I thought Paul Krugman had a couple of really good posts on his blog here and here yesterday about all of the Clinton hate currently out there in the progressive blogosphere, as they say, noting the following…
It really makes me sad to see so many people get played by the media on this. If you prefer Obama, fine — but the evil, race-card-playing Clinton campaign is no more real than Al Gore’s claim that he invented the Internet.And I hope that Krugman's fellow columnist Frank Rich, among others, read what Krugman had to say; I wanted to take note of this particularly screechy excerpt from Rich's latest on Sunday…
And to Obama supporters, just remember: these people are not your friends. After they take down Hillary Clinton, if they can, your man will be next
Folks, you’ve been played like a fiddle by people in the media who just plain hate the Clintons. They tried to take Hillary down over her clothes, her voice, her tears. When none of that worked, they invented a race war.
There are some perfectly good arguments against Hillary — Iraq, the presence of people like Mark Penn, the big-money Dems in her circle. But this really is Al-Gore-says-he-invented-the-Internet stuff. And it’s deeply depressing to see so many progressives fall for it.
The (Clinton) campaign’s other most potent form of currency remains its thick deck of race cards. This was all too apparent in the Hallmark show (a national call-in show Hillary appeared in before Super Tuesday broadcast on the Hallmark Channel). In its carefully calibrated cross section of geographically and demographically diverse cast members — young, old, one gay man, one vet, two union members — African-Americans were reduced to also-rans. One black woman, the former TV correspondent Carole Simpson, was given the servile role of the meeting’s nominal moderator, Ed McMahon to Mrs. Clinton’s top banana. Scattered black faces could be seen in the audience. But in the entire televised hour, there was not a single African-American questioner, whether to toss a softball or ask about the Clintons’ own recent misadventures in racial politics.Aside from that demeaning characterization of the fine journalist Carole Simpson, Rich is alleging here that African Americans were purposely excluded from the Clinton broadcast; of course, proof of such an odious charge would be nice, wouldn’t it?
So in light of this, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the legacy of Bill Clinton and African Americans because, while it may turn out that they as a voting group have decided on Barack Obama for president as opposed to Hillary, I would argue that the Clinton fealty towards blacks is due to a lot more than “a cold, political, cost-benefit calculus.” And with that in mind, I came across the following interview with DeWayne Wickham of USA Today here, and I’d like to note the following…
A lot of people talk about his early missteps -- one of them being withdrawing his nomination of Lani Guinier for assistant attorney general -- but one of the things your book really lays out is his appointments of blacks. He appointed so many more African-Americans than any other president.And more than that, I would argue that an African American presidential candidacy is the next logical step in a long-overdue process of political integration in this country that was greatly accelerated due to the achievements of people of color in general, as well as African Americans, under Bill Clinton.
It's amazing. It goes so deep. I'm talking about Clinton and blacks, a recent Washington Post story was talking about Bush and minorities. Disproportionately, Bush's appointments are Hispanics. If you simply compare black appointees in the Clinton and Bush administrations, you will find that there is no comparison. You have to go beyond the White House staff, as I did, and look at the whole range of appointments throughout the administration.
The amazing thing about government is that the White House, the president and his staff at best can control about 10 percent of what happens in government. When they send appointees over to Treasury or Agriculture or Labor or wherever, they can focus in on the top two or three issues from the White House. The rest they have to leave to the appointees. When you have a large number of African-Americans in those positions, you can understand why in the Clinton administration, black unemployment went down, black home ownership came up, black business ownership grew. You had so many people in place dealing with a broad range of issues that impacted the ability of African-Americans to achieve in those areas.
Even though Bush did not appoint as many African-Americans, he did appoint more minorities. Did Clinton set a precedent that future presidents will have a hard time reversing?
Oh, absolutely. He broke the mold. The mold from Lyndon Johnson to George Bush I was one black in your cabinet at a time. Every president from LBJ forward had at least one: "OK, we appointed all the important people, now let's find one black who can be secretary of HUD or of HHS." Clinton, on the other hand, had many blacks in major positions in the White House. The chief of White House personnel, his budget director, his director of public outreach, his deputy chief of staff were all African-American. His liaison between the White House and the Congress -- Thurgood Marshall's son -- was African-American.
Was there a sense of sadness in the black community when he left office?
In fact, what I got from the interviews was that there's a sense of great loss more than sadness. The feeling is that we really became players in Washington politics. We weren't in the stands, we were on the playing field. Before, the struggle was to get into the arena. And now, we're back in the stands.
Let’s consider that the next time anyone accuses the Clintons of holding “a thick deck of race cards,” OK?