Matter of Fact, He Couldn’t See It Like a Cataract

Paul Krugman, to his credit, has moderated his Obama and Obama supporter hatred since Clinton’s defeat became clear, but this is still very wrong:

The 2008 campaign has been a very disillusioning experience for a lot of people. You can make a very good case that Barack Obama was the right person for the Democrats to nominate, and Hillary Clinton the wrong choice. But the way we got there was terrible. The raw sexism, in all too many cases coming from alleged progressives — see above — was part of it. So, too, was the inability of many alleged progressives to see that the news media created the narrative of Hillary Clinton as race-baiter in much the same way that, 8 years ago, they created the narrative of Al Gore as congenital liar — by assembling a montage of quotes taken out of context and willfully misinterpreted.

I think the notion that sexism was a determinative factor in the race is laughable; Hillary lost because of her war vote, plain and simple. But more importantly, Krugman’s article speaks to a false moral equivalence Ta-Nehisi Coates attacked eloquently this morning. The fact of the matter is that, whether or not Krugman and his fellow Clinton supporters see it, the Clintons ran a vicious, racist campaign from December to May, and Obama and his campaign did nothing even close to comparable. Let’s roll through the highlights, shall we?

  • December 12th, 2007: NH Clinton Campaign Co-Chair Bill Shaheen ponders, to reporters, whether Obama dealt drugs as a teenager.
  • December 16th, 2007: In a speech endorsing Clinton, former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) refers to Obama as “Barack Hussein Obama” and mentions Obama’s father and maternal grandmother’s Muslim background. He follows up by falsely accusing Obama of having attended a “madrassa”.
  • January 7th, 2008: In the course of attacking Obama for harboring “false hope”, Clinton attacks Martin Luther King Jr., saying that “Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act. It took a president to get it done.”
  • January 7th, 2008: At an event literally three blocks from my house, Bill Clinton, in the course of falsely accusing Obama of not having opposed the war (WTF?), calls Obama’s candidacy “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen”.
  • January 10th, 2008: New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, speaking on behalf of the Clinton campaign, says, in reference to Obama, “You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference. All those moves you can make with the press don’t work when you’re in someone’s living room.”
  • January 13th, 2008: BET Founder and Clinton surrogate Bob Johnson says, “I am frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues since Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood – and I won’t say what he was doing, but he said it in the book – when they have been involved,” an obvious reference to Obama’s teenage drug use.
  • March 11th, 2008: Geraldine Ferraro, a prominent Clinton surrogate, says “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept,” and defends herself by adding “Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist. I will not be discriminated against because I’m white. If they think they’re going to shut up Geraldine Ferraro with that kind of stuff, they don’t know me.”
  • May 8th, 2008: Hillary Clinton herself equates “hard-working Americans” with “white Americans”.

    As for Obama, the claims of sexism against his campaign verge on two things: the laughable assertion that the word “periodically” is a sexist dogwhistle, and his usage of the pet name sweetie (something that my friends use with me, and likewise, without regard to gender). Neither seems particularly sexist to me, but even granting the complaints, they pale in comparison to the long, distinguished list of racist attacks leveled by Clinton and her campaign. Has the media been sexist in this campaign? Of course. But they’re been racist too. The real disparity in the campaign was between the aggressive race-baiting on the part of the Clinton and the almost complete lack of sexism emanating from the Obama campaign. It really confounds me that so much of this week has focused on coverage of the horrible sexism Clinton had to endure, with no mention of the intense racism her campaign promoted against Obama.

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