This has been quite a week. From the Elliot Spitzer mess, to Geraldine Ferraro, to Clinton losing more ground in both the popular vote and delegates.
The Spitzer stuff has been much better covered by other bloggers, so I will leave it to them to discuss. I'm not from NY anyway, so my knowledge of him and everything else is limited. Suffice it to say it is sad to see someone who has been a fighter against corporate America fall and give those same corporate leaders a chance to dance with glee...
Where do I start with Ferraro? I can't think of any way she could have said what she did worse (at least not before she responded this morning). Anytime someone tells a minority that "the only reason you got to where you are is because you are a _____" you are asking to be labeled with an -ist. If I were to say to any woman CEO, legislator, or anything else that the only reason she was where she is is because she is a woman, I would deserve whatever she would dish out. The same goes for Ferraro. Do I think that she is a racist? No, I sincerely doubt it, but her comments were.
And I wish I could say that was where it ended, but it got worse. When Clinton was asked about the comments, her response was "I didn't say it." She went on to say she regretted that those words were said, but I still haven't caught any hint of a rejection or denunciation that she demanded so strongly of Obama after Farrakhan's endorsement. Then Ferraro responded by saying "They're attacking me because I'm white." My mind still can't wrap around what sort of mind set went behind that statement.
I also wanted to address the actual content of her statement. I do not believe that Obama got where he is now just because of his race, any more than Clinton got where she is because of her gender. Has identity politics entered into this race? Yes, for both of them. But the effect of that would favor Clinton by almost a 2 to 1 margin. Women make up 51% of the population at last estimate, African Americans are about 30%. The glass ceiling argument has also been used similarly, but again that favors Clinton over Obama, this time with 4:1 or better odds. Just a few numbers: there are 8 female governors currently, 29 historically - there are now (after Spitzer resigned) 2 black governors, 4 historically; 16 (80 in both houses) women Senators, 35 (251 in both houses) historically - 1 (42 in both houses) black Senator, 5 (121 in both houses) historically; 10 women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, 4 black. Worldwide (outside of Africa) there have been (historically) 39 women elected heads of state; not one black (that I could find, updates are welcome).
Barack Obama is leading the presidential race not because he is black, that's been a negative in a number of votes. He is leading because his message and his vision for the future of the nation has resonated with more people. More people believe his policies are better than Clinton's. More people prefer the campaign Obama is running. These are not white/black issues; these are not male/female issues. These are the candidates themselves, and they have no one to blame for where they are in the race except themselves.
As for the elections themselves, Obama now leads the state count 28 1/2 to 14 1/2 (including FL and MI), delegate count 1404 to 1243 (pledged), and popular vote 12.5 million to 12.1 million (without FL and MI). If you include FL and MI, with Obama getting 0 votes in MI, Clinton gets a 146,956 vote lead, but if you give Obama the 40% undecided votes from MI, it swings back in his favor by 90,806 votes. The popular vote also ignores (dare I say, disenfranchises?) the voters in 14 caucuses, 13 of which went for Obama. This week also raised the number of states won by 20% or better to 18 to 1 in favor of Obama. (all stats via CNN's election center)