Ferraro's slur: Clinton should have been more upset about remarks
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Remarks by former Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro to the effect that Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama is benefiting from some sort of affirmative action effect are near the bottom of the barrel in terms of trashy campaigning.
Ms. Ferraro was a part of Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign team when she made the remarks, although she is no longer. What she said was that Mr. Obama would not be where he is in popularity if he were white or a woman. (Last time we checked he didn't decide his race or his gender.) While she said she did not agree with the statements, Mrs. Clinton did not disown Ms. Ferraro's remarks or offload her from her campaign, the minimum necessary to make clear that she did not agree with Ms. Ferraro's sentiments. Instead, Ms. Ferraro stepped down yesterday on her own initiative.
What Ms. Ferraro said is a racial slur against Mr. Obama. It is necessary only to look at the fate of previous African-American presidential candidates -- the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson as examples -- to see that Mr. Obama's appeal is not because he is black. It is because he is able and has a message that is forward-looking and appeals to the American people in these difficult times.
A question that has to be asked is the degree to which Ms. Ferraro's remarks are in response to advice Mrs. Clinton may be receiving from some of Pennsylvania's professional politicians to the effect that people here might be susceptible in advance of the April primary to the sort of argument she is peddling.
If that is what they are telling her, they are wrong in telling her that Pennsylvanians will respond favorably to a racist pitch. We are not like that. As we make this important choice for ourselves and for the country, we will not consider a candidate's race or gender as the principal factor in the choice we make. Mrs. Clinton should give Pennsylvanians credit for sound judgment, not appeal to what she might believe are our prejudices.
If Mrs. Clinton would like to provide us with useful information, it would be interesting to see as soon as possible three important missing pieces of her background. The first is her 2006 tax return. The second is a list of donors and the amounts each contributed to her husband's presidential library in Little Rock. The third is her unedited schedule for her time as first lady, in order to make possible evaluation of her claim of relevant experience based on that period.
Mrs. Clinton should have fired Ms. Ferraro immediately. What Ms. Ferraro said simply validated all the claims that the Clinton campaign constitutes a return to the dirty-tricks politics of the past.
First published on March 13, 2008 at 12:00 am