GE is a far Far FAR weaker force demographically speaking, and even combined with the upper income white so called latte liberal demographic Obama has been getting falls far short of the needed demographics to win the GE with. When combined with the increasingly obvious alienation of many women voters as well as his inability to connect with both lower income Dems (the so called Reagan Dems) and Hispanic voters, all of which appear willing to consider McCain before Obama in a GE match up as has been recently noted in polling both exit and other makes his ability to win the GE far more dubious than many of his supporters appear willing to recognize. Indeed, I fear Obama is winning the nomination in such a manner that he loses the GE (aka winning the battle in a way to lose the war), and it will bee in no small part because of the way his campaign has used race to smear his opponent with while building his lead clearly on the disproportionate racially based voting of the AA community (after all, it is clearly because he is the first credible AA candidate that is getting him his massive lopsided AA support at the polls, he doesn’t have a record let alone a record on AA issues for AA voters to be drawn to to explain this lockup of the AA voters that he clearly has received) as well as the upper income latte liberals and the youth vote he has helped bring in (although that is less than many believe, and therefore not as massive a factor to be considered as the AA demographic IMHO although not one to be dismissed entirely) to these primaries.

I know this is not the view of most here, but this is what I have seen and tried to point out when it still might have made a difference. By this time I have to say I see Obama as the more probable winner of the nomination (although I do not think he has it locked up yet, HRC still has a viable chance of winning in the end, but it will take going to the convention to get there to do so with, but then since both sides cannot win without the SDs making the difference that is inevitable IMHO) but alas in a manner which may well have alienated a significant and possibly decisive number of Clinton supporters to the point they will go with McCain in the GE as more recent polling has been showing he loses far more of her supporters to McCain if he wins than she does of his if she wins the nomination.

Obama clearly has benefited far more from his AA racial element than been harmed by it in this nomination fight, and to claim otherwise given the results to date appears to me to be willful blindness given how obvious it is just on the demographics of his victories to date. I also have seen far more concern and focus on comments being racially insensitive against Obama than I have regarding sexually insensitive comments against HRC in both the media and the progressive blogosphere, and I find that most distasteful, ugly and a sad commentary on just how much more acceptable it is to be sexist in American society than it is to be seen as racist. What makes it worse is the argument that it is because she is a Clinton that she gets all this criticism, since that argument doesn't do anything to explain away why so many of the frames with which she has been attacked/criticized with have clearly sexist undertones when they aren't blatantly so altogether. Not to mention how often whenever her side has tried to point this out she and her campaign are accused of hining while whenever the Obama campaign has claimed racially insensitivity on the Clinton side it is accepted without question (see the Drudge Obama in the African outfit photo flap of the other week, that was immediately assumed by the Obama campaign and its supporters to be via the Clinton campaign despite no proof of this and it was treated as proven fact at that when it clearly was nothing but assumption and unsupported assumption at that) as one example and not the only one that can be pointed to in the past couple of months.

Posted by: Scotian on March 12, 2008 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

So let me get this straight. A Hillary supporter who says flatly that she hersef wouldn't have been the VP nominee in '84 if she wasn't a woman, in an effort to defend a politician that traded on their name for a cushy senate seat in a deep blue state, while magically becoming the most qualified democrat in the country, is claiming that Barak Obama has an unfair advantage because he's black. OK, run with that.

p.s. Clinton should have had some clue about the treatment she would get from the press when Tim Russert literally goaded her into running every time she was on MTP.

p.p.s Progressive don't like her because she's wrong on the most important foreign policy issue of our generation.

Posted by: enozinho on March 12, 2008 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

Obama clearly has benefited far more from his AA racial element than been harmed by it in this nomination fight, and to claim otherwise given the results to date appears to me to be willful blindness given how obvious it is just on the demographics of his victories to date.

Yes, yes and yes. But both candidates have strong "solidarity" support. And last time I checked women outnumbered men in the voting department. If they don't cancel eachother out, it's pretty damn close.

Thing is, he beats her anyway, even when you take into consideration all the other advantages that she is supposed to have.

Consider your argument crushed.

Posted by: enozinho on March 12, 2008 at 2:42 AM | PERMALINK

One thing that I noticed on the Fox clip, Ferraro is identified as a Fox contributor. I’m guessing that means she works for Fox.

Posted by: antiphone on March 12, 2008 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Ferraro has a point. But Clinton "outscores" Obama when it comes to unearned runs.

Posted by: Rick Herrick on March 12, 2008 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

Let me put it another way. Check out these exit polls from OH.


White women 44% 67 31
Black men 7% 15 85
Black women 11% 12 88

White women made up 44% of all voters and went 67-31 for Clinton. AA's were 18% and went Obama roughly 15-85. I expect the Clinton campaign to reject and denounce the OH results because they show a clear advantage to Clinton because based on gender.

Posted by: enozinho on March 12, 2008 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

The first thing that struck me, when I read Ferraro's comment, was this: "Hillary Clinton owes her success this year to being the wife of former president Bill Clinton." That is, had she been married to just about anybody else on this planet, she would not now be where she is.

My next thought was, "So what?" Yeah, Barack Obama owes his current position to being black. Had he been white, he MIGHT be in the same position, but surely would have taken a far different path to get there. And, actually, the same could be said of Hillary Clinton. Had she never met Bill, she might still be where she is, but the path would have been far, far different.

There may be very good reasons for supporting Clinton over Obama, or Obama over Clinton. But I don't think the accident of Obama's race, or Hillary's marriage, are among them.

Posted by: Roger Keeling on March 12, 2008 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see:

Shot
Shot
Career ending sex scandal
Impeached for sex scandal

Keep your eyes peeled and your zipper shut, Obama!

Posted by: Boronx on March 12, 2008 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand Ferraro's point. Should Obama have gone in for some skin whitening? Or maybe he was supposed to bow out because he's black?

Posted by: Boronx on March 12, 2008 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

He was supposed to wait and triangulate like Clinton did while Bush was ruining the country. That's his sin.

Posted by: enozinho on March 12, 2008 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

Contra Ferraro, vide Ferraro, id aspidistra carborundum, philologus fortuito.

Posted by: Anon on March 12, 2008 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

Awesome. It's not a party if Cal's not here to spew race-mongering drivel.

Posted by: jbryan on March 12, 2008 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK

Are you all delusional?

Is it difficult to comprehend that Obama won South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia solely on account of winning 90% of the black vote?

Do you have to work too hard to accept that his 90% dominance was due almost entirely to his race?

Is it a struggle for you to grasp that, had he not won those states, he would not have stayed in the race, because caucuses and Connecticut wouldn't give him the edge?

And then, is it beyond your struggling to achieve double digit IQs to understand that none of this involves his wins in the caucus states, that it explicitly acknowledges his wins there?

Apparently so.

I don't think the superdelegates are that dumb, though.

Posted by: Cal on March 12, 2008 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

Scotian: I do see Obama's race as being a major factor in his winning as much as he has. Without the extremely high AA support he has behind him where would he be in both popular vote numbers and in delegate numbers? Nowhere near where he is now (although he would still be competitive I think, although whether he would be leading I am not so sure) I dare say. Demographics are what they are, and to point to them is not to be racist

But it's dumb to point that out. I could just as easily say that Hillary would be no where if she weren't the wife of Bill Clinton, or that we wouldn't see so many Bush's or Kennedy's holding public office if their names weren't Bush or Kennedy. People are who they are.

Most importantly though, let's not pretend Obama didn't win states like Iowa, North Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, Idaho, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Vermont, Maine, Alaska, or Hawaii. Last time I checked, those states weren't awash with AA voters. But I'm sure you'll find some other reason to discount those...


Scotian: Indeed, I fear Obama is winning the nomination in such a manner that he loses the GE (aka winning the battle in a way to lose the war), and it will bee in no small part because of the way his campaign has used race to smear his opponent with while building his lead clearly on the disproportionate racially based voting of the AA community

Oh I see, Obama made Bill Clinton make those dumb remarks about Jesse Jackson and South Carolina. And apparently he made Hillary say that clumsy remark about LBJ and Martin Luther King. And now he's somehow made Ferraro sound like lunatic grasping at straws to explain away Obama's success. Damn that Obama and his Jedi mind tricks, when will he stop forcing the Clinton campaign from shooting itself in the foot.


Scotian: see the Drudge Obama in the African outfit photo flap of the other week, that was immediately assumed by the Obama campaign and its supporters to be via the Clinton campaign despite no proof of this

Not to continue beating this dead horse, but I have yet to hear a good excuse for why the Clinton campaign defended the photo. When asked about it they continually say "It didn't come from us, but what's Obama complaining about, it's a nice photo"....which isn't exactly the attitude I'd expect from a campaign that had nothing to do with. At best it shows that they tacitly approved of its circulation.


Scotian: By this time I have to say I see Obama as the more probable winner of the nomination (although I do not think he has it locked up yet, HRC still has a viable chance of winning in the end, but it will take going to the convention to get there to do so with, but then since both sides cannot win without the SDs making the difference that is inevitable IMHO) but alas in a manner which may well have alienated a significant and possibly decisive number of Clinton supporters

The paths to a Hillary "victory" are: Change the rules in the middle of an election to get the MI and FL delegates seated AS IS, OR rely on the superdelegates to erase Obama's delegate lead and override the will of the voters.

