Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Clinton campaign IS using divide and conquer on race

So I wrote about this earlier in an angry tone, because I don't like the "dog whistle" type of politics of fear that the Clinton campaign is using by having her surrogates - Billy Shaheen, Bob Kerrey, Andrew Cuomo, Robert Johnson (BET), even Bill Clinton refer to Obama's race or his disclosed drug usage.

I don't like it one bit, and earlier I wondered if it was indeed a campaign strategy. Now Ryan Lizza confirms it in the New Yorker, and I feel sick. This is not one of those things I like being right about, and this dailykos post has the ugly, incriminating details.

When I asked Bendixen about the source of Clinton’s strength in the Hispanic community, he mentioned her support for health care, and Hispanic voters’ affinity for the Clinton era. “It’s one group where going back to the past really works,” he said. “All you need to say in focus groups is ‘Let’s go back to the nineties.’ ” But he was also frank about the fact that the Clintons, long beloved in the black community, are now dependent on a less edifying political dynamic: “The Hispanic voter—and I want to say this very carefully—has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.”

This is not what I signed onto the Democratic party for, this is not why I believe in Democratic values, and this is not what any Democrat should be aiding and abetting. It is ugly, and it is the kind of tactic that Rove would use. These are rightwing tactics of divide and conquer - pitting blacks against whites, Latinos against blacks, etc.

If Hillary really thinks this is going to win her the presidency, then she needs to wake up and open her eyes. She is turning off a lot of voters (not to mention politicians like REp. Clyburn and seasoned operatives like Donna Brazile) with this shit, and it needs to end, because she is turning off the voters who stayed home when John Kerry ran against Bush - the young voters, the minorities, the independents. If she wins our primary with these kinds of tactics, I am going to feel incredibly disappointed in our party and our country. Because she'll just lose the general especially if Huckabee really is able to pull the Reagan coalition back together.

Look, I am sorry that no one likes Hillary or thinks she has any kind of morals, but it's stuff like this - sinking to the level of Rove - which makes people believe this. I try and I want to like Clinton, and I try to give her the benefit of the doubt, but it's dirty tricks like this that turn me off. These aren't talking points - it's what people across the board are observing, and it's horrifyingly ugly. She really IS Tracy Flick. And that might get us somewhere in the general election, and it might not. She might have turned enough people off of politics that many of Obama's voters stay home, and then we'd have 12 years of Republican idiocy straight.

Look, one of the things I've learned is that these groups, particularly minorities, don't come out to vote unless they have a reason, and a compelling candidate. Obama is one of THE most compelling candidates we've had in my lifetime, and the energy that he's brought into this race is inspiring. He's made it sexy to care about politics again. And he's made voting cool.

And you know what, I don't care if these aren't particularly wonky reasons to vote. It doesn't matter, because for the first time in a long time, it seems like disenfranchised groups are making themselves heard. It's a mighty good thing, and I wish Hillary's campaign would see it that way instead of actively trying to disenfranchise voters (students in Iowa and casino workers in Las Vegas.) Just because it's her surrogates saying these racially-tinged things doesn't mean that it's okay.

Where I saw a pattern, others have pieced it all together. And we all know Hillary wants to win at any cost. She a fighter. But why are we tearing each other down when the Republicans are perfectly capable of doing that? And when they are doing such a good job of self-destructing, imploding from the inside out?

It seems like Hillary and the Clinton camp aren't just sore losers, they'd rather keep Republicans in office for 4 more years if she isn't the candidate. And that's not being a good team player. Why can't they recognize that the Clinton nostalgia is strong, but gracefully move on and let new leadership take their place?!?

I abhor what's going on, and it's not ok. It's plain nauseating.

UPDATE: Americablog's analysis is that Clinton talking about race is pretty much only win for her team because if Obama responds, it reinforces the message that he's black, and if he doesn't, they continue driving the race point home. Meaning that it apparently only hurts Obama for people to remember that he's black.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home