Hello, I’m the Black Snob and my mother is a Clinton apologist.
The Clintons with all their good points and flaws are in a battle royal for the Democratic nomination with one charming senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. They get a lot of criticism, a lot of attention. After Obama’s South Carolina win, Bill Clinton said this.
This lead to one of the most irritating conversations I’ve ever had with my mother. Last night she was befuddled as to why everyone is so upset about Bill Clinton’s Jesse/Barack comparison. I told her that in ’84 and ’88 Jackson did not have a chance of winning the nomination and was running on a Civil Rights platform backed heavily by African Americans. South Carolina was the only state Jackson won, and (I think) in both cases the race was largely moot by the time it got to South Carolina.
Bill Clinton was minimizing the significance of Obama’s SC win by equating it with Jacksons’ two wins. This was a too cute, jerk move considering Jesse never won any other states and did not win SC by a huge margin, unlike Obama who’s snagged two wins in a hotly contested race.
But could my mother grasp that? No. Because she’s a Clinton apologist. She felt it was a fair assesment and didn’t see what the big deal was. She said if Obama couldn’t handle something as benign as this he shouldn’t be running.
Now, mind you, I felt like the Obama camp wasted a lot of energy getting all prickly over Bill Clinton running his mouth, but this “Jesse won SC, therefore Obama is Jesse” argument is patently false. Yet my mother is incapable of acknowledging that Clinton was being a dick. Somehow she thought this was a compliment arguing that the critics were diminishing Jesse’s win by drawing that inference.
I know she doesn’t want to agree with the pundits who relish over ever fart and gurgle coming out of the Clinton campaign, but truths are truths – Bill Clinton’s statement was code for, “A black man can’t get elected.” You can argue that Obama needs to avoid the traps Clinton has set for him. But don’t act like you don’t know what Bill Clinton is doing!
My GOD, it was maddening. Comparing Barack to Jesse is like comparing Martin Luther King Jr. and Stokely Carmichael. The only reason why you’d compare to very different things with only general similarities is because you’re trying to label one of the two things as irrelevant and akin to the lesser of the two things.
But she really didn’t see that.
It was just maddening. In the end she concluded that Obama’s folks were just whining. I pointed out that whether or not Obama’s folks were whining was irrelevant. We were merely judging the intent of Clinton’s statement, not Obama’s response. But she concluded there was no malevolent intent at all.
So I gave up.
I know she doesn’t want to bash Bill Clinton, but do you have to pretend he’s being innocent in all of this? You don’t have to hate Slick Willy to acknowledge that he’s being an ass. I don’t hate Bill Clinton and I can say BILL CLINTON IS BEING AN ASS! Is it that hard? Don’t throw dirt on Obama’s accomplishments just because he had the gall to run the same year as Hillary.
I know it’s hard for her to fall in love with the new guy who’s not a civil rights activist who’s dedicated his career to fulfilling Martin Luther King’s body of work. But considering she raised me not to be a warrior in the movement, but just a regular person with a degree, you’d think she could cut Obama some slack. Last I heard, no black folks on the south side of Chicago were bitching about him. He has worked extensively in the black community. He’s is visibly a black man. Give him a break. You can’t honestly believe Hillary’s more “qualified.”
Sigh. This is worse than our conversations about religion. I’m a Jesus sympathizer and she raised me to be a secularist.