by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson
“Barack Obama’s Hispanic supporters in Nevada have attacked Hillary Clinton, claiming her supporters are trying to deny them their rights. ”
Fought in Newark’s neighborhoods and housing projects, the battle pits Booker against an old style political machine that uses any means necessary to crush its opponents: city workers who do not support the mayor are demoted; “disloyal” businesses are targeted by code enforcement; a campaigner is detained and accused of terrorism; and disks of voter data are burglarized in the night. Even the filmmaker is dragged into the slugfest, and by election day, the climate becomes so heated that the Federal government is forced to send in observers to watch for cheating and violence. The battle sheds light on important American questions about democracy, power and — in a surprising twist — race.
Time and again, however, Rove returned to the trump card he used in his successfully executed 2002 and 2004 elections, saying that neither Obama nor Clinton is prepared to protect the country from terrorists.
“Sometimes in campaigns you get carried away in your zeal to support your candidate. And you say things that are inappropriate and not proper for a campaign that should be based on the issues,” said Johnson, a Clinton supporter, in a phone interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room.” “And that is why I issued this personal apology to Senator Obama. I know Senator Obama. I have a great deal of respect for him. And I’m glad that his campaign has responded and accepted the apology.”
“Voters are bombarded with information about which contender has ‘what it takes’ to be the best candidate. Who can deliver the most stirring rhetoric? Who can build the most attractive facade? Who can mount the wiliest counterattack? Whose life makes for the neatest story? Our political and media culture reflects and drives an obsession with who is going to win, rather than who should win.”
In the week or so leading up to the Nevada caucus I feel like I heard more from and about Bill Clinton than I did about Hillary Clinton. Is that the media’s doing rather than the campaign’s? Maybe. But I don’t find the argument convincing and I’m not sure it would matter if it were true. What seems difficult to deny is that his rising profile is threatening her position as the dominant force in her own campaign.
Clinton’s idea of leadership is very different. Her effort to reform health care shortly after her husband took office was notable in that no one mobilized the public. Her team took polls, conducted focus groups, and engaged interest groups. But they never mobilized the public. And although an outsider at the time, she tried to play the insider game. But in the insider’s game, only the insider’s reality counts. So she lost – and so did the millions of us who never had an opportunity to help make the health care “changes” we needed and wanted and deserved.
Now Clinton wants us to hear what she will do “for” us, what “she” will deliver – much as a lawyer, drawing strength not from her client but from her expertise, argues a case. Obama, on the other hand, urges people to join with him in acting for themselves and each other. A former community organizer, he learned that without mobilizing the strength of people who want change, it won’t happen. It’s not only that changing ourselves and changing the world go together.