In other words, she can only win by stealing it from Obama...yet if she's not allowed to steal it, her supporters will feel alienated?? Well shit, sorry, this is an election after all not a coronation, someone has to lose.


Posted by: Joe on March 12, 2008 at 3:34 AM | PERMALINK

Is it difficult to comprehend that Obama won South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia solely on account of winning 90% of the black vote?

Considering he got a majority of white votes in Virginia, yes, it's difficult to comprehend the idea that he won that state solely on the back of the black vote. Meanwhile, if you had taken the black vote in South Carolina and shrunk it down to New York levels, Obama still would have won.

Meanwhile, noting that Obama got lots of black votes doesn't prove Gerry's point, that he only got to where he is by being black. If Obama was a white man, he very plausibly could have gotten more votes from white men in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. In fact, isn't that exactly the point you've been making all this time? That whites don't like Obama because he's black?

Do you have to work too hard to accept that his 90% dominance was due almost entirely to his race?

Carol Moseley-Braun and Al Sharpton didn't get 90% of the black vote between them in 2004. Obama isn't getting 90% of the black vote simply because he's black.

I don't think the superdelegates are that dumb, though.

Considering the rate the superdelegates are swinging towards Obama, maybe they are. Or maybe they're not the dumb ones here, Cal.

Posted by: jbryan on March 12, 2008 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

Everything Ferraro said is true! Being black is a HUGE advantage when it comes to winning national elections!! That's why out of the thousands of people who have been elected to the United States House of Representatives, the US Senate the presidency and state governorships in the last 200 years, the overwhelming majority of them have been black. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to name even five white congressmen/senators/presidents/governors off the top of my head.

No, wait, hold on. Like Ferraro, I sometimes confuse my 'white' from my 'black'. Please correct both of our statements by substituting "white" for "black" and vice versa.

Now it's correct.

Cal: However, for those who flinch from admitting the obvious on his credibility, it's much simpler if you just look at the primaries: no way would he be winning if he wasn't black.

The implication being that the only thing keeping Obama in the race is the African-American vote? And yet some of Obama's biggest victories have come in states with very small to virtually non-existant African-American populations:

The percentage of votes Obama received in the following states:


  • Alaska (74%)

  • Colorado (64%)

  • Hawaii (76%)

  • Idaho (80%)

  • Iowa (38%, 30%, 29% - Obama, Hillary, Edwards)

  • Kansas (74%)

  • Maine 59%(%)

  • Minnesota (67%)

  • Nebraska (68%)

  • North Dakota (61%)

  • Utah (57%)

  • Vermont (60%)

  • Washington (68%)

  • Wyoming (61%)

  • Wisconsin (58%)

More correctly, Hillary would have been out of the race months ago if she weren't white and receiving not only a wildly disproportionate share of the white vote but also a record numbers of REPUBLICAN votes (we're still waiting for Hillary to both 'reject and condemn' Rush Limbaugh's support).

Yes, it is true that Obama has frequently received around 80% of the African-American votes in some Southern states. But that's only half the story - and obviously the only side the Clinton campaign wants to focus on.

The flip side of this is that the white vote in the South has been similarly skewed to the extreme. Among Southern states, only Georgia gave Obama more than 30% of the white vote.

Obama's share of the white vote in the South


  • Mississippi 26%

  • Alabama 25%

  • Georgia 43%

  • Louisiana 30%

  • South Carolina 24%

  • Tennessee 26%

But I'm sure all the white southerners had good, substantive reasons for voting for Hillary Clinton whereas all of the black people voting for Obama were just voting their race.

After all, isn't that more or less what Ferraro is implying?

Posted by: Augustus on March 12, 2008 at 4:46 AM | PERMALINK

Has this thread been closed for posting? My last post was held for moderation - a first.

Posted by: Augustus on March 12, 2008 at 4:49 AM | PERMALINK

Last post went to moderation - reposting without links and bullets to see if this works.

Everything Ferraro said is true! Being black is a HUGE advantage when it comes to winning national elections!! That's why out of the thousands of people who have been elected to the United States House of Representatives, the US Senate the presidency and state governorships in the last 200 years, the overwhelming majority of them have been black. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to name even five white congressmen/senators/presidents/governors off the top of my head.

No, wait, hold on. Like Ferraro, I sometimes confuse my 'white' from my 'black'. Please correct both of our statements by substituting "white" for "black" and vice versa.

Now it's correct.

Cal: However, for those who flinch from admitting the obvious on his credibility, it's much simpler if you just look at the primaries: no way would he be winning if he wasn't black.

The implication being that the only thing keeping Obama in the race is the African-American vote? And yet some of Obama's biggest victories have come in states with very small to virtually non-existant African-American populations:

The Obama received in the following states (web source: electoral-vote):

Alaska (74%)
Colorado (64%)
Hawaii (76%)
Idaho (80%)
Iowa (38%, 30%, 29% - Obama, Hillary, Edwards)
Kansas (74%)
Maine 59%(%)
Minnesota (67%)
Nebraska (68%)
North Dakota (61%)
Utah (57%)
Vermont (60%)
Washington (68%)
Wyoming (61%)
Wisconsin (58%)

More correctly, Hillary would have been out of the race months ago if she weren't white and receiving not only a wildly disproportionate share of the white vote but also a record numbers of REPUBLICAN votes (we're still waiting for Hillary to both 'reject and condemn' Rush Limbaugh's support).

Yes, it is true that Obama has frequently received around 80% of the African-American votes in some Southern states. But that's only half the story - and obviously the only side the Clinton campaign wants to focus on.

The flip side of this is that the white vote in the South has been similarly skewed to the extreme. Among Southern states, only Georgia gave Obama more than 30% of the white vote.

Obama's share of the white vote in the South (from Pollster - link omitted to avoid moderation)

Mississippi 26%
Alabama 25%
Georgia 43%
Louisiana 30%
South Carolina 24%
Tennessee 26%

But I'm sure all the white southerners had good, substantive reasons for voting for Hillary Clinton whereas all of the black people voting for Obama were just voting their race.

After all, isn't that more or less what Ferraro is implying?

Posted by: Augustus on March 12, 2008 at 4:55 AM | PERMALINK

Gerry is just a dumb ol' white ethnic from Queens showing her stripes. Around the dinner table they drop their voices when accounting for the success of AfAms -- can you hear it? -- "well, he's a black guy." They speak euphamistically of "minorities" which, frankly, is polite dinner speak for the N word. Sort of a catch-basin for aggrieved white ethnics who fail to account for their own rise through the traditional white-only court houses, trade unions and -- yes, Gerry -- organized crime that lifted *you* up and made you a great American! Their bitterness runs a mile wide and deep, and is always just below the surface in knowing winks and nods...

Posted by: noneoftheabove on March 12, 2008 at 5:03 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I give you a huge amount of credit for not using Ferraro as an excuse to accuse Hillary Clinton of racism.

Posted by: Steve on March 12, 2008 at 5:11 AM | PERMALINK

No one finds it odd that women (and progressive men) might be interested in seeing a female president. Why is it then so unmentionable that blacks (and progressive whites) might be interested in seeing a black president?

Posted by: Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 5:18 AM | PERMALINK

Charisma is underrated.

FDR and Truman had basically the same agenda. FDR's charisma helped him secure majorities in the house and senate and big victory margins. Truman, not so much.

If Truman had FDRs charisma, we wouldn't be debating how to achieve universal health care right now, we'd be debating how to make it better, instead.

Charisma does count. You want a filibuster proof Senate, then you should be pulling for Obama.

Seems simple to me.

Posted by: Bub on March 12, 2008 at 5:21 AM | PERMALINK

Um Cal?

If HC wasn't getting 80% of the old white female vote she would have been smoked long ago.

She ran a terrible campaign. She continues to run a terrible campaign. Seriously, if she wins the nomination, does she expect to be able to pivot away from "experience is everything"?

Obama is not the second coming of christ, but he definitely is a better politician than HC.

End of story.

Posted by: Adam on March 12, 2008 at 5:35 AM | PERMALINK

Obama has the "guilty white liberal" vote all locked up. The cool black friend that white people can feel good voting for. That won't be an advantage in the general election, but Ferraro was right that his skin color got him where he is in the Democratic primary process. But no -- we can't admit that, can we?

Posted by: captcrisis on March 12, 2008 at 6:25 AM | PERMALINK

If Obama was at one time a white woman, who had an operation and became a white man, then took some pigment pills (ala black like me) and became a black man, then he would be king of the world! He might have to learn Spanish so he could be counted at Latino. Wow, I really see Geraldine's point.

Posted by: jvoe on March 12, 2008 at 6:38 AM | PERMALINK

Ferraro is pissed because her gal pal well on her way to a coronation when an election broke out. The rest of it is just an elaboration on the whine.

Don't trash her lifetime of major contributions to America,the Democratic party, and the woman's movement on the basis of her unfortunate comments. Ferraro is just a passionate Hillary supporter trying to figure out what went wrong. She didn't saying anything that isn't being written in comment threads all across the net.


Posted by: Corpus Juris on March 12, 2008 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

"her gal pal was." Preview is our friend.

