Obama camp circulating memo highlighting Team Hillary’s racial “nuance”

posted at 7:39 pm on January 12, 2008 by Allahpundit

Tough call for righties, as it pits two core conservative experiences against each other — false accusations of racism by the left for political advantage and faith in the fact that there are no depths to which the Clintons will not sink. Ace calls this a taste of what Republicans will be getting by the barge-load if Obama’s the nominee, but that’s not quite true. In the general election the media will do all this work for him. In the primary, in a contest of people of Pure Heart, his campaign’s got to nudge them along. See, for example, this comically anguished semi-apology from Josh Marshall to his readers for even covering the racial angles, urging them to exercise caution in jumping to conclusions about ill intent and command and control. This is the same guy, you’ll recall, whose outfit gleefully accused the GOP of racism last year for running an ad targeting Harold Ford that dared to feature timpani — drums — in the background.

Like Ace says, by the standards of the party’s own cretinous identity politics, who the eventual nominee is will determine whether the left still has more of a racism problem than a sexism problem or vice versa. That applies to certain subgroups within the left, too. Look who’s shaping up to be a key bloc:

Obama has never made his race central to his campaign. That’s about to change, as Nevada, with its large Hispanic population, and South Carolina, with its large black population, prepare to vote. Obama has an interest in downplaying his race in both states. There are lingering tensions between the Hispanic and black communities which he doesn’t want to inflame, and some residual skepticism among black voters concerning Obama’s electability among whites…

On the morning after Clinton’s victory, I talked to Sergio Bendixen, one of her pollsters, who specializes in the Hispanic vote. “In all honesty, the Hispanic vote is extremely important to the Clinton campaign, and the polls have shown—and today is not a great day to cite polls—that even though she was slipping with women in Iowa and blacks in South Carolina, she was not slipping with Hispanics,” he said. “The fire wall doesn’t apply now, because she is in good shape, but before last night the Hispanic vote was going to be the most important part of her fire wall on February 5th.” The implications of that strategy are not necessarily uplifting.

When I asked Bendixen about the source of Clinton’s strength in the Hispanic community, he mentioned her support for health care, and Hispanic voters’ affinity for the Clinton era. “It’s one group where going back to the past really works,” he said. “All you need to say in focus groups is ‘Let’s go back to the nineties.’ ” But he was also frank about the fact that the Clintons, long beloved in the black community, are now dependent on a less edifying political dynamic: “The Hispanic voter—and I want to say this very carefully—has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.”

Which, of course, explains her latest twist on gender appeals. So there’s your next Chris Matthews Unified Field Theory of how Hillary won. Even so, my sympathies in all this lie slightly with her thus far, notwithstanding the occasional contemptible belittling crack from (somewhere within) her camp, just because Billy Jeff’s “fairy tale” comment has been so distorted that it’s hard to believe the Obama camp’s not spinning in bad faith. Too bad; he really had run an admirably post-racial campaign thus far. The politics of hope and transcendence look good when you’re 10 points up in New Hampshire and on the brink of a trot to the nomination, but after an upset, with a huge black vote up for grabs in South Carolina, I guess it’s hard to resist division and demagoguery. Inevitable, too: One of the requisites of identity politics is defending “your” group when it’s attacked to prove yourself their champion and cement the sense of identification. Hence the memo, and hence Hillary’s savvy jab about the remnants of sexism when those idiots broke out the “Iron My Shirt” sign.

None of which is to suggest that he isn’t being falsely accused on this score by her team, too. Or that he’s even half as cynical a campaigner as she is.


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Barack Obama is honestly attacking others on being racist? Really? When is Hillary going to return fire>?

Michael in MI on January 12, 2008 at 7:41 PM

Every presidential election cycle get progressively more ugly. The lust for power does strange things to good people and look what it has done to those who are not so good. We’ll be watching cage fights instead of debates in 2012…

Zorro on January 12, 2008 at 7:49 PM

I really don’t care what race he is, nor do I care what sex hillary is. What I care about is what experience they have, and what direction they intend to take the country, nothing else really matters.

Canadian Imperialist Running Dog on January 12, 2008 at 7:52 PM

The GOP is headed for trouble anyway. The Dems will either have an African-American or a woman, so we`ll be hammered no matter what.

