Dear Mr. Obama;
You’re right. Your assertion from the past week is absolutely correct. You ARE running against “both Clintons.”
I’ll address “both Clintons” in a moment. First, let me congratulate you and thank you for staying “above board,“ and conducting a mostly honorable and positive campaign.
Given my previous criticisms of some of your ideas, in this and other publications, you might be surprised to find me being complimentary now. But this gets to an important point: I can disagree with your ideas, while still respecting your conduct. And at this moment I’m commenting on your conduct.
Unlike some “black leaders” (self-appointed as they may be) of our day, you seem to be running a campaign that is generally devoid of the race baiting rhetoric that has become commonplace. And while I’m sure that you have experienced plenty of prejudice and bigotry in your lifetime, I don’t sense that you assume yourself to be a victim merely because of your skin color, or that you would assume me to be your perpetrator merely because of mine. This is very refreshing, and I’m grateful for it.
Similarly, I’m impressed that you and your wife Michelle seem to be contented and confident in your respective rolls. A well educated and accomplished professional in her own right, Michelle appears to be comfortable with the reality that you are campaigning for the presidency, and she is not. Based on what we can observe publicly, it seems that the Obama family simply “is what it is,” regardless of whether or not “it” is politically expedient at any given moment. This, too, is refreshing. It’s good for you, your family, and our country.
Now, about the Clintons. Yes, it’s tragic what they are doing, both to you, and to your party. As for you, they have most certainly distorted your position on the war in Iraq, and your statements about President Reagan. As for the party, they have made key issues of race and gender, and have enflamed racial tensions that some people didn’t know existed. But surely you can’t be surprised by this - - can you?
Let’s examine some of what’s happened. Earlier this month, after several days of Bill trashing your character, complete with the “fairy tale” and “hit job” accusations, you finally called him on it. Shortly thereafter, we saw Bill speaking in a black church claiming “I kind of like seeing Barack and Hillary fighting” - - his clever, passive way of implying that he isn‘t in the fight himself.
Then, after yet another week of Bill assaulting you and distorting your record, complete with his repeated, grotesque, red-faced tirades before the tv cameras, Hillary got “emotional” again - - claiming reluctantly that she’s been attacked by you, and then in her oh-so regretful tone of voice stating that she has no other choice but to “counterpunch.”
Mr. Obama, are you surprised by any of this? I’m younger than you are, and I remember the politics of the 1990’s all too well. Surely you must also remember.
Mr. and Mrs. Clinton are the merciless masters of misinformation. The veracity of their assertions and subtle implications, and the damage that they might bring about at any given moment, doesn’t matter - - their “story” will change later, anyway. What matters for the Clintons is what they can accomplish politically for themselves, in the moment. This was the politics of the Clintons’ White House, and it is now the politics of the Clintons’ campaign to destroy you.
And as much as you have tried to not make your ethnicity an issue in your campaign, it matters. Especially for the Clintons. While Bill likes to fancy himself as America’s “first black President,” and Hillary thinks that nobody has done more for the cause of “civil rights” than herself, you symbolize something very unnerving to them. You’re the accomplished, confident black man from a younger generation who doesn’t need their help. Worse yet, you have the “audacity” to challenge their authority. You obliterate their long-held stereotype, and threaten to obliterate an entire political paradigm. You endanger the old-school politics of the Clintons.
But doesn’t this ultimately lead us to your concept of the “politics of hope,” Mr. Obama? When the Clintons speak of “change,” they’re merely speaking of an end to Republican rule and their own return at White House. For you, it seems that “change” and “hope” mean a departure from the Clintons’ duplicitous, deceitful politics of personal destruction. Tell us more about that, Mr. Obama. And feel free to tell us how the Clintons’ “good candidate / bad candidate” gamesmanship appears from your vantage point.
And regardless of how your campaign ends, I believe that your candidacy has already accomplished great things. Ultimately, I believe that American politics will be better-off when your party relinquishes itself from the Clintons’ stranglehold, and I hope that happens sooner rather than later.
But not matter how these next several weeks unfold, be strong. And remember, Mr. Obama. You’re right.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.