Posted by: Corpus Juris on March 12, 2008 at 7:14 AM | PERMALINK

Of all the "charismatic white guys" you named, how many of them had just four years on the national stage -- and four unimpressive years, at that? (The most obscure one on your list was Clinton, who, while not a national figure, had served two terms running a state.)

I would put to you the same challenge that was put to that Obama supporter in Texas a couple of weeks back: What, exactly, has are his accomplishments?

As for the black/female comparison, if Clinton were garnering 90% of the female vote, that would be a legitimate point. She's not.

Obama is gaining a humongous amount of his support from the black community, which is fine -- and also is a legitimate thing to point out. I also believe that the fact that he is black has played a role in the incredibly kid-glove media treatment he's gotten, which has also played a huge role in his success. Pointing out that race plays a role is not racism -- it's realism.

Posted by: ednaparker on March 12, 2008 at 7:52 AM | PERMALINK

But is America ready for a white president?

Posted by: bart on March 12, 2008 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

In response to the comment at the top.. these older women voters are an important part of the Democratic coalition. Obama needs these voters to win in the Fall.

Posted by: PE on March 12, 2008 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

"And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is."

As phrased, this statement is the very definition of patently absurd. Obama's race adds a certain "wow" factor to media coverage. But to claim that he "would not be in this position" without being black is wrong on so many counts. His position as front-runner is the culmination of a "lifetime of experience" to paraphrase Hillary Clinton. The implicit assumption made by those who agree with this statement is that Obama's campaign has been created by the media out of whole cloth. Perhaps that's why Clinton's strategists seem so inept. If you assume that it's all about one's political brand and the quality of advertising, then you're going to get the increasingly boneheaded and self-defeating tactical moves that have been coming out of her camp lately.

I've really soured on Hillary. She seems to be confirming long standing caricatures of her as a creature of polls and focus groups. I don't think that's the way she has behaved as NY senator or even earlier in her own professional career, but her apparent decision to use the Bill Clinton playbook for achieving national office has proved disastrous for her and should really cast doubts about both her judgment and instincts. Her team is living in the past, and their response to bad news is to deny the facts rather than to change strategy.

Sad.

Being black has both helped and hurt Obama, just as being a women has both helped and hurt Hillary Clinton, but on balance it's pretty unlikely that Obama's color is a plus on his electoral ledger.

I'd say it's a net plus for his campaign. But who cares? Having the last name "Clinton" has both help and hurt Hillary. All in all, despite the Clinton hatred, I'd say she wouldn't be in this position if she wasn't named Clinton. This is the main reason that Ferraro's comments are laughable. Her candidate is far more vulnerable to similar charges. No one would deny that Clinton name recognition is essential to Hillary's success.

And that's just plain crackers.

Sounds like a David Chapelle descripion of Geraldine Ferraro.

Posted by: lobbygow on March 12, 2008 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

I've got three words for cal and captcrisis: go fuck yourselves.

you two maroons are exactly the reason I detest Hillbots more than the woman herself. "white guilt" has squat to do with why I am supporting Obama over Clinton. It has everything to do with that on the most important issue of our generation, the Iraq fiasco, he was right, and she was wrong. It's all about judgment. HRC and her acolyte Hillbots constantly harp about her experience. Look where her 'experience' got us.

you two ignoramuses, along with your brethren in Texa, Ohio and aparently Mississippi, prove that racist pricks are still alive and well in the Democratic party. I'm glad I'm an Independent. Oh, did I mention for you to go fuck yourselves? Good.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 12, 2008 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Don't be silly. No way would Obama be taken seriously as a first term Senator if he wasn't black.

Let me see... a first term Senator being taken seriously as a presidential candidate... what was it... all they way back in 2004? 2008? ... I think there was this guy John Edwards --- first termer with /no/ other elected experience. He was taken pretty seriously.

Posted by: dagome on March 12, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

In the race to claim the mantle of most disenfranchised, who wins? Women or Blacks?

It's sad that this is what the election is being reduced to.

Posted by: Quinn on March 12, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

uh oh, noneoftheabove;

better watch out for those "racists"!

Posted by: Tracy Pollina on March 12, 2008 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

I'll second what Roger Keeling said. Being African American is part of his story just like being a woman and a strong first lady is part of Hillary's story. Both Kevin and Josh Marshall focused on the identity politics element of the equation (x votes for x), which wasn't really a part of the equation until both candidates started playing the victim. Before Iowa I think candidates were universally assisted by their "stories". At this point in our history I think it's safe to say (in the democratic party) that racist and sexist stigmas are of much less significant than the backlash against our history. It may take some effort to categorize all the different elements of Hillary haters, but I'd argue that both candidates came into the race with very low negatives related simply to their identity.

Posted by: B on March 12, 2008 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

"I think there was this guy John Edwards --- first termer with /no/ other elected experience. He was taken pretty seriously."

Edwards won two states in 2004. He won the first by sitting back and letting the other candidates hit each other in the face. The headline was that Dean had lost and the race was wide open. I'm sure Edwards wishes he was taken more seriously.


Posted by: B on March 12, 2008 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

Obama's father was African Black. His mother was American White.

Why is Obama classified as Black if he is half and half? He is as White as he is Black.

Oh, yeah. I forgot. The slavers, conservatives all, made the distinction we all use even today, didn't they?

Posted by: Rick B on March 12, 2008 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Let's be honest: Ferraro has never had any charisma. No one would be listening to her now if she had not been so very lucky to get nominated to run for Veep. She lost, big time. End of her story.

Posted by: hollywood on March 12, 2008 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Geraldine Ferraro isn't White. She's Italian.

[As long as we are using 19th century distinctions.]

Up until recently, I have said that I would support either Obama or Clinton as the Democratic candidate. But this crap from Geraldine Ferraro hasn't been rejected by Clinton, which means that it is Clinton policy.

There is no way now that I will vote for the racist gutterslime Clinton. If she steals the nomination somehow I'll sit out the Presidential election.

Posted by: Rick B on March 12, 2008 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Why does ANYONE care what Geraldine Ferraro thinks/says? What has she ever done at all? I hate the idea that she has any credibility in our government and voting process in 2008. Make her go away.

Posted by: doc on March 12, 2008 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

Rick B. what a dumbass!! so you are going to pout and help elect McCain? Rush would be proud of you!! same goes for those who would "sit it out" if Obama is nom., which he probably will be.

Posted by: puppydog on March 12, 2008 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

The only route to the nomination for the Clinton campaign is the politics of division. White against Black, Man against Woman. And they think somehow they can then put it together again after the nomination in order to win the general election.

Sad, isn't it? When personal ambition justifies all collateral damage?

"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind."

Posted by: The Other Ed on March 12, 2008 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

It really is fascinating to read people like Cal and others try to defend Ferraro's remarks. They seem to have convinced themselves of a clearly ridiculous premise: that in American electoral politics, its black people who have all the advantages. Its such a patently stupid position that I had assumed that Ferraro was just exhibiting some sort of dementia but apparently she has been making these sorts of remarks for years and she has plenty of defenders. Whatever. Trying to discuss racial issues like this with people in this context in a reasonable way is just a waste of time and it tends to make me sleepy.

What I will ask to Cal and others defending Ferraro is this: What would Obama have to do? What series of tests would he have to pass to prove to you and Ferraro that he deserves what he has achieved? What criteria that he has yet to satisfy would indicate that he is getting votes because people want to vote for him as opposed to voting for him because they feel sympathy for his plight as a black man? Is there any such criteria? Is it even possible for a black person to have achieved something that wasn't due in large part to his race? How would we ever know?

Posted by: brent on March 12, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin writes, "Charismatic young John F. Kennedy won the presidency in 1960. His brother, charismatic young Robert F. Kennedy, attracted huge support in 1968 and might have become president as well if he hadn't been assassinated. Charismatic young Gary Hart nearly stole the 1984 Democratic nomination from Walter Mondale. And charismatic young Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992."

John Kennedy had more time in the Senate, extensive world travel, exposure to his father's work as Ambassador, and a couple of books on politics under his belt. Robert had his years as Attorney General and some time in the Senate, plus his intimate involvement with the JFK and LBJ regimes and his second-hand knowledge from the political careers of his two brothers and his father. I believe Hart had more time in the Senate, and I remember him as more a part of national policy debates than Obama (but I may be conflating his Senate career with his presidential run on this point). Bill Clinton had multiple terms as Governor, was prominent among his fellow Governors and was a well-known participant in the political debates of the Reagan era.

Obama, in addition to being charismatic, is an accomplished man, given his education, his two books, his community organizing experience, part-time law-professor job at a top law school, State government experience and time in the Senate. I admit it is a close call in some of the cited cases, but by and large it seems to me he does not have quite the same level of experience relevant to the presidency as the men Kevin cited had.

Fortunately for Obama, his level of experience is sufficient to compete with that of Senator Clinton and, while he was still in the race, Senator Edwards. Mindful of the differences between being the spouse of an executive and being the executive oneself, I still think Clinton has more applicable experience than Obama does (though not to the extent she claims).