ThePrez on January 12, 2008 at 7:54 PM

Can the messiah play two “race” cards: black and muslim?

mred on January 12, 2008 at 7:55 PM

Couldn’t happen to a finer bunch, but Obama has the upper hand here. I think the IP relationship in the Dem world is:

Race > Gender > Special victim status > Actual issues.

Extra points for combining any of those.

AUINSC on January 12, 2008 at 7:56 PM

It’s like what happens when you criticize Venus or Serena Williams. If you’re white it’s because they are black that you are criticizing them. If you’re black and you criticize them you’re a “sell out”. It’s perfectly okay, however, to root for them simply based on the color of their skin because that’s not racist at all.

The democrat party and their pc friends have no one to blame for this but themselves. I hope they eat each other alive.

SouthernGent on January 12, 2008 at 8:01 PM

Deep Divisions, Shared Destiny – A Poll of Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans on Race Relations
New America Media, Poll
Deep Divisions, Shared Destiny – A Poll of Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans on Race Relations
New America Media, Poll, Posted: Dec 12, 2007
MAJOR FINDING

The nation’s first multilingual poll of Black, Hispanic and Asian Americans has uncovered serious tensions among these ethnic groups, including mistrust and significant stereotyping, but a majority of each group also said they should put aside differences and work together to better their communities.

The poll, which was released today during a news conference at the National Press Club, was sponsored by New America Media (NAM) and nine ethnic media outlets who are founding members of the organization.

“This extraordinary poll reveals some unflattering realities that exist in America today,” said Sandy Close, Executive Editor and Director of NAM, the nation’s first and largest collaboration of ethnic news media. “The sponsors of the poll strongly believe the best way to move forward is by identifying the problems and initiating a dialogue that can bring ethnic groups closer together in their fight for equality and against discrimination.”

Broadly, the poll of 1,105 African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic adults found that the predominantly immigrant populations – Hispanics and Asians – expressed far greater optimism about their lives in America, concluding that hard work is rewarded in this society. By contrast, more than 60% of the African Americans polled do not believe the American Dream works for them. Blacks also described themselves as more segregated from the rest of America than the other groups.

The poll found that friction between ethnic and racial groups, which at times has erupted into highly-publicized incidents around the country, is clearly rooted in the mistrust that the groups harbor towards each other, as well as the sentiment that other groups are mistreating them or are detrimental to their own future. For instance, 44% of Hispanics and 47% of Asians are “generally afraid of African Americans because they are responsible for most of the crime.” Meanwhile, 46% of Hispanics and 52% of African Americans believe “most Asian business owners do not treat them with respect.” And half of African Americans feel threatened by Latin American immigrants because “they are taking jobs, housing and political power away from the Black community.”

Moreover, the three groups seem more trusting of whites than of each other. The poll found that 61% of Hispanics, 54% of Asians and 47% of African Americans would rather do business with whites than members of the other two groups.

“The poll reaffirms that while race relations between ethnic groups and whites grab the headlines, there are also serious racial problems between minority groups in America,” said Sergio Bendixen, who is an expert on Hispanic and multilingual polling. “Blacks feel they are left out of the American Dream and are being displaced by newcomers, and each group buys into the negative stereotypes about the other two. What’s clear is the need to dissolve this friction. The poll results show that the overwhelming majority of ethnic Americans want that positive outcome.”

funky chicken on January 12, 2008 at 8:03 PM

Specifically, the poll also found that:

A majority of Hispanics and a significant percentage of Asians believe in the concept that every American has an equal opportunity to succeed. By contrast, the majority of Black respondents – 66 percent – disagreed with that notion.
Blacks overwhelmingly believe the criminal justice system favors the rich and powerful; most Hispanics and an even larger majority of Asians disagree.

funky chicken on January 12, 2008 at 8:05 PM

Tough call for righties

Not really. These no compelling reason to choose sides. It’s not our fight.

TheBigOldDog on January 12, 2008 at 8:06 PM

This is precious, let the race tension fur fly.
Fight, Fight, Fight, Fight.
Liberals exposing their racism, can’t get any better.

