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Wed

16

Jan

2008

Sharper than a Serpent's Tooth
Wednesday, 16 January 2008 02:01
by Stephen P. Pizzo

Let me start out by saying this column is going to really piss some people off. But I am calling it how I see it. And this is how I see it.

A couple of hundred years ago, back in the old South, white folk made a distinction between "good" negroes and the not-so-good negroes. "Good" negroes stayed in line, were deferential to whites and didn't make trouble. Those were the negroes whites assigned jobs in and around their houses, rather than in the fields. They even had a term for them — though I have to clean it up a bit: "house negroes."

White's of the old South took it for granted that their house-servant slaves were grateful, loyal and even held genuine affection for their masters. So it was a rude awakening when, after Lincoln freed the slaves, those freed house servants packed up and left to strike out on their own.

Many whites were genuinely surprised, even hurt that their former servants, nannies and groundskeepers had turned their backs on them.

A kind of grieving process then played out. First many former white slave owners were hurt at what they felt was a shocking display of ingratitude. Then came dismay. After all, who was going to raise the kids, cook and clean now?

Then, as that reality sunk in, they became angry, striking out, saying and trying whatever they could to assure that lives of freedom their former servants sought would be as miserable, unfulfilling and unsuccessful as possible.

That was then. Now, 150 years later, we're watching a similar drama play out on the political stage.

The Clintons and their institutional Democratic Party old guard shocked, insulted, even hurt that black Americans might prefer upstart Barack Obama over the next in line, Hillary Clinton. The national Democratic Party machine had other plans for this election cycle. Democratic Party insiders were fixing to put the first white woman in the White House, not the first black man.

But then guess who came to dinner. Barack Obama, a smart, attractive and inspirational young black man stepped up and announced he'd like a shot too. Imagine their chagrin when blacks, joined by millions of white Americans, started voting for the black guy.

Until then the Democratic Party pointed with pride at the Obama candidacy as proof that the party was more racially open than the all-white GOP line up. That all changed when people actually started voting for him in alarmingly high numbers. Particularly worrisome was the growing number of black voters switching from Hillary to Barack.

No machine Democrat was more hurt and dismayed by this turn of events than the party's heir apparent, Hillary Clinton. After Barack Obama beat her in Iowa, she let go of the hurt and moved straight on to anger. It was time to remind African-American voters not only which side their bread has been buttered on, and just who had buttered it "for them" in the first place.

"Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act," she said, adding that "it took a president to get it done." (Hillary Clinton)

What she left out of that remark was inferred; "and it took a white, Democrat President to get it done for y'all."

The same week Hillary dropped that bomb husband Bill took his own swipe, describing the Obama phenomena "the biggest fantasy I've ever seen."

The Clintons realized that they were losing their grip on a constituency they believed they owned. So Hillary quickly put her remaining black supporters front and center to put a black face back on the Clinton campaign, and to defend both her and Bill from the black backlash their remarks last week caused.

Black Entertainment Televsions Founder Slams Obama
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Robert L. Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, who is campaigning today in South Carolina with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, just made a suggestion that raised the specter of Barack Obama’s past drug use. — And to me, as an African-American, I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues since Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood –­ and I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in the book –­ when they have been involved.”(Full Story)
During those remarks — which, had they made by a white businessman, would have caused a monumental uproar — Hillary Clinton sat on stage expressionless. Had she disagreed with the thrust of Johnson's remarks she could have disassociated herself from them. But she didn't. Instead, when he was done she applauded and hugged him.

And why not. After all, he, a successful black man, had just reinforced the subliminal message her campaign would not dare articulate itself. A message that went something like this:
  • - While blacks have moved into the American mainstream, they largely have white Democrats, like Hillary and Bill, to thank for it.
  • - And that while blacks have made a lot progress over the years, they are still not "ready" to run the nation.
  • - And, in case that didn't get you back on the Democratic Party plantation, remember — Obama was a druggie when he was younger.
Deeper in the bowls of the Clinton campaign, where hurt has turned to anger, a more dangerous strategy was emerging — one designed to send a message to white Democratic voters. If you thought only Republicans like Karl Rove still played the racist card, forget about it. When the chips are down — and they are down now for Hillary Clinton — the Clintons and their surrogates know how to push those buttons too.

Many pundits wondered why the Clintons would risk alienating the black community on the eve of the South Carolina primary with their slaps at MLK and Obama. Others suggested that Bill told Hillary she needed her own Sister Soulja moment to show white voters, particularly in South Carolina, that she is not in the pocket of African-American interest groups.

