Tag Archives: Barack Obama

The Clintons Take Drama to Shakespearean Levels

How much like the Macbeths are the Clintons? Though they switch roles between Lady M and McB himself, the two seem to be hell-bent on remaining in power and will bring down the Democratic Party in the process if they must.

Note to the Left: Listen, I am not really a Democrat any more than I am a Republican, but this is a moment in history where I think we need to be strategic. If John McCain wins you’d just better pack and move–he’s about as centrist as he is psychologically stable. So for all of Obama’s flaws, I don’t feel like I can afford a McCain presidency. There’s not enough Pepto-Bismol in all the world to stomach the disaster that is going to be. But i digress.

Just when I thought it was all over, signs seem to point to the fact that the Clintons may still be hoping to sabotage the Obama candicacy in hopes of a Hilary Clinton ticket in 2012.

In a “non-shock of the week” turn of events, The Atlantic Monthly’s September feature story proves that the Clinton Campaign worked really hard to drape themselves in the fabric of American flag-style patriotism, and paint Obama as foreign other who couldn’t be trusted (this scoop, combined with me picking up the last two brilliant issues at airports this summer means the mag has won itself a new subscriber in Kenyon Farrow!). Non-shock as it is, The Atlantic has published all the emails/memos on their site proving it (theatlantic.com/clinton), and the story is an interesting timeling of the inner workings of her campaign. Joshua Green writes:

Two things struck me right away. The first was that, outward appearances notwithstanding, the campaign prepared a clear strategy and did considerable planning. It sweated the large themes (Clinton’s late-in-the-game emergence as a blue-collar champion had been the idea all along) and the small details (campaign staffers in Portland, Oregon, kept tabs on Monica Lewinsky, who lived there, to avoid any surprise encounters). The second was the thought: Wow, it was even worse than I’d imagined! The anger and toxic obsessions overwhelmed even the most reserved Beltway wise men. Surprisingly, Clinton herself, when pressed, was her own shrewdest strategist, a role that had never been her strong suit in the White House. But her advisers couldn’t execute strategy; they routinely attacked and undermined each other, and Clinton never forced a resolution. Major decisions would be put off for weeks until suddenly she would erupt, driving her staff to panic and misfire.

But we thought since she lost, she’d concede to get a cushy job in the new administration (though not the VP slot) and leave well enough alone. Maureen Dowd, who undoubetdly despises the Hillary Clinton, wrote in her  column yesterday that Hillary and Bill are still planning to use their platforms as major speakers at the Democratic National Convention to set Hillary up as the nominee in 2012, and damage Obama’s chances against McCain now.

Hillary feels no guilt about encouraging her supporters to mess up Obama’s big moment, thus undermining his odds of beating John McCain and improving her odds of being the nominee in 2012.

She’s obviously relishing Hillaryworld’s plans to have multiple rallies in Denver, to take out TV and print ads and to hold up signs in the hall that read “Denounce Nobama’s Coronation.”

In a video of a closed California fund-raiser on July 31 that surfaced on YouTube, Hillary was clearly receptive to having her name put in nomination and a roll-call vote.

She said she thought it would be good for party unity if her gals felt “that their voices are heard.” But that’s disingenuous. Hillary was the one who raised the roll-call idea at the end of May with Democrats, who were urging her to face the math. She said she wanted it for Chelsea, oblivious to how such a vote would dim Obama’s star turn. Ever since she stepped aside in June, she’s been telling people privately that there might have to be “a catharsis” at the convention, signaling she wants a Clinton crescendo.

Bill continues to howl at the moon — and any reporters in the vicinity — about Obama; he’s starting to make King Lear look like Ryan Seacrest.

LOL!!! Further proving Dowd’s point, Bill Clinton had the fucking nerve to tell ABC News last week that Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) had purposefully made him look like a racist and ruin Clinton’s Negro Pass in the Black Community–a fact which Clyburn categorically denies.

