Saturday, June 07, 2008

Presidential Campaigns Unite Today, Waiting on the People

It was, by all accounts, one of Hillary Clinton’s best speeches. She began by thanking her supporters for all of their work, reviewed the accomplishments of the campaign in their broadest sense, then transitioned to praise for the campaign of Barack Obama. It was in marked contrast to the non-concession speech that she delivered last Tuesday. What was missing on Tuesday was finally said today: “I endorse [Obama] and throw my full support behind him.”

The crowd she addressed seemed fairly receptive to her words, even when she uttered the words that became the hallmark of the Obama campaign for change: “Today I am standing with Senator Obama to say ‘Yes we can’”

So Hillary did the right thing. Now it’s up to the rest of Senator Clinton’s supporters to do the right thing. For many if not most, this is a thing that is automatic. True Democrats will fight to win the White House for a Democrat this fall. Others believe that they have a viable alternative in John McCain, for whatever reason.

One reason that reared its ugly head today in Austin is race. No, not white people, the race of former slave owners not being able to vote for an African-American for president. The racial issue comes from Hispanics who look upon the wild and broad support that Obama has from the black community. Hispanics are asking themselves whether they as a racial group, will be better off or worse off with a black president. From the Austin American-Statesman quoting a Clinton delegate at the Texas state Democratic Convention this morning:

“‘To be quite honest with you — I don’t know if you want to put this in your paper — I think there are some racial tensions that are keeping [the Democratic Party] from coming together,’ Valdez said.”

“Valdez, who has not yet decided whether to vote for McCain or Obama in the general election, said that the avalanche of support that Obama has gotten from black voters has made some Hispanic voters nervous. And many Hillary supporters that she has talked to in San Antonio, Valdez said, are thinking about crossing party lines to vote for McCain.”

“‘Unfortunately, society is still [racist],’ Valdez said. ‘It’s sad but true — but I think we need to address it rather than put it in a closet and be like, ‘no, let’s not talk about it.’ You have to bring it out in order for us to understand it and confront it and stand up to it’”
I know. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that either. But then, thinking about it, and truth to tell, if Hispanics are also adherents to Catholicism and catholic doctrine, this eliminates the feminist objection to a McCain presidency. Anti-choice himself, McCain’s views on abortion would more closely approach the values of Catholic Hispanic voters.

Then, what about immigration? Well, McCain has been a moderating influence in that area compared to his rabid immigrant-bashing colleagues in the House and Senate.

And finally, what about this race issue? Blacks and Hispanics have a traditional rivalry that goes back decades. Where they co-exist, they are competitors for the same jobs and resources, and interaction of these two groups has come from an “us versus them” mentality.

How does having an African-American in the White House give blacks an advantage in this decades-long struggle? Being of neither race I cannot fathom it at all. When I use logic and reason I cannot arrive at a reasonable conclusion. An unreasonable conclusion I can arrive at is that since Obama is African-American he will put “his own people” into political offices, ignoring deserving Hispanic aspirants. It’s unreasonable because I honestly don’t think that this Black/Hispanic angst has ever been a part of Obama's life. If so, will someone please point it out to me?

Now what about those women? I have been labeled a “misogynist” as a result of my posting of clear reasons to vote a straight Democratic ticket this fall, even if there is someone on that ticket that gives one pause. These women who feel betrayed, and feel that this man “is being forced on them”, still yet threaten to vote for McCain. From today’s Boston Globe:

“Hundreds of women have logged onto Clinton's campaign website, with many insisting they will not vote for "that man" - Obama - and urging Clinton to run as an independent or challenge Obama's nomination at the August convention in Denver. Many on the website pledged to vote for Senator John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive GOP nominee.”

“Other websites have sprung up to denounce Democrats for picking Obama. One - called PUMA, an acronym for the sentiment "Party Unity My Ass" - features postings by Clinton supporters saying they will never vote for Obama, even if it means electing McCain.”
My reaction remains the same, with qualification. Some of these women remain so disappointed with the outcome, largely from having drunk all of the kool-aid presented to them during this past primary season, that there is no way they will vote for Obama, a man, but will vote for McCain, also a man, and also a man dedicated to make the lives of women worse, not better.

No one can reason with these women, especially if they were never Democrats in the first place. The others though, the Democrats who simply still bear a grudge, these others will have to sit through 5 months of campaigning bearing that grudge from one day to the next, as they hear their candidate of choice voice opinions that are not theirs, express values that are not theirs.

My guess is that self-interest and Democratic values will bring these disappointed women voters back to elect a straight Democratic ticket.

The question is not whether, but when.

1 comment:

Earl said...

They may come around when they realize they've been had about that putative Michelle Obama tape where she reveals herself to be a racist. National Review of all places has debunked the story as originally coming from a 2006 political novel. (Scroll down to Obama)

It's obviously Republican disinformation, especially since they insist that the fictional tape won't be released until late in the campaign, thus allowing the faux rumor to boil and bubble without having to produce the goods.