Thursday, May 8, 2008

Clinton's race argument

An excerpt from a USA Today article today discussing an interview with Senator Clinton yesterday, after her loss in NC and win in IN:

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.

This statement followed Paul Begala, a long-time advisor to President Clinton and an advisor to Senator Clinton's campaign, saying during CNN's coverage on Tuesday that the party can't win with just "eggheads and African-Americans."

What a ridiculous argument by Clinton and Begala! Just as it's impossible to win an election without working white voters, it is similarly impossible for a Democrat to win an election without "eggheads and African-Americans." More than that, it's ridiculous to assume that Obama would be unable, with Hillary's pledged enthusiastic support of the eventual nominee, to pick up those white primary voters voting for Hillary in the general election, just as it's ridiculous to assume that nominee Clinton, with Obama's support, wouldn't win a huge majority of black voters. Of course, if she continues with her ridiculous arguments, such as this and the gas tax holiday, and counting Michigan when Obama wasn't even on the ballot, she might have problems convincing eggheads to vote for her, even with Obama's help.

Also, her support among white voters has slipped over the past few contests, going from 64% in Ohio to 63% in PA, and to 61% in NC and 60% in IN. This decline in her share of the white vote happened in the midst of the whole Rev. Wright saga. So the basis of her argument, in addition to the conclusions she draws from it, are unproven at best.

But the main problem with her argument is that it is a huge slap in the face to everyone who has supported Obama, and a signal to her supporters that she does not expect them to vote for Obama in November. This is precisely the kind of campaign that does little more than weaken Obama for the general. If anything, she is making it harder for superdelegates to come over to her side, as the superdelegate would be saying, in effect, "sorry, blacks, but we can't piss off the white people."

No comments: