Samantha, thanks for stepping back. Gerry, thanks for nothing.
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have been having some fights lately. But mostly fair fights. She is questioning his credentials to be commander-in-chief; He is questioning her on tax returns. Not pleasant discussions in either case. But they are clearly real issues and most importantly, they are between the candidates themselves.
That is what we want in this race -- for Clinton and Obama to make their own case.
When folks try, on their behalf, to make a case through personal attacks, they aren't just hurting their own candidates, they are hurting all of us.
Samantha Power made a big mistake. She said something mean and personal and hurtful. And then she had the grace to apologize and step back.
Unfortunately Gerry Ferraro said something mean and personal and hurtful and she has been graceless and offensive in her own persistent defense. Not to mention tarring Hillary Clinton with a comment that the senator doesn't and shouldn't ascribe to reality.
Yet, Ferraro is bewilderingly insistent on staying in this fight. Even resigning from her support for Hillary so she can keep making a mess that Hillary is blamed for. As they say, with friends like these...
Have I said yet how heartbreaking it is for me to write this about Gerry Ferraro? I was 24-years-old at my first Democratic Convention serving with honor as a podium assistant when she stood up to receive the nomination to be vice president. I couldn't have been more proud.
Her formulation that Barack Obama wouldn't have the success he's experiencing if he were a white man is frightening. That somehow, his accomplishments in life and his standing before us as a presidential contender is a form of affirmative action isn't just offensive, it is bizarre. Fatherless at two, and dragged around the world. He made his own life. He is in this race because he is a touchstone politician. And I said that with admiration. In Obama we have a candidate who doesn't just understand that politics is about each of us, he actually has the talent and natural gifts to make us believe it, too. Hillary Clinton offers us a commitment to new policies we've been hungry for these last eight years. Her forward thinking on solutions, her determination on our behalf and her endurance as a leader get my support. Both offerings are worthy. Both of their offerings are also shaped by their experiences as a black man and a white woman only in the best way, NOT the easy way.
Dr. Imani Perry, a professor at Rutgers University wrote yesterday:
"...we can look at this another way: If Barack Obama were a white man, these gifts he possesses might not have developed in the way they did. Each person comes into the world with a unique spirit. The interface of that spirit with the body into which he or she is born and the society and family in which he or she lives and grows, creates the human personality. Perhaps Obama's encounters with bigotry and the diversity of his experiences shaped many of the qualities we admire in him. Perhaps being born on American soil as Barack Hussein Obama, a biracial second generation American in a body that is always perceived as a 'Black man', gifted him with a second sight that voters are looking to in troubled times."
Robin Morgan, the accomplished feminist writer said of Hillary's Clinton's value as a female president:
"...Women have endured hatred, rape and battery, being the majority of the poor, of refugees, of caregivers, and the powerless. We know that at this historical moment women experience the world differently from men -- though not all the same as one another -- and can govern differently..."
If either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is in this race because of their race or their gender, then it is only because it is an inexorable part of them pushing internally to succeed. They weren't given any extra breaks.