Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Sane Nation's New Location
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Monday, March 17, 2008
Obama's (Bi) Racial Predicament
Conventional political wisdom holds that Barack Obama's biracial identity works entirely to his benefit politically. Having a foot in both camps, so to speak (the theory goes), he doesn't have to play racial identity politics of the kind that have earned Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton reputations as notorious race hucksters. The problem with the Ebony Plus Ivory hypothesis is this: It doesn't really give Obama the best of both worlds. In a very real sense, Obama's 50-50 racial status saddles him with a special kind of burden, namely: what seems to be his entrenched psychological need to prove that he's "authentically black." Obama the memoir writer has recounted the many blessings he got from his mom and her side of the family, education being at the top of the list. What did Obama get from his dad? Try: an aching sense of emptiness, owing to his father's physical absence from his life. Obama has written about his quest to be reunited with his father, in person as well as in spirit. How very understandable, that his absent father is a psychological "presence" that he finds intolerable. Obama's search for his father is synonymous with his search for his identity as a black man in America. We know this because Obama tells us so, in his remarkably eloquent book, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. Jeremiah Wright is a stand-in for Obama's missing dad. Morally, Wright falls short because he is a virulent racist and fiery demagogue. Obama's dad fell short morally by abandoning his wife and son. Obama's relationship with Wright is ambivalent, like his relationship with his father. Hence Obama's condemnation of Wright is clearly hesitant, just as Obama had to be pressed to reject Louis Farrakhan. If Obama repudiates Wright entirely, it can only look to many of his supporters that Obama is doing the white man's bidding — and somehow repudiating his own blackness in the process. Obama's major speech about Wright and the role of race in the campaign will tell us all a great deal about his character. Is this a man with the inner resources to come to terms with the "family romance" he has inherited, and its powerful hold on his psyche up until now? Tune in and find out.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Friday, February 29, 2008
Clinton Endorses Obama. I mean, Bill. Sorta Kinda
Now, one of Clinton's laws of politics is this. If one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is try get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Barbara Jordan's true legacy
Last night both Obama and Clinton invoked the late Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan's legacy of deep conviction. Then the two candidates declared their shared commitment to the idea that open borders are the best borders. Barbara Jordan would have been appalled. Over a decade ago she called for eliminating chain migration, ending the nonsensical Visa Lottery program, and enforcing tight deportation policies for all border/visa violators, not just illegal aliens convicted of aggravated felonies and other crimes. Jordan also opposed welfare payments to illegals, and fought hard for employer sanctions. Here's how she put it:
"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; those who should not be here will be required to leave."The Democratic Party of Barbara Jordan was not the Democratic Party of Obama and Clinton.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Hillary's accusation that Obama stole key phrases from speeches by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is significant because it has the potential to strike at the heart of Obama's central political asset, namely the widespread perception (held even by those who don't share his views) that he's a "man of integrity."
Is it acceptable to borrow language from another politician, without attribution, and then, when called out, explain it by saying that the guy who first spoke the words said I could use it? The fact that Deval himself laughs off the accusation and supports Obama's use of the material takes a lot of the edge off Clinton's charge. Will some black voters view Hillary's accusation as yet another playing of the race card? ("Tell the white girl to leave the two brothers alone.")
The key political question is whether Hillary's punch will resonate with upper income, well educated white voters who comprise a significant portion of Obama's coalition. On the eve of Wisconsin's pivotal primary, will Madison liberals with masters and doctoral degrees view Obama's use of Patrick's words as "plagiarism" or as a matter of rhetorical resonance between two articulate African American politicians? Much will depend on how both campaigns spin the issue in the hours before Wisconsin voters go to the polls. And on whether the mainstream media sides with Obama or Clinton.
As usual, Clinton's argument comes with no small degree of hypocrisy. She shamelessly lifted these phrases from Obama: "It's time to turn the page," "I'm fired up and ready to go," and "Yes we can!"
