Last week, Geraldine Ferraro said this in an interview with a California newspaper: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. 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." When called out on this today by the Obama campaign, her response was, "Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist. I will not be discriminated against because I'm white. ... Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white."
W.T.F. I've personally heard the man speechify; the man knows how to turn a phrase and work a room. His race may help him in the same way Hilary's gender does (she consistently gets votes from older white women), but it's secondary to his abilities as a candidate and the excellent campaign organization he's put together.
When an Obama staffer off-handedly referred to Hilary Clinton as a "monster" in an interview, the Clinton campaign demanded that staffer be sacked, and it was done. As for Ferraro? Well, Clinton's official response was "I do not agree with that. It is regrettable that any of our supporters on both sides, because we’ve both had that experience, say things that kind of veer off into the personal. We ought to keep this on the issues.", but Ferraro is still on her fundrasing/finance committee, with no signs of stepping down any time soon, and Clinton's (black, female) campaign manager has apparently come out to defend Ferraro by accusing Obama of having "forgotten his pledge" (regarding keeping his staffers from characterizing various statements by Clinton as being about race), and replying to requests from the Obama campaign to remove Ferraro from her position as a fundraiser for the campaign with the public statement, "We reject these false, personal and politically calculated attacks on the eve of a primary."
In other words, Hilary is setting up a wall of plausible deniability so that she can claim she isn't in favor of these statements, while continuing to benefit from Ferraro's fundraising efforts and any votes that she picks up in sympathy for the "reverse racism" accusation, and all the while, her campaign is working overtime to make it look like Obama 1) is unqualified to even run for President, let alone be President, and 2) is only doing well because he's constantly playing the race card--both of which should go over well in certain areas of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Indiana (and with Fox News and similar "fair and balanced" news outlets), and may cement support for Hilary in such a way that it will be an uphill row for Obama to hoe to make inroads towards keeping the results in those states close or pulling out victories. (Much like the Russian fable about throwing the feathers of a pillow to the winds and then trying to collect them all up again, except forcing someone else to try to find and collect back the feathers.) Given the six weeks until the Pennsylvania primary, and the utter lack of an attention span among both the national media and the general American public, getting this all out now--too late to negatively affect Clinton's chances in the Mississippi primary, too early to negatively affect Clinton's chances in the Pennsylvania primary--means the timing on this is definitely and suspiciously in Clinton's favor.
Which makes me wonder whether Ferraro's statements were an intentional political ploy in the first place, or whether the statements really were just the way she feels and the Clinton campaign is just that good at immediately turning anything into mudslinging. (Either way, such a statement coming from someone who broke the glass ceiling for Hilary by becoming the 1984 Democratic V.P. candidate... the irony, it burns.)
This also makes me wonder how anyone can look at the Clinton campaign and not realize that they're intentionally going down the exact same path George W. Bush did: attack, repeat half-truths (or even outright lies) so often that people believe them, use flunkies to "leak" "sensitive" data (Valerie Plame's identity, the picture of Obama in Kenyan garb), and generally act in a way that polarizes the country, knowing that (as Warren Ellis pointed out in Transmetropolitan) as long as you can get 51% of the vote, the other 49% of the country can go rot because you'll win, be in charge, and do whatever you darn well please--and therefore any means that results in the end of getting that 51% (or war in Iraq or any other pet project) is therefore justified.
Feudalism: Serf & Turf