Thursday, March 13, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro. Feminist pioneer or ranting racist?

The new political sensibilites are really straining my credulity.

Reasonably, Barack Obama invokes MLK and other themes that very appropriately draw on his African American heritage on pretty much a daily basis. Obama appropriately and accurately expresses his pride in his heritage and the fact the Democrats deserve a lot of social credit for having a woman and an African American as the top nominees of the party.

Enter Geraldine Ferraro, a feminist pioneer and civil rights *activist*, who suggests the transparently obvious notion that race is a factor in Obama's success.

Then..... all hell breaks loose and Ferraro is branded a racist.

There is a a rational argument that suggests that although Obama is certainly *gaining* some votes because of race he is also *losing* some because of his race. Thus the balance in voting is hard to calculate and if race is invoked it is some sort of code language that is trying to pull him down.

Yikes - but that argument is not being made and is pretty questionable mathematically.

Rather I'm hearing otherwise intelligent people suggesting that "race has nothing to do with this" even as they themselves express approval about the racial diversity of the campaign. Folks you simply cannot have it both ways. Race is either a factor in this or it is not a factor. If you think it's a minor factor say that, but to suggest that race is of zero consequence in this campaign is, in a word, nonsense.

So, how is race and gender influencing the Obama Clinton contest? This would require a close look at exit polling, and hopefully we'll see more of this rather than the nonsensical punditry going on all over the networks as this mini-scandal dominates the coverage of the election.

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