August 15th, 2008
11:14 AM ET

Jackson in 1988 makes case for nominating Clinton in 2008

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/15/art.jessejackson.jpg]
Roland S. Martin
AC360° Contributor
CNN Political Analyst

Last week while in Martha’s Vineyard, we had some major technical issues that knocked WVON-AM/Chicago off the air. I was just talking and talking until we were notified that we were not broadcasting.

So instead of talking for three hours for the online audience, I chose to play Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s 1988 speech at the Democratic National Convention.

In a truly mesmerizing speech that still make tears well up in my eyes, Jackson spoke to the pain and success of his supporters and the nation, but also offered some critical words that explained why the name of the first African American to run all primary races should go into nomination.

“As a testament to the struggles of those who have gone before; as a legacy for those who will come after; as a tribute to the endurance, the patience, the courage of our forefathers and mothers; as an assurance that their prayers are being answered, that their work has not been in vain, and, that hope is eternal, tomorrow night my name will go into nomination for the Presidency of the United States of America,” he said to rousing applause.

And later in the speech, Jackson told his personal story of being raised by a single mother, growing up with three last names, and the poor conditions he endured in South Carolina.

But he also offered a compelling reason why his name should go in nomination, which also can be used by the ardent supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton today.

“Every one of these funny labels they put on you, those of you who are watching this broadcast tonight in the projects, on the corners, I understand. Call you outcast, low down, you can't make it, you're nothing, you're from nobody, subclass, underclass; when you see Jesse Jackson, when my name goes in nomination, your name goes in nomination,” he said.

Women have waited years to see one of their own ascend to the presidency. While other nations have elected female leaders, America is 43 for 43 when it comes to white men. When her name goes in nomination, their name goes in.

And it’s no different for African Americans. A nation that once enslaved millions of Africans could be on the verge of seeing the son of an African father and Kansas mother occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. When Obama accepts the nomination, they accept the nomination.

Yet the difference between 1988 and 2008 is that Jackson and his supporters accepted the reality that he wasn’t the nominee, and that continuing to champion his cause – and ignoring the nominee, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis – could spell doom for the party in capturing the White House.

"The only time that we win is when we come together. In 1960, John Kennedy, the late John Kennedy, beat Richard Nixon by only 112,000 votes - less than one vote per precinct. He won by the margin of our hope. He brought us together. He reached out…

“In 1964, Lyndon Johnson brought both wings together - the thesis, the antithesis, and the creative synthesis - and together we won. In 1976, Jimmy Carter unified us again, and we won. When do we not come together, we never win. In 1968, the division and despair in July led to our defeat in November. In 1980, rancor in the spring and the summer led to Reagan in the fall. When we divide, we cannot win. We must find common ground as the basis for survival and development and change and growth.”

But when you have groups like Party Unity My Ass – PUMA – and MakeThemAccountable.com continue to assert that Clinton should be the nominee, and do everything to doom Obama’s chances in November – that runs counter to the issues that Clinton and Obama stand for – health care, ending the war in Iraq, not having conservatives have a majority on the Supreme Court, and so many others.

Choosing to champion McCain as “payback” against Obama and the Democratic Party will do the one thing Dems say they don’t want: guarantee a McCain victory.

Even conservatives have figured this out. Many of them can’t stand Sen. John McCain for a litany of reasons (remember the right wing talkers saying they would vote for Clinton over McCain in November?). But if it’s seeing Obama getting sworn in, they’ve decided to put their personal feelings aside to focus on winning. And in the end, that’s all that matters.

Even Jackson spoke to this issue in his 1988 speech during the section where he made the case for Dukakis.

“Our ships could pass in the night - if we have a false sense of independence - or they could collide and crash. We would lose our passengers. We can seek a high reality and a greater good. Apart, we can drift on the broken pieces of Reagonomics, satisfy our baser instincts, and exploit the fears of our people. At our highest, we can call upon noble instincts and navigate this vessel to safety. The greater good is the common good.

“As Jesus said, ‘Not My will, but Thine be done.’ It was his way of saying there's a higher good beyond personal comfort or position.

“The good of our Nation is at stake. It's commitment to working men and women, to the poor and the vulnerable, to the many in the world.”

