March 19, 2008

Barack Obama Cannot Have it Both Ways

We all knew that in the end, the voting patterns didn’t lie. Many African Americans voted for Barack Obama, sometimes 6 or 7 to 1 compared to Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama took the high road and said his presidential campaign was not about race. After all, if he had made this speech in Iowa, it would not have resonated as well. In the early going, Obama said it was about change and the future, not about race. All of a sudden, with over ¾ of the delegates chosen for Denver, it suddenly becomes about race again.

All of a sudden, Barack Obama says what he knew he could not say in January, that there is a deep racial chasm in this country and that he is the person best placed to handle this problem. If Obama had said this back in January, he would have been pigeon-holed as a candidate with the same goals as Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton, there to talk about race.

Bill Clinton got lambasted and accused of playing the race card when he simply suggested black voters are voting for Obama simply because he is black, suggesting positive discrimination. The voting patterns did not lie. Bill Clinton was right. Obama took the high ground and his campaign attacked Clinton, saying this campaign was about more than race.

It was up to Obama, should he make it to November to stay above the fray; because he had said so many times that there were more pressing issues rather than race in this election: health care, the war in Iraq, the economy. He scolded the Clintons for talking about race in South Carolina because he was above all that. His campaign was beyond all that.

So what does visionary Barack come up with when he needs votes in Pennsylvania?

“Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now.”

Are you f!@#ing serious? (incoming rage)

If this campaign was not about race, the speech about race was not necessary. Hillary Clinton never made a speech about why it was so great that she was a woman. It isn’t necessary. Talking about race makes it an issue. Race is an issue only if people make it an issue. Making a choice based on race is the same discounting the alternative based on race.

So for Obama to pull out the race card when he needs votes in Philadelphia, is extremely disturbing because up until this point, Obama was making history, a black man running for US President without making the most contentious part of his candidacy, his race, an issue. Barack Obama getting elected without playing the race card would have really made history, and shown that at least half the United States was on the same page as Thomas Jefferson (edited), that all men are created equal. Lincoln’s words had never been really put into practice, and Obama had the opportunity to make them ring true. He had a chance to make real change.

That old man in South Carolina had it right Barack. He came for Ashley. He overcame race to see one of many Americans in peril. Many Americans face the same problem as Ashley. They cannot afford to deal with the color of people’s skin because they need to put food on their tables. That man did not need a speech about race to stand up for Ashley. Why let all the Ashleys down now?

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10 Commentaires:

Blogger Lord Kitchener's Own a dit...

Barack didn't bring this up, the media did (specifically the WHITE media, who were so shocked by Reverend Wright's comments to discover that African Americans are angry). Barack was basically told he could have dark skin and get elected, but he couldn't "be black" and get elected. That he had to completely repudiate his pastor (and by extension, a HUGE portion of the African American community) if he wanted to win. That he had to not only completely ignore the anger in the African American community, but to actively repudiate not only a man's words, but the man himself, for giving the type of sermon given in African American churches all the time. The media all but came right out and said "Being black is fine, but ACTING black is unacceptable. You can have dark skin, just don't be all uppity about it." I don't see how he could have ignored that, and besides, the politically safe thing to do would have been to just write the Reverend off and hope that everybody just forgets the deep racial divide in America and moves on. Luckily, he's just not the type of politician to just do the easy, politically expedient thing.

I can understand why Clinton supporters would want him to either ignore racism and be brought down by it, or to repudiate the black community, and be brought down by them, but I'm not at all surprised that the Senator failed to oblige, and took the courageous route rather than the politically easy one.

And if you think telling America that they need to look racism in the eye and deal with it is somehow a ploy for Obama to win over the white working class men he needs in Pennsylvania, I'd love to get some of what you're smoking.

3/19/2008 6:40 p.m.  
Blogger KC a dit...

LKO nailed it. The media was trying to connect Obama to his Pastor's over the top rhetoric. Obama didnt bring this on. All he is doing is responding. Hes not saying "vote me because Im black" (the race card). All he is saying is that he should not be excluded because of his race either. But then again Im sure you would rather he just stay quiet about the attacks against Rev. Wright so that Clinton could gain an edge now wouldnt you?

LKO is also correct in mocking your ridiculous claim that this was a ploy for votes. Obama already has ~90% of the "black vote". If anything he is RISKING support from black voters by dissenting against some of the more extreme anger that exists.

