Sunday, March 16, 2008

If these conservatives looked past their anti-liberal myopia, they'd realize Ferraro was partially right

Hillary "Say Anything" Clinton has apologized to black voters for what Geraldine Ferraro, now Hillary's ex-informal campaign advisor and fundraiser, recently said about Obama. And the only people who cheered louder than Obama's supporters were...certain Republicans?

Yes. Elephants are said to never forget, and in this case the elephant is an apt symbol of the GOP. Republicans still remember 1984 so well, and just can't let go that Ferraro was half of an ultra-liberal ticket that dared to challenge one of conservatism's biggest icons. These Republicans really are so myopic that they can't admit Ferraro was right, not completely, but still partially.

First, Michelle Malkin and her fanbase gloated about Ferraro's resignation. Then in a case of true myopia, not just "narrow vision" but the lesser-remembered definition of focusing on trivial details, Malkin seized on Ferraro's insignificant protest about being quoted. So far, nowhere has Malkin quoted what Ferraro said, or Ferraro's real defense of her remarks.

You'd think Republicans would be up in arms to defend Ferraro, perhaps not to defend everything she said, but because Republicans for the last four decades have been the historical victims of liberal media's accusations of sexism or racism. But I suppose Republicans will mount a defense only when the media's target is another Republican. I, on the other hand, am not above giving credit where credit is due, regardless of the person's politics.

It all started when Ferraro was asked a blunt question and gave a blunt answer. "And I'm going to address those, and let me put them in context, which is what is absolutely necessary. So I was asked after this speech; what is the reason that you see that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are at this level together? Could I have said because his experience is what puts him there? No."

And what did Ferraro say a week ago that was so offensive? Never mind what the AP and AFP have quoted. Let's look at the original interview with the newspaper. The Daily Breeze quoted Ferraro as saying,
"I will probably start with a personal account, drawing attention to the historic firsts of both these candidacies in our party, and point out specific, significant differences between Hillary's campaign and mine," said Ferraro....
It's really a shame that this poor reporting omitted what Ferraro said about the two candidacies. As serious as I can be, that would have been the most interesting part of the interview. Instead, like sensationalist-bent reporters are wont to do, this "Jim Farber" decided to make it an explosive issue. Is he hoping this will land him a gig with the AP?
"I think what America feels about a woman becoming president takes a very secondary place to Obama's campaign - to a kind of campaign that it would be hard for anyone to run against," she said. "For one thing, you have the press, which has been uniquely hard on her. It's been a very sexist media. Some just don't like her. The others have gotten caught up in the Obama campaign.
Ferraro is half-right here. The media isn't necessarily sexist, but it has certainly been favoring "clean" Obama over She With Much Negative Baggage.
"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she continued. "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." Ferraro does not buy the notion of Obama as the great reconciler.
That's it. That's all she said in the interview that was quoted in the article, yet it was enough to provoke hyperbolic "outrage" from Obama's campaign. Really, without reading the original quotes from the interview, you'd have thought Ferraro called him some racial slur or referred to his middle name Hussein! I'd have expected race riots in, say, L.A., Oakland and Detroit, if such "protests" wouldn't create a backlash against Obama.

I won't even begin to count how often Ferraro has been misquoted, let alone taken out of context. A Google search shows that ABC News is at the top of the list. Let's go back and read what Ferraro actually said, shall we? She didn't say Obama is where he is because he's black, only that "a white man" or "a woman" of any ethnicity would not have achieved this. It may seem like semantics, but there is a big difference, and Ferraro's statement isn't even that insulting when you read what she actually said, let alone what she meant.

Remember the movie "A Time to Kill"? The young defense attorney, played by Matthew McConaughey, made a impassioned defense of his client, played by the ever-fabulous Samuel L. Jackson. The defendant had gunned down two white men who did unspeakable things to his black daughter. But what really solidified the defense's closing arguments was, "Now imagine she's white."

Imagine that Obama were a 46-year-old white man who's barely served three years -- THREE YEARS! -- as a U.S. Senator, after serving 16 years in the state legislature of Illinois. Because he's not a war hero (which is how John Kennedy was initially known to the American public), this white equivalent has only his speaking abilities and political career as qualifications. Pretty bland, really, and everyone would say he just doesn't have the political experience. Even if this white guy did make a great keynote address at the last Democratic National Convention, so what when his campaign merely harps on change, with supporters chanting mindlessly like they're out of a 1930s Munich rally? Even Bill Clinton, who made a great speech at the 1988 convention, didn't become a "superstar" like this.

Why can't Obama or his black supporters admit the plain truth that they support him first because they share the same skin tone? Add to that enough people with "white guilt," and he started winning primaries. The primary poll numbers didn't lie when they showed consistently high percentages of black Democrats flocking to Obama's camp, though the Clintons have enjoyed strong black support for years (even in their Arkansas days). Obama's black supporters are the first to accuse Ferraro of racism, but in fact they are the ones who have made it a racial issue, not those of us who point it out. Similarly, I had an Italian-American co-worker who loved Rudy Giuliani ever since she met him in person, and she wanted to see him run for President, "Because it's time we had an Italian in the White House." She'd be called racist, but black Americans aren't racist when all they know is that Obama's black while vacuously harping on "change" in every speech?

Better yet, now imagine she's white. Imagine that Geraldine Ferraro were instead a black woman from the South, and that she made such comments. She would have been called a traitor to her race," but she there wouldn't have been this implied charge of "racism" and the resulting pressure on her to resign.

The next day, Ferraro had to defend herself. She said, "I said this (Obama's) is one of the best campaigns. I speak about his star quality. I talk about how exciting it is to have two campaigns, but you know, the truth is the truth is the truth."

Elsewhere, when she got more defensive, she said, "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"

She also said, "I have to tell you that what I find is offensive is that everytime somebody says something about the campaign, you're accused of being racist."

Welcome to the fight, Gerry. If we didn't know better, we'd think you were a closet Republican!

Obama's campaign has further made a racial issue out of one that did not previously exist, by throwing around the "racism" charge whenever it's convenient. As much as I detest Bill Clinton, I'll defend even him for his "fairy tale" comment, quoted out of context and/or misunderstood by most everybody including the New York Times. What he really said was that "This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen," but when you watch the Google video of everything he said, it's obvious he wasn't dismissing Obama's campaign as a fairy tale, but the myth of Obama's "consistent" stance on Iraq. Yet as part of damage control, Bubba had to call Al Sharpton, and that article couldn't even get it right on what he actually said.

This reminds me of December 2005, when the NYC Metro Transit Authority went on strike. NYC Mayor Bloomberg said that the union was acting like "thugs" -- they were, after all, committing extortion against the city -- and the union accused him of racism. Why? Because the union happens to be 70% black and Hispanic. How is that racism? "If the shoe fits," as the old saying goes. Is it also "racist" to observe that black Americans, being only an eighth of the population, commit nearly half of all violent crimes?

There's so much to dislike about the Clintons, but even I will say they've been given a raw deal. Not that they don't deserve some measure of karma, mind you: I wonder how the Clintons like the same treatment that the liberal media consistently gave to their Republican opponents.

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