Articles and Analysis


POLL: CBS Race & Gender

CBS News
(story; results)

"Thirty nine percent of registered voters said a woman running for president faces more obstacles while 33 percent said a black candidate does."

"More voters admit their unwillingness to vote for a woman. Nearly one in five voters says that all things being equal, they would rather vote for a man."



i posted this on the previous blog but it is far more apropos here. it was in respinse to a certain obama mole called, 'susan'
it might be interesting that i share some reactions to your candidate with many others who bailed out on him, reactions that have developed over the fall and winter such that i started out discussing with my black journalist friends on a private blog, the
terrific fact of his candidacy. they were the angry ones, i was the one who begged them to go easy on the guy.

but as an american, one who does not much cotton to brainwashing or corporate manipulation in any respect, i felt that all the candidates were getting sidelined to accommodate this man's upward trajectory, a log cabin story the press wanted to write very badly. a trajectory that was far easier to swallow than that of a woman's rise to power, a threat that has raised the hair on men's back since the beginning of time.

i like fairness. this was not fair. i had moved from biden, to obama and then, finally to hillary because she was abused. yes, even white women can be that. it's a more subtle and nastier kind. one that can't be dated with the voyage of a ship called La Amistad. it can't be referenced so easily with morbid numbers of executions, because it is a worldwide moral deficit.

it is a miasmic, insidious and a deeply psychological module that so many cannot literally live without.

what i do not like is lying. obama has demonstrated a tendency to do that and smoothing it over with sanctimony. i would ask you, whether you think that a single speech in october 2002 constitutes judgement when he never took to the hustings on behalf of the much ridiculed cindy sheehan? she was treated like a flake, an insane, loose canon of a woman, but she was braver and more courageous than anything that barack obama has tried to stretch over our eyes.

where was he? where was he in print? if he was too cowardly to walk with her, then where was he on the radio, where was he in flesh and blood? he had 6 years to show his face again on the issue, that's a lot of days.. count 'em.

the most recent example of his prevaricating tendency has been his total back tracking on wright. if you were to take a hot cup of milk and settle down a bit, 'susan' you might see the same if you listened to the anderson cooper link.

i didn't make obama say these things. he spoke freely and totally refuted what he later said in the most politically savvy and choreographed speech of all campaigning history. in fact, it reaked of pure hollywood.

but aside from that, 'susan', i drifted from obama's camp because he was false and because he was prematurely crowned before the rest of the US had a chance think for themselves.

if you deem the recent behavior of the fourth estate to be equitable, then fine. but i strongly believe, that the press is fomenting inevitable race riots by this predilection. they have built a hornets nest that will explode in their and our faces.

it may be time for a black president, it may be time for a woman. but it is never time for lies, for arm twisting and for a lock down on fair reporting. i will vote for the human being. your endless plants will not sway me nor anyone else.


Ismakc, Thank you for that expressive, insightful post above, especially your perception that Obama tends to smoothe over lying with sanctimony. That touched a nerve with me. What I found false in Obama's speech yesterday was that he made the case that Wright's inflammatory words should be understood in context as conveying a truth of historical social injustice. But he doesn't practice what he preaches. Ferraro was just making the obvious observation that enthusiastic African-American support had put Obama over the top in many states, and, in this particular race, was as advantage. Hardly arguable, given the polling numbers on African-American votes. Yet Obama's campaign called for Ferraro's ouster from Hillary's campaign, and labeled Ferraro a "racist" -- a women who had devoted her life to social and economic equality. Where was Obama's search there for context, truth, or tolerance? Obama does owe Ferraro an apology.

What many don't know about Ferraro is that she was diagnosed several years ago with multiple myeloma, a very serious cancer of the bone. It is a death sentence to almost all patients, with less than three years to live. She took experimental drugs, and got a temporary remission sufficient to allow her to work, but she still has to pay $2,000/week for the shots. Even with her own health imperiled, she is lobbying every chance she gets for more research on this devastating disorder and for health care so all patients with the disease can afford those shots. This is an exemplary woman in every regard, and Obama had no hesitation in falsely ruining her reputation. Obama has the audacity to pick on a dying woman who is a national icon.




Ms Ferraro did not say that Senator Obama's support from the African-American community was the reason why he was still in the race. She said the ONLY reason (not even one of many reasons) he was competitive was because of his Blackness - quite a different interpretation. Ms Ferraro may have been picked out of obscurity to a VP slot because she was a woman - but Senator Obama's ability to inspire a grass-roots organization does not come solely because he's Black. Just because Ms Ferraro's suffering from a disease - no matter how horrible - does not excuse her ill-formed opinion.

