Mau-Mauing the Clintons

Given the past record of political campaigns run by the Clintons, it was bound to happen. The very same couple who coined the phrase, "the politics of personal destruction," who were most skilled at engaging in it, are now being accused of racism.

Never before have they been in the type of political life and death struggle they now face against Senator Barack Obama. Every bit the liberal that Senator Clinton is, Obama is much more likable and has a lot less baggage than the former First Lady. In addition, his gift of oratory is being compared to JFK and MLK. The Illinois Senator has captured the imagination of many young voters, plus a sizable chunk of Independents and longtime Democrats. With Hillary Clinton's aura of inevitability melting faster than snow on a Texas driveway, is the once-dynamic duo prepared to break out racist innuendo to stop the African-American juggernaut who stands in the way of their return engagement on Pennsylvania Avenue? 

Although this might be a good opportunity to pile onto the criticism being leveled at the New York Senator, I would be disingenuous if I did so without good cause. As much as I think Ms. Clinton would be a disaster as a president, I don't think it's fair to label her, or her husband as racists based on some poorly chosen comments lately. When Mr. Clinton said that Obama's candidacy is a "fairy tale," some blacks were upset, ostensibly because it appeared that he was saying the idea of a black president was a fairy tale. There's more than a little irony in seeing Bill Clinton, once affectionately referred to by African-Americans as "the first black president," rushing to Al Sharpton's radio show to do damage control about his perceived anti-black comment.

Another gaffe can be attributed to New York Attorney General and Clinton supporter, Andrew Cuomo, who recently used the term, "shuck and jive,"   when referring to Obama's handling of the media coverage of his race. When criticized for it, Cuomo said it was just a synonym for "bob and weave." Then there's the comment made by Hillary just before the New Hampshire Primary about Obama being an inspirational speaker, but that he has not done the kind of "spadework"  to back it up. Last Friday, radio talk show host, Mike Gallagher, speaking with call-in guest, Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, implied there was a racist component to her remark. Sure, if a Republican used that word toward Obama, blacks would call for a resignation, if not an execution. Nevertheless, they would be just as wrong for attempting to read someone's mind instead of their record.

I think we can disagree with the Clintons without parsing every word to find an utterance that can be viewed as bigoted. For example, when Hillary recently said

"Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done,"
she was deemed by many blacks as diminishing the influence Dr. King had on the historic legislation. Evidently, the comparisons between Obama and King have resonated alarmingly with Ms. Clinton, hence, she would like to point out that inspirational speeches were not enough to get the job done; the person in the White House had to do it.

It would be a stretch to impute racism to that statement, but it certainly can be seen as whitewashing (oops) the accomplishments of an American icon who, more than any single individual, is responsible for arousing the conscience of a nation and ending the shameful apartheid that this nation had accepted for a hundred years after the emancipation.

The Clintons would do well to steer clear of any statements that tend to deprecate Dr. King's legacy. 

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.
Given the past record of political campaigns run by the Clintons, it was bound to happen. The very same couple who coined the phrase, "the politics of personal destruction," who were most skilled at engaging in it, are now being accused of racism.

Never before have they been in the type of political life and death struggle they now face against Senator Barack Obama. Every bit the liberal that Senator Clinton is, Obama is much more likable and has a lot less baggage than the former First Lady. In addition, his gift of oratory is being compared to JFK and MLK. The Illinois Senator has captured the imagination of many young voters, plus a sizable chunk of Independents and longtime Democrats. With Hillary Clinton's aura of inevitability melting faster than snow on a Texas driveway, is the once-dynamic duo prepared to break out racist innuendo to stop the African-American juggernaut who stands in the way of their return engagement on Pennsylvania Avenue? 

Although this might be a good opportunity to pile onto the criticism being leveled at the New York Senator, I would be disingenuous if I did so without good cause. As much as I think Ms. Clinton would be a disaster as a president, I don't think it's fair to label her, or her husband as racists based on some poorly chosen comments lately. When Mr. Clinton said that Obama's candidacy is a "fairy tale," some blacks were upset, ostensibly because it appeared that he was saying the idea of a black president was a fairy tale. There's more than a little irony in seeing Bill Clinton, once affectionately referred to by African-Americans as "the first black president," rushing to Al Sharpton's radio show to do damage control about his perceived anti-black comment.

Another gaffe can be attributed to New York Attorney General and Clinton supporter, Andrew Cuomo, who recently used the term, "shuck and jive,"   when referring to Obama's handling of the media coverage of his race. When criticized for it, Cuomo said it was just a synonym for "bob and weave." Then there's the comment made by Hillary just before the New Hampshire Primary about Obama being an inspirational speaker, but that he has not done the kind of "spadework"  to back it up. Last Friday, radio talk show host, Mike Gallagher, speaking with call-in guest, Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday, implied there was a racist component to her remark. Sure, if a Republican used that word toward Obama, blacks would call for a resignation, if not an execution. Nevertheless, they would be just as wrong for attempting to read someone's mind instead of their record.

I think we can disagree with the Clintons without parsing every word to find an utterance that can be viewed as bigoted. For example, when Hillary recently said

"Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done,"
she was deemed by many blacks as diminishing the influence Dr. King had on the historic legislation. Evidently, the comparisons between Obama and King have resonated alarmingly with Ms. Clinton, hence, she would like to point out that inspirational speeches were not enough to get the job done; the person in the White House had to do it.

It would be a stretch to impute racism to that statement, but it certainly can be seen as whitewashing (oops) the accomplishments of an American icon who, more than any single individual, is responsible for arousing the conscience of a nation and ending the shameful apartheid that this nation had accepted for a hundred years after the emancipation.

The Clintons would do well to steer clear of any statements that tend to deprecate Dr. King's legacy. 

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the executive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas.  Email Bob.