If you want to assume the Clintons are devious, five-steps-ahead political operators — and, really, why not assume? — it seems somehow important that their lower-level allies are so handy with uncomfortable truths about Barack Obama.
Yes, New Hampshire fixer Billy Shaheen quit the campaign after going on a lengthy ramble about Obama’s (long-acknowledged) youthful use of cocaine, but can the Clintons be so devastated that the drug story is out there again?
Or take Perry County, Alabama, Commissioner Albert Turner. Early in December, he told a Democratic group to back Hillary Clinton because “the question you have to put forth to yourself is that whether or not in this racist country a black man named Obama — when we are shooting at Osama — can win the presidency of the United States?”
Turner, clearly worried about being too subtle, stressed that Clinton was more electable than Obama “because of her husband and because of some other things, mainly because she’s white.”
Comments like that could never, ever be spoken by the pride of Park Ridge, Illinois, herself. And they might not need to be prompted. Since February, when Barack Obama officially jumped into the presidential race, Hillary Clinton has maintained a competitive chunk of the black vote — an edge, actually, until only the last month.
There are two reasons usually given for this advantage. The first, amorphous and hard to prove, is that black voters don’t consider the half-white, half-African Obama authentically black. Fun to argue about in private but tough to make into an issue. The closest anyone’s come was former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young joking that Bill Clinton had “probably been with more black women than Barack.”
If Clinton campaign is planning to roll out more surrogates to argue this, it has kept them awfully quiet.
The other reason the black vote split — Albert Turner’s reason — is more compelling. It’s that whites won’t vote for a black man.
It’s an argument bandied about in private every day and shoved into the spotlight every few months. It really took on weight in February, when South Carolina State Senator Robert Ford endorsed Hillary explicitly because America would not elect a black man named Obama.
“We’d lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything,” Ford said. “He’d have to get 47 to 49 percent of the white vote in every state, and that’s humanly impossible.”
In July the Obama-sympathetic (and black) Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson wrote sadly, “I hear from African Americans who are excited about Obama’s candidacy but who suspect that somehow, when push comes to shove, ‘they’ won’t let him win.”
ROBINSON SPECULATED about it, and Ford proved it: This worry doesn’t actually have any facts backing it up.
The idea that most Americas wouldn’t vote for a black candidate, the idea that they’ll tell pollsters one thing and then do another, the idea that Obama would lose the white vote and thereby lose the presidency: All are fatally flawed notions.
Take the “whites won’t vote for Obama” theory. Every poll taken this decade has come back with majorities of Americans willing to vote for a black candidate, believing that the country is ready for a black president, and believing that their fellow voters share that enlightenment.
The numbers dip from question to question: Only 4 percent of voters would reject a black candidate, while a sizable 31 percent of whites doubt the country is ready for their bold decision. Those white voters, though, are dwarfed by the 42 percent of blacks who don’t think the country is ready. They simply refuse to believe what whites tell the pollsters.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?