The Clintons Take Drama to Shakespearean Levels

How much like the Macbeths are the Clintons? Though they switch roles between Lady M and McB himself, the two seem to be hell-bent on remaining in power and will bring down the Democratic Party in the process if they must.

Note to the Left: Listen, I am not really a Democrat any more than I am a Republican, but this is a moment in history where I think we need to be strategic. If John McCain wins you’d just better pack and move–he’s about as centrist as he is psychologically stable. So for all of Obama’s flaws, I don’t feel like I can afford a McCain presidency. There’s not enough Pepto-Bismol in all the world to stomach the disaster that is going to be. But i digress.

Just when I thought it was all over, signs seem to point to the fact that the Clintons may still be hoping to sabotage the Obama candicacy in hopes of a Hilary Clinton ticket in 2012.

In a “non-shock of the week” turn of events, The Atlantic Monthly’s September feature story proves that the Clinton Campaign worked really hard to drape themselves in the fabric of American flag-style patriotism, and paint Obama as foreign other who couldn’t be trusted (this scoop, combined with me picking up the last two brilliant issues at airports this summer means the mag has won itself a new subscriber in Kenyon Farrow!). Non-shock as it is, The Atlantic has published all the emails/memos on their site proving it (theatlantic.com/clinton), and the story is an interesting timeling of the inner workings of her campaign. Joshua Green writes:

Two things struck me right away. The first was that, outward appearances notwithstanding, the campaign prepared a clear strategy and did considerable planning. It sweated the large themes (Clinton’s late-in-the-game emergence as a blue-collar champion had been the idea all along) and the small details (campaign staffers in Portland, Oregon, kept tabs on Monica Lewinsky, who lived there, to avoid any surprise encounters). The second was the thought: Wow, it was even worse than I’d imagined! The anger and toxic obsessions overwhelmed even the most reserved Beltway wise men. Surprisingly, Clinton herself, when pressed, was her own shrewdest strategist, a role that had never been her strong suit in the White House. But her advisers couldn’t execute strategy; they routinely attacked and undermined each other, and Clinton never forced a resolution. Major decisions would be put off for weeks until suddenly she would erupt, driving her staff to panic and misfire.

But we thought since she lost, she’d concede to get a cushy job in the new administration (though not the VP slot) and leave well enough alone. Maureen Dowd, who undoubetdly despises the Hillary Clinton, wrote in her  column yesterday that Hillary and Bill are still planning to use their platforms as major speakers at the Democratic National Convention to set Hillary up as the nominee in 2012, and damage Obama’s chances against McCain now.

Hillary feels no guilt about encouraging her supporters to mess up Obama’s big moment, thus undermining his odds of beating John McCain and improving her odds of being the nominee in 2012.

She’s obviously relishing Hillaryworld’s plans to have multiple rallies in Denver, to take out TV and print ads and to hold up signs in the hall that read “Denounce Nobama’s Coronation.”

In a video of a closed California fund-raiser on July 31 that surfaced on YouTube, Hillary was clearly receptive to having her name put in nomination and a roll-call vote.

She said she thought it would be good for party unity if her gals felt “that their voices are heard.” But that’s disingenuous. Hillary was the one who raised the roll-call idea at the end of May with Democrats, who were urging her to face the math. She said she wanted it for Chelsea, oblivious to how such a vote would dim Obama’s star turn. Ever since she stepped aside in June, she’s been telling people privately that there might have to be “a catharsis” at the convention, signaling she wants a Clinton crescendo.

Bill continues to howl at the moon — and any reporters in the vicinity — about Obama; he’s starting to make King Lear look like Ryan Seacrest.

LOL!!! Further proving Dowd’s point, Bill Clinton had the fucking nerve to tell ABC News last week that Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) had purposefully made him look like a racist and ruin Clinton’s Negro Pass in the Black Community–a fact which Clyburn categorically denies.

Clinton told ABC News last week that Clyburn “used to be” an old friend of his, but he “was not Hillary’s supporter. Never. Not ever. Not for a day.”

When told that Clyburn had said Clinton damaged his own credibility with the black community, Clinton responded, “That may be by the time he got through working on it, that was probably true.”

Though Clyburn usually operates with the utmost restraint, I think he should tell Bill:

Obama-Clinton Showdown: The Lessons of South Carolina

Blogger Jonathan Stein over at Mother Jones beat me to the punch on this one, but that’s one of the tragedies of having a full-time job and trying to blog at the same time. But in all the back patting or weeping (depending on who’s side you’re on) over the South Carolina primaries, Stein at MJ and I are asking the same question: Did the Clinton camp intentionally lose SC to “niggerize” Obama to cut white support from under him?

