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So I just read an article about the comments made by Geraldine Ferraro, Clinton campaign staffer (and former state rep/VP candidate), opining that Obama would not have gotten as far as he has without being black. I must say I'm shocked by such a comment and Clinton has now pretty much lost my vote even if she does make the nod to run for President. The fact is staffers don't make comments like this, and staffers with as much experience as Ferraro certainly don't, without the knowledge and consent of the boss running the show. What this comment boils down to is the same dirty tricks Mr. Clinton pulled during his first run at President...which turned me off to him then and certainly turn me off to Hilli now. I warmed up to Clinton during his second run at President and during his second term (despite his scandals) but on top of the fact that I'm disinclined to vote for Hilli as I don't like dynastic political families in general - aka Kennedys and Bushes running around being professional politicians - bleh. This latest round of bs really puts the possible final nail in the coffin. Of course, as we move into the summer and Clinton becomes more desperate, there could be many more nails to follow.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Any thought that she could be a mole for Obama and that the comment was made with the intent of hurting Clinton?
Mar. 17th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)
You have all lost your minds. First of all, she has campaign teams in every state. She has advisers and chairs and leaders. And why? Because you are trying to get as many people on your team as possible to drum up the support you need to win. In Ohio, for example, she had Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown and John Glenn and the list goes on. Keeping track of them would be a full-time job. Controlling what they say would be impossible. Impossible. And she has that in fifty-states and across countless policy groups and political action committees and corporations. And every now and again, one of them will go left. McCain had the conservative pundit in Cincinnati who kept trying to sully Obama with his middle name. Clinton had Ferraro. And Obama had the Harvard professor who equated Clinton to a blood-thirsty monster. All three do not stand for those positions and all three were absolutely powerless to stop those comments from being made. To criticize them from comments made by their proxies when they have these many is patently unfair.

But what is more disturbing is the number of people who have lived through the past seven years who can suddenly say that McCain is not that bad or that they will not vote for the democratic nominee. Those were the same voices that kept saying that Bush and Gore were so similar in 2000. Gore at War III? You might disagree with one or both of the Democratic candidates, but I had no idea that you supported privatized, Federal prisons for the children of immigrant families, another Alito or Roberts to replace Stevens and Ginsberg, who are both on their last breath, a refusal to enter the Kyoto Protocol and an infinite future in Iraq even though, you know, we aren't fighting against an Army and can neither win nor lose, unless we lose by staying in the reason.

And, by the way, were he sentiments really that far out there? Would Obama's candidacy be seen as so groundbreaking if he were a white man from Chicago instead of an African-American from Chicago?
Mar. 17th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
Ferraro is not just any campaign staffer - she's written articles in the NYTimes on behalf of Clinton and a high level member of Clinton's finance committee..she is not simply just one of the 1000s of "staffers" working at the state level on Clinton's campaign.

Most importantly, Bill Clinton, stumped around Ohio making statements that it was fine for African-Americans to support a black candidate. These statements drove home in a backhanded way that Obama is a black candidate. Exit polls show that Clinton won big among voters who indicated a candidates race was important to them. In other words, contrary to your inference that Ferraro's statement was just made my a random campaign staffer and should, therefore, be paid no mind...in fact it should be seen for what it is - yet one more attempt by the Clinton's to play the race card with Obama and marginalize him as the "black candidate." I have enormous issues with anyone using the race card to marginalize a candidate...it has nothing to do with the particular person being a Clinton.

Having said this, I also must state as I stated before, I'm disinclined to vote for a candidate that comes from any sort of family dynasty. Clinton is one example and so is Bush...among the many.

I should also point out, just because I'm disinclined to vote for Clinton for the reasons stated above (among others), that does not mean I'm inclined to support a McCain candidacy in any way shape or form.