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. C J Bell Murphy

    Your viewers are right, the Clintons should go away. SHE DIDN'T WIN! I think the media is giving her far too much credit. If she was that much in demand, why wasn't she elected.? They should bow out whithout being asked. They aren't nice people. What if the table was turned -Obama was in her place.

    What about the people praying for rain in Denver? How awful!

    I think Rev. Warren should be asked, why one candidate had the questions ahead of time. I am surprised you all didn't pick up on that- answering questions before time, asking Rev. Warren if he was going to ask him about...if not he would comment then. HELLO!

    August 18, 2008 at 6:54 am |
  2. sandra

    Roland, what do you think of the fact that McCain had an opportunity to hear questions and answers given by Obama before he got to the event. I thought last night that McCain must have had the questions before he went on stage. and now today thanks to rick sanchezs, The opportunity was there via his ever watching staff, even though the Pastor said that McCain was in a room without sound to hear questions and answers, he was not, just as I thought McCain although he may not been listing to the questions and answers, he was not at the event he was in route with every chance for his staff to know what was going on before they arrived at location . can you Roland explain to me why I have not heard this story anywhere else. Only CNN and Rick ask the Pastor, so Roland will you ask his staff, his friends in the aud. and or wife , was there any way talking points were given to him by staff that let him know what questions were and How Obama answered. The Pastor is too trusting and I felt he gave much more freedom to McCain when answering questions asked and answering questions he (MCCain) wanted asked. Let's talk about this Mon. I watch CNN and MSNBC 24/7. sandra smith

    August 18, 2008 at 1:28 am |
  3. Paf

    All supporters of Obama and Clinton should not be throwing abominable comments against each other. It serves no good purpose at all. Instead, it brings the two groups further apart. The ultimate result will be a lose for the Democratic Party thus making John McCain the next president. So stop the diatribes. Join hands and make the your two groups team up to produce the dream team. This is the only way that a democratic president will emerge. Any other proposal will fail. Just tapping half of Hilary's supporter will make Obama lose the election. The total supporters of Hilary must be brought in to insure the elections. Not one of the democratic aspirants came close to the number of supporters of Obama and Hilary.

    August 17, 2008 at 10:54 pm |
  4. Larry

    Hi Roland:)

    The most significant decision to come out of the 1988 Democratic Primaries was, that in order for Michael Dukakis to receive endorsement from Jesse Jackson, the DNC HAD to go from a 'winner-takes-all delegates', as the Republicans still do, to a Proportional distribution of delegates. That 1988 decision has played a major role in the outcome of the Democratic Primary for 2008; count the states won by Clinton & Obama and see who would have received the most delegates.

    August 17, 2008 at 7:25 pm |
  5. gabriel san martin

    Mr. Martin,

    Just a short comment, most of Mcain's attack on Barack Obama is about Obama's "inexperience". But today a remember something interesting in US History, In 1776 when this nation born Jhon Adams was 41 years old, Thomas Jefferson (as you know the autor of The Declaration of Independence) was 33 years old and George Washington the First Commander in Chief of Continental Army, without military experience was 43 years old.

    I think this election is about leadership, understanding of the world in this time and the future. I hope Mr. Obama will become the next president.

    Best Regards

    August 17, 2008 at 6:16 pm |
  6. Sonya Muhammad

    Silly Hillary needs to quit. If I thought for one minute that her intentions were honorable, I would say "no problem," let her speak and then shut up and sit down. But, I don't believe she is as honorable as her supporters would like to believe. The fact that her ego is demanding she make a huge spectacle of herself is not surprising. However, I don't believe she is a complete fool. Ms. Hillary is not going to take a chance of political suicide and pull some stupid prank that will ruin her forever. For someone that is supposed to be helping to unite the party, she is certainly taking the low road.

    August 17, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  7. mdjudkins

    integrity, character and a true statesman- barak has exactly what it takes to govern this nation.
    all rhetoric aside mcain has said " i have been totally in agreement and support of president bush" mccain will carry on the bush legacy- continue war in iraq – which his advisors/lobbyist randy scheuenmann has profited from and now will profit from the conflict in georgia – robert scheer's said " scheuenmann is the man that engineered the war in iraq" mccain also has ties to crminal lobbyist jack abramoff and ralph reed – who is hosting a fund raising event for mccain. these men are playing political games with the lives of american soliders. they will continue to do so unless we the people back obama agenda to reform the policies of politics and politicans.
    many stand to lose postions and power that the american people have paid for dearly.
    it is time to reform it is time for a change, barak is a candidate who is for the people, all people.

