Keith Olbermann Last night made a unique special comment. It was unique in that it was the first that I have seen that has been against a democrat. In it he pleaded with the Senator to reject and denounce Geraldine Ferraro’s support. It comes as the Senators campaign teeters, in my opinion, between gaining moment and fading into irrelevance. I am a Democrat, and at the end of primary season I will support whoever the nominee is. Not so much because they are a Democrat, but because the republican nominee has lost any glimmer of hope of my support, but that is another post. That being said, I find the senators campaign distasteful. Many times I have heard words from the senator, and the senator’s campaign that have made me wince, and while that has happened with other democratic candidates, the frequency and intensity pales in comparison. Geraldine Ferraro’s comments and the responses that followed them from the Senators campaign, and others, leave me writhing in pain. Do I believe Ferraro is and out and out racist? No. Was her comment and responses afterwards totally unacceptable and racist? Yes. One need only look at the case of Samantha Power and her response to her unacceptable “monster” comment to see the proper way to recover after a mischaracterization of an opponent.
I would like to take this moment to talk about racism, sexism, and this campaign. I am woeful to play the racism card or the sexism card. I think it can only be used effectively in blatant attacks. It is not that I don’t believe that both exist; it is that I believe that they are too emotionally charged and often makes it difficult continue the discussion. People immediately put up fallout shelter defenses and communication ceases. To me it is like the red card in soccer, it is the point that you’ve really absolutely got to do something about what just happened. This case is blatant. Geraldine Ferraro made the blanket statement that Obama is only relevant because he is black. Not because of his speeches, not because of his grass roots campaign but because of his race. With that alone I was hesitant to pull the card. There were many ways it could have been taken out of context, or even many ways it could have been spun into a less offensive comment as a few people have revisioned: Ferraro could have meant that his blackness has shaped his life and made him who he is. However the indignation and continued refusal to acknowledge that to many this was a racist and that Ferraro should apologize is what justifies pulling the racist card. In addition this incident shows a clear example of when not to pull the sexist card. Ferraro would like to think that she is being attacked solely because she is a woman. While there may be some credence to the argument that the vehemence with which she is being attacked is because she is a woman, I believe it is disingenuous to say that she would not be attacked if she was not a woman.