The Democratic 'Gloves Off' Debate

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Jan 21, 2008 10:30 PM
Yowza, sounds like it was a good one.

I almost hate to say this, but there's a good write-up in about 10 parts at Daily Kos that gives you the gist of the punches landed and taken.

Bryan's assessment sounds right on, and he's got highlights, here:
All in all, Obama probably wins in that he seems the least weird of the three and is the least obviously disingenuous.
Seriously, we're asking an actual black man running for president whether a white man was the first black president? On Martin Luther King Day, no less? Obama answered diplomatically and artfully:
Obama said he had respect for those who grew up in the South during the segregation era, who witnessed the transformation of the region. “Each successive generation can create a different vision of how we have to treat each other, and I think Bill Clinton embodies that, and I think deserves credit for that,” Obama said and the crowd applauded as it seemed the fireworks had subsided.
Before reverting to a joke that he's only allowed to tell because he's black:
“Now, I have to say that I would have to investigate more of Bill’s dancing abilities and some of this other stuff before I accurately judge whether he was, in fact, a brother,” Obama said with a grin.
But wait, if I remember correctly, Bill Clinton made a racial joke in his remarks at Ebenezer Baptist Church this week (quoted to the best of my recollection):
"It's okay if you mix me up with Jimmy Carter," he told the majority black congregation. "I know all us grey-haired white guys look the same to y'all."
Hmmm, maybe he really is black. That's the only way a public figure gets away with racial comments, right?

Truthfully, I think both jokes are mostly harmless and appreciate the fact that Obama's refusal to demagogue the race issue could help us all lighten up just enough about race to be able to talk about it again. The culture of hypersensitivity about race combined with the race-baiting and demagoguery of it when it serves the Left's electoral purposes has done the culture no favors, and Dems are just now seeing the tactics bear fruit in the unfortunate racial throw-down in their own party.