1.11.2008

Hillary & Tara Plantation Politics

The Clinton Campaign has caused a brush fire of sorts when an operative, and then the candidate herself, seemed to be saying that 1) Obama is no MLK, and 2) that LBJ--and not MLK--deserves credit for the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Isn't this "plantation" politics?

In other words, some blacks--MLK included--may be inspiring preacher-types, but it takes the people in the big house--such as LBJ and HRC--to get things done.

Oh my goodness!

Recognizing that they were in a pitch battle with Barack Obama, the Clinton strategy seems to be to build a "racially-tinged" firewall for the next round of primaries. Their point? That a smooth-talking black man offering dramatic change can't be trusted. It's a strategy that could work given the compressed primary schedule, the power of special interests and the racial fissures of the body politic.

It's despicable politics (and Nixonian/Wallace in its attempt to scare voters into cleaving to the status quo.)--and I hope that voters don't fall for it.

But remember that Bill Clinton built his own "racially-tinged" firewall when he lost in both Iowa and New Hampshire in 1992. He did two things to galvanize the Southern "bubba" vote: 1) he made a show of not stopping the execution of a mentally ill black man in Arkansas; and 2) he did a much publicized photo-op in front of a Georgia State prison with a background filled with black prisoners in prison stripes. Those two horrific stunts sealed the bubba vote for Clinton, isolated Jesse Jackson and his efforts to engage white blue-collar workers, and positioned him to neutralize the Republican's white male advantage.

It's worked in the past--and no doubt Republican operatives, right wing media and allied groups are designing their own race-based attacks. So, may be it's a good thing that the Obama campaign deals with this garbage now. Thus far, Obama and his people have handled the assaults really well. Most missles have been deftly swatted or have backfired. Unfortunately, the volleys are likely to increase over the next few months.

Warning to the Clintons: At the end, Tara was scorched--and the slaves escaped!

Related:
Racial tensions roil Democratic race
Clinton’s Civil Rights Lesson

Desperate Clinton: LBJ, not Martin Luther King, is real civil rights hero
Hillary: You Negroes Better Thank The White Man For Your Rights
Hillary Clinton And An Attack Vs. Martin Luther King