Was Hillary wrong to say that whites support her?

When former president Clinton dismissed Obama in South Carolina as just another Jesse Jackson, that was, in my view, a racial insult. I don’t feel the same way about Hillary’s interview with USA Today this week in which she quoted an AP story that, in her words, “found how Sen. 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.”

But Peggy Noonan, the fragile flower of the Wall Street Journal, is sickened that Hillary would make any explicit reference to—yecchh—white people:

White Americans? Hard-working white Americans? “Even Richard Nixon didn’t say white,” an Obama supporter said, “even with the Southern strategy.”…

To play the race card as Mrs. Clinton has, to highlight and encourage a sense that we are crudely divided as a nation, to make your argument a brute and cynical “the black guy can’t win but the white girl can” is—well, so vulgar, so cynical, so cold, that once again a Clinton is making us turn off the television in case the children walk by.

I don’t get it. Don’t the Democrats constantly boast about their overwhelming black support and the advantage this gives them over Republicans, and nobody gets sick over it? And don’t the Republicans talk endlessly about their (endlessly frustrated) desire to win black support, and no mother in the land feels she has to shield her children from such vile statements? Why then is it so wrong for Hillary to say that she has more white working class support than Obama?

Even more, why is it wrong for her to point out Obama’s lack of support among the white working class, given Obama’s sweeping, negative statements about white working class people and whites in general? He said in a radio interview on March 20th:

The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity, but that she is a typical white person. If she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know (pause) there’s a reaction in her that doesn’t go away and it comes out in the wrong way.

Meaning white people have an irrational negative reaction against nonwhite people which they harbor and which comes out as bigoted statements of the kind that would make the teenaged Barack Obama feel that he had been punched in the stomach, which was his reaction to the horrible, traumatic realization that the beggar who had persistently accosted his grandmother at a bus stop and made her afraid to take the bus was black. This single, completely non-blameworthy response by his grandmother to a beggar was constructed by Obama, both as a teenager, and as a presidential candidate, into a vicious generalization about all white people.

If any white candidate had spoken so condescendingly of “typical black people” as Obama spoke of “typical white people,” he would have been out of the race, at least barring a several-day-long, standing-in-the-snow type apology.

Topping his “typical white person” comment, Obama said in April in at a private fund raiser in San Francisco:

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

In other words, according to Obama, the reason white working class people believe in God is not that they believe in God. They believe in God out of economic dislocation, which Oba Man can fix, relieving them of their artificial need to believe in God. The reason they like guns and believe in the right to bear arms is not that they like guns and believe in the right to bear arms. They believe in guns because they’re permanently bitter at life—sort of like Michelle Obama.

Thus in his radio comment Obama stunningly insulted white people, and in his San Francisco fund-raiser comment he gravely insulted working class white people. And he has not retracted these statements in any meaningful way but has repeated them. Isn’t it natural and reasonable, then, for white working class people not to support Obama, but to support the other candidate who does not insult them? And why is it wrong for that other candidate to talk about this fact?

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Adela G. writes:

Yes, Hillary was wrong to say whites support her.

I base this on my understanding of your own writings. Elsewhere, you have advanced the argument that nowadays blacks can with impunity refer to race in whatever terms they choose, but whites can mention race only if they refer positively to blacks and/or negatively to whites.

Further, you said (I’m paraphrasing here), that this is not a double standard because it is all part of the reigning anti-white continuum of the left.

So yes, given the leftist slant of American politics, Hillary has transgressed. To the increasingly small number of us still grounded in sanity and reality, Hillary was merely stating the obvious in a race-specific but value-neutral way. At least she had the grace not to refer to blacks with the open disdain with which Obama refers to whites.

I’m bracing myself for four more years of this. I begin to suspect it will be only marginally more bearable if Obama loses and temporarily leaves the spotlight. Left-wingers and blacks won’t stop wagging the dog on their own. They will have to be made to stop, somehow. Increasingly, I don’t really care how, I just want it done.

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Ben W. writes:

Obama says about his grandmother, “She is a typical white person.” Typical means of a type. Does Obama not want his grandmother to be of the type white person? What type could she be if not a white person? Wasn’t she born of the type white person?

Is Obama then the typical black person? Would he like it if we said he is a typical black person? And that a negative critique of the typical black person means that he should become an untypical black person—meaning not a black person.

Did he expect a higher type of grandmother—not of the type white person? Shouldn’t we then expect a higher type of Obama—not of the type black person?

Or is is bad to be of the type white person but it is good to be of the type black person? Typically one but not the other?

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 10, 2008 11:49 AM | Send

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