I could have posted this entry several days ago, but I wasn’t sure my street cred could withstand so many references to Sunday news programs all at once.
On Meet the Press Sunday morning, Tim Russert was speaking with Bob Novak about the Republican candidates’ prospects for winnng the presidential election in 2008. Mr Novak talked about the pessimism he’s heard in Republican circles regarding the upcomming election (re: Iraq), and all of the things going for Democrats. Then, he said something to the effect of: “leave it to the Democrats to try something new in this election, running the first woman or black candidate… it’s really giving the Republican party hope.”
There was a story in the New Republic this week that compared Obama’s candidacy to Kennedy’s in 1960:
The subtly bigoted phrase most often repeated in that election year–by former President Harry Truman, among others–was that 1960 was “too early” for a Catholic president, that the country was “not ready,” and that Kennedy should be a “good sport” by settling for the vice presidency.
Mr. Novak’s comment seems awfully similar to me.
Does this mean these “relieved” Republicans are banking on stereotype and prejudice to carry the day for them? Does this solidify their position as the party of the “white, rich male,” as if they weren’t already? Or, is this just an example of cynical, political opportunism? I would have liked to see Bob have an opportunity to expand on this notion, but it was kind of said in passing… and no one came back to it. (A real shame.)
I may be reading WAY too much into Mr. Novak’s comment, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it WAS an example of “subtle bigotry.” The *way* he said it just seemed so smug… giving me the impression he not only agreed the Republican candidates chances were better with black or woman candidate running against them… he didn’t think a black or woman candidate could be effective.
While Obama doesn’t seem to be taking too many overt race related lumps yet, it seems to me that Clinton has been treated a little unfairly. I’ll make one thing clear… Clinton is not my idea of “best friend” material. She comes across as a political opportunist herself… and distant… but is she really so different from other politicians? The negative response seems so out of proportion to me. How many prominent polititians aren’t political opportunists?
You could say that I’m guilty of stereotyping myself, using my broad brush to paint Republicans as dinosaurs from the pre-civil rights era. The beauty of Mr Novak’s MTP segment is that I don’t have to rely on my own prejudice (regarding the Republican party), Mr Novak was doing his best to prove it’s warranted.