February 08, 2008

It's going to be one interesting "race"

If Barack Obama is the Democrat presidential nominee, it's going to be one interesting race. Because of race. The Clintons are learning the hard way that you have to walk on egg shells going up against a popular black candidate, given that it seems virtually any word or phrase will be misconstrued to have some sort of racial undertone. Today, a Newsbusters reader alerted us via our e-mail tip line to Tim Russert on the "Today" show where he was discussing Bill Clinton's use of words like "inexperienced" and "inspirational," and having to be "careful." (Funny how it wasn't a big deal for people like Robert DeNiro using the term "inexperience," eh?)

As I noted in my post from the first link above, I'd almost feel sorry for Democrats -- except that they're now experiencing the very tactics which they've employed against their opponents for decades, and which "enlightened" journalists have also used against their ideological enemies. And [the] Obama[s] sure aren't helping matters much in what is supposed to be a "mainstream" African-American candidacy.

One of the latest victims of this new ... "sensitivity" appears to be NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd:

It all started when Michelle Henery, a columnist for the Times of London, penned a story about her experience in the press room after last week's Democratic debate in Los Angeles.

Henery, who is African-American, wrote that New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, "one of my journalistic heroes," approached her, "greeting me like a long-lost friend." Henery was flattered and shocked until "Maureen's sweet smile turned into embarrassed confusion and she scampered off."

The next day, Henery says she e-mailed her friends, who told her that Dowd must have confused her with Michelle Obama, the wife of presidential contender Barack Obama.

Henery was shocked, considering that Obama has "almost 15 years on me and more than 3 inches in height" and despaired about "how white America was going to elect a black man for president if they could not even tell us apart." (Link.)

The Obama campaign just adds to the fire: "A spokesperson for Michelle Obama declined to comment, explaining, 'I think that story speaks for itself.'"

You see? Dowd is somehow an example of some sort of "subtle" racism -- manifesting itself via the old stereotype that all black people "look alike." But, of course, it's as if people never mistake anyone else that's of a different hue, right? Hell, my own father -- right in front of me, several times -- has been asked if he is a Kennedy! My wife has been confused for Julia Louis-Dreyfuss. But in this current political climate, do NOT mistake an African-American, especially an Obama, for someone else. It'll "speak for itself."

Then there's Philly Daily News columnist Elmer Smith who writes "He's not the 'N' word (but it's not what you think)":

I AM SICK and tired of being called the "N" word by political pundits in their lame analyses of the Democratic primary campaign.

No. Not that "N" word.

I'm sick of being called a "niche vote," as if being black in America puts me in a such a unique category that I am not to be considered along with all other potential voters.

It's true of women, too. In their haste to identify the likely voting blocs for the two Democratic candidates, pundits consider women voters as some special-interest group that is not quite typical of Americans in general.

What is driving all of this, of course, is the fact that the two remaining Democratic candidates are a woman and a black man. Women are more likely to be for Hillary Clinton and blacks are counted in advance as being for Barack Obama.

That part makes sense. Given that both candidates seem qualified and capable, and since their positions on issues are so close, it should come as no surprise that women and blacks have aligned themselves by their respective "identities."

What doesn't make sense is that this is seen as divisive and typical of the national Democratic Party, which is characterized as an amalgam of special-interest groups whose peculiar demands put them outside the American mainstream.

If it doesn't make sense, Elmer, it's because you're either the ridiculously blind partisan, or incredibly stupid.

No, it's not, as you claim in your article, the fault of Republicans. The Democrat Party has itself perfected the art of identity politics, right down to allocating [their own] convention space based on gender and color. You really can't get more "divisive" and "out of the mainstream" than that. And I really am confused at how Elmer resents being a "niche" voter. The African-American community as a whole overwhelmingly votes one way -- Democratic. And by overwhelmingly, we're talking in the 80% neighborhood.

What will also be intriguing is how the McCain camp -- and the media -- will handle Obama's "spiritual adviser" should Barack get the nomination (or even the veep nod). The MSM has stayed away from the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. as you'd expect any good left-leaning entity to do. So, naturally, it's up to the non-traditional media to look into the man. Ask yourself: What would NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN etc. say about a Republican [white] candidate whose spiritual adviser was (is) directly connected to the following:

  • routinely refers to "black arrogance";
  • routinely refers "the United States of Black America";
  • was head of a church whose motto is "Unashamedly White and Unapologetically Christian";
  • When referring to the Egyptians, he refers to "African oppression"

Think that hypothetical candidate would be constantly peppered with questions about the adviser? As surely as the Pope is a Catholic. But just substitute "white" for "black" above, "Romans" for "Egyptians" and "European" for "African." That's the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. He's also said the following:

  • On 9/11: "White America got their wake-up call after 9/11. White America and the Western world came to realize people of color had not gone away, faded in the woodwork, or just disappeared as the Great White West kept on its merry way of ignoring black concerns." On the Sunday after the attacks, Dr. Wright blamed America.
  • On the disappearance of Natalee Holloway: "Black women are being raped daily in Africa. One white girl from Alabama gets drunk at a graduation trip to Aruba, goes off and gives it up while in a foreign country and that stays in the news for months."
  • On Israel: "The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for over 40 years now. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community and wake up Americans concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism."

Pretty "mainstream," eh?

Wright has also visited Cuba and Libya in the mid-1980s and most recently hailed the anti-Semitic and racist Louis Farrakhan as "a pillar of integrity" and presented him with a "lifetime achievement award" back in November.

If Obama is indeed THE uniter as he claims, he surely should have to address legitimate questions about the man he holds in such high regard.

Posted by Hube at February 8, 2008 09:36 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Not sure if everyone got to the bottom of the link you provided, but it appears the Obama camp as well as the "Reverand" understand fully the political implications to come.

"If Barack gets past the primary, he might have to publicly distance himself from me," Wright told The New York Times with a shrug. "I said it to Barack personally, and he said 'yeah, that might have to happen.'"

Posted by: kavips at February 10, 2008 04:11 AM

I predict the DEMS will nominate Barack because it will be too hard to ignore his intangibles. Those intangibles however are what could be his downfall.

As voters learn more and more about Obama (this minister is a good example), I predict his support in the polls will fall steadily.

In other words,I suspect he has peaked already and has nowhere to go but down.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at February 10, 2008 10:30 AM

I found a Rolling Stone article (sympathetic to Sen. Obama) that reports that Obama sought Wright out. It wasn't like Wright was the pastor at his neighborhood church. Sen. Obama chose Rev. Wright.

Posted by: soccer dad at February 13, 2008 04:50 AM