    August 17, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  8. jame

    i never k new that some americans can be so dump , if hillary had won we will all want obama to be on the ticket so wats wronge with people wanting hillary to be on the ticket.

    August 16, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The fact still remains, Hillary underestimated Obama and thought she would have the nomination in the bag so did many others. To lose at something you think you are best at is a hard pill to swallow, but it happened, it's done, it's over. Hillary supporters and all democrats need to be looking at 2012 also, the Republicans are for sure.

    August 16, 2008 at 11:48 am |
  10. Pat

    Mike what are the odds that Obama would agree to the theorized scenerio you put forth? Your theory is totally inane. Thank heavens your not a Nominee! We would all loose our votes!

    August 15, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  11. James Dylan

    I was so hopeful during the first portion of this article that I could finally agree with Roland but I was let down. Voting for McCain is not a "payback" but a choice. In order of who I would vote for given a choice, 1 Clinton, 2 McCain. The Obama hype is far to easy to see through and through it I see only a black Jimmy Carter. I am not a democrat or republican, I am an American first foremost and always.
    I think back and see a President Clinton Vice-President Obama ticket as unbeatable as well as a democrat in the white house for 16 years. Oh how the democrats blew it. Obama had such a great chance to gain expirence. Now, tomorrow we will see the first of three debates in which McCain pounds Obama.

    August 15, 2008 at 10:58 pm |
  12. mike

    Words mean everything in politics. Everyone seems to forget that Hilary never said she was "abandoning" her run for the nomination, just that she was "suspending" her campaign. So, let me play devil's adviocate for a minute:

    Obama's camp are trying to get the DNC to seat Florida and Michigan's delegations with full votes. She's gotten Obama to let her name be placed in nomination. Most States only require their delegates to vote for the winner in their State on the first ballot – and some don't require it at all. So, if Obama doesn't get the nomination on the first ballot, delegates are free to "vote their consciences."

    If Hillary and Bill have called in enough political IOUs, done enough political arm twisting behind the scenes, to get ju-ust enough superdelegates to just not vote FOR Obama on the first ballot, and he doesn't get enough to put him over the top, she can still steal it at the convention. (And if I were John McCain, my only comment about it would be, "Told you he didn't have enough experience to be President.")

    Now, knowing the history of the Clinton's tactics in past political campaigns, what's the odds of THAT happening I ask you?

    August 15, 2008 at 9:36 pm |
  13. Annie Kate

    All the Obama supporters that bash the Clintons every chance they get – could your own rhetoric be part of the reason why some diehard Clinton supporters still will not support Obama? I'm really tired of the Clinton bashing and the McCain bashing. I'm an Independent and on the issues I care about I don't see much difference between the candidates except when you get to experience – McCain and Clinton both have experience in varying degrees – Obama does not. So while I voted for Clinton in the primary I will not be voting Democrat in the November election – sorry but I think experience is a prime requirement.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 15, 2008 at 9:22 pm |
  14. Mariann Pepitone

    Lana: I don't know what your smoking but you certainly don't understand what was going on in the campaigning of Obama and Hillary. Hillary was cheated on her MI and FL delegates along with Nancy Pelosi demanding the superdelegates vote immediately before the convention. They wanted to wait until the convention but since she didn't want Hillary to be the nominee she and Dean no doubt made deals with the superdelegates to vote Obama for favors granted. Nancy is very jealous of Hillary and she wants to be the woman in charge. She is an underhanded and hateful woman. Obama knew what was going on himself and the superdelegates should not have listened to Nancy and did what they wanted to do. Also Edwards Attorney covered up his affair so he could keep campaigning for the presidency which he never would win and didn't want Hillary to win. I am happy her name will be on the ballot and roll call. Edwards should not have been in the race to begin with because he knew he couldn't win but I believe he did it to block Hillary. I am happy the truth finally came out and evidently that will end his career.

