Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Not About Race?

Instapundit has a multi-updated post on Geraldine Ferraro's comments on Obama's support deriving from his race. Great discussion, many links. Amidst the many learned comments, I offer here the necessary perspective of the Assistant Village Idiot, noticing the obvious first.

It is ludicrous to suggest that Obama's support does not derive from his race. I readily concede that his qualifications can and do exist irrespective of race, and also that he is a different style than Sharpton and Jackson (Starbucks vs. BK, perhaps). But references to his race permeate the comments of his supporters - what else can they possibly mean when they say he can bring us together, that he transcends race, that it would be good for America if we could do this, that it would be a message about America to other countries, etc?

Whether Obama is seeking this type of support is a separate issue (I believe he is - I mean, Chicago...Democrat... - but even if he isn't the point remains). He is attracting much support from people who talk like this, for whom the issue of his mixed race is an overwhelming symbol which puts other considerations in the background. All the shoulds, and what-ifs, and buts don't obscure that fact. He may or may not be qualified - but that question is clearly unimportant to many of his voters - and caucusers.

(Spelling corrected. Thanks, Glenn).


@nooil4pacifists said...

Congrats on your Insta-launch.

Anonymous said...

I think some people actually see that as a qualification. I personally don't, at least not in the office of the president.

Although I can't wait to get to the point where one drop or many drops makes no difference (and the sooner we have a black or partly black president the sooner that day will come), I'm not going to vote for someone on that basis. There's too much at stake to base my vote on what someone "is" versus what they "say". And from my perspective, Obama is not saying the right things. (When he's actually saying anything substantive at all.)

Anonymous said...

I like his space program, "Put a Coon on the Moon." Sounds good to me.

Anonymous said...

In the 60's the Dems sold their collective soul to the demon of identity politics and this is the obvious and inevitable end result. The only thing this primary exposes is that the Dem electorate puts identity politics ahead of all other issues including the good of the country.

David Rogers said...

Ironically, I think B. Hussein Obama would be doing just as well (or better) were he white -- he is (as Gary Hart and Mickey Kaus say) a black Gary Hart. But unlike Hart, he apparently can control his zipper, and unlike Hart he actually wrote two books prior to running for president the first time. In other words, he is a the improved Gary White, not just the black Gary Hart. Hillary!, meanwhile, is a less-qualified, less-charming version of Walter Mondale.

Let's face facts: Hillary! would not be in this race if she were a man.

terri said...

The only way that politics will ever get past looking at race and gender is the day when we don't think about it because there are equal numbers of high-profile, black, hispanic, and female leaders on either side of the pertinent issues.

Just as some will undoubtedly vote for Obama because he's black, or Hillary because she's a woman, there are equal numbers of people who will vote for neither based on those same factors.

two sides of the same coin.

Terri Wagner said...

Growing up a military brat, I never really considered someone's race as an item of anything. I still find it puzzling that it's mentioned at all, especially in the hyphenated names. But since it is and I'm not really used to it, I can only echo your post. He made it an issue but design or accident. It's out there and that makes it fair game to talk about. And I'm appalled I'm actually siding with Ferraro on anything.

jackscrow said...

"Revivalism from the beginning has only thrived insofar as a single individual is the focus of the devotion of the faithful, and that individual is chosen based on his ability to stir up excitement in his followers. Objective truth and deep sustained intellectual reflection are substituted with shallow rhetoric and easily attained emotional fervor. So, in fact, Obama actually has more in common with Charles Finney than with any former president, in that his views on policy are largely irrelevant to his supporters. In the modern context, Joel Osteen comes to mind. People don't care what he says, so long as he makes them feel good. But what we're witnessing is a sort of resurrection of the Caesar cult. People believe that the government is to be their savior, and they think Obama would make a good messiah." -- Kerry Lewis

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