It’s sad that Bill Clinton was given the designation of being the country’s first black president. He’s not black. It’s weird that I have to point that out, but it’s true. When this country finally does elect a black president, he or she will have been robbed of some of their achievement by this nonsense about Clinton. Clinton didn’t deserve the distinction and he did everything to disgrace the office, which hopefully no one who follows him will emulate. So as I said, it’s sad that Toni Morrison gave Clinton that particular designation because, among other things, Barack Obama had to answer tonight’s inane question about it. He can’t just answer straight up “No” without running the risk of coming off as churlish or divisive. So he does the best he can with what is basically an insulting question.
All in all, Obama probably wins in that he seems the least weird of the three and is the least obviously disingenuous. Hillary talks about opposing lobbyists and bringing honest people to her administration but she’s married to one of the world’s most notorious liars and she’ll bring the likes of Sandy Berger back to power if she’s elected. Not to mention who’ll be her co-president. Edwards sees a Dickensian America from his ginormous mansion, but while there are certainly Americans who struggle to pay the bills, by and large Edwards’ solution to everything is government, government, and more government. Obama is a likable bag of nothing. He’s easy to watch and he’s easy to listen to, but what does he actually say? None of the three seem to grasp national security or the source of wealth and prosperity in America. None of them seem to have set any limits to the power of government to serve their own aims and whims. They all fear John McCain, or at least they say they do. That was the most interesting exchange of the debate.
Update: In comments, Baldilocks makes this observation about the “black president” thing.
Toni Morrison’s ::spit:: dubbing of BC as “The first black president” was all in regard to his “bimbo eruptions.” It was an insult to black men everywhere in that it implied that all black men were just like BC in this respect.
There’s a great deal of truth in that. Here’s Toni Morrison’s 1998 article, and here’s the nugget paragraph:
African-American men seemed to understand it right away. Years ago, in the middle of the Whitewater investigation, one heard the first murmurs: white skin notwithstanding, this is our first black President. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children’s lifetime. After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald’s-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas. And when virtually all the African-American Clinton appointees began, one by one, to disappear, when the President’s body, his privacy, his unpoliced sexuality became the focus of the persecution, when he was metaphorically seized and bodysearched, who could gainsay these black men who knew whereof they spoke? The message was clear “No matter how smart you are, how hard you work, how much coin you earn for us, we will put you in your place or put you out of the place you have somehow, albeit with our permission, achieved. You will be fired from your job, sent away in disgrace, and–who knows?–maybe sentenced and jailed to boot. In short, unless you do as we say (i.e., assimilate at once), your expletives belong to us.”
She’s saying that Clinton is black because he’s a victim of the system. But the problem with that is, Bill Clinton was master of the system at that time. He used the system to prey on his victims, to get them to lie for him even at legal risk to themselves. He established that pattern in Arkansas and carried it to Washington with him. He wasn’t a black man, he was The Man. Yet because he was a Democrat, and I really can’t think of anything else that explains it other than that he supported abortion and the other feminist bromides, he gets to be the first black president. That such an insult has been borne with nonchalance ever since is nearly tragic. That Barack Obama finds himself compared to Bill Clinton’s “blackness” is a deep insult to Barack Obama and his family.