    August 15, 2008 at 8:41 pm |
  15. Ryan Field

    Here we go again, with Roland's infinite wisdom.

    Here's a clue: this isn't going to help Barack with the swing voters. And if you want to get him elected it's time to sit back and remain quiet for a while.

    I'm actually starting to feel sorry for Barack because of all the *help* he's getting from people in the press.

    August 15, 2008 at 7:55 pm |
  16. Rosie

    To Cindy,
    The reason Obama is giving the Clinton's their day, is #1, He is a Christian man, with christian principles. #2, He is a pure gentleman.
    #3, He is a man of integrity, and #4, he is running a Christian Campaign. And being all of the above, he will not launch a battle with Hilary over the White House.I admire his show, not only of sportsmanship, but also leadership.
    Its takes strength to conduct onesself as Obama has throughout this campaign, when many in his own country has treated, and is treating him as though he has not given his time and service to this country.And by the way, being in the military is not the only way one can give service to his/her Country. God help all of us who has such a mindset.
    It also takes one, with leadership qualities, to keep himself calm when facing strong oppositions.It takes one with leadership qualities, to know when to stand strong, and when to give a little; when to be soft and when to be stern: When to reason, and when to give ultimatums. Which is the type of conduct we have seen displayed by Obama, time and time again.
    Hilary is receiving this type of treatment, from Obama, because she is a woman. And as a Christian man, he has an obligation to God, to honor the woman as the weaker vessel [1st Peter3:7].
    So do not mistake his Christian values for weakness, for they are a show of great strength, and of great self-discipline.
    Also remember, had he been President, over 4000 young men and women would still be enjoying their lives on the top side of the soil, rather then having no life at all six feet under the soil. And I am sure that if these poor souls could come back to vote, in the General Election, they would all cast their vote for Obama. And before you say I am wrong, put all foolishness aside, and think with your heart.
    So let the Clintons have their day, it will only make God shine an even brighter spotlight on Obama, and the glory of God will fill the stadium on his night, and there will not be room, on that night, to hold the people.

    August 15, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
  17. Jan from Wood Dale IL

    Maybe Obama is giving Hillary a bit more recognition now since he now wants FL and MI to have full delegate representation at the convention. Remember back when it really mattered, Obama was firmly against those states having full delegate representation. That led to the Superdelegates and the DNC to come up with some odd formula that actually took delegates away from Clinton and gave them to Obama. That also led to a greater divide within the democratic party.

    August 15, 2008 at 5:54 pm |
  18. Thomas

    He needs to get a real job and take care of his kids....all of them...the one he fathered...

    August 15, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  19. Susan


    I hate to say this, but Senator Obama got rolled by Senator Clinton. I would not be surprised to hear that Senator Obama was missing parts of his flesh ( kind of like a shark attack ). It really makes him look wishy washy. Is she going to let him attend the convention??????


    August 15, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  20. lampe

    Roland; well you can really write nice speeches, when you think it will help Obama. Why is it that you only write nice things about The Clinton's when you think it will help him, but make nasty racist remarks,when it appears he needs no help? And as far as Obama, letting The Clinton's have time at The Convention,it's only because he knows, that he is in trouble, you better believe if he had a 15 or 20 point lead, he would tell everybody on her side to kiss his butt.

    August 15, 2008 at 4:16 pm |
  21. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    I am personally ready for Obama to step up and show some leadership. I do not understand why Obama being the presumptive democratic nominee allows this convention to be about the Clintons? Chelsea Clinton will introduce Hillary on Tuesday to speak. Then Bill speaks on Wednesday. Thursday a vote for Hillary, I already knew Hillary was all about herself so I am not surprised by her actions.

    This has however shown me what kind of leader Obama is. Being a nice guy is fine and dandy but at what point does the leader step up. I am disappointed that Obama has allowed Clinton to bo-guard her way in this convention. He might as well let her be the democratic nominee at this rate.

    August 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm |
  22. Sharon Ohio

    Jessie Jackson would of worked hard to Nominate Clinton this Election.

    Him backing Obama was out of Racial Solidarity and the Purpose and Cause for Obama running.

    This Election Jessie Jackson was a Sacrificial lamb offered up to the American People, To vote for Obama. Propaganda To show the American people that Obama is the Nice Black Guy, and to rally more Solidarity in the Black community.

