Tuesday Hillary Clinton claimed the 2008 Democratic campaign for president has not been tarred by racism. In this she lies. She knows very well that the campaign has been tarred by racism, as she knows that her candidacy has managed to survive only through its deliberate appeal to racists.
I wish I could say that her acts, her words, surprise me. But they don't. Because I know something about her, and her husband, and race. For in 1992, I worked for the Clinton campaign. And though employed in a minor capacity, word filtered down even to me that Bill Clinton intended to put to death a black man, as a way to "dog-whistle" to white racists that he knew how blacks should really be treated.
And so Bill Clinton put to death a black man, so mentally impaired that, when led to the death chamber, he left behind his pie, believing that, after his execution, he would return to consume it. In putting to death this black man, Clinton committed an act that, some 10 years later, the Republican-dominated US Supreme Court would rule occurred in clear violation of the United States Constitution.
No matter. His death helped Bill Clinton become president. That was all that mattered.
Ricky Ray Rector, a black man, age 28, shot up a Conway, Arkansas restaurant on March 22, 1981, killing one man and wounding two others. Two days later, a Conway city policeman arrived at Rector's mother's house, spoke to Rector's mother, sister, and nephew (and, perhaps, Rector himself), and then was shot in the back, fatally, by Rector.
Rector then left the house, entered the back yard, said to his nephew's wife "I just shot that cop," and turned his gun on himself, firing a bullet into his brain that effectively accomplished a lobotomy.
In the early stations of his calvary through the American judicial system, Rector, as is true of most impoverished black defendants, was represented by lawyers who, to put it charitably, could have been better.
Eventually his case attracted lawyers who managed to place before the United States Supreme Court the question of whether it is constitutional to put to death a defendant who has erased much of his brain.
The high court, however, refused to hear Rector's case, declining to explain or expand upon its decision in Ford v. Wainwright (1986) 477 U.S. 399, in which it had determined that it was unconstitutional to execute a defendant who is insane. Rector's lawyers had urged the Court to likewise hold that it is unconstitutional to execute a defendant who is incompetent.
But in Rector v. Bryant (1991) 501 U.S. 1239, the United States Supreme Court denied cert, meaning that it declined to hear the case, because five justices were not willing to consider it. As occurs in only a decided minority of such rejected-cert cases, one justice, Thurgood Marshall, filed a dissent to the denial of cert. In that dissent, Justice Marshall wrote:
The issue in this case is not only unsettled, but is also recurring and important. The stark realities are that many death row inmates were afflicted with serious mental impairments before they committed their crimes and that many more develop such impairments during the excruciating interval between sentencing and execution. Unavoidably, then, the question whether such persons can be put to death once the deterioration of their faculties has rendered them unable even to appeal to the law or the compassion of the society that has condemned them is central to the administration of the death penalty in this Nation. I would therefore grant the petition for certiorari in order to resolve now the questions left unanswered by our decision in Ford v. Wainwright.
But nobody was much listening to Marshall then. He was just some black guy, and besides, at the time, he was the only person on the high court evolved enough to consistently state:
. . . that the death penalty is in all circumstances cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments[.]
Bill Clinton, in 1992, as part of his plan to secure the presidency, resolved to position himself as an advocate of the death penalty, in contrast to the anti-death penalty positions of the failed Democratic nominees before him.
He was also determined to distance himself from the "special-interest group" of black people, which he and his people had decided had helped sink the campaigns of Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis.
Clinton first, and foremost, sought opportunities to publicly estrange himself from the nation's most prominent black Democrat, Jesse Jackson. This he achieved, in spades, when he seized the opportunity to criticize a little-know rap artist, Sister Souljah, for stating "if black people kill black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?" He then gleefully slammed Jackson for "including" Souljah in Jackson's Rainbow Coalition.
I will never forget the phone call I received from a Clinton operative, jubilant after Clinton's public dissing of Souljah and Jackson, crowing "together with burning Rector, this will take us into the White House!"
Off and on, I worked oppo research for state and national Democrats for more than 25 years. It is not a glorious business. You learn more than you want to know. "Jaded" is soon no longer a word, but your life. You, pretty much, swim around in cesspools. Your targets, most of the time, are not even of the opposition party, but of your own. For instance, in 1984, hired by a Democrat who thought he might someday run for president against Bill Clinton, I learned all I'd ever want to know about The Clenis. I wish it had all just stayed in the seedy gossipy oppo world. But, in the end, it didn't. Did it?
The gloato who'd called about Souljah & Jackson had also called to "set [us] straight" about the burning of Ricky Ray Rector.
We were informed that even though all the lower courts had freely admitted that Rector had "lobomotized" himself, and that Rector literally didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground, it was important that he get snuffed, because the courts said he could be snuffed, because he'd killed a cop, because Gennifer Flowers was all over the news, and because Bill, to be seen as "tough on crime," needed to snuff a man, and especially a black man . . . to show that he was not only tough on crime, but tough on blacks.
This was my introduction to the Clintonoid wing of the Democratic Party, and its twist on the "Southern Strategy": that only a southern Democrat, in the wake of the post-1964 loss of the southern racists from the FDR coalition to the GOP, could regain the White House, by, through the proper winks and nods, attracting enough racist voters back to the party. If Bill ignored the fact that Ricky Ray Rector couldn't tell Tuesday from a tire, and coldly and ornately put him to death, Clinton would thereby, with a wink and a nod, impress an important cesspool of voters that might serve to bring him victory in the general election.
In our office, listening to this shite, we thought these people were suck sons of bitches, and we went back to work for Jerry Brown. Oppo world, at least then, was so twisted and underground and murky that, in 1992, we were, through various cut-outs, working for three different Democratic presidential candidates, contending against one another.
Why am I saying this, why am I violating omerta? Because I don't work in that world any more, and neither do my coworkers or boss. And because I want people to know just what kind of gutter scum are attempting to wrest the nomination from Barack Obama . . . and in the meantime destroy this country. And because I feel soiled, I feel the need for public confession, I feel that in working for these people I worked for the functional equivalent of Republicans.
The best lawyers, the best arguments, were before Bill Clinton when he decided whether or not to snuff Ricky Ray Rector. But the best argument to the lawyer Bill Clinton was that if he snuffed this man he would prove himself tough not only on crime, but on blacks.
So he killed him.
For fifty minutes they searched for a vein in Ricky Ray Rector's arm, and then they killed him. He had left his slice of pecan pie on his prison tray, telling his guard that, after his execution, he would come back to eat it, "later."
"Later," in 2002, tardily following the long-ago lead of Justice Marshall, then dead, the United States Supreme Court, voting 6-3, ruled that executing the mentally retarded or disabled constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
You read Sid Blumenthal's book, and you know that Bill Clinton is not a racist. But you get involved in the Ricky Ray Rector case, and you understand that Bill Clinton was ready, eager, and willing to use racism to attain political power.
Same with his wife. Not a racist, but running on racism. She has not, as was true of her husband, actually killed a black man. But, in her blind selfish groping grasp for power, she is perfectly willing to use racism, to kill the character of a black man, to kill his chances of prevailing against the Republicans in 2008.
Do not, people, make the mistake of giving these Clintons any slack. They are, as John Huston expressed it in Chinatown, "capable of anything."
Me, I've washed my hands of these people. I read them out of our party. I invoke bell, book, and candle. I pronounce them anathema.