Monday, January 14, 2008


Primary Colors II

In the "race war", that has broken out between the Clinton and Obama camps, there are two issues: The Obama forces are being way too sensitive on Hillary's "Martin Luther King vs. LBJ" point -- as well as Bill's use of the phrase "fairy tale" in the context of press coverage on Obama's opposition to the war (one doesn't have to accept the Clinton spin on how "committed" Obama was to recognize that Bill was referring to press scrutiny and not Obama himself as a "fairy tale.") . In just these two examples, it's fair to say that there is a bit too much sensivity coming from the black community.

On the other hand, there do seem to be a high number of these rather smarmy incidents coming from Clinton campaign surrogates. My comic acquaintance Baratunde Thurston has
created a wiki that chronicles the phrases that seem to pop up "accidentally." As Arsenio Hall once said, these are things that make you go, "Hmmm...."

One of those incidents is BET founder Robert Johnson's speech at a Hillary rally in South Carolina where he appears to allude to Obama's drug past.
Andrew Sullivan has the video. The "Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood -- I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book..." line is Baby Boomer cultural warfare sliming rhetoric at its best/worst. Johnson added that Obama was naive, thinking like the world was like a '60s movie:

"That kind of campaign behavior does not resonate with me, for a guy who says, 'I want to be a reasonable, likable, Sidney Poitier 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.' And I'm thinking, I'm thinking to myself, this ain't a movie, Sidney. This is real life.
If Obama wants this sort of thing to stop, he can't just whine about it. Whining is like explaining in politics -- if you're doing either, you're losing. This is something that Democratic presidential candidates (with the exception of Bill Clinton) never seem to understand.

Thus, Obama needs to turn this around: The response to Johnson's crack that Obama is taking racial cues from "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" is to say, "Well, I'd rather my daughters learned about race from a movie like that -- giving an optimistic view of society -- than from the trash Mr. Johnson's BET often inflicts on Black America with scantily-clad women shaking their behinds and gangstas rappers using N-, B- and H- words gratuitously. Does Mr. Johnson believe that that is 'real life'? Does Mrs. Clinton associate herself with the images of women that Mr. Johnson's network has been spewing for years now?"

These are some questions to which many of the women of South Carolina might appreciate hearing some answers.

Given everything else that is going on in the world, this is a stupid side-show discussion, but Obama had better realize that if he doesn't return fire in some fashion, he'll be in a bodybag and carted off the field before he even knows it.

UPDATE: Welcome, Andrew Sullivan readers! Thanks for dropping by.

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