"Senator Obama’s support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again.... Whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me. There’s a pattern emerging here."
No, that wasn't Orval Faubus speaking, and you haven't been transported back to the Arkansas politics of 1957. Instead, you have entered the modern sewer of Clintonland, where anything goes and it commonly stinks to high heaven.
I'm sure you've already seen the quote or heard it played a dozen times on cable network news. Because it was, to put it mildly, upsetting to more than a few folks. Here was Senator Hillary Clinton once again -- only this time directly and explicitly -- playing the good-old-boy politics of race.
She uttered those staggering incomprehensibles to USA Today within hours of her game-ending humiliations in Indiana and North Carolina Tuesday night, so she could always whip out the excuse -- although, as we know, she never apologizes -- of sleep deprivation.
But if true, then even her non compos mentis moments are disciplined and calculated. For they just happened to square with what her campaign has been publicly circulating since South Carolina.
Hillary later "said her remarks weren’t meant to be divisive." OK. I'll let that pass. It's just too easy.
What continues to astonish and calls for comment, however, is the vast flock of Hillary supporters who remain wandering in the wilderness, seemingly oblivious to the immense urgency of her withdrawal from the race.
Oh, just let the primaries play out, they say, because she says it. What harm does it do?
The USA Today interview answered that question.
There was, late into the night of May 6 and all throughout Wednesday, a kind of settled in and laid back attitude developing within the party that, sure, letting the remaining primaries play out would probably be a good thing now. Hillary can speak her positive peace and her supporters can have the opportunity to cast their pro-Hillary votes -- sort of get it all off their chests, that sort of thing. It would be cathartic.
All would now be well, since everyone now knows that the remaining primaries are merely avenues to blow off a little steam.
But all of this was predicated on the understanding that Hillary would shift gears into a unifying and positive mode. She would, that is, attempt no further damage on Barack Obama -- no further divisiveness within or around the party.
That was the broad understanding, and it wasn't one of those subtle, unspoken understandings, either. Everyone -- including, most notably, many of Hillary's prominent supporters -- was saying and writing and emailing on election night and all throughout Wednesday that a nice, pleasant, non-divisive and positive campaign on Hillary's part was now the order of the day, and surely Hillary would adopt this approach in the interest of party unity. Because, as was enormously apparent to all, this thing was over.
And then -- bam! -- came Thursday morning's USA Today's revelation of what Hillary was already plotting and executing within hours of her electoral demise. She had no intention of laying low and no intention of tamping down party divisions. In fact, she was hitting the gas and driving the demographic wedges as deeply as she could.
And why? One word, or, rather, one year: 2012.
Hillary may be devious, but she's not idiotically devious. She knows as well as the next Democrat that Obama has the 2008 nomination locked down. So she has moved on to the next little problem: the 2008 general election. And what better way to clear the path of a Democratic loss than by sowing the seeds of racial division -- than by reminding white voters of all partisan and especially non-partisan stripes that black Obama is not one of them, and never will be.
"There's a pattern emerging here" -- and, you bet, many hard-working white Americans know it well.
It's the 21st century, folks, and these are the 1950s terms in which Hillary has chosen -- again, directly and explicitly -- to frame the presidential selection process.
In another word, it's scandalous.
Obama, of course, will have to play nice with Hillary; he'll have to ignore and dismiss such trash talk in his seemingly lone quest to unify his party. But one would think it would finally cut the progressive ties from Hillary -- that her heretofore enthusiastic progressive supporters would now say, Hillary, that's enough. The party is over, or at least our party will be if you persist in this egomaniacal destruction.