2007 Verve Awards

2006 Verve Awards


Best Arts and Culture Blog 2005 Queer Day Awards

Best Gay Blog Nominee 2004 Weblog Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog Nominee

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

 

Barack Obama, On Race

Read Obama's speech on race (or see the video), and judge it for yourselves. I think it's a stunning treatise, visionary and powerful, substantive and clear. The last few days, as this media-fueled story blew up beyond any measure of comprehension or integrity, America dismayingly showed why it has such an ugly, incendiary and pervasive history with race issues. To say that things were taken out of context, that elements were artificially inflamed, is like saying the Titanic was just a rowboat that took on water.

As ModFab buddy KJam did a few days ago in the comments, I know there are Clinton fans who feel a measure of satisfaction in seeing Obama suffer this moment. Retribution, vindication, schadenfreude, whatever. They feel Hillary has been so aggrieved in this process that they can't see the larger picture, of what this primary fight's continued bitterness means for our nation. (What it means, simply put, is the increasing likelihood of a President McCain.) But I hope that now that racism has reared its ugly head so enormously, those who feel victimized by the media's sexist attacks on Clinton can finally feel the race has equalized. The media is out for Obama's blood, and at the moment, Hillary is golden...or as golden as any candidate who cannot statistically or fairly win through the electoral process can possibly be. That's not mean spirit on my part, that's the facts.

America has proved, again, to be a sexist and racist country. Let's hope we don't allow it to stay a Republican one as well.

Labels: ,

10 Comments:

Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

that's a beautiful speech really it is.

it'd be so nice if we can put racism behind us. but obviously he's going to have to keep giving this speech. McCain won't pull the punches you know... and neither will all the wingnuts. and we know from past elections that they are legion.

not to nitpick though: i thought that neither obama nor clinton could statistically get enough delegates now and it comes down to super delegates which is, like it or not, part of the process ---and my god these systems need changing but nobody every bothers to change them once they're elected by them --or am i misinformed?

if so i've been watching the news too much and they've screwed with my head by doing the math in so many different ways every night.

3/18/08, 4:48 PM  
Blogger The Slabber said...

Really nice speech by Obama, just wonderful. And it doesn't mean a damn thing. It's done. Obama cannot get around this thing, no matter what he does. Just another Eliot Spitzer. By now, too many "backbone" voters have decided they do not want any part of this guy. And they won't come back.

So, Hillary is on her way to "victory" in Denver, and that means John McCain will finally relish the sweet sound of "Hail to the Chief" as he steps onto the West Portico of the Capitol next January. It's that simple.

3/18/08, 10:50 PM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Notice, Nathaniel, that I said she can't win through the electoral process...it is indeed true, as you point out, that the superdelegates could subvert the will of the voters and decimate their own electoral process.

My feeling, as you can probably surmise, is that to do so would be political suicide for Clinton....in a democracy, voters need to have the last word. But I've been wrong before.

3/18/08, 11:06 PM  
OpenID ccopeland1976 said...

Would it subvert the will of Michigan and Florida voters? Obama's peeople have scuttled the possible revotes there (because they know that they won't do well). They can't continue to make the "we have the popular vote argument" if she gets 55%+ in both places.

If superdelegates are to follow the will of the people, why aren't Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Bill Bradley going to vote as their respective constituents did? I don't hear calls from the Obama supporters telling them to vote Clinton as superdelegates.

Obama's speech today was rehtorically wonderful, even if he corrected his own fib from Friday where he said that he never heard those kind of comments sitting in church. Nevertheless, the damage is done. The top story on the Politico today is how the GOP sees Rev. Wright as the way to beat Obama in the fall. Further, the story talks about how Republicans are now talking up Obama as their preferred Democratic opponent because this whole Wright thing makes him the weakest.

It's funny, too, that the first time you mention Wright on here, it's to downplay it. Rev. Wright's comments were not taken out of context or artificially inflamed. They are ugly words that will hurt Obama (perhaps fatally) if he is the Democratic nominee.

Lastly, it just eats Obama people up that Hillary wasn't behind it, too.

