The Barack Obama candidacy for the presidency is giving the Clintons a heart attack. He is putting an insurmountable road block in the Hillary coronation by staking a large claim on the democratic party’s most loyal constituency: the black voter.
Bill Clinton won his presidency because of the black vote. He has never won the white male vote in any presidential election. In fact he has never gotten a majority of the voters, since he never cracked 50%. His wife was counting on the same loyalty until the man with a funny name and more fealty to the community decided to run. To say that the Clinton political machine is scared straight of the Obama candidacy is not far fetched. First they went berserk when Maureen Dowd quoted David Geffen in the new york times saying the following:
I don’t think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is–and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton?–can bring the country together. Obama is inspirational, and he’s not from the Bush royal family or the Clinton royal family. .
Hillary’s campaign responded to this comment by asking the Obama camp to fire Geffen even though the billionaire mogul has no role in the Obama campaign except for been an admirer and supporter of Obama. This episode is a prelude to what the Clinton machine will do to win the nomination. Obama, to his credit didn’t budge to the bullying tactics and his rapid response team responded within hours and hit the Clintons where it hurts.
Which brings me to the dueling speeches I just watched on C-Span. Today marks the 42nd anniversary of what is come to be called Bloody Sunday: Obama and Clinton both gave speeches to mark the occasion. What is the big deal? You may ask. Well it is the drama involved. The fight for the black vote which is huge in southern primaries is getting intensive. Hillary has her husband coming in to help “herd” black folk since they are straying from the farm ala camp Hillary. Bill Clinton was previously busy until polls show that wifey is losing momentum among black folk. Been the anointed “first black president” and all, he decided it is time to straighten black folk out. His only mistake is that his wife was never anointed the first black first lady. Therein lies their predicament and the fact that after all these years in the senate Hillary Clinton is not to enamored of issues affecting black constituents.
In the year 2000 Hillary Clinton won almost 90% of black votes in her New York senatorial campaign, but guess what the first thing in her victory speech was? You would’ve guessed wrong if you think it has anything to do with the mind blowing unemployment rate among black males in New York or their incarceration and recidivism rate. You would be equally wrong if you think it is a concern for the high number of black kids in New York who are failed by the New York public schools. Nah her concern was and her actions will be geared towards fixing the upstate economy.
But watching her on television rattle of on the significance of the voting rights act marches makes me wonder if most people clapping in that audience could name any initiatives that Hillary Clinton has championed since coming to the senate with significance to black people. She took a stance on trivial issues such as flag burning to appease right wing ideologues who won’t vote for her if their life depended on it, but couldn’t lift a finger on issues such as police-brutality in New York, racial profiling or the big enchilada: economic development in post Katrina New Orleans.
Which brought me to my pet peeve: the idolization of the Clintons amongst the black community. Granted Bill and Hillary Clinton know how to schmooze black audiences, but when issues affecting our communities need their influence for redress, they miss those parties. They leave the heavy lifting to black politicians, most of whom the Clintons know have no power to effect positive change in those situations, either because of ineptitude in representation or mediocrity because they are products of political machineries created all over major American cities.
It is funny I said all this, and yet, if Hilary was to win the Democratic nomination I will probably have to vote for her; since the Republicans appear to be no option after this Bush disaster. But in this battle royale for the Democratic nomination, I am for Obama and will not hesitate to put forth the flim-flamsy act the Clintons employ when it comes to black electorates. Today’s events are a manifestation and continuation of the Clinton machines bamboozlement of the black voter. However this time around, there is a genuine alternative for black voters: Barack Obama…