Geraldine Ferraro on race politics, via Feministing:
As for Reagan Democrats, how Clinton was treated is not their issue. They are more concerned with how they have been treated. Since March, when I was accused of being racist for a statement I made about the influence of blacks on Obama's historic campaign, people have been stopping me to express a common sentiment: If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist. They see Obama's playing the race card throughout the campaign and no one calling him for it as frightening. They're not upset with Obama because he's black; they're upset because they don't expect to be treated fairly because they're white. It's not racism that is driving them, it's racial resentment. And that is enforced because they don't believe he understands them and their problems. That when he said in South Carolina after his victory "Our Time Has Come" they believe he is telling them that their time has passed.
- While it's not mentioned in this quotation, I'm just going to say right here that Ferraro is absolutely correct that sexism and misogyny played a large role in this election season. Did it cost Hillary the nomination? I hope not, I hope that the results happened as a result of Democrats and independents looking at each candidate on her merits and then choosing the one they preferred. But we don't know that that's not the case, and there's no reason to assume it's true for everyone.
- Reagan Democrats? Ugh. This is a group of people that's defined, really, by three things. First, they've voted for Republicans for president since 1980. Second, political elites, like Ferraro, have decided that they should vote for Democrats. Third, they're white.
So complaining that they won't vote for Obama is just hogwash. They wouldn't have voted for Clinton either in the general. While Reagan did campaign on
racism racial resentment, let's not pretend like sexism was out of the question for the Gipper. Nor that Clinton has anything to offer these people that they won't find in McCain, and see better in him.
Democrats shouldn't waste their time trying to get a bunch of racists and sexists back into the party. The wasted energy in each election cycle on that endeavor has put LGBT rights to the back burner, because besides being sexist and racist, they've been defined as homophobic as well, and we wouldn't want to piss them off by supporting queer equality, now would we?
In other words, they're the votes that have mattered more in the Democratic coalition, so their concerns have trumped ours. They matter more because they vote Republican, and Democrats need to try that much harder to get them back. And they always fail, so they need to try even harder by relegating what everyone else needs and moving to the center.
When are they going to get off the ride and decide that people who always vote Republican are just Republicans?
- "Racial resentment" is code for "racism." It's just spin.
The distinction Ferraro is making is:
- racists think that Black people are inferior and therefore should not get jobs that should instead go to white people, while
- racial resenters think that inferior Black people, which is all of them, should not get jobs that should instead go to white people.
Isn't that a huge difference?
- The fact that when Obama says "Our time has come" Ferraro thinks that he's only speaking about Black people betrays an instinctive tribalism on her part. Of course he's only speaking about his race. Isn't that what everyone means when they talk about "us" and "them"?
- I understand that Ferraro has come under a lot of fire for her comments and that has naturally made her defensive. There have been a few times that some of my posts have made it out to the greater blogosphere and have been attacked by people I've never heard of pretending like they knew me. It does a number on you, and, for me, it's never been as huge as the response to Ferraro's comments. I'm not saying that we can't react, but we should keep in mind that she can hear and read people's reactions, and it's not fun to be picked apart.
That said, the statement that "If you're white you can't open your mouth without being accused of being racist" is asinine. White people get heard plenty in the media. White people get heard plenty in politics. And white people talk all the time about race and are incredibly racist sometimes and keep on talking to a large audience. (See the fact that Bill O'Reilly, John Gibson, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Tucker Carlson all appear in mainstream outlets and have huge audiences, despite being
racists racial resenters for evidence. Also see the fact that she's writing in the Boston Globe.)
- When has Obama "played the race card"? Examples, please.
Of course, that isn't as silly as this:
They don't identify with someone who has gone to Columbia and Harvard Law School and is married to a Princeton-Harvard Law graduate.
Because they identify with someone who has gone to Wellesley and Yale Law School and is married to a Rhodes Scholar who is also a Yale Law graduate. And who was First Lady for eight years. Mm-hmm.
Or they identify with a military brat-cum-Naval Academy grad who married insanely rich and owns eight houses.
Gimme a break.
Update: Related to that last point but not deserving of it's own post, here's a tidbit from David Brooks's column today:
Obama's problem is he doesn't seem like a guy who can go into an Applebee's salad bar and people think he fits in naturally there. He has to change to be more like that Applebee's guy and as he's done that he's become much more transactional. Much more, I'm going to deliver this and this and this to you on policy.
John Amato responds:
I called an Applebee's also and they told me that none of their restaurants have a salad bar. David, sometimes the jokes write themselves. What an idiot.
It's all the same junk. These people aren't working class and they aren't fit to talk about the working class. But they'll keep on talking about Obama as an elitist (until November, and then they'll restart in 2011) because they're too lazy to do anything else.