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Just bc someone calls a black person articulate does make it a racist statement. I call a lot of 'leaders' articulate.

I use the word inarticulate to describe GWB all the time.

Get over it!

Posted by Mrs. Y | January 26, 2008 1:05 PM

Well the strategy now is to paint Obama as only appealing to black people. Then when he wins big in SC it'll just be proof.

Posted by John | January 26, 2008 1:09 PM

I don't get it. Praise sandwich? What's a praise sandwich?

Posted by arduous | January 26, 2008 1:24 PM

Also, I'm with 1. Isn't one of Obama's big strengths that he's ... a good speaker?

Aren't people drawn to his oratorical force? Is it not okay to compliment his oratorical skills? Or no?

Posted by arduous | January 26, 2008 1:26 PM

annie could your point clearer? praise sandwich, double decker? is there something wrong with what BC said?

Posted by whatever | January 26, 2008 1:30 PM

...make your point...

Posted by whatever | January 26, 2008 1:31 PM

I agree with what Josh Marshall says there:

[I]n effect, Bill Clinton holds a de facto office within the Democratic party. And what he's been doing amounts to an abuse of office. He has come into a primary process between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and used his unique power to jam his thumb down on one side of the scale in a way that I think is very difficult for anyone to overcome ...

Back during impeachment folks like me made the point -- and I think it was the right one -- that Bill Clinton's obligations to his wife, to his marriage to sexual fidelity and so forth were an issue between him and his wife. He had a different set of obligations and responsibilities to his supporters and to the larger public. And it was the latter that concerned me ...

You might say that's not fair, that that means his obligations as a husband and as a leader of his party are hopelessly in conflict. And I could only say you're probably right. But that frankly is one of the reasons we have instinctive suspicions about dynastic politics.

Posted by tsm | January 26, 2008 1:33 PM

I thought this was going to be a post praising sandwiches. I'm dissapointed.

Posted by Jerod | January 26, 2008 1:35 PM

It's so unfair! Barack would never campaign for Michelle!

Posted by Obama SuperFan | January 26, 2008 2:00 PM

@9 - Michelle Obama is not Bill Clinton; their relative positions aren't comparable. Obviously Clinton is going to support his wife, and show up in the campaign to some degree. But he's using his position to go far beyond the standard candidate spouse's support, to the point where he often overshadows her. (And that isn't just a matter of selective media attention; the Clinton campaign is pretty clearly sending
Bill out to say the things that Hillary might want to distance herself from.)

Is it unfair that he should be so constrained? If you think nepotism is a total non-issue, maybe. I don't.

Posted by tsm | January 26, 2008 2:07 PM

Barack Obama is an outstanding speaker, period. It doesn't matter what his ethnic background is. Bill Clinton said nothing racist or otherwise wrong in acknowledging that fact.

And even though I favor Obama I have no problem at all with BC out on the campaign trail with his wife. The Clintons are a package deal whether you adore them or despise them--Hillary influenced Bill's decisions in the White House, just like Bill will influence Hillary's when she gets there.

And I would like to see an end to this petty bickering between the Clintons and Obama, as well as their supporters. One of them will be going up against John McCain in a few months and the last thing we need is for the GOP to be able to quote word for word the mudslinging nastiness that the Dems have been throwing at each other these last few months. Let's save our strength for the more important battle that lies ahead.

Posted by RainMan | January 26, 2008 2:07 PM

You guys have never heard of a praise sandwich? It's how you're supposed to critique your employees but keep their morale up at the same time.

The sandwich is: brilliant (praise!), articulate (the meat of the matter), compelling (praise!).

The double decker is insanely abstract, but basically what I'm saying is the Clintons are hoping that, in case of an Obama win, the narrative coming out of SC is that he's the black candidate. Hence bookending the praise sandwich with "African-American."

I'm not getting bent out of shape about diagramming sentences, really. I defended Joe Biden when he made the same mild gaffe (making your exact point, @1&4). But it's true that--in a racially heated atmosphere--"eloquent" would have been a better choice of words. That's all.

Posted by annie | January 26, 2008 2:14 PM

annie - thanks

Posted by whatever | January 26, 2008 2:40 PM

@12, @10

This whining by the Obamatons is pathetic. Bill used the word "articulate" where he should have said "eloquent" -- that's the complaint? Bill is speaking up too much, he's not acting like a "traditional spouse" -- that's the complaint?

Compared to what the GOP would throw at Obama, the Clintons are just playing "patty cake."*

* Credit: Pat Buchanan, today, MSN.

PS: congrats in advance to Obama on winning SC today. This is his biggest platform yet on which to address the whole nation. Here's hoping he's at his best.

exit polls being reported now: were candidates attacking each other unfairly ?

56% said yes Obama was unfair,
70% said yes H.Clinton was unfair.

Posted by unPC | January 26, 2008 3:05 PM

Are people really trying to say that Bill should not campaign for his wife just b/c he used to be the President and is now beloved (and powerful) w/in the party?



Defying all logic!

Posted by Mrs. Y | January 26, 2008 4:31 PM

Bill has only harmed his former Presidential glamor and his wife's candidacy, in addition to the Democratic Party. He needs to be told to shut up and fundraise. Sooner rather than later. Party insider backlash is building quickly on a national level against his wife due to what he's done recently.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 26, 2008 4:41 PM
Are people really trying to say that Bill should not campaign for his wife just b/c he used to be the President and is now beloved (and powerful) w/in the party?

You're right. I don't know why we bother with a primary at all - let's just go to dynastic succession.

I mean, given all the complaints about how sexist it is to say that Hillary was "hiding behind her husband", this all seems pretty disingenuous.

Posted by tsm | January 26, 2008 5:23 PM

Bill Clinton is one of the most clued in politicians of our time. Here is just one of many facts that he must know:

It is amazing that this still requires clarification, but here it is. Black people get a little testy when white people call them “articulate.”

So that's fine if you want to act tone deaf and pretend you don't know that you don't put "articulate" and "African American" in the same paragraph. Unlike you, Bill Clinton is not tone deaf and of course he knows better than to say that.

So. What the hell is he thinking? Is it like some kind of reverse-reverse-double-back-flip kung fu that no mortal could ever unravel the strategy behind the strategy? Or has he just lost it?

Posted by elenchos | January 26, 2008 6:06 PM

He thought he could have her run as a Republican in a Democractic caucus/primary.

Didn't work.

Those days are gone, Bill. It's 2008, and it's Morning in America - 21st Century style.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 26, 2008 7:05 PM

Here's a theory, elenchos: He wanted the Obama team to vocally object, on the grounds that it would be reinforcing the notion of Obama as "black candidate" and making race an issue in a way that Obama would probably best try to avoid.


Posted by tsm | January 26, 2008 7:07 PM

All I know is, every time Bill Clinton race baits, a kitten gets cancer, and that's sad.

Posted by elenchos | January 26, 2008 7:48 PM

articulate: (of a person or a person's words) having or showing the ability to speak fluently and coherently

eloquent: fluent or persuasive in speaking or writing

At first I didn't get why "articulate" pissed people off while "eloquent" didn't. I had assumed that they're synonyms. Apparently not. Articulate == OMG! The black guy can speak English. Eloquent == OMG! The black guy can use speech to persuade people.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 26, 2008 8:16 PM

k, did you actually read the article?

Posted by elenchos | January 26, 2008 11:20 PM

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