Steve & Cokie Roberts: Race Trumps Gender, Yet Again

In their latest column, “Let superdelegates decide race? Not this year,” Steve and Cokie Roberts argue that 2008 is absolutely the wrong year to let superdelegates decide who is the Democratic presidential nominee. Why?

They are the superdelegates, the elected officials and representatives of Democratic Party constituencies who this year are expected to make the difference – to add enough delegates into the column of one candidate or the other to put him or her over the top. But this is exactly the wrong year for them to play that role for one important reason: race.

Not only is it entirely within the rules for the superdelegates to vote their independent choice, rather than simply echo the voters of their states, that’s their reason for being – these professional politicians are SUPPOSED to exercise their judgment, both political and personal. They definitely CAN choose the nominee; the question is, SHOULD they? We think not. Not this year. If the party elites elect Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama, many African-Americans will be convinced that the rules were rigged to lock them out.

…A group of politicians, almost half of whom are white men, can’t be perceived as excluding the black candidate, even if they are acting totally within the rules.

I am not here to say whether superdelegates should or should not be the deciding factor, but I am here to say that, once again, we are being told that it is essential not to give the appearance of racism, but it does not seem to matter if those involved in the process give the appearance of sexism and/or misogyny.

Roberts and Roberts at least do at least mention the other side of the coin:

If the “old boys’ network” seems to be beating up on Clinton – and almost two-thirds of the superdelegates are men – that could backfire on any attempts to bring the supporters of the two candidates together.

So, to summarize…The superdelegates choose Clinton and there will be a scandal because it will look like racism played a part in the choice of the Democratic nominee; the superdelegates choose Obama, and there may not be “harmony” among supporters.  Do one, and you will look like a bigot; do the other, and you will look like you are inconveniencing the party.

The Roberts’ rhetoric is no different from the rhetoric of almost all politicians, elected officials, writers, and commentators: Racism is a blot on the society, while sexism and misogyny are “less important” issues, and therefore do not merit the same amount of attention, if indeed, they merit any at all.

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Steve & Cokie Roberts: Race Trumps Gender, Yet Again

  1. coldH2Owi says:

    What do I say to Repubs who use this:

    Since the Clinton campaign is talking to superdelegates about “electability,” the superdelegates should ponder the narrative that is developing about Hillary Clinton’s ability to tell the truth. It’s not like she just relayed this health care story or just told the Tuzla story. Watch those videos again. She was emphatic in both cases and went into great detail. Yet, neither are true. Now, I don’t imagine the Republicans would make hay out of this pattern in the general election, do you?

  2. Diane Elayne Dees says:

    nn, your comment has nothing at all to do with the topic I posted: that race is considered important in the U.S., while sexism and misogyny are dismissed as not important. Selectively perceived bigotry is a much bigger topic than whom the Democrats select as a candidate.

    (But should you wish to start a post somewhere about how candidates bend the truth, you will also see plenty of examples of Obama’s having done so. As for the “healthcare story,” the woman and her child died, and the hospital refuses to verify its so-called innocence in the matter–hospital officials are simply asking us to believe them.)

  3. Janis says:

    Steve and Cokie can kiss my ENTIRE girly a*s.


  4. The whole point of superdelegates is to account for grotesque anti-democratic injustices like the deplorable 15% Caucus Skew which has cheated Hillary’s voters of their rightful share of pledged delegates and popular vote.

    Every 8th volunteer phone call I made into a caucus state got me a version of “Oh no, honey, I dare not caucus, I’m off-balance.” There is an epidemic of older women who have a dread of falling. No ‘ride’ would help them. Only the Absentee Ballot forbidden in Caucus States.

    In Texas, Hillary was plus 4 in the primary & minus 12 on the same day. A 16% swing! What made the difference? No, NOT “superior organization” or more passionate voters, the unexamined ideas parroted by the audacity -of -ignorance MSM. It’s the Absentee Ballot. Period.

    If you don’t think these passionate, silenced, and cheated Hillary voters are “deeply offended,” you’ll see that they’ll sit out in November unless they are acknowledged and accounted for in the thinking of the non-lemming superdelegates.

  5. workingclass artist says:

    Well…. These two join the others I’ve been throwing under my bus. Thanks.

  6. Jessica says:

    I wouldn’t throw Cokie Roberts under the bus. Nearly everything I have heard her say these last few months is very favorable to Hillary. She and her husband were suggesting that if the superdelegates push Hillary over the delegate goal line that blacks would be upset. That might be true but I think that is far too narrow a reading of the current climate. It’s less about racism and sexism and more about what people perceive to be fair. Almost anyone who thinks earning more pledged delegates means you should win will be upset–black and white, women and men.

  7. Diane Elayne Dees says:

    “Nearly everything I have heard her say these last few months is very favorable to Hillary. ”

    That’s interesting–I didn’t take Roberts to be one of those “oh no, not McCain!” Republicans.

  8. Jessica says:

    Diane: Since you seem to know more about Cokie Roberts than I do, if you think her compliments were disingenuous than I take you at your word. Maybe she has a different agenda than I ascribed to her.

  9. Diane Elayne Dees says:

    Jessica, it’s quite possible that Roberts has changed her political affiliation because of Bush. Or perhaps she is just being objective. I don’t really keep up with her.

  10. Janis says:

    Fantastic link:

    A really interesting dissection of Obama from a totally black-centered point of view, which introduced this white woman to a lot of angles she hadn’t considered before. It’s quite an eye-opened to see a dissection of the Greatest Show on Earth, without the assumed support for HRC.

    I feel dorky for not realizing this, although someone on Taylor Marsh has said it: Obama played the race card against the Clintons because he had no other way of enshrining himself as a Black Leader — because he hadn’t done a damned thing for the community. She called it the “cheater’s way” to establish oneself as a black community leader.

    Anyhow, damned eye-opening.

  11. Kendall Johnson says:


  12. That’s a very interesting point about the absentee ballots. My recollection from having lived in Oregon in the early eighties is that, among other things, they have “motor voter” (automatically registered to vote when registering a car) and mail in voting for everyone.

  13. Pingback: Sir Elton John: Racist