The Fairy Tale Revisited Part 3
HERBERT (8/2/08): Whatever you think about Barack Obama, he does not want the race issue to be front and center in this campaign. Every day that the campaign is about race is a good day for John McCain. So I guess we understand Mr. McCain’s motivation [in saying Obama “played the race card.”]
We’ll stay away from definitive judgments about McCain’s motivation. But we agree, whole-heartedly, that race is dangerous for Candidate Obama . . .
It is obvious of course but Somerby and Digby and frankly, all commenters have decided to forget what happened in January 2008 in the Democratic Party, when "everyday the campaign was about race" was GOOD for Obama. As we know, Bill Clinton has not forgotten. On February 14, 2008, I wrote a post titled Turning Obama Into The Black Candidate:
Race baiting and express threats to their office from the co-chair of the Obama campaign [Jesse Jackson, Jr.] is not only incredibly unseemly and divisive, it HURTS Obama. Yes, it hurts Obama by making him the "black candidate." I condemned Bill Clinton for trying to do this after South Carolina with his comparisons of Obama to Jesse Jackson. But now it seems Obama's campaign is fully embracing this approach.
This is ugly stuff, as ugly as I have seen in this campaign. Obama needs to disavow Jackson's actions. Indeed, it seems time for Jackson, Jr. to step down after this. This is truly ugly.
The Obama camp's refusal to distance itself from the likes of Jackson, Jr. and Jim Clyburn is now costing him. When Bob Herbert, Gene Robinson and half the Media, and all the A-List bloggers decided that intimating that Bill and Hillary Clinton were using racist tactics was acceptable, they helped to place the Obama campaign in the predicament it is now in on the race issue. And it need not have happened imo. Clyburn's behavior in particular was utterly unnecessary. I personally believe Obama would have swept South Carolina and the African American vote no matter what. There was no need to tear down Bill and Hillary Clinton to achieve this.
So today, Obama deals with two consequences from the actions of some of his supporters, in the campaign, the Media and on the blogs: First, as Digby puts it:
[I]n this general election, it certainly can only hurt Obama to bring race front and center. He has to play by the Jackie Robinson Rules --- and it's pretty clear that he, if not some of his supporters and surrogates, gets that.(Emphasis mine.) Second, Obama has also been robbed of the ability to brag on the economic accomplishments of the last Democratic President, Bill Clinton. Paul Krugman wonders why Obama does not associate himself with the economic accomplishments of the Clinton Administration and why he does not tie McCain to the economic failures of the Bush Administration:
Obama’s big economy speech, last week:Back in the 1990s, your incomes grew by $6,000, and over the last several years, they’ve actually fallen by nearly $1,000.
“Back in the 90s?” Why not, “When a Democrat was president?” “Over the last several years?” Why not, “under Bush?”
A prominent Democratic Hillary supporter once told me that Obama gives him “post-partisan depression.” Indeed — his apparent unwillingness to take such clear shots is starting to seem bizarre.
At this point, it no longer seems bizarre to me. Obama burned his bridges with the Clinton legacy. The funny thing is that the easy obvious way to rebuild the bridge is staring him in the face, and he will not do it - name Hillary Clinton as his VP. This would help him in so many ways, that the decision is a no brainer. But it seems Obama is intent on burying the Clintons forever, even if it puts his own election in jeopardy.
By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only
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