2008 Presidential Election, Race and Racism
Professor Vernellia Randall
Speaking Truth to Power!

The Momentum "Spin" Between Obama and Clinton

 

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Anthony Asadullah Samad, PhD
B
lackCommentator.com
The media “spin” has been absolutely incredible since Hillary Clinton’s “comeback” wins last Tuesday in Ohio and Texas. Can somebody explain to me how a net four (4) gains in delegates represents a comeback? Never mind that Barack Obama is still between 110 and 150 delegates ahead (depending on whose estimate you believe). Never mind that 45 Super-delegates have committed to Barack since the purported Coronation day (February 5th) while Hillary has lost six (a 51 delegate swing). Never mind that Barack has won Wyoming and Mississippi since then and will win more delegates than Hillary will on “Pennsylvania Day” in April. The media is determined to make a run of the Democratic nomination despite the obvious. What is the obvious (since the media does a damn good job of helping lose sight)? First, that Obama is winning this nomination. Second, that Clinton cannot catch him before the convention. Three, that Obama is the most electable in November.

Despite the effort to convolute the obvious, never have you witnessed so much hyperbole about a comeback in a race that was fixed from the start. What was once an inevitable set-up to elect Clinton has turned into an inability on the part of Barack to “put her away,” if you let the mainstream media tell it. Three months ago, this wasn’t even supposed to be a race. Now it’s a “dog-fight” until June. It threatens to split the convention, and the Democrats who, once again, threaten to shoot themselves in both feet, limp into the general election against a clearly inferior Republican opponent, where they might lose. All because they are not willing to acknowledge the inevitable, that a political neophyte has captured the imagination of the nation - and the public seems willing to take a chance on him. Just what does Barack have to do to win (besides the winning that he’s already doing)? I can’t help but think what the conversation would be if the shoe were on the other foot. It certainly would be much different than the discourse now.

If the shoe were on the other foot, could you imagine Hilary winning eleven in a row after Super Tuesday (and the whole primary season was set up for Barack to be the Democrat’s nominee), and 29 out of 42 contests, and the media (much less the half of the Democrat Party) suggesting that Barack still had a chance to win the nomination (or even take the lead). The story would most certainly be, “why is Barack dragging this out when he knows he can’t win?” There appears to be a double standard here on who’s dividing the party in how much string the party is willing to give Hillary to pull herself up, versus how much time they’re willing to give Barack to stumble. That’s appears to be the expectation. The “wait until tomorrow” strategy has failed twice and the Democrats are still listening to it. That wouldn’t be the case if Barack was in Hillary’s fix.

If the shoe were on the other foot, could you imagine Barack making an issue out of his opponent’s experience when his experience is about the same (or less - if you assess legislative experience)? Moreover, could you imagine Barack making a case for most of his experience being tied to his spouse’s experience without having a shred of proof that it was truly his experience. It’s called the benefit of the doubt and someone seems to be getting aplenty. It has framed the differences in the candidates so far.

If the shoe were on the other foot, and Obama were losing, could you imagine Barack being able to (credibly) change the rules in the middle of the primaries as they relate to Michigan and Florida, after agreeing to hold them out for moving up their primary? Moreover, could you even imagine Hillary agreeing to it, knowing it would cut into or evaporate her lead? The integrity of the Democrat Party hinges on how they handle this, but clearly it’s a no-win for the party, a win-lose for Barack (he’ll win on the party unity tip for agreeing to it, but lose a part of his lead in the process) and a win-win for Hillary (who gets another chance to claim one last grab at the power seat). The world would have come down on Obama if he had ever suggested going back on his word. They’re already banging on him on his promises at public campaign financing (not expecting him to be a money machine) and his Iraq pullout plan. Yet, nobody seems to care about the promise that was made to which everybody knew the Democrats couldn’t hold. Voter disfranchisement is the cry.

Speaking of crying, if the shoe were on the other foot, would Obama have ever been able to make a media bias claim without seeming like a whiner (at worse) or race-baiter (at best). There is a media bias toward Obama (as it relates to his record, his religion and his experience) but it’s part of the game of being “black in America.” Hilary gets the news because she makes the news, meaning she has to make things happen (make claims, say things) to stay in the news. So when they get the first chance to ask her about many of her controversial and unfounded statements, she cries about always getting the first question (or the hard questions).

If Obama had never been “vetted” as Hillary claims, he never would have gotten the lead in this campaign. It’s clear the Hillary camp didn’t find anything on him and so they picked at what Barack did well, his speaking and presentation. Trust me, if Hillary spoke better and appeared as authentic as Barack, the “fancy speeches” and empty promises claims wouldn’t make the news. When has how a candidate speaks and their sincerity ever become negative campaign issues? Most people call those attributes - Bill Clinton has them (charisma and [some] authenticity). But when it comes to Barack, Hillary calls them flaws and the media calls her criticisms of Obama legitimate. They are not but the discussion gets ratings, so the media floats it.

If the shoe were on the other foot, and Obama were losing, could you imagine Barack demanding consideration for Vice President, even though he’s the “dream” in the dream ticket scenario and hasn’t suggested it even once. Now that it has become obvious that Texas and Ohio didn’t produce the outcome Hillary thought it would, she’s trying to open the door for another option. Clinton is not only bold enough to suggest that there won’t be a ticket without her, she’s even audacious enough to suggest that Obama should consider taking the Vice President spot even though he’s the frontrunner. Problem is, she needs him but he doesn’t need her and we’ve seen this scenario before. Twenty years ago, when Jesse Jackson created a new excitement in the party, registered two million new voters and amassed over 1,200 delegates (more than Hillary has now and slightly less than she’s projected to get, as both are expected to split the remaining 600 delegates), Jesse claimed that he earned a place on the ticket and Michael Dukakis (and the Democrat Party) ignored him. Yet, twenty years later, Clinton (and the Democrat Party) find themselves in the same situation and hoping Obama bows to media pressure. Clinton, on the other hand, is bowing to nothing other than her own personal interest. It’s now or never for her.

Obama is expected to save a party that won’t save itself. Finally, the Democrat Party has a candidate that is believable, credible and can win. Only he wasn’t the “anointed one,” so he has to defend the obvious - his freshness, his authenticity, his winning - all things that make for a successful candidacy. I can’t help but wonder if these winning attributes would even be called into question and whether the issues being raised by Clinton (experience, authenticity/credibility, winning from behind, the Vice Presidency) would be issues if the shoe were on the other foot.

BlackCommentator.com Columnist Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad is a national columnist, managing director of the Urban Issues Forum and author of the new book, Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is AnthonySamad.com. Click here to contact Dr. Samad.

 
 

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