Monday, June 02, 2008


White Entitlement

The comments at Trinity United Church that got Rev. Michael Pflegler -- and, by extension, Barack Obama -- in trouble:

The most remarkable aspect of Pflegler's performance is that if you close your eyes, there's no way you could tell that the speaker is a white Catholic priest. By every aspect of vocal tone and body language, he channels the African American preaching style. He has, in effect, channeled Jeremiah Wright.

And here is a Clinton supporter at the DNC rules committee upset over the proceedings. To Harriet Christian, Barack Obama is an "inadequate black male" who will guarantee that "John McCain is the next President of the United States." Harriet "was a second-class citizen" who is now "nothing":

Harriet Christian is, clearly, channelling
Geraldine Ferraro who sparked the anti-Obama white female backlash with her comments in the winter that Obama was winning because he was "lucky" to have been born black.

And, finally
this is Bill Clinton, living an entitled existence while terrified that he is to be supplanted as the the "first black president":

By the eve of the Pennsylvania primary, he was reduced, in a Philadelphia radio phone interview, to denying that his comments in South Carolina had been in any way racially charged, and instead insisted that the Obama camp “played the race card on me.” He sputtered, “I mean, this is just, you know … You really gotta go something to play the race card with me—my office is in Harlem.” At the end of the interview, apparently unaware that he was still on the air, Clinton was heard to say, “I don’t think I should take any shit from anybody on that, do you?” Asked the next day by another reporter what he had meant by saying the Obama campaign “was playing the race card,” Clinton would have none of it. “No, no, no, that’s not what I said,” he erupted, as if he did not know that his earlier comments had been recorded and were all over the Internet.


As the primaries ground on, the campaign deployed Clinton more strategically (and, perhaps, more effectively) in the kinds of smaller towns presidents never visit—47 stops in Pennsylvania, 39 in Indiana, 50 in North Carolina—where he stumped in largely white, working-class areas but, poignantly for a man once dubbed the nation’s “first black president,” not in African-American ones. That sea change in Clinton’s standing among blacks will remain a consideration in how to use him, or not use him, in the general-election campaign, no matter who the Democratic nominee.


His presidential pension has totaled more than $1.2 million since he left office, and despite his fantastic private-sector income, an analysis this spring by the Web site Politico showed that he has taken almost as much in taxpayer dollars for his post-presidential existence as the other two living ex-presidents—Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush—combined. Since 2001, Clinton has received more in almost every category—pension, staff salaries, supplies—than any of his colleagues in that smallest of clubs. Before Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford died, Clinton’s telephone and rent expenses came close to exceeding the comparable expenses for all four then living former presidents combined. Part of the difference is that Clinton served eight years in office, entitling him to a federal health-insurance plan and a higher pension than Ford, Carter, or Bush, and part is that his office space in Manhattan is more expensive than space in Atlanta or Houston.

Still, there is a repellent grandiosity about Clinton’s post-presidential style. Before he settled on more modest space in Harlem, Clinton had intended to rent the entire 56th floor of Carnegie Hall Tower, in Midtown, for roughly $738,000 a year. He changed course after a rash of sharp congressional and public criticism. Each year at Christmastime, Clinton sends out to supporters a slim, paperbound volume of his Selected Remarks, with a gold-embossed “Happy Holidays” greeting card replete with the requisite “bug” showing it was printed in a union shop. Last year’s number ran 25 pages and featured three thoroughly ordinary efforts: a commencement speech at Knox College, in Illinois; remarks to the Nelson Mandela Foundation, in South Africa; and comments at the 50th-anniversary commemoration of the de-segregation of Little Rock Central High School. “Since leaving office,” the first page of the booklet states, “President Clinton has devoted his time and energy to causes of both personal concern and global significance.”
Back in March, we noted the Clinton entitlement mentality -- and how it was being expressed in racial politics. Forgive me for quoting myself:

Okay, so freshman senator Barack Obama currently leads the Democratic presidential nomination race in popular votes, states and delegates won! With that resume, he would, according to Hillary Rodham Clinton, be a pretty good vice presidential candidate -- for her? WTF??In what Bizarro world does the person running behind discuss concessions that the leader in the race should consider?

...Obama supporters could reasonably ask if Hillary Clinton would treat another rival --leading her by every statistical measure -- as an inferior to be considered as a running mate? Or, more bluntly, any white rival? (Yeah, Hillary likely considers everyone else her inferior, but would she adopt the same sort of condescending strategy?)

With respect to the Clintons, Fr. Michael Pflegler was absolutely correct. He is not engaging in racial paranoia -- a la Wright and his AIDS conspiracy theories (stipulating the 401k stuff is BS). He has accurately called out Hillary Clinton -- who has allowed her surrogates to force her supporters into believing that their "rightful" moment has been taken away from them. White women are now the aggrieved party.

And don't think that a potential canny move by John McCain might not take advantage of a race-gender rift in the Democratic Party.

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