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 March, 2008


 Democratic Attacks on Each Other

Hillary’s Flap-a-Day
By Al Owens

Geraldine Ferraro thinks she’s owed an apology. I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were her - but I am, however, holding my nose. For the umpteenth time this heated campaign season, Hillary Clinton has had to defend herself, because somebody in her camp says something, really, really dumb.

But not only that, the person who makes a questionable statement tries to claim they were only trying to compliment her rival Barack Obama, not point out his supposed flaws. This stuff is getting old really fast.

Former Nebraska Senator Bob Kerrey, a Clinton supporter, kicked off the left-handed compliment charades last December. "His name is Barack Hussein Obama. I know that middle name is seen as a weakness by Republicans, but I don't think it is. I think it enables him to speak to a billion Muslims around the world," Kerrey remarked.

That’s how you put the name on the minds of people inclined to vote for somebody who doesn’t have the middle-name Hussein. And to think, Kerrey used to be a United States Senator.

Bill Clinton was next. He made some ambiguous Obama characterizations after his wife won New Hampshire that he claimed were innocent. The voters of South Carolina didn’t see it that way. Obama cleaned his wife’s clock right after Clinton made those comments, and he found himself campaigning at thrift stores in the hinterlands as his punishment shortly afterward.

While Kerrey and Clinton’s husband weren’t official members of Hillary’s campaign staff, Billy Shaheen was – until he made his ill-advised remarks.
Before the New Hampshire primary, Shaheen talked about Obama’s admission of drug use many years ago. "It'll be, 'When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?'" Shaheen said. "There are so many openings for Republican dirty tricks. It's hard to overcome."

Shaheen broached the subject, and for no apparent reason other to embarrass Obama. Here comes the apology, folks. “I deeply regret the comments I made today and they were not authorized by the campaign in any way," Shaheen later said as he resigned from the Clinton campaign.

By the time Governor Ed Rendell, who knows a juicy opportunity to campaign for a VP spot when he sees it, made his unsolicited reference to Obama’s race, it came as no real surprise. "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 told an editorial board.

That statement may be true. But it also seems Rendell was helping to make it true. Then, of course, he stepped back to watch the media furor as he spent his time “explaining” that he wasn’t really trying to inject race into the increasingly racially charged presidential campaign, by injecting race into the campaign.

That brings us to Geraldine Ferraro, who just happened to be a Clinton campaign finance operative and a former failed Vice-Presidential candidate herself. Don’t blame me for not believing that another mention of Obama’s race, especially when that mention is unsolicited, isn’t really designed to be a compliment. "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept," Ferraro says. By now, these kinds of statements seem more like scripts written by the Clinton campaign.

Of course, after the media bonfire was lit by those statements, Clinton appeared and denounced them, and then Ferraro explained they were fashioned as some kind of tribute to Clinton’s opponent.

I’m wondering then, what the reason was that she’d said the very same thing about Jesse Jackson back in 1988? "If Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race," she said about Jackson as a 1984 candidate for president.
Ferraro has now resigned from the Clinton campaign (although Clinton had said she wasn’t a real member of it), and then she decided to launch yet another attack at the Obama campaign for calling her a racist. (Although the campaign hadn’t called her a racist) “Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist,” she said. “I will not be discriminated against because I’m white. If they think they’re going to shut up Geraldine Ferraro with that kind of stuff, they don’t know me.”

Well, here’s how you can shut-up Geraldine Ferraro. Present her with facts that certainly dispute her claim that Obama is mainly where he is, because he’s black.

Alaska, Iowa, Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota, Iowa, Vermont, Utah, Connecticut, Minnesota, Maine, Kansas and Idaho all have black populations well below the national average of 12.8 percent. Obama won handily in all of those states.

In fact, while Washington D.C. has the highest percentage of black residents in the country (56.5 percent), Obama’s percentage of victory in D.C. (75 percent) wasn’t as high as his margin of victory in the caucuses in Idaho (79 percent), and the same as in Alaska (75 percent).

Obama had, until the repeated references to his race by members of camp Hillary, seemed to have transcended the issue of race.

But with Pennsylvania on the presidential signpost up ahead, and the near universal feeling that race will be a key issue in this state, Geraldine Ferraro has done her job well. She’s managed to remind the state’s voters that Barack Obama is some kind of affirmative action candidate. She’s helping Hillary pick up primary votes to get nominated, but she’s helping her lose general election votes if she does win that nomination.
Shame on her.