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March 18, 2008

Comments

"Impressive speech? Right, like Americans needed to be scolded by Obama about the wrongs committed by whitey."

Guess that conversation about race isn't going too well on your end, grey.

There's probably a depressing large number of people who think like the banned and unmentionable one. Hell, I grew up around people like that--they had chips on their shoulders whenever the subject of racism came up and had to prove that that most of the real racists were, of course, black.

hilzoy: "matttbastard: I had to click through to see that that was an actual column in an actual newspaper. I am speechless"

But not too speechless to post the Rosewood link, about a black massacres in 1923, and add comments that make it seem there's a racial bias to the article and/or the columnist who wrote it.

I hope I'm mistaken, and you had another intention.
Because if you're suggesting there's some kind of white racial distortion in the article, you didn't make the 'minimal effort' to 'fact-check' who wrote it: an African American columnist named Bill Maxwell, whose photo was just a mouse click away.

Hil: Ah. That would explain why my preceding comment initially got caught in the filter. ;-) Regardless, I don't think I'm going out on a limb to suggest that DNFTT is apropos in this instance (and others *looks directly above*).

Back on topic: more good stuff from Pam Spaulding and Melissa McEwan.

john,

The moral superiority comment was primarily directed at gwa. He believes he's capable of seeing the truth, but I on the other hand only see what I want to see. That's ironic given the echo chamber here.

My issue with Obama's is that he assumes I am not doing enough to set right the racial wrongs of the past with which I had nothing to do.

I understand that many in the black community and Obama feel the sins of the father pass on to the son. I however reject that philosophy. Especially, considering my father and his father and so on are innocent of any crimes against blacks.

He wasn't encouraging me he was criticizing me for not doing enough. That may be okay with you, but I find it insulting.

If he was only speaking to the Obamamaniacs then mabye that would have been okay. It seems they feel and share in the guilt I do not. But he was addressing all Americans. That's not my definition of reaching out across the aisle. The more I hear him the less I like him.

"I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus," Obama told ABC News, "but I would also say that there's nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. And I would hope that NBC ends up having that same attitude."

He wouldn't have them on his staff, just as a spritual leader.

john miller: "What we are seeing from Obama is a two-way kind of loyalty which is very rare in the world of politics."

Think he'll show the same kind of loyalty to his 'good friend' Tony Rezko?

I just looked at the Maxwell column Jay Jerome links to--it ends with this--

"in or lose, Hillary Clinton has earned the right to never trust the word of another black person. Somewhere between the Bible and the pseudo-wisdom of the barbershop, many blacks abandoned any sense of loyalty and betrayed a woman who has been a friend."

I suppose the fact that Maxwell is black means he's not an anti-black racist, but that first sentence is the most idiotically racist remark I've seen anyone make in quite a while. Clinton would be very wise not to let this jerk anywhere near her campaign.

The last sentence is also moronic, but as noted above in a different context, I'm not real fond of the notion that voters owe politicians loyalty. If someone you honestly think is better comes along, it's your civic duty to vote for the better candidate.

Grover,

It's true I don't feel the need for a conversation about race.

Based on my life experiences I feel 110% confident that I am in touch with black America. Physically and spiritually.

I would bet that I am the only posting here that has dined at the original Pascals after attending church at Ebenezer Baptist.

I dated a black woman for 1 1/2 years. Granted she wasn't a black American so maybe she doesn't count. I personally don't know the ruling on that one. Everyone thought she was a black American so maybe that would give me credibilty.

Jay: yep, I leapt to conclusions. I was wrong.

I dated a black woman for 1 1/2 years.

Ah. "Some of my best friends are black" type of argument.

*sigh*

What Katherine said at 5:23 PM.

Donald, is it your view that the most important thing to say about I/P in a single sentence is that it is "primarily" responsible for all the conflicts in the Mideast, or
what do you consider the worse offense in "a view that sees the conflict in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam"?

I agree that it's not an either/or, certainly, and neither are those the only two important factors, remotely, or at least that's what I think, regardless of whether you agree or disagree.

Not that I'm trying to be argumentative. Just curious.

"And you're putting words in my mouth* when you say I say he's just like anyone else"

You wrote:

Obama's a politician. Possibly one with great potential, but this just reinforces my basic understanding of politics--no one gets to the Presidency without showing an aptitude for kicking people when they are down.
"No one" were your precise words. It isn't logically possible to be unlike no one, and not be like everyone else. It is what you wrote, regardless of what you meant, I'm afraid. Katherine didn't put words in your mouth, or on your keyboard.

You're free to clarify that you didn't mean what you wrote, of course.

Gary: what do you consider the worse offense in "a view that sees the conflict in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam"?

I agree that it's not an either/or, certainly, and neither are those the only two important factors

You've pretty much answered your own question, there, Gary. Or at the very least, you've undercut the "which is the worse offense" false choice your question tries to pose.

Still, for the moment accepting the terms of the question, I'd have to say that the worse half of the sentence is the second half, in which Obama seems to be asserting that the conflict over Israel and Palestine emanates from "the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam".

That is to say, it's one hell of a lot easier to make a factually-based case that the primary source of the conflict is the actions of the state of Israel than to do the same with the main cause being the "ideologies of radical Islam". It would not be a full, fair, or adequate assessment of the source of the conflict, but it would have some contact with reality. The second "explanation" is ahistorical garbage.

I'm also struck by the rather stark difference between this taking of sides and the way in which Obama's speech treats black and white racial resentments in the United States.

Since Katherine may not have returned to the thread to see Turbulence's question, I hope you would be willing to answer it, if you are in a position to do so:

What specific things did Wright say that are [very, very harshly] anti-Israel?

A Few Words About THE SPEECH --before I go have a victory drink over the Lakers win over Dallas:

I thought it was a very good speech, one that dramatically summed up his perceptions about racial issues. I watched it live, then on video; and read the transcript too. Like many of you, I believe he was sincere in most of what he said (which doesn't mean I agree with his assumptions or conclusions on everything). And even though the speech was salted with occasional buck-shot aimed at Hillary that had little or nothing to do with the overriding racial component of the speech, it was still a tour-de-force, an elegant confection of words and ideas -- like an appetizing verbal lemon meringue pie,with swirls of turrets, and airy and imaginative turns of speech-- and if we can devise a U.S. Office Of Oratory, I think he'd be a natural to run it.

But still, talk is talk, and lemon meringue though enticing to the eye, is insubstantial and quickly dissolves on the tongue. Actions speak louder than wishful thinking. As president, what's he going to do to change the situation of blacks in the U.S.? Give weekly uplifting radio speeches, telling everybody to love one another, right now, right now?

Speechifying isn't governing. And if you look at the polls to see what voters are concerned about, race doesn't make the chart. It's the economy-war-gas-prices, stupid.

Obama may have appropriated the race-issue as his own, but it's a tar-baby trophy. The majority of Americans, Democrat-Republican-Independent, don't want to hear about it. No matter how sonorous his words about race may be, the more Obama becomes associated with it in the minds of voters, the lower his appeal as a national candidate will be.

This week's polls are starting to reflect that.
According to a new USA-Today/Gallup survey out today,
Clinton holds a 51 percent to 46 percent edge over McCain. Obama and McCain are just about even. This is the first time Hillary's been the heads-up leader against McCain, and if the trend holds until Pennsylvania, she's going to come out of that primary with even more 'electability' momentum, which will further increase her edge over McCain.

If that happens, and Obama has only a slight lead in delegates, and Hillary is close in the popular vote, but 8 to 10 percent ahead of McCain in the polls -- she gets the nomination; and Obama will be convinced (for the good of the party) to be V.P. -- where he will be positioned to run for president in the next election cycle.

