Nasty Letters To Crooked Politicians

As we enter a new era of politics, we hope to see that Obama has the courage to fight the policies that Progressives hate. Will he have the fortitude to turn the economic future of America to help the working man? Or will he turn out to be just a pawn of big money, as he seems to be right now.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Clinton navigates ‘perfect storm’ of naysayers
Gene Lyons

Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2008

It’s long been my opinion that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed
president, nobody could do the job better. In a parliamentary system,
she’d stand an excellent chance of becoming prime minister, since
political parties tend to select leaders more on the basis of competence
than the dubious skills of a game show host. Like Al Gore, Clinton is
seen by friends as warm, funny and empathetic. She does better in small
groups and town hall-type events than in large arenas. Also like Gore,
she’s motivated more by duty than most politicians. Unfriendly eyes see
her determination as “entitlement.” Misogyny runs deeper in American
culture than many admit; brainy women are seen as unnatural. The camera
doesn’t love her the way it loves Sen. Barack Obama. Too, her candidacy
has labored under the manifest disadvantage of the Beltway media’s
unreasoning hatred of her husband, the virulence of which continues to
amaze. In Arkansas, some think it’s rooted in resentment that some
smooth-talking, white-trash hayseed from the American outback could
become president. In Washington, it’s whispered that her
unresponsiveness to certain socially prominent hostesses made them
loathe her.

Who knows? There’s no denying that her candidacy has encountered what a
friend calls a “perfect storm” of progressive idealists merging with
Clinton-hating celebrity courtiers in the “mainstream” media. And yet
she keeps chugging along like the Little Engine That Could, defying
increasingly shrill demands to quit.

Weeks before the Indiana primary, Obama described it as the potential
tiebreaker. Then he went out and lost it. Nevertheless, all but openly
gloating, NBC’s Tim Russert took it upon himself to announce, “We now
know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to
dispute it.”

Reaction among some Obama supporters was less polite.

“It’s high time,” wrote John Aravosis on americablog. com, “the
Superdelegates told the Clintons to take their sorry, scandal-ridden
asses and get the hell out. We are going to have another month of these
vindictive, racist losers destroying Obama’s credibility with the very
voters he is going to need in the fall to beat [John] McCain.”

Clinton didn’t help herself with an infelicitous demographic allusion,
citing an Associated Press story “that found how Senator Obama’s
support... among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is
weakening again.”

This prompted even so normally sensible an observer as my good friend
Joe Conason to compare her to George Wallace. So did New York Times
columnist Bob Herbert, who’s been fanning the racial flames since
Obama’s New Hampshire loss. This because under the politically correct
rules of engagement preferred by the Obama camp, only the Illinois
senator gets to make ex cathedra observations about such ticklish
matters as race and class, which must be treated as infallible. Pundits
like Herbert and The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson have been
chattering about the so-called “Bradley effect” ever since New
Hampshire, but the Clinton camp must not.

Why not? Because contrary to conventional wisdom, it wasn’t the Clintons
who “racialized” the campaign at all. It was the Obama campaign,
seemingly for the sake of galvanizing African American voters in
must-win South Carolina. (See Princeton historian Sean Wilentz's
article, “Race Man: How Barack Obama Played the Race Card and Blamed
Hillary Clinton,” in The New Republic.)

The problem, however, is that tactic, along with the crackpot effusions
of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Obama’s deeply unpersuasive claim that he
knew nothing about them, transformed his candidacy. Many citizens who
would vote for an African American without a second thought are put off
by a candidate who makes race the central issue of his campaign. Winning
tactic, losing strategy.

Screaming “racist” at people—I’ve received a grand total of two e-mails
from Obama supporters that didn’t—only makes things worse. Real bigots
don’t care, while Clinton supporters increasingly resent the accusation.
(My skin’s thicker than most.) Most also think it’s a foolhardy way to
avoid discussing the realities of the Electoral College, which is what
Clinton was trying to do. Regardless of why working-class white voters
don’t support Obama, no Democrat can win without them. Can anybody name
two states that Obama can win that John Kerry lost in 2004? Supporters
normally duck the question with effusive references to massive voter
turnout, which the blogger “Anglachel” parodies: For all the “crowing
about what a superdoublewidefantastic party organization The Precious
has built, how it’s cool and digital and virtual and full of lots and
lots of bloggers and money.... All of which makes me go so where were
those voters in Indiana? Pennsylvania?... His efforts didn’t make a
difference for him in Ohio, Texas, Massachusetts or California.... The
fact is that the contest this year as such, not just Obama, is bringing
out a huge number of voters, and half of them are voting for Hillary.”
Meanwhile, I’m hearing increasing numbers of Clinton supporters,
passionate Democrats all, say they cannot vote for Obama. And that’s a
very worrying sign.

—–––––•–––––—Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and
recipient of the National Magazine Award.


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