Speakup on January 12, 2008 at 8:06 PM

Grab some popcorn and a comfy chair boys and girls. This is gonna get good. The self destruction of politicians is the most fun of all.

Jimmybob on January 12, 2008 at 8:08 PM

Barak vs. Hillary. When Identity Politics collide.

p0s3r on January 12, 2008 at 8:14 PM

I think so far between the race card,and sex card
both Barack and Hillary’s camps it’s been contained
so far,but when these two get to the Democratic National
Convention all hell is going to break loose,as their’s
going to be a fight for the Liberals soul of the Democratic
party.

canopfor on January 12, 2008 at 8:14 PM

Hillary says that Obama has more “spadework” to do. Go figure.

crosspatch on January 12, 2008 at 8:15 PM

And half of African Americans feel threatened by Latin American immigrants because “they are taking jobs, housing and political power away from the Black community.”
…..
“Blacks feel they are left out of the American Dream and are being displaced by newcomers,…
funky chicken on January 12, 2008 at 8:03 PM

A Zogby poll from 2005 on the issue of illegal immigration confirms this. Blacks were more in favor of strict enforcement only and/or deportation than whites. Blacks should be in favor of candidates strong against illegal immigration – but I’m not holding my breath.

fred5678 on January 12, 2008 at 8:21 PM

The politics of victimhood is all the Democrat party knows. It’s the only weapon in their arsenal, and they will use it on each other as gleefully as they will on us.
It’s fun to watch now, when it’s directed at their own side, but this fall I’m going to have to batten down the hatches here in south Phoenix and scrape off my bumper stickers. Their rhetoric and games at the highest levels cause real world resentment and friction on our level. Not that they will ever care.

joewm315 on January 12, 2008 at 8:26 PM

This is the same guy, you’ll recall, whose outfit gleefully accused the GOP of racism last year for running an ad targeting Harold Ford that dared to feature timpani — drums — in the background.

No he didn’t. ::snort::

baldilocks on January 12, 2008 at 9:03 PM

It’s like what happens when you criticize Venus or Serena Williams. … If you’re black and you criticize them you’re a “sell out” …

SouthernGent on January 12, 2008 at 8:01 PM

Never seen it. As a matter of fact some of the entertainment sites I visit joke about their um…size and their overbearing father.

baldilocks on January 12, 2008 at 9:11 PM

From Politico.com :

“This is what happens any time anyone tries to question a statement or a position of Senator Obama,” Clinton says in an interview now airing on Sirius satellite radio. “The response is, ‘You’re attacking me personally,’ and that relieves him of the obligation to address the substance.”

Whoa,whoa,whoa! Now who did the Senator from Illinois learn this from?

Ahem, drivers licenses for illegals, hmmm anyone? anyone?

cherokeejeff on January 12, 2008 at 9:16 PM

Was that “I’m the Jackpot” thing deleted once the story was corrected?

Nonfactor on January 12, 2008 at 11:02 PM

I don’t know about all of NV, but Las Vegas doesn’t have a large African American population. Playing the race card may not work well for the NV primary, considering the relations between the AA and hispanic folks detailed in my posts above. There are also quite a few Asians in Vegas who aren’t likely to buy the message that the Clintons are picking on black folks by criticizing Obama.

funky chicken on January 12, 2008 at 11:05 PM

Going by the “faux” history of the democrat party, race should never be an issue in their primaries.
After all, democrats and their liberal friends in the media have for decades insisted that Conservatives are the only ones who are racists.
A racial war between Hilary and Barack? Two liberal democrats? I don’t believe it. I see the hands of Carl Rove behind this one. We all know how strong the force is with this fella.

RMR on January 12, 2008 at 11:19 PM

Wow. Now this is the best of blogging. A complex argument, relating to a complex issue, done with wit and class, backed up by lots of relevant and clever and amusing links. Unfortunately the old Josh Marshall link seems to have gone AWOL (not the Hot Air one, the one within the linked Hot air post), so I don’t know if you can contend with Baldilocks’ refutation of that portion. Odd to see Ms Locks defending Josh Marshall, though, and I’m not sure what she’s basing that on.

