BY PETER N. KIRSTEIN
In 2008, then Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (Dem. NY)–she avoids using her family name and prefers the title “Mrs.” to garner presumably the anti-feminist vote-was engaged in one of the most epic contests in American history for the Democratic-presidential nomination.
In May 2008, her first presidential bid was stagnating having lost BOTH the Indiana and North Carolina Democratic-party primaries, and encountering the growing impact of Barack Obama’s charismatic and grass-roots headwinds. She sat down for an interview with USA TODAY and used her fairer skin to gain a political advantage over her African-American rival, the senator from Illinois. These were her precise words in the USA TODAY interview that have apparently been forgotten by those who claim she is the champion of minority rights, and tout her majority support within the African-American community:
“I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on,” Mrs. Clinton stated in referencing a story in the Associated Press that heralded her support among white voters. “[It] found how Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me.” Mrs. Clinton then told the paper, “There’s a pattern emerging here.” (Emphasis added)
Indeed a pattern emerges of race-baiting and appealing to white-supremacist voters. While this interview received some exposure, it was variously described as “clumsy” or “dumb.” Its shelf life was short as a cynical effort to utilise the race card for political advantage. Hillary Clinton defended the remarks as a solid rendition of exit polling. It was not raised in her confirmation hearings as secretary of state by the Senate when only two Senators in 2009 appropriately voted against confirmation.
The Senate avoided the implications of such racialism with its sole intent to gain a political advantage with a direct appeal to white voters in future primary states. It is certainly in my estimation, in addition to her criminal support of mass murder in the Iraq War, a prima facie disqualifier for serving as president. No candidate for that office should get a one-day pass for racism, a one-interview exemption for using race as a political wedge to satisfy her blind ambition.
Secretary Clinton should be challenged vigorously and relentlessly for this comment. It was neither taken out of context nor an informal statement not meant for public consumption. It was calculated self-promotion on electability to two reporters, Kathy Kiely and Jill Lawrence. Such a shameful statement is egregious. One should question a candidate’s fitness for president in the context of such a remark. While the Congressional Black Caucus and other establishment African-Americans such as Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn have endorsed this self-absorbed candidate, other luminaries such as Representative Keith Ellison, Spike Lee, Killer Mike, Benjamin Jealous, Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover have refused to endorse her candidacy and have supported Senator Bernie Sanders.