Clinton (and McCain) Plays the Race Card

April 21st, 2008 · 4 Comments

Since the PA primary is tomorrow, I thought this would be a good time to introduce guest blogger, Paul Garza, Jr., a political consultant from Southern California.

Why is it that African-Americans and Latinos are the only ones who have “race cards” to play? Recently, Clinton was able to play a race card and get a free pass from the national press. Obama, on the other hand, was characterized as being “elitist.” Which really means arrogant, which really means uppity, i.e. no person of color has any business saying anything about “white” America. No one is calling it like it is – the “white” race card. When people of color complain — that is playing unfairly. After all, our problems are our own doing, and of course, their problems are our doing!

Obama recently made an insightful statement about the frustration that so many wage earning Americans feel while he focused upon rural Pennsylvanians, he spoke unfortunately about the fate of a large portion of America that shares the precipitous declines in earning. In the “rust belt,” where high paying manufacturing went a long time ago, moderate wage earners in the US are especially hard hit. When manufacturing jobs were plentiful, these families were lifted out of subsistence to remarkable middle-class prosperity. This prosperity is long gone: a fading memory of Camelot.

And guess who stole it? Just about the time things started to get rough at the plant, it seems that African-Americans and Latinos decided it was time to get on the streets. Was it these damands of minorities that led to the decline of manufacturing and the post-WWII boom? Hardly, it was the shoddy business practices of owners who wouldn’t invest to stay current, unions whose blindness prevented competitive practices, and more than any of these things, the economic policies of Republicans. The latter conveniently has kept these “bitter” voters loyal through a series of “Willie Horton” images quickly followed by the threat of those shifty “A-rabs.”

No group of Americans has been hurt harder by the decline of manufacturing than African-Americans. The black middle class in urban areas was ripped asunder, and the painful pattern of violence, drugs, gangs and blight set in. This didn’t happen when manufacturing jobs supported families, gave opportunities for the next generation to aspire, and enabled social structures that created a strong sense of community. Latinos too have been hurt by the decline of manufacturing jobs. The old Mexican-American barrios have gone through their unfortunate transformation as well.

But, let’s get back to the point. The national press engages in a constant barrage of attention focused on the negatives of minorities. You know, we are druggies, hookers, and gang bangers. We don’t want to assimilate and don’t want to be real Americans. This feeds the believe of low to moderate incoming earning whites that their racism is justified. If a person of color dare offer their thoughtful critique… well look at the reaction.

So, the old story continues. Moderate income “whites” get to blame their problems on others rather than their votes for Nixon, Reagan, Bush I and Bush II. Isn’t it ironic that their downward spiral tracks exactly with the Republican ascendancy of the past 40 years? Their racism has been as costly to their own interests as it has been for people of color. But let a person of color raise that issue? God forbid.

Where is the real dialogue on race and class this country needs to badly? Instead, Clinton gets a pass from the national press, and Obama has to apologize for calling it like it is.

More importantly, no one is talking about how so many people, black, brown, and white have been betrayed by economic policies that only reward investment. No one is talking about the about the resentment that “white” America feels toward minorities and immigrants and why Lou Dobbs has it wrong. No one is talking about why moderate income earners of all races and regions face the same problems and need the same policy changes. All of this is obscured by the “race card.”

Tags: African-Americans · Barack Obama · GOP · GWB · Hillary Clinton · Presidential Elections

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michaelr // Apr 21, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    White America views people of color as intellectually, physically, and spiritually inferior. Of course these opinions vary depending on the educational level of the individual spouting off their superiority based on skin color. So much of it is spoken from the pulpits in different Western Christian congregations. The Mormons actually believe that Black and Brown skin is the product of God cursing certain groups of people for their transgressions. Read the Book of Mormon and digest the saga of the Lamanites and the Nephites, and have a good laugh. I am so offended when WASPs are shocked to discover I am a Latino, and have the nerve to say, “Gee, I can’t even hear your accent. Where did you learn to speak English so well?” Well motherfucker, my father’s people came to Los Angeles in 1795, and they all learned English right after the Bear Flag Revolt. And those ignorant white people never fail to then ask me…”what was the Bear Flag Revolt?” It never fails.

  • 2 reenee // Apr 23, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Interestingly enough, just today a woman I’ve known for years expressed shock at discovering that my ancestry originated in Mexico, with some Apache tossed in for good measure. The only way I was able to respond to that was to laugh at her for being so obtuse at not having figured this out years ago.
    People simply see what they want to see, and cling to their preconceived notions to the point of utter blindness.

  • 3 Barrio Abogado // Apr 25, 2008 at 11:47 am

    As we proceed through this political season and after what happened on Tuesday, I recall the Chinese proverb “May you live in interesting times.” I have to tell you that from out here in the West all the Dems I talk to are concerned that the Democrats are now in serious trouble. All the negative campaigning that Clinton engaged in to stop Obama’s momentum in PA has worked. She has succeeded in stopping his momentum without gaining any advantage of her own. It has been clear for weeks now that she cannot numerically win enough delegates to gain the nomination. She has raised Obama’s negatives (as well as her own) without increasing her chances of gaining the nomination. The Democratic groups supporting Clinton and Obama are becoming so polarized that the winner will likely lose the support they would have otherwise had from the voters of the defeated candidate. We risk having black and young voters stay home in November if super delegates give her the nomination over the popular voter. The more Hilary attacks Obama the more she turns women, blue collar and rural voters permanently against him. I have to tell you that if this bashing continues, she will succeed in doing what no Republican would have been able to do in this election– win the Presidency in November. While I understand the Clinton mentality of never quitting, her willingness to follow the idea that “if a Clinton can’t win the nomination, then no one will win” is very distressing. I can appreciate her personal ambition, but it has reached a point of damaging the chances of the Democratic nominee in Nov. Even if Clinton should somehow win the nomination, her negative campaign strategy has not only undermined Obama’s campaign but her own campaign as well. Anyone in politics understands how effective negative campaigning can be, but the degree Clinton has engaged in past few weeks has become self-destructive. I don’t know what the answer is, but someone of stature in the democratic party has to step forward and say enough is enough. The danger is that if Clinton persists in this style of negative campaigning against Obama, she is going to be blamed for the losing the election for Democrats in November.

  • 4 Michaelr // Apr 27, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    I doubt Howard Dean, Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi have the courage to stand up to HRC and tell her about all the damage she has done to the Democratic Party as a whole with her duplicitous, race-baiting, negative campaigning. HRC sees herself as” the monarch to be mentioned later in her campaign,” and continues to convey to her public that entitlement mentality which makes her personality so repulsive. I am sure the Democratic convention will be a hotbed of intrigue, fueled by more and more Hillary accusations and lies, shouted out by small-minded people with limited political vision. Eight years of George W. Bush have destroyed our stature in the world, and now we have to come to the realization that we will have another four years of similar worries. John McCain will be the next President, and he should thank Hillary for that.

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