Friday, November 30, 2007

The Clinton-Obama Dilemma

Hillary Clinton gathered about 60 Black ministers together for a rally in Spartanburg, SC a few days ago. She has garnered big support and a double digit lead in the polls over Barack Obama in a state where over half of the Democratic voters are Black. It appears that she is running on Bill Clinton's strength in the Black community and gaining strength in the South where the Black vote can make a difference in the primaries and most certainly in the general election next November.

Excerpts from the CBS News story follow:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton picked up endorsements from dozens of black ministers Tuesday in South Carolina, an early voting state where she and rival Barack Obama have been courting the critical black vote.

The clergy were drawn to the New York senator for her views on health care, jobs and other issues, said a state representative who helped organize the endorsements. "They felt this was the best candidate addressing their concerns," said state Rep. Harold Mitchell, a Democrat from this northern part of the state.

Nearly half of South Carolina's Democratic primary voters are black, and ministers can play a huge role in shaping the political direction of their congregations. More than 60 ministers gathered with Clinton on a stage at a hotel and her campaign said 88 were in the room where the endorsements were announced.

Clinton, in a wide-ranging speech to a crowd of more than 450, touched on her plans to expand health care, better public education and improve the image of the U.S. She said she would send emissaries around the globe - and mentioned former Secretary of State Colin Powell as "someone I know very well" - to send a message the era of "cowboy diplomacy is over."

Read the entire CBS News story here.

View the CBS News video here.

Read an update how Obama is closing the gap with Clinton in SC here.

plez sez: are we finally realizing the onset of a colorblind society, where a white woman candidate can be more popular than her Black male counterpart in the Black community? does hillary's eight years of being the first lady provide her with the experience and cache in foreign affairs that Barack Obama lacks? does her flubbing the health care issue during the first Clinton Administration now make clinton an expert on domestic affairs?

or are we going to watch the slow motion unraveling of another in a long string of incidents where Black people get bamboozled out of their vote by a wily (and slick) Democrat?

this is truly a dilemma.

i am part of a listserve that is composed of almost all Black participants. in addition to my discomfort over this issue, plezWorld has found other Black voters who have expressed similar concerns about this Clinton-Obama Dilemma that we face in the Black community:
Voter 1
Those who see the success of the African-American's based on their own achievements and skills and see themselves as intimate cogs in the society on a whole lean toward Obama .... while those who see black success based on impediments government needs to destroy and see themselves isolated from the greater society because of those impediments lean toward Hillary. Is there a disconnect in the black community as to who is supporting which candidate?

Voter 2
I must admit my first instinct is not so much to endorse Hillary but to question why should I vote for a guy that so many white people call a "rock star?" Do they think I am stupid enough just to vote for him because we are both Black? As I write this stream of consciousness, I recall being in a nearly all White School for High School. There were two Black girls in my class. One was "dark and the other was a duck", I was not too enlightened back then... Rather than even entertain that I would have something in common with the sisters I went with a White girl, Mexican, and Asian girl before I had my first Black girlfriend in high school. My unconscious fear was that I would be pigeonholed by those White folk.

Voter 3
The "pulpit pimps" have once again shown how pathetic they are. True, endorsements mean nothing, but the fact that blacks continue to support this lady boggles my mind. I am not saying that we have to support Senator Obama, but damn, what has she truly done to deserve so much support from black people? There is a reason why she is losing ground as of late in the polls and the sooner that black people come to grips that Bill is not a part of some package deal, the better we'll all be at finding the right candidate to support. Being an independent voter, this is one election where I won't have any problem at all supporting a Republican if she is the alternate choice.

Voter 4
Barak is an African American elitist period. Unfortunately the African American community has had a disdain for African American elitists. This is especially true amongst older blacks (thus the pulpit pimps)?who lived or heard the stories of their parents when Elitist Blacks of the late 1800's and early 1900's turned their backs on the "darker skinned" fellows and blatantly accepted Euro Centric ways of living.

Voter 5
I think some African-Americans like her because they see her as having the same values as her husband who black people adored. A vote for her is like a vote for Bill.

