Sean Wilentz: Essay on Obama strikes a nerve

Historians in the News

Princeton historian Sean Wilentz, who has been vociferous in his support of Hillary Clinton throughout the Democratic primary season, has caused quite a stir with his latest foray into the realm of presidential punditry. In an acerbic essay that appeared on the Web site of The New Republic, Wilentz charges the Obama campaign with cynically exploiting the issue of race by "deliberately, falsely, and successfully" portraying the Clinton campaign as "unscrupulous race-baiters."

Wilentz continues: "A review of what actually happened shows that the charges that the Clintons played the 'race card' were not simply false; they were deliberately manufactured by the Obama camp and trumpeted by a credulous and/or compliant press corps in order to strip away her once formidable majority among black voters and to outrage affluent, college-educated white liberals as well as college students."

Wilentz's essay is brimming with other such sharply worded accusations. Not surprisingly, it has stirred a vigorous response. As of this writing the piece has generated 440 comments on The New Republic's Web site. And Jim Sleeper, a lecturer in political science at Yale, has entered the fray, accusing Wilentz of writing a bitter rant fueled by his (maybe?) dashed hopes of being the Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. of a Hillary Clinton administration....

comments powered by Disqus