Democrats inheriting the windGeraldine Ferraro has left the Clinton campaign on her own accord after her remarks about Barack Obama being who he is and how it impacts his position in the presidential race:
The Boston Globe covers Ferraro’s resignation yesterday from Clinton’s finance committee. “‘I am stepping down from your finance committee so I can speak for myself and you can continue to speak for yourself about what is at stake in this campaign. The Obama campaign is attacking me to hurt you. I won't let that happen.’”
“Earlier yesterday, the 1984 vice presidential nominee apologized to those who thought it racially insensitive for her to suggest that Obama wouldn't be the Democratic front-runner if he were not black. But she then declared: ‘It wasn't a racist comment. It was a statement of fact.’”
Both sides are likely making a much bigger deal of this than it actually is-does anyone really believe for a moment that Geraldine Ferraro is a racist? The press is focusing exclusively on her remarks that Obama would not be in the present position were he not an African-American. Everyone is forgetting that almost in the same breath, Ferraro also correctly pointed out that in 1984, she was in a very similar situation in that she was chosen as Walter Mondale's running mate because she was a woman, and she knew and understood this. Barack Obama is getting just enough of the white vote and galvanizing nearly all of the black vote to win primaries and possibly be nominated-it is a big deal, and it can't be denied that race is playing a role in the Democratic nominating process for some people. The problem is that race and gender seem to be playing a negative role between the two candidates:
Mr. Obama, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, said he did not believe that there was “a directive in the Clinton campaign saying, ‘Let’s heighten the racial elements in the campaign.’ I certainly wouldn’t want to think that.”
He said he was puzzled at how, after more than a year of campaigning, race and sex are at the forefront as never before.
“I don’t want to deny the role of race and gender in our society,” he said. “They’re there, and they’re powerful. But I don’t think it’s productive.”
Yet race, as well as sex, have been unavoidable subtexts of the Democratic campaign since the two candidates began seeking to be the first African-American or the first woman to lead a party’s presidential ticket. In the primaries and caucuses this winter, too, Mrs. Clinton has enjoyed substantial support from women, while Mr. Obama has increasingly drawn overwhelming votes from blacks.
Race has been a defining feature of the primary contests. Beyond Mississippi, Mrs. Clinton was backed by 5 percent of black voters in Illinois, Mr. Obama’s home state; 8 percent in Wisconsin, where black voters made up 8 percent of the Democratic primary vote; 9 percent in Delaware; 10 percent in Virginia; and 11 percent in Georgia, all states Mr. Obama won.
Mr. Obama’s 26 percent support among whites in Tuesday’s primary was one of his worst performances with this group.
Conservatives and Republicans have attempted to warn Democrats for years of the very grave dangers of playing the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender as specific special interest groups. Some of us were polite enough to try and tell them that doing so would eventually backfire and prove to be dangerous not only to the future of their party but to the country as a whole. For the life of me, I don't know why we collectively bothered-we should have just stepped back and watched them implode while we had the opportunity to take advantage of their self-destruction.
If the Republicans had actually nominated a candidate that both the conservative base and the people of Middle America could have gotten behind in force, the GOP would be headed to one of the biggest landslide victories in its history for no other reason than that the Democrats' artificially created "base" will be bitterly divided against one another, with some claiming racism, some sexism, and still more some other -ism. As it is, the only thing that could save the Democrats in the fall is that their opposition is not enthused. That doesn't mean that any of this is good for the country: The Democrats may win in November or they may lose, but they have succeeded in doing the very thing they love to accuse Republicans of doing-they have divided America.
He that troubleth his own house, shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall serve the wise.
The Democratic Party has troubled its own house. Whether this year or later, it will inherit the wind.