Voter 6
Would she be better than Bush? Sure, but so would Terry Schiavo (and she's dead)! But would she steer the country in a new direction? Would she heal the growing rift between left and right? I don't think so. She [was] a tremendously polarizing candidate BEFORE she even became a candidate. She's the ULTIMATE triangulating, poll-watching, word-parsing politician with NONE of Bill's charm. Not for nothing, there's something to be said for having someone in office who is neither a Bush nor a Clinton. Political dynasties haven't been so good for our country.

Voter 7
We tend to feel more comfortable with leaders who claim to be grassroots, Like Jesse Jackson for example, [who] hide their highbrow status... something that Barack Obama does not do.

Voter 8
The fact that we romanticize about the Clinton years and the progress of the middle-class in this country seems to be what attaches many to Hillary -- it is my opinion that if she was Senator Hillary Rodham, two term senator from NY you would not see this broad support of her -- it is merely because she brings Bill along for the ride that she is not, Diane Finestein or Elizabeth Dole.

note: the views of the previous eight Black voters do not necessarily reflect the views of plezWorld

i've slept in the bed with an IRS tax specialist for the past 17 years, but i can't claim to be able to do much more than a 1040-EZ! to paraphrase malcolm x, "just because a cat has kittens in the oven doesn't make them biscuits."

it seems (at least in south carolina) that Black voters are putting their hopes on getting 8 more years of bill clinton, rather than casting their lot with an "upstart elitist prettyboy" who wasn't even raised in the Black community... the contention being that bill clinton (and by extension, hillary) is "blacker" (whatever in the HELL that means) than Barack Obama, thereby making hillary clinton more deserving of their votes. to my way of thinking, those Black ministers' (or pulpit pimps') assessment and analysis of hillary's qualifications and abilities to make change are sadly mistaken!

i've said it before and i'll say it again: i don't trust hillary clinton. she will say ANYTHING to get elected. despite her smooth and practiced delivery, she comes off as shrill and calculating, a poll watching charlatan without scruple nor conviction... but not nearly as slick as bill! she's been taking notes, but she hasn't mastered his delivery and his ability to weasel out of a tight fix (i.e. never quite explaining her flip-flop on the war in iraq to my satisfaction). i sense that another clinton in the white house will be more of the same and business as usual (something that those jock-sniffin' preachers never stopped to realize in their zeal to share the stage with some bill clinton coochie).

i feel that this country is due a shot in the arm, some fresh blood, and a new direction that hillary will not provide. and from what i've heard, the only candidate who offers HOPE for a better tomorrow and CHANGE from business as usual in Washington, DC is barack obama.


Anali said...

I'm still undecided, but it's not just between these two. I like Edwards also. I was leaning towards Obama before the BlogHer conference, which was in Chicago. The other two candidates sent representatives and acknowledged us. We were in his city and he ignored us completely. That made me lean away from him. This may be a future post... Suddenly the African-American woman's vote is being noticed. Nobody has won me over at this point.

And on a much happier note. Congratulations on NaBloPoMo! We did it!

The Stepfather of Soul said...

I am continually amazed at how much distance the black community has kept from Barack Obama. I remember hearing Shelly Wynter (with whom I agree with very little, although I find his WAOK show to be interesting) make this point: here is the first black candidate who really has a legitimate shot, and the black community's response is "we don't know what he's about," but since FDR black Americans have overwhelmingly supported the Democrat in presidential elections, all of whom where white. Did we "know" John Kerry, Al Gore, Michael Dukakis? Of course not. And although it's enticing to know that ol' Bill will be the "First Gentleman," or whatever they'll come up with, should Hillary win, you hit the nail on the head with your tax preparation metaphor. Hillary is a very different person. I'm rooting for Obama.

AverageBro said...

Skateboard P,

I agree totally. I think a lot of these black preachers in SC are just attention whores who love being pandered to. Bill Clinton more or less wrote the book on how to do this with blacks to garner votes. His wife is just writing another sad chapter.

