Huffington Post: Drew Westen: What Obama Needs to Do in the Final Sixty Days: Avoiding President Palin

Huffington Post (9/9/08)

Drew Westen: What Obama Needs to Do in the Final Sixty Days: Avoiding President Palin

Underlying many of the problems that have plagued the Obama campaign in the last half of the primaries against Hillary Clinton and throughout the entire general election thus far is the standard Democratic predilection for running away from conflict instead of running toward it. Obama wrote a magnificent book about race in which he used his own story to talk about issues of race and class, and he delivered the greatest speech on race since “I Have a Dream.” Yet he has run from race every time it has been mentioned since.

He and his team need to recognize and deal with the fact that when white people see his face, they see a black man. He knows that, because he wrote about it in his book. It is no accident that older Democratic voters had trouble with him in the primaries: Their deepest attitudes, particularly their unconscious one, were shaped in an era in which the only black people they encountered were below them, not above them. It will take conscious effort, insight, and careful research to identify the best ways to address their feelings head-on, and the Obama team has no time to waste. The same applies to middle-aged working class men, who have seen people of color promoted above them, and who harbor deep and real resentments for paying the price for the sins of their fathers (or, more accurately, the sins of the fathers of rich white boys, since punching a time card and working on an assembly line or in a mill is not what most of us would consider “privilege”).


The National: Oil is always relevant

The National (8/6/08)

Oil is always relevant

Oh, by the way, “Saudi Oil” will still be used as an issue, even where it makes no sense. Lee Terry, a Repulican congressman from Nebraska, recently sent out a mailing touting a plan to increase domestic oil production and expand alternative fuel technologies.

All well and good, except the cover of the mailer shows a picture of the Saudi delegation at the Opec summit of November 2007 with the slogan “We won’t have to beg them ever again for oil”.


New Nebraska Network: Lee Terry’s Message To Voters: “Let’s Stick It To The Towelheads!”

New Nebraska Network (8/18/08)

Lee Terry’s Message To Voters: “Let’s Stick It To The Towelheads!”

Did you catch all those images of scary Arab guy in Lee Terry’s latest campaign ad? Well, it looks like this sort of racist nonsense is nothing new from the Terry campaign.  In fact, the United Arab Emirates’ English-language publication, The National, already called out Terry for these despicable tactics from the other side of the world two weeks ago.


NY Times City Room: McCain Campaign Fires Back at Paterson

NY Times City Room (9/9/08)

McCain Campaign Fires Back at Paterson

Gov. David A. Paterson’s comments on the role of race in the presidential election rebounded far beyond the five boroughs Tuesday afternoon, drawing a sharp retort from the campaign of Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate.

At a breakfast forum in New York on Tuesday morning, Mr. Paterson, a Democrat and only the fourth black governor in American history, was asked whether racism would harm the presidential bid of the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, who is the first black nominee of a major party.

Mr. Paterson replied that he thought enough voters were focused on other issues, like housing and unemployment, to elect Mr. Obama regardless of his race. But he opined that “there are overtones of potential racial coding in the campaign.”

“I think the Republican Party is too smart to call Barack Obama black in a sense that would be a negative,” Mr. Paterson said. “But you can take something about his life, which I noticed they did it in the Republican convention, a community organizer. They kept saying it, they kept laughing, like, what does this mean?”


NY Times City Room: NY Gov. Paterson was also asked whether he thought Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, was a victim of racism

NY Times City Room (9/9/08)

NY Gov. Paterson was also asked whether he thought Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, was a victim of racism

Mr. Paterson was also asked whether he thought Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, was a victim of racism. The governor said it was too soon to tell if there was such a “patteron” to Republican attacks, but he took the chance to mount a defense of community organizers, who came in for some snide comments at the Republican National Convention.

“They kept saying it, they kept laughing,” he said, “like ‘What does this mean?’ It means that an individual who could have gone to Wall Street and made a lot of money, and then run for office because he could buy media time, chose to go back and work in programs in a neighborhood where he thought he could make a difference,” and started a political career based on those successes.

