Pretty Black and White

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TPM Reader AB is having a hard time reconciling Hillary’s remarks on Obama’s support among working class whites:

It seems to me that every progressive voice in this country should be outraged – jumping up and down – shouting in print and word – to repudiate Hillary Clinton’s remarks that Obama is having trouble winning over blue collar “white” voters… “white Americans”…

It is a disgraceful, shameful tactic to justify her own non-candidacy. This is a remark I would expect from a politician from Mississippi or Louisiana – not from our New York State senator… I am outraged, I am deeply embarrassed that my children have heard this reported on the news…and I regret that have I ever gave her one hard earned nickel.

All the while she touts the glass ceiling as a woman but when her chips are down, the racism springs forth fully formed.

AB is right. Maybe it’s general campaign fatigue, or the sense that the race is all but over now, but a month ago her remarks would have been a huge story, the dominant political story of the day.

The political press spent weeks trying to divine whether the Clinton camp was really attempting to cast Obama as the black candidate, a favorite son candidate of the African American community. The Clinton camp vehemently denied it then and even as recently as a few days ago Bill Clinton claimed it was the Obama camp playing the race card against him.

Race has been the subtext of much of Hillary’s argument for her own electability. But now she’s thrown it right out there in the open: Obama can’t win because he’s black. Vote for me instead.

You don’t have to believe that Hillary’s a racist (I don’t) to conclude that a combination of the rigors of the campaign trail and her own powerful ambitions have clouded her judgment and curdled her spirit. It has certainly soured what had been a historic relationship between the Clintons and the black community.

Hers is not an appeal we’d tolerate from a Republican candidate, nor should we from a Democrat, no matter how sterling her progressive credentials might otherwise be.

There’s been a lot of talk about the damage Hillary will do to the party by staying in the race this long. Perhaps she should consider the damage she’s doing to herself.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.
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