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Obama, You're a Black Man Now - Part 1

By The Neville Awards
Posted July 31, 2008

Related Articles
Obama, You're a Black Man Now - Part 2 --
Race-Obsessed Dems Play the 'Race Card' Card

The Race Issue Isn't Going Away

Race card? What about the 'racist card'?

Did'ja notice he doesn't look white....did'ja notice he doesn't look like the presidents on the money..did'ja notice the funny name? We all did, but that was never the issue for us. It wasn't even an issue when Bill Clinton made his "biggest fairy tale" remark last winter.

Democrats are just plain unhappy when Republicans aren't playing the race card. NY Times whiner and scribbler Adam Nagourney warned us last spring that any attack on Obama would be an attack on his race. They were obviously trying to trap and pre-empt any criticism of Obama by conservatives. McCain has tip-toed on eggshells not to go down the low road. But the libs just can't help themselves.

No, race became an issue when Mr. Post-Racial made it an issue last June and again on July 31st, 2008. I guess Obama grew tired of not being racially insulted so he insulted himself.

Conservatives aren't voting for you, Barack, because you are a black man..they aren't voting for you because you are a Mr. Citizen-of-the-World stealth socialist who can't talk about his country without trashing it.

Yes, you are a black man. Your wife Michelle is even a black woman. But we don't dislike her because she's black...we dislike her because she is always lecturing us on how tough it is for her and you.

Anyway here's Barack playing the pre-emptive "race card" card:

Fundraiser in Jacksonville, June 20, 2008

“It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy,” Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.

“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?”

Townhall meeting, July 31, 2008

“He’s spending an awful lot of time talking about me. You notice that?” Obama asked a crowd of just over one thousand seated in a university gym. “I haven’t seen an ad yet where he talks about what he’s going to do. And the reason is because those folks know they don’t have any good answers, they know they’ve had their turn over the last eight years and made a mess of things.”

“They know that you’re not real happy with them and so the only way they figure they’re going to win this election is if they make you scared of me,” Obama continued, repeating an attack from earlier in the day. “What they’re saying is ‘Well, we know we’re not very good but you can’t risk electing Obama. You know, he’s new, he doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency, he’s a got a funny name.’”

The Race Issue Isn't Going Away


August 4, 2008

With polls showing the presidential contest between John McCain and Barack Obama getting closer, a question is now looming larger and larger. Is skin color going to be the deciding factor?

Just last week, Sen. Obama warned voters that Sen. McCain's campaign will exploit the race issue by telling voters that "he doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills." A few weeks earlier, he said they will attack his lack of experience but also added, "And did I mention he's black?"

The McCain campaign did not counter the first punch, but after last week's jab -- fearing that Mr. Obama was getting away with calling his candidate a racist -- campaign manager Rick Davis responded to the dollar-bill attack by saying, "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."

Mr. Obama's campaign concedes it has no clear example of a Republican attack that expressly cites Mr. Obama's name or race. Yet in the last few days some Obama supporters were at it again, suggesting that a McCain ad attacking Mr. Obama as little more than a "celebrity," by featuring young white women such as Britney Spears, is an appeal to white anxiety about black men and white women.

The race issue is clearly not going away. And the key reason -- to be blunt -- is because there is no telling how many white voters are lying to pollsters when they say they plan to vote for a black man to be president. Still, it is possible to look elsewhere in the polling numbers to see where white voters acknowledge their racial feelings and get a truer measure of racism.

In a Wall Street Journal poll last month, 8% of white voters said outright that race is the most important factor when it comes to looking at these two candidates -- a three percentage point increase since Mr. Obama claimed the Democratic nomination. An added 15% of white voters admit the candidates' race is a factor for them. Race is even more important to black voters: 20% say it is the top factor influencing their view of the candidates, and another 14% admit it is among the key factors that will determine their vote. All this contributes to the idea that the presidential contest will boil down to black guy versus white guy.

Consider also a recent Washington Post poll. Thirty percent of all voters admitted to racial prejudice, and more than a half of white voters categorized Mr. Obama as "risky" (two-thirds judged Mr. McCain the "safe" choice). Yet about 90% of whites said they would be "comfortable" with a black president. And about a third of white voters acknowledged they would not be "entirely comfortable" with an African-American president. Why the contradictory responses? My guess is that some whites are not telling the truth about their racial attitudes.

