Catch the fever!

It’s spreading!

I’m going to try to keep abreast of all issues that are campaign ’08, especially the Democratic race because, seriously, who wants to get into that “Last Man Standing” / Battle Royale known as the Republican race.

It’s like a demolition derby in there.

I do enjoy how this is the darn nicest, politest Democratic race for president ever. The pundits go a twitter for every eye twitch and verbal tick, but seriously, all the alleged “fights” between the Obama camp and the Clinton camp have pretty much stayed focused on the actual issues. Barack’s people say Hillary’s part of the old party establishment (she is.) While Hillary’s people say Barack has only two years in Congress and is wet behind the ears (he is.)

Occasionally people in Hillary’s camp go wonky (re: anything that comes out of her campaign staffers, who apparently have caught that epidemic known as diarrhea of the mouth.) But no macaca moments so far.

Politeness aside, news remains entertaining. Take Barack, for instance, who smiled as John Edwards took a bitch slap to the face from his ol’ running mate John Kerry. Senator Kerry, rather than endorsing his VP candidate from 2004, ran over to join Team Obama. After all, team Obama must be the place to be as more and more folks hop on the bandwagon. Even celebrities want a taste. Be careful Barack. Celebrity money = good. Brad and Angelina’s Traveling UN Rainbow Kids Sideshow = bad. You don’t want people sitting around going, “But what about Jen?” every time people see your face.

Oh, and scary, among those celebs supporting Obama are Eddie Murphy and Will Smith. Keep the money but keep the Scientology and whatever Eddie is smoking out of the White House please!

Other Obama news:

And then there’s the Clintons, who when not manufacturing chaos, step in to chaos all on their own. Like, what do you do, if you’re the Clintons and historically the black vote has always been yours but now, this black guy, has jumped in the campaign, won Iowa and has the Negroes giving him a second look. What do you do? What do you do?

Why fumble at comments that irk the great, warrior dinosaurs of the Civil Rights movement!

Here’s a good rundown of the Racial Gaffe City the Clintons have been living in lately from CBS:

The series of comments Clinton critics’ cite began in mid-December, when the chairman of HIllary Clinton’s New Hampshire campaign, Bill Shaheen, speculated whether Obama had ever dealt drugs. In the final days of the New Hampshire campaign, however, the discomfort of some black observers intensified as Bill Clinton dismissed the contrast between Obama’s judgment on the war and Clinton’s as a “fairy tale” and spoke dismissively of his short time in the Senate. And the candidate herself, in an interview with Fox News, stressed the role of President Lyndon Johnson, over Martin Luther King Jr., in the civil rights movement.

“I would point to the fact that Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the president before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done,” she said, in response to a question about how her dismissive attitude toward Obama’s “false hopes” would have applied to the civil rights movement. “That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became real in peoples lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it, and actually got it accomplished.”

An aide later said Clinton didn’t intend to diminish King, and later that day she went out of her way to stress his accomplishment and courage in leading a movement.

Color me underwhelmed at the Clintons’ effort to knock the halo off Obama’s head. I’ve said this before, but every attack comes off as tethered desperation. They (obviously) did not expect to have to duke it out of the black vote as they’d planned that Obama would have deflated a long time ago. They were wrong. The Clintons need to either step up their game or start working a different rhetoric, because this stuff? It’s not working. I’m not feeling it at all.

But in defense of Hillary and Co. I’ve heard the complete comments that raised the hackles of a few in the Civil Rights pioneers, namely Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, but I think that if they weren’t running against Barack, these comments wouldn’t be an issue. Saying the presidency is important because it took the legendary womanizer, hard-drinking, pro-Civil Rights, Texas Democrat Lyndon Johnson to push Civil Rights legislature through is a true statement. It was Johnson who argued for a more pro-civil rights stance in the Kennedy Administration, and later worked with Dr. King on getting the legislation through. Johnson twisted those arms after he became president leading to congress passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the bipartisan help of many Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate.

Hillary definitely could have worded it better, but pointing out that the presidency matters isn’t wrong. It did take the actions of Dr. King and the movement to bring the plight of African-Americans to the front of public discourse. But I think people forget how difficult it was to get any civil rights legislation passed (Sen. Strom Thurmond holds the record for the longest filibuster in Senate history for his fight against the Civil Rights Act of 1957 — 24 hours and 18 minutes.) The Democratic Party was shredded in the south for their stance on the Civil Rights Act an
d subsequent bills on the matter, losing the entire south over in the process, leading to Nixon’s “southern strategy” and decades of Republicans winning the White House with only Jimmy Carter (southern one-termer) and Bill Clinton (southerner impeached) to dot the Democratic landscape.

To this day Democrats can’t get elected to dog catcher in some parts of the south (see Alabama, Mississippi). So this is a fake argument. The president matters. LBJ was important. That was the point Hillary was trying to make. She was saying, “Black folks, vote for me. I will kick ass like LBJ for your rights. Vote Democrat. Blah, blah, blah.” Usual political talk on the Dem side to woo black votes.

This was essentially typical candidate diarrhea of the mouth, where you just make these grandiose statements without thinking because you’ve been telling the same story so much that you just babble without thinking of the consequences.

As for Bill Clinton’s “Fairy Tale” quote, it was in reference to Barack Obama’s historical stance on the war in Iraq, charging that Hillary and Barack’s voting records in the senate are practically identical. I don’t get the flack on that either, unless people aren’t hearing the full quote and are zeroing in on the end.

Is this what this race is going to be? A bunch of ticky-tacky fouls on BS that has nothing to do with the job at hand? Where if anyone talks about black people there’s problems? And when ARE the candidates going to talk about black people? I want people to talk about black people. We have issues. Please! Discuss Democrats. Discuss the black issues! Discuss your records! Win me over by giving me the best information!

But Nooooo. We get this turd burger.

Could someone tell me what they want to do about the fact that black people make up half the prison population when we only make up 12 percent of the country’s population. Deal with that shit, please! I don’t agree with Ron Paul on … well, almost anything, but at least he was willing to go into a rant against punitive drug laws that disproportionately affect black people (while in the middle of trying to explain the undeniably racist stuff that appeared in his newsletters in the 1980s and 90s.)

That counts for something.

I think everyone’s so sensitive because were in uncharted territory. A viable black candidate for president who was created outside of the Civil Rights Movement which shaped so many other black politicians before him. How do you tackle a dream? Or to quote “Sound of Music,” “How do you keep a wave upon the sand?”

It’s a conundrum. Bash too hard and you’ll piss off black people. Bash too lightly and black people might hop on the hope train full steam ahead. Glad I’m don’t work on the Clinton campaign. I wouldn’t know what to tell her. Do a lot of photo ops? Talk about health care and job training the whole time? Hang out in soul food restaurants? Record a campaign song with Lil’ Jon? Seriously, I don’t know. But you can see Hillary’s frustration. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He’s not supposed to be here.

And to paraphrase a vintage 90s track by singer, Deborah Cox:

How did you get here?
Nobody’s supposed to be here
Everyone said that this was my time

My heart says no, no!
Nobody’s supposed to be here
They said the black vote would always be mine

I’m sorry, Hillary. It’s that Obama fever. What to do? What to do?

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