Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dispatch from a Civil War

Anyone who doesn't think Hillary Clinton is in deep trouble in her primary fight with Barak Obama just needs to read Frank Rich's column, "Next Up for the Democrats: Civil War."

Among many troubling points for the Clinton campaign is this:

Clinton paid a small fortune for an hour of time on the Hallmark Channel plus satellite TV hookups for the assemblies of supporters stretching from coast to coast. The same news media that constantly revisited [Obama's] Oprah-Caroline-Maria rally in California ignored “Voices Across America: A National Town Hall.” The Clinton campaign would no doubt attribute this to press bias, but it scrupulously designed the event to avoid making news.

Meanwhile, the “Yes We Can” Obama video fronted by the hip-hop vocalist of the Black Eyed Peas had been averaging roughly a million YouTube views a day. (Cost to the Obama campaign: zero.)
And, even worse, this:

Last month a Hispanic pollster employed by the Clinton campaign pitted the two groups against each other by telling The New Yorker that Hispanic voters have “not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.” Mrs. Clinton then seconded the motion by telling Tim Russert in a debate that her pollster was “making a historical statement.”

It wasn’t an accurate statement, historical or otherwise. It was a lie, and a bigoted lie at that, given that it branded Hispanics, a group as heterogeneous as any other, as monolithic racists. As the columnist Gregory Rodriguez pointed out in The Los Angeles Times, all three black members of Congress in that city won in heavily Latino districts; black mayors as various as David Dinkins in New York in the 1980s and Ron Kirk in Dallas in the 1990s received more than 70 percent of the Hispanic vote. The real point of the Clinton campaign’s decision to sow misinformation and racial division, Mr. Rodriguez concluded, was to “undermine one of Obama’s central selling points, that he can build bridges and unite Americans of all types.”

It all makes for great political theater. But obviously this battle of titans is not good for the Democratic party. It could all lead to John McCain becoming the next president, just like Business Week predicted back in December (and they were probably the only ones in the world making this guess, which was quite an absurb statement at that point).

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