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Thursday, May 8, 2008
Politics ...

So the Democratic nomination season is finally over, but for the shouting (mostly about the Florida and Michigan delegates, the vice presidential candidate – and just how to win in November). But I’m still a little unsettled about Rev. Wright and Obama’s “small town bitterness” remarks from a few weeks ago. If Obama is going to analyze the sociology of small mostly-white towns in terms of economic hardships, then perhaps he needs to do the same for Rev. Wright. Good for the goose, good for the gander, right?

OK, so let’s think about what Rev. Wright said – and its acceptance, if not whole hearted endorsement, by many African-Americans – in terms of the economic hardships faced over the past 200 years by blacks in America. On one level, this analysis makes a lot of sense, and re-enforces some of what the good Reverend is saying. On another level, it diminishes the social, theological and artistic context of the black experience (as well as minimizing the many great achievements by black Americans).

So, perhaps we see just why Senator Obama’s comments were hurtful, and why his failure to extend them to his own social and ethnic milieu has negatively affected his support within the Euro-American community. That is, other than the educated liberal component of that community. But remember, that component gave us George McGovern, Michael Dukakis, John Kerry, Al Gore and Adlai Stevenson. It’s true that “white power” is declining in America, and that in a few decades whites will no longer be the majority ethnic group. For now, though, working-class whites still comprise the pivotal voting block that decides who the President will be. Senator Obama is obviously going to need to work harder to gain that group’s support.

Ironically, the thing that got Obama in more trouble, i.e. economic analysis, might be the same thing that could help him get out of the Reverend Wright jam. At bottom, both blacks and whites care most about electing a leader who will help butter their bread and pay their mortgage. Sure, they want a person who is also a social and “spiritual” leader (in the sense of “American spirit”). They also want a strong commander-in-chief (another thing Obama is going to need to work on). But cash is still king here. If Obama could in fact merge the “black-man blues” with “white town bitterness” on the grounds of economics, and then sooth all of that angst with promises of economic unity and common purpose, he might somehow get out of the racial-tension trap that he fell into. If he could say that he understands the financial anxiety experienced by Americans of all colors and creeds, if he could promise that all boats will rise and everyone will do better under his watch, then the beer and NASCAR crowd might break for him yet.

One bad omen for Obama, however. The superdelegates are already starting to desert Hilary and jump on the ‘good ship Barack’. But one of the most recent converts is a Jonah – none other than 1972 Presidential candidate George McGovern himself (the guy who gave Nixon a landslide victory). Storms ahead for Obama, no doubt.

◊   posted by Jim G @ 8:33 pm      
 
 


  1. Jim,
    I say this with hesitation as I know it sounds as if I don’t like Obama; however, I DO like him. Any concerns I have about him are different from the concerns I have about Hillary. However, the fact of the matter is that nobody is perfect; everybody has clay feet. Nevertheless, I simply must say the following:

    What amazes me about the “race” for the Democratic nomination is that all the white men in the DNC and all the male pundits on TV have spent so much time in the last few months trying DESPERATELY to get rid of Hillary. Specifically, These men are very eager, vociferous, and anxious (OMG! What if she really makes it!) in their worry that she might end up getting the majority of votes for the nomination. While women have taken a stand for Obama, I have heard only ONE woman say Hillary should get out of the race, and then that was late this last week; and that woman didn’t have the high anxiety that runs thru the men’s call for Hillary to leave. It’s almost as if these men are saying: “God help us if a woman gets the nomination!–and much less Hillary!” I have to say that at this point I’m so tired of it, I’m almost willing to give in to all the nagging (yes–that is absolutely the right word–and only women are supposed to nag, right?), nagging, nagging, nagging of these men–like little boys who want their way–for Hillary to get out of the race. I have said it before, and say it AGAIN: If their positions were reversed and Obama was in a very close second to Hillary, there’d be no nagging for HIM to get out; there’d be only: “Don’t give up the fight, Barak!”, “You can do it, Barak!”, “Stay strong, Barak!” But Hillary gets nothing but NAGGING!!! Good grief! (I ask myself: How old are these men?) Yes! I do realize that they have “only the good of the Democrats at heart; and only the concern that the Democrats win the election.” I say: PLEASE!!! Give me a break! McCain is barely a blip on the news–at least here in the Midwest. Is the Midwest so very different from the rest of the nation? I think not.

    Furthermore, I owe the following points to Joan Chittister in her National Catholic Reporter, “What a fine mess you’ve gotten us in” article of May 6, 2008, who notes that it is the DNC who has abandoned the “one person, one vote” and in its place put it “depends on what part of the state your vote comes from” when it comes to counting delegates.

