“Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88. Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here.” — Former President Bill Clinton, South Carolina
For years Republicans have not had the backbone to fight the claims of racism made by the leftists in America. Conservatives didn’t want to be called racist. So when Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, wrote recent columns about the “R” in Republican stands for racism, there was a stunning silence.
Never mind that it was Democrats that wanted to keep slavery, Democrats that passed Jim Crow laws, Democrats that couldn’t be counted on to pass Civil Rights legislation and Democrat Bill Clinton, the “First Black President,” who appointed almost no black people to positions of responsibility in his administration. Clinton talks about his office in Harlem and all he’s done for black folks but his record is thin.
Former UN ambassador Andrew Young even said, “Bill is every bit as black at Barack. He’s probably been with more black women than Barack.” The Democrats — no, make that the Clintons — have inserted race into this primary contest and it isn’t pretty. Clinton Inc. is showing weakness and they may be mortally wounded.
Despite the effort by the former Panderer-in-Chief, it wasn’t enough. Barack Obama handily won the South Carolina primary. Hillary Clinton left the state at high noon. Her quick exit signaled two things. First, she knew she had lost. Second, there may be a method to her madness. By leaving South Carolina, she nevertheless almost trumped her opponent by beating him in media exposure despite the voters’ rejection of her. But all this did, with Bill’s tossing fuel on the racial fires, just threw salt on the wound they had picked the scab off of throughout the week.
The measurable backlash among African Americans in South Carolina may be indicative of a bigger problem for the Clintons. How many of them — and other African Americans nationwide — are wondering why they voted for these guys and do they really want a third Clinton term? This attitude will hurt Clinton Inc in most of the southern states as well as many of the industrial states where there are large black voting populations. Clinton Inc still lives in the Old South and their antics don’t work anymore. They can’t tell black people what to think or who to vote.
Many of us are counting the days and hours until Florida for Republicans on Tuesday and Super Duper Tuesday on February 5. But the real battle will be at the Democrat Convention. Mrs. Clinton doesn’t have to win every primary to win the nomination because she has locked up about 80% of the super delegates already. If Barack Obama wins more primaries and has more delegates than Mrs. Clinton outside of the super delegates, will the convention allow the Clintons to bulldoze their way through the convention and take the nomination?
If we have seen anything from the recent elections, it is that people are tiring of the “anointed” candidates. People don’t want the system to elect their nominees; they have some crazy idea that the people should be involved. Additionally, we are tiring of the parsing of words; another Clinton characteristic. Last week, when Barack Obama acknowledged that Ronald Reagan brought the country together and that Republicans had been putting forth the new ideas in recent years, the Clintons responded with an attack ad saying that Obama had once approved of Republican ideas. In Obama’s response, he found her weak spot. He said that Clinton “will say anything” to win. She pulled the ads.
So what’s next? Barack Obama gets momentum leading into Georgia and Alabama, states he should win, and he gets the endorsement of Caroline Kennedy, the last surviving member of President John Kennedy’s immediate family. Barack Obama represents the future of the Democrat Party that should be color blind and Hillary Clinton represents the past. The Clintons are the product of Jim Crow Arkansas. They live — and campaign — in the past where every person is judged by the focus group they belong to.
One of my most prized possessions is a framed poster from the Kennedy Campaign in 1960. The caption is, “Leadership for the Sixties.” John Kennedy is an icon for Democrats and Republicans. I’m not sure if anyone who remembers him can look at his candidacy or presidency objectively, but if Republicans are looking for a Reagan, then Democrats are looking for another JFK. They want someone who reminds them of the best of themselves, not of the corruption of the past. And on the Democrat side, they are not looking to replace a Carter or a Clinton, they want a JFK.
Barack Obama is no more JFK than any Republican can be Ronald Reagan, but he offers hope to fulfill that goal and hope goes a long way in keeping your supporters going to the polls.