I definitely think it’s a possibility. First off, the media has been referring to the SC primary as “the Black Primary” because it’s a 30% Black state, and 50% of the voting Democrats in the state are of African descent. With the nation already thinking about what would happen in SC as representative of Black people, here’s what occurred:

  1. Hillary Clinton—in an attempt to pain Obama as some ragtag feel good community organizer and not presidential—used the analogy that while MLK mobilized people, it took LBJ to pass the Civil Rights Act. Black people took offense to that.
  2. Bill Clinton appeared on radio to defend him, and called Obama’s campaign a fantasy.
  3. BET founder Bob Johnson went off on Obama when introducing Senator Clinton at a rally in SC—basically insinuating that Obama was getting high on coke in Chicago while Hillary was serving the Nation.
  4. Then Bill Clinton performed less like the spouse of a candidate and more like a running mate (He even appeared on television to essentially deliver her concession speech after she lost), by appearing all over the place making comments about Obama and using verbiage to link him to Jesse Jackson.

The niggerization campaign in full effect. I think this turned a lot of Black people off to the Clintons, quite frankly, who overwhelmingly (81%) voted for Obama in South Carolina. Even though Obama had a great deal of support of the white voters under 30 years of age, the fact that he won in the Black primary became the story.

The Obama camp has known for some time that they simply cannot run him as a candidate who is concerned only about Black America if they want to have any real chance of winning. But was the Clinton strategy to force Obama off of his “above the political fray and above racial politics” message done to permanently smear his image with white and Latino voters to lessen his chance of winning the states where she is more competitive on Super Tuesday?

I think this bears some thinking about.

What may be problematic for her is the fact that the political establishment that has remained neutral so far may begin to shift to Obama’s camp. Congressman James Clyburn of SC had some thinly veiled harsh words for the Clinton Campaign after Obama’s win, saying about the Obama win: “‘I’m not surprised at that at all…Because I really believe that in the last 48 hours the voters recoiled. They decided to reject the racial animus they seemed to be developing and I’m so pleased.’

This weekend (and today, Monday) it was announced that two Kennedy’s–Caroline and Senator Ted–endorsed Obama. And most surprising, Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Toni Morrison endorsed Obama today.

Where this strategy may perhaps get her a nomination at the summer DNC, it may hurt her chances in the fall. Black people, if they feel Clinton played dirty to shut down the chances of the first Black President to be elected, may turn on her and simply not vote in November. Will it then have been worth it?

For more interesting commentary on Obama’s de-racialized campaign read an article from 2007 in In These Times from a person who knows him, and my good friend Kai Wright’s new piece in The Root (a brand new “Black” online publication—owned by the Washington Post. Henry Louis Gates is Editor-in-Chief.

The Dirty Dozens: Race, Civil Rights and the Democrats

It’s gettin hot in herr! The gloves are coming off, and people are now being forced to take sides. Senator Hillary Clinton has been trying to spin herself out of a whole she dug when she, at an attempt to dig at Senator Barack Obama, said that while he likes to compare himself to MLK, it took a president–Lyndon B. Johnson–to pass the Civil Rights Act.

The blacks are giving her hell over that comment, and on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” she said that the Obama campaign was “deliberately distorting” her comments.

Well I saw the interview when it aired, and no, no one is distorting her comments. She said something really politically foolish trying to one-up Obama, and she got caught out there. I thought at the time that that statement was going to come back to haunt her.

But it doesn’t end there. Saturday, Bob Johnson, founder of BET had the unmitigated gall to stand up in front of a crowd and act as the authority on Black people, and defend Clinton’s record with Black people. Johnson said

“To me, as an African American, I am frankly insulted 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 — when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood; I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in his book — when they have been involved.”

He later said he was not referring to Obama’s admitted drug use. As black as the Clintons think they are, they are white enought to not realize how many Black people actually despise Bob Johnson. Many of us blame him for cutting BET news programming (and firing Tavis Smiley), and turning the channel into a video channel replete with images of violent black masculinites, hypersexualized black women, with a hefy dash of homophobia. In fact, THE SAME NIGHT he made these comments, Black folks were protesting outside the taping of a BET Awards show in DC.

Johnson is also the sleaze bag who moved the show Comic View from Los Angeles to Atlanta, allegedly in order to avoid paying unionized rates to comics appearing on the show. Not that I care about that modern day minstrel show, but it was still a low blow.

To make matters even worse, I just saw a debate on PBS’ The New Hour between SCLC veteran Rev. Joseph C. Lowry (Team Obama) and Civil Rights vet Rep. John Lewis (Team Clinton). John Lewis had the nerve to defend Clinton on the basis that “The Clintons would never do anything to harm African-Americans.” I am not sure if that’s a direct quote, but it’s definitely not far off. He said it twice.

WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH US?

I can definitely understand why black people may not necessarily be in 100% Barack’s camp, but I certainly cannot understand why some of us back Clinton over him–and completely uncritically.

But I said a few posts ago this election was going to help expose the tensions of the civil rights old guarde as they fall out of favor. Not because Black people are more conservative, but because they are now too entrenched in the machine to be effective as agitators. And their tacit support of the Clintons against a Black candidate generally more progressive than either Bill or Hillary, is quite telling. William Jelani Cobb has a great article in the Washington Post about this very issue.