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View Diary: How Obama Rode The Race Card to Victory (271 comments)

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  •  You've Obviously Not Been Reading Much (5+ / 0-)

    at all.  I mean really, if you have been following the primary then the analysis you link to (and proffer as your own diary no less) should strike you as sorely short on facts.

    Barack Obama's Appeal to Voters Breaks the Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns.

    by SteamPunkX on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:41:35 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I've read plenty (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I have been saying the exact same thing he's written about for weeks.  It's pretty obvious.

      Voting rights are our most important rights because all the other ones depend on them

      by markusd on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:48:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So... the Obama campaign drugged WJC (10+ / 0-)

        and made him make the Jesse Jackson comments (which were the sparks that set off the all the kindling the Clintons had been scattering around)?

        The Clinton campaign tried to gently make Obama "the black candidate", and they failed.  That's on them, and it takes willful ignorance to not see it.

        Our destiny will be written not for us, but by us.

        by Pegasus on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 10:50:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's the part that is willfully ignored.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Scoopster, Pegasus

          The "faux-cus" of the Clintonian outrage is on the idea that the "Clintons were made out to be racists", a charge which some people have carelessly thrown around, but which misses the point.

          I did not and do not think for one second that the Clintons are racists. But it was clear at the time, and also reported by those with more inside information, that there was a planned effort by the Clinton campaign to try to define Obama as "the black candidate" and thus marginalize him. By my definition, that is introducing race into the campaign. The fact that they did it so clumsily and incompetently is what opened them up to charges of racism.

          And African Americans got the message loud and clear and voted with their feet, so to speak. Clinton's support among AA suffered a Guiliani-esque meltdown. The message that mark and other Clinton supporters are implying is that African Americans were too stupid to see through Obama's nefarious tactics and blindly followed him based on skin color.

          What the whole thing told me was not that the Clinton's were racists, but that they would throw anyone under the bus to serve their interests once they were perceived as no longer useful.

          Der Mensch irrt solange er strebt.....

          by Azdak on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 11:55:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Where (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Where was that reported by people with inside information?  

            I'd like to read that analysis because I believe that Charlie Rangel had it right when he said that the way race got injected into this is when Obama said the word "race" and that John Lewis had it right when he said no right-thinking person can seriously believe that the Clintons were race-baiting.

            I'd be open to a new interpretation if I saw the reporting you are describing.


            •  I can't say that I took notes.... (0+ / 0-)

              but I do remember reading it from more than one source and from relatively "objective" sources--e.g. slate or links to news articles. I try to be careful of what information I "accept" as reliable (vs what I "read"). Quite frankly, I saw it mentioned enough that I thought it was common knowledge when I wrote the comment.

              Since you have raised the question, I took a few minutes to search for some sources and this is what I came up with:

              Here is one example of what I mean by "common knowledge". (From the Baltimore Sun):

              In the days leading up to the first Southern primary, also the first to include large numbers of African-American voters, the former president went on the attack against Obama in a way that many blacks saw as racially tinged. The attacks were widely interpreted as an attempt by the Clintons to define Obama, who had de-emphasized race in his campaign, as a black candidate, presumably with an eye toward preventing Obama from building support among white voters.

              Oh, I found another article by Tom Edsall at RCP that I think is helpful as well. The opinions cited are from "experts"--ie polysci Professors, etc--and they are varied but a couple stand out.

              From the story:

              With Obama heading towards victory in South Carolina, Bill Clinton has sought to draw attention to Obama's dependence there on black voters.

              Clinton put his not-very-subtle strategy on display in Charleston on Thursday when he told an audience: "As far as I can tell, neither Senator Obama nor Hillary have lost votes because of their race or gender," he said. "They are getting votes, to be sure, because of their race or gender -- that's why people tell me Hillary doesn't have a chance of winning here."

              Obama, in turn, has sought to make the case to South Carolinians that he can and should be the candidate of all Democrats, regardless of race:

              "If I came to you and I had polka dots but you were convinced that I was going to put more money in your pockets and help you pay for college and keep America safe, you'd say, 'OK, I wish he didn't have polka dots, but I'm still voting for him..'"

              A quote from one professor:

              Alan Abramowitz, of Emory University, took a more ambivalent view of recent campaign developments. Clinton, he said, "was trying to send a subtle message here that Obama was the candidate of black voters in S.C., while conceding that Hillary was also getting votes based on gender. Not an overt racial message, but certainly a racial subtext."

              And another:

              David Leege, Notre Dame political scientist, takes a very different view, and has a much tougher interpretation of Bill Clinton's motives.

