For over a long period of time now, I have been trying to put into words why I as a black man am not an Obama fan. Finally, someone has done it for me.
Let me first say thanks to Cinque Henderson for a great article. It seems that I am not the only black person who disliked Obama instantly:
...I disliked Obama almost instantly. I never believed the central premises of his autobiography or his campaign. He is fueled by precisely the same brand of personal ambition as Bill Clinton. But, where Clinton is damned as "Slick Willie," Obama is hailed as a post-racial Messiah. Do I believe that Obama had this whole yes-we-can deal planned from age 16? No, I would respond. He began plotting it at age 22. This predisposition, of course, doesn't help me in making the case against Obama, especially not with black people. But, believe me, there's a strong case to be made that he isn't such a virtuous mediator of race. And it's this skepticism about Obama's racial posturing that has led us, the 10 percent, into dissent
Next he takes a quote from Andrew Sullivan:
Earlier this fall, I attended an Obama speech in Washington on tax policy that underwhelmed on delivery; his address was wooden, stilted, even tedious. It was only after I left the hotel that it occurred to me that I'd just been bored on tax policy by a national black leader.
Then he gives his best paragraph of the article:
This is presented as a confession, and Sullivan honestly admits his reaction is based on his stereotyping of blacks. Add to that another Obama supporter, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, calling Obama the first black politician to "come to the American people not as a victim but rather as a leader." You hear this kind of talk all the time. Never mind the dignified glories of Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Colin Powell, Kurt Schmoke, and others. We have arrived at the crux of the matter. So much of the educated white people's love for Barack depends on educated white people's complete ignorance of and distance from the rest of us. Barack is the black person they want the rest of us to be--half-white and loving, or "racially transcendent," as the press loves to call him. And, since picking a candidate makes you allies with his other supporters, why would I want to be allies with educated whites whose glorification of Barack depends in large part on their implicit denigration of the rest of us?
The author must have reading my diaries because he next states this fact:
But, once you stare past the radiant glow surrounding Obama and begin to study the exact reasons for his so-called racial transcendence, you can't help but conclude that it is mostly hokum. Why do black people love Obama? In large part, it's because of the dark-skinned woman on his arm. Black people (especially black women) are nuts for Michelle. Had Barack married a white woman, his candidacy would've never gotten off the ground with black people. And would whites really be so into him if he hadn't had a white mother? Based on U.S. political history, you would have to conclude: not a chance. My suspicion is that people are ultimately comfortable with Obama because a member of his family looks like them--and, if you think about it, that's not terribly transcendent.
Next he picks apart what became the turning point in the race and in my mind the most disgusting, the South Carolina Primary:
It's worth remembering that the majority of blacks still think O.J. Simpson is innocent. And, in times like these, when a black man is out front in the public eye, black people feel both proud and vulnerable and, as a result, scour the earth for evidence of racists plotting to bring him down, like an advance team ready to sound an alarm. Barack needed only a gesture, a quick sneer or nod in the direction of the Clintons' hidden racism to avail himself of the twisted love that rescued O.J. and others like him and to smooth his path to victory, and, therefore, to salvage his candidacy. After Donna Brazile and James Clyburn started to cry racism, Barack was repeatedly asked his thoughts. He declined to answer, allowing the charge to grow for days (in sharp contrast to how he leapt to Joe Biden's defense a month earlier). But, while he remained silent about the allegations of racism, he gave speeches across South Carolina that warned against being "hoodwinked" and "bamboozled" by the Clintons. His use of the phrase is resonant. It comes from a scene in Malcolm X, where Denzel Washington warns black people about the hidden evils of "the White Man" masquerading as a smiling politician: "Every election year, these politicians are sent up here to pacify us," he says. "You've been hoodwinked. Bamboozled."
And by uttering that famous phrase, what did Obama do?:
By uttering this famous phrase, Obama told his black audience everything it needed to know. He was helping to convince blacks that the first two-term Democratic president in 50 years, a man referred to as the first black president, is in fact a secret racist. As soon as I heard that Obama had quoted from Malcolm X like this, I knew that Obama would win South Carolina by a massive margin.
That so many people have a stake in ignoring these real concerns is troubling. At least the Hillary supporters I know seem to be aware of her more unsavory traits: that she carries a knife with her that she could pull out at any minute. Not so with Obama's fans. It's nearly impossible to get them to admit any wrong in him. Given the choice, I prefer to side with the group that knows their candidate can be a jerk, rather than the group that believes their candidate is Jesus.
Please read the whole article.
Before I get back to work I read this about Ted Kennedy:
Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, unable to contain himself, administered one last kick to Clinton's dignity by opining that the New York senator lacks the "real leadership" needed for the job of vice president. He said that Obama should pick someone who is "in tune with his appeal for the nobler aspirations of the American people."
Ted Kennedy. This coming from a guy who almost destroyed the party in 1980, who is living off the legacy of two dead brothers, who is selfishly staying in the spotlight way past his time (poor Marty Meehan)...Mr. Kennedy prove yourself to black America. Show what a great leader you are. Step aside and allow Deval Patrick to replace you as Senator because the governor thing is not working out to well for him. Actions speak louder than words, Ted. So what do you say? I thought not. One more question Ted: What do you think about wind energy? What a disgrace. Do me a favor, Senator Kennedy....I am sorry you never became President like Bill Clinton, but please do as you are asking Hillary to do...go away.