THE GROFF/ELLISON POLITICAL REPORT

Footnote over recent Clinton “White voter” comments …

Posted in Uncategorized by groffellison on May 12, 2008

Not to get too sensitive about Sen. Clinton’s overplayed remarks on “White voters” to USA Today, but let’s dissect these words for a moment for some perspective:

Senator Obama’s support among working — hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again. And how the — you know, whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.

The “hard-working” part is pretty ugly and ill-advised. With that statement, she is now officially on the margins. Basically, the constant focus on Sen. Obama’s perceived inability to gain additional strength from White working class voters also implies that no other base within the Democratic party is “hard-working” or that only White Americans are “hard-working.”  It takes this White blue-collar thing a bit too far, a bit too over the top. She also position herself to leverage that White voting bloc into something negotiable should she begin considering the “graceful exit” from this nomination process: “I’ve got my people voting for me, so what are you going to do about it?  I need something for those votes.” 

Plus, there have to be some White working class voters out there – who aren’t busy fretting over flag pins and a Muslim name – who would be rather annoyed and insulted by the constant reference over the low level of their formal education. 

It’s all a bit surreal, yet refreshing in the sense that it all comes out.  She’s admitting to what many are in great denial about, and that’s the number of White voters who are uncomfortable with the prospect of having to vote for a Black man.  She may also be subtly implying that there are White voters “dumb” enough to vote for her out of racial spite for him. 

But, interestingly enough: we wonder how this would have been received if coming from the lips of her opponent?  Not for certain since it hasn’t happened, but we do know that Obama has had to walk a very tight line on race by remaining “race-neutral.”  The pressure for him to maintain that neutrality is harsh and unforgiving, but it is out of necessity if he wants to win.  Clinton, on the other hand, hasn’t been under fire for the very charged feminist tone of her campaign, as she directly comments on the obvious historic change following the election of a woman President.  We don’t diminish the truth in that statement, we’re just wondering how it would be received if Obama were to directly comment, regularly, on the historic ramifications of the election of a Black President.  Of course, he’d be lampooned into electoral insignificance.   

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