With that ticket, the Democrats slaughter the Republicans across the board. And all will be right with the party.

"For example..."

Senator Clinton was black before it was cool.

"What specific things did Wright say that are [very, very harshly] anti-Israel?"

No, I'm afraid I've not paid attention, and am rather occupied at present, sorry.

"I'm also struck by the rather stark difference between this taking of sides and the way in which Obama's speech treats black and white racial resentments in the United States."

As Katherine says, it hardly seems unreasonable to me to take on one third rail at a time.

I got a little choked up watching the speech and reflecting on it after, but basically remained composed.

However, a couple hours later, I read this and cried.

I suggest you all do too.

Thanks for all the insightful comments, btw.

I'd note that my link above is just an anecdote, but one that directly contradicts Jay Jerome's contention that voters would be turned off by this speech and issue in the long run.

In fact, I think the opposite is true: this is the type of campaign event that has a short-term hit followed by a long-term gain. Reacting negatively to the video's of Wright is natural, but the shelf-life on that anger/repulsion is probably no more than a week.

Conversely, there is no shelf-life on the amount of respect Obama gained today in the eyes of many an undecided or soft "other" supporter. And I think in the end we'll see that he gained a lot of respect for this speech.

We've seen this in other instances of hard political hits on him, btw.

I expect this will be looked back on as an historic speech.

it hardly seems unreasonable ... to take on one third rail at a time

Fine with me; better not to bring the subject up at all. People who think that something Rev. Wright said was so incendiary that the I/P conflict had to be addressed need to cite it.

Because the sentence goes well beyond "not taking on a third rail." It panders.

I'd also add that while I think Jay is wrong on the politics, I'd much rather discuss the speech on the merits than the politics (which seems like it's cheapening this wonderful address). Unfortunately, I don't think I can articulate what I'm feeling about the substance of the speech, and I'm a little taken aback with myself that my response has been more emotional than anything else (which is not like me...)

Everyone thought she was a black American so maybe that would give me credibilty

Nope.

Nell: not familiar with Wright's comments, but we do have two varieties of complaints about Wright that can be linked directly to I/P issues:

1)Obama's judgment (in life, in politics) in having this guy as his pastor

and

2)Does Obama share his pastor's view?!?!?!

You take either of these criticisms and Wright's Farrakhan issues and draw a straight line through the them to I/P issues.

See, for example, the first sentence here

I've always felt that nothing fuels separatism more than to deny other people's feelings of anger or resent. Telling them "to get over it" has the opposite effect; telling them their problems don't exist or aren't important actually intensifies them. In a lot of ways, it subconsciously reinforces that separatism by saying "I don't see anything; you have to suck it up."

Conversely, legitimizing the other person's feelings can paradoxicaly lessen the other-ness by saying "I see what you mean. What can we do about it?" and emphsizing the group.

Or maybe not. But it doesn't seem to me that denying the other person's anger or frustration is a good way of dealing with it.

and Obama will be convinced (for the good of the party) to be V.P. -- where he will be positioned to run for president in the next election cycle.

Whatever "convincing" anyone does that gets Obama to take a Vp spot would have to involve a whole lot more threat than enticement. Obama has very little, I would argue nothing, to gain from taking a VP slot and a whole lot to lose. He would either win as VP and basically take the next 8 years off from politics or he would be the bottom half of a Democratic ticket that lost in the context of the most favorable environments for Democrats in a long time. Either way, he is much better off taking advantage of the coalition he has built to do almost anything else in the political world. Even remaining in the Senate where he is would be much better for him.

He knows that as well as anybody and so the only way Democrats could get him on the bottom of the ticket is to basically threaten to hurt him politically if he does not. But I think they realize he is far too valuable to the Party to try and force him into that position. They need him out there mobilizing and raising money not sitting around the White House hoping he gets a chance to break a tie in the Senate some day. Really its a pretty ridiculous idea that doesn't serve Clinton or Obama very well.

I think talking about this speech in horse race terms--was it good, was it bad, will it make people vote for him, what was my reaction to it--is like having the american idol judges compare the star spangled banner to Oops I Did It Again.

Like many here, I feel like Obama's speech was on a different playing field from the usual stuff we have to hash over.

The internal logic and nuance are the fruit of a lifetime of directed thought--the caliber of which you generally only find in ivory towers; and experience--the type of which you only find in Hollywood screenplays.

Heck, who cares how the mythical 'voters' react to this--people have different ways of weighing things, I'm pretty confident Obama's words will reach Americans in their own way and at the right time. The media's only a vessel, a message this powerful is bigger than the chattering class.

We're just amazingly lucky that we, as intelligent, thoughtful people with time on our hands, get to listen to/read something like this in our lifetime as it happened, rather than in the history books. And have the chance to think about it, discuss it, and have it affect and in some cases even change our lives directly.

The specific quotation I remember is a reference to "state terrorism against the Palestianians." I also think he's made analogies to apartheid & called Zionism racist. Frankly, I'm having trouble finding cites quickly amid all the "Obama's a bigot and an anti-semite!!##" crap out there right now. I am not really interested in hashing out the merits--I understand why someone who was involved as Wright in the struggle against apartheid would not think very highly of Israel, & don't think this makes Wright anti-semitic or makes it wrong for Obama to attend Trinity. But I would certainly call those statements "anti-Israel" & they are certainly extremely controversial among Jewish voters.

Shorter Jay:
I hate Obama, and everything he says just makes me hate him more. I don't need a good reason, either.

I mean, good grief, Ronnie Rayguns was nothing but platitudes, and he's revered as a saint. If all you got from this speech was that Obama is "eloquent", then you missed the speech, too.

====================

But it doesn't seem to me that denying the other person's anger or frustration is a good way of dealing with it.

My favorite part of the speech is the part that acknowledged and deals with white anger **and** black anger.

For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

[snip]

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch.

[snip]

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition.

At the risk of stepping in a big, steaming pile of troll shit, Ken, do you care to cite or document whatever this "racist smear" of Clinton you are posting about all over the web? Having shared a beer or two with Jesse Jackson, Jr, I find it almost impossible to believe he would do such a thing.

Regarding the line about Israel that seems to be causing concern, "a view that sees the conflict in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam" -- are those who are troubled by this inserting "I/P" for "Middle East"?

I may be disagreeing with a shadow, but I don't think it's controversial to suggest that Israel is not at greatest fault for *everything* that's wrong with the Middle East. I don't see this as being a specific comment on the narrower I/P issue.

I might also point out, since I don't see it mentioned above, that some, possibly many, American Jews are deeply mistrustful of Obama's intentions toward Israel. (I don't know how many, but it is common currency with my Jewish family members and their friends.) If the Senator is aware of this, he might find a reason to make a strong statement here for that audience which others are not sure why he included.

farmgirl: I don't see this as being a specific comment on the narrower I/P issue.

If it's not, then it's an assemblage of strawmen that seems almost designed to tick off everyone concerned about Middle East conflict by misrepresenting their positions. Again, the very opposite of the approach taken in the rest of the speech.

The failure to use the inflammatory words 'Israel' or 'Palestinians', not to mention 'Palestine', provides a thin veneer of deniability.

But when you read the sentence, do you honestly think he's talking about Lebanon? The U.S. occupation of Iraq? Shia-Sunni tensions?

No, 'Middle East' in that sentence is bland code for Israel/Palestine.

National elections are not going to be the setting for any Democrat to speak plainly about or allow the hint of any change in U.S. policy toward Israel and Palestine; I know that.

So I should continue to expect to be nauseated by just about any statement that's made. That's just U.S. politics.

