Clinton is no doubt shocked that a simple argument about experience versus inspiration becomes the basis for a charge of racial insensitivity. She is surprised that the very use of "fairy tale" in reference to Obama's position on Iraq is taken as a sign of insensitivity, or that any reference to his self-confessed teenage drug use is immediately given racial overtones.
But where, I ask you, do such studied and/or sincere expressions of racial offense come from? From a decades-long campaign of enforced political correctness by an alliance of white liberals and the black civil rights establishment intended to delegitimize and marginalize as racist any criticism of their post-civil rights-era agenda.
Anyone who has ever made a principled argument against affirmative action only to be accused of racism knows exactly how these tactics work. Or anyone who has merely opposed a more recent agenda item -- hate crimes legislation -- on the grounds that murder is murder and that the laws against it are both venerable and severe. Remember that scurrilous pre-election ad run by the NAACP in 2000 implying that George Bush was indifferent to a dragging death of a black man at the hands of white racists in Texas because he did not support hate crime legislation?
The nation has become inured to the playing of the race card, but "our first black president" (Toni Morrison on Bill Clinton) and his consort are not used to having it played against them.
Bill is annoyed with Obama. As Bill inadvertently let on to Charlie Rose, it has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with entitlement. He had contemplated running in 1988, he confided to Charlie, but decided to wait. Too young, not ready. (A tall tale, highly Clintonian; but that's another matter.) Now it is Hillary's turn. The presidency is her due -- the ultimate in alimony -- and this young upstart refuses to give way.
But telling Obama to wait his turn is a tricky proposition. It sounds patronizing and condescending, awakening the kinds of racial grievances white liberals have spent half a century fanning -- only to find themselves now singed in the blowback, much to their public chagrin.
Who says there's no justice in this world?
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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