Saturday, February 23, 2008

South Carolina Changed History

By Harry Targ
(1000 words)

I confess. I was a supporter of the presidential candidacy of John Edwards (particularly since Dennis Kucinich was made to disappear). I think his clear populist stance, his anti-corporate agenda, and his critique of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council represented an advance over the ambiguous and limited centrist politics of Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama, both of which have begun to change since South Carolina....

....Having admitted my political "biases," I now see the political significance and transformative character of the Democratic Party primary election held in late January in South Carolina. First, the campaign tactic of the Clintons, posturing that they were crusaders against racism in American life, was finally unveiled for the deception that it was. President Clinton did everything he could to remind voters that Barak Obama was after all an African American and that this election was occurring in South Carolina. In a totally irrelevant response to a reporter's question after the results were announced, President Clinton reminded the reporter and the audience that Jesse Jackson carried South Carolina in the 1980s; i.e. the outcome would not count and it would not count because Obama, like Jackson, is an African American.

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Harry Targ teaches political science at Purdue University. His most recent book is entitled Challenging Late Capitalism, Neo-liberal Globalization, and Militarism: Building a Progressive Majority, Changemaker Publications, 2006.

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