The job of those of us who are less concerned with elections than with what's happening with the human beings on the ground in Palestine and Israel is to open that space by not silencing ourselves.

This is not the thread for me to go further, however.

The specific quotation I remember is a reference to "state terrorism against the Palestianians." I also think he's made analogies to apartheid & called Zionism racist.

Um, I believe that Israel has employed state terrorism against Palestinians. Surely collective punishment falls into that category? I also can easily imagine analogies between apartheid and various components of Israel's behavior, but it all depends on the details. And to be honest, I think all ideologies that specify ethnicity as a base for nationalism are flawed and to some extent racist; does anyone really think its a good idea to constitute nations as exclusive homes for single ethnicities in the general case? I think you might be able to make a case for Israel as a special case, but you'd have to actually, you know, make a case for Israel on the merits before I accept the notion of a state where non-Jews are second class citizens as a good idea.

Frankly, I'm having trouble finding cites quickly amid all the "Obama's a bigot and an anti-semite!!##" crap out there right now. I am not really interested in hashing out the merits--I understand why someone who was involved as Wright in the struggle against apartheid would not think very highly of Israel, & don't think this makes Wright anti-semitic or makes it wrong for Obama to attend Trinity.

Well that's good of you. Just to clarify though, I think that everyone who thinks poorly of Apartheid should think poorly of Israel, just like they should think poorly of Dick Cheney. They both supported Apartheid unapologetically and as far as I know have shown no indication in later years that their behavior was, you know, wrong. If they don't think it was wrong, that's their call, but I think all people of conscience, not just Wright and other folks closely involved in the struggle, should call them on it.

Turbulence: I also can easily imagine analogies between apartheid and various components of Israel's behavior

You know what other radical black pastor made analogies between apartheid and various components of Israel's behavior? He said, in April 2002:

Injustice and oppression will never prevail. Those who are powerful have to remember the litmus test that God gives to the powerful: what is your treatment of the poor, the hungry, the voiceless? And on the basis of that, God passes judgment.
and in July 2002:
These tactics are not the only parallels to the struggle against apartheid. Yesterday's South African township dwellers can tell you about today's life in the Occupied Territories. To travel only blocks in his own homeland, a grandfather waits on the whim of a teenage soldier. More than an emergency is needed to get to a hospital; less than a crime earns a trip to jail. The lucky ones have a permit to leave their squalor to work in Israel's cities, but their luck runs out when security closes all checkpoints, paralyzing an entire people. The indignities, dependence and anger are all too familiar.
If Desmond Tutu can say this, why not Wright?

"I dated a black woman for 1 1/2 years.
Ah. "Some of my best friends are black" type of argument.

*sigh*"

Sorry if this seems unnecessary, but you stepped into one of my pet peeves. This is a misuse of the dismissal of the "some of my best friends are black" comment.

In the segregation years you would have white aristocrats say "some of my best friends are black" but on inspection it meant their caddy, their butler, or their maid. Which is to say that they weren't "friends" in the normal sense, but rather servants.

If your ACTUAL friends are black or your lover is black, you have at a much stronger argument than the people who were dismissed for saying that they have a little knowledge about black people because they hired them as servants. It may not be dispositive, but it doesn't deserve the cultural freight that comes with dismissing someone's experiences with the "Ah. 'Some of my best friends are black' type of argument," dismissal.

The speech Obama should have given:

The black community faces many challenges today. I am working within the black community in order to achieve the same things all Americans want. Black Americans want a good community in which to live, a strong family, a decent home, a job and a good education for our children. We are willing to do the hard work that it takes to achieve those goals.

The black community greatly appreciates all that America has accomplished during my life time. We could not have come this far without your support. We look forward to working together in the future.

Thank you... God Bless America.

Sorry if this seems unnecessary, but you stepped into one of my pet peeves. This is a misuse of the dismissal of the "some of my best friends are black" comment.

In the segregation years you would have white aristocrats say "some of my best friends are black" but on inspection it meant their caddy, their butler, or their maid. Which is to say that they weren't "friends" in the normal sense, but rather servants.

If your ACTUAL friends are black or your lover is black, you have at a much stronger argument than the people who were dismissed for saying that they have a little knowledge about black people because they hired them as servants. It may not be dispositive, but it doesn't deserve the cultural freight that comes with dismissing someone's experiences with the "Ah. 'Some of my best friends are black' type of argument," dismissal.

To a certain extent this is true, but my experience is that even when a person's actual friends are black/Asian/whatever, it lends them insight, but not necessarily credibility, because their experience is, by necessity, incomplete. (For example, you don't get the experience of having all eyes follow you in a upscale part of town; even when you know why it happens, it engenders feeling of paranoia). A lot more of the understanding is intellectual than emotional.

Then, too, I have bad experiences with some guys insisting on LEADING an Asian American group when their sole experience was that their girlfriend was Asian. I'm afraid my brush with that sort of arrogance (on multiple occasion) is coloring my reactions.

Jes: If Desmond Tutu can say this, why not Wright?

Because the limits of discussion on the subject considered within the pale are much narrower inside the U.S., particularly in national electoral political discussion, than just about anywhere else in the world. Including Israel.

This is a misuse of the dismissal of the "some of my best friends are black" comment.

Generally speaking, I'd say you have a point.

In this particular case, we have a guy who is 110% sure that he is physically and spiritually in touch with black America because:

1. He attended at least one service at Ebenezer Baptist
2. He ate at a (presumably) black restaurant
3. He dated a black woman who, although not an American black, was taken to be one by 'everyone'

I once dated a Jamaican girl, and have been to Caribbean dance clubs.

I once went to a Cajun shrimp boil in Rhode Island, have actually been to NOLA, and can find Cut Off, LA on a map.

I have a good friend from Limerick, and have had Sunday Irish breakfast more than once at a local bar that is actually owned by a real Irishman.

If you ever catch me claiming that I'm physically and spiritually in touch with Rastafarians, Cajuns, or the immigrant Irish, please feel free to load your dismissal of me with all available cultural freight.

Thanks -

Great thread.
I’m with Donald and Nell and the Archbishop.
I speak of Obama virtually without reservation, but this in fact remains a nagging point, because it’s a nagging point in North American political discourse.
Which Obama wants to change, and has changed, but not here.My ameliorating take is that he’s placing himself to draw the AIPAC contingent into a more forthright, less overwrought place from which to continue the conversation.
My hope.
Good one, NYC.
Always thanks to russell.
And so much and many thanks to hilzoy.
Special thanks to Michael for the lovely link. Forwarded it to my daughters.

In this particular case, we have a guy who is 110% sure that he is physically and spiritually in touch with black America because:

1. He attended at least one service at Ebenezer Baptist
2. He ate at a (presumably) black restaurant
3. He dated a black woman who, although not an American black, was taken to be one by 'everyone'

Not true. You are trying to take what I specifically addressed to Grover and trying to make it more than what I meant in order to discount my experience.

Grover said:

Guess that conversation about race isn't going too well on your end, grey.

And that's not true. My experience with race is that it is going quite well. Now some people I may have issues with, but not their race.

Due to my life experiences I have had to have the "conversation about race" my whole life and I'm pretty happy with it despite what Grover would infer.

So what you claim I am claiming, I am not.

However I will make this claim; Physically, I am 110% in touch because I grew up and currently live in a black neighborhood.

Spiritually I am in touch because the churches I have attended my entire life have always been very mixed.

I am not black. Please spare me the nitpicking over the 110% comment and the trying to read more into it than I meant.