To your last question, I'd be the first to admit that Obama's candidacy is ground breaking because he is black but I think the assumption that "he wouldn't have gotten this far except for the fact that he is black" is not supported by the facts on the ground - he has an amazing stage presence, has run a campaign that has come from behind to take the lead, has raised loads of campaign cash in an atmosphere of the leading Dem candidate starting out with a HUGE war chest, etc. The reasons for this can be debated - stage presence, offering a high level vision for folks, running a largely positive campaign, hell - not being Hilli (I mean that got me looking at him just cause I don't believe in dynasties)..all those facts are over looked when one points to his skin color and says - well he's just doing well cause he's black. So in sum, I find the statement to be "really that far out there" and yet another attempt - all be it more blunt than usual for the Clinton campaign - to bring Obama's race into the decisionmaking in a way that hurts their opponent and should not be supported in modern America.

Mar. 17th, 2008 11:11 pm (UTC)
I think you should do some research on the demographics of Hyde Park. Why do you think Carol Moseley Braun handpicked Obama to run for state senator in Hyde Park out of every liberal University of Chicago law professor? To say that race did not play a factor in where he is, I think, is naive. That is not to say that he is where is he because of race, but it does lend his candidacy a mystique that John Edwards never could have had and did open doors for him in a venerable, largely African-American district searching for a candidate.

Also, the Harvard professor who depicted Hillary as a blood-thirsty monster had a much higher, more involved position on the Obama campaign than did Ferraro on the Clinton campaign. Would you suggest that Obama endorsed those comments? Or that they were actually part of a larger Obama conspiracy to undercut Clinton? Or was that a case of one high level staffer - amongst thousands of high level staffers on numerous committees - who strayed off message? Can Hillary Clinton stop Antonio Villaraigosa from making a stupid comment tomorrow? Could Obama control his minister? Is it fair to hold either of them accountable for the gaffes of their proxies?

The "dynasty" of the Clintons can be easily distinguished from the other clans you mentioned. Hillary was not born into a political family. Nor was Bill. Hillary's husband happened to be president. How many other first ladies have parlayed their husband's presidency into their own political career? Could her success have something to do with the fact that she graduated from the top of her class at Yale Law School and just so happens to be competent? Now if Chelsea ran, or even Bill's semi-alcoholic brother, that would be another thing altogether.

"Most importantly, Bill Clinton, stumped around Ohio making statements that it was fine for African-Americans to support a black candidate." Substantiate that. And, also, would people not realize he was black if Bill Clinton didn't say anything? It sounds to me like you are searching for a reason to villify the Clintons.
Mar. 18th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
Both campaigns have engaged in mudslinging - I'm sure there are Obama people looking for arrows to sling at the Clintons and they've done so in a calculated fashion...that's politics. However, making statements about race just isn't necessary to cast doubt about a candidate...any candidate for that matter - in my book, it's dirty and uncalled for and we all deserve better. The same could be said for what happened when Ferraro ran for VP and all she ever got asked was shitty questions about how she picked out her shoes in the morning and crap like that. I didn't like those questions then even though they dealt with a woman running and how simply groundbreaking and amazing that was. There are simply more important issues to discuss.

I'm not naive when it comes to politics and I agree it would be naive to think race does not play a factor in some folks decision to vote or support a candidate. Hell in some areas, it could preclude whole classes of folks who might want to run from actually running...similar to how running for office in some parts of the country as a gay person would at a minimum give you an uphill battle if not disqualify you at the start. Political exploitation of people's prejudices or fears about a candidate based on characteristics such as race, gender, or sexual orientation is just not acceptable in my book. I don't think any candidate should do it and I'm unhappy to see it done now.

As far as the candidate being accountable for the gaffes of their staffers, on some level yes they are. In a sense, the buck stops with them. If they hire folks who make reprehensible statements to work for them, one has to question their judgment. Not for every little tiny staffer but when one gets up to the high level inner-circle type folks...then yup they are on the hook.

I found the comments made by "Obama's minister" to be reprehensible and out of step with modern America also. However, that person is not on Obama's campaign to my knowledge and Obama moved quickly to clarify that he did not support those views. The response by Obama to the issue was acceptable and I've moved on. However, I must say that until he took action, I was prepared to consider the pastor's views in my weighing of Obama as a candidate for office along with lots of other information as Obama appears to have a longstanding relationship with the person.