Clinton told ABC News last week that Clyburn “used to be” an old friend of his, but he “was not Hillary’s supporter. Never. Not ever. Not for a day.”

When told that Clyburn had said Clinton damaged his own credibility with the black community, Clinton responded, “That may be by the time he got through working on it, that was probably true.”

Though Clyburn usually operates with the utmost restraint, I think he should tell Bill:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40Gi28pNruA&feature=related]

New Yorker Obama Cover: Satire or Racist Sensationalism?

By now you’ve heard about the infamous cover of this week’s New Yorker magazine, which is a (presumably) satirical take on all the internet rumors circulated by The Right about Obama–he’s secretly a Muslim, his wife (Michelle Obama) is a cracker-hating Black Revolutionary, burning the flag, and that they are somehow in cohoots Al Qaida–all while doing the infamous fist-bump (called a “terrorist fist-jab” by a Fox News reporter). But wait? Weren’t these same people thinking that Obama was the spitting image of his CHRISTIAN former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright? But I digress.

Their has been a backlash against the New Yorker for publishing the photo, with Obama’s campaign spokesperson, Bill Burton saying “The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

McCain’s team even said “We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive.”

The magazine said in a statement today that it “combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are.”

But does this cover really provide a satire, or help to actually rehash fears of Black rebellion (in a post 9-11 anti-Islam context)? In my opinion, there are several issues here.

  1. The New Yorker has a long investigative article on Obama in this issue of the magazine, but it doesn’t deal with the issues the cover of the magazine is tackling.
  2. I subscribe to the New Yorker, and what’s weird about this cover is that the covers very rarely have anything to do with the content of the magazine.
  3. If you don’t know The New Yorker, seeing the photo on its own, does leave one to question whether it is satire or slander.

I think that all the talk about this cover in the press, whether you think it’s is satire (which by definition, according to my Dictionary application employs “the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues,”) or slander, the truth is it does expose and hold up all of the racist stereotypes, and that hyperscrutiny, can perhaps neutralize them. There will obviously be people who want to believe all this, and so they will continue to because, well, they think there’s something wrong with being a revolutionary (the drawing of Michelle for me hearkens to Angela Davis), something wrong with Islam in general, and something suspicious and potentially violent about Blackness in general. And though he is Black, he is not a Muslim, and hardly a revolutionary.

What’s interesting to me is that this cover, done by a liberal magazine, seems to have given Conservatives an opportunity to feign taking the high road, as if they have not been directly responsible for floating these narratives about Obama specifically, and Black people (and Muslims) as a whole for many, many years! Now they can pretend to be outrage by an image they they had every hand in creating.

This Week in Black Masculinity: Barack Obama, R. Kelly, and Usher

Black men were in the news this week–and only one of them involved a criminal trial. But all of them in some way or another deal with problematic around Black men/masculinties and black male sexuality.

On Sunday, Barack Obama spent Father’s Day in Chicago delivering a speech about the need for Black men to be more engaged in the lives of their children. He said:

It’s up to us – as fathers and parents – to instill this ethic of excellence in our children. It’s up to us to say to our daughters, don’t ever let images on TV tell you what you are worth, because I expect you to dream without limit and reach for those goals. It’s up to us to tell our sons, those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in my house we live glory to achievement, self respect, and hard work. It’s up to us to set these high expectations. And that means meeting those expectations ourselves. That means setting examples of excellence in our own lives.

The second thing we need to do as fathers is pass along the value of empathy to our children. Not sympathy, but empathy – the ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes; to look at the world through their eyes. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in “us,” that we forget about our obligations to one another. There’s a culture in our society that says remembering these obligations is somehow soft – that we can’t show weakness, and so therefore we can’t show kindness.

But our young boys and girls see that. They see when you are ignoring or mistreating your wife. They see when you are inconsiderate at home; or when you are distant; or when you are thinking only of yourself. And so it’s no surprise when we see that behavior in our schools or on our streets. That’s why we pass on the values of empathy and kindness to our children by living them. We need to show our kids that you’re not strong by putting other people down – you’re strong by lifting them up. That’s our responsibility as fathers.