@lsmakc - that sounds like akclsm...

How do you say everybody has been unfair to Senator Clinton? After all, when the campaign started, SHE was the presumptive, inevitable nominee. Out of the 3 major candidates, when Senators Edwards and Obama took her on as she was the frontrunner, the spin was that the boys were ganging up on the "poor woman"! Talk about unfairness... give me a break!
The press may want to write a log cabin story, but that would have come to naught if the grass-roots organization was not there.

You keep saying Senator Obama is lying, but I don't see much evidence from your side - and if you heard yesterday's speech and read various editorials, you'd know that he did not abandon Rev. Wright even though that would have been the politically expedient thing to do. A very Christian, denounce the sin, embrace the sinner approach. [Not my original line, might have read that in WaPo.]

I agree that folks don't recognize sexism as a major problem - the poll says many more folks list racism as more serious than sexism. I wrote in an earlier post that President Clinton's affair with Ms Lewinsky qualified as sexual harassment. Unfortunately, even many liberals are blinded by their love for President Clinton to see the obvious power disparity between a 22-year-old intern and the most powerful man in the world.


RS, You are misquoting Ferraro. She never said the only reason Obama was competitive was because he was black. You can read her exact statements on line in the Daily Breeze, the newspaper that initially interviewed her. Ferraro said, after talking about media bias against Hillary that was sexist, "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." First, she is addressing sexist bias in the media and the electorate -- a fact borne out by the poll numbers above. It is crucial to notice that Ferraro said that, if Obama was a black woman, he would not be in this position. Hence, race alone was not a determinative factor in his standing in the race, but both his sex and his race. Secondly, in alluding to "his position," she is alluding to Obama's position as current front-runner. No reasonable person could argue that Obama did not win in certain Potomac and southern states due to the fact that a majority or huge proportion of the Democrats were African-American, and those black voters were voting in margins of from 76% to about 95%. Ferraro's statement is based on fact, not racism. Ferraro is also indicating that the fact that Obama is male gave him a bias, in his favoar, in the media and electorate. This Ferraro incident shows Obama's intolerance, destructiveness, and racism. He is intentionally divisive.



No, I am not misquoting Ms. Ferraro.
I will give you the "man vs woman" part. But she does say that if Senator Obama was not a Black Man, he would not be in this position.

You single out the southern states and the Potomac primaries. What about Wisconsin, Nebraska, Washington state? No huge Black population there; but he won by large margins. Even in the Wisconsin primary (for the caucus-denouncers out there).

Ms. Ferraro and you miss the point - the reason Senator Obama ended February as the front-runner is because he has a well-organized, grass-roots campaign. Senator Clinton did not have that campaign in place in the post-Feb 5 states, as she expected to have the race over by Feb 5 (talk about arrogance). Senator Obama was prepared; Senator Clinton was not; and that has absolutely nothing to do with Senator Obama being a Black Male.

I have written this earlier, but perhaps it is worth re-writing - if a person "X" does not see Senator Obama's inspirational leadership, his ability to bring people together in a grass-roots effort, his intelligence, (yes) eloquence, honesty - and sees Senator Obama as only a Black Man, then that says more about "X" than about Senator Obama.


Joseph E:

Who fellas, let's talk about the polls.

I think the previous blog item about sexism and racism questions is relevant here. Can we find some truth out of this poll, or are people unwilling to admit their biases?

What is clear is that many more people polled were willing to admit prejudice against (or for) a female candidate, than were willing to admit prejudice against (or for) a black candidate.

Does this mean sex is more of a barrier, or more important than race, in the current election cycle? I think not. However, it is clear that expressing a preference for men or women is more socially acceptable than preferences based on race.

To look at another position, I know many churchgoers who would claim to be happy to attend a church with a black pastor, but publicly say they don't believe women should preach or be the head pastor of a church - or at least not their church.

But in many white and black churches, there are many more women pastors than pastors of the opposite race. People vote with their feet.

Perhaps many Americans still feel there are basic differences in the roles that men and women should hold. There are few who will admit to believing that black folks should not have certain jobs.

Perhaps many people who are only subtly prejudiced against black candidates. They may not know themselves that Obama's skin color is the reason they distrust or dislike him, just as many men (and women) who hate Hillary would be less likely to judge a man who had the same history.

I just don't think polls will get to the bottom of this.


