Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What about Ferraro's comments?

By now you have probably heard that Hillary Clinton staff person and former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro said Obama wouldn't be in the current front runner position if he were white.

Obama responded immediately by saying, "Part of what I think Geraldine Ferraro is doing, and I respect the fact that she was a trailblazer, is to participate in the kind of slice and dice politics that’s about race and about gender and about this and that, and that’s what Americans are tired of because they recognize that when we divide ourselves in that way we can’t solve problems.”

Good response by Obama, he's very calculated at such interchanges, no doubt. Still, I think Ferraro is at least partially right. Obama's race is helping his popularity. What's the big difference between John Edwards and Barack Obama? Not much other than their race. Frankly, John Edwards was a more experienced candidate who actually has a legislative track record that has relevance to presidential duties. Obama has been in the Senate two years (based on one speech at the DNC in 2004) and has done nothing but plan his presidential run since.

The fact is, people are hungry for "change". Obama represents change in the minds of many. His being African American only perpetuates the sense of change about him. Come on, let's all admit it- Obama's race is most definitely helping his front runner status. Ferraro is right.

By the way, while I'm on a bit of a politically incorrect tear, as it relates to odd reasons people gain popularity- Does anyone think George Bush becomes the governor of Texas if he wasn't George Bush Sr.'s son? The Presidency? How about Hillary as a NY Senator? A Presidential candidate? Who knows or cares about her if she wasn't married to Bill Clinton? She doesn't have an original political bone in her body. She's only in the position she's in because of who she was married to (I know feminists love that!).

It is what it is.


Frontier Forest said...

I think her specific comments about Obama’s qualifications went a bit too far. But the one thing I take my hate off to her for was addressing the “race” issue. She is the first person, on the right or left, who has had enough courage to admit, anything negative said about Obama will immediately become a race-card issue.

Jim said...

A few perhaps contradictory thoughts.

I'm not entirely convinced Obama wouldn't be winning if he were white. JFK was also something of a lightweight, but there was something about him that attracted people -- even 48 years after his election there are people who still love him fanatically. So I'm unsure that a charismatic, "white Obama" wouldn't be winning now against Hillary Clinton, and the lightweight Dem field of also-rans.

Secondly, I think a lot of the outrage comes because it's a white liberal who's saying this. After all, affluent white liberals strongly support affirmative action, as long as those who bear the cost of the policy are blue-collar and less-affluent whites. But once affirmative action starts to bite on their own prerogatives, whoa baby, those same affluent white liberals start to scream "foul!" It's a rank hypocrisy that most conservatives cannot be accused of.

Finally, I think some of the African American frustration at the argument is understandable -- black candidates go immediately from "You can't win because you're black" to "You winning because you're black." Exactly when did black men become a privileged class in this country?

AJF said...

Jim, good points as usual.

I would only say that JFK had the whole Camelot/Kennedy thing going. He personally was a lightweight, but his family wasn't. I think his charisma was multidimensional, whereas Obama is pretty much a one man show who really isn't all that astounding.

On your final point, I would only say there is a strange irony in the way Obama's race has been analyzed. I don't think his race is THE reason he's doing so well, but I do think it helps him. Further, to be fair, Obama isn't exactly representative of the majority of African Americans. He's actually 1/2 African American and he grew up a more stereotypically white way than African American. I think this is part of why it took a while for African American loyalty to shift from Clinton to him. There was some skepticism about his actual African Americaness in the AA community. I think he has been stellar at winning over the AA vote. Where I think his race has helped him most is with whites. Honestly, he seems as white as he does African American. There's a certain amount of white guilt and Obama affords the opportunity to elect an African American that's not too African American, if you know what I'm saying. Again, it is what it is.

AJF said...

Oh, and to clarify, lest I get charged with some kind of racism for my comments...I absolutely could care less about Obama's race (or anyone's for that matter), I think he's a bad choice because of his liberal positions on many matters that I care about greatly, his ridiculous ideas about our military, and his total lack of real world experience for the job.

rgmann said...

Jim wrote,

Exactly when did black men become a privileged class in this country?