I could not be more in touch than a black person, not being black. So imagine your next post will admonish me for not putting in the special qualifier that when I said 110% I was not including the black American experience but only the white American experience. And if I we are going to nitpick I guess white Americans who live in the same home with black Americans are 120% in touch.

I hope we can both clearly see now, that I do not mean to imply that I am more or any less qualified than anyone else when it comes to race, but that unlike Grover implied my "conversation about race" has gone well for me.


Frankly grey, I don't have the slightest idea of what exactly it is that you are trying to say. Your criticism of Obama's speech seems mostly incoherent and based upon some very personal idiosyncracies. Your idea for the speech he should have given is just flat out terrible and seems designed to avoid addressing the issue of race at all except to try and elide the idea that racism is a factor in our country's race relations. Why you think that would be helpful in any way except that it would somehow make you personally feel better is pretty much a mystery to me. Honestly it seems to me that your criticism boils down to the fact that Obama did not do enough to address your apparent blamelessness for our country's race relations.

I don't know what to tell you. I would apologize for him if I could. What I will also suggest is that despite the fact that you dated a black woman once, your view on both the topic of race and of what Obama is saying about it seems pretty absurd and simpleminded. I can also tell you as one black person that your idea for a speech doesn't go over very well with me.

You are trying to take what I specifically addressed to Grover and trying to make it more than what I meant in order to discount my experience

No, I'm not trying to discount your experience. I just don't think it qualifies you to speak for American blacks.

That may not be where you intended to go with it, but that sure wasn't clear, at least to me. I was just laying out what you, yourself, said.

It's great that you've had a lot of experience living with folks who aren't the same as you. Too bad more folks don't have that.

You might consider that you aren't really in the sweet spot of Obama's intended audience(s). Just a thought.

Thanks -

brent: "Obama has very little, I would argue nothing, to gain from taking a VP slot and a whole lot to lose. He would either win as VP and basically take the next 8 years off from politics or he would be the bottom half of a Democratic ticket that lost in the context of the most favorable environments for Democrats in a long time."

Right now, the Democratic Party is like Humpty Dumpty -- ready for a fall. And if both candidates are not on the ticket, all the King's Spin Merchants aren't going to be able to glue the pieces back together in time to unite for the general election.

If you add up both constituencies -- Obama's and Clinton's -- you have a juggernaut of voters and donators. But if the contest steams into the convention (like the Titanic making a bee-line at an immovable ice burg) no matter how the super delegates decide, half the party is going to be really pissed-off. Which means no matter who wins, chunks of the democratic voting block are going to chip off, and there won't be enough time to repair the damage. I estimate at least 20% of potential Democratic voters either switch allegiance, or sit out entirely, fractured Humpty-Dumpty goes down with the ship, and President McCain is sworn into office.

With that scenerio in mind, if Obama's offered the VP and refuses, it becomes a lose-lose situation for him: if the Democrats are defeated in the general election, he'll be blamed for petulantly placing his own personal agenda ahead of the party and the nation; if Hill-Bill wins without him on the ticket that will marginalize his importance to the party, and the other-than-Obama VP will, Gore-like, become the next in line heir-apparent.

Jay Jerome: ...if Hill-Bill wins...

There's the nub, isn't it? Even if you're right that there are many Democratic voters who will "chip off" if their first choice isn't the nominee, what makes you so sure that they'll refrain from chipping off if their 1st choice becomes the VP candidate?

I favor Obama, and the more I see of him the more I favor him. His accepting the VP slot would be such evidence of bad decision-making that I would have to rethink my whole assessment of him. (It would only reinforce my assessment of Hillary if she tried to get him into the VP slot.)

"Hill-Bill" is the key. Why anyone with Obama's talents would want to be Hillary's VP with Bill in the picture is beyond my comprehension. In fact, why anyone of any substance would take that role is incomprehensible to me.

Janie: In fact, why anyone of any substance would take that role is incomprehensible to me.

Because being VP to a popular and successful President is the clearest route to being President in your turn. This has got confused in recent US political history because Cheney has no intention of becoming President - it suits him better to claim nebulous and unConstitutional powers as VP - and because there's a lack of public acknowledgemnt in the US that Al Gore, VP to a popular and successful President, did in fact actually win the 2000 election - even if Republican shenanigans put Bush into the White House.

I don't think Obama and Clinton would pull together all that well, but people said that of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and that proved to be one of the most successful political "marriages" in UK recent history.

brent: "Frankly grey, I don't have the slightest idea of what exactly it is that you are trying to say."

Well, if you don't have the slightest idea what's he's trying to say, how can you then comment on what he's saying?

michael: "I'd note that my link above is just an anecdote, but one that directly contradicts Jay Jerome's contention that voters would be turned off by this speech and issue in the long run."

"Then time will tell just who fell
And who's been left behind,
When you go your way and I go mine."

And by the way, Costco has a sale on tissues this week, which may be useful for dabbing all those tears away:

Kleenex Facial Tissue
Convenience Case
12 Boxes
$16.57.

With that scenerio in mind, if Obama's offered the VP and refuses, it becomes a lose-lose situation for him: if the Democrats are defeated in the general election, he'll be blamed for petulantly placing his own personal agenda ahead of the party and the nation; if Hill-Bill wins without him on the ticket that will marginalize his importance to the party, and the other-than-Obama VP will, Gore-like, become the next in line heir-apparent.

I get your point. Not a bad argument but I still disagree. If, through some strange set of events, Clinton gets the nomination Obama can do a lot to support her without sacrificing himself by taking a VP slot. He can raise funds for her. He can reach out for her especially by trying to rehabilitate her standing among Southern blacks. I am not even convinced that this is particularly necessary but he can be seen out there helping her and that perception is what matters here. If Clinton loses, it won't be because Obama didn't try to help her. The perception, I imagine, will be that her negatives, which she has never been able to drive down, is what ended up killing her.

This is really all guesswork. None of us knows how this is going to play out but I have a pretty good feeling that Obama will be able to make a convincing case, in the unlikely event that he loses, that he should not be on the ticket and that the Party should respect his influence enough not to try to force the issue. I don't think a shotgun wedding would be particularly helpful to Democratic prospects in November.

But maybe I am just hoping after all. I think it would be a terrible shame to basically sacrifice someone of Obama's talents to be a useless bureaucratic functionary in what is sure to be an embattled White House. More than that, the advantages of running from a VP slot, in general, are really overestimated and especially so in a Clinton White House, as Al Gore well knows. He has a much better shot at running again from almost anywhere else in the political landscape.

Well, if you don't have the slightest idea what's he's trying to say, how can you then comment on what he's saying?

I didn't. Read my comment again if it helps.

JanieM: ""Hill-Bill" is the key. Why anyone with Obama's talents would want to be Hillary's VP with Bill in the picture is beyond my comprehension."

I agree. It's beyond your comprehension. Keeping the party unified instead of splintered is beyond your comprehension. Keeping troops in Iraq for a 100 years is beyond your comprehension. Two or three more uber-conservative justices appointed to the supreme court in the next 8 years is beyond your comprehension. Placing the national good over personal self-interest is beyond... I'm sure you get my point by now, or is it also... you know...

More than that, the advantages of running from a VP slot, in general, are really overestimated and especially so in a Clinton White House, as Al Gore well knows.

Yes, but Gore won. His disadvantage wasn't that he was closely linked to a popular President: his disadvantage was that he was running against George W. Bush, who had the Governor of Florida, and 5 Supreme Court justices on his side - and therefore didn't actually need to win the election according to the usual American rules.

Assuming that the next Democratic candidate manages to win by a large enough margin that she or he can get into the White House despite all the vote-rigging to support McCain that we know is going to happen, I hope that one of their goals before 2010 is going to be a thorough scouring of the DoJ, and an independent commission to review the US electoral system and ensure that the next election is run honestly and democratically, according to the rules.

