Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Isn't it ironic?

Yesterday, Illinois senator Barack Obama announced he is forming a presidential exploratory committee. As the Chicago Tribune notes, this...
...would make him the most formidable African-American candidate ever.

His candidacy should be marked by the African-American community as a high point. Interestingly though,

Civil rights leaders who have dominated black politics for much of the past two decades have pointedly failed to embrace the 45-year-old Illinois senator who is considering a bid to become America’s first black president.

Hmm. Why is this? Notes this Times article,

HE is a media darling, a paparazzi target and a source of inspiration for millions of Democrats who dream of retaking the White House in 2008. But Senator Barack Obama, the charismatic African-American who is shaking up the presidential primary race, has not impressed some of America’s most powerful black activists.

How about these rousing endorsements:
Jesse Jackson: "Our focus right now is not on who’s running, because there are a number of allies running."
Harry Belafonte: "We don’t know what he’s truly about...He’s a young man in many ways to be admired. Obviously very bright, speaks very well, cuts a handsome figure. But all of that is just the king’s clothes. Who’s the king?”
Al Sharpton: "Right now we’re hearing a lot of media razzle-dazzle. I’m not hearing a lot of meat, or a lot of content. I think when the meat hits the fire, we’ll find out if it’s just fat, or if there’s some real meat there."

Obama, the son of a Kenyan farmer and a white Kansan mother... wait a second, could that be it? Yep. Says one strategist,

They are basically jealous. They’ve been toiling in the trenches for decades, and along comes this son of a Kenyan farmer and suddenly he’s measuring the drapes in the Oval Office.

12 comments:

Greg said...

I think guys like Jackson, Belafonte, and Sharpton are pretty smart to not say too much just yet. They want to make all of the candidates earn their support. If Obama really wants the endorsement of Jesse Jackson, he's gonna have to go get it. My guess is that a lot of people want to see who actually will win the DNC nomination before they start running their mouths too much. (After all, if it turns out you worked AGAINST the winning candidate, there could be hell to pay.)

That being said, the 2008 presidential race is shaping up to be very interesting in both political parties. On the Republican side, it looks like both Guiliani and McCain will be formidable. On the Democratic side, it looks like Clinton, Obama, and Edwards will all make some noise. There's a long way to go though...

One thing to keep in mind is that the national polls only count for one thing: raising campaign money. Beyond that, they're pretty worthless. If some guy (or gal) is high in the national polls but they lose the early primary states, that's bad. Things can spiral out of control from there. (Just ask Howard Dean.)

Oneway said...

The race hustlers you mention may be jealous. They are all idiots. But, they also have next to nothing in common with Obama, who grew up in hardcore Hawaii, of all places. What does his story have to do with your average black man? Not much, although Barack will claim the black mantle because it gets attention.

Obama is no triumph of the American Black culture, he comes entirely from outside of it. The real triumph is Dr. Rice, but conservative blacks get demonized while fakes get prized...

clauff said...

It's too bad that DTeef hung up the verbal sparring pads, because I'd love to hear what he has to say about this. Who's going to debate anything that you put out here Westy?

Chairman said...

Ever since the invention of TV, Presidents have needed to be charismatic, popular, and likable. And tall. Presidents have always been tall. And my suspicion is that that's been the case even before that. That's why W won over Kerry (who just seems to be boring) and Gore (who comes off as pompus). That's why Clinton beat Dole (though if Dole would've done his SNL skit and Conan interiviews before the elections, he may have changed that perception). That's why Bush Elder won in '88, and that's why Reagan killed in '80 and '84.

Edwards may have It. Hillary sort of has It. Obama has It. Guiliani has It. McCain (who is the most qualified and the most appealing as far as his policies and his accomplishments go) may not have enough of It. And for similar reasons, we'll never see Dick Cheney be Prez. He's not photogenic enough and people don't buy into him, though he'd probably run things pretty well.

And Condi Rice? She's a bad-ass, and I love her to death, but she doesn't have It. America doesn't like blacks and our women to be too smart. Plus her teeth are sort of funny. And she's not tall enough. She's way smarter than everyone else on this list (save possibly Hillary, though I think that living in Arkansas may have contributed to that). Of course her biggest problem is that she'd get approximately 1% of the overall vote because black people at large think that she's a sell-out because she's literate, and white people at large are afraid of black people.

We dig charisma. We like what we get from our first impressions. Was MLK a great person? He plagarized his doctoral dissertation and cheated on his wife. But he spoke well. And people bought into him. That's all that really matters as far as public persona.

Talking about Condi Rice as President is pointless... though I'm personally waiting to throw my support to the 2008 Suge Knight/Rev. Al Sharpton ticket.

Greg said...

Roland, two things you didn't mention...

#1) America likes their presidents to project the image of a "normal" family... ie, W. had his wife and the twins, Clinton had his wife and a daughter, Bush I had a family, Reagan had a family (in a 2nd marriage), Carter had a family, etc.

#2) America likes their presidents to have a full head of hair. Can you name the last bald(ing) person to be elected president? No, not Gerald Ford--he was never elected. You have to go back more than 50 years to the greatest war hero of the century--Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Greg said...

But in fairness, Roland, both of my previous two points fall into your main point of TV... I just wanted toss those out there as well.

BTW, if Al Sharpton had a job in the White House I'd like to see him be the press secretary. I think he'd the best (and most entertaining) one ever. I mean, come on, you can't help but laugh when he says something like, "George Bush giving tax cuts is like Jim Jones giving Kool-Aid. It tastes good but it'll kill you."

Chairman said...

For similar reasons, I'd like to see Don King and Louis Farrakhan prominently involved.

Did George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, etc. all have natural hair, as well as their cool wigs? Maybe if we went old school and brought back the wigs, we could even the playing field for good ol' Dick Cheney.

Oneway said...

Any way you cut it, this presidential race sucks. But Westy's post is focused on Obama vs. Black racists.

White guilt has so far filled in the vacuum of Barack's career, as it had previously with Al Sharp. But the fake reverend and his delusional friends are some what right; Westy is blacker than Obama is.

Chairman said...

I don't know dude. Westy is right up there with chalk and Wonder bread as things that are pretty white.

clauff said...

Roland.

I think you underestimate the whiteness of Westy. I mean, what about marshmallows, dry wall, snow. Whole milk, Sean Harrington and egg shells.

All those things are up there with Westy too.

Westy said...

Hey now...

Chairman said...

Oh Westy. I thought that you would be more appreciative of how evolution/intelligent design has given you the ability to blend in with the environment of snow and white people in your natural habitat of Crookston :-)