Clinton Playing the Class Card
I don’t think there’s anything more disturbing than the way that Hillary Clinton played the race card earlier in this campaign. Specifically, the rift she tried to cause between Latinos and blacks and the intentional distortion of Obama’s face in a TV ad to make him look “more black” and thus more menacing (a la TIME’s infamous OJ Simpson cover).
No, it doesn’t get much worse than that—intentionally using race for her own political gain. But Hillary has moved on, and thanks to our hyper-short news cycle (and even shorter memory spans) most people in this country don’t even know, remember, or care that the Clinton campaign has used race as a weapon in this contest. And they are equally unaware of what she is doing now to use class (i.e., socio-economic divisions in this country) to again defame Barack Obama and paint herself in the best possible light.
Hillary appeared in my town of Gastonia, North Carolina, this past Saturday and gave a speech out of the back of a vintage pickup truck. One of the main points of her stump speech was a gas tax holiday that she claims would give working class people some much needed relief from high gas prices. Nevermind the fact that every economist and expert on this issue agrees that the gas tax holiday is a bad idea. Hillary came out and called that an “elite opinion,” echoing her earlier attacks on Barack Obama which tried to paint him as being “elitist” and “out of touch.”
Do you see how she’s brought the class issue into this campaign? She’s trying to create two categories in voters minds: the elite (non-working class, bad) and the rest (working class, good)—and she wants you to believe her when she puts Barack Obama in the first category and herself in the second category. Here’s what I find so devastatingly wrong about this: She is once again taking what is a bad thing about our country (in this case, division along socio-economic lines) and using it as a wedge to pummel Obama (and, in turn, promote herself). She’s using blue collar people’s own fears and prejudices against “elite” information sources such as The New York Times and Washington Post (both of which are quoted in Obama’s anti-gas tax TV ad) to keep herself in this race. I would go so far as to say she doesn’t actually care about working class people—she only cares about getting their votes.
I was not surprised to then find this story, posted on The Huffington Post website a few weeks ago: Clinton On Southern Working Class Whites In 1995: “Screw ‘Em”. Here’s the full quote (from Hillary to Bill, who was President of the United States, and arguably the most powerful man in the world, at the time): “Screw ’em. You don’t owe them a thing, Bill. They’re doing nothing for you; you don’t have to do anything for them.”
Now, I have no illusions about older, white working class Southerners suddenly discovering blogs (*most blogs are read by young, wealthy males) and overnight changing their decision to vote for Hillary Clinton. But a guy can dream, can’t he? If nothing else, I had to get this off my chest: There is an elitist in this campaign—someone who shows great disdain for lesser educated voters by manipulating them with empty campaign promises (e.g., gas tax holiday, “get touch on China”, etc.) and Bush-like saber-rattling (or should I say, gun Photoshopping?). That elitist candidate is Hillary Clinton.
I’ll repeat: She doesn’t care about working class voters. She just wants their votes—and she’ll apparently say or do just about anything to get them. That’s why I can’t support her. That’s why I’m voting for Barack Obama in Tuesday’s North Carolina primary. And if Clinton somehow manages to steal the nomination from Obama (which her campaign now admits it is trying to do), I will probably not be voting in the general election in November.