“Class Is Not a Clinton Forte”

So says Bob Herbert in his column today, which is about Hillary Clinton’s “hard-working white Americans” slur:

The Clintons have never understood how to exit the stage gracefully.

Their repertoire has always been deficient in grace and class. So there was Hillary Clinton cold-bloodedly asserting to USA Today that she was the candidate favored by “hard-working Americans, white Americans,” and that her opponent, Barack Obama, the black candidate, just can’t cut it with that crowd.

“There’s a pattern emerging here,” said Mrs. Clinton.

There is, indeed. There was a name for it when the Republicans were using that kind of lousy rhetoric to good effect: it was called the Southern strategy, although it was hardly limited to the South. Now the Clintons, in their desperation to find some way — any way — back to the White House, have leapt aboard that sorry train.

He can’t win! Don’t you understand? He’s black! He’s black!

The Clintons have been trying to embed that gruesomely destructive message in the brains of white voters and superdelegates for the longest time. It’s a grotesque insult to African-Americans, who have given so much support to both Bill and Hillary over the years.

And, as Herbert points out, it’s not terribly complimentary to whites, either:

But it’s an insult to white voters as well, including white working-class voters. It’s true that there are some whites who will not vote for a black candidate under any circumstance. But the United States is in a much better place now than it was when people like Richard Nixon, George Wallace and many others could make political hay by appealing to the very worst in people, using the kind of poisonous rhetoric that Senator Clinton is using now.

I don’t know if Senator Obama can win the White House. No one knows. But to deliberately convey the idea that most white people — or most working-class white people — are unwilling to give an African-American candidate a fair hearing in a presidential election is a slur against whites.

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