If Mr. Obama was white and grew up in the suburbs, would anyone accuse him of being a cocaine dealer? Probably not. The Clinton campaign is accusing him of being a drug dealer because of his skin color, and makes the attack against him nothing short of alarming.
These attacks turn back the clock on race relations. How terrible to see the wife of “the first black president” playing the race card in a ruthless effort to crush the man who may become our first African-American president.
As the primaries heat up, these attacks are only going to get worse. Mrs. Clinton is worried right now, but not yet desperate. Though this attack is a desperate act, it’s only a foretaste of what’s coming if Mr. Obama wins in some of the early states.
Mrs. Clinton knows that 2008 is the only chance she’ll ever get in her life to become president. She’s the frontrunner, with every advantage possible. If she is derailed by the eloquent community activist from Chicago, the party will pass her by. Right now she is the “co-president,” painting herself as a key player in the Clinton White House, and fully able to take the reins of power.
If she doesn’t prevail now, the conventional political wisdom will instead be that the only reason she was ever a possibility was because of who she married, that she never had the gift herself. Once that becomes the narrative, she’ll never come close to the nomination again. By 2012 or 2016, she’ll be like Ted Kennedy, the famous family member of a former president who had her shot but could not close the deal. That would be the end of the Clinton era.
So instead of Mrs. Clinton benevolently blessing all of us common folks with her Christmas gifts of socialist medicine, government-run child-raising, and higher taxes, she’s had to dive into the mud to crush her rival. Instead of waltzing to the nomination wearing kid gloves, she’s had to wear brass knuckles in a street fight. And when her uppity rival refused to know his place, she had a henchman whip him by insinuating that he was a drug dealer.
Decent people of every ethnicity should reject degrading racial stereotypes regardless of politics, and the Congressional Black Caucus should join the ranks of those speaking out against this outrage.
This is the worst kind of politics of personal destruction. Instead of bringing Americans together, it drives us apart.
It is slanderous and shameful, and degrades our national discourse. But Mrs. Clinton is so obsessed with her hunger for presidential power that she shows herself willing to go to any lengths to seize the White House. And all Americans—regardless of color—are devalued if we fail to speak out against her political sleaze.