Victimology continues in the identity-politics meltdown of the Democratic primaries. The Washington Post profiles racist incidents that young campaigners for Barack Obama have experienced, but fails to note that they occur within the context of a Democratic contest. Meanwhile, women continue to push for Hillary Clinton as a means of breaking through the ultimate glass ceiling, putting gender ahead of qualifications on the priority list.
Doesn’t this count as “distractions”?
For all the hope and excitement Obama’s candidacy is generating, some of his field workers, phone-bank volunteers and campaign surrogates are encountering a raw racism and hostility that have gone largely unnoticed — and unreported — this election season. Doors have been slammed in their faces. They’ve been called racially derogatory names (including the white volunteers). And they’ve endured malicious rants and ugly stereotyping from people who can’t fathom that the senator from Illinois could become the first African American president. …
Victoria Switzer, a retired social studies teacher, was on phone-bank duty one night during the Pennsylvania primary campaign. One night was all she could take: “It wasn’t pretty.” She made 60 calls to prospective voters in Susquehanna County, her home county, which is 98 percent white. The responses were dispiriting. One caller, Switzer remembers, said he couldn’t possibly vote for Obama and concluded: “Hang that darky from a tree!”
Documentary filmmaker Rory Kennedy, the daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, said she, too, came across “a lot of racism” when campaigning for Obama in Pennsylvania. One Pittsburgh union organizer told her he would not vote for Obama because he is black, and a white voter, she said, offered this frank reason for not backing Obama: “White people look out for white people, and black people look out for black people.”
Obama campaign officials say such incidents are isolated, that the experience of most volunteers and staffers has been overwhelmingly positive.
Who were these volunteers contacting? Fellow Democrats. They wanted to mobilize the registered Democrats to get them to vote in the closed primary, and received very ugly responses for their trouble.
Some of what the Post reports has nothing to do with racism, however, but it also involves violence:
The bigotry has gone beyond words. In Vincennes, the Obama campaign office was vandalized at 2 a.m. on the eve of the primary, according to police. A large plate-glass window was smashed, an American flag stolen. Other windows were spray-painted with references to Obama’s controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and other political messages: “Hamas votes BHO” and “We don’t cling to guns or religion. Goddamn Wright.”
Who commits all of these acts of racism? When the WaPo article identifies their politics, they turn out to be supporters of … Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, Politico wonders whether the “sisterhood” can save Hillary:
Just a day after the debilitating results in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, the New York senator sought help at a fundraiser dubbed by her campaign “Generations of Women for Hillary.”
And, as has been the pattern, the 1,500 mostly women who attended came through, not just meeting the goal of generating $500,000 for her campaign but doubling it.
Even the sight of a couple of loud protesters couldn’t erase the obvious relief and excitement of the candidate, who sponsored the event along with her daughter and mother. As the last heckler was escorted out of Washington’s Omni Shoreham Hotel, Clinton quipped that she hoped “they paid” before they were booted.
Unfortunately for Hillary, Obama has raised more money from more women than she has, at least through the first quarter of 2008. The gender card has turned into a busted flush, but Hillary has yet to stop playing it, and for at least some of her supporters, it will continue to drive energy away from Obama.
As McQ notes, the media should remember this when it comes to accusations of racism and bigotry later in the general election.