Bill, Please, Shut Up.

Bill Clinton, in a perfect world, would be only tangential to the campaign of his wife. He is not, in fact, running for president, and his views are not the same as hers. Nevertheless, Bill has had a significant role in Hillary's campaign, as one might expect given his former position. Unfortunately for Hillary, Bill has used that role to inadvertently injure her campaign, including a dog-whistle statement before the South Carolina primary that helped to fuel massive African-American turnout in that state, propelling Barack Obama into co-front-runner status with Hillary Clinton.

I suppose it's only natural for Bill to want to un-say his comments. But Bill, really, you're not going to convince anyone this way:
On the eve of Tuesday’s critical Pennsylvania primary, former President Bill Clinton accused Barack Obama’s campaign of playing the race card against him.

After the phone interview with Delaware radio station WHYY Monday night, a stray comment of his on the issue was also recorded before he hung up: “I don’t think I should take any s*** from anybody on that, do you?”

The former president had been asked whether his remarks comparing Obama’s strong showing in South Carolina to that of Jesse Jackson in 1988 had been a mistake given their impact on his wife Hillary Clinton’s campaign. “No, I think that they played the race card on me,” said Clinton, “and we now know from memos from the campaign and everything that they planned to do it all along.”

Just...criminy. I don't think I can say it better than Shark-Fu:
When I call a person out for an ig’nant race-baiting comment that action is not 'playing the race card'…it’s calling a person out for an ig’nant race-baiting comment.

If that person is uncomfortable with that shit a bitch suggests that they get in touch with their inner asshole, because this bitch has had enough of motherfuckers whining and keening about that mythical race card every time they get corrected for deliberate verbal malfunctions designed to rouse prejudices they themselves have spent a lifetime concealing behind a mask of tolerance.

My race is not a card to be played anymore than claiming someone played the race card on you is a defense for dismissing a candidate’s political success as a product of their race.

Indeed. Accusing African-Americans of "playing the race card" when they call out legitimate racial bias is as noxious as accusing feminists of "playing the gender card" when they note the insane amount of misogyny Hillary Clinton has endured. It belittles the very idea of racism, the very notion that one can call out racism. By using the "race card" metaphor against those who decry racism, one seeks to stifle real discussion of real racism, by painting African-Americans as oversensitive.

Bill Clinton is not, I don't think, overtly racist. But he's doing a damn fine job of impersonating someone who is. If he values his wife's candidacy for the presidency, his best strategy in dealing with questions about his comments would be to admit that just like everyone, he can say things imprecisely, or things can come out wrong. He can admit that his comparison in South Carolina was motivated by racism, whether consciously or not. And he can simply apologize and move on.

Or he can keep upping the ante, keep decrying those who complain about racist comments. That is his choice, but it's not one that I imagine his wife appreciates.

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