I wrote way back when that Obama’s insecurities about his identity and deference to his party’s left, in particular on “black issues,” may be his undoing. It will radicalize conservatives. And it will be out of touch with the moderates whom he must court to remain effective and get reelected.
So why might Obama say something like what’s below? It seems politically suicidal, positioning him with all the grievance mongers and scab-pickers like Al Sharpton, Sheila Jackson Lee, John Conyers, and the whole rest of that useless group of flatterers.
Could it be because he heard this kind of nonsense for 20 years and really believes it?
As when the reality of his church was revealed, Obama must again be asked and again explain: who is the real Barack Obama? Is he the postracial healer? Or is he the “race man” who is simply a more effective Jesse Jackson that aims to help his group because of group and tribal loyalty and has little interest in the country’s welfare as a whole?
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Obama promised us a “new politics” devoid of the rancor, partisan infighting, and nastiness of the last eight years (or more). Instead, we’ve basically gotten standard flip-flopping on issues like Guantanamo Bay’s closure and Chicago-style ethnic payoffs, as evidenced by the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. If Obama wanted the most highly qualified person, he might have considered a man for starters. Once upon a time it was taken for granted that judging was mostly a technical job, reserved for the smart and the least corruptible. In other words, it did not matter if the judge was “representative” because justice was supposed to be blind. If he wanted a strong liberal, he also might have considered Diane Wood, who unlike the intellectually undistinguished (and rumoredly bad tempered Sotomayer), might actually persuade someone once in a while, but she has the demerit of being white.
Sotomayor is obviously not unqualified in the sense of someone who had never thought about the law or Constitution before, as in the case of someone like Hariett Miers; but she is no more qualified than any other random appellate judge. She is totally undistinguished, but for her biography. Obama, though, is ever the politician, and his instincts were honed in Chicago where attending ethnic parades, naming streets after different groups heros like Pulaski and Balboa were the name of the game. It’s a world quite unlike the Mountain West and the Deep South, where appeals to and identification with a distinctly and homogenous American past are the name of the game. Obama’s new politics are an all too familiar and not terribly impressive sub-type of American politics: the regime of big government and ethnic payoffs of Chicago, where he honed his instincts and his sense of political ethics.
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I caught a little bit of CNN’s Black in America tonight. It was a typical Marxist hate-fest complete with a faux balance of views. I was particularly struck by the interview with Spike Lee. This film-maker is a multi-millionaire who has won numerous awards. Yet still had the chip on his shoulder. The same chip that Michelle Obama has. It’s a constant drumbeat of anger, entitlement, and alienation. He was particularly aggrieved that he had to convince rich white people to invest their money in his movies. They didn’t fawn over him as he saw fit. These ugly feelings of rage and unappeasable demands are the progeny of a society demented by liberalism. And we see these feelings among even the richest and most successful black people, who have many amusements to lighten the human condition. How much more hate runs in the veins of those whose lives are more difficult, fraught with the economic insecurity and struggle that so many people, black and white, must live with.
I have a theory about CNN. It’s headquartered in Atlanta, home of the black elite. It seems more than MSNBC, Fox, and even Hollywood to focus on black issues and concerns. It undoubtedly has many talented and wealthy black people in its ranks. But, nonetheless, so many have the trademark hateful and one-dimensional view of the world. We all know the drill of excuses and pieties. Black pathologies are exaggerated and over-stated by the media. Noose pranks assume greater significance than black-on-white atrocities so common that they never make national news. Imaginary white racists lurk in the shadows, such that even multi-millionaires can consider themselves to be victims of an unjust society.
I was particularly struck by Suzanne Malvaux’s incredulity at a successful, relatively well-adjusted black executive in NYC. His basic happiness in life was illegitimate to her. She pressed him repeatedly and never wanted him to forget that some whites–quite reasonably in the era of affirmative action–would view his accomplishments skeptically. In the eyes of her tribal anti-white group-think, he had to be alienated, and his failure to embrace this counter-productive self-indulgence was somehow a sin against his race. Even if her j’accuse had no effect on him, he is the exception. All the little Suzanne Malvauxs forging the values of young people in black churches, black colleges, black schools, black clubs, and black professional organizations won’t let the most promising blacks forget: to be truly black requires identifying with the feelings of righteous victimhood among the contemporary black underclass and the genuine victimhood of long-deceased black slaves.
President Barry won’t make this go away either for the country or himself. Particularly as a “mixed race” individual, he’ll always have to kowtow to this suspicious black value system lest his fragile sense of self be damaged by the charge of being a race-traitor, an Uncle Tom. For a black man lacking confidence in his identity, this is the greatest pain he can imagine. If being racist is now the great mortal sin among reeducated white America, being a race traitor has the same salience for blacks.
