Stuck in no man's land, no longer able to stand before adoring crowds of African Americans who would welcome him as the "nation's first black president" with thunderous applause and all kinds of pats on the back, he clearly is having issues dealing with the new world order.
Almost two months after Sen. Barack Obama captured the Democratic presidential nomination, the former president is at a loss, trying to figure out what happened along the way. And his chief complaint? That the Obama camp accused him of being a racist.
Never mind that the Obama camp – loaded with white male advisers – was so afraid to bring up race that it wasn't funny. What Bill doesn't understand is that it was the masses of black people who know what it feels like to be marginalized, and they saw that with some of Clinton's comments.
In an interview with ABC's Kate Snow, Clinton desperately wants his black mojo back, and when she asked him a question about regrets in the campaign, he immediately threw out, "I am not a racist."
See, no place gave Bill Clinton as much comfort than the black community. When he was facing the end of his presidency, he called on black folks like no other, using the love and affection we have always had to get him through the darks of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He relied on black support to keep his poll numbers high. And we all know it.
But what Bill knows – and we know – is that you don't have to be a racist to use race as a tool in a political campaign. An inference here, a comparison there, and you can send the right signal at the right time, to the right people.
Bill, and the legions of Clinton supporters and former campaign aides, are quick to act as if the comments made by African Americans – the regular folk – simply didn't exist. But what they also fail to grasp is that they did offend older African Americans like Rep. James Clyburn, and Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, and others who were always in the corner of the Clintons.
It's clear that what Bill can't stand is these blacks didn't sit down and shut up. They recoiled at what they heard, and didn't offer the Clintons cover.
For instance, in a piece on Politico.com, Clinton aides say that it was an affront to read stories about the Clintons using race when so many black women were at the top of her hierarchy.
But that's a lie.
Sure, Maggie Williams was hired to run the campaign, but AFTER Patti Solis Doyle was fired. Other women had some influence in the campaign – Minyon Moore and Tina Flournoy are to name a couple – but insiders, fundraisers and longtime Clinton supporters have said that her inner circle was devoid of many black voices. Telling Essence or other black media outlets who your "black team" is one thing, but did you tell the New York Times the same thing?
There is nothing that Obama can do to salvage the reputation of Bill Clinton before African Americans. Bill lost that on his own, and he's going to have to get it on his own.
And the Clintons need to stop living in la-la land, listening to the same folks sooth Bill's bruised ego. They thought they would win the nomination and then blacks would fall in line.
But in this new world order, when a (young) generation of black folks don't see Bill as the Great Messiah and really don't have a love affair with his eight years, he needs to recognize that a lot has changed.
Bill, you clearly have issues with what took place, and sure, you can be mad. But denying you're angry doesn't help.
You need to own up to what you did and stop passing the buck. That's what true leaders do.
Editor's Note: Roland Martin's essay originally appeared on Essence.com
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