I agree. It's beyond your comprehension. Keeping the party unified instead of splintered is beyond your comprehension. Keeping troops in Iraq for a 100 years is beyond your comprehension. Two or three more uber-conservative justices appointed to the supreme court in the next 8 years is beyond your comprehension. Placing the national good over personal self-interest is beyond... I'm sure you get my point by now, or is it also... you know...

It occurs to me that this post is akin to the Rev. Wright situation--not so much what is said, but how it is said.

Jay Jerome: Putting personal self-interest beyond the good of anyone or anything else is exactly the Clinton habit that makes it impossible for me to support them, and a key characteristic of the murky dysfunctionality of "Hill-Bill" that may make a "Hill-Bill" presidency a disaster for the country. We won't be in Iraq for 100 years no matter what. As for the Supreme Court, that's a worry, but I'm not sure it's as big a one as you imply.

Jes -- yes, maybe on average and historically the VP slot can be a good springboard to the presidency. My point is that that's not always true, and I don't see it as likely in this case. And whether Clinton and Obama will "pull well together" or not (I doubt they would), that wasn't my point either. My point is that it won't be just Clinton and Obama. It will be Clinton and Clinton and Obama, and the roles will be toxically ill-defined. For that reason, what Brent said. (More or less.)

Yes, but Gore won. His disadvantage wasn't that he was closely linked to a popular President: his disadvantage was that he was running against George W. Bush, who had the Governor of Florida, and 5 Supreme Court justices on his side - and therefore didn't actually need to win the election according to the usual American rules.

Barely. More than that, if you recall, he spent most of his campaign distancing himself from Clinton. Now one can argue that he was wrong to do that and that he would have done better embracing Clinton but thats all a moot point now. The fact is that being the VP did not help him much making an argument for his candidacy. He still constantly had to answer questions about his experience. He still had a lot of work to do to sell people on the idea that he was anything other than an empty suit. He still lost Tennessee quite handily.

Now maybe he would not have even had the opportunity if he were not VP. I don't know but for sure, whatever happens, Obama will be in a pretty good position to run again if it comes to that. 4-8 years is a long time and a lot can happen but that isn't any less true for someone who sits around the White House doing basically nothing for the National political agenda. It really hasn't happened too often that a VP gets elected to the Presidency. I think maybe 5 or 6 times in history.

It will be Clinton and Clinton and Obama, and the roles will be toxically ill-defined.

Well, that would be why Obama and Clinton - and I mean Hillary, not Bill! - would need to sit down together and set out what the roles would be - and then specify to Bill Clinton what his role would be. Which, once decided, I'm certain that both Obama and Clinton could count on Bill following it. This wouldn't be a public discussion, but it would have needed to have happened for it to work. And despite all the public stramash, all three of them are adult, intelligent, able, loyal people.

I'm not saying this has to happen: I'm just saying I see how it well could, and if it did, I think it would enrich and strengthen US politics, not split them. Brown/Blair worked damned well, despite everything.

It really hasn't happened too often that a VP gets elected to the Presidency. I think maybe 5 or 6 times in history.

I thought it had happened more often, but you're right: I really love this website, which I just discovered when I tried to check the stats.

Fourteen of the forty-four former vice presidents became president of the United States — more than half of them after a president had died. One defeated the sitting president with whom he served. One murdered a man and became a fugitive. One joined the Confederate army and led an invasion of Washington, D.C. One was the wealthiest banker of his era. One received the Nobel Peace Prize and composed a popular melody. One served as a corporal in the Coast Guard while vice president. One had cities in Oregon and Texas named after him. Two resigned the office. Two were never elected by the people. One was the target of a failed assassination plot. One was mobbed in his car while on a goodwill mission. Seven died in office — one in his room in the U.S. Capitol and two fatally stricken while on their way to preside over the Senate. And one piano-playing vice president suffered political repercussions from a photograph showing him playing that instrument while famous movie actress Lauren Bacall posed seductively on top of it.
Still, although the first time a V-P succeeded the Presidency by successfully running for election was in 1904 (Theodore Roosevelt), it has happened - and statistically, it looks like a pretty good route.

Well, that would be why Obama and Clinton - and I mean Hillary, not Bill! - would need to sit down together and set out what the roles would be - and then specify to Bill Clinton what his role would be.


What role? Past the election and not withstanding the outsized influence of the current VP, VPs don't really have a role except... be ready if anything happens to the POTUS. If I were looking at a VP slot,( which I am not by the way. I am happy with my current job) I wouldn't be worried about Bill. Maybe he will horn in on some of the foreign dignitary funerals that I might otherwise attend but he is really not going to usurp any power from what is mainly a powerless position. I would be more worried about Bill if I were say Chief of Staff or Secretary of State, in which case I might actually have to worry about him getting in my way.

Blair and Brown are not really a great comparison in this context because you are talking about a parlimentary government there where power and influence are spread far more evenly throughout the party and it was possible for Blair to give Brown the leeway he did to set domestic policy. This, no matter what happens, is not going to be that kind of co-Presidency and I don't think either candidate would be wise to think it might be.

Jes, you paint a much more optimistic and clean-lined image of a Clinton-Obama(-Clinton) role assignment process than I can believe in. I doubt (based on what, 16-17 years of watching at this point) that the Clintons are as self-aware and sophisticated about their own complex psychology as that process would require to work well. I don't have any faith in the possibility that Hillary is capable of (in some sense) allying herself with Obama as a decision-maker in prescribing a role to Bill, or that Bill, under the surface, would be able to stick with the program, even if a clear one, uncontaminated by Hill-Bill murkiness, could be laid out for him.

And yes, again, what Brent said. I was writing while he was posting.

Jes: I think it works better for Republicans than Democrats in any case. They have a more developed sense of hierarchy. Our last example, before Gore, was Humphrey, and it didn't work so well for him. (I suppose one might also count Mondale, ditto.)

Plus, when I think of Bill Clinton, "discipline" is not the word that leaps to mind.

Thanks, Hilzoy. That's my laugh of the day, so far.

> I don't think there can be any talk about "finishing off Clinton" until Pennsylvania.

And if waiting to be 'fair' to Clinton is what marginally costs the democrats the election? I know there are all sorts of political arguments to be made about who is better - but he one thing that isn't better is the race itself.

BTW Clinton will probably win Pennsylvania reasonably easily - she will then have an reasonably good case that she is only "quite a bit less legitimate a candidate than Obama "as opposed to "not legitimate at all". And her only hope of victory will be to try and destroy him as a presidential candidate.

In fact the damage to Obama's momentum may already have cost him the presidency.

President McCain...

BTW Clinton will probably win Pennsylvania reasonably easily

and according to TPM, she's also very very close to Obama in NC. of course that's still a month and a half away, so who knows.

gray's speech Obama should have given:

Black folk gots probemms. But we thank whitey for all the helps, yessir, massa.

====================

To a certain extent this is true, but my experience is that even when a person's actual friends are black/Asian/whatever, it lends them insight, but not necessarily credibility, because their experience is, by necessity, incomplete.

My cuurent girlfriend is black (actually, a cute "red-bone"), and I've lived in minority neighborhoods most of my adult life. But I would no more speak for what it's like to be black, than I would for what it's like to be Martian.

============================

Keeping the party unified instead of splintered is beyond your comprehension.

So you oppose Clinton and support Obama?

Nothing Obama has done indicates he thinks of himself first, and then the party or the country. On the other hand, we have Clinton...

================

all three of them are adult, intelligent, able, loyal people.