Splunge on January 12, 2008 at 11:45 PM

It’s like what happens when you criticize Venus or Serena Williams. If you’re white it’s because they are black that you are criticizing them. If you’re black and you criticize them you’re a “sell out”. It’s perfectly okay, however, to root for them simply based on the color of their skin because that’s not racist at all.

That’s a boatload of crap. And I don’t say that to be offensive. I’m just being honest. The idea that one must root for them based on their race is just out there. I don’t think any of us should presume to speak for black people en masse. But I think you are a particularly ill-equipped spokesperson.

If someone made you feel sheepish about dogging on the Williams sisters then you need to take up knitting. Nobody will rib you about your choices there. The Williams sisters are great comedic foils. While I dare not speak for all, I do think black people across America get that. I’ve seen the memo.

I think racism is overstated as a problem by many on the left. But there are myriad misconceptions about African-Americans across the board.

***

Race > Gender > Special victim status > Actual issues.

Extra points for combining any of those.

AUINSC on January 12, 2008 at 7:56 PM

You ignore the emerging face of the party, Hispanics. The rate at which the latino boom will engulf the rest of the country will happen exponentially faster than it did in the Southwest US.

By sheer volume, the Latino bloc is the most powerful. It’s not the largest, but it’s the fastest growing segment to which Congress can pander.

If Obama is not the candidate, expect political freefall of the Congressional Black Caucus. The old guard hacks like Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters will become politically obsolete.

Splunge on January 12, 2008 at 11:45 PM

Texture lost in text.

The Race Card on January 13, 2008 at 12:29 AM

You know, with this kind of background, that I was able to find with just about 30 minutes of searching, Barack Obama should be very careful about criticizing people about racism.

Michael in MI on January 13, 2008 at 12:56 AM

Hill is so nasty. This is quite alarming.

saved on January 13, 2008 at 8:01 AM

The Clintons might discover that they don’t “own” the black vote afterall. Obama has no clue what evil he is about to face if the Clintons get desperate.

volsense on January 13, 2008 at 9:41 AM

If anyone has the chance, Tim Russert interviews a slimy slug today. Although he did box the slug in, it never admitted it and used every different position imaginable to try and squirm away. Even to the point that she first claimed her judgment was better than Obama’s and then 45 seconds later after her judgment was shown to have serious flaws, she was saying that judgment is not that big of a deal!

Bwahahaha!!

csdeven on January 13, 2008 at 10:39 AM

All this is almost enough to make me want Edwards to win the Dem nomination. I can’t stand the guy, but having the Democratic Party reject the only credible African American and female candidates in history, in favor of a white male, would just be too perfect.

But yeah, Ace is absolutely right, this is just a small preview of what the general will be like if Obama gets the nomination. There will by definition be no substantive criticisms of Obama, only racially motivated ones.

Dudley Smith on January 13, 2008 at 10:52 AM

The slimy slugs favorite catch phrase on Meet The Press….

“It’s unfair”.

lol

csdeven on January 13, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Good grief … Meet the Press is spending the entire hour today lobbing softballs to Hillary.Tim is pretending to confront her … but then backs off …. as only he can (with that endearing smile)!

Pathetic does not even begin to describe this hour of journalistic pimping.

Chimp 6 on January 13, 2008 at 11:34 AM

This hour long love fest is just the Clinton machine letting Russert suck up in order to regain his place in the MSM with the promise he will never seek the truth again. Even Russert cannot hide the fact that as we get to know Hillary better, it becomes alarmingly obvious that her intelligence doesn’t run that deep. Missing Bill’s charisma, her lies are not as readily believed as the ones Bill gets away with.

volsense on January 13, 2008 at 12:05 PM

I listened to a good portion of it on the way home from Mass. All I could think was “What happened to Tim Russert’s testicles?”

D2Boston on January 13, 2008 at 1:19 PM

contemptible belittling crack

A new name for Hillary.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on January 13, 2008 at 1:39 PM

Obama belongs to a cultish, anti-white church. But I love the way Hillary works Obama’s inexperience portrayed as someone who has not done “the spade work”. What a piece this woman is.

pat on January 13, 2008 at 2:22 PM