The Race Factor

Jan 26, 2008 11:23pm

An African-American pal of mine writes me the following tonight, which I share because too many of those commenting on this all are melanin-deprived.

He writes: "Of all the things Bill Clinton has said, that comparison to Jesse Jackson is the most obvious — and odious — race baiting that he’s done."

"I actually thought some of the other examples have been overblown. My feeling has been that the man is working hard for his wife, who cares if he’s allowed himself a little hyperbole. It’s the least he could do."

"But this Jesse comment takes the cake and is going to p— a lot of people off. Hillary got pasted, and they can’t take it, so they do their best to diminish Obama’s victory. They know they can do this, because the national press corps will let him get away with it. . ."

"The initial reports I have seen suggest Obama got 25 percent of the white vote in the primary, and Clinton and Edwards split the rest. But here’s my take on it: if Clinton and Edwards split 75 percent of the white vote, that means they each got about 10 percentage points more than Obama did. So who cares if he got third…he got 25 percent of the white vote in a Southern state…A state where both candidates were much more well known. A state where one of the candidates was born!"

"The only way he can be pushed into the box of being a race-only candidate is if the media allows it to happens, and focuses on nothing other than than the numbers, without reflection or context. Obama has already shown that white folks will vote for him by winning Iowa and placing a close second in NH. If the Bill Clinton’s Jesse comparison is allowed to stand, without that context, it will be a sad reflection on the media today."

"The bottom line is that Obama won because he got 80 percent of the black vote, and was able to essentially split the white vote. I think the real question is whether white people will backlash against Obama simply because he won so many black votes…And that’s the real reason this is race baiting. In one fell swoop, Bill Clinton’s comments remind swing voters, and others who are thinking about coming back to the Democratic fold out of disgust with the Bush administration, that Obama’s overwhelming support among African Americans threatens to undermine all of the third-party triangulating he did to bring those white folks back…"

"Sad….really sad."

What do you think?

- jpt

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