Obama race-baiting update
At a conference call with reporters this morning, somebody asked Barack Obama about the Clintons' recent controversial remarks and Hillary Clinton's response to the kerfuffle. Thus, Obama had a golden opportunity to make clear that he does not believe the Clintons' remarks were racist or racially insensitive -- and he chose not to do so. Instead, he said a bunch of other stuff that I have no problem with, but failed to do the one thing he needs to do, which is to unambiguously disassociate himself from this race-baiting nonsense.
As I wrote in a comment on my earlier post:
What is...surprising about this particular round of race-baiting is that the allegations of racism are so facially implausible. I mean, there is really not even a remotely plausible argument that the Clintons have said anything racist here. The whole thing is completely illogical.
Now, I realize these sorts of accusations are always rooted in emotion, not logic. But usually, when people cry "racism," racism is at least one of three or four potentially plausible explanations for whatever the underlying offense is (and the main issue is that they're jumping to that one conclusion instead of considering the other, more innocent possibilities). But here, the cries of racism don't even make sense, particularly with regard to the "fairy tale" comment.
So this whole controversy is really bizarre, and I keep thinking maybe Obama will come out and say, "Um, WTF are you guys talking about? Can we please get back to discussing things that are real?" Alas, it hasn't happened yet.
And it doesn't look like it's going to. Indeed, his spokesman told the New York Times, "People were offended at her words, and she can explain them however she'd like." In other words, we're not going to bail her out; if people want to vote against her on the basis of this self-evidently ridiculous nonsense, more power to them. As a political decision, I understand that, but it's very much politics-as-usual. Obama had a chance to take the high road here (while still attacking Clinton on substance), and he has clearly made a strategic decision not to do so. He is, it turns out, perfectly willing to let this racial stew fester, so long as he thinks it will work to his advantage -- even though the controversy is totally baseless, and he knows it. That suggests to me that, as president, he would let any racial controversy fester if he deems it politically advantageous. After all, if he won't distance himself from allegations as obviously insubstantial as these...
Anyway, this whole thing makes me genuinely sad. I thought maybe Obama was different. I guess not. I'm back to being thoroughly undecided. Congrats, senator, you've just lost a supporter.
I agree with what Glenn wrote:
You know, I've noted before that if Hillary attacks Obama too hard she risks losing black supporters -- and others who've invested in Obama. But it works both ways -- if Obama looks too much like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, or even like he's too close to those two politically, he'll lose a lot of people who've rallied to him precisely because he promised "a new kind of politics." You can't run as a uniter, and engage in racial politicking at the same time. Well, you can -- but it won't work very well.
However, as I note in my latest (and perhaps final) post on this kerfuffle, I'm probably overreacting a bit. Ah well, you be the judge, I suppose.