That said, I will gladly vote for him if he is the nominee. In the unlikely event Senator Clinton prevails, I hope those who feel "we wuz robbed" can get past that feeling and vote for her, rather than staying home or voting for McSame on the basis of his media persona as a "straight talker." Let's keep in mind that the candidates disagree on very little except which one of them should be the next president.

Posted by: Bob on March 12, 2008 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

I think I take this all a bit personally because I can identify with it to a large extent. I am also black and ivy league educated and while I certainly haven't achieved at anything like Obama's level, I have done fairly well for myself. I feel as if I am constantly having to prove to imbeciles that I actually deserve my achievements and I have felt that way all my life.

I remember that at the first company I worked for when I got out of college, the majority of the workers were black but everyone in upper and middle management was white. I did pretty well at that company and was promoted to management fairly quickly.

What amazed me once I got there was that here was this company that had existed in a primarily black city (D.C) for 25 years and had in its history had maybe one other black person in middle management. Out of its pool of 100s of loyal and dedicated black workers through its existence, it had only on extremely rare occasions even considered promoting any of them to a management position. And yet, when I was one of the rare ones to get that shot, I was the one whispered to have the unfair advantage because I was black. It still boggles my mind but I guess that is why this sort of crap with Ferraro shouldn't surprise me.

Posted by: brent on March 12, 2008 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Charismic young John Edwards, John Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Gary Hart were asked the same question repeatedly and it was thought a legitimate question. Where Ferraro got it wrong was to tie the question into race and where some of the Obama people have it wrong is to think everyone who questions his experience is doing so because of race. Its going to be the first words out of McCain's mouth and anyone doubting it is fooling themselves.

Posted by: aline on March 12, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

aline, you mean the same way Ferraro tied Jesse Jackson's candidacy to race in the 80s? She's done it twice to two different candidates. How can anybody defend her on this?

Posted by: GOD on March 12, 2008 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

but then since both sides cannot win without the SDs making the difference that is inevitable IMHO) but alas in a manner which may well have alienated a significant and possibly decisive number of Clinton supporters to the point they will go with McCain in the GE as more recent polling has been showing he loses far more of her supporters to McCain if he wins than she does of his if she wins the nomination.

Recent polling? Where? Please cite and provide links.

I thought the conventional wisdom on this blog at least was that Hillary's supporters were committed, mature Democrats who would support the eventual Democratic nominee no matter what, whereas some of Obama's supporters were Johnny-come-lately voters that would stay home and pout if Hillary pulled off a procedural victory.

But let's assume what you say is accurate. Why would I want to vote for someone who has so many petty and vindictive supporters?

It's easy to point to the "Obamabots" on the internet and make charges of naivete, hyperbole and over the top snark. Unfortunately, I think that is unavoidable in a forum where people can post anonymously.

However, I think both Hillary and her surrogates have been far more disdainful and dismissive of Obama in public than he has of her. His campaign's two biggest slips were "you're likable enough" and Power's comment about Hillary being a monster. He has consistently pledged to support her if she is the nominee. Have we heard similar assurances from her campaign? I don't recall any.

I used to regularly post in comments that Hillary was not the "win at all costs" caricature that so many Obama supporters had been braying about for weeks. I still think she has every right to remain in the campaign as long as she wishes. BUT...she needs to start winning by convincing folks that she would make the best president. Instead, she's putting all her effort into convincing voters to have second thoughts about an Obama presidency. Not a particularly inspiring message for a leader who represents "real change." More like business as usual.

Posted by: lobbygow on March 12, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

What criteria that he has yet to satisfy would indicate that he is getting votes because people want to vote for him as opposed to voting for him because they feel sympathy for his plight as a black man? Is there any such criteria?

"Sympathy" is a little patronizing. We're celebrating his achievements as an African American community activist and politician and we're to a much lesser extent congratulating ourselves on the progress our nation has made with respect to race. Same is true for Hillary. You can't take away her gender.

Both candidates are running on their identity (sex, race, experience, history, etc.) and both have called the election "historic" for this reason. They've both written books which stress their race/sex, our national history, and it's relevance to today's politics. In stump speeches, their spouses bring up their sex/race as specific reasons to vote for them.

That said, I'm not sure what Ferraro was saying and I'm certain she said it poorly. I'm guessing she thinks that outside of "identity politics", Hillary is the more experienced/wonkish.

Posted by: B on March 12, 2008 at 9:54 AM | PERMALINK

As a white male in Pennsylvania, I resent Geraldine Ferraro's patently absurd statement that Senator Obama is "lucky" to be a candidate for president because he's African-American. If Mrs. Clinton were black, I would oppose her because of her Rovian tactics, her pathological need to be divisive, and her incredible ego--not because of her gender; I never supported the African-American male Al Sharpton for the same reasons. But Senator Obama presents us with a chance to end the kind of mean-spirited politics of destruction embraced by Mrs. Clinton and her brood of misanthropes.

Posted by: John in Philadelphia on March 12, 2008 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

If Ms. Ferraro had been Mr. Ferraro, she would never have been the 1984 Democratic Vice Presidential and we would certainly not be paying any attention to anything she had to say about Senator Obama.

Posted by: Temple Houston on March 12, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

only the Hart comparison is tenable - your own mag has shown how false any comparison to Kennedy is, and Clinton was a successful gov who emerged out of a pretty mediocre field, and whatever you wanna say about Hillary, mediocre she ain't: she was the overwhelming front runner and it seems completely reasonable to suggest that if Obama were white he would not have been able to overcome the difference - I mean forget the fact that he's getting 9 out of 10 black votes, which is ridiculous since it's obvious blacks are voting for him merely because he's black - but there's a long paper trail here of white somewhat young supposed intellectuals, like yourself Kevin, who have inflated the Obama bubble and are supporting the guy because he's 'different' - ie it appeals to their liberal fantasy of what a transcendent moment it will be when America elects a black president, which says more about how bad the last eight years have been then it does about how wonderful the next eight will ostensibly be under Obama.

Posted by: rose on March 12, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

I'd just like to add one thing. Implicit in Ferraro's statement is the idea that if Obama were a charismatic young white guy, there's no way he'd be getting any attention. And that's just plain crackers.

As my girlfriend said yesterday in response to Ferraro's comments, "Capable, charismatic white men seem to do pretty well in this country last time I checked."

Posted by: Stefan on March 12, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

That said, I'm not sure what Ferraro was saying and I'm certain she said it poorly.

Give me an effing break. She said exactly what the Clinton campaign told her to say. Her statement is snidely designed to further minimize Obama with older white women and racist men -- HRC's main constituency in PA. It's right out of Smear 101.

The sooner this queen of the "mean-spirited politics of destruction" exits, the better.

Posted by: Econobuzz on March 12, 2008 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Delegatewise Penn and NC combined will either be +5 or so delegates for Obama or a wash. The race is over. The only way Hillary can win the nomination is to murder the Democratic party by convincing the Superdelegates to overturn the voters and use surrogate hatchetmen like Ferraro to do it. If that happens the Dems won't win a Presidential election for the next 3 cycles. Obama will certainly have the popular vote (especially when you factor in the caucus states that haven't reported popular votes yet - he won 3 out of 4) he will definitely have the most pledged delegates. Mathmatically Hillary cannot catch up. The ONLY scenario that nominates Hillary is to overturn the popular vote AND the pledged delegates which makes a complete and utter mockery of this whole Primary season. If that happens the under 40 and African American voters will fly away from the party like rats leaving a sinking ship. Additionally, if that DOES happen then the Democratic Party deserves to be ruined.

Bill Clinton said Hillary had to win Texas AND Ohio to have a chance. She lost Texas. She won the popular vote in the Primary but she lost the Caucus AND she lost the delegate totals. Every day she stays in the race is a one day closer to President McCain and the Superdelegates need to understand this. I'm a lifelong Democrat, but if this Primary season ends with Hillary getting the nomination because of backdoor deals with Superdelegates or worse, flipping pledged delegates, then I guess I'm a Nader man... Wake up DNC!

Posted by: Da5id on March 12, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

She said exactly what the Clinton campaign told her to say.

Clinton's campaign is going for the bitter old white woman vote? I read her stuff again and it's hard for me to believe that it successfully passed through any focus group. It sounds more like she's just bitter about the impending Hillary loss and lashing out. It's definitely biased in a pot/kettle kind of way. Identity matters in this election, but it matters to both sides.

Posted by: B on March 12, 2008 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Every time the press repeats her words it only en-grains it in some people that those types of comments are acceptable and right.

That said if this race was turned around and Obama was where HRC is, the first question out of the media's mouth would be "Are you going to drop out now that it is mathematically impossible to win enough delegates?".


So being a woman has given Hillary a much greater advantage with the press then being black has for Obama.

Posted by: JoeSixPack on March 12, 2008 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

That said, I'm not sure what Ferraro was saying and I'm certain she said it poorly. I'm guessing she thinks that outside of "identity politics", Hillary is the more experienced/wonkish.

If she thinks she could make a statement about identity politics as they pertain to Obama, and then expect Clinton to be viewed outside those same parameters, she's nuts.

Once again the Clinton campaign or surrogates go for short-term tactical advantage to the detriment of long-term strategy. Leaving aside the outrageousness of Ferraro's remarks, does she think we're not going to go on to draw the line to..."and Hillary's lucky she's a woman who's married to a president"?

