A few weeks ago Ed Rendell made a very interesting comment to a paper here in PA. He said:
"You've got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate," he said bluntly. Our eyes only met briefly, perhaps because the governor wanted to spare the only black guy in the room from feeling self-conscious for backing an obvious loser. "I believe, looking at the returns in my election, that had Lynn Swann [2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate] been the identical candidate that he was --well-spoken [note: Mr. Rendell did not call the brother "articulate"], charismatic, good-looking -- but white instead of black, instead of winning by 22 points, I would have won by 17 or so."
Here is my question:
I was wondering if Ed or Hillary would like to explain to me why some people in PA, "are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate."
Yes, I know the base answer, racism. There are some racists in PA, no one denies that on any side of the political debate. Ed was talking about a pretty large group though, enough to swing his victory a full five points. If those people are here, those five points could mean the difference between victory and defeat for Obama in this primary.
I was curious if Ed or Hillary could explain to me the source of this racism in such a large group, so Obama and other black candidates in the state might address this issue in the future.
It's hard for me to figure, since I usually attribute feelings like this to misdirected anger. It was my opinion that people who expressed racist views were generally good people but they were angry and bitter about their own conditions, and looked for outsiders to blame.
Of course, I now know that is not the case. Hillary and friends have made it very clear the people Ed Rendell was talking about are not angry and bitter.
Or maybe, just maybe, some people are angry and bitter as Obama said. He certainly didn't mean all people were, unless you want to dishonestly put words into his mouth. Democrats should not do that to other democrats.
Anyway, I would like to see someone in this upcoming debate ask Hillary to explain why some people in PA are racist as Rendell said. I would like to see her confront the issue head on, instead of just talking shit about what Obama said.
Obama messed up in his explanation and his generalities, but at least he put himself out there and tried. Hillary should do the same, and Rendell should distance himself from her if she is not willing to confront the reality he described.
There is no happy, easy, soundbite answer that can explain racism, but racism is real. I'd like to know where Hillary thinks it comes from, and what we can do about it.