Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Clyburn Factor

Craig Crawford has a brilliant post that capsulates the "race" problem as mirrored by comments from Democratic House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, a stealth Obama superdelegate.

Once again, a racial dispute over Bill Clinton’s words erupts in advance of a Deep South primary where African-American voters are crucial. And once again, Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., is at the forefront of attacks against his party’s former president.
Clyburn is stirring the pot of emotions one more time; and once again blacks are becoming incensed over something Bill Clinton said. You see, right before the Pennsylvania primary Bill pointed out that Obama Campers had used the race card against Hillary in South Carolina.

What a racially charged observation -- even if true.

You may recall back in January when Hillary remarked that it had been President Lyndon Johnson who had been the crucial ingredient in enacting Martin Luther King's dream into law, Clyburn, the highest ranking black politician took grave offense and opined to The New York Times:

"We have to be very, very careful about how we speak about that era in American politics...It is one thing to run a campaign and be respectful of everyone’s motives and actions, and it is something else to denigrate those.
In the same interview, Clyburn also deliberately conflated Bill Clinton's remark about Obama's opposition to the Iraq War with Hillary's King/Johnson remarks.
"To call that dream a fairy tale, which Bill Clinton seemed to be doing, could very well be insulting to some of us,” said Mr. Clyburn, who said he and others took significant risks more than 40 years ago to produce such opportunities for future black Americans.

Ten days later in an interview with CNN, Clyburn said, "Bill Clinton's attacks on Obama [are] unfair because a former president's viewpoint 'carries with it extra weight.'" And of course as an uncommitted honest broker, the Democratic party whip had to weigh in to neutralize Hillary's unfair advantage.

Well, here is the latest observation from Crawford with quotes and source:

“Black people are incensed,” Clyburn told the New York Times in an article published today. Although Clyburn claims to be neutral, the timing and substance of his comments ever since the South Carolina campaign consistently favor Obama.
After losing the New Hampshire primary and the Nevada caucuses, Obama’s team correctly surmised that Bill Clinton was a huge help to his wife in those campaigns. They set out to marginalize him -- and it worked magnificently in South Carolina, rebooting Obama's campaign.

The danger for Obama is that another racial meltdown in the Democratic Party could add to his already complicated efforts in appealing to some white voters.

Tell it like it is, Brother Craig!

Yes, "[i]nfuriated black voters are what the Obama campaign needs again in North Carolina to run up the score," but it's sure not going to help Obama with white voters in North Carolina, Indiana and the rest of the states moving forward.

At least today during the Sunday talkshows. media pundits correctly characterized Clyburn as an Obama supporter. Too bad no one has yet dared to call Donna Brazille on her Obama partisan slant.

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