Could be a pretty dumb move in the long run, likely to alienate a segment of whites as well as blacks. Unfortunately, I think it was directed at that portion of white Democrats whose vague resentment of "political correctness" is such that they're incapable of drawing the line between how Ferraro's statements apply to a black guy and how they apply to a white woman. So Ferraro's comments will probably be very effective in their intended purpose, stoking some white voter resentment in Pennsylvania.

Obama is going to have to be very careful how he responds to this kind of bait going forward.

Posted by: shortstop on March 12, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK


rose, how about the fact that over 75% of whites voted for Hillary, what does that mean oh great one? Why didn't Ferraro say Hillary is lucky to be white then since she gets overwhelming % of white votes? Why didn't she say that Hillary is lucky to be old because an overwhelming majority of old voters support her? How about the % of women voting for her, is she lucky to be a woman too and why didn't Ferraro say that too?

When AAs vote 90% for democrats in the GEs, they do it because they are black not based on the issues, right? I find it highly insulting to read this nonsense. When a lot of people were yapping at the beginning of this election that Barack was not black enough and the polls showed more support for Hillary even among the AA community, I didn't see these morons coming out to claim he is lucky to be black. Suddenly now that he is getting a big majority, it is because he is black and not because he is a winner, or that he is charimatic. Has nothing to do with the fact that he was againt this stupid war and an overwhelming majority of AAs is againsst this stupid war. Has nothing to do with his a solid grass root movement/organization. No, AAs support him cos he is black. Idiots.


Posted by: GOD on March 12, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan: As my girlfriend said yesterday in response to Ferraro's comments, "Capable, charismatic white men seem to do pretty well in this country last time I checked."

Honey, she was totally buttering you up. Good girl! I assume you enthusiastically fell for it. :)

Posted by: shortstop on March 12, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

If Obama were a charismatic white guy, he'd already have the nomination locked up. If Hillary hadn't been First Lady, she wouldn't be the Senator from New York OR a candidate for President. She's be a lawyer in Arkansas.

Posted by: bcinaz on March 12, 2008 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I am not defending Geraldine Ferraro. I think the experience question should be asked of every candidate including Hillary (the tea lady) Clinton regardless of race or gender. The statements attributed to Ferraro are being said daily in the media with little variation by different pundits. So why is it ok for some people to make similar statements and even more inflammatory ones on air with no consequences and a hanging offense for others? If Ferraro was a Republican or a conservative no one would bat an eyelash at these staements.

Posted by: aline on March 12, 2008 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

"whatever you wanna say about Hillary, mediocre she ain't: she was the overwhelming front runner and it seems completely reasonable to suggest that if Obama were white he would not have been able to overcome the difference"

And why, exactly, was Hillary such an overwhelming front runner?

Was she more charismatic than Chris Dodd? No.

Did she have a better resume than Bill Richardson? No.

Was she more "ready on day one" than Joe Biden? No.

If any Hillary supporter can honestly think about WHY she was the frontrunner to start the race, they could easily understand how absurd Ferraro's comments are.

Mike

Posted by: MBunge on March 12, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

There is some truth to her statement. She did say it very inartfully. Many Obama supporters I know (upper-income liberals) say that part of the reason that they like Obama is that it would help erase the stain of racism in this country. It's very similar to the arguement that some women are making in Clinton's case in dealing sexism a blow.

Posted by: w23 on March 12, 2008 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

And that's just plain crackers.

Kevin is a very funny man.

Edwards keeps saying he's the son of a mill worker. Bill was from a town called Hope. Senator Obama himself referred to himself, in his most famous speech, as "a skinny kid with a funny name."

Politicians use things they were born into to sell themselves. Like the Chris Matthews comment about Hillary's career being due to her husband's infamy, this is another attempt to undercut that salesmanship. Maybe it's not valid, but it's certainly not out of bounds.

I keep praying to wake up in a country that doesn't go insane when sex or race becomes explicit. I guess it's time to hit the snooze button again.

Posted by: on March 12, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

So Ferraro's comments will probably be very effective in their intended purpose, stoking some white voter resentment in Pennsylvania.

As I said above I have a hard time seeing this as orchestrated. I suspect Ferraro wanted to highlight Obama's experience over his image. I think she succeeded in getting people to think 1) she's attacking him because he's black and 2) she's blind and/or biased to the extent that Hillary is assisted by being a woman and a former first lady. I don't think it will be "effective."

Posted by: B on March 12, 2008 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

aline, thanks for conflating what Ferraro explicity said with the experience issue. Sure ask the candidates about their qualification but don't take the moronic race route. Like I said above, she made similar comments about Jesse Jackson's candidacy. Why don't you react to that?

Posted by: GOD on March 12, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I dunno if he were white he might have been like John Edwards and failed to gain any traction. I think it does him him crossover appeal that he is a non-threatening black male. He's like the Will Smith of politics.

Posted by: Pocket Rocket on March 12, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think it will be "effective."

Maybe not. But then, you aren't the target audience.

Posted by: shortstop on March 12, 2008 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

I think there is no doubt that having an African father is part of Obama's appeal, but that is not why he is frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. His life experiences--growing up as a biracial child, living abroad, living in multi-cultural Hawaii, etc--give him a world view that is unique among Presidential contenders.

For me, at least, the choice comes down to 1) Establishment legacy candidate, Clinton, who has been at the heart of all that has gone wrong with the Democratic party over the past 15 years; and 2) a fresh face from Illinois who is proposing a different vision for the USA.

Ferraro's comment provides further evidence that HRC's supporters have a dated worldview.

Posted by: PTate in MN on March 12, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

The regular cries of racism have engendered paranoia and hysteria on all sides, so it's not surprising that Clinton's people can barely form a sentence without blundering at this point.

Ferraro's point, as near as I can tell: Barack Obama benefits in a Democratic primary because of his race. Is this really so off the wall?

Whether he benefits in the general is obviously a separate question. Nevertheless, he represents to a whole lot of people the first viable black candidate. By himself, he is a symbol of hope and change, and he's come around in an election where people are desperate for the very things.

Looking back, I wonder if Clinton doesn't regret her failure to emphasize early on how great a change electing the first woman would symbolize. Honestly, this election has less to do with substance than symbols.

But beneath it all—what the Clinton and Obama partisans have rapidly lost sight of—this election is actually about getting rid of Bush. You can dress that up in Clinton's clothes or Obama's clothes. I don't care. I want him gone, gone, gone.

Those of you threatening to sit out the election for various reasons, to hell with you. It's impossible to be a voter in a two-party system and not be maligned and offended regularly. You kid yourselves if you think you're the only victims of it; you kid yourselves if you think you're going to effect change by staying home. But, oh, Nader sure made a point in 2000, didn't he?

I mean it: fuck the whole lot of you.

Posted by: jesus on March 12, 2008 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

abject funk on March 12, 2008 at 1:37 AM:

My main concern with Clinton is that she really screwed up the Iraq AUMF...Clinton has never owned up.

Clinton has, actually, back in 2005. You can raise the issue of Clinton's judgement, but not that she's refused to take responsibility for her vote on the Iraq AUMF.

Now that I've done my Defense of Hillary duty for the week...

Rick B on March 12, 2008 at 9:15 AM:

But this crap from Geraldine Ferraro hasn't been rejected by Clinton, which means that it is Clinton policy.

That really bothers me. What will probably happen is that the Clinton campaign lets the meme that Obama's success is due to some form 'affirmative action' circulate, then quietly refute the idea in a way that's not too noticable.

All part of trying to drive Obama's 'negatives' down to Clinton's level, which in turn will make a McCain presidency more likely...So far, what I've heard from Clinton supporters is that:

- Obama hasn't been tested like Clinton, without specifying what 'tests' Clinton has passed.
- Obama doesn't have a 'lifetime of experience', whatever that's supposed to mean.
- Americans aren't ready to elect a black person President yet he's a successful candidate only because he's black.
- Any win in a state that isn't a large, blue one doesn't count, yet (initially) crowing about 'wins' in red state Texas and purple Ohio.
- Obama is the media's darling, yet neglects to mention all the positive exposure as the 'inevitable' candidate earlier in the campaign season.

There's probably more, but that's enough to prove my point...And before anyone harps on me with ye old, "dontcha think that Obama will get it worse from the Repubs" line, consider my response as this: Yes I do, because the Repubs are largely intolerant assholes who are shameless in their willingness to lie, smear, and fear their way into power. But that's them, not us...or so I thought.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 12, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

THIS IS EXCELLENT NEWS!! FOR HILLARY!!!

Posted by: idiotic on March 12, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

You're missing something, Kevin. All those charismatic young inexperienced white guys -- Kennedy, Kennedy, Hart, Clinton, etc. -- were running detailed, substantive campaigns on major issue differences with their opponents. Our guy Obama is running primarily on his own persona as the embodiment of hope and change. You can't do that and get adoring swarms of upper-middle class liberals and young people if you're a white boy. Sorry.

So by this logic, you are implying that Kennedy, Hart, etc. didn't get the upper-middle class / young vote? That's demonstrably untrue.

Listen, I know you're candidate is trailing Obama by triple digits and has no chance at all to close the gap come convention time. But it's no excuse to just blurt out nonsense.