3/19/08, 10:41 AM  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

you're jumping ahead. what i'm asking is ISN'T IT TRUE THAT OBAMA CAN'T WIN EITHER through this same process?

i thought the popular vote was like 50/50 at this point. so what is the will of the people?

at this point I'd just like Obama to be president... even if i have issues with some of the vagueness of his candidacy, he gives great speech and he is inspiring and an articulate leader would be so much more than we've had for so long.

3/19/08, 10:46 AM  
Blogger Keith a.k.a. K j A M said...

Ahh, ModFab...how wonderful of you to draw me out. I feel appreciated. Seriously, I thought the speech was just short of AMAZING! Not only did Barak look presidential, but he did what had to be done. That is to say, he got out in front of this issue before it had a chance to spiral out of control. (Can you say John Kerry?) That’s not to say the Republicans won’t use this in the fall, because they will. Therefore, I think it would be wise of Barak to continue speaking about race (relations). I realize that he didn’t want to make this a central part of his campaign, but I see no better time than now to add this to his arsenal. This would definitely receive a very warm reception on college campuses across the country.
On another note, if you're saying that Barak has a chance of winning the necessary delegates to get the nomination, then you’re doing some fuzzy math. Neither Barak nor Hillary will get enough delegates. Sadly, Los Superio Delegatos may ultimately decide the nomination. As for thwarting the will of the people, isn't that what Kennedy and Kerry did in Massachusetts?
I think both camps need to stand back and rethink this whole thing. When the time comes, the Democratic Party will need to come together to ensure a fair nomination process. If not, they will split this party down the middle and lose half of their voting power come November. It would be a shame if we blow the best opportunity we’ve ever had (in my lifetime) to make substantive change that has the potential to redirect our country’s values for decades to come.

3/19/08, 10:50 AM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Nathaniel and Keith, it's true that Obama can't "lock" the nomination via elected delegates...but he is far ahead of her in that process, over 100 more, and regardless of Pennsylania it looks to stay near that margin. Only an enormous landslide in the remaining states would allow Clinton to surpass Obama in elected delegates, and there's near universal agreement on both sides that it won't happen.

So the question for the superdelegates is: will they reverse that electoral process that Obama won (not 'locked', just won), and give the nomination to Hillary anyway? Technically it's an option for them to do so, but in real terms it's political suicide for Clinton. It would feel to Obama voters (myself included) that the democractic process has been trashed inside the Democratic party...technically fair or not. I doubt that Clinton could recover from that, especially with young and African-American voters...not to mention die-hard white liberals like myself.

Ccopeland brings up the Michigan and Florida issues...but the truth is, Clinton only wanted to revote in those states once she was behind, and EVERYONE, including Florida and Michigan, KNEW that they were going to be excluded if they voted early. And they did it anyway. They've got NO ONE to blame but themselves, and to break the rules at this point to allow "do-overs" just sounds like another attempt to subvert the process. I'm truly sorry for the voters of Michigan and Florida...I wish their party leaders had decided to adhere to the rules. But they didn't, and the voters there didn't make them adhere, either. At the end of the day, Clinton suffers and the voters suffer...but it's not Obama's fault, or his problem. Take it up with Howard Dean, and in 2012, perhaps they'll decide to play by the rules.

And a point of clarity: I am NOT saying that superdelegates need to vote as their constituents do. I do NOT believe that. In fact, the whole point of superdelegates is that they have to follow their own consciences and be beyond politics. What I DO think, however, is that if they decide to subvert the elected delegate count, there will be accusations and recriminations that they eradicated the will of the voters. And those accusations will be correct.

The popular vote argument has some merit, if Hillary's ahead. But this isn't a popular vote process, it's an electoral one. I don't understand why the Clinton campaign is so desperate to change all of these rules at the 11th hour. Well, I do understand...it's the one way she can win.

3/19/08, 12:44 PM  
Blogger Keith a.k.a. K j A M said...

