Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tina Brown: The Falsehood of Obama Campaign’s Charge of Racism Against Bill Clinton

God knows I’ve referenced often enough at Katalusis Princeton historian Sean Wilentz’s repeated debunking of the Obama campaign’s attempts to smear Bill and Hillary Clinton as racists. Yet I thought I’d never see the day when another prominent old media/new media writer would actually speak the truth on this particular issue.

Tina Brown at the Daily Beast chides Obama for his beer diplomacy scheduled today with Professor Gates and Police Officer Crowley and suggests the current president might benefit from the political skills of former president Clinton in attending to a more pressing matter - legislating a decent health care reform bill.

Ms. Brown writes (emphasis mine):

It looks like Obama would rather live on cheeseburgers than let Clinton get into the act on health care—or on anything else, for that matter. Maybe he thinks there’s no stage big enough for both these two Mount Rushmore megastars and never will be. Despite surface cordiality and self-restraint for Hillary’s sake, the former president’s wounds from the harsh charge of racism on the campaign, a falsehood on which Obama created his "post-racialism" campaign, remain deep, and they are not assuaged by the coolly minimal lip service a still mistrustful Obama pays to Bill’s presidential wisdom. “Sure, he calls me every few weeks,” the former president told a person I know. “But it feels as if, you know, he’s just checking a box.”

Isn’t this the racial reconciliation that should be taking place over a beer at the White House?

Good question, Tina.


  1. I'm not even the one that was maligned in this way by Obama. And I can't forgive him. Why should Bill?

    To be frank, any talk of Mr. Obama "healing racial wounds" is laughable in light of what he did to Bill and Hill. Beer or no beer.

    I sure hope Sergeant Crowley brings some good double talking lawyers with him to the summit ... uh, er... snake pit.

  2. Hi SYD,

    I, too, struggle with the forgiveness issue. But I've been wondering lately about the possibility for unilateral healing for Hillary's supporters from the attacks of 2008. I don't have the answers, but I found this comment by Peter and Helen Evans worth thinking about(we discussed it at our last mindfulness group meeting):

    The energy we put out there to another just loops back on ourselves. We've all seen people who hold grudges, are constantly frustrated with others;they look withered, empty, sapped of life force. They are sapping
    themselves through their thoughts of vengeance and hate. Medieval
    literature speaks about the "worm that eateth from within". Pretty good
    metaphor, for a grudge is a drain on us, on our life, on our vitality.

    These 'negative' connections are what forgiveness is about. We're not letting the "bad guys" off the hook, we're letting ourselves off the hook.

    Let me know what you think.

  3. I'm pretty sure this concept is lost on Obama. Gates-gate is a perfect example. He could barely own up to his part. "ratcheting it up" is a joke. There was nothing to ratched up yet. But let's take the 911 caller as an example, does he not realize his part in what he's done to *her*? Has he called to apologize to *her*? No. He hasn't and he won't. He is not nuanced enough, and quite frankly, he really doesn't seem to care. So he either doesn't realize how deep the wounds are to BC, but even more importantly, to Clinton supporters, or he does and just doesn't care.

    But i agree, i struggle with the forgiveness issue, and I know it only does me harm. But it's pretty hard when the person who is the offender doesn't own up, but continues to behave in the same disgusting manner that he always has.

  4. Good points, Annie. The ritual usually goes like this: repentance by the offender, forgiveness by the victim, agreement that it won't happen again, and only then can reconciliation take place.

    In this instance, I doubt we can ever hope for that ideal sequence, so for our own sakes, perhaps it would be best to focus on the present moment and do our best to promote justice for all people now instead of looking back.

    It's hard to bring such principles to bear in the political arena, but I keep thinking about it.

    Any thoughts?

  5. And Tina Brown is such a liar. What is she talking about someone she knows telling her Obama calls Bill. Give me a freakin' break. Bill had to write an article in a paper telling Obama to take a look at LBJ. He would just say it over the phone if Ojackass called him on a regular basis. Tina Brown needs to stop her lies.

  6. Well, Annie, Tina was dead right about the falsehood of the Obama campaign's racist smears of BC.