Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Say It Isn't So Donna

When you live in DC, and are involved in advocacy, it's inevitable you will cross paths with other advocates. Over the years I've crossed paths with Donna Brazile a number of times. I've found her to be a straight talker -- not in a "McSame" way, but in a way you can trust. And that is why this post is so distressing to me.

A young woman from Ohio sent an email to Brazile, urging her to use her influence as a member of the Rules Committee, to seat the MI and FL delegates. It's a sentiment, as a former Florida resident, I support.

And while the letter might not have been as "politically correct" as it could have been, it certainly came across as respectful and sincere. So how did Brazile respond? Before I post the message let me say again that if this is indeed Donna's response I find it very distressing.

From: "Donna Brazile" Add Mobile Alert
To: xxxxxxxxx

RE: This Race
Date: Thu, 8 May 2008 07:58:35 -0400

Thanks Natalie,

As of today, I am not going to respond to any more anti American, Anti Democratic emails. Have a nice day.

I am sorry because you are sincere, but the Hillary forces are uncivil, repugnant and vile. When you come up for air and would like to email a person who cares about America and not just a personality, I will respond.

Thanks for your time and your interest.

Please go read the message from Natalie and let me know if you think this was an appropriate response.


John J. said...

I'm reading this letter, and, starting in the third paragraph, it starts sounding very racist:

"You, as an Undeclared Obama supporter, probably identify strongly with his candidacy because of the struggles you went through during a time when race relations in this country were in turmoil." = "You're just voting for him because he is black." - Something she has addressed directly and firmly time and again.

Then she goes on to trash Obama with lies "Chicago Style Campaign tactics"?! And accusations that Donna Brazile has been a party to attacks on the Clintons since Ms. Brazile is part of the "DNC party elite."

"Just because a person's skin may be paler that yours, does not mean their lives are without suffering." This sentence could not say "I think you are a racist" more clearly.

It would be one thing if Natalie had been polite and not thrown these smears out there, but this letter was clearly, imo, an attack on Donna's integrity and on Obama and his supporters.

BAC said...

John - Of course you would think that. Before passing final judgment I will consider opinions from people less bias.


Nan said...

I doubt the response is from Donna. She's much, much too savvy a person who ever phrase something that crudely in an e-mail. What I would find believable is a canned, totally innocuous "I regret I don't have time to respond to every individual e-mail. Thank you for your comments." Think about it: other than Carville, how many professional political operatives are out there who are willing to burn bridges beyond repair?

Mary Ellen said...

As usual, John immediately goes to the lowest level, accusing anyone who mentions race (even when it is to address the struggles of the black community) is labeled a racist. Does that mean when MLK addressed those same issues and talked about how our country was in turmoil, he should have been branded a racist? When JFK supported MLK in his quest to bring equality to the black community, JFK should be branded a racist? When civil rights is written about in history books, are they racist history books?

I have had equally rude e-mails from Donna Brazile when I wrote to her asking for her support to seat the delegates in MI and FL. I wish I had saved them, I deleted them after they came in. Now that I see this is the way she responds to every Hillary supporter, it shows me that this woman should step down from her position in the DNC because there is no way she can make an honest attempt at seating the FL and MI delegates and will do all in her power to keep the voters from having their votes counted as is. She should also step down as a representative to the DNC while on CNN. She is not giving a neutral, unbiased opinion....she's shilling for Obama.

Oh wait! Does "Shilling for Obama"= "racist remark"? It seems that this is the thinking of guys like John J.

Mary Ellen said...

nan- I just read your comment...that is mild in comparison to the e-mails that she sent me and others. I know the e-mail was from her, it came from her e-mail address and was a reply to my e-mail to her. There is no doubt about this. She is not as savvy as you think, the woman is so deep in the hole for Obama that she has lost all perspective.

John J. said...

Mary Ellen, if I said "You have breasts, you wouldn't understand," I would be sexist. Saying "You're black, so you don't understand," is racist. This person's statement was very clear; I understood it, Donna Brazile understood it. That is why she got, and deserved, a harsh response.

BAC said...

John - what purpose does it serve to deny the obvious? The Democratic contest is all about identity politics. How else to you explain 90% support for Obama among African Americans? And the overwhelming support that Clinton has from women?

I don't think it is either "racist" or "sexist" to give voice to the obvious.

The problem many of us have with your comments in all these discussions is that your world view is that of a white male, and white men in this culture have a certain amount of privilege that simply cannot be denied.

I have hoped this was not a message from Brazile, because I like the woman and think this was an overly harsh response.

What Nan has suggested would be a much more reasonable response from someone who is a leader within the Democratic party.

Mary Ellen - if you have an email similar to this from Donna I would be curious to see if, if you would be willing to share. My email address is BAC104@comcast.net.


