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Posted at 10:09 AM ET, 12/29/2010

Playing (race) cards with Bill Clinton in Chicago

By Jonathan Capehart

Some members of Chicago's black political class are a wee bit ticked that former president Bill Clinton is getting involved in the impending mayor's race by doing a campaign event next month for former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. I get it. If you don't have the Big Dog in your corner, you don't want anyone else to have him, either. But the public pique of two black mayoral aspirants -- Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D) -- and their race appeal is petty, annoying and will come back to bite them.

Davis acknowledged Clinton's right to campaign for whomever he wants, but added this obnoxious warning:

The African-American community has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Clintons, however, it appears as though some of that relationship may be fractured and perhaps even broken should former president Clinton come to town and participate overtly in efforts to thwart the legitimate political aspirations of Chicago's Black community.

Braun concurred by picking at the scab that is the 2008 Democratic primary in South Carolina.

He's made these gaffes affecting, touching on his relationship with the African-American community....I think he'd be more sensitive than to weigh in on a race like this, from afar, given the support that community has given him in the past.

Good grief, people. Get over it.

Yes, politics is about loyalty. But there are gradations of political loyalty. Braun and Emanuel worked for Clinton. While she was the U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa (1999 - 2001), Emanuel worked directly with the president as his political director. And I'm surprised that Braun and Davis would attack someone as powerful in the Democratic Party as Clinton. Surely, they know memories are long and revenge is served cold in politics.

But the photo below of President Obama and Clinton illustrates the ultimate reason why Braun and Davis should put a sock in it with the racial appeal.

ObamaClinton.jpg

As long as they're tight, Clinton will be just fine with the African American electorate.

By Jonathan Capehart  | December 29, 2010; 10:09 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

*sigh* Oh Johnathan, what a surprise.

I noticed how you didn't dispute what both pols said. You just don't think they should have said it because well, as long as Clinton is cool with "America's Black Man" then there is nothing to worry about.

Wait, aren't you the same person who claimed that Harry Reid wasn't playing the race card with his "Obama will win because he doesn't sound black" comment. Didn't you agree with this sentiment and conclude Harry was being sincere?

And Now you write an article about the race-baiting blacks?

*sigh*

Posted by: dcis1 | December 29, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

dcis: Isn't Jonathan saying the same thing in both cases? That we shouldn't be playing the "race card" either way? Not sure what you're on about, but he sounds pretty consistent to me.

Posted by: Victoria27 | December 29, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse


I still love President Bill Clinton, and if it were up to me he'd STILL be our President.

Bill Clinton was the best President we've had in my entire lifetime, bar none.

I would fight to get Bill Clinton too, but not the way these two idiots are doing it. It's hard to get someone to help you while you're tossing insults at them.

Actually I'm shocked that Carol Moseley Braun is even allowed to run for office after she was involved in malfeasence while she was in the Senate to the degree that she couldn't get re-elected.

Posted by: lindalovejones | December 29, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Carol Mosely Braun needs to put a sock in it, as for the other guy, who cares?

Posted by: clarendon67 | December 29, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

And then there is that consummate disgrace to race relations in America, Rep. James Clyburn of SC, who won the election for Barack Obama when he dastardly accused Billary of racism.

Only in politics could this immoral character survive.

Posted by: jayjay9 | December 29, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

And then there is that consummate disgrace to race relations in America, Rep. James Clyburn of SC, who won the election for Barack Obama when he dastardly accused Billary of racism.

Only in politics could this immoral character survive.

Posted by: jayjay9 | December 29, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Of course you say that, Capehart, your job on the Post is given to you by white libs at the Post. And you play that card yourself so well as you would never want to get out of favor with your bosses at msnbc, those good old white folk liberals that you draw a paycheck from for grinning and shuffling and saying "Aw shucks" at everything a liberal white host says. You and your overseer, Eugene Robinson, sure know how to shuck and jive for the cable cash. Almost like tap dancing for a coin, only in these days you just speak what they want. So here you go, telling the black folk in Chicago they better listen to Old Bill Clinton, he knows what's best for the black folk. Like you know. Right. Got a bridge to sell?