Though his speech generally falls within the context of more “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps,’ there are a couple things about this speech that I like.

  1. He doesn’t once talk about “unwed” mothers, or children “born out of wedlock.” I hate that logic. Its as if being born outside of a marriage or for women to be unmarried with children is the downfall of civilization. I like that he instead talks about the need for parents to be involved in their children’s lives, and does not confine that to the context of marriage and marriage alone.
  2. He acknowledges the hard work that single mothers are doing without blaming or pathologizing their condition. He’s instead saying, “they didn’t bring them into this world alone, step the fuck up.” Some people won’t like that. But I think that we have to address the ability of many men to abdicate any responsilbility for their children as a form of patriarchy, and not solely about racism deployed against black men that won’t allow them to be “providers” (i.e. proper patriarchs).

Read his policy vision regarding fatherhood and families further down in the above link.

Now that you’ve been potentially inspired, let’s talk about some bad news in Black masculinity: R. Kelly was acquitted on all counts on the statutory rape charges from the infamous video that dated back several years. But there’s some pushback: ATL-based underground funkstar Joi Gilliam posted on her Facebook page this message: “Joi Gilliam is disgusted with the r. kelly “not guilty” verdict and ready for proper vigilante justice to happen when the courts fail us.” LOL!!!

Also, a new statement/petition is circulating the internet called Black Men Against the Exploitation of Black Women, written in light of the R. Kelly verdict:

“We have proudly seen the community take to the streets in defense of Black men who have been the victims of police violence or racist attacks, but that righteous outrage only highlights the silence surrounding this verdict.

We believe that our judgment has been clouded by celebrity-worship; we believe that we are a community in crisis and that our addiction to sexism has reached such an extreme that many of us cannot even recognize child molestation when we see it.


We recognize the absolute necessity for Black men to speak in a single, unified voice and state something that should be absolutely obvious: that the women of our community are full human beings, that we cannot and will not tolerate the poisonous hatred of women that has already damaged our families, relationships and culture.

We believe that our daughters are precious and they deserve our protection. We believe that Black men must take responsibility for our contributions to this terrible state of affairs and make an effort to change our lives and our communities.”

Lastly, Usher told Vibe Magazine said that lesbianism is running rampant in the Black communities because of a lack of available Black men. “It can never be bad to have a foundation as a man—a black man—in a time when women are dying for men,” he says. “Women have started to become lovers of each other as a result of not having enough men. Are you not studying the stories? Wake up! Black love is a good thing.”

That is so much of a hot mess I don’t even know where to begin. Just sing for us Usher. And take off your shirt. This man who has become lovers of other men is so disappointed with the foolish things that men say I almost have no use for you to talk.

What's So Different About Oregon & Kentucky???

The nano-second after the polls closed in Kentucky, CNN announced Clinton to be the winner of the primary there–and she won the primary with a 30 point lead. Over the last week, the press has been obsessed with Clinton being stronger against white working-class voters, as opposed to Obama, who is popular among Black (and Black people are simply Black, no nuances about class/gender divides necessary. The little discussion of other racial groups and voting as all but disappeared.) and White upper-class liberals.

But I decided to look up the Census data on both states to see if this is really true. And I am not sure that this definition explains Clintons wins in the Appalachian states (OH, PA, KY, WV, IN, TN).

Kentucky:

Whites: 90.2%

Blacks: 7.5%

High School Grads: 74.1%

College Grads: 17.1%

Median Income: $37.0K

% Living in Poverty: 16.3

Now, let’s look at Oregon:

Whites: 90.5%

Blacks: 1.9%

High School Grads: 85.1%

College Grads: 25.1%

Median Income: $42.5K

% Living in Poverty: 12.9

Now, when you compare those numbers, are they really statistically that different, enough to explain the difference between what’s happening in two states, who, by the numbers, look fairly similar compared to what the press is saying explains their differences? If you want my humble opinion, there is something happening in these Appalachian states that cannot be accounted for simply by “white working class.” Just this weekend, Obama spoke in front of 75,000 people in Oregon, and from what I could tell, most of them white. He also won the Oregon primary by about an 18 point lead.