John J. said...

So it is fine for me to go around calling Hillary's supporters sexists? That the only reason anyone would support her is because they are delusional or can't support a man? Do you honestly think Donna Brazile, someone both you and I respect, is that shortsighted?

Yes, there some people voting like that. But I didn't, I don't believe you did, and I would put money down that Ms. Brazile didn't make up her mind that way either. As she herself has said, "I'm black, so I should support Obama; I'm a woman, so I should support Clinton; and I'm grumpy, so I should support McCain."

Reducing the choice between these two candidates to just that is the thing we have been railing against the media for. It is divisive and repugnant. And a personal insult like that does deserve a harsh response.

BAC said...

So it is fine for me to go around calling Hillary's supporters sexists?

Isn't that what you've been doing for months now?

The reality is that some voters are making their decision based on identity politics. But for most intelligent supports it's not their only basis.

As I have mentioned, I would not vote for Elizabeth Dole, or Condi Rice.

What makes this decision easy for me is that of the two Democratic candidates I think Clinton is be most qualified, and would be the most likely to win in November.

Do I think Donna has made up her mind? Yes, absolutely. I think she is supporting Obama.

I think she believes he is qualified, but I would also be willing to bet that a large part of her decision is based on race. They have a shared experience that you and I cannot possibly understand.

And don't think for a moment that Obama is not playing into this. How else can you explain his dismissive attitude toward WVA voters?

Does he plan to skip PA, OH, WVA, IN, KY, MI, CA, NY, MA, TX, FL, and all the other states where the popular vote went for Clinton?


John J. said...

I would like you to point me to one time where I said to someone they were voting for Clinton only because she is a woman. I have actually argued against identity politics on a number of occasions, pointing specifically to Clarence Thomas. I do know that some people are voting based on identity politics, I'm not naive, but unless someone explicitly says so, I give them the benefit of the doubt.

Your statements about Ms. Brazile belittle her completely. Just because she is black does not mean she is not a woman. You are the one that has argued repeatedly that sexism is much worse in America than racism. If that were the case, she would share more with Hillary than Barack.

I don't agree with him not campaigning in WV, but the reason he didn't campaign there (imo) is that he only had one week to overcome a 20%+ deficit. My impression, judging from what he has done in the past week, is that he felt it more important to campaign for the general election rather than focus his time and effort in a losing fight. I don't think it was the right thing for him to do - his strategy throughout this campaign has been to fight for every single delegate, and it's been working for him. This wasn't a race issue, this was a strategic move that I think was done wrong.

BAC said...

John - do you live in a cave? Or are you able to circulate among the general public every now and then.

My comment in no way "belittle's" Donna. It's a statement of fact. No white person can have ANY idea what it's like to be Black. If you think YOU can THAT is a racist comment.

And I have consistently argued that racism and sexim are BOTH far too prevalent in this culture. And that the MEDIA only seems to focus on racism. It's only been within the past few days that some are even acknowledging sexism as part of the contest.

You have a very bad habit of twisting comments to suit you, instead of comprehending what is actually being said.

He has had four months to overcome a 41% deficit. He chose not to try. The next test will be to see if he campaigns in KY.

Sen. Clinton has campaigned in every race, even when she knew she would probably lose, and I think that is why she is connecting with working class people. They want a fighter in the White House.


John J. said...

So now empathy is racist? Do you really think the ability to understand what others feel denigrates them that much?

Not to mention that you have now completely reversed the emailer's comment. She told Donna, a black woman, you can't understand the suffering of white people.

Speaking of "twisting comments to suit you," you appear to have ignored the entirety of my comment on Obama's WV strategy. I personally don't think it was the best choice, I understand his reasons, but I disagree with him. It appears though, that he is doing some campaigning in Kentucky, or at least his campaign is making some efforts there.

To directly address your response though, Clinton did not campaign in every race; she didn't even have a campaign office set up in Washington because it was after Feb. 5. Her campaign, specifically Mark Penn, but also Terry McCuliffe and others said she wouldn't need to campaign after Super Tuesday, so she didn't have anything set up to do so. That is a large part of why she lost 11 strait contests.

There is more than one way to be a fighter. You can fight at every opportunity against all comers. That is how we got into Iraq. That is how Bush, Kyl and Leiberman are trying to pull us into Iran. Or you can choose your fights. You can chose who, where and when to fight. More importantly, you can choose how to fight.

I want a president who will fight the important fight and let the pettiness slide by. The Republicans are fighters too; heck, they will even fight against Mothers' Day. But is that really what we want? Endless bickering? Do we really want more flag pins, sniper fire, and "where were you were born?" questions?

BAC said...

John - you simply don't get it ... and the sad reality is that you never will.