Posted by: lorenzo2121 | December 29, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Come on jayjay: Don't you remember the toadying of many black "leaders" in SC? What about the sleeping Bill during the Martin Luther King prayer fest? I can also recall Clinton saying that Obama had no better chance to win than Jesse Jackson. Frankly, I don't care what Bill Clinton's opinions are on skin colour. But he was the one touted by some as America's first "black" President.

CB

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | December 29, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@victoria, what I posited is that Johnathan came to the defense of Harry Reid when he was accused of playing the race card, even suggesting what Reid's intents were. Now he's putting two black pols on blast because he "personally" believes they are playing the race card and that it wouldn't matter since Clinton is friends with "America's black man."

Not really sure how you conclude that these two things are similar.

Posted by: dcis1 | December 29, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

President Clinton is a private citizen.But, some folks keep that "white thang" goin'!

Posted by: judithclaire1939 | December 29, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Try judging people by the content of their character not the color of their skin, and you'll be proud BJ Clinton is not of your race.

Posted by: borntoraisehogs | December 29, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Mosley-Braun was a huge disappointment to Illinoisans in the Senate. She's only in the race to get money to pay off her huge campaign debts. Davis is frankly too old school to run this diverse city. He has been meeting with African-American leaders to try to settle on a consensus candidate (himself) to represent the Black community. How 1960's is that? So we had eligibility hearings at the Board of Elections, complete with photos from the basement of Rom's home (now occupied by a hostile tenant)--don't ask. I'll vote for Rom. He's certainly not charming, but Chicago doesn't need charming, it needs a tough guy like Daley, like Rom.

Posted by: jpawlik1 | December 29, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Mosley-Braun is in the race to raise money to pay off her campaign debts. Danny Davis is too old school to run this diverse city. He's met with leaders of the Black community. His purpose was to get them to settle on a consensus candidate--him. How 1960's is that? Then 30+ candidates filed protests with the Board of Elections claiming that Rom was inelligible because of an occupancy requirement. What a hoot! I believe it came down to stuff stored in Rom's basement (now occupied by a hostile tenant and former mayoral candidate). Who wouldn't want to preside over such a fun city? Rom's not exactly charming, but Chicago doesn't need charming, we need someone like Daley, someone like Rom.

Posted by: jpawlik1 | December 29, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse


Emanuel is running for a mayoral office. I, too, thought it a bit much to bring in Bill Clinton to campaign for him, and I'm surprised Clinton would even agree to it or see the wisdom of it given Chgo politics. This is a local matter and, believe it or not, I don't think Bill Clinton will have any impact on votes in the long run.

It's stupid of Emanuel to even use Bill Clinton and his decision to do so may backfire on him. In the present climate, voters are increasingly tired of being manipulated and finessed or viewed as idol worshipers who will instantly fall at the feet of any elected official, no matter the stature. It's insulting.

Emanuel needs to cultivate friends in the Chicago community instead of transplanting D.C. to chi-town.

Posted by: macktan894 | December 29, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Capehart is saying that Black politicians are playing the race card ?

That Democrats are playing the race card ?

Who knew ?

Posted by: pvilso24 | December 29, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

The reason I would not support Braun as a candidate for Chicago mayor if I lived there is because she did a mediocre job as a U.S. senator. She was strikingly superficial regarding policy and seemed more dedicated to drama, including a seamy romantic relationship. I believe Emanuel thinks about public policy at least 16 hours a day and works very hard to achieve his goals. He appears to be the best candidate.

Posted by: query0 | December 29, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

The reason I would not support Carole Mosley-Braun as a candidate for Chicago mayor if I lived there is because she did a mediocre job as a U.S. senator. She was strikingly superficial regarding policy and seemed more dedicated to drama, including a seamy romantic relationship. I believe Rahm Emanuel thinks about public policy at least 16 hours a day and works very hard to achieve his goals. He appears to be the best candidate.

