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March 14, 2008

Politics of Desperation

Roy Meachum

Geraldine Ferraro's withdrawal from the Clinton campaign drowned in the flood of news generated by the New York governor's resignation. Elliot Spitzer accepted the inevitable. The lady was altogether another case.


Ms. Ferraro has a non-stop mouth; she does not know when to shut up. The rhubarb she kicked up this week was a repeat. In 1988, Jesse Jackson ran for president. Ms. Ferraro said if he "weren't black, he wouldn't be in the race."


Using the minority's new label, she told a California paper Barack Obama holds the advantage in today's primary only because he is "African American."


This was the week of Clinton goofball politics.


After scoffing at Barack Obama, claiming he has no qualifications and implying he's very immature, Bill and Hillary Clinton both suggested this week he would make a handy-dandy number two on her ticket.


Blowing off the possibility, Mr. Obama pointed out the whopping contradiction. He suggested that in light of his solid lead the tentative offering completely ignored reality. Of course, it was Mrs. Clinton's underdog standing that caused Ms. Ferraro to claw and scratch her competition.


The former congresswoman admits it was solely her gender that prompted 1984 Democratic candidate Walter Mondale to ask her to fill the vice presidential slot on his ticket. Using herself as an example, the member of the Clinton finance committee denigrated Mr. Obama and his supporters. Hundreds of thousands of voters firmly believed there is much more to the man than his father's blood strain.


Ms. Ferraro insisted, however, right to her bloody step-down from public life, that color was the sole attribute that brought him so close to the White House.


Since he is the first black American to reach so far in the political world, and history records how bigotry has destroyed others, on what basis does the self-designated hatchet woman claim Mr. Obama's colored skin is a great advantage? She is being simply Geraldine.


In 1984, Ms. Ferraro ran such a negative campaign, the incumbent vice president's wife, Barbara Bush, told reporters the Democratic wannabe's name evoked a word that rhymed with "rich." Mrs. Bush later publicly apologized.


In the 21st century, you might think Ms. Ferraro could follow the example provided by one of the most admired ladies in American political history. You would be wrong. By way of response to her critics, Mr. Clinton's former U.N. ambassador argues the attacks on her slanderous comment are made only because her skin is white.


In any event, it is possible that Ms. Ferraro's racial outbursts were motivated by the way her candidate's losing. Hillary Clinton's "landslide" in Texas turned out otherwise.


After the caucuses are figured in, Mr. Obama, according to CNN, will get a majority of the Lone Star delegates. The Mississippi primary last weekend bumped up his cushion, by 6. The senator from Illinois leads the senator from New York 1,602 to 1,496. Some 250 “super delegates” have not declared.


On that basis, the real reason for Geraldine Ferraro's numbing attack may have been frantic desperation.


My recent column has been joined by other journalistic voices. Even before the Texas' adjustment, we all figure there's no way Hillary Clinton can wind up with more popular votes than Barack Obama. And most super delegates have told the media they will back the candidate the majority rank-and-file party members want.


Little noticed, the non-pledged super delegates have dwindled. In the shift, Mr. Obama climbed to 212 and Mrs. Clinton now tallies 248 – giving her a far smaller slice of the "supers' pie" than she had before.


N.B. Since there are no "official" sources for the delegate count, the Associated Press's estimates were used.


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