Senator Barack Obama finally captured the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday. For this, he deserves two cheers from Americans from coast to coast.
First, Obama secured this country’s chief domestic priority for 2008: denying Senator Hillary Clinton the presidency. Obama has earned the eternal gratitude of millions of relieved Americans who understand how calamitous a Hillary Clinton administration would have been. She combines ruthless ambition, a pathological sense of entitlement, and the ethical restraint of Richard Nixon’s “White House plumbers” unit.
Clinton and her supporters repeatedly played the race card against Obama. On May 8, Clinton notoriously said that “Senator Obama’s support among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again. . . . ”
Former Clinton finance-committee member Geraldine Ferraro said in March, “If Obama was [sic] a white man, he would not be in this position.” When critics bristled, the ex-congresswoman told Torrance, California’s Daily Breeze: “I really think they’re attacking me because I’m white. How’s that?” She also remarked that former Democratic contender “John Edwards must have been shocked to wake up and realize that for the first time in 200 years, being a white man was a disadvantage.”
Former president Bill Clinton dismissed Obama’s January 26 South Carolina primary victory by saying, “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice. . . . Jackson ran a good campaign. And Obama ran a good campaign here,” thus tying Obama’s post-racial candidacy with Jackson’s race-focused efforts.
As author Bruce Bartlett details in Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past, Democrats’ have a long history of anti-black statements and sentiments that far exceed the so-called code words of Nixon’s alleged “Southern strategy,” in which the phrase “law and order” somehow magically converted white resentment into electoral votes. Too bad this primary’s rhetoric was not that benign.
When the race card failed to stop Obama, Clinton played the assassination card, saying on May 23 that she still was a candidate because “We all remember that Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California.” Clinton survived the ensuing firestorm because few realized that she used RFK’s murder as a crutch not once or twice but four times this year — not only repeatedly returning to it on the campaign trail, but even in an interview with Time back in March. .
Add Clinton’s staggering tactlessness to her thirst for funny money (e.g., disgraced fundraisers Norman Hsu, Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung), missing legal documents, abused FBI personnel files, politically motivated IRS audits, stolen antiques, and the multifarious wrongdoing that defined the Clinton White House. Obama has spared America another four to eight years of official lawlessness. For this he merits abundant applause.
Second, Obama has performed an enormous public service as a black candidate of unprecedented elegance and eloquence. Obama demonstrates what results when a young black man works and studies hard and beautifully speaks proper English. This is not “acting white,” as too many in America’s ghettoes disparage such self-respecting behavior. Rather, it is “acting right.” Let’s hope black children find Obama an inspiring alternative to the hydrochloric acid of hip-hop.
So why two cheers and not three? Despite his enormous appeal, Obama is an over-the-cliff-and-tumbling-into-the-canyon-Left, big-government, tax-hiking spendthrift.