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Posted in American History, Baby Boomers, Black History, Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Conservatism, Defense Department, Iraq, McCain, political correctness, Politics, Race Relations, Racism on 7 Apr 2008 |
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Apparently, John McCain is seriously considering Condy Rice to be his Vice President, and she wants the job. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I do think she will do little to help him with moderates, and such a choice will further alienate real conservatives. This issue is unusually important because of McCain’s age and health; his vice-president stands a reasonably good chance of assuming the office.
First, I think he is likely to choose her because he’s expressed unease about attacking Obama. He can’t muster the same passion against him that he could against an Edwards or Clinton. (Could you imagine McCain firing a staffer for an anti-Hillary youtube video?) For McCain, Obama’s race is like a shield, and McCain acts like any other guilty white liberal on race, as evidenced most dramatically by his embrace of America-destroying immigration policies. Condy gives him a get out of jail free card and also allows him to further his own vanity, proving to himself and everyone how progressive he is on racial matters.
Second, there is no daylight between McCain and Condy on the war. It’s true the war is unpopular, and McCain’s reprise of Bush’s ’04 electoral strategy appears less likely to be effective this time around, but it’s clearly something the two of them are very sincere about. Far from balancing the ticket, McCain seems disposed to pick a lackey type who will not challenge his oversized ego and unorthodox ideas.
Finally, Condy is a messianic liberal who, like Bush, is able to paint the imperial policing job in Iraq in the grandest of terms: the installment of sacred democracy and the expiation of our national “birth defect” of slavery. McCain likes this sort of talk; it elevates his merely instinctual “politics of duty” to grander historical purposes. Rice frequently ties this back to her own life, equating slavery and Jim Crow with any recognition of group differences, including the conservative criticism that Iraqis cannot profitably handle democracy and self-government.
Rice has no apparent leadership qualities, is a weak public speaker, is totally out to lunch on the Palestinians (often comparing their treatment to black civil rights activists) and has accomplished literally nothing at all as Secretary of State. She is a race-obsessed liberal and incompetent, but McCain may still pick her. Her race, her minimal qualifications, and her hawkish views on Iraq are enough for him.
Consider her record. She failed after 9/11 to be a voice of reason by not defending racial profiling of Middle Easterners and distinguishing this from the Jim Crow policies of America’s past. She failed as National Security Advisor to pull Bush off the rails by saying, “If we’re to pursue this ambitious course, we need many more troops regardless of what Rumsfeld is saying.” In works like Fiasco and Cobra II, she appears to have done very little in her role at the NSA, being bulldozed and parried by aggressive folks like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Perle, and Feith. Since becoming Secretary of State, she has been tone deaf in our dealings with Serbia, Russia, Israel, China, and many other parties, the worst example of the “ugly American” we’ve ever seen in this role.
Worst of all, when she is not insulting foreigners, she insults America and its past with half-educated bromides, usually dealing with slavery and discrimination. Her habitual appeal to these examples show that she is far too traumatized and alienated by her youth in Alabama to be entrusted with stewardship over the country as a whole. The United States is still a white majority country, where most of its people see much to admire in our history. Most of us, particularly on the Republican side, view the Founding as a glorious chapter in our history, the exact opposite of a “birth defect.”
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Good Friday seems a good day to discuss this.
It is tempting for white Americans weary of being called racists to embrace this proposal by former NAACP diretor Michael Meyers. Meyers calls for “color blindness” and criticizes Obama for giving what amounts to a detailed description of racial differences that does not lead us out of the present cycle of escalating black anger and defensive white fear:
I would say that Barack Obama’s “momentous” speech on race settled on merely “explaining” so-called racial differences between blacks and whites — and in so doing amplified deep-seated racial tensions and divisions. Instead of giving us a polarizing treatise on the “black experience,” Obama should have reiterated the theme that has brought so many to his campaign: That race ain’t what it used to be in America.
Meyers concludes, “The man or woman who talks plainly about our commonality as a race of human beings, about our future as one nation indivisible, rather than about our discredited and disunited past, is, I predict, likely to finish ahead of the pack and do us a great public service.”
This “race blindness” approach certainly has some appeal, but it’s not a realistic approach. Race, like ethnicity, is a real category of human identity. Obama is correct to note that the two races see things differently, have different histories, different sensitivities, and that blacks in particular are sensitive to their former treatment as inferiors complete with legally imposed subordination. (more…)
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