This morning in USA Today, Clinton says:
“I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article “that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”
And there it is.
Would there have been a better way to phrase this? Sure. She could have left out that first “Americans.” She could have stuck an “and” in there between the first “Americans” and “white.” She could have said “I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on. [Look at this article] that found how Sen. Obama’s support among working-class white Americans is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.”
That’s the truth. And that is potentially a problem for the Obama campaign and might be something Democrats might consider*. And it addresses frankly and openly what folks have been hinting at this whole campaign.
But, come on.
What she said isn’t frank and open. It’s mangled politician-speak that came out racist and jingoistic and kind of in direct opposition to her stated goal of building a broader base. Because, really, once you’ve insulted the non-whites and the white folks with college degrees who work hard and non-hard working white people, who exactly is left? Some guy named Joe on an assembly line in Peoria? Francine in Tampa?
I don’t think the next President is going to be some miracle worker. We sat by for eight years and let George Bush strip from us a whole lot of what it means to be an American. And a lot of the power he consolidated for himself is going to be incredibly tempting for the next President to keep. We have gone far off course and the next president is not going to be able to fix it all. He or she may not even be inclined to fix it all.
I’m not trying to elect a perfect savior.
I’d like to elect a person who gets that the absolute worst thing Bush has done in his presidency is to bring out in the open and repeatedly codify this notion that “Us v. Them” is the way to run a country–that you can do whatever you want to “them,” that our laws don’t apply to “them,” that if “they” aren’t smart enough to get out of the way of whatever, “they” deserve whatever happens to “them.” That if you aren’t the right color or the right religion or thinking the right thoughts or saying the right things, even in the privacy of your own home, if you’re fucking the wrong people, if you’re protesting the war or the WTO or police brutality, if you’re too smart or too dumb or too urban or too rural or too poor or too foreign and so on and so on into long choruses of “Song of Myself,” then you aren’t “us” and you deserve whatever you get.
I’d like to just start there, with an end to the overt “Fuck ’em, they’re not with us” of American politics. And statements like that from Clinton make me think that she doesn’t see a problem with “us v. them.”
I don’t like it.
*Although, I should hope that Democrats also take into account that no one wants to vote for McCain, not even people in his own party. In places where they’re still having Republican primaries, he can’t even secure 100% of the vote, and he’s the only choice. It’s not as if this is a situation where the country is almost evenly split Democratic voters v. Republican voters. We’re turning out a shit-ton more folks who are excited and enthusiastic about voting. We don’t need a broad coalition to beat McCain. The dude calls his wife a cunt in public, wants to call in the League of Nations to help win the war on terror, and views the Iraq war as a war for oil. If we lose to him, it’s time to give up and split into 50 autonomous tiny countries, because we are a nation of idiots. (see Braisted)
Unless, of course, this is yet another step in the “Blazing Saddles”-ification of our culture.