It's rare that I defend Bill and Hillary Clinton because I disagree with them on so many levels, politically, socially, and morally. But every so often a situation comes up and I put my objections aside to defend them.
The recent flap over comments Bill and Hillary made that seemed to diminish Barack Obama and African-Americans in general is one such time. After reviewing the statements made, such as Bill calling Obama's media image a "fairy tale" and Hillary saying it took a President to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, some African-Americans have taken offense and said it's a pattern for the Clintons.
As much as I find the Clintons being the victims of having the race card played on them enjoyable in a schadenfreude kind of way, I have to say it's not right. To connect the Clintons' statements to a "pattern of racism" is weak at best. I'm not saying they've done all they could to promote and defend civil rights, but I don't think they're real racists. They're more of "accidental racists" like people who tell a joke in mixed company but don't know they're in mixed company. If anything, they've been conscious of race to an extreme, usually for political purposes, but conscious all the same. That should not be discounted in this situation at all.
Something that troubles me about this is how many pro-Obama people are jumping on the "Clintons are racists" bandwagon. Obama himself isn't the one raising the subject and has, in fact, worked to break down the walls between whites and blacks by trying to appeal to and comfort both. When Joe Biden made his awkward comment trying to praise Obama, Obama took it as it was intended, not as some have interpreted it. With this situation, Obama and his campaign, by and large, have not seen fit to fuel the fire.
But some of Obama's surrogates have, including one Jesse Jackson, Jr. That creates a problem for Obama in that it makes it look and sound like Obama is a race hustler by virtue of the statements of those defending him. Making comments that deflect the issue will only take you so far, but there will come a time when an explanation will be due and you will have to make a definitive statement.
For Obama, that time is coming up with the South Carolina contest. The South is an area where some racism still exists, but so does an atmosphere of racial hyper-sensitivity. People don't want to be called a racist (except for the racists, of course), so they're willing to do anything it takes to make African-Americans like them. This becomes a political boon for Obama, but it could become a political boondoggle unless he completely disavows the notion that the Clintons are racist and publicly takes his surrogates who believe the Clintons are racist to task. After running with a message that encourages racial unity, the last thing Obama needs is a bunch of race hustlers undercutting that message.
So, Satan will be cruising online for some long underwear, thanks to me. You're welcome, Satan.