Hillary and Bill racists?: Upated

Ben Smith, from Politico, comments on something noted before on this blog and others–anger at the Clintons for criticisms of Obama that had some racial edge, shall I say, to them.

Candice Tolliver, a spokeswoman for Obama is quoted in Smith saying:

“There’s a groundswell of reaction to these comments — and not just these latest comments but really a pattern, or a series of comments that we’ve heard for several months,” she said. “Folks are beginning to wonder: Is this really an isolated situation, or is there something bigger behind all of this?”

Which evoked this response from the Clinton camp (from Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones)

“To say that there is a pattern of racist comments coming out of the Hillary campaign is ridiculous,” said Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. “All of the world knows the commitment of President Clinton and Sen. Clinton to civil rights issues — and not only the commitment in terms of words but in terms of deeds.”

Now racism is not specifically charged in the “something more” Obama camp comment, though might be implied. And is specifically stated on some of the black blogs and media outlets Smith mentions. Those being those individual’s interpretations not Obama’s (at least not officially). So Rep. Jones’ comments immediately jumping to the racial issue are off target I think.

Regardless to me there seems like a more obvious answer than racism (which I actually don’t think Bill or Hillary are)–namely opportunism and cynicism. They will go after him on any front, say whatever they think they can, to discredit the guy. He happens to be talking about MLK, Jr., Civil Rights (but interestingly very little in the way of race–they raised the issue not Obama I would say), so they attack him on those issues.

People are then free to interpret that however they want, but I think the Clintons are ignorant to do this, even petty frankly. But I don’t think racist, but it plays that way for sure to people (see Donna Brazille lambast Bill Clinton on his fairy tale remarks). And I’m for sure not in a position to say people don’t have a right to think that could be at work or be very upset at the statements (I’m thinking of black americans specifically right here).

I came into this Democratic race with some questions about Hillary (wasn’t totally in her camp), but was at least open to being convinced to vote for her in a general election, depending on who the Republican nominee turned out to be (i.e. I don’t think she’s a liberal fascist). But her actions of late have made me very angry. Bill too, maybe even more so with him.

The Obama camp has made some mistakes to be sure. Saying Hillary was the Democrat representing the state of Punjab was particularly poor, and they correctly got pushback from that idiotic remark.

But imagine if Obama does become the nominee, presumably the former president of the party, would speak on his behalf in the general election? That’s gone out the window. He’s one of the rising starts in their party. I can understand she thinks she would be the better president. Fine make that argument. But not this kinda crap.

Update: Bill was on Rev. Al Sharpton’s show and said that he wanted to make clear his fairy tale comment was not about Obama’s campaign but about his Iraq War vote. Which is factually correct. Check the video on YouTube.

The problem with this is it leaves his criticism of Obama’s stance on the Iraq War, about which fmr. President Clinton was wrong. Obama was at the Democratic National Convention in ’04 (where he gave his famous speech). He was asked about the fact that he publicly and quite explicitly stated that the Iraq War was a “dumb” one and he would have voted against it. However, both the Party’s nominees (John Kerry and John Edwards) voted for the war. So the reporter asked him how he squared his stance against the war with his support for the Party’s nominees.

To which Obama said well I wasn’t in the Senate then….in other words, he didn’t want to embarrass the Party. You can he was evasive or something I guess. I think he was just not trying to light a fire that could have (and would have) been used by the Republican Party against their candidate.

Then, in 2004, after the war started (which he opposed), Obama, if you take a quotation out of context that he was on the same page (or something to that effect) with George W. Bush on the war. Now that was 2004, just after the war started. By which Obama meant now that you are in this war that I don’t think we should have ever gotten into, we ought to at least conduct it correctly. Which of course the current President did not.

Now, Bill Clinton knows this. He’s a sharp guy, one of the sharpest in fact. To say that Obama’s narrative about his war vote is a “fairy tale”, forget the racial stuff, forget the campaign (which Clinton is right it was never about to begin with), is outright wrong. Either Clinton is ignorant, which seems unlikely, or he’s spinning (lying depending on your pov), which totally gets lost because he only has to respond to the fairy tale=campaign/racist charge.

There’s nothing inconsistent about saying that you oppose a war, but once it starts you’d rather it been conducted properly than not. Is Clinton suggesting that the proper consistent stance of an anti-war candidate was to have hoped in 2004 that the war went badly?

Update II:  The piece has gotten picked up by Tail Rank (all the way at the bottom).  Unfortunately the question mark is missing from the Title of the Post, so it reads as a declarative not an interrogative.   Again my argument:  not racist but opportunist and sleazy.

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Published in: on January 11, 2008 at 6:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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