Let’s just say for the sake of argument that Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Nominee. Now, more than ever, that is a debatable proposition. Work with me. Y’all with me? O.K. It’s July 2008 and Hillary, who 50% of the American people are adamantly opposed to voting for, is facing a decison about a Vice President.
Hopefully can we agree that Barack Obama, regardless of his flaws and evasions from the progressive black consensus, has earned consideration for Vice President. Even if we don’t agree, I think the majority of African Americans believe that. If Obama continues on as he has and comes close, but falls short of the mark in the primaries and Hillary doesn’t choose him to be her VP, Black folk are gonna be, as Momma says, “much pissed.” You see, Obama is who my mother is for. I view Momma as kind of an “everyblackwoman” and can gauge a lot of things accurately by her responses. Momma made it plain that she, “don’t want her” [Hillary].
Dukakis before her had a similar decision regarding Jesse Jackson in 1988 and his poor handling of that politically charged and delicate decision resulted in the lowest share of black support for a Democratic nominee in quite some time. A lot of black folk just sat on their hands at home and let him twist in the wind. Being white and female however, is a different situation.
The woman pictured above with Hillary is former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the eldest daughter of former Senator Robert F. Kennedy. A popular figure, she blew her big chance at the corner office in 2002 when she chose a republican as her running mate instead of a number of qualified black elected officials. That was perceived as a slight by the African American community that had never elected anybody to statewide office. It was a weakness that Bob Ehrlich deftly exploited by choosing Michael Steele, a corporate lawyer and freelance Uncle Tom, as his running mate.
It is interesting that in a democratic state with one of the most affluent black suburbs in the nation, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend didn’t feel free to choose an African American as her running mate for fear that she couldn’t win. Race, as much as we like to deny it, is still the elephant in the room. Some people just can’t wash that white woman/Mandingo taboo outta their hair. Black folks responded to that by either turning out in lower numbers or voting in higher than normal numbers for the ticket with the brotha on it.
I don’t harbor any illusions about who and what both Hillary and Barack represent. They are both servants of the multi-national corporate power structure. Politically speaking though, Obama’s candidacy represents a cross-roads for African American Democrats. If he is spurned, the relationship between African Americans and the Democratic Party will be irreparably damaged.
Will Hillary make the same mistakes as Dukakis and Townsend? She’s damned if she does and damned if she doesn’t in some respects. Only time will tell. Talk to me. Don’t hold back.