Beating up on Hillary
It seems that Obama and Edwards paid dearly for their ganging up on Hillary in the New Hampshire debate, handing her a nice victory thanks to angering women. Male political talking heads, who also have been treating her in predictable sexist ways, may also have helped her out a bit. At the same time, the "First Black President" did not do her candidacy much good when he attacked Obama's proposals as being "fairy tales." The latter seems to have irked some, perhaps many African Americans.
Interestingly, Bill Clinton called Al Sharpton's radio show and, according to an article in The Trail, a section of the Washington Post devoted to the election campaign,
Sharpton began by asking Clinton about the criticism he's received, especially from Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest-ranking African American in Congress, who told the New York Times that "To call that dream a fairy tale, which Bill Clinton seemed to be doing, could very well be insulting to some of us."If Rep Clyburn believes that Clinton's comments had a racial subtext, then he has a problem because the comment has no racial implications whatsoever, especially given Bill Clinton's record. Surely not all attacks on Clinton aren't sexist and not all attacks on Obama aren't racist but I suspect we will hear a lot of charges of sexism and racism as the election heats up. With any luck it will be over before too much damage is done.
The reaction by women and by Rep. Clyburn, who is not alone in his feelings, serves as an indication that from now until the end of the General Election women and African Americans will have their "feelings outsticking" as my father used to say of himself and others in circumstances in which people were being a bit too sensitive. There is no question that it would be best for the party if everyone behaved and stuck to the issues. However, there is a fundamental difference between Clinton and Obama. Clinton has been a great deal more forthcoming about what she would do as President. Indeed, yesterday Bloomberg.com reported that Hillary has proposed a $70 billion dollar program to deal with the predicted impending recession. This caught Obama and Edwards with no plan at all.
The problem that Obama and Edwards face is that they can't use the phrase "tax and spend Democrat" to poke a stick at her on this issue since that would make them sound like Republicans. We should understand that Bill Clinton meant to be communicating only that there has so far been no real substance to Obama's campaign. He is against the war in Iraq but has no specific program for dealing with terrorists and the nations that in one way or another support them. Like Obama, I was against going into Iraq, but like Obama, who was in the Illinois legislature at the time, and unlike Clinton, who was in the US Senate, I did not have to vote on the issue of giving Dubya the powers he thought sufficient to invade. It is easy for him to say that he didn't support the war.
From now until the end of the Democratic Convention, I would like to see Hillary and Barak tone down their rhetoric and run on the issues with personal attacks being forbidden. This will be very difficult since women and African Americans do seem to have their feelings outsticking. I plan to focus my blog between now and then on this question, not because I care a whit about political correctness issues per se but because I want the Democrats to beat the living hell out of the Republicans in the General Election and my ideal ticket includes both of them.