And, in the process, also rekindle white working class fear and resentment towards a black candidate. Such a tactic might also appeal to the now disaffected working class Reagan Democrats who, after years of being screwed blue by the GOP were looking for a "safe" Democrat to vote for next November.

So last week the Clintons pulled out all the stops, sending their surrogates out to spread their subliminal-message attacks against Obama. Democratic New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo waded in on Hillary's behalf last week as well, using language that could hardly have been accidental from a guy whose father is one of America's great orators:

"It's not a TV crazed race. Frankly you can't buy your way into it," Cuomo said, according to Albany Times Union reporter Rick Karlin. "You can't shuck and jive at a press conference," he added. "All those moves you can make with the press don't work when you're in someone's living room."

"Shuck and jive" is a term once used to describe blacks behaving innocently in the presence of an white authority figures, so as to lie and get out of trouble.

(Irony alert: Of course Hillary Clinton is married to the biggest shuck and jive artist ever to grace the Oval Office — as displayed in his greatest hits — "Now listen to me. I did NOT have sex with that woman...." and the all time classic — "it depends what the meaning of 'is' is." It's a political art form Hillary herself is no stranger to. Just ask her to explain her vote to give George W. the right to attack Iraq and her more recent vote on Iran if you want to hear some world class shucking and jiving. But I digress.)

Nothing happens by accident in a Clinton campaign. Last week was all about raising doubts about Hillary's young black opponent. More and more black voters are — if you'll excuse the term — taking a shine to Obama. The national polls show voters moving his way, at her expense

When things go wrong in a Clinton campaign the first thing they do is crunch and dissect the numbers. They now know that if Hillary is going to have a chance at beating Obama, they will have to beat him — -beat him up. They will have to say and encourage others to say, whatever it takes to scare as many of their now wavering black supporters back onto the Clinton plantation.

But they also know that many black Americans, likely a majority, will jump at the chance to make history. Not the first white woman President kind of history, but the first African American President kind of history. So, the numbers say to they also need to round up enough white voters to dilute Obama's surge among African Americans.

And how do you convince whites to shun a black candidate? Well some whites are already so inclined. For the rest the Clintons understand they need to cunningly leverage old racial stereotypes in order to raise doubts about Obama's character and abilities. To do that requires great skill and even greater deception and deceit. It requires a social/political witch's brew of connivance and hypocrisy:
  • Repeatedly chant "he's not ready."
  • Add a dash of "they (black Americans) couldn't have done it if we white liberals hadn't done it for them."
  • Throw in some racially evocative slang like, "He's just shuck and jiving you."
  • Drop reminders, as Clinton campaign manager, Mark Penn did on Chris Matthew's show of past drug use while denying it matters: "We are running a clean campaign," Penn told Matthew's, "We are not, for example, going to bring up Sen. Obama's former cocaine use."
  • Wink and nod to white voters that Hillary is one of them and not in the pocket of African-American interest groups. And what better way to do that than to diminish the role of Martin Luther King.
Are the Clinton's really that ruthless, that cunning, that conniving?

Yes. Yes they are. You can bet the plantation on it. 
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Comments (4)add comment

M. Gillespie said:

0
Well, yeah.
"We are running a clean campaign," Penn told Matthews, "We are not, for example, going to bring up Sen. Obama's former cocaine use." What a hoot! Just like Huckabee showing the press a negative campaign ad about Romney that he said he'd decided not to release. But, of course, that's not the half of it.

I covered a big labor event over in Cedar Rapids a few months back. All the '08 Democratic hopefuls were there except Richardson and Gravel. I arrived early and found the still nearly empty hall plastered with Hillary signage. A woman of a certain age, wearing a Hillary T-shirt, approached me and asked which candidate I was supporting. I was wearing my press credentials, and I told her I hadn't made up my mind. She immediately started talking about Obama, and she mentioned cocaine in a way that suggested more than past use. Then she went after Richardson saying that he "likes to put his hands on women." The manner in which these smears were delivered seemed to me to suggest that the woman was a loose cannon, perhaps because I simply couldn't imagine the campaign would encourage volunteers to approach members of the press with such blatant character assassination. Six weeks later, the Clinton campaign was caught planting questions in Iowa. And since then we've seen the spate of well-timed and well-orchestrated cheap tricks on display in New Hampshire, a sure sign of desperation after the third-place finish in Iowa. I'm no longer so sure that the Hillary volunteer who approached me in Cedar Rapids wasn't working from a list of talking points provided by the campaign. And I have no doubt that there is not much the Clintons wouldn't do to regain power.

