The actions of Bill Clinton during most of 2008 have been less than what I had hoped for from a former President of the United States. It was natural that he wanted to support and assist Hillary Clinton as she sought the Democratic Party nomination. But the way that he acted, and how he tried to use race as a wedge in the campaign was ugly to witness. To pretend that this did not happen is to try and rewrite history from just a few months ago, history that was recorded time after time on videotape. On many different posts here I commented Bill Clinton’s actions seemed odd, given the fact he was undermining his own legacy.
Now comes a smart read by Roland Martin from CNN who makes clear that only Bill Clinton can undo the damage he created.
In an interview with ABC’s Kate Snow, Clinton, when asked about regrets in the campaign, immediately threw out, “I am not a racist.”
He kept insisting that he isn’t angry, but we’ve all seen that stare, change in body language, and the parsing of words. Even when Snow asked whether Obama was ready to be president, Clinton answered in the third person, never actually saying he’s ready or not. The only thing left was the eruption, and he promised to share all in January after the November election.
Bill, we get it. You’re still peeved. At Obama. At Rep. James Clyburn. At the media. At anyone who you determined was against you and Hillary.
Many have said that Clinton wants his legacy intact, and a lot of that has to do with the reality that no group gave him more comfort than the black community.
When he was facing the end of his presidency, he called on black folks like no others, using the love and affection to get him through the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He relied on black support to keep his poll numbers high. And we all know it.
But what Bill knows — and we know — is that you don’t have to be a racist to use race as a tool in a political campaign. An inference here, a comparison there, and you can send the right signal at the right time, to the right people. He says he did nothing wrong. Yet perception is very powerful, and denying it doesn’t make it go away.