What do you think is driving the difference?

A friend pointed me to this website called US Election Atlas, which breaks down the primary results by county. We looked at some states where we know the race/class breakdown by county, and many cases, the media narrative doesn’t seem to fit.

Give Me That Ole Time Racism: Obama "Monkey" Shirts Appear in Georgia

I shouldn’t even repeat this by posting it, but a bar in Marietta, GA (a burb of ATL) has been making this T-shirt, which has Black folks protesting in front of the bar:

Photo by TimothyJ-Flickr

And this was a burb of ATLANTA!!! The new Black (Gay) Mecca. Is there any wonder why he didn’t win West Virginia? The Washington Post wrote about the racist shit that’s been happening to people campaigning for him across the country. The sad thing is that there is no way for his campaign to even address it publicly without playing into the “this is why he can’t win” narrative.

Was Clinton Behind Jeremiah Wright's Resurface?

I knew something about this didn’t smell right. Initially, watching Reverend Jeremiah Wright on PBS was really useful and informative, and then seeing him in front of the National Press Club was, well, interesting.

I actually very much appreciated his opening (and scripted) remarks. But as the Q&A went on, I had to wonder, WHAT THE FUCK IS HE DOING? AND WHY NOW?

I know it must have been hard for Wright, or anyone, to be publicly thrashed the way he was in the media over the last month or so. I understand it must have been hard to listen to someone you helped acclimate himself to Chicago, baptized their children and preside over their wedding, to distance themselves from you in order to appeal to white voters. I also agree with Wright’s notion that the media attack on him was less about him per se, or Obama really, but was really about white America’s continued fear and anxiety that Black people really can’t stand them–and that the Black church, even after the Civil Rights Movement was long destroyed, still can be a place to radicalize Black people! And they really ain’t tryin to have no President who has anything to do with Black “radical-ism”.

In any case, Wright really seemed to be doing more than responding to his critics yesterday. He seemed to be both mocking the “press” and all its fakery of objectivity and fairness, and by extension, mocking the people who have tried to paint him into the box of the angry (and foolish) black preacher. But his mockery, in many ways, seemed to re-inscribe himself into that very box he seemed to want to move out of. He seemed to be caught up in the celebrity that the moment has given him, and less like someone who was really trying to redeem his reputation or that of his church, or the Black Church as a whole.

I am not arguing for a bourgie politics of respectability. I am not saying he should back away from his statements about the US, 9-11, HIV or anything of the sort (though in some places I wish he had more factual information and data to back up or re-frame his messaging in these issues). I am saying he has to know that the way he came off was cocky and at moments buffoonish– and really did very little to salvage his reputation of that of the Black church.

What’s interesting though, whether you believe he was trying to protect himself and the Black church, or that he was caught up in the moment or the idea of his own bravado and celebrity, he might have been a pawn in a political game, and did not see it coming.

Daily News columnist Errol Louis seems to suggest that Wright may have been set up by a Clinton supporter, who was the person who asked him to speak at this press conference. Errol writes:

Shortly before he rose to deliver his rambling, angry, sarcastic remarks at the National Press Club Monday, Wright sat next to, and chatted with, Barbara Reynolds.

A former editorial board member at USA Today, she runs something called Reynolds News Services and teaches ministry at the Howard University School of Divinity. (She is an ordained minister).

It also turns out that Reynolds – introduced Monday as a member of the National Press Club “who organized” the event – is an enthusiastic Hillary Clinton supporter.

