|Hillary Clinton’s recent claim that Republicans run the House of Representatives like a “plantation” was old-fashioned political and racial pandering:|
In fact, her stance was so blatantly racial that one was embarrassed for her — you wanted to look away from such obvious politicizing and condescension. As Shelby Steele points out, better than my post did, Mrs. Clinton sings off key:
|she uttered this remark at what certainly would have been a prime venue for her husband: a largely black audience on Martin Luther King Day. So, clearly, she was looking to connect with this most loyal Democratic constituency. But Mrs. Clinton is possessed of a tin ear precisely where her husband is all deftness and charm. Black audiences are beyond her. The room of black faces that brings her husband alive, freezes her in overbearing rectitude.|
Who knows, maybe ex-President Clinton’s playing-it-by-ear came from his Southern background, while his wife’s inability originates in her lily-white childhood? Whatever other constraints there may be in the South, there is certainly less physical segregation here. Or maybe Bill is just constitutionally inclined to love everyone while Mrs. C. is more attuned to making them do the right thing. Think of Charlie Brown and Lucy.
Again, Steele points out the difference:
|pandering of the sort she exhibited on MLK Day requires a convincing human identification in order to work. The political panderer always identifies with the suffering of those pandered to–always “feels their pain.” And this is where a tin ear can be disastrous: In giving witness to a group’s suffering, one can seem to be shaming the group. Must blacks have their slave past rubbed in their face simply for Hillary Clinton to make a little hay against modern-day Republicans?|
That was a truly awful speech. You kept waiting to hear a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton to present her apology for Pandering While White, but none was forthcoming:
|When political pandering goes awry, it calls you a name. On an emotional level, many blacks will hear Hillary’s remark as follows: “I say Republicans run the House like a plantation because I am speaking to Negroes–the wretched of the earth, a slave people–who will surely know all about plantations.” Is this a tin ear or a Freudian slip, blacks will wonder? Does she really see us as she projects us–as a people so backward that our support can be won with a simple plantation reference, and the implication that Republicans are racist? Quite possibly so, since no apology has been forthcoming.|
Lately it seems, many Democrats are possessed of this same tin ear. The affliction seems endemic to the Left in general. Is this deficit part of the reason for their rage against those who disagree with them? Is it that they cannot hear how bizarre and anachronistic they sound?
Personal identity is a complex thing. Woven of all the experiences in a particular life, the strands create a complex tapestry that others may see and understand better than the individual herself. Thus, while Hillary continues to sing off-key, she is beset on all sides by those who would prefer that she not be part of the choir. Thus, comparing her to Condoleeza Rice, does great damage to Mrs. Clinton’s persona:
|No one on the current political scene better embodies this Republican advantage than the current secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice. The archetype that Ms. Rice represents is “overcoming” rather than grievance. Despite a childhood in the segregated South that might entitle her to a grievance identity, she has clearly chosen that older black American tradition in which blacks neither deny injustice nor allow themselves to be defined by it…because Ms. Rice is grounded in this tradition, she is of absolutely no value to modern liberalism or the Democratic Party despite her many talents and achievements. Quite the reverse, she is their worst nightmare. If blacks were to take her example and embrace overcoming rather than grievance, the wound to liberalism would be mortal. It is impossible to imagine Hillary Clinton’s “plantation” pandering in a room full of Condi Rices.|
Imagine Dr. Rice using “the plantation” metaphor in a speech. Won’t compute, will it? No grievances, just accomplishments. Thus, if Dr. Rice wanted to serve her party, but didn’t want to run for office, all she would need to do is dog Hillary on the campaign trail. She is the anti-Hillary, and there is no worse fate for a politician than to have his or her antithesis following along behind her.
Mrs. Clinton’s tin ear is going to cost her what she most dearly desires: control of everything.
Look at the photograph of Dr. Rice and Mrs. Clinton. Dr. Rice is perfectly still, her arms hang straight and are held quite closely to her body. It is as though she is in a picture by herself. Interesting body language.