Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, another Clinton supporter, makes the opposite argument. Ferraro claims that Obama's race gives him an advantage that obscures his otherwise thin resume. "If Obama was a white man," said Ferraro, "he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
Black state Sen. Robert Ford, D-S.C., also a Clinton supporter, takes the Cleaver position. In explaining his refusal to support Obama, Ford said, "It's a slim possibility for (Obama) to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed. Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything. I'm a gambling man. I love Obama. But I'm not going to kill myself."
Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton can now breathe easier. If Obama loses, blame race. If Obama wins, blame race. Either way, Obama's election, as regards race relations, means nothing. So Jackson and Sharpton and the rest of the like-minded traveling circus can remain in the business of ferreting out, exploiting and often exaggerating allegations of racism for face time on TV and continued relevance.
In 1911, former slave Booker T. Washington prophetically wrote about "black leaders" like Cleaver, Jackson and Sharpton: "There is (a) class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. … There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."