Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Pettiness of Ben Jealous

You're never going to please everyone. It's obvious that nothing Hillary Clinton can do will ever please Jealous the former President of the NAACP.

He even holds against her what she did when she was 16. Once a Goldwater girl always a Goldwater girl in his mind.

He holds it against her that she hasn't ruled out any use of the death penalty, even though she only says that regarding federal cases like the Oklahoma City bomber and the Boston bombers. In those cases she thinks the death penalty can be appropriate.

You know who also isn't anti death penalty? President Obama. Yet Jealous endorsed him.

But the reason I say nothing she ever says or does will please him is he even dismisses her interventions into the Flint, Michigan water crisis as 'petty.' Let's face it-if he is critical of that, there is no pleasing him.

He dismisses it as just politics. A few observations.

1. The folks of Flint including the Mayor sure don't see it that way.

They didn't see it as 'just politics' and some were incensed at the very idea that anyone would call it that.

It's interesting that while Ben Jealous accuses Hillary of following the GOP on her policy cues, he himself is attacking Hillary on her Flynt visit with the same words as Rick Snyder. The Governor who caused this whole tragedy in a misguided desire to save money and impose undemocratic martial law says Hillary is trying to politicize this.

2. But this hits on another problem I have with this 'It's just politics' line. The folks of Flint are in an emergency situation and need action. Their fear is continued neglect not politicization. In fact, you can argue that politicization of a situation is how you get something actually done about it.

As for the rest of what Jealous said last night on Rachel Maddow, he accused her of taking the black vote for granted,  I have no idea how he comes to that judgment.

All her words and actions in this whole campaign have pointed the opposite way. Al Sharpton yesterday said this:

"Hillary Clinton has to earn the African American vote, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Wednesday."

"And I think she knows it," he said on MSNBC's "MTP Daily" hours after meeting with Bernie Sanders for coffee and tea at a Harlem restaurant.

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A large part of Eric Dyson's epic endorsement of HRC was that she isn't taking the black vote for granted.

He argues there that Hillary will do more for black folks than Obama did.

When you are talking about a black activist, that is about as strong an endorsement as you can get.

Indeed, one interesting moment of last night's Chris Hayes interview with Sharpton, is when Hayes said that in a sense Hillary has to work harder for the black vote than Obama did.

Sharpton who is a big Obama supporter didn't seem to like that suggestion. But this has been a major Dyson argument all along. That Obama, as a black man, in some ways has gotten a pass from black folks in a way that would never be the case for Hillary Clinton as a white woman.

That's part of why Dyson actually thinks she will be a better advocate.

The fact is that Obama's loyalty to black issues was largely presumed in 2008. It's true that black leadership didn't come to him immediately. But what he had to demonstrate was not so much that he cold be trusted-this was presumed-but that he was viable; ie, that white folks in the party would vote for him. Once this was demonstrated in Iowa, he got the black vote and never lost it.

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