Fixed. Clinton's loyalty to small-state voters, for example, is pretty well known.

I know this is all hypothetical, but why is it Obama being offered the VP spot?

but why is it Obama being offered the VP spot?

"is it" ?

if that's supposed to be "isn't": Obama's in the lead. if anyone is in a position to offer the VP slot, he is - not Clinton.

if that's supposed to be "is": by acting as if she's in a position to offer the VP slot to anyone, Clinton is trying to cast herself as the presumptive nominee.

My cuurent girlfriend is black (actually, a cute "red-bone"), and I've lived in minority neighborhoods most of my adult life. But I would no more speak for what it's like to be black, than I would for what it's like to be Martian.

Let me amend my observation somewhat. You wouldn't speak for all white people, either, of course, but you could speak of what whites might think. And, you could speak from authority on what it's like to be in an inter-racial romance. But all that's miles away from trying to lead, or trying to tell a group what to do and what not to do.

Now, if you're wondering why Obama hasn't offered Clinton the spot, I speculate it's because he knows she would sink the ticket. Despite Jay's talk about an "overwhelming" wave of support for the two of them together, my impression is that most of Hillary Clinton's support will transfer to Obama is he becomes the nominee, whereas her incredible negative figures among independents and moderates will cling to her.

"Because being VP to a popular and successful President is the clearest route to being President in your turn."

# of U.S. Presidents: 43.

# of U.S. Vice-Presidents subsequently independently elected President, without inheriting the office: 5.

Richard Nixon, who lost on his first try.

Before that: Martin Van Buren, Veep: 1833 to 1837, President: 1837-1841

Before that: Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams.

The success rate of this method doesn't make it entirely clear to me that this is the most successful career path to becoming President in your turn, but mileages may vary.

"No, 'Middle East' in that sentence is bland code for Israel/Palestine."

That's not my reading, but I don't assert the validity of my reading; I merely offer that there are other people with other readings, as a datapoint.

"Well that's good of you. Just to clarify though, I think that everyone who thinks poorly of Apartheid should think poorly of Israel, just like they should think poorly of Dick Cheney."

Exactly as so of "America" and "Americans," if you make the equation that the strategic decisions of a government should be held against a people.

One might also discuss which had more choice, and more at statek in supporting apartheid South Africa in certain ways, such as making arms deals, or looking for diplomatic support: a tiny and threatened and somewhat diplomatically isolated country with few allies, then in far less secure position, pre-Camp David, with Egypt and Jordan still at war with Israel, of the United States of America?

Which is not to excuse the government of Israel at the time -- decades ago, should people round the world still be considering the U.S. as if Ronald Reagan were still President? -- merely to suggest a bit of perspective beyond the black and white might be available.

(I'm not going to have time to follow up on this discussion, so another time. Apologies for my likely being very hit and run on ObWi for the next few weeks.)

Incidentally, the point about grey's 11:30 AM, the one that starts "The speech Obama should have given" is that it's 100% addressed to "America," with Obama taking the role of speaking for "[t]he black community."

Grey's grammatically makes "the black community" something separate from "America," with Obama in the role of speaking to -- apologizing for, to accurately describe it -- "the black community" and pleading with "America" -- those people the "black community" aren't part of -- for patience for the failings of the BC, while thanking America evah so much for not being angrier, and offering profuse reassurance that the BC really isn't angry, and we just want to buckle down and be quiet, promise.

grey's offered Obama speech:

The black community faces many challenges today. I am working within the black community in order to achieve the same things all Americans want. Black Americans want a good community in which to live, a strong family, a decent home, a job and a good education for our children. We are willing to do the hard work that it takes to achieve those goals.

The black community greatly appreciates all that America has accomplished during my life time. We could not have come this far without your support. We look forward to working together in the future.

Thank you... God Bless America.

It's always interesting when people make clear what they're looking for, and why.

And it's obvious that there's no racism in America today in the view of someone who wants this speech, there's been no racism in the recent enough past worth even mentioning when making a speech on race -- let me repeat that, it's so remarkable: grey wants a speech on race that doesn't mention racism -- and most of all, since there is no racism, and has been no racism within memory worth mentioning, there is no possibility anyone anywhere in America could possibily be legitimately be upset about any issue related to racism, so any expression of concern, let alone irritation, about racism, is obviously completely unjustified, illegitimate, and a reason for people who believe this to feel utterly unfairly attacked and oppressed.

As I said, it's interesting what concerns different people, with different backgrounds and contexts.

Do, to be sure, correct all my misapprehensions, grey.

If you add up both constituencies -- Obama's and Clinton's -- you have a juggernaut of voters and donators.

Obama's constituency is at least in part independents who don't like Clinton and young voters who have never voted Democrat (if at all) before. Clinton's constituency is people who, for the most part, will vote Democratic regardless of who the candidate is.

She needs him. He doesn't need her. This is not difficult math.

“Over one million views on YouTube in just 19 hours. And growing.” At TPM. Other good stuff there; i.e. Nc is looking good for Obaaa.

Arrgh. NC and obviously, Obama

Other good stuff there; i.e. Nc is looking good for Obaaa.

Eh? Where are you seeing that? TPM has been highlighting a bunch of polls saying things are not looking good for Obama, including in NC.

I missed Jes' 02:11 PM when I wrote my comment about the Veep; sorry about that, Jes.

Gary, you also missed my http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2008/03/thats-why-i-say.html#comment-107583374>summation of gray's post at 03:21 PM.

Exactly as so of "America" and "Americans," if you make the equation that the strategic decisions of a government should be held against a people.

One might also discuss which had more choice, and more at statek in supporting apartheid South Africa in certain ways, such as making arms deals, or looking for diplomatic support: a tiny and threatened and somewhat diplomatically isolated country with few allies, then in far less secure position, pre-Camp David, with Egypt and Jordan still at war with Israel, of the United States of America?

I can appreciate that Israel might have done bad things because the nation was in dire straits as it were. That would be a perfectly legitimate explanation if the government of Israel had, at any time in the last few decades, publicly apologized about their behavior with respect to South Africa and explained that they acted in a way that betrayed their national values and that they only did so because of the very difficult position they were in. In the absence of any contrition (and perhaps I've just failed to find any, so please, correct me if I'm wrong), I don't see any reason to believe that successive Israeli governments representing the citizens of Israel see anything wrong with supporting Apartheid.

Look, if even the Japanese government can mumble some token half-hearted apologies for horrific atrocities Japan committed during World War II, surely Israel can be expected to make some half-hearted acknowledgment that their behavior violated their own national values. Assuming that Apartheid does violate Israel's national values. One might hold the US to the same standard; the only mitigating factor that comes to mind is the large number of local and regional boycotts passed in protest of the federal government's policy. Nevertheless, I have no problem applying the same logic to the US.


Which is not to excuse the government of Israel at the time -- decades ago, should people round the world still be considering the U.S. as if Ronald Reagan were still President? -- merely to suggest a bit of perspective beyond the black and white might be available.

There's a huge gap between "considering the US as if Reagan was still President" and refusing to acknowledge the historical reality of bad acts committed by a state. I'm perfectly willing to acknowledge that the US is no different than Israel in this regard. In any event, I'm quite aware of the existence of alternative perspectives, but I fail to see how offering straw man comparisons advances the discussion.

