I wanted to tell Joan Walsh to kiss my high yellow ass last year when Salon first published a series of articles bashing Barack Obama, most notably Debra Dickerson’s “he’s not black” essay (how’s that workin’ out for ya Debra?) and the infamous Op-Ed where they quite literally referred to Obama as “uppity“.

Then there’s this, pointed out by Ta-Nehisi:

We saw the face of the angry white female backlash against Obama over the weekend, and it was hard not to turn away. On Friday, Geraldine Ferraro complained in a Boston Globe Op-Ed that she’s been demonized for saying that Obama’s presidential run benefited from his being black, and called her treatment “reverse racism.” On Saturday, Harriet Christian replaced Ferraro as the overwrought voice of white female resentment. There she was at the Democratic National Committee meeting, screaming at reporters that Democrats were about to nominate “an inadequate black male who would not have been running had it not been a white woman that was running for president.”

Beyond Christian’s deplorable reference to Obama as an “inadequate black male” was a wail worth hearing. She also said, “I’m proud to be an older American woman!” I can feel her pain. Reading the sexist attacks on Clinton and her white female supporters, as well as on female journalists and bloggers who’ve occasionally tried to defend her or critique Obama, has been, well, consciousness-raising. Prejudice against older women, apparently, is one of the last non-taboo biases. I’ve been stunned by the extent to which trashing Clinton supporters as washed up old white women is acceptable.

Beyond that, Christian also proclaimed she was “not a second-class citizen” as though the simple fact of her favored candidate losing was some kind of disenfranchisement (this Christian lady should look up “grandfather clause” in the dictionary). But even as Ferraro pens Op-Eds proclaiming that resenting people because of their race isn’t racist, and Christian decries the “inadequate” black man running for president, Walsh is so consumed with self-pity that the only bigotry she can see is that which might be directed against her.

Even here, Walsh takes a page from Ferraro and distorts what Ferraro actually said, which was:

If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position…And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.”

That is not, as Walsh characterized, “saying that Obama’s presidential run benefited from his being black,” that is saying he’s only winning because he’s black. It’s ridiculous in its watered down version, but it’s most telling that neither Walsh nor Ferraro herself can actually bring themselves to repeat her actual comments while defending them.

Yet it was Obama who had to distance himself from Father Pfleger and Trinity United once again last week, after Pfleger took a shot at Hillary as “an entitled” white woman. But former Clinton surrogates like Ferraro can blurt one racist diatribe after another without tarnishing the candidate she was formerly associated with. Even more frustrating is Walsh’s proclamation that sexism is “the last non-taboo bias,” even as she cites Ferraro’s racist Op-Ed in the Boston Globe.

In reality, white racism is as “non-taboo” as sexism, as long as it is couched in weak euphamisms like “racial resentment”. Then there’s this complaint from Walsh regarding the MSNBC “pimping” incident:

So what can Obama do now? One of Obama’s friendliest analysts on MSNBC asked me Tuesday night if I thought he should give a speech about gender. I sighed. Please God, no. I don’t think Obama standing in front of flags in, say, Seneca Falls and talking about the history of sexism is going to soothe angry Clinton supporters. It bothered many women that he never spoke out about the sexism Clinton faced during the campaign. Certainly when she was accused of “pimping out” her daughter Chelsea on MSNBC he had a great opportunity to come to her side, and he missed it.

You mean the way Clinton spoke out against the “Muslim” smears, supported him during the firestorm over Jeremiah Wright, and told the media that despite his comments about small town America, the black man who grew up the son of a single mother was no “elitist”? Because she told her supporters that if you were voting for her because of Obama’s race, that she didn’t want their vote? The level of deference Walsh is demanding here from Obama could not be possible without white gloves, a jockey uniform and a sunny spot on the lawn. And if Obama actually had come to Clinton’s defense, they would have called it condescending and paternalistic.

And where exactly was the Clinton Feminist Defense Corps when O’Reilly was talking about lynching Michelle Obama, and as the Right began to paint her as an extremist much in the mold of Hillary Clinton in 1992? They didn’t seem to have a problem with sexism directed at their opponents wife. The short answer is the Clinton feminists don’t see Michelle Obama as “one of them,” three guesses why.

But the greatest moment is unquestionably Walsh’s “advice” (and all these Op-Eds from Clinton supporters telling Obama to “reach out to women” are not advice, they are demands that he pick her as his running mate) is this moment, which could hardly be more perfect.

Mainly I think he has to reach out to women the old-fashioned way: individually, warmly and respectfully. He needs to schedule meetings with Clinton’s top female supporters. (It’s probably too much to ask, but I’d love to see a lunch with Geraldine Ferraro. Ask for her thoughts on winning women and Reagan Democrats. Explain that being the first serious black presidential candidate is a little harder than maybe it looked.)It’s still too early for me to be certain what Obama should do with his vice-presidential pick, except I know he needs to quite publicly take a Clinton candidacy seriously. I’m not sure picking another woman would cut it. It would look like a form of tokenism, and it wouldn’t necessarily do the trick: It’s one particular woman, not just any woman, who earned 18 million votes that he will need in November.

Walsh and Ferraro, experts both on being a black man and running for president, and presumably how easy such an endeavor is, given the vast number of black presidents we have elected. It wasn’t that Obama built a top-tier fundraising organization, (from scratch) studied the primary rules and how to take full advantage of them, or ran an disciplined campaign with minimal conflicts it was because it was easy, because otherwise there’s no possible way this nigger could have actually pulled it off.

Here Walsh demands a full exoneration for Geraldine Ferraro, complete with deference to her knowledge of how to win “Reagan Democrats,” something Ferraro doesn’t have the slightest idea how to do. Her supposed rapport with “Reagan Democrats” is based exclusively on the idea that they share the same racial prejudices as she does, which strikes me unbelievably condescending.

It ends of course, with coercion: demanding that Obama pick Clinton, because otherwise women everywhere will punish the inadequate black man by electing someone with no respect for their rights. Coates says:

I want to see Barack Obama out there courting the vote of all women. I want to see him talking specifically about what his plans are. But I’ve got no interest in seeing him court those who would use feminism, as a cover for their own blackaphoic views. Later for them. Let them vote McCain, and go join the party where bigotry is part of the platform. The rest of us have a country to save.

I agree. If that your own racism is that strong, and your support for women’s rights so tepid as to be based entirely on one candidate, you’re probably in the wrong party to begin with.

UPDATE: I’ve said it before, but just for the record I do believe that Clinton faced a great deal of sexism from the media and that she will be a powerful inspiration to the first woman President of the United States. What I find unconscionable is that people like Joan Walsh and Geraldine Ferraro would find themselves on the same side of discussion on race as feminist pioneer Rush Limbaugh and not ask themselves why.

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