    Secondly, she notes the fact (which I’ve complained about numerous times) that some states have caucuses and some primaries. Caucuses, in my opinion, are subject to so much peer pressure that who knows if the caucuses really produced the candidate that the caucus states would have produced if they had had a primary. In caucuses it’s a version of “raise your hand if you are for Joe; raise your hand if you’re for Mary” type of vote. I simply refuse to believe that peer pressure doesn’t come into play in caucuses. The who-are-you-voting-for?-Oh,-yeah,-me-too idea is only too likely to be at work in caucuses. I know if I had to go to a caucus, I would NOT participate, simply for that reason.

    Third, Joan notes that the DNC itself has “managed to disenfranchize its own voters in Michigan and Florida over an issue as superficial as the date of the primary.” My thinking is that that’s nation-wide politics worthy of Chicago politics! And I think I know whereof I speak, having lived most of my life in Chicago and its environs. This statement is NOT a compliment.

    Fourth, Joan notes that the DNC is further attempting to disenfranchize the “last 10 states in the process by pressing for one or other of the candidates to withdraw from the race before the primaries are over. And that when the difference in delegate count between the two candidates is less than one percent.” And we are back to my point above about “if the positions were reversed….”

    Last and fifth: Chittister notes that the DNC has “introduced the notion of ‘superdelegates’.” Here I deviate from Chittister a bit: To my way o

    Comment by MCS — May 10, 2008 @ 11:13 am

  2. Jim,
    I say this with hesitation as I know it sounds as if I don’t like Obama; however, I DO like him. Any concerns I have about him are different from the concerns I have about Hillary. However, the fact of the matter is that nobody is perfect; everybody has clay feet. Nevertheless, I simply must say the following:

    What amazes me about the “race” for the Democratic nomination is that all the white men in the DNC and all the male pundits on TV have spent so much time in the last few months trying DESPERATELY to get rid of Hillary. Specifically, These men are very eager, vociferous, and anxious (OMG! What if she really makes it!) in their worry that she might end up getting the majority of votes for the nomination. While women have taken a stand for Obama, I have heard only ONE woman say Hillary should get out of the race, and then that was late this last week; and that woman didn’t have the high anxiety that runs thru the men’s call for Hillary to leave. It’s almost as if these men are saying: “God help us if a woman gets the nomination!–and much less Hillary!” I have to say that at this point I’m so tired of it, I’m almost willing to give in to all the nagging (yes–that is absolutely the right word–and only women are supposed to nag, right?), nagging, nagging, nagging of these men–like little boys who want their way–for Hillary to get out of the race. I have said it before, and say it AGAIN: If their positions were reversed and Obama was in a very close second to Hillary, there’d be no nagging for HIM to get out; there’d be only: “Don’t give up the fight, Barak!”, “You can do it, Barak!”, “Stay strong, Barak!” But Hillary gets nothing but NAGGING!!! Good grief! (I ask myself: How old are these men?) Yes! I do realize that they have “only the good of the Democrats at heart; and only the concern that the Democrats win the election.” I say: PLEASE!!! Give me a break! McCain is barely a blip on the news–at least here in the Midwest. Is the Midwest so very different from the rest of the nation? I think not.

    Furthermore, I owe the following points to Joan Chittister in her National Catholic Reporter, “What a fine mess you’ve gotten us in” article of May 6, 2008, who notes that it is the DNC who has abandoned the “one person, one vote” and in its place put it “depends on what part of the state your vote comes from” when it comes to counting delegates.

    Secondly, she notes the fact (which I’ve complained about numerous times) that some states have caucuses and some primaries. Caucuses, in my opinion, are subject to so much peer pressure that who knows if the caucuses really produced the candidate that the caucus states would have produced if they had had a primary. In caucuses it’s a version of “raise your hand if you are for Joe; raise your hand if you’re for Mary” type of vote. I simply refuse to believe that peer pressure doesn’t come into play in caucuses. The who-are-you-voting-for?-Oh,-yeah,-me-too idea is only too likely to be at work in caucuses. I know if I had to go to a caucus, I would NOT participate, simply for that reason.

    Third, Joan notes that the DNC itself has “managed to disenfranchize its own voters in Michigan and Florida over an issue as superficial as the date of the primary.” My thinking is that that’s nation-wide politics worthy of Chicago politics! And I think I know whereof I speak, having lived most of my life in Chicago and its environs. This statement is NOT a compliment.

    Fourth, Joan notes that the DNC is further attempting to disenfranchize the “last 10 states in the process by pressing for one or other of the candidates to withdraw from the race before the primaries are over. And that when the difference in delegate count between the two candidates is less than one percent.” And we are back to my point above about “if the positions were reversed….”

