Following on the heels of Samantha Power’s “Monster” comment and her subsequent dismissal, Geraldine Ferraro delivered some severe criticism on Barack Obama, arguing that his race has been a necessary part of his success. The Obama campaign is currently calling for Ferraro’s resignation. The 1984 Democratic Presidential contender sits on Hillary Clinton’s finance committee.
Evelina Shmukler (AFP)
Ferraro, who sits on Clinton’s finance committee and has spoken at her rallies, sparked the firestorm when she was quoted by a California newspaper as saying: “If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.”
Obama, the first African-American with a viable shot at the White House, called the remark by the Democrats’ 1984 vice presidential nominee “patently absurd.”
“I don’t think that Geraldine Ferraro’s comments have any place in our politics or the Democratic Party,” he told Pennsylvania newspaper The Morning Call.
His campaign clamored for Ferraro’s head, noting the swift resignation of an Obama aide last week after her remark that Clinton was a “monster” sparked howls of outrage from the New York senator’s team.
Obama’s top strategist David Axelrod said the comments were part of an “insidious pattern that needs to be addressed,” bringing up previous racially tinged rows between the two camps.
But Clinton said only that she did “not agree” with Ferraro’s portrayal of Obama as the privileged recipient of affirmative action, and found it “regrettable” that supporters might resort to personal attacks.
Update by Nate
Here’s Ferraro addressing the criticism and the comment yesterday on Fox News:
Update by Michael
The article Ferraro references is from the New York Times. It was written by Orlando Patterson, a sociology professor at Harvard and a long time critic and analyst of race relations in the United States. For the complete story, click here.
I have spent my life studying the pictures and symbols of racism and slavery, and when I saw the Clinton adâ€™s central image â€” innocent sleeping children and a mother in the middle of the night at risk of mortal danger â€” it brought to my mind scenes from the past. I couldnâ€™t help but think of D. W. Griffithâ€™s â€œBirth of a Nation,â€ the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan, with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society. The danger implicit in the phone ad â€” as I see it â€” is that the person answering the phone might be a black man, someone who could not be trusted to protect us from this threat.
The ad could easily have removed its racist sub-message by including images of a black child, mother or father â€” or by stating that the danger was external terrorism. Instead, the child on whom the camera first focuses is blond. Two other sleeping children, presumably in another bed, are not blond, but they are dimly lighted, leaving them ambiguous. Still it is obvious that they are not black â€” both, in fact, seem vaguely Latino.
Finally, Hillary Clinton appears, wearing a business suit at 3 a.m., answering the phone. The message: our loved ones are in grave danger and only Mrs. Clinton can save them. An Obama presidency would be dangerous â€” and not just because of his lack of experience. In my reading, the ad, in the insidious language of symbolism, says that Mr. Obama is himself the danger, the outsider within.