A recent New York Times poll found that only 31% of white voters said they had a favorable opinion of Mr. Obama. That compares to 83% of blacks with a favorable opinion. This is a huge, polarizing differential.

But polling can be tricky. In May, a Pew poll asked voters about Mr. Obama but did not give them the option of saying they are undecided. In that poll, whites split on the candidate, 45% saying they had a favorable opinion, 46% unfavorable. When white voters had the option of being undecided, as they did in the Times poll, 37% of whites said they had an unfavorable opinion of him, but 26% said they were undecided.

To win this campaign, Mr. Obama needs to assure undecided white voters that he shares their values and is worthy of their trust. To do that he has to minimize attention to different racial attitudes toward his candidacy as well as racially polarizing issues, and appeal to the common experiences that bind Americans regardless of color.

Mr. Obama has shown an unprecedented ability to cross the racial divide in American politics. He did particularly well in managing caucus states, such as Iowa, where highly energized supporters, especially idealistic young white supporters, minimized the impact of negative racial attitudes with passionate participation.

But the white Democratic caucus voters in Iowa, where there are relatively few racial issues, are decidedly more liberal than white voters nationally. In primary states from New Hampshire to Texas and California, Mr. Obama lost when one of two things happened. Either working-class white voters did not participate in polls, or some white voters lied and told pollsters they planned to vote for him before casting their votes for another candidate.

There are going to be more of those wobbly white voters in November. The size of the white vote in a general election race dwarfs the white vote in the Democratic primary. Based on the 2004 presidential contest, whites make up about 77% of voters and blacks 11%.

In the Democratic primaries there were states, especially in the South, where blacks made up nearly half of the electorate. But in the general election there are no states where blacks make up so large a percentage. Even in Southern states such as Georgia and North Carolina, where blacks made up about a quarter of the vote in the last presidential election, it will be an upset if Mr. Obama manages to win. Those states have a history of Republican dominance in presidential contests. Even an energized black vote is unlikely to make Mr. Obama a winner anywhere in the South, although some Democrats hold out hope for Virginia.

In 2004, John Kerry had a 46% favorable rating among white voters, barely better than Barack Obama's. But Mr. Kerry lost. Mr. Obama needs to do better with whites. But the white voters' view of him is still clearly unsettled.

Polls show white voters struggling to identify with him as a fellow American who, to quote Bill Clinton, is able to "feel your pain." When the New York Times poll asked whether Mr. Obama cares about "the needs and problems of people like yourself," 70% of whites answered "a lot" or "some." But 28% of whites said Mr. Obama cared about them "not much" or "not at all." Compare that with the 72% of black voters who said Mr. Obama cared about them "a lot." The same Times poll had Mr. Obama leading Mr. McCain by six percentage points, 45-39, but trailing by nine points among white voters, 37-46.

After Jesse Jackson's vicious comments about Mr. Obama, some political strategists suggested that a split with Mr. Jackson and his racially divisive politics could help Mr. Obama with white voters. But polls have yet to reveal this.

Could a Jackson-Obama split cause black voters to lose enthusiasm for him -- dividing their loyalties between the two most prominent black political voices of this era? Opinion surveys do not indicate this is likely. Polling done by Gallup just before Mr. Jackson's outburst indicated that 29% of black Americans chose Mr. Obama as the "individual or leader in the U.S. to speak for you on issues of race." Mr. Jackson came in third with only 4% support (behind Al Sharpton, who had 6%). Last year, a Pew poll focusing on racial attitudes found 76% of blacks judged Mr. Obama a "good influence," a full eight points higher than Mr. Jackson.

Jodie Allen, a senior editor at Pew, wrote recently that a poll Pew conducted last November showed clearly that "the black community is at least as traditional in its views as the larger American public." Blacks in the Pew poll were just as likely as whites to take a hard line opposing crime (as long as black neighborhoods are not unfairly targeted), to condemn the shocking number of children born out of wedlock and express disgust with the violence and misogyny in rap music.

Mr. Obama needs to hammer home these conservative social values to capture undecided white voters. He might lose Mr. Jackson's vote. But he won't lose many black votes, and he will win the undecided white votes he needs to become America's first African-American president.