RS, You are inserting too much into Ferraro's short statement. While it may be true that race played little role in many of the state contests Obama won, it played a decisive role in enough of them to make him a front-runner. By merely stating the obvious, one is not a racist. Secondly, it is racist to say that, because I am not an Obama supporter, I must only be judging him on his sking color. I worked on civil rights in the 60's. I would be delighted to see a qualified black person become president. At first, I supported Obama, but gradually dropped him. Obama may have potential to one day assume the presidency, but he is unqualified and untested at the moment. And, as an ardent civil rights worker, I have no tolerance for the way he has used the race card to stifle criticism and falsely disparage opponents.




Please read my post carefully. I never said you are a racist; I never even mentioned which candidate you support and why. I made a general statement, which even you should agree with as an "ardent civil rights worker." But you appear to be calling me a racist... Hopefully, just a misunderstanding on your part.

You might think I am inserting too much into Ms Ferraro's "short" statement, but it is a statement she has made again and again, and according to the Daily Breeze, was speaking emotionally - which typically is what one feels in one's heart. She did not even attempt to temper it by saying "one of the reasons" or "one of the big reasons." Just "He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. [A Black Man.]"

As for Senator Obama's edge being due to a "racial advantage" in certain states - after Feb 5 and pre-March 4, Senator Obama won 10 contests. You are focusing entirely on the Black-dominated states, where, yes, he gained a +59 delegate lead - but you are ignoring ME, WA, NE, WI, HI, where he gained +64. That's right, MORE.

You might think you (and Ms Ferraro) are stating the obvious, but you (and Ms Ferraro) are missing the obvious.

Senator Clinton's campaign management was terrible; she did not compete in the post-Feb 5, pre-Mar 4 states, leading to Senator Obama's landslide wins in those 10 contests.

Senator Obama, on the other hand, had enough of an organization and fought in all contests on Super Tuesday, to keep Senator Clinton's margins in her wins close - he actually came out with a +19 delegate margin on Super Tuesday, with the help of KS, MN, CO, AK, CT, DE, ID, ND and UT, among others.

And that - bottomline - is what has made Senator Obama the front-runner. Strong grass-roots organization everywhere, with strong support from African-Americans and young voters of all colors. Not just because of his African-American support. Sorry.

Clintonistas may want to completely discount Senator Obama's 20+ years of life experience, but 13+ million folks - whites, blacks, latinos, Asians, young, middle-aged, old, men, women - have a very different opinion about Senator Obama's qualifications and readiness to be President. And rightly so.


RS, You stated that, if a person didn't see Obama's various alleged qualities -- inspirational speaking ability, honesty, intelligence, organizational ability, etc. -- and only saw him as a Black Man, that says something about that person, ie. they are racist. No one should see only a black man in Obama, because he isn't black, but bi-racial. Your statement does impugn those who don't "see" Obama's alleged qualities. As to his "organizational skills," just a few years ago he failed miserably in his first run for Congress. He is still that same person who failed just a couple of years ago. He has the money to hire people now with organizational skills. You're attributing too much to him rather than to his skillful staff, whose specialty is placing blacks in high office by having them repeat platitudes over and over, which Obama is admittedly good at. You're fogetting, in your computations of delegates, South Carolina and all those Super Tuesday states in the south with high proportions of African-Americans voting. When you add all of those up, Obama is the front-runner primarily because his positioning of himself as a "black" candidate, and his solid black voting block, delivered victories before, on, and after Super Tuesday in a completely predictable fashion. If you add to that the advantage he has as a male, which the figures above show, Ferraro is accurately describing his advantage, in this particular primary season, as a black male, as opposed to being a white female. Hillary has the much tougher job. That is all Ferraro was saying. Such an analysis is not a racist comment. Ferraro in no way denigrated whatever else Obama brings to the table. She was merely observing what analysts of the polls have been saying for weeks now.



I said those who did not ascribe Senator Obama's success to his many qualities and restrict it solely to his Blackness are probably held prisoner by a racial worldview. What's wrong with that?

Senator Obama did not win Idaho or Nebraska because he was Black. He did not win Washington State or Wisconsin in landslides because he was Black. Yes, he won a few Southern states (except Tennessee and Arkansas) because of heavy African-American support. But surely you would agree that Senator Obama has been way more successful - in many White states - than any Black candidate in the past - whether it be the Rev. Jesse Jackson or the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Senator Clinton could have competed well in all of those milk-white states, but she did not. If she was an efficient manager, she should have been able to turn out her supporters. After all, caucuses do not need too many voters to turn out, as many Clintonistas as have pointed out.