On the dynasty issue, I'm generally opposed to the matter for anyone - be they a candidate for local, state or federal office - no matter who the person is, where they went to school, and what level of competency they might have in any aspect of their life. It's a matter of preference that we have a wide variety of people running for office and we don't have families become "profeesional politicians" across time - husband/wives/sons/daughters. This preference does not mean that a candidate who might fit into a dynastic family cannot earn my vote, but it's a strike against them in my book that makes me somewhat suspicious of them to start.

There has been lots of discussion about Mr. Clinton's remarks (I hate quoting secondary sources but I thought I'd reply quickly):

Evans & Novak Political Report March 5, 2008 (I take them with a grain of salt on their opinions on events but factually they are generally correct).

I'm not searching for a reason to vilify the Clintons. I'm expressing displeasure with the use of race in this campaign. I voted for Bill and thought he did a fine job overall and was happy he was president. I rolled my eyes when Hilli ran for NY Senate due to the dynasty issue and the clear carpet bagging but I wasn't asked to vote for her so I left it up to the people of NY to make their choice. Lots of folks from NY have told me they are happy with her - cool beans for them. She's obviously smart, politically astute and done a good job. It might be unfair in some folks books to hold against her the fact that her husband was president, but I'll do the same for Chelsa to and all the Bushes and Kennedys.

Mar. 17th, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
One does not get on the finance committee - the life blood of a national campaign - without a thorough vetting. Ms. Ferraro is a seasoned campaigner and knows exactly what she is doing.
Mar. 17th, 2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
If she was so thorough and so seasoned, why would she make a comment that got her fired and completely eviscerated her likely chances of a high-level cabinet post should her candidate get elected? That makes absolutely no sense.
Mar. 18th, 2008 01:03 am (UTC)
You honestly aren't arguing that Ms. Ferraro is not a seasoned candidate. She's been in and around politics for decades including a run for VP.

And her actions make total sense, it's all part of the game. Take a fall for your friends - your payback will come later on when the public has moved on and you can continue to work on the campaign - just in not so high profile a role or maybe at some third-party proxy organization once the nomination is all sown up. Plus, the campaign as the very deniablity they need if the issue becomes too radioactive - "well we have no control over what every staffer says in our campaign...you can't hold those comments against us...".

It's all part of the harm to them/harm to me calculus - bring up the issue you want to deploy in a manner that you believe will shield you from most of the negative impact from doing so (if it can be done and still be effective). For some matters it will be the candidate bringing up the issue, or maybe a high level staffer, or maybe a "known" friend/advisor...or maybe even Swiftboat Veterans for Truth or whatever their name was. The Swiftboats were a great example of using a group that was very hard if not impossible to pin on the campaign to bring up matters (true or not) that had a negative impact on your opponent. The rubb was you had to do it in a way that would avoide the potentially negative impact on the your side too. So you let some third-party do it and bury any obvious association to your campaign.

Hell in the end, you could be absolutely right - with all the spin these days, maybe Ferraro just went off the cuff a few times on the race issue, the Obama campaign saw it and wove it into their spin in a manner they felt would hurt the Clinton campaign on the "race card"...I mean that card is always one that is so radioactive...you only deploy it at your peril. But that's what kinda makes me think the Clintons did it and knew it - Obama doesn't have to be desperate, he's in the lead. Polls also show the race issue is not a strong one for him as it scares away voters both historically and in this election...so why would he bring it up. However, from the Clinton side it's almost a no brainer - you're down, you know your opponent has a weak spot, so you deploy messages to hit him where it hurts. But given the clear radioactivity of the issue - you don't have the candidate say it - that is to risky. Moreover, any discussion of the issue by your opponent only further brings the matter into the voters minds. So you roll the dice, and hope you come up with a boost from the topic. In Ohio, polls show they did.
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