Hasselbeck Syndrome: Part II

From one of Grumpy Guy’s favorite blogs:

The Race Card
By Big Tent Democrat, Section Elections 2008
Posted on Fri Aug 01, 2008 at 10:52:00 AM EST

I want to be perfectly clear about my previous post, I think John McCain and Republicans ARE playing the race card, as they have for decades. I believe Barack Obama is in a difficult position to combat it [the race card] BECAUSE of the outrageous and disgraceful accusations that were hurled at Bill and Hillary Clinton during the primaries by many of his supporters.

– on May 9, [Eugene] Robinson wrote:

From the beginning, Hillary Clinton has campaigned as if the Democratic nomination were hers by divine right. That’s why she is falling short — and that’s why she should be persuaded to quit now, rather than later, before her majestic sense of entitlement splits the party along racial lines.

By disgracefully smearing Hillary Clinton in May, Robinson’s reasonable point today about the McCain campaign is hopelessly lost. As I wrote earlier, the fairy tale has come to roost. And it was Obama supporters likes Robinson, Clyburn, Jesse Jackson, Jr. and bloggers like Josh Marshall who have given McCain this opening. Their willingness to say and do anything about the Clintons in support of Obama’s candidacy now creates a situation where McCain can race bait, and get away with it.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only.

Three problems with this. One: Are we sure that racism wasn’t used by Hillary during the primary? How come we’re positive that McCain is using the “race card”, and just as positive that Hillary didn’t? Two: Robinson’s quote only mentions splitting the party along racial lines at the end, the majority of the quote is talking about Clinton’s presumed presumptuousness about getting the nomination. How is that quote disgracefully smearing Hillary Clinton? Three: since when has the GOP ever needed an “opening” in which to use racism to advance their agenda?

How about this?

If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. 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. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

At the time of these remarks, Ferraro was a part of Clinton’s campaign finance committee. If these words came out of the mouth of a republican, would we not tie them to the leader of the campaign itself? In this instance, Hillary Clinton? Ferraro answered her critics:

“Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist,” she said. “I will not be discriminated against because I’m white. If they think they’re going to shut up Geraldine Ferraro with that kind of stuff, they don’t know me.

Here’s Ferraro articulating what Grumpy Guy calls the “Hasselbeck Syndrome”. The white person as victim of racism. It’s an old conservative tactic, and one that Clinton chose to embrace because she was losing the race. The whole idea was to bait Obama into a political battle about race, one that Obama wants to avoid, and one in which Clinton at time thought she could cozy up to voters like this:

“… Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”

“There’s a pattern emerging here,” she said

Obama is a black man, and the “race card” has and will be used by his opponents. So far he’s handled it quite well. Obama does not want to get into a political debate about race, he knows it’s a loser. And still there are those who believe that Obama believes using the race card helps him. Helps him how? By offending hard-working white Americans? By offending people like Geraldine Ferraro?

“Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist.”

McCain couldn’t have said it better himself. Obama will fight McCain’s “race card” insinuations the same way he fought Hillary’s… with intelligence.


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