The fact that you say you will support McCain over Obama shows that you have really divorced yourself from reason this time.

3/19/2008 7:44 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

LKO, the media did not force Obama to make this about race. In South Carolina, the Obama campaign scolded Bill Clinton (making a media storm out of it) for saying what Barack Obama demonstrated yesterday, that race is an issue and that it plays a factor in how many votes he gets, and did a complete about face yesterday.

What his pastor said is wrong. If that is being said across the United States, that only black people do not have it good in the US, then these people are fooling themselves. I hate to sound like a Marxist, but the problems in the US are between classes, not races.

I meant to write philadelphia instead of pennsylvania and I did change it once. The reason I say that is because this speech and all the media fawning and MLK comparisons will drive up turnout in Philadelphia, where Obama needs big numbers if he is gonna win the state. That is definitely a factor.

This will not affect the working white class men like you said LKO, the only difference is when Barack Obama goes and tell those people this campaign isnt about race, at least they can tell him he is full of it.

he is trying to have it both ways. Either race is an issue or it isnt. Don't make the "campaign-defining speech" on something you have been calling a non-issue for 3 months

3/19/2008 8:51 p.m.  
Blogger Phil a dit...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/20/2008 2:43 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

id support mccain over obama

3/21/2008 1:52 a.m.  
Blogger Phil a dit...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/21/2008 3:20 p.m.  
Blogger whyshouldIsellyourwheat a dit...

The Clintons played the race card, not Obama. The Clintons have been trying for month to turn Obama into the "black" candidate, doing the Republicans dirty work for the Republicans, well because all that matters to the Clintons is the Clintons.

There isn't anything thing that the Clintons won't destroy or do for the benefit of the themselves.

3/21/2008 4:16 p.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

Phil I didnt think Obama would sink this low. I truly didnt. His campaign was not about how a black man was running for president. Except he made it that way. It really angered me.

3/21/2008 5:05 p.m.  
Blogger Gauntlet a dit...

You're way off base, here Antonio.

It verges on head-in-the-sand insanity to suggest that with this speech Obama "made" race an issue. You cannot make the world the place you want it to be by merely pretending it already is, and throwing a hissy fit when someone breaks character.

Show me what he did wrong. He said he wouldn't talk about race? No, he didn't. He said it wasn't the most important issue. He didn't say it was one America could ignore, or wasn't there.

He said he would "stay out of the fray?" There's a big difference between "race" being an issue, and "his race" being an issue.

If you have some sort of white guilt that you wanted assuaged - if you wanted some evidence that we are in a post-racial-conflict North America and an Obama campaign that didn't even have to talk about racial divisions was going to be that evidence - well, you were always going to be disappointed.

But your disappointment is misplaced if you're putting it on Obama. Your disappointment is with the society as a whole. And that speech showed that Obama is the candidate best suited to the task of addressing what so disappoints us all about the state of race relations in the US.

Not because he's black, any more than Clinton is best suited to deal with pay-equity problems because she's female.

But because he is thoughtful, sensitive to the real lives of people on all sides of the issues, and unwilling to condemn people with whom he disagrees for the benefit of political expediency.

You make an argument that there is a class struggle in the United States, not a race struggle. As Obama said in his speech, being Black or White has something to do with your class status in the US, and that is a result of historic wrongs that have not yet been adequately righted.

3/22/2008 12:03 a.m.  
Blogger Antonio a dit...

well he was getting hammered by hillary clinton on the economy all over pennsylvania, Barack Obama goes to Philadelphia and makes a speech about race.

Itbrings the issue to the forefront. making such a pivotal speech on the topic on emphasizes it more.

If he makes this speech in january, he does not win the nomination. He saved it for March, after the majority of US states had voted. People don't wanna vote for the black candidate. They want to vote for the best candidate. If the best candidate happens to be black, so be it.

While voters received the speech well, I won't lie, it was a great speech, I just think it was cheap to do it now, after winning people's votes specifically by saying this campaign is not about race and at the 11th hour, giving others credibility by pulling this out of the hat.

Obama didnt bring race into the campaign, but the front runner drives the agenda, and he put this at the forefront, and if Hillary ever says I am better because I have a vag, I will go off on her too.

3/22/2008 10:36 a.m.  

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