On a blog linked to her Web site- www.reynoldsnews.com- Reynolds said in a February post: “My vote for Hillary in the Maryland primary was my way of saying thank you” to Clinton and her husband for the successes of Bill Clinton‘s presidency.

If it turns out that Wright was set up, and this was a ploy to cost Obama the nomination, I wonder how Wright will reconcile this with himself.

Or worse even, as NYTimes columnist Bob Herbert expresses, was this Wright’s way to get back at Obama?

White Catholic Priest Gets Fox News Together

I enjoy nothing more than when I can step out of the way, and let the whites get other white people together. Case in point: A Fox News reporter thought they were going to sneak attack Father Michael Pfleger, a Chicago-based Catholic priest, about his relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Well, that reporter  was shut down. I have to say it is quite enjoyable when I don’t have to intervene, and I can put my feet up and let’s the white duke it out.  (If you missed Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s interview with Bill Moyers, it is definitely worth watching.) Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0wvQMqSzTM]

Media Analysis of Obama/Clinton PA Primary

This morning I woke up to check in on the PA primary, to see if Clinton was still leading by 10 points. She was. But when I was watching CNN, their morning anchors bantered on and on, segment after segment, over and over again about Obama’s “white problem,” to explain why Obama struggles to get votes in the primary from white working class America. I was so disgusted by this framework because it presumes that the problem is Obama’s, as opposed to AMERICA’s race problem. The fact of the matter is, Obama has done everything but get a chemical peel (and be a Republican) to appeal to white voters, what else do they want? Some of these people will never vote for him, simply because he is black.

The other problem, as so eloquently put by The Root.com columnist Melissa Harris Lacewell, who spoke to “the Blacks are Men, and the Whites are Women” narrative put forth by CNN and the rest of the press:

“A lot of people have tried to gently explain the divide, so I’m just going to put this out there: Sister voters have a beef with white women like Clinton that is both racial and gendered. It is not about choosing race; it is about rejecting Hillary’s Scarlett O’Hara act…Black women voters are rejecting Hillary Clinton because her ascendance is not a liberating symbol. Her tears are not moving. Her voice does not resonate. Throughout history, privileged white women, attached at the hip to their husband’s power and influence, have been complicit in black women’s oppression. Many African American women are simply refusing to play Mammy to Hillary.”

Amen. Similarly, Black Commentator asks the Clintons to account for their longstanding relationship to the descendants of Scarlet O’Hara, The Daughters of the Confederacy.

And race/gender issues aside (sort of), Talking Points Memo TV did a great analysis of the delegate battle, which helps to sort through all the rhetoric about Clinton’s “being able to win the “must-win” states for Democrats. Definitely worth watching.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbGvvhdpuR0]

Condi is NOT Running With McCain. Period.

There’s been lot’s of talk coming out of the press about the Republican “Dream Ticket” which would be Senator John McCain and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. There was even a recent poll in New York State that showed with Rice on the ticket, McCain could beat Obama and/or Clinton in a general election. But the truth is, Condoleezza Rice is not running with no John McCain. Period.

Why is the media letting some DC spin doctors spread this drama? According to the Washington Post, the story made its way to the press because “Dan Senor, a GOP political operative, claimed on ABC’s “This Week” that Rice was “actively, actually in recent weeks, campaigning” for the job.”

Bullshit. They are just so desperate to get a Black woman on the ticket to try to combat the momentum Obama has, or to give Black folks a reason to go “Red” if Clinton is the highly unlikely nominee.

Yesterday, Democratic strategist Donna Brazille was on NPR’s News and Notes, and flat out denied that such a thing was possible. And if there’s a Black woman inside Washington who’d know other than Rice, it’s Brazille.

But even before that, Rice was reported by Reuters to have said in press conference in LATE FEBRUARY that “I have always said that the one thing that I have not seen myself doing is running for elected office,” Rice said at a news conference. “I didn’t even run for high school president. It’s sort of not in my genes.”

The media has the memory of a gold fish–and they’re just about as gullible.