Think, man, THINK!

Posted by: chuck on March 12, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

@abject funk:
actually, no she did not own up. She does not admit she was mistaken, but instead seeks to pawn off all responsibility onto Bush, even though there well over 100 others in Congress who somehow managed to see through Bush's charade.

This is a piss poor self-serving attempt on her part, and I ain't buying it. On the most important issue of our time, the one requiring astute judgment, she failed miserably. This is why she does not deserve to be president. Her Rovian campaign is just icing on the cake.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 12, 2008 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

So the 90% of blacks that are voting for Obama would vote for him if he were white? There are a few white people who would not vote for black person, but there are more white, black and brown people who would not vote for a woman.

Posted by: Allison on March 12, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Don't be silly. No way would Obama be taken seriously as a first term Senator if he wasn't black.

Yeah, kind of like that white guy who wanted to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate after only one term in the House.

What was his name again?

Oh yeah: Abraham Lincoln.

Kind of like that guy.

Posted by: chuck on March 12, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Look, nobody is saying 'it's easier to be black than white in today's society'. However, it's certainly true that if you're running against the first woman with a shot at the nomination, it helps. If you want to win again a 'historic first', you'd better be a 'historic first' yourself.

you two maroons are exactly the reason I detest Hillbots more than the woman herself... you two ignoramuses, along with your brethren in Texa, Ohio and aparently Mississippi, prove that racist pricks are still alive and well in the Democratic party. I'm glad I'm an Independent. Oh, did I mention for you to go fuck yourselves? Good.

And this is what the Obamatrons bring to the debate. Maturity. Dare I say 'unity'?

Posted by: Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

What the hell had Geraldine Ferraro done to make her qualified to be a heart beat away from being president? The mind reels. After Spitzer's antics, you'd think it'd be a good enough time to not try to set a new record for political hypocrisy, but she goes and does it. You know what it reminds me of? The long jump record set by Carl Lewis. He figured it had stood for so long that his record jump was safe. Then Mike Powell just up and smashed Lewis's record in the same meet. That must be what Spitzer must feel like.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on March 12, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Honey, she was totally buttering you up. Good girl! I assume you enthusiastically fell for it. :)

Of course I did. I'm that easy.....

Posted by: Stefan on March 12, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

@allison:

you win for putting up possibly the stupidest post I have ever seen. Blacks have historically voted over 90% for Democrat presidential candidates, all of whom have been white males. Exit polls in Texas, Ohio, and Mississippi have confirmed beyond a doubt that Obama's race played a major part in white voters' decision not to vote for him. Racism is alive and well in the Democratic party, sister.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 12, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Yes! Apparently, by this point, you can't vote for Clinton without being racist or Obama without being sexist.

Congratulations, Democratic activists! That's some A+++ framing. We're fucked in the general either way.

Posted by: jesus on March 12, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

That was me, Sammy, not abject...

She does not admit she was mistaken, but instead seeks to pawn off all responsibility onto Bush..

Well, that is where the fault lies...not as much on the heads of those who believed the Bush Administration's claims, but on those who built their case for invading and occupying Iraq on a pile of bullshit and sold it to the public.

On the most important issue of our time, the one requiring astute judgment, she failed miserably.

No argument with that. Either Clinton believed the bullshit, or chose to believe it because it was politically popular at the time to do so. Neither option speaks well of Clinton's judgement.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 12, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

@Arachnae:

I seek no unity with anyone who validates Ferraro's disgusting comments. Are you Hillbots really this stupid? Get this through your thick skulls: the reason we support Obama is not b/c he's black. The reason we support him is that because on the most important issue of our time, the Iraq war, the one requiring the most astute judgment, she failed miserably. This is why she does not deserve to be president.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 12, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

But this crap from Geraldine Ferraro hasn't been rejected by Clinton, which means that it is Clinton policy.

This is simply flat-out untrue. Clinton immediately said she disagreed with the remarks. That people following politics as closely as the commenters on this blog can still say she hasn't is proof that people hear only what already meshes with their worldview.

Posted by: Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK
In a newspaper interview a few days ago, Hillary Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro suggested that Barack Obama owes his success this year to being black.

And Hillary Clinton owes her success to being a woman, and, on top of that, to having been married to the right man.

(The first part of that is also considerably true in Ferraro's own case, at least to the extent that having secured a major party vice-presidential nomination is "success".)

I'm sure all this is a shock to the two or three people who still thought that U.S. society was a pure meritocracy where status (either in the form of connections with power or apparent novelty) played no role, but I don't think they vote, anyway.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 12, 2008 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

@grape_crush:

I disagree. Responsibility for this war lies with every person who voted for it-the Constitution provides for that. There was massive amounts of evidence that Bush was lying about Iraq. Over 100 in Congress voted against this war. HRC did not. She does not possess the judgment or character to be president. Obama opposed this war when it was highly popular and politically dangerous to do so. That gives him high marks in my book.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 12, 2008 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

@Arachnae:

why is Ferraro still involved with the Clinton campaign? Why is it that when Obama's staffer called HRC a 'monster', that person was made to leave the campaign?

This is why so many believe HRC is the Democrat Rove. To me, an Independent, it shows that she cares not a lick for civility and has very little in the way of personal integrity. It is yet another reason why I will absolutely not vote for HRC.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 12, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

why is Ferraro still involved with the Clinton campaign? Why is it that when Obama's staffer called HRC a 'monster', that person was made to leave the campaign?


Powers was a paid staffer. How is Ferraro involved in the Clinton campaign? She supports her. Farrekhan supports Obama - when is Obama going to fire HIM?

Powers was a paid staffer.

Posted by: Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

He's not ahead because he's black or white. He's ahead because he's both. He represents a bridge between two cultures.
This bridge analogy is also an allegory for past vs future, tired old looking out for me vs all of us getting better together.

"Courage, my friends; 'tis not too late to build a better world."
"My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea."
Tommy Douglas

Posted by: doug r on March 12, 2008 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

@Arachnae:

you win for the second stupidest post I have ever seen. Farrakhan is some schmoe on the street. He is not involved in any way with BO's campaign. Ferraro has an official position in the campaign of fundraiser. That is a major difference.

Disgusting to see so how many Hillbots are on board with hustling the bigot vote.

Posted by: on March 12, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

I listened to Ferraro again, and to her defense this morning. Frankly, I am having a hard time understanding what kind of point she is making if it isn't racist. Instead of acknowledging her friend is in a tough contest with a strong opponent she diminishes both candidates and Democrats everywhere by arguing that despite all that has gone on Obama owes everything to his race. She says he lacks Clinton's experience. She says he and Clinton are together on the issues. For Ms Ferraro it would seem that race and race alone is what sets Obama apart. We are all just dupes caught up in the moment.

Obama's race is part of his story. If it was the only part he wouldn't be where he is. As near as I can tell Obama is a gifted scholar, an experienced leader, and charismatic speaker. His life experiences are exceptional. He is only lacking time in Washington. Who says you have to serve a lot in Washington to be President? A lot of his supporters think his lack of time on the beltway cocktail circuit is a feature and not a bug.

This morning Ms Ferraro again claims she is the victim. A historic giant reduced to silliness by her inability to give any credit ot Obama the person. Ms. Ferraro has painted herself into a box and doesn't know how to get out.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 12, 2008 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Just to be ULTRA-clear (since some people have reading comprehension problems), I don't think Obama should be responsible for everything out of the mouths of people who support him. Otherwise, poor guy, he'd be having to denounce the cultist-blogs every half-hour. I ALSO don't think Clinton should be responsible for everything out of the mouths of people who support her.

And for the record? Obama should have shown some spine by refusing to fire Powers and calling a halt to the preemptive firing squads.

Posted by: Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

It's impossible to be a voter in a two-party system and not be maligned and offended regularly. You kid yourselves if you think you're the only victims of it; you kid yourselves if you think you're going to effect change by staying home. But, oh, Nader sure made a point in 2000, didn't he?

I mean it: fuck the whole lot of you.

Wonderful illustration of exactly what the Clintons and Bush's have done to the American Political landscape. Bravo sir. Brah-Vo! If you want everything you just said to be true, keep voting for these bozos that have run the country since 1980. If you want it to actually change and maybe even get better? *Gasp!* Then don't vote for the same bozos that have been running the country since 1980.

Politics in America is broken and the Clintons are largely to blame. If you choose to support a candidate who puts her own self-serving legacy and ego needs above the needs of her Country then I urge you to stay home, for godsakes stay home on election day because it's people like you that have given us Bush/Clinton/Bush... Stay home and beat your dog or something and let the people who actually want a positive change in America have a turn.

Posted by: Da5id on March 12, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Arachnae, if you are representative of the cognitive powers of the typical Hillbot, HRC is in some deep shit.

What Ferraro said is repulsive, disgusting, and should be denounced in no uncertain terms. I never thought I would say this, but America was right not to elect Mondale in 1984. Ferraro is garbage.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 12, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, I am having a hard time understanding what kind of point she is making if it isn't racist.

She (badly) trying to make the point I made upthread: "No one finds it odd that women (and progressive men) might be interested in seeing a female president. Why is it then so unmentionable that blacks (and progressive whites) might be interested in seeing a black president?"