UPDATE: Obama has acknowledged he "should have" credited Patrick. Will Hillary make the same concession to Obama? Put your overcoat on when that happens. It will be a frigid day in hell.
Monday, February 11, 2008
What Will Hillary Try Next?
Another weeping spell? Crying briefly helped in New Hampshire. Lots of women identified with the idea that she was being bullied by The Guys. But many of these same women are too savvy to buy whimpering as an ongoing winning strategy. Tears won't do the trick.
The race card. Bill tried it when he smugly compared Obama's victory to Jesse Jackson's 1980s presidential campaign. The strategy failed, to put it mildly — witness Obama's victories in Utah and Maine, where the white voters the Clintons hoped to spook didn't buy into the plan. Yet Bill somehow can't resist making race an issue, albeit in the guise of "complimenting" Obama for giving African Americans a reason to be proud. Nutshell: overt references to race will continue to backfire for team Clinton.
Super delegates to the rescue? Nope. It's ludicrous to think party leaders who serve as automatic delegates would pull Hillary over the top if it means invalidating Obama's voters. Most super delegates (in both parties) are elected politicians in their own right, thus not eager to take a stand for either candidate in a close race.
Well, that leaves Florida and Michigan, two states that violated DNC rules against creating early primaries. Democrat leaders in both states were warned not to break the rules. For Hillary to try to claim delegates in either state at this point would lead to inner party divisions reminiscent of the Chicago Democratic Convention of 1968. It's true that the DNC could authorize Michigan and Florida Democrats to start from scratch in weeks to come, via caucus or primary.
Texas and Ohio will save the day! So Hillary's minions continue to insist, echoed by her enablers in the mainstream media, against a growing body of evidence to the contrary. Ask Rudy Giuliani how smart it is to establish late primary states as your electoral firewall.
It's a poignant moment, almost Shakespearean. Hillary Clinton has wanted to be president since she and Bill teamed up at Yale. Now it seems to be slipping away. Oh, the indignity! Hillary hitched her wagon to Bill's Little Rock star, endured life in the hillbilly sticks because it would pay off in the long run. But the greatest insult must surely be Hillary's growing recognition that Bill has damaged her candidacy far more that he has helped it, and more, that her husband might actually want her to fail.
Meanwhile, this remarkable executive, possessed of such extraordinary hands-on experience, might want to explain how her campaign has gone virtually broke. And will we find out where she got $5 million to loan her campaign? Community property, feminists will respond. Fine. But clearly the money came from Bill's activities in the world. Lets have a look at the family tax returns. Obama and Michelle have released theirs. Hillary? Bill? Hello?
Friday, November 10, 2006
Democrats Seek the Mainstream
See, I actually believe the Democrats when they say they want to govern from the middle. I just think it's been so long since they've been anywhere near the mainstream, they don't know what it looks like any more. 1. Leading anti-war congressional Democrats have asked George McGovern to help them formulate the Democrat's Iraq exit policy. George McGovern! He could save himself a plane ride by just emailing his exit strategy: "Immediate unconditional surrender." 2. California Rep. Henry Waxman, who will investigate the Bush administration's running of the government, offers this reassuring glimpse of his concept of post-partisan cooperation: "I'm going to have an interesting time because the Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over everything. The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose." 3. And then you've got to admire Rep. Charlie Rangel's bold articulation of his party's latest southern strategy, delivered as an insult to — you know, those poor benighted residents of the Magnolia state: "Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?" Ah, yes. Let the healing begin.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Nancy Goes Hawk Hunting