Posted by: query0 | December 29, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

What do you expect them to do? Twiddle their thumbs and do nothing while Clinton raises millions for Rahm. This is politics, Chicago politics and baby, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Posted by: Connie10 | December 30, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

The City of Chicago deserves to be lectured by William Jefferson Clinton. Given the Illinois and Cooke County provenance and track record, only someone with Clinton's credentials could resonate there. After all, he is a convicted felon, a disbarred lawyer and the only president to be impeached in the 20th Century. Why wouldn't a Chicago candidate seek his approval?

Posted by: sailhardy | December 30, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

The City of Chicago deserves to be lectured by William Jefferson Clinton. Given the Illinois and Cooke County provenance and track record, only someone with Clinton's credentials could resonate there. After all, he is a convicted felon, a disbarred lawyer and the only president to be impeached in the 20th Century. Why wouldn't a Chicago candidate seek his approval? To those who object to these remarks, please note that Mr. Clinton's record is factual.

Posted by: sailhardy | December 30, 2010 7:24 AM | Report abuse

During the recent campaign for Governor of the State of Illinois a State Senator by the name of Rickey Hendon engaged in a racially divisive slam of the Republican candidate. Standing behind him was Congressman Danny Davis who was nodding his head in approval of the remarks and then applauded Hendon when he finished.

When I observed these actions I knew that I could never vote for Davis for any office as his actions in apparent approval of "hate speech" should be condemned by all.

Posted by: mwhoke | December 30, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

How is this not racist?

Posted by: toebo1 | December 30, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse


There is a pattern with weak, poorly qualified black candidates trying to use race where it is a non-issue as it is with Bill Clinton as the majority of black people nationwide will attest. I think this is the situation here. They diminish the real issues of race and undeniably still exist. Don't think it will play here.

Posted by: withersb | December 30, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Neither Braun nor Davis is going to win, so take their current complaints for what they are -- meek attempts by second-tier candidates to attack a frontrunning rival's campaign.

Posted by: simpleton1 | December 30, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Here's a good New Years resolution for you Capehart, try not to mention race, the tea party or Sarah Palin in any of your post next year. Your becoming very predictable in your statements and it BORING! Blah blah blah fill in the blank is a racist. Blah blah blah the tea party is astro turf. Blah blah blah anything Palin. Get the point?

Posted by: elcigaro1 | December 30, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

elcigaro advices Capehart "not to mention race, the tea party or Sarah Palin in any of your post next year".

Try following your own advice before you give it to others. CB

Posted by: chrisbrown12 | December 30, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Danny Davis, running for mayor of Chicago said: "The African-American community has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with the Clintons, however, it appears as though some of that relationship may be fractured and perhaps even broken should former president Clinton come to town and participate overtly in efforts to thwart the legitimate political aspirations of Chicago's Black community."

Hell. It was the Black community not the Clintons that broke the relationship. This was during the South Carolina primary. This was when Blacks abandoned Hillary and switched to Obama (simply because he was Black) despite all that Bill did for Blacks. During Bill's presidency, he was sometimes referred to as the "first Black president." And I lay this rupture between the Clintons and Blacks at the feet of James Clyburn. You reap what you sow.


Posted by: Paaa | December 30, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Carol Moseley Braun? What, Chicago isn't going broke fast enough?

As Democrat politicians have been running cities in this country into the ground for 50+ years, Chicago needs a non-executive liberal spendthrift? Like the numpty that we have as our current president?

Good luck out there Chi-town. You'll need it!

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | December 31, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Carol Moseley Braun? What, Chicago isn't going broke fast enough?

As Democrat politicians have been running cities in this country into the ground for 50+ years, Chicago needs a non-executive liberal spendthrift? Like the numpty that we have as our current president?

Good luck out there Chi-town. You'll need it!

Posted by: buggerianpaisley1 | December 31, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

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