Obama Losing Two-Front Race War

Andrew Sullivan fears that, whatever the outcome of tonight’s primaries, the press will frame it as about race.

[W]hat Obama has been subjected to is a classic pincer movement: the Clintons have attacked from the right, subtly and not-so-subtly framing Obama’s candidacy as a racial one, and evoking Bill’s own Bubba identity and Hillary’s totally fabricated working class white credentials. And Jeremiah Wright has attacked from the left: desperate for attention, alternately demonizing Obama for selling out and projecting his own clownish-left sensibility onto the first serious black contender for the presidency. Wright has given white voters permission – and an alibi – not to vote for Obama on racial grounds. The Clintons have given the same voters a Fox News-approved, Rove-blessed alternative to racial transcendence.

There’s not much doubt that the Clintons have deliberately injected race into the equation. Why, though, is such as attack considered as coming “from the right”? The Clintons aren’t conservatives. And, certainly, conservatives have no monopoly on racial demagoguery.

The Clintons are simply exploiting a perceived weakness of an opponent in a baldy shameless manner. That’s the sine qua non of Clintonism, frankly, and is explicitly apathetic to ideology. That was the essence of the triangulation campaign that Bill Clinton and Dick Morris cooked up, after all, well before anyone outside of Texas had ever heard the name Karl Rove.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Race and Politics, The Presidency, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    Well, there’s one racial aspect of today’s contests the MSM hasn’t had the guts to ask about (at least anywhere I’ve seen): Indiana was the birthplace of the KKK. It’s not very front-page, but outside the major metro areas, racism is still alive & well there, and if Obama comes anywhere near Hillary in the polls, _that_ will be a truly newsworthy data point…

  2. Since accidentally re-adding the Daily Dish to Google Reader a few weeks ago, I have concluded that the following terms are just Sully-shorthand for “people Andrew Sullivan disagrees with, usually affiliated with the Clinton campaign since He Hearts Obama,” without any real effort to tie the actual complaint to the people in question (except perhaps to preserve himself a lifeline of “at least Hillary isn’t as bad as McCain” should the Obama train derail): “the right”, “Roveian”, and “Christianist.” You can read Balloon Juice using the same substitutions (has anyone seen John Cole and Andrew Sullivan in the same room, ever?).

    And don’t forget, there’s nothing more Burkean than supporting same-sex marriage. It’s right there in Burke, right next to the part where he talks about the evils of male circumcision.

    Yes, I’m being snarky. I get that way when I’m trying to avoid grading and particularly when I have to take a break from GTA kicking my ass.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I guess, then, it has nothing to do with the FACT Obama has attended a church which preaches Black liberation theology and has for years. The lies about what whites have done to blacks is quickly apparent to anyone not tainted by leftist politics. But leaving race far behind, can anyone defend Obama’s association with those who seem to hate the United States. Ayers and Dohrn come to mind immediately. Taking part in the Million man march for Farrakhan, another of Obama’s hero’s, at least until he ran for national office. This lop does not have a chance in the general election, and it has nothing to do with his race, but his choice of associates or his politics. What is it he wants to change? Freedom for socialism?

  4. teqjack says:

    Why, though, is such as attack considered as coming “from the right”?

    Because left-right [brain? – Wright] is where he lives. I might have categorized them as Front (in-your-face Clinton) and Rear (jackass Wright backstabbing) if I had bothered.

  5. Fence says:

    The Clintons are to the right of where the Democratic Party was in 1991. Hillary seems to be to the right of Obama in her actual beliefs, although, while I am to the right of the both, I’d prefer Obama between the two.

    But teqjack is right, Front and Rear (or kick in the balls and kick in the ass) seem more apt here.

  6. hy, though, is such as attack considered as coming “from the right”?

    Because Andrew’s getting ready to launch his attacks on McCain and the GOP when the time permits.

  7. Our Paul says:

    It is a tab bit after one AM, and Obama, trails Clinton by about 16,000 votes, with 97% counted in Indiana. The talking heads are unified in their opinion that Hillary is toast, she cannot win either the popular vote or the delegate count, even if Florida and Michigan are added to the mix.

    Do not always agree with Andrew Sullivan, but I like the way he marshals his thoughts. I guess the same can be said about James Joiner and his associate scribes. This time, I agree with Sully and James…

    The racist comments are hidden under the fig leaf of Obama’s pastor, attacks on his patriotism, and of course the references to his wife Michelle, stereotyped as the uppity black women who hates America.

    It is going to get worse, a lot worse. Hillary has learned that this was not the path to fallow. Unfortunately, I do not think the more strident Center Right folks will take note. Keep in mind that Obama has captured the young, the educated, and a fair number of the uncommitted. Racially smear Obama, and you will have dedicated voters who will never drift to the Republican side.

  8. DL says:

    With a 91% of black voters supporting the black candidate, can we say anything else, but that it is about race?