How did she do it? This is the looming question after Senator Clinton's ten point win in Pennsylvania Tuesday night. The answer is simple. She played the race card and she played the fear card. Senator Clinton is so desperate to secure the Democratic presidential nomination, that although she has virtually no chance of winning, she is latching onto anything she can in order to survive and stay in the game. There is no concern for her party or the opposing candidate, if she goes down, she cares not who or what goes down with her in the process.
On the other hand, Senator Obama clearly made every effort to make race a non-issue. He also attempted to transcend traditional politics and not engage in negative campaigning or fear mongering. However, when you're in a fight with a dog that has mud on it, you're bound to get some on you as well.
Senator Clinton's refusal to graciously bow out of the race for the Democratic presidential nominee is as anti-American and anti-Democratic as it gets. Anti-American because the world is watching and we all have had a whiff of the stench of negativity that her "win at all costs" approach has generated. Anti-Democratic because of the divisiveness now created within the Democratic party. In the end, what salve will be used to heal the wounds that have been inflicted?
Although she herself could not infuse race into the campaign without being vilified and viewed as being politically incorrect, she decisively used her surrogates to do her dirty work, and all were successful. First there was Bill Clinton, comparing Senator Obama's win in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson's win in the same state. Bill spoke with a dismissive attitude, while arrogantly insinuating Senator Obama's win was nothing more than a black thing. Then there was Geraldine Ferraro's gross misstatement that Senator Obama would not be in the position he is if he weren't black. As though a black man in America suddenly has an advantage in a race for the most powerful position in the world. Excuse me, but how many black presidents have we had in this country?. Talk about rolling back the hands of time! Geraldine Ferraro managed to single handedly denigrate all of the work of the civil rights movement, particularly that of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his dream that one day every individual would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.
To add insult to injury, along comes Bob Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), with his misguided attempt to explain the comments of Geraldine Ferraro. To the dismay of many, Mr. Johnson is so out of touch with reality that he said Senator Obama started the campaign with ninety percent of the black vote. A fact check will reveal that Senator Obama was the complete underdog at the beginning of this campaign with the majority of black, Hispanic, and white voters all leaning toward Senator Clinton.
Who needs racists and bigots when you have people like Robert Johnson? Robert Johnson, the individual who built a multi-million dollar media empire based upon the exploitation of African American youth. It was this Robert Johnson who allowed the airwaves of BET to be infiltrated with images of half naked, booty shakin' black women who were constantly labeled as bitches and hoes by their male gangster rapping counterparts. This is the same Robert Johnson, who after amassing his wealth off the exploitation of his people, sold his media empire to white corporate elitists who continue his legacy of exploitation to this day. In fact, one of the first things King World did after taking ownership of BET was to discontinue the news show which was one of the few, if not the only, intellectually stimulating programs which provided a venue for black people to remain aware of the events in their communities. Say what you will about Oprah and Bill Cosby, but their wealth is not tainted by denigrated images of their people. They each made a conscientious decision to portray themselves and African Americans with whom they associated as productive, responsible, intellectual and loving human beings, addressing the same issues in life as do all Americans.
It is most unfortunate that Mr. Johnson allowed himself to be the conduit for a well designed racially divisive message. Be not deceived. The Clinton campaign intended to transform the opinions of those white Americans who may have been lured by the charms of Senator Obama. The message being, if he is winning only because he is black, they must certainly come together and make certain she wins because she is white. This combined with the portrayals of Osama Bin Laden, after already injecting a possible connection between Senator Obama and terrorists, sealed the deal and keeps her in the game. The question that remains is at what cost?
Senator Clinton has made an insignificant dent in the lead of Senator Obama and she has a snow ball's chance in hell of winning the nomination. In this one instance, she would do good to follow the lead of the Republicans. They were gentleman and left the race early on so that the front runner could prepare for the battle in November. It is now time for Senator Clinton to show herself to be a lady and do the same.