You see folks, here’s the rub. According to American social history, Barack Obama is way out of line. In fact, Obama is out of place, way out of the place that white America has perennially prescribed (especially) for Americans of African descent.
And yes, the conventional wisdom says that older white women Democrats have directed their anger at Obama, the press and powerful forces within the national Democratic Party for slighting, co-opting and maligning Hillary Clinton.
But, hey, come on America, the truth is that Barack Obama crossed the color line. That line separates privilege, opportunity and justice under the law for white Americans and Americans of African descent. That’s what the anger is about. It’s about Barack Obama being “uppity.”
Bill and Hillary Clinton sought to capitalize on American social history by bringing the color line front and center to the presidential campaign. They called Obama a “kid” (boy), “inexperienced” (no president enters office with presidential experience) and “uppity” (a servile Negro who has forgotten his place).
The Clintons were successful in charging Obama with “playing the race card” simply by understanding how to subliminally seduce significant numbers of white people. To the white nationalist mindset, Obama did play the race card by running for president of the United States of America. As a Negro, he had crossed the color line!
The Clinton gambit also forced the press to await a defense from Obama. Meanwhile, pundits of all political stripes, ethnicities and religions flooded print and electronic mass media discussing the spurious subject of “race.” Not only did the onus of “race baiting” become Obama’s to defend against, he also countered with a major, nationally televised address on the notion of race and American social history, and hope for the future.
“Uppity” has gotten stuck to Obama like something dried in cement. Besides older white women Democrats, the Clinton machine went after “blue collar workers” as in white, mainly non-executive types who never attended or finished college. The double whammy of “uppity” they got included Bill and Hillary telling them that Obama doesn’t know anything about their plight because he is “an elitist,” a person who considers himself above them.
Latin voters, especially those who consider themselves “white,” bring to the U. S. A. a history of social class suppression in which dark and mixed people are discriminated against with scant or no legal consequences. Bill and Hillary Clinton hung the uppity/elitist tag on Obama and easily swayed a majority of the Latin vote. It’s all about the color line.
In their arrogance, the Clintons did not foresee losing any percentage of the black vote, a wellspring of votes utilized by white Democratic politicians to maintain power. Hillary lost between 80 to 90 percent of black Democratic votes everywhere. Buried beneath piles of Clinton machine miscalculations is that defining reality.
Sen. Hillary Clinton’s set up and hand off to her good friend Sen. John McCain is a calculated — and not a losing — move. If McCain succeeds in bashing Obama with all the ammunition left for him by the Clintons, i.e., keeping the presidential race about the color line through charging Obama with being an elitist, uppity Negro who is young and inexperienced, then Hillary can run again in 2012 because McCain only wants to serve one term.
So look for Bill and Hillary Clinton to play their political cards from the top, middle and bottom of the deck, looking good in Denver and beyond. If Obama wins in November, I believe the Clintons will still look at beginning a campaign for 2012. Why? Because Obama still has to govern a country that is primarily about the color line.
Photo: Al Calloway