Friday, March 14, 2008

Is Clinton Appealing to the “Cracker Vote”?

I have to say, the events of the past few days have weighed heavily on how people perceive the Clinton campaign. I have wondered in the past how Hillary Clinton can be so nice and upbeat one day, and then come out the next day bellicose, and the next day in an attitude that can only be described as mocking. I have said it and heard it said, it’s almost as if Hillary Clinton has bipolar issues.

But we know that isn’t the case. We also know that the Clinton campaign has been fraught with infighting, and that has reflected back into the public with a candidate having, at best a bad hair day, and at worst, multiple personalities. Nothing can come close to conveying this sense of campaign implosion better than Keith Olbermann’s 12 March commentary on the Ferraro affair and beyond. In it, Olbermann doesn’t attack Clinton, he attacks her judgment in allowing things to go as far as they have, time and time again.

If you missed it, I highly recommend taking a listen. It’s over 9 minutes long but worth it.

Now, I put it to you this way. It’s either that Hillary Clinton has surrounded herself with some flaming incompetents who can’t put a consistent campaign face on, or it’s that the campaign has made a very cagey and considered move toward capturing the “Cracker Vote” in the upcoming Pennsylvania primary.

James Carville himself characterizes Pennsylvania as “Pitsburgh on one side, Philadelphia on the other and Alabama in between”. Alabama, being the white kind of Alabama, not the black kind. If this is what the Clinton campaign is trying to do, then it is a very well-considered ploy. Not particularly laudable, but well-considered nonetheless.

Is this a carefully many-fronted orchestrated effort to bring out the anti-black vote? If so, they are to be both congratulated for a brilliant and timely piece of campaign stratagem and at the same time condemned for stomping on the sensibilities of people who, through words and actions, work to bring our multi-racial nation together.

On the other hand, if this is all just because of a mismanaged campaign, with too many soldiers firing cannons into the deck, is this not a reflection on Hillary Clinton’s ability to lead? How will she lead an entire nation if she can’t even direct the people who work for her?

Frankly, I don’t know which is worse.

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