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Thread: Is Hillary Clinton's 'Firewall' the politics of racism?

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    Default Is Hillary Clinton's 'Firewall' the politics of racism?

    Clinton's firewall be racism?

    W. GARDNER SELBY
    AUSTIN, Texas -- It might not be politic to say so.
    But I'll grant that racial undercurrents have swayed voters weighing Sen. Barack Obama against Sen. Hillary Clinton in their fray to face Republican Sen. John McCain for president.
    Now I wonder if racial differences will fuel the Democrats' face-off the rest of the way.
    I was driving in East Texas in February when I heard someone on the radio say Clinton might need to exploit racism to beat Obama in the Texas primary. By that time, Obama had become the Democratic frontrunner by winning a pile of states in a row.
    Melinda Henneberger, a former Texas newspaper reporter and contributing writer to Slate.com, told an XM Satellite Radio channel: "The only scenario ... I see for her is, is her next firewall racism? I mean, I hate to say it, but I covered Texas for a long time. And my friends I talk to down there say you can't throw a rock without hitting a racist.
    "Not that that's Hillary's hope, but that's how she's going to win there if she has a chance."
    The writer hammered a stereotype: In Texas, the race card works. Her interviewer didn't object.
    Nothing I saw in Clinton's win of the popular vote in the March 4 primary reflected race-baiting, though sociologist Orlando Patterson maintains that Clinton's ominous telephone-at-3 a.m. TV ad had racial overtones. One factor: Neither the sleeping children nor the mother peeking at them were black.
    An East Texas voter, Angela Morrison of Livingston, continues to hear local chatter about Obama being Muslim and not being patriotic, characterizations she has not bought into and that Obama has denied. Morrison believes racial differences were reflected in Clinton's win of the popular vote in that part of the state -- and beyond.
    In some states, Obama did very well among white voters. In Texas, Obama carried white males ages 30 to 44 and won handily among African Americans ages 30 through 59. Clinton prevailed among whites 50 and older and among Latinos of all ages.
    In Mississippi's primary, which Obama won March 11 , 70 percent of white Democrats sided with Clinton. Ninety-one percent of African American Democrats backed Obama.
    Obama, in a speech in Philadelphia, parted from his former pastor's comments damning the United States, though he didn't disavow the pastor. Obama also said many disparities among African Americans can be traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.
    For whites, Obama said, "the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination -- and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past --- are real and must be addressed."
    Earl Black , a Rice University political scientist and co-author of "Divided America: The Ferocious Power Struggle in American Politics," describes racial divisions as the building blocks of American politics, with Republican presidential nominees leaning heavily on large majorities of white voters. Democrats depend on large majorities from America's minority groups and at least a minimal share of white support.
    "It doesn't really matter whether direct issues (of race) are raised or not," Black said. "It's just a matter of groups looking at the parties and deciding one represents their interests more than the other. If issues are out there, either directly or indirectly, then that just creates an environment that is self-reinforcing. That might be what we're looking at now."
    Black said he doesn't think Clinton and Obama will dwell on racial differences; the subject remains too tender for the aspirants to poke as they compete neck and neck.
    Yet count on the undercurrents to linger; they're entwined in who we are.

    W. Gardner Selby writes for the Austin American-Statesman. E-mail: wgselby@statesman.com Will Clinton's firewall be racism?

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    are those Klan robes she's wearing in that photo?
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


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    Hilly has always got an excuse crying why things don't go her way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    are those Klan robes she's wearing in that photo?
    It looks like the cardboard inserts of Bill's dress shirts, fashioned into her own doily dress.

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