Last November, Geraldine Ferraro made some headlines by trying to defend Senator Hillary Clinton against accusations that she was playing the gender card by…playing the gender card. I wrote about this back then. In a post dated November 5, 2007, I wrote:
Geraldine Ferraro, former vice presidential candidate in 1984, spoke to the New York Times attempting to defend Hillary against accusations that Hillary’s campaign was “playing the gender card” in responding to the quote politics of pile-on unquote. Judge for yourself how well she did:
“We can’t let them do this in a presidential race,” [Ferraro] said. “They say we’re playing the gender card. We are not. We are not. We have got to stand up. It’s discrimination against her as a candidate because she is a woman.”
Is it just me, or does Ferraro play the woman’s card as she says she’s not? It seems that Hillary isn’t the only member of her campaign who can contradict herself within a two minute time limit. I think this type of verbal feat – taking two opposing positions within two minutes – should be called a “pulling a Hillary”.
Now that Ms. Ferraro is in the news again, this post has started getting some search engine traffic. What I find odd is that since March 11, the post has gotten about 100 hits from Google and other search engines – and of those hundred hits, 8 people have left comments – an unusually high percentage for this blog. Additionally, most of the comments are pro-Hillary – also unusual. None of this would be exceptional if:
a. the blog post were new;
b. the blog post were about Ms. Ferraro’s most recent comments, or comments significantly similar;
c. the blog post discussed race in any way;
d. the comments were not so similar-sounding, and all by women (except one);
e. any of the comments had responded to the post in any manner.
Clearly – none of the commentors read the post they were commenting on. The comments they are referring to were about race. Not a single comment mentions anything about the post – or in fact mentions that the post is over four months old. ((I should also mention that two of the comments were defending Mr. Obama.)) Recently, two sites linked to this post: a commenter on BarackObama.com and MyNewswire.
I don’t know quite what to make of this. Has anyone else noticed anything similar? Does anyone have a plausible explanation for this?
Update: Ten more people “viewed” the post, and I received one more comment. I’m also noticing that two of the commentors – Catherine Fadden and Eileen Lewis – have:
- Requested to “follow” the post; and
- Given fake email addresses – or at least, email addresses for which I am getting this error: “A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its recipients. This is a permanent error”
That means that my email box is getting errors for every comment posted.
7 replies on “Suspicious activities…”
I don’t know what the “gender card” is or the”race card.” I see a woman when I look at Hillary Clinton and I see a Black man when I look at Barack Obama. No “card” there. But I do know that sexism and racism exists and the media is playing it more than any campaign is.
I like Geri Ferraro. I saw her give her acceptance speech in 1984. I wept. As someone said on my blog — she is 73, has incurable cancer, and is still fighting the fight. That fact that she is incomprehensible is certainly a problem but she is not a racist. She does run her mouth in a LI kind of way (sorry). The fact that the press is not concentrating on the candidate’s policy statements or the fact that 11 Americans have been killed in Iraq this week says to me that they are playing the race card big time. Nobody is making Bush/Cheney happier than the media.
There are millions of women, feminists like Geri Ferraro, who fought heartily for women’s rights and minority rights. She is rightfully appalled at being called a racist given her history and her commitment to civil rights. The fact that she is being trashed so easily is a sorry state of affairs.
Forgot this. Was it ok for Andrew Sullivan to say this in his piece in the Atantic supporting Barack Obama: What does he offer? First and foremost: his face. Think of it as the most effective potential re-branding of the United States since Reagan. Such a re-branding is not trivial—it’s central to an effective war strategy.
Was it racist to mention his Obama’s blackness as a good tool in a war strategy?
I have no idea whether or not Ferraro is a racist. More important – I have never made the claim that she is racist. I do believe that her recent comments were in bad taste and insensitive and essentially dishonest, though I have no doubt she meant them. They revealed one minor truth while obscuring the larger picture. (By this I mean that Obama has benefited from his race in certain particular ways – and his message is reinforced by his race – someone who can transcend obstacles, bring change, see other viewpoints, etcetera. Hillary, similarly, has been handicapped by her gender – because she chose to be First Lady, a traditionally symbolic role, rather than hold some official position; thus, her role in her husband’s presidency is obscured behind the marital bond – and of course by the fact that so many of her records are still under seal. There also certainly is racism and sexism in America which handicaps both candidates. The larger point Ferraro missed was that although Obama’s distinctive race makes him more memorable – being the only black face in a white Senate – it also comes with many obstacles. Obama has largely been able to turn those obstacles into opportunities – while Hillary has been unable to use these obstacles to her advantage – except by portraying herself as the victim. I think the difference in attitude is largely generational – which I think you mentioned as well.)
