Ferraro's Out

A campaign blog.
March 12 2008 7:17 PM

Ferraro's Out

If there’s a lesson to be learned from Geraldine Ferraro’s fast-motion disintegration, it’s gotta be: Don’t fight it.


After her initial slip-up —Ferraro said that Obama was a successful candidate only because he’s black—she could have apologized and walked away. As a member of the fundraising committee, she didn’t rank particularly high on Clinton’s staff list. Instead, she decided to double down. She called back the Daily Breeze , the paper in which her comments first appeared, and accused the Obama campaign of "attacking me because I’m white." In other words, she played what Ben Smith calls the race card card. That move ratcheted up the rhetoric another notch, all but guaranteeing her demise.

At the bottom of Ferraro’s rants, she had a kernel of a point: This election, like all elections, is largely about identity. As she herself acknowledged, "[I]n 1984, if my name was Gerard Ferraro instead of Geraldine Ferraro, I would never have been the nominee for vice president." But what then? Was she suggesting that Obama should "admit" that his race is a factor in his candidacy? If so, that’s a losing battle. Should John Edwards then have admitted he was getting some votes because he was a white male?

Ferraro prided herself on not taking orders from the Clinton campaign, but this time she should have listened. In a mere two days, she managed to resurrect the subject of race—relatively dormant since South Carolina*—and give the Obama campaign reason to take offense . It also let them twist the Clinton campaign’s logic about Samantha Power’s "monster" remarks. If Clinton hadn’t demanded Power’s resignation, Ferraro might still have a job on the campaign. Howard Wolfson’s rebuttal—that Ferraro wasn’t as big a part of Clinton’s campaign as Power was for Obama—held water at first. But once Ferraro lashed out again, it was over.

In an ideal world, neither Power nor Ferraro would have had to resign. But the logic that both campaigns have imposed on the race that wanton ( Update 1:47 a.m.: Sorry, not " wonton .") surrogates have to go made Ferraro's demise inevitable.

*Correction: We originally said North Carolina. That would be impossible, seeing as North Carolina hasn't voted yet.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.