              "There is a substantial residual of race-related fear, and President Clinton's frequent invocation of race/gender differences is tapping into it. Iowa and New Hampshire did not have the demographics to tempt Obama's opponents to play to racial identity, but from here on the demographics for this style of campaigning are very seductive. I look for continued hints, then denials and high road talk, then hints, etc."

              And here is something that I thought was a key quote from Darren Davis of Notre Dame:

              "Obama has attempted to run a deracialized or racially transcendent campaign. By avoiding racially divisive issues, associating with traditional civil rights organizations, and eschewing controversial black figures, such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, Obama has attempted to appeal to white voters. Thus, Obama has no incentive to become embroiled in racial issues, though Hillary Clinton has every incentive to racialize Obama.... If Obama wins South Carolina and if it is attributed to the black vote, which in all likelihood will happen, this would not be good for Obama. While he will be awarded the delegates, the more he is labeled a "black candidate" [the more it] will cost him white votes in subsequent primaries."

              I will leave it to you to judge the objectivity of these sources.

              Der Mensch irrt solange er strebt.....

              by Azdak on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:00:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  None of those are insider accounts (0+ / 0-)

                I think if you can't back up your assertion, you should apologize for making it.

                As for the links, I already know a lot of people have jumped on the Clintons-as-race-baiter narrative.  As the article the diarist links to points out, it has become conventional wisdom.  But I think that the narrative in the article is absolutely 100% correct (at least with regard to race, there are a couple of unrelated cheap shots in there), but his mostly chronological tale of how the Clintons came to be viewed this way is absolutely accurate and I'd be more interested to see what specifics in the article you disagree with.

                P.S. -- on the last quote, he may have avoided Jesse Jackson, but Jesse Jackson Jr. is a national co-chair (and has gone heavy on the race stuff) so I wouldn't use that quote in the future when you are having these kinds of discussions. It's not very credible.

                •  OK, I'll concede the "insider" point as sloppy (0+ / 0-)

                  language, since I cannot find a direct link, but I think the rest speaks for itself.

                  Again, my point was that the Clinton campaign embarked on a specific strategy to marginalize Obama based on race--and in doing so, they brought race into the forefront of the campaign. And the last paragraph was meant to support my contention that it was not Obama who brought race into the campaign, which I believe was the original point of the dairy (not sure, since I am working off the comments page now).

                  If I am wrong in my interpretation, ignore this, but it sounds as if you are maintaining that the idea that the Clintons had this strategy is still some media fabrication. I guess in this case, based on the evidence I have read, I am going to have to stick to the "conventional wisdom" as being the most accurate.  

                  I have never used the terms "race card", "racist", or "race baiting" when discussing the Clinton strategy, so you will have to debate that issue with someone else. I think those terms inject too much emotion into the discussion and it then devolves into an argument over semantics.

                  Jesse Jackson Jr is not a national figure with the same kind of baggage as the two mentioned, so I don't think your comment is particularly relevant to the quote I cited.

                  OTOH, Jesse Jackson Jr has been an embarrassment as far as I am concerned, but I think it is comparative trivialization to use his remarks as evidence of anything other than the fact that JJJr is not ready for prime time as a public spokesman.

                  Der Mensch irrt solange er strebt.....

                  by Azdak on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:51:49 PM PST

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                  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

                    I appreciate you conceding the point.   I really would be open to a different interpretation if there were insiders claiming it to be a deliberate strategy on the part of the Clintons.

                    But absent that, I really have a hard time believing it for a variety of reasons:

                    1. Nothing in their history suggests they would do such a thing.  They have been nothing if not committed to the notion of racial reconciliation so it would be out of character for them to embark on a deliberate strategy of injecting race into the campaign.
                    1. It doesn't make logical sense.  They wouldn't have anything to gain by making race part of the narrative. They could only lose their considerable black support, as well as that of a lot of whites (particularly liberals). I usually tend to believe that the most logical explanation is the correct one, and in this case logic doesn't support the notion that they would deliberately alienate their black supporters and many white supporters to try to win more whites who weren't already with them.

                    If you have any kind of open mind about this, I really do suggest you read the article that was the basis of the diary.  You'll have to ignore some stupid stuff (like the last paragraph and a complete cheap shot about plagiarism),  but by and large I think the article presents a dead-on accurate picture of how all the people you cited above came to the conclusions they came to.

                    If you don't have an open mind and aren't interested in another perspective, though, then don't waste your time reading it.

                    Here's the link:

                    •  If I ignore the "stupid stuff", there's nothing (0+ / 0-)

                      to read. But I will get to that later.

                      In my earlier response, I wrote something to the effect that I thought you were in denial about the Clinton strategy to marginalize Obama. I deleted that because, as fun as it sounded to be snide, it was unfair and personal and did not add to the discussion. I found your last comment to be equally offensive for the same reason and I wish you had exercised the same discretion.