    Everyone Knows Jessie Jackson would not of Given up that comment in 5 city blocks of Fox News.

    August 15, 2008 at 1:34 pm |
  23. Nina

    I guess context is everything: if the Clinton camp were promoting a roll call, and the presumtive nomineee were a white man, I don't think I'd mind at all. I would see it as : let's go back to the way conventions used to be run, when they weren't "made for prime time" tidy programs but instead truly raucous mind-changing, decision-making, consequential events.

    But, it's Obama. And the choice was between two monumental people representing change: a woman and a black. And, as a white woman for whom Clinton would have been a great choice, I felt I had a greater choice even than that ... and so wish the Clintons (and unfortunately that's part of the problematic context – it ain't just Hill, but Bill) could find a way to reframe their role, manage their power alternatively, and celebrate the process that has brought two great candidates to this moment ... and allow the one who won to move forward ...

    August 15, 2008 at 1:01 pm |
  24. Ada

    This kind of Hillary bashing is what annoys me to no end. I am a woman and a stunch supporter of Hillary. I am one of those watching to see how she is treated during this convention. Putting her name up for nomination is not a new thing. It has always happened that way in other conventions. All you Hillary haters cannot seem to pass up an opportunity to continue to insult her and her husband. I know I have only one vote but offices have been won and lost by one vote.

    August 15, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  25. jacquie NY

    This is all well and good, except that Hillary did not jump on the "Women's Bandwagon" until the end of the campaign when she realized this was getting a positive reaction. Had she started the race and campaigned on the basis of being the First Woman and really pushed this in the first place, then this might be credible, but at this point, it is just another ploy to stay in the limelight. Shame on her for ruining Barack Obama's moment. I voted for both Clintons and was a supporter, but after this campaign their legacy is tarnished and I will never vote for either or donate to their causes again. In addition, I do not feel she is a great example for generations of women to come... it is not a good example to stand by a cheating, philandering husband – is this what we are teaching our daughters these days? How about independence and self-respect? It is a shame that we are wasting this moment on appeasing the Clintons when some much is at stake.

    August 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm |
  26. Wendy Ontario, Canada

    Well said Roland. I cannot understand how Clinton supporters feel that electing McCain is honouring Hilary? Obama stands for all the same issues she does, voting against him means Clinton's issues will not be important. I think it is a slap in the face to her not to vote for Obama.

    August 15, 2008 at 12:06 pm |
  27. Mary

    Wow! What a great article. I am looking forward to see what happens at the convention. I am sure there are quite a few nervous people. I am a woman, but not really a fan of Senator Clinton. I do agree that she needs a bigger voice in the convention, but I can only imagine what trouble it could cause.

    August 15, 2008 at 11:39 am |
  28. Cindy

    The only reason Obama is letting Hillary have her day at the convention so to speak is because he needs to woo her supporters into voting for him. That is the only reason he is allowing her name to be on the ballot. Make no mistake about it! It isn't to let her glory shine at what she has accomplished. It is pure and simple just a way to get her voters behind him. Those who think other wise are fooling themselves!


    August 15, 2008 at 11:36 am |
  29. Lana - Ohio

    Okay, it is about time someone said it – Hillary Clinton needs to go away. She is nothing more than a dictator and if anyone thinks she will be good for America, they are wrong. See, I, more than anyone, would love to see a woman as commander in chief just not her. I know a lot of people have a lot of respect for her and think she could be good for this country but she had her chance and she needs to stop hijacking the Obama presidential campaign. Her antics during the primaries are being used against Obama from the McCain camp. And as for as her taking over the VP spot, another no on my part for the same reasons I mentioned above. She is not going to make this easy on Barak Obama and four or eight years in the White House would turn into a feud. Besides the Clintons have had their turn in the White House, it is time to give it to someone else. Last, Hillary ran an unorganized presidential campaign and in the end, it cost her. If she runs the country the way she ran her campaign, this country would be worse off than it is now.

    The other issue, as if anyone hasn’t noticed, the Obama campaign has been bending over backwards to satisfy the Clintons – what gives? The Clintons really need to go away.

    August 15, 2008 at 11:21 am |