I don't know much about the history of Israel's relationship w/ apartheid South Africa. Is the wikipedia entry accurate? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel-South_Africa_relations

From the look of that article, if accurate, Israel repeatedly denounced apartheid, joined in an early boycott of South Africa, and eventually gave that up and became a minor trading partner. Unconfirmed reports that it traded nuclear expertise for raw materials needed for its own nuclear program do not seem especially relevant to the apartheid issue, as I never heard of anybody planning to invade South Africa to stop apartheid only to be deterred by the fear of nuclear retaliation, and I am fairly sure that the white regime didn't threaten to use nukes within its own borders. Israel did supply some conventional weapons, but my impression is that this made a lot more difference to Israel's tiny economy than to South Africa's large army. In short, other than the "eww" factor, I'm not quite sure what Israel had to apologize for. Nelson Mandela doesn't seem to have thought Israel needed to apologize.

Kc, sorry for the delay; The NC piece I had in mind.

Another hit, as it were, pretty much on the subject. Found it unlinked at Pandagon, bt I knew where to look. I once counted the man, the father, as a friend, before he joined the dark side.
Francis Schaeffer
was once a saintly hero of mine. Apparently the piece is being widely linked.

Obama and many here think America needs to have a serious discussion about race and I agree.

Obama wants to be a uniter, but his supporters here are certainly not, nor do they want to encourage the "wrong" kind of white ignorant people to join in the conversation.

Gary,

Incidentally, the point about grey's 11:30 AM, the one that starts "The speech Obama should have given" is that it's 100% addressed to "America," with Obama taking the role of speaking for "[t]he black community.

Grey's grammatically makes "the black community" something separate from "America," with Obama in the role of speaking to -- apologizing for, to accurately describe it -- "the black community" and pleading with "America" -- those people the "black community" aren't part of --

You couldn't be more wrong... that's what Obama actually did.

To quote the uniter:

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past"

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people

Obama is the one who characterized it black and white. I however used the term black community and America. Unlike the words you want to put in my mouth, when I say America that means and follow closely here... America. Not white community. Unlike Obama I didn't even mention the white community. I unified us with the term Americans. And I damn well meant America from the top to the bottom. Hey, maybe I am the real uniter here?

So it appears your gripe is mostly with the way Obama separated us... not me.

Yes, you guys are great at encouraging a discussion on race.

Thanks Obama, now let me tell you what you need to do. Go jump in a lake. Fix your own house before you start trying to fix mine.

are you sure you heard/read his speech ? 'cause... well...

How does this comment encourage that discussion? I open my mouth and immediately I am attacked.

are you sure you heard/read his speech ? 'cause... well... Well, as with a lot of things with race, a lot people see what they want to see....

And this encourages my involvement to participate in a discussion about race, how?

Well, I find it interesting that grey immediately zeroes in on the part that he thinks applies to him and ignores other parts.

More encouragement for a white man to partipate in a discussion about race? I think not.

Guess that conversation about race isn't going too well on your end, grey.

I try to participate...

There's probably a depressing large number of people who think like the banned and unmentionable one. Hell, I grew up around people like that--they had chips on their shoulders whenever the subject of racism came up and had to prove that that most of the real racists were, of course, black.

I'm not sure what Lord Voldemort has to do with the discussion, but again if someone doesn't have the same perspective as those here they get attacked.

I dated a black woman for 1 1/2 years. Ah. "Some of my best friends are black" type of argument.

*sigh*

I'm starting to get the impression that no one here really wants a discussion about race. You all just want to reinforce your own opinions.

Everyone thought she was a black American so maybe that would give me credibilty

Nope.

No discussion taking place there.

Shorter Jay: I hate Obama, and everything he says just makes me hate him more. I don't need a good reason, either.

I mean, good grief, Ronnie Rayguns was nothing but platitudes, and he's revered as a saint. If all you got from this speech was that Obama is "eloquent", then you missed the speech, too.

Again, if one disagrees with you they will ridicule your posts.

Then, too, I have bad experiences with some guys insisting on LEADING an Asian American group when their sole experience was that their girlfriend was Asian. I'm afraid my brush with that sort of arrogance (on multiple occasion) is coloring my reactions.

How is calling someone arrogant helping to elevate our discusson of race?

Your criticism of Obama's speech seems mostly incoherent...

...your view on both the topic of race and of what Obama is saying about it seems pretty absurd and simpleminded.

Who woudn't want to have a discussion about race with this person?

I can also tell you as one black person that your idea for a speech doesn't go over very well with me.

So I try to have a discussion about what I thought Obama should have said, but this doesn't seem like someone who want's to encourage discussion about race with a white man.

I just don't think it qualifies you to speak for American blacks.

So I try to express my thoughts on race and Obama's speach and this person keeps claiming I say things that I don't. Why would I want to have a discussion about race with someone like that?

I once heard a comment about finding a soul mate, "If you want to find the right person, you have to be the right person."

If you really "want" to have a discussion about race, start by being a person who really "wants" to have a real discussion about race.

gray's speech Obama should have given:

Black folk gots probemms. But we thank whitey for all the helps, yessir, massa.

Great characterization. You know full well that wasn't my intention, but you chose make up a false interpretation.

If you are all Obama supporters why in the hell would anyone want to have a discussion about race with you guys?

I see that Jesurgislac is considered regular. How can anyone let this comment slide:

Yes, but Gore won.

Why did no one call this person out?

When the two newspaper consortia concluded their surveys, their conclusions were identical: by almost every method selected to count the undervote, had all the ballots been counted statewide, Bush would have won, and not Gore. There were a few methodologies that would have produced a very narrow Gore victory, but the great majority of the different approaches produced a Bush win.

If the methodology that Gore advocates had pushed on the Florida Supreme Court been adopted, it would have resulted in a Bush victory.

If you would have stated that it was highly contested I could agree with that. But to say Gore one is a perpetuation of a fairy tale.

Jesurgislac are you familiar with the state of Florida? There are two time zones in Florida. When they called the election for Bush the other time zone had still not finished voting. There was no reason to... Bush had been declared the winner.

The other time zone is the most conservative part of the state other than Jacksonville. It's full of military bases. Those people who would have voted for Bush hypothetically didn't vote. The point here being if you are going to make up scenarios about how Gore could have one, then you must also take into account how the panhandle conservative vote was depressed by them declaring Bush the winner.

Assuming that the next Democratic candidate manages to win by a large enough margin that she or he can get into the White House despite all the vote-rigging to support McCain that we know is going to happen,

So, if the Dem wins will you admit that holding on to an 8 year fairy tale was a mistake on your part?

Last thought. If so many here support Obama and what he is trying to accomplish with respect to uniting our country, then why is someone like me attacked, mischarcterized and obviously not welcomed. Shouldn't you be helping Obama by embracing people like me?

The link below has some description of Israel's links to South Africa. Back in the cold war days Israel was linked to all sorts of unsavory regimes--my local library has a book by an Israeli about some of those connections, some in Africa and some in Central America, but I can't recall the author's name. William LeoGrande's book "In Our Backyard" says that when Somoza was fighting to keep from being toppled, the countries that came to Somoza's aid were Israel, Spain, Argentina, Brazil,Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador--in 1979, most of those were rightwing dictatorships and that's the kind of company (along with the US) that Israel kept. If you read about Guatemala and their genocide one of the things you read is that the Guatemalan army used Galil rifles and had been trained by Israelis. According to James Dunkerley's book "Power in the Isthmus", when Carter cut off military sales and aid to Guatemala Israel became their chief supplier of both. Dunkerley says "At least until 1981, the Israeli connection represented a clear alternative to US military aid; thereafter it tended to become more of a surrogate although still providing the Guatemalan military with an appreciably wider margin of independence than was possessed by their regional counterparts."

Below is the link about South Africa--

Tony Karon

I found the author I remembered--here he is, summarizing his book.

beit hallami

Of course, I misspelled his name. I'd do it again if I tried again, but the correct spelling is at the link.