There's word that Pelosi intends to prevent colleagues who are hawkish on national security from getting important chairmanships. The speaker-to-be is said to be especially keen on punishing California Rep. Jane Harman for supporting the war in Iraq and the Patriot Act. Let's put this in perspective. With Dennis Kucinich ("Let's surrender as fast as possible") and Joe Lieberman ("We cannot afford simply to walk away") representing the Democratic Party's opinion range on Iraq, Harman edges much closer to Lieberman than Kucinich. On surveilliance: Harman argued that Bush's warrantless wiretapping program is essential to US national security and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities; yet she declared that the program goes far beyond the measures to target Al Qaeda about which she was briefed. If such common sense centrism is anathema to Pelosi, the Democrats' newfound harmonic convergence will be short lived. Though hardly a surprise, Pelosi's disdain for Harman abounds in irony. Not surprising part: Many of the Dems who did their best to get rid of Lieberman revel in Kucinich's Blame America First mentality. Since Nancy needs to keep her kook-fringe left flank covered, why not throw Harman overboard early? Ironic part: Pelosi regularly pays lip service to her party's passion for "diversity." And so while she begins the kind of ideological purge that triumphant leftists always conduct against moderates, don't be surprised if Nancy cites "the need for inclusiveness" as the reason she's, um, including someone other than Harman.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Coburn Gets It
Sen. Tom Coburn weighs in with an excellent analysis:
The overriding theme of this election ... is that voters are more interested in changing the culture in Washington than changing course in Washington, D.C. This election was not a rejection of conservative principles per se, but a rejection of corrupt, complacent and incompetent government...This election does not show that voters have abandoned their belief in limited government; it shows that the Republican Party has abandoned them. In fact, these results represent the total failure of big government Republicanism.Read Coburn's entire statement here.
The Day After
Republicans ran as the Party of Reform, harking back to 1994 when they took over the House with a commitment to start explaining America to Washington again rather than the opposite. Twelve years later, what had they "reformed"? Republicans talked about reforming the "culture of corruption" that characterized their Democrat House predecessors. Twelve years later: Jack Abramoff. Congressional Republicans toyed with doing something serious about earmarks (spending measures tossed into appropriation bills by individual members of Congress), but they did too little too late. They railed about the need to tackle immigration but didn't follow through with convincing action. When President Bush proposed Social Security reform in 2005, House and Senate Republicans didn't pick up the cause. Moral of the story: Don't raise the issue of reform if you're not willing to follow through. Raising hopes only to dash those hopes is not an effective political two-step. Meanwhile, Democrats this season ran as common sense centrists. That was their message and it got through to former GOP voters who refused to rally to Karl Rove's familiar "Come home to your core values" message. Disenchanted Republicans and independents correctly realized that it was congressional Republicans who had abandoned core values, especially concerning government spending and integrity. The greater number of white evangelicals who voted Democrat yesterday say they did so because of Republican corruption. Whether newly empowered congressional Democrats will govern as centrists is doubtful at best. Pelosi says she'll govern from her party's "center." That doesn't exactly inspire confidence because the Democrats' center of gravity invariably involves raising taxes to pay for ineffective social programs, along with cutting defense and security spending in the name of "peace." House Democrats now have more than a voice; they've got a voting majority. Will they dare to vote to cut off funding for the war? Will there be a serious effort to impeach the president? America will be watching to see if Democrats can act responsibly or whether they go for revenge. Big picture: As the results sink in, it will be increasingly clear that this election was a defeat not for conservatism but for Republicanism. And this election was no victory for liberalism as a governing philosophy. Amazingly, Democrats were able to campaign as the party of fiscal discipline. This message worked because Republicans seemed moonstruck with the virtues of big government. Conservatives can take heart to this extent: I know of no state where voters said yes to gay marriage, yes to racial preferences, yes to partial-birth abortion, yes to empowering coercive centralized, bureaucratic, "service providing" government elites. There's an axiom that says Republicans do best when they lose power because this helps them recall Reagan's genius for articulating precisely how and why government is most often the problem, not the solution. Republicans are sorely mistaken if they believe they'll take the White House in 2008 simply by running against Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. Their only hope is to return to their limited government roots. That's easier when they're not defending power and privilege on Capitol Hill. So it's not a great day for Republicans, unless they decide to look at the election as a wake up call. The real measure of an effective wake up call isn't the ringing but the response. It only works if you wake up.