I still find it difficult to believe that Hillary has trundled out Madeline "Yes, we think the price was worth it" Albright as her foreign policy spokesperson. Do they think the world has forgotten the Iraq sanctions regime that killed a million and a half innocent Iraqis including 500,000 children under the age of five and set the stage for 9/11? Do they think that everyone who's not too poor to pay attention hasn't figured out that Bill Clinton's Middle East foreign policy looks good only in comparison to the Bush-Cheney-Rusmfeld disaster?

The Clintons aren't about change. They're about the same old same old. What they have is a pot full of money, a big bag of cheap tricks, and very few scruples. That may well be an accurate reflection of what politics has always been about in this country and elsewhere. That may be what it takes to win elections. But it won't solve the problems that now confront humanity.
 
January 16, 2008
Votes: +0

Jesus Reyes said:

0
...
Barak Obama is an Chicago style "organizer" which only means that the table is just fine, he just wants a seat at the table

What has Obama had to say about the disenfranchisement of Blacks in Florida in 2000? Nothing. Zip.

It ought to be obvious to all that nothing benefits the U.S. oligarchy more than having house slaves out defending the aims of the empire. Colin Powell and Condalezza Rice are the clearest evidence of that fact. The only difference between them and Obama is that he might throw a few crumbs under the table or at least give a grand speech making you think he has. Black folks who still buy into this bullshit, out of some desperate hunger to see a Black face leading this parade of chiselers need to grow up. Period.
 
January 16, 2008
Votes: +0

Humble Visitor said:

0
nonethatIknowof
Elections in this country haven't been about humanity since 1913. You either conform or are eradicated or you hope that you are too small for "them" to pay any attention to you.
That means money only associates with its same, power likewise. You see it on a much smaller scale in the crawling masses than you do with the "high-born" because we don't get to view their clandestine carryings-on 'cause we can't afford Blackwater, or some such, to "protect" us'ns.
Think I'm wrong? Just look at the pseudo-incestuous relationships that have permeated the 'Murkan royal families for the last 94 years and what has always happened to their perceived enemies. (Include all the funny membership rings with the bones on them, too.)
To summate: Hell yeah, the Clintons are dirty . . . just not as dirty as the prevailing regime and still a better choice.
Having said all that, I still hope Kucinich gets the Oval Office. Oh, yeah . . . I'm gonna wish for world peace and free cable TV while I'm at it.
Ciao
 
January 16, 2008
Votes: +0

JonnyFree said:

0
SOCIAL ACTIVIST, TRUTH TELLER
Your article is constructed well, but way too many inacuracies.

In the first part of your paper you wrote, "Until then, the Democratic Party pointed with pride at the Obama candidacy as proof that the party was more racially open than the all-white GOP line up. That all changed when people actually started voting for him in alarmingly high numbers." What evidence do you have that proves that "THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHANGED" when people started voting. Now, the Clinton Campaign machine may have "CHANGED" but you wrote that the DEMOCRATIC PARTY negatively reacted to Obama's candidacy. If you had actually done some research on what you wrote, you would have found that Howard Dean (Chairman of the DNC) has never said anything negative towards Obama's campaign. On the contrary, he has spoken very positively about Obama. Also, there is no secret that Howard Dean doesn't like the Clintons and they do not like him. Then when one looks at the number of HIGH RANKING Democratic Leaders who support the Obama campaign, it strips your argument bare.

Keep your eyes on the prize Mr. Pizzo. The goal for Democrats is to put as many Republicans out of office as possible. As an Obama supporter, I have to keep in mind that HILLARY MIGHT WIN! If she does win the primaries, what is my responsibility. I would think that it is to insure that THE BUSHIES, (McCain, Paul, Huckelbee, and the used car salesman looking dude, Romney) do not get in office. That would be bad for my community, my race, my city, my children, my country (The USA) this hemisphere and the world.

George Bush is the worst President in over 100 years. The BUSHIES want to continue his same foreign and economic policies. I want them out. If that means Obama, GREAT! If that means Hillary, OK!

Particularly worrisome was the growing number of black voters switching from Hillary to Barack.

No machine Democrat was more hurt and dismayed by this turn of events than the party's heir apparent, Hillary Clinton. After Barack Obama beat her in Iowa, she let go of the hurt and moved straight on to anger. It was time to remind African-American voters not only which side their bread has been buttered on, and just who had buttered it "for them" in the first place.

"Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act," she said, adding that "it took a president to get it done." (Hillary Clinton)
 
February 07, 2008
Votes: +0

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