Update: Marc Ambinder gives Obama credit for saying "white resentments ... are grounded in legitimate concerns." The problem is he said that only after the populist passage cited above. The clear implication was not that resentment about welfare and affirmative action was "legitimate," but that these resentments were actually misguided symptoms of the legitimate anxiety, which would be anxiety over "stagnant wages," etc. caused by "corporate ... greed" etc.. ... If you think concern over welfare and affirmative action has an independent, legitimate basis apart from anxieties about the "middle class squeeze," it's highly condescending for Obama to tell whites (and similarly disposed blacks, for that matter) that, in effect, that they suffer from false consciousness--'I know you're really concerned about economics and declining wages and in your anxiety you let yourself be distracted into blaming welfare and affirmative action.' But that's what he says, as I read it and heard it. (Obama does allow that concern over crime is in itself legitimate, but spoils this 1992-era insight when he disses his grandmother--a "typical white person," he tells us today--for worrying about getting mugged.) ... 4:38 P.M. link
Obama supporter John Kerry gave an interview with a local N.H. paper, reports NBC/NJ's Mike Memoli. In it, Kerry said the color of Obama's skin makes him uniquely qualified for president and even reach out to the moderate Islam world. During an interview with the New Bedford Standard Times, portions of which were posted on YouTube, John Kerry says bluntly that Barack Obama has the potential to "bridge the divide in religious extremism" because he is black.
"It would be such an affirmation of who we say we are as a people if we can elect an African American president, a young leader who is obviously a visionary and got an ability to inspire people," Kerry said. "It will give us an ability to talk to those countries, to in some cases go around their dictator leaders to the people and inspire the people in ways that we can't otherwise."
The Massachusetts senator said Obama has an ability to perhaps even empower moderate Islam "to be able to stand up against the racial misinterpretation of a legitimate religion." Asked by a reporter what gave Obama the credibility to do so, Kerry said, "Because he's African American. Because he's a black man, who has come from a place of oppression and repression through the years in our own country. [E.A.]
I don't think Kerry's argument is crazy at all. I just don't think the Obama campaign can then sneer at Geraldine Ferraro for saying the same thing--i.e., that Obama is where he is because voters are "caught up" in the Kerry argument. Obama's camp can't have it both ways--arguing we should vote for him "[b]ecause he's a black man" and then arguing it's racist to say being black has helped his candidacy. ... 1:51 P.M. link
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The finely tuned affirmative action "goals" ("quotas are prohibited"!) of the California Democratic delegation to the party's August convention reminds me of Michael Kinsley's riff on the 1984 Democratic requirement of "fair and equitable participation of ... persons of all sexual preference consistent with their proportional representation in the party.":
Thirteen who prefer the lights on and thirty-seven who prefer the lights off. ...
Fourteen a cigarette afterward, ten a long talk, nine an old movie on TV, eight a shower, six chocolate-chip ice cream, three cab fare homw.
Fifty who prefer no sex at all to any cuts in Social Security.