Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mean-Spirited, And Weak

In my next life, I want to be a columnist for The New York Times. That way, I can launch a diatribe against a political family and accuse it of bigotry while cowardly eschewing use of the "r" word.

And so it was when Bob Herbert on May 10, 2008 railed against Bill and Hillary Clinton, citing Monica Lewinsky, pardons, gifts received and concluded "the Clintons should be ashamed of themselves. But they long ago proved to the world that they have no shame."

What appeared to set Herbert off, as he put it....

was Hillary Clinton cold-bloodedly asserting to USA Today that she was the candidate favored by “hard-working Americans, white Americans,” and that her opponent, Barack Obama, the black candidate, just can’t cut it with that crowd.

I don't know if Senator Clinton meant to imply that only whites are hard-working Americans, as it was worded, or if she was careless in use of the language, as most people, even many politicians, are these days. But I do have a pretty good idea what Barack Obama meant when he referred to his maternal grandmother as "a typical white person who, if she sees someobody on the street that she doesn't know, you know, there's a reaction that's been bred in our experiences that don't go away;" or what Senator Obama was thinking when he lumped together gun owners and people of religious faith as "cling(ing)," as if they need a security blanket to satisfy some psychological need. In contrast, I don't know exactly why Obama remained committed to a congregation whose pastor asserted "God damn America" and accused the government of spreading the AIDS virus.

Still, there is enough concern among voters not to tar them, patronizingly, with voting for Clinton or against Obama primarily because of race. But Herbert "leaps" to the conclusion that

the Clintons, in their desperation to find some way — any way — back to the White House, have leapt aboard that sorry train.

He can’t win! Don’t you understand? He’s black! He’s black!

The Clintons have been trying to embed that gruesomely destructive message in the brains of white voters and superdelegates for the longest time.

If Bob Herbert wants to attack Mrs. Clinton on policy, he should go right ahead. And if he wishes to defend Mr. Obama against criticism for any of his more questionable remarks, that's reasonable. He's free even to imply a malevolent motive, even racusnm on the part of Senator Clinton. But if he's intent on sowing the seeds of racial hatred, Herbert at least needs to provide stronger evidence in support of his accusations.

The likely Democratic nominee for President deserves better than the support of individuals who themselves display a condescending attitude and "antipathy to people who aren't like them," as Senator Obama would characterize it.

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