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The Grudge

Over at TPM, David Kurtz highlights Michelle Obama's comment that she'd "have to think about" supporting Hillary in the general election. Kurtz writes:

A couple of readers have strenuously protested that the question wasn't would Michelle Obama "support Hillary as nominee," but could she she herself "working to support Hillary" as the nominee. In other words, these readers argue, Michelle might vote for Hillary even if she doesn't work for her. I find that to be a distinction with very little difference. Why is Michelle hedging at all? [Emphasis added.]

Because she's human and, I suspect, because she's black. I realize there's a popular school of thought that politics ain't beanbag and the Clintons are merely giving Obama a taste of what he'd get from the GOP if he's the nominee and so on and so forth. And I think all of that's true, as far as it goes. That's why I don't believe the Obamas would be justified in holding a grudge over the Clinton ad that completely mischaracterized his comments about Reagan. As unfair and misleading as that ad was, that's politics. 

But the way the Clintons injected race into this campaign--and tried to pigeonhole Obama as "the black candidate"--wasn't just politics; it was reprehensible. And I say that as a white guy. I can't even begin to imagine how it felt to a black person, much less a black person who's the spouse of the candidate who was being pigeonholed--especially when that candidate has spent his entire political career trying to trascend the narrow categories of race. So, while I suspect that, should Hillary win, the Obamas would eventually fall in line and support her, I wouldn't blame them if they hemmed and hawed and hedged in doing so. And I don't think anyone else should, either. There are some things more important than party loyalty.

--Jason Zengerle