I really wish black America would revisit the Clinton years with less sentiment and more criticism. He did nothing for Rwandan genocide. He did appoint blacks to his cabinet, but he also notably threw Lani Guinier under the bus. The explosion of the prison industrial complex? Check. He did nothing to repeal mandatory minumum sentences. And if I hear one more Negro wax poetic about the economy, I am going apesh*t! Let's not forget that the .com house of cards unraveled during Bush's first year.

Some may mistake this as pro-Bush sentiment. It's not.

I'm just saying, let's rethink just how good those first 8 years really were for black america. Yeah, we got a lot of pandering, but we got screwed quite a bit too. At least the man was nice enough to leave a mint on the pillow afterward.

I'm not saying vote for Obama, but damn, stop picking dude apart (like the ladies at WAOD have been doing this week) and give him a fair look.

Sorry for the dissertation, Nupe.


plez... said...

with barack obama & hillary clinton in the mix, it is only natural for the media to drum up this frenzy over the Black vote. unfortunately, the Black voteR will probably end up getting ignored on the first WEDNESDAY of november next year!

StepFather of Soul,
i wish i knew why Black people generally have this defeatist attitude when it comes to matters such as this. FINALLY, a well-educated, knowledgeable, presentable, mainstream, well-versed AFRICAN-AMERICAN candidate presents himself to us... and we begin looking for flaws and reasons why we shouldn't support him. i am completely baffled!

ease up on the "skating" references, man... i don't want people to get the wrong idea about me! *smile*

i don't think our so-called "mainstream" Black leaders are capable of giving anyone a "fair look" unless there is some tangible benefit looking back at them! those "finger-lickin'-good" preachers in South Carolina are looking forward to being the first ones in line with their church plates out for hillary clinton after she takes the oath of office in January 2009!

BTW: when & where did you pledge?

Brandon said...

The Hillary vs Obama match up will be one for the ages. I hope that when African Americans vote during the primary they vote pragmatically and ignore Blacks in leadership positions. Our current leadership are to busy covering their butts to choose the candidate that would best serve the community.

Villager said...

Excellent post. I'm adding you to my daily RSS-feed on my iGoogle homepage.

I support Barack Obama. I want my 7-year old son to have the ultimate role model (outside of his father!) ... not a drug dealer .. not a ballplayer ... not a rapper ... but the President of the United States. I want something new. I'm tired of the Clinton vs. Right-Wing neo-cons fight. That is what we would have if Hillary was elected.

And .. as you say, I don't trust Hillary either.

peace, Villager

rikyrah said...

OT:Most important news to come out of the Black and Brown Forum in Iowa and something that should be of concern:

Hillary Clinton comes out AGAINST retroactivity in drug sentencing.

Just spreading the word.

Appropriate for this post's topic, and if you didn't tip towards Obama before, I hope you do now.

plez... said...

Black leadership has shown a lack of leadership... and i would consider anyone who follows them to be as mindless as a lemming!

we're on one accord with this one... i have a 6-year old daughter who needs to see more role models like her dear ole dad... and i can't think of anyone better than Barack Obama!

my mouth was agape as i read the article that you referenced in your comments. this woman is not good for america... and definitely not a good thing for Black folk: you acknowledge that sentencing for crack cocaine was disproportionate in relation to powder cocaine (which put untold THOUSANDS of Black people behind bars for a disease called drug addiction), and you favor reducing/eliminating the minimum sentences for crack cocaine, BUT if you are already in jail on crack cocaine charges, you need to keep your Black ass in jail!

now that's a REPUBLICAN mindset if i've ever heard one!

i'm already tipping towards Obama, but stories like this make me wanna tip even more!

suerthug11_2000 said...

I dont know why blacks love Clinton so much. He put more black men in prison than any other president in United States History. Wake Up Black People!!

She is a fraud. She wants open borders. And where do you think the jobs and quality of life will go once she is in office>

plez... said...

Black people have been drinking the "Bill Clinton-flavored" Kool-Aid since 1992 because he named a few Black cabinet-level officials to his administration and played the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show while wearing shades!

and i shudder to think what will happen to this country if she returns to the White House... i really do!