Booker Rising: Ave Tooley on Jive And Game

Booker Rising (9/9/08)

Ave Tooley on Jive And Game

The black moderate-conservative blogger writes: “Politics is dirty. We already knew that. What really gets on my nerves about it is the word games people play. Particularly annoying to me personally is the say-something-ridiculously-biased-then-say-I-didn’t-mean-it-in-an-offensive-way game. Seriously. I’m not one of those people who believes that racism is lurking around every corner, but I know it when I see it. The whole uppity remark [by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a conservative Republican from Georgia]? That was the real deal. I think what bothers me so much about it is not that the dude said it; it’s not even that the dude who said it is an elected representative. Naw, what bothers me is when I see otherwise well-meaning people try to shoot between wind and water to render a neutral reading of the statement. It is what it is.


Yahoo News: Student GOP leader resigns over Obama remark

Yahoo News (9/9/08)

Student GOP leader resigns over Obama remark

he leader of a statewide group of college Republicans has been forced to resign after posting racially insensitive comments about Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama on the Internet.

Adam LaDuca, 21, the former executive director of the Pennsylvania Federation of College Republicans, wrote on his Facebook page in late July that Obama has “a pair of lips so large he could float half of Cuba to the shores of Miami (and probably would.)”

LaDuca, who previously had called Martin Luther King Jr. a “pariah” and a “fraud,” also wrote: “And man, if sayin’ someone has large lips is a racial slur, then we’re ALL in trouble.”


SuperSpade: On Obama’s Religion & The Question of Qualified Black Candidates

SuperSpade (9/9/08)

On Obama’s Religion & The Question of Qualified Black Candidates

On Obama’s Religion

As for how I as a Black Christian (not speaking for that entire demographic) feel, I have no “concern” about Obama’s religion. In fact, I bet most people don’t have any concern about Obama’s religion. Frankly, I don’t care what his religion is, and the people who say that he’s a Muslim in a derogatory way are actually not only insulting Muslims by implying that being Muslim is bad, but they are also note acting in a Christ-like manner by bearing false witness against another person. So there are two questions to pose to Christians or anyone else who has a problem with a candidate’s religion:

  1. What’s wrong with voting for a fellow Christian?
  2. What in your Christianity would stop you from voting for someone who was of a different religion if there was a non-Christian in the race?

On Qualified Black Candidates

As to your question on qualified Black candidates that could run for President and VP, the issue is not qualification. There are qualified people of every type: race, sex, gender, ideology, religion, sexual orientation, age, etc. The issue is actually one of prejudice and access.

I use prejudice here not because of its connotation of racism or sexism, but for it’s true definition, which is to hold:

An unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought, or reason.

Black candidates, woman candidates, gay candidates, Muslim candidates, etc. all have to fight through the preconceived notions on who they are, what they represent, what they believe, and how they think before people can actually get to know them as people, let alone policy makers. The investment in terms of time, effort, and dollars that’s necessary to overcome these prejudices is tremendous, and it often is an insurmountable obstacle for most candidates, especially early in their careers. Thus, it is not surprising that:


Megan McArdle: Coastal privilege

Megan McArdl (/9/08)

Coastal privilege

Over the last week, I’ve been hearing a lot of things like this:

Some of it, of course, is driven by cultural and religious conflict: fundamentalist Christians are sincerely dismayed by Roe v. Wade and evolution in the curriculum. What struck me as I watched the convention speeches, however, is how much of the anger on the right is based not on the claim that Democrats have done bad things, but on the perception — generally based on no evidence whatsoever — that Democrats look down their noses at regular people.

I’m surprised–though I shouldn’t be, of course–that any number of liberals who are (presumably) comfortable with concepts like unconscious discrimination and privilege when it comes to race, have not even stopped to consider that the same sort of thing might be operating here.

Let’s be honest, coastal folks:  when you meet someone with a thick southern accent who likes NASCAR and attends a bible church, do you think, “hey, maybe this is a cool person”?  And when you encounter someone who went to Eastern Iowa State, do you accord them the same respect you give your friends from Williams?  It’s okay–there’s no one here but us chickens.  You don’t.


Oliver Willis: The Fence!

Oliver Willis (9/8/08)

The Fence!

At least in the primetime speeches anybody notice that the GOP seems to have forgotten all about the killer issue that was supposed to revive the party? That is, immigration? Or perhaps they decided the bleeding among hispanic voters was getting out of control. My guess is thats a genie they can’t put back in the bottle and they may have lost out on a killer demographic for a decade.