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

Hillary Clinton is candidate best prepared for job


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Ginger Rutland
2/2/08 Sacramento Bee B7


I'm voting for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. I'm going to miss the opportunity to cast a historic vote for the first truly viable black candidate for president of the United States, and because I'm black, I feel compelled to explain why, to my friends, to my colleagues and, I confess, even to myself.

First, make no mistake about it. I am thrilled that Barack Obama is making this run and that he is attracting supporters across the racial spectrum. After all, I came of age during the civil rights era. I watched on TV black children being spat upon trying to enter Little Rock High School in Arkansas. I saw fire hoses turned on black people for trying to vote or eat at a restaurant in the 1950s and 1960s. These events shaped me. Barack Obama's candidacy is the culmination of an important struggle. It pays belated tribute to my great-grandfather, who was born a slave before the Civil War, his children and his children's children, all of whom were denied the right to vote in the country where they were born.

Despite the obvious demographic connection -- I'm black, he's black -- I'm voting for Clinton because I think she's more seasoned and more prepared to lead this country. I think she knows more about health care and how the Federal Reserve operates than Obama. I think she knows more about how to fix Social Security and overhaul our rigged-for-the-rich tax system. I think she will be better at wringing the necessary votes out of Congress to effect the change Obama talks about.

I am not blind to Clinton's faults. Sometimes she resorts to crass expediency in a way that makes me wince. I know it's unpopular nationally, but I like Obama's straightforward support of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. Clinton's hedging looks, well, like hedging. Her belated support for a party rule change to seat delegates from Michigan and Florida is transparently self-serving and dishonest.

Bottom line, though, I think Clinton is tougher than Obama. She has had to be. To win the presidency, a candidate will need to withstand despicable personal attacks. If nothing else, the Clintons -- both Hillary and Bill -- have shown themselves able in that regard. I'm not convinced Obama can take a personal punch of the nuclear variety, a punch that is sure to come. And the mom in me doesn't want Obama's young daughters to have to endure the pain.

Also, there is Bill. While others bemoan the notion of a co-presidency, I welcome it. Bill Clinton is one of the political geniuses of our times. I think the country benefits if he can bring his considerable skills to cleaning up the colossal mess that President Bush will leave behind. Nor is a co-presidency unprecedented. During another great crisis in our nation's history, Eleanor Roosevelt was the eyes and legs of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Crippled by polio, unable to see the suffering Americans endured during the Great Depression, FDR sent his wife around the country to bear witness for him. Bill Clinton can play that role for his wife.

By the way, I don't think Bill Clinton is racist. And, yes, I've read all the pundits who are tsk-tsking about his referencing Jesse Jackson in an attempt to soften the blow of his wife's defeat in the South Carolina primary. Let's be real, folks; in a Democratic Party primary, black votes matter. In Southern states, with large numbers of black voters, Barack Obama has a built-in advantage. It is not racist to say so. I predict Mitt Romney wins overwhelmingly in Utah because he's a Mormon. Does that make me a religious bigot? No.

I hate to vote my fears. I'd like to believe that the better angels of our collective natures are at work when it comes to selecting a president, but I know that isn't true. I have five capable, smart and polite nephews. All can tell you hair-raising tales about driving, walking, even entering an elevator while black. While younger voters may have gotten beyond race, my nephews can tell you that their parents and grandparents have not. It is the older generation who will cast the majority of votes in November. In the privacy of the voting booth, I don't think the majority of white Americans, Hispanic Americans or Asian Americans will vote for a black man for president.

This brings me to the most important reason I'm voting for Hillary Clinton. For me, it is vitally important that a Democrat win this election. All of the Republicans in this campaign would prolong and deepen our country's involvement in the war in Iraq. Someone needs to extricate this nation, safely and honorably, from that slaughter.

It will take extraordinary skill, determination and experience to accomplish that feat. Typically new presidents take time to get up to speed. So serious are the myriad disasters that Bush leaves in his wake, the next president won't have the luxury of time. He or she will need to enter the Oval Office knowing where the levers of power are, how to grab hold and pull them. A sharp but careful course correction is urgently needed. There will be no time for on-the-job training.

At this point in our history, I believe that Hillary Clinton, with her husband's counsel, is better prepared to lead the country than Barack Obama.

Call The Bee's Associate Editor Ginger Rutland, (916) 321-1917.


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Same level:
A Hi Tech Lynching ] The Tightrope and the Needle ] Is Clinton Getting a Pass on Race? ] The Momentum "Spin" Between Obama and Clinton ] A Rock and A Hard Place ] Hillary's sexism speech ] Clinton's Platform on Eliminating Racial Inequalities ] Clinton's Gradual Education on Issues of Race ] Hillary, African Americans & The Myth of Bill Clinton ] [ Hillary Clinton is candidate best prepared for job ] Hillary's Scarlett O'Hara Act ] The Red Phone in Black and White ] The Archie Bunker strategy? ] Clintons Open a Deep Wound With Blacks ] The Clinton Monster, Unleashed ] Clinton's  Missed Opportunity ] Hillary vs. the Patriarchy ] Impact of Pollution on Minority Neighborhoods ] Is Clinton the Superior Choice for African American Voters? ] Ma and Pa Clinton Flog Uppity Black Man ] The Malicious Political Tactics of the Clinton Campaign ] The second thoughts of Hillary's African American endorsers. ] Why this black American woman is backing Hillary ]
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