                      As to your points #1 and #2, I would say that that the Clinton history is the strongest proof that they WOULD do such a thing, but not for the reasons you think. You assert that their history of advocacy for the AA community supports the idea that would not use race, per se, as a campaign strategy. I agree with you partially, and I have said repeatedly that the Clinton strategy was NOT racist in nature--for the very reasons you mentioned. However, I do think the Clintons have shown that they will discard individuals or groups who are no longer useful or relevant to their political needs. We have seen this repeatedly in the campaign where they have marginalized and dumped on states that have gone for Obama and individuals who have come out and endorsed Obama. My contention is that they chose the strategy they did because they could see the movement in the polls in the AA community toward Obama and decided that they were going to lose that group anyhow. As far as the general election goes, I think is readily apparent by now that Clinton had no strategy beyond winning the nomination by Feb 5. I can only speculate that they assumed that blacks and liberals would have no where else to go and they would come back.

                      I find it interesting that I am using a rationale similar to yours--I also believe the most logical explanation is the correct one--but coming to a different conclusion. So much for individual "logic" ;-)

                      As far as Wilentz's "article" goes, I am contiually appalled at the depth that supposedly learned individuals will go to to denigrate themselves and their reputations to serve the Clinton campaign. I have never been able to figure out the origin of this intense hatred of Obama--this article certainly describes the depth of it, but gives no insight into it's cause. I can't take any of it on face value since so much of it is distortion and lies.

                      When you start out with a sentence like this:

                      After several weeks of swooning, news reports are finally being filed about the gap between Senator Barack Obama's promises of a pure, soul-cleansing "new" politics and the calculated, deeply dishonest conduct of his actually-existing campaign.

                      You have already told me that everything that will follow will be a dishonest smear. It's like george bush saying "my fellow americans...."--I know that everything that will follow is a lie. None of his assertions are sourced--except for vague references to information from the Clinton campaign ("Clinton campaign officials later told me.....").

                      Wilentz provides a detailed picture, but I would hardly call it accurate. It read as though he was just channeling taylor marsh.

                      One of the problems with analyzing these events is that a lot of things occurred in a short period of time, so they are being lumped together, and reactions were coming from the media, bloggers, and campaign officials simultaneously, so I think that reactions and statements were conflated and ascribed inaccurately to one campaign or another. You had the Shaheen statement, the Kerry statement, the Cuomo statement, the Andy Young statement, the MLK statement, the "fairy tale" statement, the JJJr statement and the Bob Johnson remark all happening in close proximity. Some of these were random, some may have been related, but they all were interpreted within the heated atmosphere that surrounded that phase of the campaign. It also coincided with the period in which Bill Clinton, I think, completely lost his composure and made the campaign a personal crusade.

                      For the reasons I have mentioned, I have tried to stay away from those events, because I don't think they are all related. When I talk about what I think was the Clinton strategy to marginalize Obama, I focus on Bill Clinton's statements in South Carolina and on the campaign begining to use the narrative that states with high AA voting percentages were "insignificant".

                      Someday, someone will go back and investigate all these events in more detail and write a definitive narrative--but Wilentz's foaming rabidity won't contribute to it.

                      Der Mensch irrt solange er strebt.....

                      by Azdak on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 03:48:59 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I hear you (0+ / 0-)

                        That first statement was stupid and it's the kind of thing I was referring to when I said to ignore the stupid stuff. I don't put much stock in Willenz, but I do  think that his narrative about how race got injected int his was 100% correct.

                        I'm sorry about my last sentence above. I didn't mean to be snide, I really sincerely meant that if you had already completely made up your mind, then we were both wasting our breath talking about this more. I apologize if that came across wrong.

                        As for your comment about Bill Clinton's statemetns in South Carolina, which ones specifically are you referring to?   Again, if I saw something that maybe I hadn't seen before, I would be open to reconsidering how I understand what happened on this issue.

      •  The definition of a sociopath.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tbetz, SteamPunkX

        .. is repeating the same thing over and over and over expecting a different result.

        Or is that psychopath?  Meh. You know what I'm tryin to say here, dontcha Marky Mark?

      •  Mark, you are a bastion of reason against hope. (5+ / 0-)

        Yes, everyone else is wrong, and deluded.  You are the lone voice of sanity howling in a wilderness of people who just don't get it. It's not that you've been taken in by pundits and are bitter because HRC 08 has run a piss-poor campaign, it's that Obama is playing the race card to make himself popular.  Because injecting race into things always makes a person popular.

        Barack Obama's Appeal to Voters Breaks the Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns.

        by SteamPunkX on Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 11:07:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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