    Last and fifth: Chittister notes that the DNC has “introduced the notion of ‘superdelegates’.” Here I deviate from Chittister a bit: To my way of thinking, superdelegates are just a way of saying: If we don’t like who actually GETS the nomination, then we can jerry-rig the voting at the convention through the superdelegates to get the nominee WE want–and who cares what the voting public wants. So basically, then, I ask: Why did anybody make the effort to vote in a primary or go to a caucus?

    My mother, many years ago, always said: “I never vote in primaries.” When I was young, I thought she really didn’t understand the situation. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve realized (and don’t we all eventually come to realize this?) that she was right. If the superdelegates end up jerry-rigging the vote to make the nomination come out the way they want it to come out, then why did any of the voting public take the time to vote, much less even think that their votes counted? Why all the “your vote counts” hoopla–when in the end (according to the DNC) you vote really does NOT count?

    And think about it: Actually, it’s the REPUBLICANS who have straightforwardly voted and selected their nominee. The DNC should be ashamed of itself.

    In short, the DNC has got me so disgusted with their machinations that the thought crosses my mind, should I even bother to vote in the November election? Who said: “The Republicans got us in this mess, let them get us out of it”? I have to say that may be a thought. But then not voting for the Democratic nominee IS a vote for the Republicans! And that’s a definite, OH, NO!!!!
    MCS

    Comment by MCS — May 10, 2008 @ 11:13 am

  3. Jim,
    I say this with hesitation as I know it sounds as if I don’t like Obama; however, I DO like him. Any concerns I have about him are different from the concerns I have about Hillary. However, the fact of the matter is that nobody is perfect; everybody has clay feet. Nevertheless, I simply must say the following:

    What amazes me about the “race” for the Democratic nomination is that all the white men in the DNC and all the male pundits on TV have spent so much time in the last few months trying DESPERATELY to get rid of Hillary. Specifically, These men are very eager, vociferous, and anxious (OMG! What if she really makes it!) in their worry that she might end up getting the majority of votes for the nomination. While women have taken a stand for Obama, I have heard only ONE woman say Hillary should get out of the race, and then that was late this last week; and that woman didn’t have the high anxiety that runs thru the men’s call for Hillary to leave. It’s almost as if these men are saying: “God help us if a woman gets the nomination!–and much less Hillary!” I have to say that at this point I’m so tired of it, I’m almost willing to give in to all the nagging (yes–that is absolutely the right word–and only women are supposed to nag, right?), nagging, nagging, nagging of these men–like little boys who want their way–for Hillary to get out of the race. I have said it before, and say it AGAIN: If their positions were reversed and Obama was in a very close second to Hillary, there’d be no nagging for HIM to get out; there’d be only: “Don’t give up the fight, Barak!”, “You can do it, Barak!”, “Stay strong, Barak!” But Hillary gets nothing but NAGGING!!! Good grief! (I ask myself: How old are these men?) Yes! I do realize that they have “only the good of the Democrats at heart; and only the concern that the Democrats win the election.” I say: PLEASE!!! Give me a break! McCain is barely a blip on the news–at least here in the Midwest. Is the Midwest so very different from the rest of the nation? I think not.

    Furthermore, I owe the following points to Joan Chittister in her National Catholic Reporter, “What a fine mess you’ve gotten us in” article of May 6, 2008, who notes that it is the DNC who has abandoned the “one person, one vote” and in its place put it “depends on what part of the state your vote comes from” when it comes to counting delegates.

    Secondly, she notes the fact (which I’ve complained about numerous times) that some states have caucuses and some primaries. Caucuses, in my opinion, are subject to so much peer pressure that who knows if the caucuses really produced the candidate that the caucus states would have produced if they had had a primary. In caucuses it’s a version of “raise your hand if you are for Joe; raise your hand if you’re for Mary” type of vote. I simply refuse to believe that peer pressure doesn’t come into play in caucuses. The who-are-you-voting-for?-Oh,-yeah,-me-too idea is only too likely to be at work in caucuses. I know if I had to go to a caucus, I would NOT participate, simply for that reason.

    Third, Joan notes that the DNC itself has “managed to disenfranchize its own voters in Michigan and Florida over an issue as superficial as the date of the primary.” My thinking is that that’s nation-wide politics worthy of Chicago politics! And I think I know whereof I speak, having lived most of my life in Chicago and its environs. This statement is NOT a compliment.

    Fourth, Joan notes that the DNC is further attempting to disenfranchize the “last 10 states in the process by pressing for one or other of the candidates to withdraw from the race before the primaries are over. And that when the difference in delegate count between the two candidates is less than one percent.” And we are back to my point above about “if the positions were reversed….”

    Last and fifth: Chittister notes that the DNC has “introduced the notion of ‘superdelegates’.” Here I deviate from Chittister a bit: To my way o

    Comment by MCS — May 10, 2008 @ 11:13 am

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