Around the same time that Affirmative Action was implemented and Political Correctness was forced down our throats. Black men, other minorities, and women of every race are clearly in a legal “privileged class” in this country, not to mention the societal “double standard” that is often applied when dealing with minorities. I mean, honestly, what white version of a Jesse Jackson, an Al Sharpton, or a Louis Farrakhan would be tolerated or even celebrated in the media, as these guys are today? Let’s get “real” here. While there’s certainly a lot of racism/discrimination against blacks still going on these days, the fact is that the only class in America that’s “legally” being discriminated against is white men. If you give certain groups of people legal “privileges” over another group of people, then the group without the “privileges” is being legally discriminated against by definition. That’s just the plain fact, whether people like to admit it or not.

Nevertheless, I do agree with a lot of what you said. I believe that Obama would likely be doing very well regardless of what race he was. He is definitely smart, smooth, and talented. He’s been running circles around Hillary, and it has been very funny to watch! But I also partially agree with Tony. An element of the excitement over Obama is that the media (and many people in America) are simply amazed that a “black” guy is doing so well and is such a charismatic politician.

By the way, I wish more public figures would be brave enough to stand by their statements as Iowa Congressman Steve King. He recently said that Islamic terrorists will be “dancing in the streets” if Democrat Barack Obama is elected president, and he hasn’t backed away from it yet! Finally! A politician who’s willing to say what he means and ignore all the pressure to “apologize.” He made a perfectly legitimate point, and there’s absolutely nothing to apologize for or be ashamed of. He went on to say:

“I don't want to disparage anyone because of their race, their ethnicity, their name — whatever their religion their father might have been… I'll just say this: When you think about the optics of a Barack Obama potentially getting elected president of the United States — I mean, what does this look like to the rest of the world? What does it look like to the world of Islam?.. I will tell you that if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al-Qaida, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they will declare victory in this war on terror… [If] we elect Obama to the presidency and…if they don’t dance in the streets, I will come and apologize to you and everybody in America. But I’m saying, ‘I’m right.’”

Rick Calohan said...

I think the reason why Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. is doing so well, is not his race per se but the fact he was not in a position to vote for the authorization for the use of force in Iraq that Senator Clinton was. It is easy to say you do not support something when you are not in a position to vote on it.

Senator Clinton can clearly say she is oppose to the war and the way it is being handled, but the Code Pinkos,, and their ilk have held Senator Clinton’s feet to the fire on giving President Bush the authority. Another fact is the Oparahnites who are supporting Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Another factor would be the crossover voters especially those of us on the right who have crossed over to keep the blood letting of the democrats fester.

What Ferraro said has some shades of truth to it, but then again if she were not a woman would former Vice President Mondale have picked her in 1984 to be his running mate?

The fact that Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., is articulate, I mean come on people who other than Bob the Builder and Sammy Davis Jr. can really say or sing, “Yes We Can” or “Yes I Can” and motivate so many. Now that all the whack jobs like Congressmen Kucinich are out of the presidential race, whom else will the far leftist in this country turn to? The choice is simple who is more liberal and that is Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.

Regarding race,my son John Patrick, to me is a gift from God. He is a citizen of America by birth, and by my citizenship. He is also a citizen of the Philippines by his mother’s current citizenship status. His heritage includes Scottish, Irish, and English, on my side and Filipino, Spanish, and Chinese on his mother’s side. When he fills out a government application, and has to check a box regarding his race. He will have three choices, White, Asian, or Other. Filipinos are not considered to be by the Government to be Pacific Islanders although their ancestors migrated from Malaysia and Indonesia and the fact the Philippines is made up of over seven thousand islands. Should he ever run for public office, should they write stories about my son, let them say many things that are true about him and his heritage, but most importantly let them say he is a Christian, and he is an American.

Until our Caesar i.e. Federal Government abolishes affirmative- action programs and government forms that peigon hole people into groups which I believe that they will not because there is too much money in race baiting. I just hope that someday we can accept the fact that Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. is an American despite his views, and not have to classify him as White or, or Black, or European-American or African-American or whatever clasification you want to use to describe him unless he is involved in a criminal activity requiring a physical description in order to apprehend him.