The Clintons, Race, And The 50-Year-Old Calculation
2008 Selwyn Duke
I think the Clintons would probably sell their souls and firstborn for another
White House tenure, the idea they would play the race card raises no eyebrow
here. They are political creatures
first, most everything else second and statesmen last.
For this to elude one, he must have his head planted firmly in a
particularly dense grade of sand.
of letters Christopher Hitchens understands this; while by no means a member of
the “Vast Right-wing Conspiracy,” he writes
eloquently about the Clintons’ long history of racial “thuggery and
opportunism.” Even more
significant are the pronouncements of Dick Morris, Bill’s erstwhile propaganda
minister. His thesis is that Hillary
wanted the black vote in South Carolina to coalesce for Obama so that she’d
lose the state big, and she wanted this electoral shift to be visible and much
ballyhooed in the media. Witnessing
this, white voters in other states would then circle the wagons around her, and,
with their numerical superiority, the nomination would be Hillary’s.
so the theory goes.
Morris’ political prognostications leave much to be desired (he specializes in
stating as fact predictions that never come to pass), I believe he understands
the Clintons’ character almost as well as anyone.
This is a man who knew them intimately enough to, as he relates the
story, be physically tackled by an enraged Bill in the Arkansas governor’s
mansion and then told by Hillary, “He only does this to people he loves.”
So if he swears the Clintons were playing the race card, I take it
I am doubtful of is that it would work.
strategy rests on the assumption that whites feel such a sense of racial
patriotism – or such fear of black political power – that any candidate seen
as a guarantor of black interests will send them running into the arms of the
best great white hope. This is the
liberal view of the world.
also not reality.
ask you, how many whites do you know who fit that profile?
Sure, there are bigots in every group, but my experience with fellow
whites tells me they’re the exception, not the rule.
In fact, when I think of all the people I have ever known, I remember
precious few who I believe would have voted based on racial considerations.
Even more to the point, a groundswell of black support isn’t necessary
to alienate such individuals from a black candidate.
His skin color is more than enough.
isn’t to say that whites won’t be swayed by the injection of a racial
element; it is to say that I don’t think they would all sway in Clinton’s
direction. And those who don’t
understand why, well, perhaps they’ve missed the last 50 years of societal
tells us that man does indeed exhibit great ethnic and racial patriotism and
that whites were no exception.
the operative word is “were.”
many decades now whites have been inculcated with multiculturalism and a good
dose of self-loathing (ever hear of white guilt?).
Many white children are raised with the idea that the worst thing one can
be is a bigot; in fact, they are taught that even contemplating the existence of
racial differences is a deadly sin (even when those differences might be real).
consider the exaltation of gangsta’ culture.
Millions of white youths listen to rap music, and no small number of them
parade around small white-picket-fence towns dressed like gang-bangers.
It’s even said that in certain parts of California it’s no longer
“cool” to be white. Now, to such
a mind, what kind of candidate would be more appealing, a white or black one?
This, by the way, partially explains Obama’s popularity among young
while bigotry has some place in every community – as do all sins – in the
white one a greater place is occupied by an even greater sin: Political
correctness. There are whites –
especially in the ranks of the Democrats – who will vote for a black
man simply because of his skin color. To
them it is a matter of practicing what they preach, of electoral activism, of feeling
open-minded and tolerant. It
does wonders for their self-image.
the truth is that the George Wallace routine – even when done with subtlety
– no longer plays in Peoria. Yet
this fact eludes Dick Morris, the Clintons and most of the media for a simple
reason: Their own prejudices.
liberals, the terra firma between New York and Los Angeles is merely an
impediment to travel between those two locales and to electing a purebred
socialist to office. It’s a land
inhabited by people who not only own guns, but also still load them from the
barrel end, a place where every sheriff is a Bull Connor.
illustrate this attitude with a little anecdote.
About 20 years ago I found myself in a political discussion with a very
liberal young gal in rural upstate New York.
It didn’t take long to ascertain that marriage was not in the offing.
Among the many inanities she assaulted me with was the idea that those
northern reaches of the Empire State were a veritable hotbed of Klan activity.
that would be the Ku Klux Klan.
as a native New Yorker, I can assure you that the only place you find white
sheets in said area is on beds. You’ll
see orthodox Jews with beards and yarmulkes there, but never burning crosses.
Yet little miss was sure of her impression.
She could not be disabused.
is the standard liberal view of the world. When
former Democrat mayor of Atlanta Bill Campbell (who was later indicted and
charged with fraud) called conservative legal groups “a homogenized version of
the Klan” and said, “They may have traded in their sheets for suits, but
it’s the same old racism,” don’t think it was just political rhetoric.
In some measure, this is what most liberals believe.
I can’t say for sure the Clintons played on race, although Dick Morris may
very well be right. What they’re
all wrong about is thinking it would work, for these aren’t the days of yore;
there isn’t really a white hood around every corner.
Theirs is a 50-year-old calculation.
here is my more contemporary one. It
doesn’t take racial games to make bigots and the irredeemably politically
correct vote their passions, but what of those in-between who could be swayed?
After all, as is so often the case in elections, it’s the “swing
voter” who breaks the deadlock between intransigent extremes.
My sense is that if a white candidate is perceived as exploiting race,
it’s probable that he will alienate more people than he will attract.
should also remember that it was the voters of Iowa – a state 94.5 percent
white – who resurrected Barack Obama’s flagging campaign, favoring him over
two white opponents. And if
liberals believe the outcome would have been different had the race card been
pulled, they dream.
course, this is where many will point out that Iowa isn’t the South.
2008 isn’t 1958, either.
it’s time for the left to step into the 21st century.
Selwyn Duke is a freelance writer out or Larchmont, NY. He has written for various publications including: IntellectualConservative.com, AmericanThinker.com and is a regular columnist for RenewAmerica.us.