Let's take your point of a "good team." Senator Clinton had just as much funds raised as Senator Obama, if not more in 2007. Despite that, she could not put together a competent team; they ran out of money, and she fired her most loyal aide/top campaign manager. Should not the ability to hire an excellent team be one of the major qualifications to be President? Senator Obama has shown that ability, and many more.

You can keep trying to explain away Senator Obama's success in terms of his Blackness or to the so-called ability of his team to prop up Black candidates. But you just keep avoiding the reality that for all of the ClintonS' political experience, Senator Clinton's campaign has just been one major blunder after another.

The youth vote, which is probably less a prisoner of the segregationist experience and the possible resultant racial worldview, would not be turning out for Senator Obama as it does - not just in votes, but in active participation through an organic grass-roots movement and fund-raising - if it were not for his inspirational qualities, honesty, intelligence, leadership and yes, eloquence.

Of course, you would just say that American youth - by a 3:1 margin - want a Black President, and anyone goes. That's an unfortunate view, and incorrect - ask the Rev. Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun. But I suppose that's how it appears through your tinted lens. Oh well.




Before you get angered or upset: someone with a racial worldview is not a racist. A person with a racial worldview finds a racial explanation for most things, when other valid alternatives are available and probably more appropriate. A racist is someone who thinks people are inferior or superior based on their skin color.

By the way, the two White states which saw the candidates up close and personal - Iowa and New Hampshire - supported Senator Obama well; he won Iowa, and came a close second in NH. Do you really think that the good folks of Iowa and NH - after interacting closely with the candidates for months - voted for Senator Obama solely because he was Black?


RS, I am enjoying this exchange of emails with you, as I am learning something and trying to get to the bottom of why so many Democrats are peeved by Obama's handling of Ferraro, including myself. You make some good points. I am not in any way denying that Obama has unique abilities and appeal, which are turning out voters from all sorts of subgroups. Ferraro also was not denying Obama that. Ferraro's point, and mine, is that, when you add to Obama's ability to attract various segments of the population, his advantage in drawing astonishing support from African-Americans (based on his being "black") and from voters who are biased against the idea of a woman as president (based on his being male),he has an advantage that has played a decisive role in victories in a substantial portion of the states that he has won, such that he is currently the front-runner. On CNN, on any single day, there is at least one pundit or analyst saying the same thing, perhaps more obliquely, in analyzing Obama's support from polling data. Obama is, in fact, lucky, at this moment in history and in this primary season, to be a black male facing off against a white female. Hence, Ferraro's words are benign. Given that she has devoted an entire career to racial equality and social justice, it is even more ridiculous to take her bland observation (supported by polling data) and mischaracterize it as so offensive that Obama called for her resignation. This is the sort of trickery that Obama has used successfully more than once. I call that playing the race card.

There was a report of NPR several weeks ago saying something similar about the primary results. Essentially, the analysis there showed that there was no such thing as "momentum" in this race. The results in the vast majority of states were utterly predictable, on the basis of the composition of various subgroups drawn to the two candidates in each state, and the type of process (caucus or primary). Hence, Obama's winning streak in February was no surprise or sign of momentum, and neither were Hillary's wins in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island. They were mere reflections of the subgroups dominate in each state and the selection process employed. Ferraro's statement could very well have been part of that NPR program, without anyone raising an eyebrow. Obama's stance on Ferraro is dishonest. He's smart enough to see the truth of what she is saying.

Finally, I see where you are coming from on your statement that those only seeing Obama's skin color, and refusing to see his obvious talents, may be captives of a narrow perspective. I retract my statement that that view is "racist." However, Obama's overwhelming support in the African-American community -- in proportions no other group is displaying -- also reflect that some portion of that group may also be held captive to a world view based on skin color. Reverend Wright may be such a captive person.




Yup, glad we could keep it civil. It is quite interesting that Senator Obama's support among Blacks jumped only after his Iowa win - once, I suppose, the community recognized that Senator Obama's no Jesse Jackson (as in, can also appeal to Whites).

If you listened to or read Senator Obama's speech on race this week, he does indeed say that the Rev. Wright is a person held captive by that narrow perspective.

But on the Ferraro fracas, we might have to agree to disagree. Ms Ferraro no doubt has had a long career fighting for social justice, but perhaps this post on Slate by Dahlia Lithwick encapsulates (in my view) the entire Ferraro-Wright chaos:



RS, I can't thank you enough for that post on Slate. I get to go to bed laughing.


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