Barack Obama’s political mentor got accused by several witnesses of calling a black Hillary Clinton delegate an “Uncle Tom”. Emil Jones, retiring from his post as state Senate president, confronted a group of delegates over their refusal to support Obama in Denver, which sparked a heated exchange. Chicago political consultant Delmarie Cobb says that Jones called her that epithet at the end, and then tried to laugh it off:
Cobb said the confrontation started when she and Jones, who is also African-American, were talking about an earlier conversation they had at the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago. “One day, you’ll be on the right side,” Cobb said Jones told her. She told him she was on the right side. She said Jones pointed at his Obama hat and said, “No, this is the right side,” she said.
“Then he came up behind me. He said ‘Thirty-five thousand people went to Springfield [to support Obama on Saturday],'” she said. “I said, ‘Then 35,000 people drank the Kool-Aid.,’ He said, ‘Barack is a clean-cut guy. He never liked gutter politics, that’s why the Clintons did so-and-so. …’ I said, ‘I don’t want to get into this. So I went over to the elevator, and he said, ‘Uncle Tom!’ Then he grabbed me and hugged me and started laughing. I said, ‘What did you say?’ I turned to Freddrenna Lyle, and I said, ‘What did he say?’ She wouldn’t say anything, That’s when I said some bad things to him.”
Nor did Cobb leave it at that. When talking with the Sun-Times, the Hillary Clinton steering committee member had a word to say about sell-outs:
Taking a final shot at Jones, Cobb said, “Calling me an ‘Uncle Tom’ is beyond the pale, especially considering where he is [close] with Mayor Daley and with [Gov.] Blagojevich, I am hardly the Uncle Tom here.”
Identity politics — it’s what’s for dinner in Denver. Can anyone doubt that this same kind of political tactic took place all over Chicago and the US? The fact that it’s still happening now says that Denver may turn out to be a meltdown — if not in front of the cameras, then off-stage.
If Team Obama wanted a show of unity from the Pepsi Center, this indicates that they haven’t achieved that goal, probably because they’ve never set the example. For a campaign that promised post-racial politicking, its candidate and surrogates haven’t been above race-baiting at the drop of a hat. This goes hand in hand with Obama’s repeated baseless smears of John McCain as a racist. Emil Jones just followed Obama’s lead, as Obama has followed his.
Update (AP): Not the first time, either, that an Obama crony has demagogued a black Hillary supporter in explicitly racial terms.
In an interview, Cleaver offered a glimpse of private conversations.
He said Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois had recently asked him “if it comes down to the last day and you’re the only superdelegate? … Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?
“I told him I’d think about it,” Cleaver concluded.