hillary, obama, race and the kennedy mantle

Has anyone else heard this theory that Hillary threw the South Carolina primary on purpose, knowing that Obama’s success there would brand him the “black candidate”? If true, it’s reprehensible. More importantly, however, I think it might also be effective. Here’s a clip from “Mother Jones”:

The true legacy of this election cycle’s South Carolina slimefest remains to be seen.

In 2000, John McCain faced a do-or-die contest in South Carolina and got slashed by allegations that he had fathered an illegitimate black child and abandoned his fellow POWs in Vietnam. McCain lost in South Carolina by 11 points and his campaign never recovered.

This time around, the mudslinging occurred on the Democratic side. Clinton attacked Obama for supporting the policies of Ronald Reagan, a false claim, and many Clinton surrogates found ways to mention Obama’s religion or past drug use. And Bill Clinton called Obama’s record on Iraq a fairy tale, compared him to Jesse Jackson, and repeatedly brought up race, all while chastising the press for trivializing the campaign. Obama was baited into responding with his own nasty ads.

The result, even the Clinton campaign admits, is that the candidate who was once transcendent and post-racial is now very clearly “the black candidate”…

I don’t think that Clinton would have done this consciously, but I suspect that Obama’s winning South Carolina could very well work to her advantage. The good news is, it might not matter though. Today, Obama was officially handed the mantle of JFK. Hillary may be one of the most cunning political animals of our generation, and America may at its heart still be a racist nation, but I don’t see how she can possibly find a way around this newly discovered heir to the Kennedy dynasty. When Caroline Kennedy came out today and said that Obama “offer(ed) that same sense of hope and inspiration” that her father did, I think the campaign was over. America wants something to be optimistic about again, and now they’ve got it. They’ve been handed a new JFK.

And I don’t know if it’s true, or if it’s just something that John Edwards would like to see happen, but Robert Novak is reporting today that, if elected, Obama would make Edwards Attorney General. Right now, I’m still on the fence between Hillary and Obama, but, if this were true, it would be enough to sway me… The only thing I’d like better than Edwards as Attorney General is Gore as our Secretary of Energy. (I might even settle for seeing him as our Ambassador to the United Nations.)

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  1. egpenet
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    I got a Christmas card from the Kennedys their first Christmas in the White House. I worked on the campaign in Kansas and in Minnesota.

    After Vaughan Meader began imitating Jack Kennedy, myself and a fellow actor John Barrett began doing Jack and Robert duos on local radio and in pubs for beers.

    I am very excited FOR Obama but not ABOUT Obama. I don’t see or hear what Caroline sees and hears. But I DO feel Americans are so desparate for HOPE that Obama may just do fine. I also DO feel quite strongly and we should all know from eight years in the White House that every single word uttered by Bill and Hillary are completely intentional and carefully calculated. Bill’s charaterizing of Obama as another Jesse flash in the pan is very offensive to me. Neither Rev. Dr. Jesse NOR Sen. Obama should be belittled, dismissed, demeaned in such a flippant manner. Bill Clinton is a sicko.

  2. Tim
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been surprised by the lack of Obama support on this site. His progressive credentials are great. I think he is viewed as a moderate primarily because his rhetoric toward the right is not particularly harsh. I find him far more inspiring than Edwards.

    I would prefer AG as the Energy Secretary. I think we need to get our own energy house in order more than we need a respected ambassador to the UN.

  3. egpenet
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone know if Al Gore is a Democrat Super Delegate?

    I’ll say it here that I have a feeling the Dems will be deadlocked for delegates and believe that a Gore-Obama ticket will emerge from the convention.

    This will be partially becausee a very strong McCain-led ticket (he will draft a conservative for V-P to balance his crednetials) is a ticket Billary cannot beat. The Dems know that. This will be a very very exciting convention season.

  4. mark
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 11:24 pm | Permalink


    I don’t think I’m anti-Obama. I just like Edwards better. I think he’s more progressive, less corporate, etc. If Obama gets the nomination, though, I’ll work my ass off for him. Same goes for Hillary… I like having Edwards in the race. The longer he’s in, the more Obama and Clinton adopt his message, policy ideas, etc. I think it’s a good thng that he’s pulling them to the left.

    As for Energy Secretary, you’re right. I’ll change my post to reflect that. Ambassador to the UN was the first thing to pop into my head because I was thinking about the international work that was required to tackle climate change. A cabinet level position, however, would give him more resources, clout, etc.

  5. Zach
    Posted January 29, 2008 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I really admire and respect Hillary, but my worry is that while the Republican party seems divided right now, the one thing that DOES and CAN unite them is their hatred of Hillary. Also, it seems that many people outside of dedicated Democrats have a negative gut reaction to Hillary. I don’t think it’s fair, but it’s definitely something I’ve noticed in many people I’ve talked to. I worry about her chances of winning if she’s the nominee, especially against someone like McCain who may have significant appeal to independents and swing voters.

  6. John on Forest
    Posted January 29, 2008 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    Obama took 80% of the black vote in SC. Now, I don’t know as much as I should about what the hot buttons are for blacks; but, it seems to me that Obama hasn’t put forth any specific planks on his platform that would appeal so much to blacks.

    So what is it? I so absolutely believe that skin color shouldn’t count in sizing up a person for any job, president or anything else. I despise anyone that tries to play that card. So shame on the Clintons for doing it. Also shame on anyone in SC (or any where else) who voted for Obama because he has the same color skin as they do.

    I’m leaning towards Obama so far. Except for his anti-nuclear stance, I really like Edwards; but, I think he has no hope now of getting the nomination.

  7. Posted January 30, 2008 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I support Obama — in my view he’s the best Democrat still in the race.

    Speaking of still being in it, Mark, I just heard that Edwards is dropping out later today. Though I never thought he would win, he certainly brought more substance to the debate, and I think he pulled Hillary farther to the left than she liked.

    Where will the Edwards supporters go? If most go to Obama, that very well may put him over the top next week.

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