Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Geraldine Ferraro also thought Jesse Jackson had an unfair advantage

Geraldine Ferraro's bitter remarks on the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama were foreshadowed, almost verbatim, twenty years ago in her reaction to Jesse Jackson's campaign. Here are the thoughts she shared last week on Barack Obama ("Geraldine Ferraro lets her emotions do the talking," Jim Farber, Daily Breeze):
"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position [...] And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

"If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position."
Geraldine Ferraro, 2008

"If Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race."
Geraldine Ferraro, 1988

Here is what Ferraro said about Jackson's campaign, nearly twenty years ago ("Koch Endorses Gore; Jackson Parries Critics" Howard Kurtz, Paul Taylor, The Washington Post, April 15, 1988, p. A4 [LexisNexis], hat tip: Wide Awakes):
"If Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race."
Ferraro's latest remarks on Obama, which she stands by, are similar to those made in a January 8 op-ed by Gloria Steinem in the New York Times [LexisNexis]:
THE woman in question became a lawyer after some years as a community organizer, married a corporate lawyer and is the mother of two little girls, ages 9 and 6. Herself the daughter of a white American mother and a black African father -- in this race-conscious country, she is considered black -- she served as a state legislator for eight years, and became an inspirational voice for national unity.

Be honest: Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be elected to the United States Senate? After less than one term there, do you believe she could be a viable candidate to head the most powerful nation on earth?

If you answered no to either question, you're not alone. Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House.

Plainly, the battle for the Democratic Party's nomination has exposed deep resentment by many feminists of the notion that black grievances should be thought to trump their own.

See also: Ben Smith, "A Ferraro Flashback," (

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