Friday, March 14, 2008

What Geraldine Ferraro Should Have Added, But Did Not

By John W. Lillpop

Although Geraldine Ferraro's remarks about Barack Obama were factual, and not racist as claimed by some, her analysis might have been better received had she included an equally- factual critique of Hillary Clinton.

To be fair, Ferraro should have pointed out that while Barack Obama is fortunate to be where he is, serendipity has also played a major role in the position that Hillary Clinton finds herself in.

After all, Hillary Clinton is a major contender to be the presidential nominee of the Democrat Party largely (solely?) because of her marriage to former President Bill Clinton.

Were it not for that bit of marital good fortune, it is doubtful that Hillary Clinton would be a national political figure, or even a senator from New York State.

Both Obama and Clinton are beneficiaries of the fact that many Americans, of all political stripes and races, have a yearning to elect an African-American or a woman to the presidency, the former to atone for slavery and other racist skeletons in America's past, the later to remedy generations of discrimination against the "weaker sex."

An Obama or Hillary Clinton presidency would most likely unleash a wave of "Feel Good" sentiment that might help unify the nation, at least temporarily.

Bill Clinton reflected that "Feel Good" yearning when he recently told 800 parishioners at the Temple of Praise congregation in Washington, "All my life I have wanted to vote for a woman for president. And all my life, I have wanted to vote for an African-American for president."

That yearning to vote for a black candidate or a woman in many ways epitomizes the American desire for fairness and equality.

Unfortunately, it can also pose a serious danger if voters rely too heavily on "Feel Good" sentiments when deciding whom should be entrusted with the responsibility and authority that comes with the most powerful office in the world.