Modfab: So the question for the superdelegates is: will they reverse that electoral process that Obama won (not 'locked', just won), and give the nomination to Hillary anyway? Technically it's an option for them to do so, but in real terms it's political suicide for Clinton. It would feel to Obama voters (myself included) that the democractic process has been trashed inside the Democratic party...technically fair or not. I doubt that Clinton could recover from that, especially with young and African-American voters...not to mention die-hard white liberals like myself.
I said: I think both camps need to stand back and rethink this whole thing. When the time comes, the Democratic Party will need to come together to ensure a fair nomination process. If not, they will split this party down the middle and lose half of their voting power come November. It would be a shame if we blow the best opportunity we’ve ever had (in my lifetime) to make substantive change that has the potential to redirect our country’s values for decades to come.
This is exactly what I’m talking about. Modfab, Obama supporters aren’t the only ones that would feel like they were screwed. You have hardcore constituents on both sides. Because there’s not going to be a clear winner, the Super Delegates will ultimately be forced to decide the nominee. To be honest, the best possible way to avoid a serious division within the party is that whoever wins the nomination, should immediately ask the other to be their running mate. In an effort to prevent floor fights during the convention, I also think this should all be negotiated behind closed doors prior to the convention. Bring all the Super Delegates together along with the Union heads, and other leaders in the Democratic Party and ultimately find a solution that would be as fair as possible. Notice I didn’t say acceptable to everyone, because you’re never going to please everyone 100%. To not ask or even to decline the offer of Vice President WILL destroy any opportunity of not only winning in November, but the party as a whole. Neither candidate can win the general election without the other. It’s that simple.
One last thing, I don’t believe that denigrating either candidate does anyone any good. They both play to strengths that comprise the party. I know it makes you feel better to get that stab in for your guy or discount other’s viewpoints, but we’re all in this together with one clear mission: To take back our government. Please don’t lose sight of that fact.

3/19/08, 1:52 PM  
Blogger NATHANIEL R said...

well the real problem is the voting procedure itself because caucuses aren't the will of the people either.

the whole thing is fucked up

but anytime someone speaks out against the status quo they get trashed.

3/19/08, 3:19 PM  
Blogger ModFab said...

Agreed, Nathaniel, that the voting process is fucked up. But it's the one we have. It's the one that was debated, passed, approved, and executed by the Democratic Party for 2008. And anything that tries to alter it mid-stream -- especially by the campaign that is losing in the delegate count -- seems nakedly like trying to move the goalposts. It should be changed, because it's weak...but in 2012.

And Keith said: "Obama supporters aren’t the only ones that would feel like they were screwed. You have hardcore constituents on both sides. Because there’s not going to be a clear winner, the Super Delegates will ultimately be forced to decide the nominee."

ME: I agree that if Obama is the nominee that Clinton supporters will eat him alive (they already are), but they won't be screwed because they are NOT ahead in the count. Our definitions of "clear winner" differ widely, because I think there already is one...and the stubborn refusal to recognize the leader in electoral voting, popular voting, red states won, blue states won, purple states won, widest demographics, etc., drives me crazy.


Keith: "To be honest, the best possible way to avoid a serious division within the party is that whoever wins the nomination, should immediately ask the other to be their running mate."

ME: I agree that this is the only sensible way to avoid a train wreck. But will Clinton accept the VP slot? Don't think it hasn't been offered to her already.

I sense more and more that she would rather destroy the party and lose in 2008, rather than give Obama the nomination. Her actions and behavior are only understandable in that context, from where I sit.

Keith: One last thing, I don’t believe that denigrating either candidate does anyone any good. They both play to strengths that comprise the party. I know it makes you feel better to get that stab in for your guy or discount other’s viewpoints, but we’re all in this together with one clear mission: To take back our government. Please don’t lose sight of that fact.

ME:I'm trying...I know it doesn't seem like it, but I am. I want desperately to like Clinton, to support her. I've LOVED her as a senator, and been an enormous fan of hers since she was in Arkansas. But even her supporters have to admit that there has been some terrible, awful behavior by her campaign in the last few months...and Obama people feel those things very palpably. (As do Clintonites, I assume, although I think Barack has been much better at being a good Democrat than she has.)

As an Obama supporter commenting at this site, I realize I'm in the vast minority here. But in my real life, I know tons of Obama people. And I only know two other Obama supporters who are still willing to vote for Clinton if she's the nominee. That's BRUTAL, and that's how bad it is out there. Clinton fans feel the same way. It's going to be tough for all of us to keep our eyes on the prize.

3/19/08, 9:12 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home