Sunday, May 04, 2008


Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I was making my way through John Harwood's not-particularly-enlightening New York Times Week in Review article about the role of race in the Democratic contest and, after being informed that there wasn't much racial tension early in the contest, I read this sentence, which brought me up short:

But Mr. Obama's dominance among black voters, once believed loyal to the Clintons, heightened the focus on race.

In other words what? None of this would be a problem if that uppity Obama hadn't competed for voters who were demographically similar to himself?

Harwood doesn't exactly let the Clinton campaign off the hook, but his short-term memory seems to be failing him. Here's his next sentence:

Mr. Clinton, whose own campaigns were marked by racial bridge-building, helped that process along by likening Mr. Obama's victory in South Carolina, where African-Americans made up 55 percent of the vote, to Jesse Jackson's past success there.

Is Harwood implying that that was the first time, or the only time, the Clinton campaign could be accused of racial insensitivity? Oh, please -- race became a central issue in this contest well before South Carolinians voted, and quite a few remarks from the Clinton camp seemed racially tinged to Obama supporters. (Many of us joined the Obama camp at that time largely because of those comments.) Even Clinton supporters have to acknowledge that the friction focused on a series of remarks, not just one.

Come on, is it really that hard to get these facts right?

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