Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Geraldine Ferraro Controversy

I feel compelled to say something in defense of Geraldine Ferraro here. First, let me state that I am no fan of Ferraro. I disagree with her on most issues. I consider her to be a highly partisan Democrat who doesn't budge an inch on most debates. Nevertheless, I think she has gotten a bum rap over her remarks about Barack Obama.

To paraphrase, Ferraro, who was an unpaid advisor to Hillary Clinton's campaign, told an interviewer that Obama would not have achieved so much in this campaign had he not been black. For that, Hillary repudiated her remarks and apologized to a black audience. In short order, Ferraro resigned from the campaign. Of course, her remarks drew strong criticism from Obama's campaign. Now, Ferraro is having to fight off charges of racism. Not content to roll over, Ferraro has struck back pointing out the contrast between her statements and those of Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

In my view, there is no evidence that Ferraro is racist in any way. Reasonable people can disagree about the accuracy of her remarks. (Ferraro has even acknowledged that she was picked for VP candidate in 1984 only because she was a woman.) I also would agree with Ferraro that it is ludicrous to compare anything she said with the vile statements of Wright, who Obama partially defended even while criticizing his remarks.

In my view, for Obama and his camp to go after Ferraro while equivocating about Wright is hypocritical. Let's also remember that Obama spoke out strongly on the Don Imus flap, calling for his firing because of offensive remarks he made about the Rutgers Womens basketball team.

Finally, it would be fitting and proper for both Clintons to stand up and state unequivocally that, while they may disagree with Ferraro, they reject any charges of racism against her. It would also be fitting if the Clintons also drew the obvious comparison between the comments of Wright and Ferraro.

Don't hold your breath. Hillary, while grateful for the break that may just pull the nomination out for her, is trying to keep a low profile on the Wright issue. Actually, she even has her own Jeremiah Wright. That would be Pastor James David Manning, of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in Harlem. Manning, who has the same oratorical style as Wright and supports Clinton, uses his sermons to call Obama a "long-legged freak with a white mama". And that's just for starters. This guy makes Jeremiah Wright look like Martin Luther King.

Hopefully in the end, most Americans will just recoil in horror at the whole Democratic primary campaign and walk away. So much for the "party of inclusion and tolerance."

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