Obama, Embarrassed

A mostly political Weblog.
June 9 2008 9:13 PM

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(Continued from Page 71)

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.

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Monday, March 10, 2008

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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.

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"Kristen," the NEA's Worst Enemy? Here's Ben Smith's 2006 New York Observer piece on the probable next governor of New York. OK, so there have been a few little fibs on his official bio. And he aims to please everyone, Clinton style. There's also this:

A prominent advocate of publicly funded vouchers for private schools, Clint Bolick, has given [now-Lt. Gov. David] Paterson money and describes him as a "very good friend of the school-choice movement," ... [E.A.]

Could be interesting. ... Also, I'm a sucker for gratuitous candor, which seems to be another Paterson characteristic. ... [This isn't a kf item. It's a parody of a kf item. "N.E.A. SUFFERS SETBACK IN NEW YORK NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST."-ed. First, I'm too tabloidy, Now you don't like the policy angle! So unfair. I feel like Michael Chertoff.] ...

Update: Yes, Spitzer was receptive to charter schools and even private school tuition deductions. But "Paterson "is even more hardcore about school reform and not a favorite of the teachers' unions," reports Eduwonk. "[H]is pick as LG caused [the unions] some consternation but was tempered because it was only LG ...." Heh! ...  5:11 P.M. link

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