How Will Hillary Win the Black Vote, Given Bill's Track Record?

The latest buzz in the presidential race is that Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential prospects are in doubt given that the race moves this week to South Carolina, where blacks make up more than half of the Democratic electorate, and on March 1 to a string of southern states with big blocs of African-Americans, who strongly support Clinton and have been slow to warm to Sanders. Some black voters said on Saturday they did not see a reason to switch their loyalty away from Clinton, a fondness that dates back to her husband Bill Clinton's presidency.

Wow! Once again, Hillary's husband's legacy when it comes to blacks has been thoroughly photoshopped, given his virtual destruction of welfare while he was POTUS.

As fellow blogger Eric Schmeltzer observed, the Clintons have a habit of tossing aside key supporters when they believe the political situation calls for it. It happened when President Clinton slapped the Gay and Lesbian community across the face by signing the homophobic Defense of Marriage Act. And it happened again when he passed a harsher-than-needed Welfare Reform package that hurt the single mothers and children that Hillary Clinton once worked to defend, as part of the Children's Defense Fund.

Peter Edelman, who resigned as Clinton's assistant secretary of Health and Human Services in protest of the legislation, described it as the worst thing Bill Clinton has done in an article he wrote for The Atlantic. In the article he said he was "amazed by the number of people who have bought the line that the bill was some little set of adjustments that could easily be done away with. Congress and the President have dynamited a structure that was in place for six decades."

What's tragic about this is that the Clinton's relationship with the Edelmans goes back to the early 1970s. After receiving national acclaim for a speech at her Wellesley commencement, Hillary was invited to address The League of Women Voters' 1970 convention in Colorado Springs as a ''young leader of the future.'' She had been selected by the conference organizer, Peter Edelman, a former aide to Robert F. Kennedy and the husband of Marian Wright Edelman, then a lawyer specializing in children's issues.

Both Edelmans were appalled when Clinton passed the welfare bill. Mrs. Edelman wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post pleading with the president to resist accepting Republican-sponsored welfare legislation. When Clinton signed the bill, ending a 60-year federal guarantee of assistance for poor children, Mrs. Edelman denounced him for making ''a mockery of his pledge not to hurt children.''

While sponsors of the legislation said it would get people to work instead of depending on welfare, it simply ended the federal assurance of help to needy families with children and put a limit of five years on how long a family could get help. The legislation also made savage cuts in food stamps for the poor and cut out food stamps and other benefits for legal immigrants, many of them elderly and disabled people who have paid Social Security and other taxes for years.

Bottom line: we're not just facing a presidential election with too many angry Republican loony tunes but a Democratic font-runner who only gained that status because other Dems besides Sanders can't be bothered to run. Whatever issues Democrats may have with Sanders at least they know he's not bought and paid for.

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