P.P.S.: Would Obama be in this position if he weren'thalf-white--i.e. if he didn't have one white parent? That's a more difficult question. If embodying the post-racial future is an advantage, it would seem to help--but that's a bit ironic, isn't it (i.e., ironic if you can't lead America into the post-racial future unless you have the precisely correct mix of multiracial ancestry).
P.P.P.S.: If the Ferarro controversy does help Hillary, that would explain why Ferraro herself seemed to try to keep it alive yesterday with a silly, provocative comment: "I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?" ... Second Reading: In context, Ferraro seems to be trying to parody what she claims is the Obama campaign's tendency to cry "racism" everytime someone criticizes Obama. The problem with this argument is that hasn't been the Obama camp's tendency--rather, they cry "racism" everytime someone brings up the question of race. But Ferraro may have been thinking of Orlando Patterson's less-wacky-than-you'd-expect op-ed, criticizing Clinton's seemingly non-racial "3 A.M." ad as racist--indeed, Ferarro mentioned the Patterson op-ed in an earlier TV appearance. Maybe she just got her back up and saw perversity all around. But she's clearly not trying to tamp down the controversy. ... 10:42 P.M. link
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Geraldine Ferraro (Clinton supporter): " "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."
True statement (a.k.a. a Kinsley gaffe). And if Geraldine Ferraro was Gerald Ferraro, she'd be an unknown hack ex-Congressman, not a pathbreaking former vice-presidential candidate. Now Hillaryite Democrats suddenly feel the unfairness in the logic of race-based affirmative action? Where were they when Bill Clinton was 'mending it, not ending it'? And where's that Jesse Helms ad when she needs it?
Susan Rice (Obama aide):"That's a really outrageous and offensive comment."
David Axelrod (Obama strategist):""The bottom line is this, when you wink and nod at offensive statements, you're really sending a signal to your supporters that anything goes."
Absurd and telling overreaction! Yes, Ferraro's statement is hypocritical. It drips with unseemly envy and entitlement. It's unrealistic--by the time any politician gets to the stratopsheric level of presidential contender, he or she has almost certainly had some morally arbitrary lucky breaks (like being a black, or an Italian, or a Bush, or just being in the right place at the right time). But why is it "offensive"? It is, after all, true. Maybe that's the problem. Is it 'offensive' to hit too close to the sensitive weak spot of Democratic race-preference ideology in a Democratic primary? I guess.
Update: Obama himself says "I don't think that Geraldine Ferraro's comments have any place in our politics or the Democratic Party." ... Ferraro saysa) she's always said that if she were "Gerard Ferraro" she would "never have been the nominee for vice president;" b) "The truth is the truth is the truth." ... She also narrows the context of her statement to the 2008 campaign, rather than Obama's entire life--including race-based preferences he may have enjoyed at Harvard--which has the effect of protecting Dem preference dogma at least somewhat. Altogether a highly effective appearance. ...
P.S.: Does the Obama campaign really want to prolong this controversy? Doesn't he need white male votes in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina? Didn't that Jesse Helms ad work? Just asking! ... Backfill: Jesse Jackson's response, when Ferraro said a similar thing about him in 1988, seems much savvier than Obama's. ... 3:31 P.M.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Did CNN really have Bill Bennett on today to pronounce judgment on Eliot Spitzer ("Look, it's not good for him ... I think it's too much ") and Bill Clinton ("It was an intern")? I would have thought Bennett's days as arbiter of sin and virtue were over after his own humiliating public bout with vice--the 2003 Las Vegas gambling embarrassment, when it was revealed that he had a multi-million dollar slot machine jones. (At the time, Michael Kinsley argued Bennett should have "the decency to slink quietly away, as he is constantly calling on others to do."). ... I guess if Meet the Press can call on Doris Kearns Goodwin to judge Obama's alleged plagiarism ....11:07 P.M.