Is this racist? If so, all the coverage of Hillary's gender is de facto sexist.

Posted by: Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Mary, how cloud she not be considered as "the republican choice" after endorsing John McCain for president.

Posted by: JoeSixPack on March 12, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Sammy, if you are representative of the cognitive powers of the typical Obamatron... oh wait... Unreasoning rants, check. Name-calling, check. Spoiled-brat tantrums, check, check, check. You ARE the typical Obamatron.

Posted by: Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

"No one finds it odd that women (and progressive men) might be interested in seeing a female president. Why is it then so unmentionable that blacks (and progressive whites) might be interested in seeing a black president?"

To my ear, that is nothing like what she said. She has also had at least a couple of opportunities to clarify and has made it clear that she believes that what she said is perfectly appropriate and that its only all those reverse racists who believe otherwise.

Posted by: brent on March 12, 2008 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 12:00 PM:

Obama should have shown some spine by refusing to fire Powers and calling a halt to the preemptive firing squads.

Except that Powers resigned, Arachnae. That people following politics as closely as the commenters on this blog can still say Powers was fired is proof that people hear only what already meshes with their worldview.

Oh...Ferraro is on Clinton's finance committee, done a fundraiser for Clinton, and worked phone banks as well...just for to keep you informed, 'cause you follow things so closely.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 12, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Politics in America is broken and the Clintons are largely to blame.

Ha! It's all the Clintons' fault that politics are pure gutter sport? Give me a goddamn break. They can be a symptom of the problem without being the chief cause of it.

Thanks. You got me there: I'm a bad, bad liberal. I have no hope, no ideals! If I had stayed home like you suggested, Obama would've had one less vote in the joke that was Florida. "Sir"? You don't know who you're talking to. Keep on assuming. Keep on dreaming. Politics is trash; politicians are all trash; the parties are trash.

You Obama and Clinton partisans need to get real.

Posted by: jesus on March 12, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Arachnae, What Ferraro said is classic identity politics and it is racist. It reduces Obama the human being to Obama tagged member of an artificial ethnic group. It is precisely what has been wrong with politics in America for a long, long time.

Martin Luther King famously said I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

Don't you think it is time that Gerry Ferraro and her ilk gave Martin Luther King's children and Barack Obama a chance to live in that world.

As to Clinton's gender, I am more than willing to treat her exactly the same way I would any man and judge her on the basis of her and not her spouses qualifications. Aren't you?

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 12, 2008 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Do you have to work too hard to accept that his 90% dominance was due almost entirely to his race?

As I've posted elsewhere, my "favorite" part about this rationale is the implied deficiency of African Americans not realizing Hillary is Teh Awesome because they can’t get past race. I never see it argued that white people can’t see Obama is Teh Awesome because they can’t get past race.

Posted by: Killjoy on March 12, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Except that Powers resigned, Arachnae.

Oh please. Surely someone of your sagacity and breadth of knowledge has heard of 'resign or be fired.'

Now let's follow around every Obama volunteer phone-banker and see if we can get them to say something stupid. Come on, it'll be FUN.

Posted by: Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Ha! It's all the Clintons' fault that politics are pure gutter sport? Give me a goddamn break. They can be a symptom of the problem without being the chief cause of it.

I said it was "largely" their fault and I stand by that. Thanks to a Presidency marred by scandal and peppered with snobbery and derision toward the opposing party we now have a country divided quite evenly Blue and Red. You can't blame all that on Bush, it's because of that he got elected in the first place. Bush is President because Bill was President... being completely dismissive and aggressive to those who disagree with you will eventually catch up with you.

Thanks. You got me there: I'm a bad, bad liberal. I have no hope, no ideals! If I had stayed home like you suggested, Obama would've had one less vote in the joke that was Florida. "Sir"? You don't know who you're talking to. Keep on assuming. Keep on dreaming. Politics is trash; politicians are all trash; the parties are trash.

And apparently as long as depressing cynical dinosaurs like you keep voting, our political system will remain trash.

You know, I hear Canada has great health insurance...

Posted by: on March 12, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Enozinho, I mean, Pinnochio, you're wrong on so many levels its not worth bothering to list them.

Is visibility as a black politician the only thing Obama has going for him? No, he has a lot of crowd psychologiy, as illustrated by a number of people posting here.

Grape Crush, don't you think Obama might have asked for Powers' resignation? Pull the bit of political naivete out of your own eye.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on March 12, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

For years I scoffed at friends who lived in Eugene, Oregon who hated liberals in city government aka granola nazis. Reading these posts gives me more understanding and greater sympathy for living with left wing righteousness. The hysteria among the folks posting is truly mind numbing.

Posted by: benson on March 12, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, what a laugh. I'm 24. I'll be around a while yet. I do suppose this revelation opens me up to a different brand of condescension, though—not that I'm especially sensitive just now, as you've no doubt noticed from the tenor of my comments.

Yes, I'm mad. As mad as you or anybody. I don't give a shit about the Clintons. You won't catch me tirelessly and earnestly defending them; it's not my job. My job as a Democratic cog is to show up in November and vote, in the hopes of maybe, just maybe, putting the brakes on this bus we're all riding before it careens over the cliff.

I'm a cynical little cog, for sure. Why shouldn't I be? I'll vote for Clinton or Obama, but neither of them is going to take me in. When they betray the principles they purport to espouse, be it in office or on the campaign trail, I won't be surprised.

Just angry. And realistic about my place in the world. Where else am I to turn? So I'll pull the lever. I'll fume on a blog. The world goes on.

I will reiterate: I'm not voting to change the world, and I believe—because we're just down to a matter of opinion, after all—that anybody voting to change the world isn't long for the political process. I'm just voting to put the brakes on, and I wish to god people would get real about this.

Posted by: jesus on March 12, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Arachnae on March 12, 2008 at 12:25 PM:

Oh please. Surely someone of your sagacity and breadth of knowledge has heard of 'resign or be fired.'

'Sagacity'. Nice, thanks for the compliment, Arachnae. I'm sure you didn't mean that sarcastically.

Anywhoo...Do you have any evidence that 'resign or be fired' was the choice given to Powers? It's not like voluntary resignation from a campaign is totally unheard of when controversy, real or imagined, occurs.

Now let's follow around every Obama volunteer phone-banker and see if we can get them to say something stupid.

Wrong for two reasons:

1. Geraldine Ferraro isn't just a Clinton volunteer phone banker. That's a false equivalency.

2. Dontcha think that isn't already happening? Clinton's campaign is just waiting for the next Obama staffer to say something that can be construed as derogatory.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 12, 2008 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

SocraticGadfly on March 12, 2008 at 12:30 PM:

Grape Crush, don't you think Obama might have asked for Powers' resignation?

It's possible, but absent any evidence showing that is what actually occurred, you can't flat-out state that's what happened...Like I just said, voluntary resignation is not unheard of.

Pull the bit of political naivete out of your own eye.

That'll happen once people stop pulling conjecture out of their asses...which prolly means never.

Posted by: grape_crush on March 12, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

@grape_crush:

personally, I think Powers' was asked to leave. It meshes with the kind of campaign that Obama wants to run-one with class and civility. This is exactly why you won't see HRC ask Ferraro to step down.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 12, 2008 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

See how these Democrats love one another.

Posted by: rvosbournmd on March 12, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

Question for Ms. Ferraro..If Hillary Clinton wasn't married to Bill Clinton, does she think that Hillary would be in the position that she is in. The answer is an emphatic "NO". Sen. Obama is in the position because voters are tired of the same old Washington BS, and does not appear to be the DC insider.

Posted by: Fred Garcia on March 12, 2008 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I am MAD, MAD at the Clintons. I can't believe I even suggested at one time a joint ticket. No longer. Their foul stench and the comments of their campaign are killing us.

They will destroy the Democratic Party. They damn well will, if they don't have their way. Dear God, why don't the superdelegates step in and shut them down before it is too late.

And I just heard Limbaugh continuing his campaign to have Republicans vote for Hillary. Unlike the Republicans who genuinely voted for Obama, these have only one goal and that is to destroy the Democrats. Estimates in Mississipi of 40,000 Republicans voting for the slime team.

And Hillary will go along with this and maybe even claim the popular vote victory at some stage. She makes me vomit. Ties fully into Ferraro's comments which are desperately seeking to emphasize a black white divide. I am furious.

Posted by: Manfred on March 12, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Enozinho, I mean, Pinnochio, you're wrong on so many levels its not worth bothering to list them.

I'm genuinely interested in understanding what I wrote that was so wrong.

Posted by: enozinho on March 12, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

HRC should use the following in her PA campaign ads:

A large still of Geraldine; beneath it the words:

"In your hearts, you know she's right."

Posted by: slammin' sammy on March 12, 2008 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on March 12, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Well shit, sorry, this is an election after all not a coronation, someone has to lose.

John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on March 12, 2008 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

I will reiterate: I'm not voting to change the world, and I believe—because we're just down to a matter of opinion, after all—that anybody voting to change the world isn't long for the political process. I'm just voting to put the brakes on, and I wish to god people would get real about this.

Well, I'm not sure that anyone voting to change the world isn't long for the political process, but anybody doing so in this primary, with these two, is attributing aspects of greatness to the candidates that simply aren't there.

