Friday, June 06, 2008





It has been pointed out within these pages on many occasions that you've both been excellent black leaders. I agree with only part of that contention. I agree, you have indeed represented the community well--in the past. But I disagree with the contention that you're "black leaders". You're not leaders, you're employees–you've been employed by your constituents to "represent" their views. So in light of the fact that both your constituencies overwhelmingly support Barack Obama, it's quite understandable that like any employer, many want to know why you're failing to reflect their views on this, the most critical issue in our history. So the issue before us is not how you've represented us in the past, but rather, how you're representing us now.

Most of your constituents are passionately opposed to Hillary Clinton, and contrary to Hillary's contention, that opposition has absolutely nothing to do with race or gender. African Americans have been Clinton supporters, and defenders, for close to two decades, in overwhelming numbers. Initially, Hillary had as much as a 23% lead over Obama in the black community, but she lost that support by repeatedly playing the race card to rally white support.

In addition, African Americans have voted over 95% of the time for white candidates, virtually without exception. So for the Hillary camp to imply that the African American vote is race based is flatly disingenuous–and since there are more female senators and governors than there are blacks in those same positions, it is also clear that the gender issue, relative to Hillary and Obama, is also being manufactured, as it applies to America as a whole. Like several other issues, this issue is being carefully inserted into the political debate through the crafting of subliminal messaging to inflame Hillary's female base–clear evidence that her entire campaign has been based on division.

The truth is, similar to the black community, a growing number of Democrats as a whole have turned against Hillary–and for reasons that have nothing to do with race or gender. The problem goes to the very heart of what it means to be a Democrat. Hillary has violated several fundamental Democratic ideals–the Democratic tenets of loyalty, honesty, and fair play. These are the primary tenets that sets the Democratic Party apart. They're what makes Democrats Democrats. In addition, her behavior has clearly demonstrated that she's putting her own ambition before the people, and that's a trait that's distasteful to most Americans as a whole.

For weeks Hillary's been whipping her supporters into a frenzy–just as Bush did before invading Iraq–to go before the DNC to challenge a decision that she fully supported before she started losing the campaign. She's purposely creating dissension within the Democratic Party to further her own ends. Thus, by engaging in this scorched Earth strategy, she's literally telling the Democratic leadership, "If you don't nominate me, let them eat cake" –and the "them" that she speaks of, includes her own loyal supporters. So if Hillary had any concern whatsoever about either her supporters, the black community, or the plight of the American people as a whole, she wouldn't even think of sabotaging the Democratic Party's efforts in the upcoming general election.

What's infuriating many Americans is that Hillary knows full well what's at stake in this election. The very fate of the nation hangs in the balance, yet, this lady is so self-centered that she's chosen this critical moment in history to place herself before the welfare of the nation. Even many Republicans have recognized that George Bush has placed this country in such a precarious position that this is no time to play political games. That explains why we're seeing some of the strangest bedfellows in the history of this country lining up to support Obama.

On the one hand you have Ted Kennedy, and John Edwards supporting Obama. In addition, over a hundred New York feminist leaders--including peace activist, Cora Weiss, columnist, Katha Pollitt of The Nation Magazine, and the New York Times Pulitzer-prize winning writer, Margo Jefferson –have come together to sign a joint statement endorsing Obama. Then on the other side of the ledger you have Bush's long-time friend and former press secretary Scott McClellan indicating that he's considering supporting Obama. Also, Rupert Murdoch, the ultraconservative owner of FOX and the Wall Street Journal, recently indicated that he not only likes the Illinois senator, but was instrumental in the New York Post's endorsement of Obama. Even the ninety year old Sen. Robert Byrd, the longest sitting senator in the history of the United States, the senate's most staunch supporter of the U.S. Constitution, and a former Klan member, has endorsed Senator Barack Obama.

Having such a disparate group of people coming together in support of a young, first-term senator against as powerful a political force as the Clintons speaks volumes.

Hillary's tactics alone should send up a red flag telling you that she's a prime example of everything that's wrong with this country. Think about it on a personal level–Hillary agreed to ground rules in Florida and Michigan that she now wants to change in the middle of the game, not because she cares about the people of those states, but because she's losing the race. If she was truly genuine in what she professes, she would have objected from the very beginning instead of waiting until she began to lose. If you had a friend that did that at a card party, would you want to keep them as a friend?

And think about this–Hillary became so desperate after falling behind in the primaries that she aligned herself with the Republican candidate, in spite of the fact that she knew it would hurt the Democratic Party and all of the people who have put their heart and soul into supporting her. And now she's taking it even further by blatantly threatening the Democratic Party--you and I-- with possible defeat if she doesn't get her way.

So, once again, let's personalize this. Would you tolerate a person in your bowling league who tries to change the rules in the middle of the game, lies and cheats on the score, helps the other team to try to force you to let her play, and then threatens to sabotage the game if you don't agree to let her be the one to hold the trophy when you take the winning picture? I don't think so.

Hillary could never win the presidency, because every American has known a backstabber, and in the end they'd never vote for one. So, tell me, why are you?

Eric L. Wattree

* Subsequent to this writing Rep. Maxine Waters has come out for Sen. Obama.

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