Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ferarro and Fairwell

Geraldine Ferraro is back, relishing her second chance at the limelight after emerging from the dustbin of history. Once again the former Vice Presidential candidate is doing meaningful interviews on television shows with actual ratings, while offering her political acumen and support to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Ferraro’s latest remark was a racially tinged comment about Barack Obama. A comment which, when viewed in the light of history, makes absolutely no sense and sounds so overwhelmingly condescending and divisive it’s hard to believe anyone who considers themselves progressive could harbor any room for it in their minds. Even an obsolete progressive mind.

”If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position,” she told the Daily Breeze, a California newspaper.

That statement may or may not be offensive, but it’s certainly a stupid thing to say. So stupid it is probably even be sane and deliberate. That may show how nutty this whole nomination process has gotten. By the time it’s over I’m not sure if anyone will have the mental capacity to be president.

Deliberate or not, it's hard to take her statement, that it’s an advantage to be African American in politics, seriously at all given our country’s election track record since reconstruction. Also, as many have also pointed out, any advantage a black man like Obama gains from consolidating the black vote is met equally by uncertainty from non-black voters.

That someone in a campaign said something crazy in a campaign is nothing new. But it’s that this whole process has become insane. I still can’t figure out why we need “super” delegates to save us from ourselves. They are at best rubber stampers or at worst unwanted judges in the democratic process. I still can’t figure out why any Democratic nominee needs 2025 delegates rather than a simple majority. And I can’t figure out why Michigan and Florida may re-vote after violating the rules and knowing their re-vote wont matter much anyway.

The press keeps spinning this process as if we’re not sure what is going to happen in the nomination process. They have to do that to have something to talk about every night. But what we do know is that Barack Obama will have the majority of delegates going into the DNC convention in Colorado. Only a miracle can stop that. The Michigan and Florida recounts will only add a few delegates to Hillary’s total and if she wins in Pennsylvania it will only had a few more. So what we do know then is that Hillary’s only chance of getting the nomination is to steal it away from the will of the people—to go into the convention and urge enough “super” delegates to vote for her.

And if that happens the Democrats will have effectively disillusioned blacks for years to come—after they have thrown the party their support all these years. The Democrats will also have disregarded the youth vote, which has turned out in record numbers this year for Obama. Whether or not they are prepared to go to the “nuclear option” for the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton remains to be seen. But a sane people like Ferraro are sounding more like loose cannons every day for their cause.

Perhaps that’s how Mrs. Clinton can offer, with a straight face, the vice presidential slot to Obama, the nominee who is winning, and will win the most delegates.

Still, why anyone would take someone like Ferraro seriously in 2008 is another mystery to me. When my grandma says something off-base I pay it no mind, even if she once was a powerful business woman. That was then, this is now. And with Ferarro I'm reminded of the Rodney Dangerfield line: you must have been something before electricity. In 1984 Americans wanted Reagan. Ferraro helped the Democrats lose a record 49 states in the election. In 2008 Americans want change. Ferraro hasn't changed her hair style in a quarter of a century. I think it may be time to call it a career.

I know many, many conservatives who are thoroughly enjoying how petty, and divisive, and indecisive the Democrats appear to be during this nomination. Liberals want to run the country? They can’t even figure out what to do with Florida and Michigan. These people are the non-fascist of the two political parties? Why do we have even a threat that “super” delegates may override all our votes? Not only do they seem to be no less enlightened then their Republican distant relatives, but they seem incapable of even picking a candidate.

I just can’t see how the Clintons are worth all this trouble. When Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize last fall liberals were titillated with the idea that he might run for president. That’s why I was never convinced Hillary had enough support. Liberals were salivating at the idea of Gore running. Gore. When Obama stepped up people couldn’t wait to get behind him and leave Hillary. He was the breath of fresh air they were all looking for.

But now what’s rightfully Hillary's is about to be lost, something she waited for all these years, even through her husband’s humiliating infidelity. And if she has to steal it to make all that suffering and calculating and waiting worthwhile, well, you can see how all of that could make someone a little crazy.

But for now, for Ferraro, it’s fun to be relevant again. Today, Ferraro dug her heels in and said, “Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist. I will not be discriminated against because I'm white. If they think they're going to shut up Geraldine Ferraro with that kind of stuff, they don't know me."

There will be no backing down. There will be blood. But I think the best thing we can do for Hillary and Geraldine is to give them a nice long vacation, and, soon, no more attention.

Mrs. Ferraro has resigned her post as of this afternoon.

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