The [Tuesday] Papers
Yesterday we talked about gender. Today, let's talk about race.
Because once again voters are being played like suckers.
"The D.C. media invented this war and sucked the candidates into race-baiting," Dan Abrams said last night on MSNBC in a segment that pretty much summed up the last few days of nonsense. It was titled "Media Fairy Tale."
First, we know that Bill Clinton's "fairy tale" remark had nothing to do with Barack Obama's candidacy, nor his race. Case closed.
Second, Hillary Clinton's criticism of Martin Luther King Jr.? Didn't happen.
In fact, if Clinton was dissing anyone it was JFK, who was unable or unwilling to get the landmark civil rights legislation passed that is perhaps the centerpiece of LBJ's domestic legacy.
So what are we left with?
Well, there is Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson. Did he reference Barack Obama's drug use? Clearly. It was an inartful way of saying that the Clintons were on the front lines of civil rights issues when Obama was just a brooding kid trying to find himself.
And yes, Andrew Cuomo said an idiotic thing.
Does anyone think Hillary Clinton is happy with Johnson and Cuomo?
Actually, yes. A Democratic consultant on Abrams' show last night, for example, conceded that there was nothing racial about the comments made by Bill and Hillary Clinton, yet persisted that nonetheless a pattern has emerged.
But ask yourself this: Why would Clinton run a racially offensive campaign - and crank it up right before the South Carolina primary? It makes no sense.
Unless you got the memo. The memo from the Obama campaign in South Carolina cataloguing a list of stupid things Clinton surrogates have said and calling it a pattern of racial code.
It's similar to the litany we saw in the Sun-Times column on Monday of the usually sober Laura Washington.
"Listen to the words [that Hillary spoke]," Washington wrote. 'I just don't want to see us fall backward.'
"Backward to what?
"To that black man. That black man who beat Hillary. That black man who made the white woman cry."
It was left to Harlem congressman Charlie Rangel on Monday to say: "How race got into this thing is because Obama said 'race.'"
Ironically, it has been Obama's commitment to issues of particular relevance to African Americans that has been questioned in this campaign. Conveniently, he has jumped that divide just as the largely white voting populace of Iowa and New Hampshire have finished their duties and South Carolina Democrats, half of whom are black, prepare to do theirs.
In fact, the seeds of a racial theme started after New Hampshire when pundits, perhaps fed by a particular campaign, promoted the idea that Clinton's victory there in the face of polls that predicted otherwise was the result of white folks lying about who they intended to vote for so they wouldn't have to admit they wouldn't vote for a black man.
It's just that the research shows how unlikely this was. This wasn't Harold Washington vs. Bernie Epton. There would be no shame for a white New Hampshirite to say he or she was voting for Hillary Clinton (or John Edwards, for that matter). It makes no sense.
Finally, I find Obama's pat on the head on Monday assuring us that Hillary Clinton has always been "on the right side" of civil rights issues to be even more arrogant and patronizing than his debate statement that she is "likable enough."
The real question remains: Has Obama always been on the right side?
On a day when Richard M. Daley was making phone calls for Obama, I think it's an appropriate question to ask.
"Was Hillary wearing the couch cover?
"A little late with this, but what the heck was Hillary Clinton wearing last week at her victory rally in New Hampshire? It looked like a sofa your grandma would have.
"Sure it's tougher for a woman. All men do is put on a variation on that same dull suit they all have - with a flag pin, of course. They are the guys in the WaMu commercials (with Obama being the cool, laid back guy they bankers in the ad just don't get but are sort of in awe of maybe.)
"But for a campaign like Clinton's that seems so programmed, one can only imagine the sessions deciding what she will wear for the day."
Action Not Words
So today the paper endorses Rep. Dan Lipinski despite noting that "It would be much easier to endorse him if he didn't have such a cozy political relationship with his father, former Rep. William Lipinski. The father installed his son in his old seat and is now a lobbyist. The congressman's chief of staff gets paid to do work for something called the All American Eagle Fund, which the elder Lipinski created to pay for some local youth programs and funnels campaign contributions to other politicians. Lipinski, the son, has to tell his chief of staff he works for him, and only him."
But besides that - and the offensive way his father installed him in his seat - he's a great guy!
Meanwhile, Kos is on a mission to take Lipinski down.
Words Not Action
I'm trying to think; has Obama ever supported a change candidate over an Establishment candidate?
The Beachwood Tip Line: Uniting and dividing.
Posted on January 15, 2008
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