Were Clintonâ€™s comment on Obama racist?
Â By Amin George Forji
Â Â Two key issues have characterized the2008 Democratic Party campaign for the nomination of the next presidential candidate: experience and change. Hillary Clinton has been qualified as the candidate of experience and Obama as the candidate of change. But lets face it: the central of gravity has been on one single candidate-Barack Obama.
Â Prior to the last presidential elections in 2004, he was a relatively unknown person, beside his state of Illinois, where he was running for a Senate seat on the Democratic ticket. John Kerry and john Edwards may have won the eventual nomination, but it was Obama who emerged as the highest winner from the party, during that electoral calendar.
He was the major illumination at the Bolton convention that crowned Kerry and Edwards, after he delivered an emotional political keynote speech, in a rock star fashion; now considered being amongst the best political speeches ever in American history. Within minutes after the speech, the media rightly speculated that he may be the next front-runner during the next presidential elections, and the forecast turn out true. National polls put Hillary Clinton and Obama on the lead since the start of the 2008 presidential calendar as front-runners, or as some put it, the next President and VP, and vice versa.
Obamaâ€™s rise to political stardom has probably irritated no other family than the Clinton, and they show it each time they get a chance. A recent case in point is the latest comments by Bill Clinton on Obama. In a televised interview aired nationwide on Friday, Clinton questioned Obamaâ€™s experience saying:
“I was, in terms of experience, was closer to Senator Obama, I suppose, in 1988 when I came within a day of announcing… I really didn’t think I knew enough, and had served enough and done enough to run.”
The statement came within hours after Obama made a record feat by organizing a rally, attended by over 24,000 people in New York city-Clintonâ€™s backyard, where both him and Hillary have until date since he electoral year only been able to attract a maximum crowd of 2,500 people.
The comments by Bll widely considered to be a respected statesman were seen as a strategy to create distraction, and prevent the media from commenting about Obamaâ€™s NY historic rally.
Â But above all, it severely backfired back on the Clintonâ€™s family. Even fans of the Hillary campaign conceded that he remarks were embarrassing.
The Hufington Post and Yahoo news have even examined the comment in terms of race, and appear to qualify it as racist. The fact is this. When Clinton ran in 1992, he was the same age as Obama now-46 years old. He claims Obamaâ€™s experience can only near his when he was 42. When a white male says this about a black male, what is the likely implication? Probably, many are suggesting already that the white IQ is some years higher than the black. Is it not taking us back to the stone age? Was Clinton judging Obama in terms of colour or character? Ironically, Obama has been in public service for a much longer period than the wife (over 20 years-almost half of his life, serving as a community organizer, civil rights lawyer, constitutionally law professor, state legislator and US senator). In this race, Hillaryâ€™s years as first lady have been counted as part of the experience. So, will Laura Bush be the next experienced candidate for the Republican nomination in 2012?
The remarks are more damaging because to many, Clinton was considered as the first â€œblack presidentâ€
Â Well, whatever the intended purpose of Clintonâ€™s remarks, it has given Obama a window of opportunity he may have wished for-to cast imputation on the Clintonâ€™s character, without appearing destructive or doing negative campaigning.
â€œI remember what was said years ago by a candidate running for President.â€Â Obama said a rally on Saturday in Concord.Â â€œThe same old experience is not relevant.Â You can have the right kind of experience and the wrong kind of experience.â€ He paused and then continued:â€œWell that candidate was Bill Clinton.Â And I think he was absolutely right.â€ He added to the applause of his audience.Â Â Obama was in fact quoting former president Bill Clintonâ€™s famous answer to a debate question in 1992, about doubts of his own experience at the time,Â in the same way that Â hisâ€™ (Obamaâ€™s) Â has been questioned in the 2008 race by pundits; as he competed for the white House with the former President George Bush sr.
Below is a video link of Clintonâ€™s speech:
â€œThere are those who say we they can play the game in Washington. Well we shouldnâ€™t be playing a game when young men and women are dying in the battlefields of iraq,â€ Obama told the cheering crowd. â€œWe donâ€™t need the kind of experience that leads people into warâ€¦ the kind of experience that tinkers around the edges instead of doing something fundamental about how lobbyists operate in Washington.â€
â€œWe need the kind of experience that I think I bring to this race, of bringing people together to get things done,â€ he concurred.