Tony Blankley on KCRW makes an interesting point about the Democratic race… May 31, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in US Politics.
I often disagree with Tony Blankley, the house conservative on KCRW’s Left, Right and Centre podcast, and not least when he described Scott McLellan as an ‘inconsequential cipher’ (yeah, right, spokesperson for an US President… an inconsequential job, no doubt at all there). But – for there is a ‘but’. He’s bang on the money when he suggests that:
The impending denouement of the (Democratic) primary shows all the worst aspects that derive from identity politics. Hillary supporters who don’t have any policy disputes to speak of with Obama are furious because he’s not a woman. Many of his supporters are furious at the thought that he should have the nomination taken away from him because he’s an African American. These are the wrong reasons to be for or against candidates. You should be for them because you admire them or you agree with their principles. You can also negotiate policy disputes, you can’t negotiate identity disputes. This is the wrong way to go about democracy.
True indeed, as far as it goes. But he is being too kind. The core problem is that identity politics has been used as a proxy for power politics, not for itself – which would of course be bad enough. It’s not so much that Obama is a black, but that he is in the way and therefore a certain rhetorical tilt has been added to the discourse that seeks to use his colour as a means of undermining his candidacy by pointing at his electability. That he had remarkably high levels earlier in the campaign demonstrates that at the very least the process of attrition caused by the relentless conflict has not been without results.
And what is astounding is the almost implacable insularity of a Clinton campaign which has appeared almost oblivious, or worse indifferent, as regards the damage this conflict has done to their previously quite good reputation (all things considered). I don’t think that the Clintons harbour any of the negative viewpoints they tangentially summon up. Not for one minute. And any ire they hold for Obama is that of any original front-runner overtaken by another contender.
It’s just politics. Nothing personal.
And that is the problem.