Ran across the following article in USA Today, May 13, 2008 - which means of course that I was staying in a hotel.
The Forum: Clinton exposes Obama's vulnerability: white voters
And my reaction? Well, duh....
I have to admit that I am surprised and inspired by how far Obama has gotten in the presidential race (and it does look like he has actually garnered the Democratic nomination. Simply amazing). I think it is a reflection of at least these two factors:
** A major change in the attitudes and basic life perspectives of young people (and by that, I - almost 50 years old - mean anyone under 35 or so). From talking to my kids, their friends, and others, I really do get a sense that they see things differently. That race and gender and just plain difference is not such a big deal to them. And that the way things have been done in the past have only led to rather awful situations that do not give them confidence in existing leadership.
** The depth of revulsion and disgust that so many Americans have for the Bush Administration. Bush, Cheney and others have lied through their teeth, manipulated us, I am certain broken many, many laws, caused the deaths of more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attack, and are directly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqis. Clinton voted for the war and has not even found the basic decency to apologize. The Pentagon is sucking up so much of our money that our country is falling apart.
So why not, many people seem to be saying, why not try something - and someone - new? [And while Clinton being a woman is new, Clinton the politician is nothing new.]
Having said all that, the US is still a very racist country. OF COURSE there are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of Americans who cannot tolerate the thought of anyone but a European-American male being the President. Even if that anyone is so obviously smarter, more eloquent, more thoughtful, more compassionate, more honest than our current President.
So, OF COURSE, the fact that Obama is NOT WHITE is a key "vulnerability" for the man.
But what is less obvious and much more alarming is the fact that Clinton has decided that she should capitalize on this vulnerability and play the race card as she (and her husband) has. We have come to expect Willie Horton attacks from the Republicans. But Clinton has run a campaign that has me (and, it seems, many others) questioning her ethics and judgement.
I suppose that if through some miracle or disaster Clinton did get nomination, I would still vote for her - though it is getting harder and harder to acknowledge that.
What I do find odd is that so many Clinton supporters vociferously claim that if (when) Obama gets the nomination they will not vote for him.
Why wouldn't they vote for him? As far as I can tell his most frequent response to Clinton's attacks is to criticize them as "political silliness." Obama has generally taken the "high road" and maintained a sense of personal dignity. Why would a Clinton supporter punish him for their own candidate's lousy performance?
Ah well....hopefully soon this will be past. Obama will be the Democractic nominee. Clinton will vow her support. He will then pick a white male with a solid national security background. And then he will engage in electoral battle with a man who, while a very pleasant and likeable guy (he actually enjoys visiting Jon Stewart on the Daily Show - can you imagine Bush doing that?) also promotes truly awful policies, worse than Bush in some ways.