Why did no one call this person out?

because it's a discussion that comes around every other week or so. if i had to guess, i'd say that most of us are tired of having it.

Shouldn't you be helping Obama by embracing people like me?

if you were actually willing to vote for him, it seems strange that you'd spend so much time blaming Obama supporters for not helping you reach that decision.

i mean, you're the same person who wrote this, right:
I can honestly say that I never disliked Obama until this speech.
...
Thanks Obama, now let me tell you what you need to do. Go jump in a lake. Fix your own house before you start trying to fix mine.

and this:
More moral superiority... why am I not surprised. First Obama, now you.

you don't actually sound like you're interested in voting for him at all. it sounds more like you want to attack him and mischaracterize his words. and you don't sound very welcoming yourself.

so, um. spare us the self-pity.

If you would have stated that it was highly contested I could agree with that. But to say Gore one is a perpetuation of a fairy tale.

You are relying on the April study to make this argument. The later November Consortium study is actually much more ambiguous but suggests that if both overvotes and undervotes were counted than Gore would have won. Nonetheless I agree that the issue is certainly disputable.

The rest of your odd defensive ramblings only reinforces my sense that you seem, bizarrely, to believe this debate is all about you. Beyond that, your argument remains incoherent, and whatever point you are trying to make, completely opaque. Your technique of actually ignoring the basis of the arguments against you to complain about how unfairly you are being treated is entirely unpersuasive.

For example, this:

So I try to have a discussion about what I thought Obama should have said, but this doesn't seem like someone who want's to encourage discussion about race with a white man.

What I said was pretty straightforward and direct. Speaking as one black person, Your rewrite of Obama's speech does not go over very well with me. Now, if you were serious about having a discussion you might have actually tried to clarify your point and explain why exactly your "speech" was not an insult. Instead what you did was retreat into this strange defensiveness of yours and suggest that the fact that I disagreed with you means that I am not interested in having a discussion with you. Clearly, in your own mind, this is some sort of serious response to criticism. It isn't.

Why did no one call this person out?

Obviously, you've missed the previous 872 occasions where this person was called out.

"Is the wikipedia entry accurate?"

Within my limited knowledge.

How large or small, or tarring, a sin one regards Israel's history with South Africa doubtless says something about one's views on Israel overall.

"Linked" is always a wonderfully flexible word.

Everyone thought she was a black American so maybe that would give me credibilty

Nope.

No discussion taking place there.

OK, let's discuss.

No, the fact that everyone thought the woman you were dating was a black American doesn't give your claim to have a profound physical and spiritual insight into the American black community any credibility whatsoever. In my eyes, at least.

Your later comment that you live in a black neighborhood seems like a better basis for claiming such an insight, but proximity is not always intimacy. I don't know you, so I have no idea what insights you might have on that topic. You really haven't shared any.

Your overall point here seems to be that Obama's comments about what white Americans need to do to help heal the rift between black and white are scolding and morally superior in tone, because you personally haven't done anything to black people, and because you personally have a totally unproblematic relationship with black Americans.

Great, you're off the hook. Assuming all of your claims are true, you're an unusual guy. Take five. The rest of us have some work to do.

It's true you had a bumpy reception in this thread. As blogs go, this is not a particularly hostile one. Quite the opposite. Even a cranky hothead like me is allowed to stick around.

Maybe the problem is on your end. Just saying.

Net/net, if you don't like Obama, don't vote for him. Nobody here is going to try to make you do so.

Thanks -

"Obama is the one who characterized it black and white."

Except he spoke from both sides, and to both sides. You demanded that he speak only from one side to the other.

That was my point, which, unsurprisingly, you missed. I repeat it for clarification, confident that this time, of course, will be the charm.

"More encouragement for a white man to partipate in a discussion about race? I think not."

A number of us here are "white" men. Woo-hoo.

Why do you need "encouragement," exactly? Is talking about racism scary? I guess it can be, and that's perhaps not unreasonable. But you seem quite concerned about it, and quite affronted at the very notion of talking about racism.

I'd be happy to be disabused of that notion.

Hillary and her circle of worshipers. Unreal. From The Nation.

"Linked is always a wonderfully flexible word." --Gary

From my sources, Israel was "linked" to the murderous Guatemalan military in the sense that they trained and armed that military in a period when it was more than clear what sort of monsters they were training and arming.

Their guilt overall is the same as the American guilt, since we also have a long record of training and arming murderous regimes and terrorist groups. To my mind the record of both countries in that regard is contemptible and nauseating and should be condemned by any decent person. It is perhaps not that different from the record of numerous other countries, which again to my mind provides no excuse. People in Western countries tend to be outraged when some enemy supports a terrorist organization--they merely need to be a little more consistent in their feelings.

grey: Why did no one call this person out?

Because the issue of more voters voting for Gore than for Bush in Florida has (a) been frequently argued over (b) is not remotely germane to the thread* (c) the germane point, whether V-P is a good position to run for President on, was actually settled with remarkable comity.

*I admit this hasn't stopped either myself, or Slarti, or others, for hashing it over in the past. But it's a fast news week.

Yes Publius, Obama distanced himself from the words but not the man. No easy trick that considering where the words came from, and no need to apologize after a slight of hand bordering on magic.
Possibly a ventriloquist could offer an explanation, or an opportunist.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.

I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother...


I feel a double standard coming on...

The Republican Party itself has to drive out Trent Lott. If they have to stand for something, they have to stand up and say this is not the person we want representing our party.

Now let the hair splitting begin between "disown" and "represent".

At the end of the day, it's okay for Obama to associate with someone like Wright, but it is not okay for a Senator to offer an aging Senator praise for his service to our country.

That's a double standard people and the American people aren't going to fall for it.

I really used to like Obama. It's sad that he has been so inconsistent and hypocritical.

because somehow there's no difference between saying "yay, segregation" and "I disagree with this man but love him as a person"?

What was it you "really liked" about Obama? I have a hard time accepting that liking as genuine if this sort of thing can disabuse you of it. Not that you need to care what I think, of course, but it is a little hard to take you seriously.

I wish we could have a mature discussion about race. I just don't see how when the black community can't even do it amongst themselves.

People like Bill Cosby and Juan Williams have been skewered when talking about race in America.

People like Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas and Condoleeza Rice have all been attacked because they aren't part of the "real" black community.

It's ashame. I wish for better for all of us.


it is not okay for a Senator to offer an aging Senator praise for his service to our country

It's fine to offer praise for his service, and if that were all Lott had done there wouldn't have been a peep about it. It's decidedly not fine to offer praise specifically for his segregation-centered presidential run, and suggest that we'd have avoided "all these problems" if he had been elected on that racist platform.

dnftt

farmgirl,

yay, segregation

I don't recall that being the context. He was giving praise to an old man who had served his country. I think any reasonable reader of Lott's comments would reject the idea that he was specifically referring to segregation.

Spokesman Ron Bonjean issued a two-sentence statement: "Senator Lott's remarks were intended to pay tribute to a remarkable man who led a remarkable life. To read anything more into these comments is wrong."

When the Dem's take away the leadership role of an kick out Robert Byrd, then I will believe they actually care about racists. He actually was the KKK of America.

What I like about Obama?

He is inspirational. Granted I like alot of things about Bush, but when it comes to communicating with the American people he sucked. Obama is so much better.

I like Obama's presentation, but I dislike the solutions he offers. Like many Americans I long for an inspirational leader. Obama is. 'nough said.

dnftt

I guess Hilzoy doesn't really want to have a discussion about race either. Unless its with people who think the same.

Obama hoped we could, but his supporters aren't willing. Too bad.

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