Got Scrutiny? bumped
The media fluff fest on Mr. O. is ending. Dan
Balz wrote yesterday that is was “time to question Obama, too.”
But the conversation that really needs to begin is what started here a while
back, when everyone was piling on Clinton. Today Sean Wilentz goes at the heart of the Obama campaign’s hypocrisy, which also just happens to be a weapon of race:
After several weeks of swooning, news reports are finally being filed about
the gap between Senator Barack Obama’s promises of a pure, soul-cleansing
“new” politics and the calculated, deeply dishonest conduct of his
actually-existing campaign. But it remains to be seen whether the latest ploy
by the Obama camp–over allegations about the circulation of a photograph
of Obama in ceremonial Somali dress–will be exposed by the press as the manipulative
illusion that it is. … ..
… .. To a large degree, the campaign’s strategists turned the primary
and caucus race to their advantage when they deliberately, falsely, and successfully
portrayed Clinton and her campaign as unscrupulous race-baiters–a campaign-within-the-campaign
in which the worked-up flap over the Somali costume photograph is but the
latest episode. While promoting Obama as a “post-racial” figure,
his campaign has purposefully polluted the contest with a new strain of what
historically has been the most toxic poison in American politics.
More than any other maneuver, this one has brought Clinton into disrepute
with important portions of the Democratic Party. A review of what actually
happened shows that the charges that the Clintons played the “race card”
were not simply false; they were deliberately manufactured by the Obama camp
and trumpeted by a credulous and/or compliant press corps in order to strip
away her once formidable majority among black voters and to outrage affluent,
college-educated white liberals as well as college students. … ..
by Sean Wilentz
How Barack Obama played the race card and blamed Hillary Clinton.
I asked back in January: Who
is injecting race?
Craig Crawford did
CRAWFORD: … .. I mean, we’ve gotten into a situation where if you try to
be fair to the Clintons, if you try to be objective, if you try to say, “Well,
where’s the evidence of racism in the Clinton campaign?” you’re accused
of being a naÃƒÂ¯ve shill for the Clintons. I mean, I think if somebody
came out today and said that Bill Clinton — if the town drunk in Columbia
[South Carolina] came out and said, “Bill Clinton last night was poisoning
the drinking water in Obama precincts,” the media would say, “Ah,
there goes Clinton again. You can’t trust him.” I really think it’s a
problem. … ..
Let’s also remember who took the time to show up at Tavis Smiley’s event this
past weekend. The Clinton’s have a lifelong history of supporting African Americans
and causes they hold dear, like rising economically, which is just what happened
in the 1990s. The Obama campaign knew they had to sever the Clinton’s ties with
African Americans in order to get the vote. That’s exactly what they did.
It started with the Johnson comment, which guest poster Michael
Fauntroy demolished, by way of being related to someone who was there. But
that didn’t stop what Obama’s campaign had planned. Back to Wilentz:
Among those dismayed by Obama’s tactics and his supporters’ was Bill Moyers.
In a special segment on his weekly PBS broadcast in mid-January, Moyers, who
as a young man had been an aide to President Johnson, demolished the charge
that Clinton had warped history in order to race-bait Obama. “There was
nothing in [Clinton's] quote about race,” he observed.
By the time the Obama campaign backed off from agitating the King-Johnson
pseudo-scandal, it had already trained its sights on Bill Clinton–by far
the most popular U.S. president among African Americans over the past quarter-century.
Not only were Bill and Hillary supposedly ganging up on Obama in South Carolina–”I
can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes,” Obama complained during
the South Carolina debate–the former president was supposedly off on a race-baiting
tear of his own. Yet, once again, the charges were either distortions or outright
To encapsulate where all of this stands today, all you have to do is listen
to Rush and his “official Obama criticizer,” meant to mock all the people to spineless to scrutinize a man who wants to be president. If Obama is the general
election candidate for Democrats, you can bet Republicans won’t be bamboozled
into letting him slide.
Jesse Jackson Jr., Obama’s national co-chair, can’t threaten everyone.
It’s long past time Mr. Obama was held to the same standards as everyone else,
including when he runs as a unifier, but who behind the scene is doing everything to divide. Playing
the race card won’t work forever, though it certainly is one of the dishonest tactics, among many, that’s gotten his campaign this far.
It may strike some as ironic that the racializing should be coming from a
black candidate’s campaign and its supporters. But this is an American presidential
campaign–and there is a long history of candidates who are willing to inflame
the most deadly passions in our national life in order to get elected. Sadly,
it is what Barack Obama and his campaign gurus have been doing for months–with
the aid of their media helpers on the news and op-ed pages and on cable television,
mocked by “SNL” as in the tank for Obama. They promise to continue
until they win the nomination, by any means necessary.