So it's all in your head if you think the Clintons are doing anything to use race to beat Barack Obama.
Here's Dick Morris taking the strong position that they absolutely know what they are doing and mean to do it:
If Hillary loses South Carolina and the defeat serves to demonstrate Obama's ability to attract a bloc vote among black Democrats, the message will go out loud and clear to white voters that this is a racial fight. It's one thing for polls to show, as they now do, that Obama beats Hillary among African-Americans by better than 4-to-1 and Hillary carries whites by almost 2-to-1. But most people don't read the fine print on the polls. But if blacks deliver South Carolina to Obama, everybody will know that they are bloc-voting. That will trigger a massive white backlash against Obama and will drive white voters to Hillary Clinton.Here's Mickey Kaus proposing what he thinks is a clever tactic:
Obama has done everything he possibly could to keep race out of this election. And the Clintons attracted national scorn when they tried to bring it back in by attempting to minimize the role Martin Luther King Jr. played in the civil rights movement. But here they have a way of appearing to seek the black vote, losing it, and getting their white backlash, all without any fingerprints showing. The more President Clinton begs black voters to back his wife, and the more they spurn her, the more the election becomes about race -- and Obama ultimately loses
He could try to make Hillary the pet candidate of Latinos the way he's being cast as the pet candidate of blacks--but that would require a shift to the right on immigrant legalization that he doesn't seem willing to make.)...Centralize affirmative action as an issue in the campaign? How would that play out? It seems to me that the candidates would like to get race back into the background — but Hillary first must use it to defeat Obama.
The more obvious move is to find a Sister Souljah--after Saturday--to stiff arm. The most promising candidate is not a person, but an idea: race-based affirmative action. Obama has already made noises about shifting to a class-based, race-blind system of preferences. What if he made that explicit? Wouldn't that shock hostile white voters into taking a second look at his candidacy? He'd renew his image as trans-race leader (and healer). The howls of criticism from the conventional civil-rights establishment--they'd flood the cable shows--would provide him with an army of Souljahs to hold off. If anyone noticed Hillary in the ensuing fuss, it would be to put her on the spot--she'd be the one defending mend-it-don't-end-it civil rights orthodoxy.
IN THE COMMENTS: Our ghostly reader from the distant past, Sir Archy, has favored us with another visit!
To Professor Althouse.
As a Ghost of a former Scotch Elector, dead these 250 years and more, I have seen many an Election, and voted in not a Few. My unfortunate Death put an end to my climbing the Polling Booth steps, as the Franchise was not extended in Scotland in my Day to the Dead. That my Ghostly Condition entitles me to especial Consideration in certain American Constituencies is a piece of welcome Intelligence; I shall endeavor to inform your Readers of the Progress of my Efforts to claim my Place, after these many Years, as an American Elector.
But enough of my Fortunes—let us think on those of Mrs. Clinton: That Mrs. Clinton will be elect'd President, can admit of no Doubt. Consider the Clintons' Past-Mast'ry of arousing Passion & exciting Fear. Consider Mrs. Clinton's prospective Opponents: A Gentleman of good Fortune & Family, but insipid and uninspiring Mien; a half-pay Officer gone into Politicks, who, despite his heroick Past, has anger'd Half his Party; and a former Lord Mayor, who would play Dick Whittington, had he either the Sagacity of the Original, or the Cat of the Character. Are any of these Gentlemen a serious Obstacle to the Clinton Ferocity?
Consider her principal Opponent within her own Party: He should be the only Force that could halt Mrs. Clinton's inexorable Advance upon the White House. He is a fine and accomplish'd Gentleman of African descent, yet his Armour provides the Clintons two Chinks into which to insert the Rapier: The First is that he is a fine Gentleman, and not used to such vengeful Blows; the Second is that he is African, which in America opens him to a variety of Trips beyond the Dreams of any Stiletto-wielding Assassin. The Clintons have him down and are now engag'd in trying the Joints of his Breastplate. We only await Blood upon the Ground as Confirmation of his Demise.
That Mrs. Clinton should be elect'd President ought to occasion sombre Reflection among the American Electorate. The Maxims of a Democratick Nation imply the continual Rotation of Power, and that a Man (or now, a Woman) may answer Ambition with Effort, and rise by way of Politicks. That Power be always the Provinance of one Family or the Other, is a Situation fitter to Spain in my Day, where Hapsburgs & Bourbons contended to oppress an Empire, rather than for a manly Nation, founded on the Principles of British Liberty.
Giving careful consideration to the Qualities of the various Candidates for whom I should vote,
I remain, Madam,
Your humble & obt. Servant,