Mr. Williams is a political analyst for National Public Radio and Fox News.

Race card? What about the 'racist card'?

Monday, August 04, 2008

By Ruth Ann Dailey

We voters keep getting reminders that the Republicans are going to "play the race card." Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton regularly warned us of such nefarious GOP plans, often while helpfully providing an example of the ugly stereotypes or cultural references available for use.

And although Sen. Barack Obama's campaign chastised Mrs. Clinton last August for being obsessed "with what she calls the Republican attack machine," Mr. Obama himself has regularly invoked the soon-coming onslaught.

At a fund raiser in June, Mr. Obama predicted, "They're going to try to make you afraid of me: 'He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. ... Oh, and did I mention he's black?'"

Last week, Mr. Obama again warned of the GOP's impending insidious attack: "The only strategy they've got in this election is to try to scare you about me -- 'He doesn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bills.'" All those presidents, of course, being white.

But Sen. John McCain, his allies and the Republican Party as a whole -- despite its disarray and beleaguered mood -- have acted in unity thus far in refusing to utter the words that the Democrats keep trying to shove into their mouths.

So what's going on here? Something pretty despicable, actually. By constantly (and hopefully) claiming the Republicans will play "the race card," the Democrats are playing "the racist card."

It's absolutely necessary to distinguish between the two in this election cycle -- thanks entirely, up until now, to Democratic leaders' regular, and so-far false, accusations. Their strategy is essentially a prolonged smear tactic, propagating the Democrats' historically silly claim to be the party of racial equality.

And it refutes Mr. Obama's earlier, constant promises to transcend the "old stuff [that] just divides us."

Both parties have plenty to be ashamed of in their racial histories, though you wouldn't know it from the popular narrative. Democratic operatives were the first to "play the race card," spreading (possibly true) rumors back in 1920 that Republican candidate Warren G. Harding had black ancestors. He won anyway.

The popular narrative on race, dispensed by baby-boomer-dominated media, begins conveniently in 1964, when Lyndon Johnson, until very recently a committed segregationist, signed the Civil Rights Act. The other half of the narrative's centerpiece is Richard Nixon's "Southern strategy," which shamefully exploited white segregationists' fears even as an aggressive federal government alarmed many pro-civil rights conservatives.

This highly selective and unhistorical narrative obviously favors one party over the other and prevents the discussion of substantive issues that both candidates say they want. So if Mr. Obama is going to transcend the "old stuff" that just divides us, maybe he should start by declining to imply that his partisan opponents are racists just waiting to pounce.

Besides the general consensus that Mr. McCain is a man of character who will not play the race card, he doesn't have to. He can play the Messiah card, the inexperience card and the leftist card.

He played all three, in fact, last week. His campaign's spoof of Mr. Obama's well-cultivated image as "The One" was spot-on. Its tone only falters in its final sentence, as it raises the issue of inexperience and asks, "But is he ready to lead?"

And Mr. McCain continued to push his advantage on energy policy -- the most high-profile issue by which he can display the philosophical distance between his moderate positions and Mr. Obama's far-left voting record. (Americans for Democratic Action gives him 100 percent, to Sen. Ted Kennedy's 95.)

Mr. Obama can play the hand he's been dealt: Mr. McCain's age, his pro-Iraq War position and a stumbling economy. But racism?

When Mr. McCain's campaign accused his opponent of injecting racism into the contest with his "presidents on the dollar bills" remark, Mr. Obama at first scoffed at the suggestion.

But by Friday, chief strategist David Axelrod said his boss was in fact guilty as charged, acknowledging on "Good Morning America" that Mr. Obama's dollar-bill remark referred in part to his race. At a Saturday news conference in Florida, the candidate said the same thing himself, repeating the defense offered by Mr. Axelrod: the remark's main point was that "I don't come out of central casting when it comes to presidential races." Oddly, he told reporters, "None of you thought I was making a racially incendiary remark, or playing the race card." (The Associated Press did not report how the press corps responded to his assumption of their collective absolution.)

Though the Republicans have won this round, it would be good for the whole country if both candidates live up to their rhetoric -- Mr. McCain by balancing satire and a clear conscience in his ads, Mr. Obama by refraining from implying that his opponents are racists without evidence to support the charge.
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