I don’t think it’s racist to mention someone’s race, or to analyze how someone deals with their race; or to discuss the advantages or disadvantages that might come from someone’s race. And I don’t think Hillary is a racist. But I do think that she has made a conscious choice to use Obama’s race against him; neither Obama nor his campaign have sought to use Hillary’s gender against her. Someone at the Talking Points Memo back around the time of South Carolina pointed out the serious of events that led to the suggestion that the Clintons were trying to use race against Obama. The blogger said, any of these events would mean nothing – but for them all to happen in a week – either Hillary’s campaign is very unlucky or they are trying to use Obama’s blackness as a wedge issue.
With Ferraro – I thought her initial comment was ridiculous and insensitive – truthful in a self-serving way, but essentially a fervently believed lie. When she refused to back down and Hillary only disagreed lukewarmly, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. When Ferraro started appearing on the morning talk shows in a media blitz, I could only conclude this was part of a deliberate ploy on the Clintons’ part – to try to tap into the resentment of minorities that Ferraro seemed to be expressing. Her phrasing was very similar to the stereotypical white male critique of affirmative action.
Richard Nixon in his 1968 campaign probably couldn’t be accused of outright racism – but he exploited racial tensions and the resentments of white voters nevertheless. There is certainly such a thing as being oversensitive – but I find it hard to see what other explanation there is for the Hillary campaign’s actions if they are not trying to exploit race against Obama and gender in favor of their candidate.
Also – a side note – Olbermann never criticizes Democrats, and I don’t get the impression he dislikes Hillary. And he clearly didn’t want to get in the middle of the Obama-Hillary fight. Although you tuned him out – and I find him to be a bit of a blowhard including last night – I think it says a lot that he felt he had to make a statement, let alone such a strong statement. You say he was unhinged in your post – but what do you think motivated him, especially if he has stayed out of it all for so long?
And to be clear – the “race” or “gender card” I refer to above is when you claim to be a victim because of your race. If Obama had said he lost Ohio because he was black – and some exit polls suggest that, although the phrasing of the question left a great deal of room for ambiguity – he would be playing the “race card.” If Eliot Spitzer were black, and he were to say that he was targeted for prosecution because of his race – and it does seem odd that he was targeted with as many resources as he was – he would be playing the “race card.” The “card” refers to blaming one’s woes on discrimination against whatever identity group one is part of. Sometimes, the “card” you play is true. The effectiveness of the “identity cards” comes from their former effectiveness; they now often cause more damage. See the case of the Columbia professor who was accused of plagiarism and blamed it on structural racism. She ended up being made out to be a fool, portrayed as trying to use the “race card” to get herself out of trouble.
um, am i crazy or are the comments by ‘kate stone’ exactly the suspicious, cookie-cutter comments this post tries to address? either she’s a robot or doesn’t get irony.
is her email fake?
kate stone’s responding to things i’ve posted on her blog, etc.
plus it’s a new post, etc. etc. i still don’t get the other ones….
No, josko, I am not a robot. Just trying to sort through all the crap that is being flung around. I post to Joe because I like his thoughtfulness even when I don’t agree with him. Joe, in refer to your point about Olbermann feeling he had to make a statement. He did not have to make a statement. He chose to and in doing so he became the issue, he became the news and I believe that is a failure of star power. By the way, Olbermann has not stayed out of it. He has made many, many comments about the Clinton’s, not all positive. And now he has become the arbiter — the one who decides he must define racism. He is to the left what Lou Dobbs is to the right as far as I am concerned.
Geri Ferraro made a terrible error. She attributed Obama’s success to his race. The Sullivan statement is also an error, IMO. He attribute’s Obama’s potential success to his blackness, his “face.” No different than attributing Hillary Clinton’s success to her husband. Both Obama and Clinton are demeaned by such statements.
In about 2 years some intrepid investigative reporter will have written an exhausting work on the Democratic runup to the nomination. Maybe then all of the lies and distortions and made up stuff will be swept away. I hope we aren’t reading it during a McCain presidency.
my bad ^_^