Archive - Mar 12, 2008

Your Guide To Identity Politics (Special Edition)

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Memo to Geraldine Ferraro: YOU ARE DUMB.

One of these days, I really am going to get to my column about the difference between opposing Barack Obama, and opposing Barack Obama because you hate black people. It's a subtle difference, which is apparently why many white people are concerned they'll be accused of being on the wrong side of it. That will have to wait, however, so I can deal with Geraldine Ferraro, who, um, opposes Barack Obama because she hates black people. It's an exciting, special, all-who-the-fuck-is-Geraldine-Ferraro-again edition of IDIOTS SAY THE DAMNDEST THINGS!

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept." - Geraldine Ferraro, March 7.

This is a slightly more blunt version of an argument that's been floating around the Clinton camp (Ferraro is one of Clinton's big advisers) for a while now. That people aren't voting for Barack Obama, they're voting for the "first black president", no matter who he is. Any old pile of melanin would do, really. Ferraro takes it a bit farther than most, though, chalking* up Obama's lead in the popular vote, states won, and delegate count entirely to his skin color.

I'm not sure how that would work, exactly - how Obama knew that now was the time to take political advantage of America's long-standing love affair with black males. But it's clearly a strategy that Ferraro has studied for some time.

"...if Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race." - Geraldine Ferraro, April 15, 1988.

OK, apparently there's been some kind of secret affirmative action policy going on in politics since at least 1988, and none of us knew it because, well, we'd expect it to lead to a lot of African-Americans winning elections and taking office. But Ferraro knows! The years of experience gained from being forgotten after helping Mondale lose to Reagan cannot be denied! That said, for our collective sanity, let's NOT ask her about Eliot Spitzer's lieutenant governor and what it'll mean if he becomes the first black governor of New York. Because I'm thinking we don't want to know.

Obviously, Ferraro has issues. I don't know if she was raised that way, or if she's just bitter because the most famous Geraldine of all time is a black man, or what, but once people started yelling at her for being stupid, she doubled down on dumb:

"Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let's address reality and the problems we're facing in this world, you're accused of being racist, so you have to shut up. Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?" - Geraldine Ferraro, March 11.

That's deeply fucking stupid, is what that is. That's so fucking stupid it should disqualify you from saying it, except maybe on Fox News. Oh, wait, it WAS on Fox News, your number one network for listening to oppressed white anchorpeople talk about how oppressed they are twenty-four hours a day. For Geraldine Ferraro's benefit, I've compiled a short list of reasons she's being attacked for her statement, so that she knows where "being white" ranks.

  1. Because you said something stupid.
  2. Because Clinton got an Obama staffer fired for calling Clinton a "monster", and it's payback time.
  3. Because you said something borderline racist.
  4. Because politics, and political reporting, is about who said what awful thing today.
  5. Lingering resentment over the Mondale loss.
  6. Because you're a woman.
  7. Because about fifteen other people above you on the list weren't available for interviews
  8. Because it's March.
  9. Lingering resentment over the cancellation of Tucker Carlson's show.
  10. Lingering resentment over expensive Italian sports cars.
  11. The press corps is still gassy from those ribs at McCain's house.
  12. Because you cried that one time... wait, no, that was Pat Schroeder.
  13. Because Ralph Nader told them to from his mind-control bunker.
...

597. Because you're white.

I don't know what it is about this primary that's bringing out the crazy and stupid in people who were, if not, apparently, normally sane and smart, were at least quiet about it. I can't tell if it's good in the long run because it's dragging all these latent attitudes out into the light, or hurting in the short term because it makes the Democratic Party establishment look like even bigger idiots than usual. Probably both.

* If you'll pardon the expression.