Absolutely agree that my own vote is to put the brakes on (or rather, to slow us down, since I don't think turning away from this disastrous national course is in the cards) rather than to expect some enormous transformation. But people of good will can differ on which of these two candidates is more likely to recognize what a brake pedal looks like and to use it. And some people, of course, are voting to either preserve or change the Democratic power structure, because they believe that progressive values might be slightly better served by either the existing players or some comparatively new ones.

Don't be too frustrated, jesus. It's just blog ranting. Out in meatspace, people don't get as deep into this as we do here.

Posted by: shortstop on March 12, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Politics in America is broken and the Clintons are largely to blame.

That's a mighty big charge to lay on the shoulders of just the Clintons. Politics in America is pretty frustrating and often fucked up -- but it is not because of the Clintons. I wish it were. I would have a totally different outlook on the future.

Posted by: e henry thripshaw on March 12, 2008 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama is nominated will all his Republican support evaporate and go back to voting for McCain or will they stick with him?

It's a question and there's no answer. Do we risk it?

Is Obama's support real Democratic support or has Hillary really got the majority of the Democratic party behind her? That's what the primaries are supposed to answer, but this year there's some doubt that system is working right.

Posted by: MarkH on March 12, 2008 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

What would Obama have to do?

He wouldn't have to do a thing. Stop whining. It's unseemly.

My point is quite simple. I am NOT saying that Obama wouldn't have won the caucuses and primaries where liberals make up the majority of voters. I am saying that he would NOT have won Virginia, Georgia, and all the other southern states without 90% of the black vote. Without those primaries, he goes nowhere.

Would he have won 90% of the black vote if he hadn't been black? No. Come on. Anyone who disputes that is soaked so thoroughly in the Koolaid that their fingers are pruny.

Thus, in the purely technical sense of getting more votes, with no "affirmative action" boost or anything else, Obama would not be in the race if he weren't black.

This EXPLICITLY ACKNOWLEDGES that he wins white votes and indeed, has a commanding lead among white liberals. It does NOT say he is incapable of winning white votes, as he clearly is getting white independents and Republcians--although he and Clinton have roughly split that vote. He is now running behind in white male voters, btw, and I expect that to continue for the rest of the race.

All this argument observes is that his support among white liberals is insufficient without the overwhelming support of African Americans and that is without question a result of his being black.

Clinton's success in any state doesn't rely exclusvely on one demographic.

(BTW, he won the majority of white voters in Virginia because of the heavy independent/Republican turnout. He lost white Democrats in Virginia. As has been mentioned recently vis a vis Clinton, ain't no counting on those Republicans.)

Really, one would think that all you people beyond race wouldn't instantly jump to racism as an accusation.

Posted by: Cal on March 12, 2008 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, apparently, Ferraro said the following on GMA, regarding her comment on Obama:

Ferraro told “GMA” she was drawing a comparison to her own history, contending that if she was not a women she would not have been chosen to be Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984 — a point she also made in the newspaper interview.

Which provides a useful context for understanding her remarks; she's certainly not excluding herself from the sort of "luck" she attributes to Obama.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 12, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

But people of good will can differ on which of these two candidates is more likely to recognize what a brake pedal looks like and to use it.

Agreed. But this describes so few people on the blogs, if you think about it. I won't mince words: some people of goodwill are proving utterly delusional. I've seen so many threats issued about not voting all in November or, worse, voting for McCain, all because these people aren't getting their way. Who the hell do they think is getting his way? I'm sure as hell not. I don't like either of these candidates. I'm no fan of incrementalism, but I do realize it's about the only way in the world to get anything done.

These loudmouth experts in outrage have lost all perspective, believing their chosen candidate is a savior and the rival candidate subhuman. To these people, Clinton is worse than McCain; she is a horrible she-beast bent on feasting on the entrails of democracy, and Obama is on the level with giants like FDR for little besides voicing opposition to one of the stupidest wars of modern history.

And I hope you're right, and this phenomenon typifies the residents of blogistan while having little bearing on the party's future. If otherwise, we're so fucked.

And thanks for trying, Cal. The Clinton people may be sore losers, but Obama's supporters are some of the sorest winners I've ever seen—so sore as to sabotage themselves, it's starting to seem.

Posted by: jesus on March 12, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK
.... being against the Iraq war from the start is a pretty is a pretty good credential in the Democratic Party this year.....—Kevin Drum
Obama was equivocating as late as 2006

....Would Obama have acted differently had he been in Washington or had he had the benefit of the arguments and the intelligence that the administration was offering to the Congress debating that resolution? During the 2002-2003 timeframe, he was a minor local official uninvolved in the national debate on the war so we can only judge from his own statements prior to the 2008 campaign. Obama repeated these points in a whole host of interviews prior to announcing his candidacy. On July 27, 2004, he told the Chicago Tribune on Iraq: "There's not much of a difference between my position and George Bush's position at this stage." In his book, The Audacity of Hope, published in 2006, he wrote, "...on the merits I didn't consider the case against war to be cut-and- dried." And, in 2006, he clearly said, "I'm always careful to say that I was not in the Senate, so perhaps the reason I thought it was such a bad idea was that I didn't have the benefit of US intelligence. And for those who did, it might have led to a different set of choices."....

What's that called? Having your cake and something something?

.... Obama's supporters are some of the sorest winners I've ever seen—so .... jesus at 2:56 PM

Hope, bipartisanship and threats from Obama supporters

...Rick, if the Machine tries to give the Clintons the victory at the convention, I swear to God, Chicago’s going to look like a Sadie Hawkins dance. People my age are going to be throwing stones. We all have transportation — cell phones — disposable income — the Internet — free time — and Seattle as our example. Part of me is scared of a riot. Part of me isn’t. The nomination belongs to Obama. Do you think we’re going to let the Democratic Leadership Council take it? “God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, fire next time.”....

An obvious blowhard, but it illustrates the rabid hatred that motivates these people.

Posted by: on March 12, 2008 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

An obvious blowhard, but it illustrates the rabid hatred that motivates these people.

LOL, Mike, that Rick Perlstein post is hilarious. Insane radicals inside the convention, divided into "cells" so no one knows what the others are doing? How fucking credulous is Perlstein? If someone sent him an email saying that Obama supporters are secretly planning to burn down Denver and mass rape white women if he doesn't get the nomination, would you guys reprint that in hushed tones of concern?

Posted by: on March 12, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

sheesh. just listen to you guys bickering. no wonder the democrats always lose. when will you figure it out?

Posted by: on March 12, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Obama plays the race card. It is his #1 tag. He is 1/2 half caucasian yet you never know this from the way we talks about is family. Is he ashamed of the race of his mother. Obama please explain yourself

Posted by: BLOGGIE on March 12, 2008 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

BLOGGIE

As near as I can tell Obama was raised by his mother and his white grandparents. He has never been ashamed of his mother or his grandparents or their race. He is extraordinarily loving in all of his comments about them and the other members of his family. If you have some proof to the contrary produce it.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 12, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously people. Just.Stop.Digging.

Posted by: enozinho on March 12, 2008 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

Well aren’t we very hot under the collar today.

First-- How many have given thought to the possibility that Obama would be practicing law and or serving in the Illinois legislature if the Republican candidate had not engaged in very weird behavior that was documented in his divorce papers. Those papers were sealed and somehow became public before the election.

Two -- The way many of you assert that not voting or voting McCain is a reasonable way to act if your candidate does not get the nomination is complete bullshit. You would think this was 1972 when it was McGovern v Wallace in the Democratic primaries -- that is George Wallace who was doing very well and had he not been shot could have been nominated. That was real choice between the forces of liberal reform and unreconstructed racist demagoguery. The choice here is not so stark. Remember that many liberals disparaged and some attached Al Gore contributing mightily to the election of George Bush. There is a difference between Democrats and Republicans and there is a vast difference between Obama or Clinton and McCain. Any guy who sings Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran; lets a supporter call HRC a bitch; accepts Haggee’s support is a scary and ran some vicious anti- Catholic during the 2000 Michigan primary is not someone any liberal or Democrat should help to elect.

Lastly some of the attacks and counter attacks are directed at the messengers not the message a little less name calling and abusive language would be a step in the right direction.

Posted by: Bob O'Reilly on March 12, 2008 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

How did the Press treat JFK in 1960?
Think an Irish Catholic who is too young, too inexperienced, too rich and who's father is buying him the Precidency.


How did the Press treat Gary Hart in 1986?
Think Monkey Business


How did the Press treat Clinton in 1992?
Think Whitewater, Jennifer Flowers, ROTC.


How is the Press treating Obama in 2008?
The Press is giving Obama a pass. Can you explain a single reason why Obama is different from the other charismatic guys who did not get a pass???

Posted by: ding7777 on March 13, 2008 at 7:37 AM | PERMALINK

Hillery Billery Bock,
The shrew blacked up Barack.
Barack struck one,
The shrew fell down!
Hillery Billery Bock.

The devil made me do it
Geraldine

Posted by: Hank Vreeland on March 13, 2008 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Very nice Hank. Hillary scares me personally. I can't imagine voting for her. I'm still undecided about Obama though.

Posted by: Buck on March 15, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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