It always seemed logical to me that the vast majority of those who once supported John Edwards would end up supporting Barack Obama. Edwards' supporters online demanded that Hillary Clinton apologize for her vote on Iraq, and they insisted that she was rotten to the core. They called Clinton an unprincipled "triangulator". How could Edwards suddenly make a complete about face, in the face of his idealistic voters, and support Hillary Clinton? And now, The Hill confirms my assessment:
Donors, activists and members of Congress who backed former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) are flocking to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
This and the fact that Obama is likely to win the North Carolina primary could prompt Edwards to endorse Obama -- a move that could burnish the front-runner's credentials with blue-collar, white voters, who are part of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) base.
( . . . )
Since Edwards dropped out of the presidential race, Obama's campaign has received contributions of $200 or more from 1,089 donors who had supported Edwards, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.
Only 393 Edwards donors have given to Clinton since the primary became a two-candidate race. Since Edwards withdrew on Jan. 30, Obama has raised nearly $1 million from Edwards donors, compared to the $427,000 that has flowed to Clinton. TheHill
Barack Obama has won the endorsement of the Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry, but what explains this counter-intuitive choice? An average of polls for April showed McCain leading Clinton in Oklahoma by 46.5 to 44.5. An average of polls offered by the same source showed McCain leading Obama by 46% to 42% in April.
Oklahoma, with a population of 3.5 million people, is 78.3% white, 7.8% Black, according to the US Census. So, it's safe to say that Obama did not win this endorsement on the strength of the Black vote. In fact, according to Yahoo News,
The 44-year-old governor's endorsement came despite Obama getting only 31 percent of the Democratic primary vote in Oklahoma's Democratic primary on Feb. 5 against Hillary Rodham Clinton, who got 55 percent. Yahoo News
Al Sharpton only won 1.3 percent of the vote in Oklahoma in 2004. Obama won 24 times more votes in 2008 than did Al Sharpton in 2004, although both of them both have brown skin. Notwithstanding the contentions of Geraldine Ferraro, if Barack Obama is winning because he's Black, then this must be a voter trend that suddenly developed in Oklahoma only over the last four years. That doesn't make any sense, and so we have to look for an explanation that makes more sense.
Even Black voters also have not voted on the basis of skin color in Oklahoma, because in 2004 Al Shartpon only got 1.3% of the vote in a state in which Blacks are 7.8% of the population and an even larger percentage of the Democratic Party base. Clearly, Blacks have been voting on some other basis, as well. So, here are some background statistics and social factors that go beyond skin color.
The above video documents that Fox News is in collaboration with the Republican Party to simultaneous and in a coordinated fashion spread negative memes about Barack Obama, effectively "Swift Boating" him right before the Pennsylvania election. They're calling Barack Obama "uppity", which is a direct reference to the role Blacks were compelled to play in American society during American Slavery and the Jim Crow era, when Blacks' subjugated social and political position were strictly prescribed by American law and custom.
They're making direct reference to that period and asserting that Barack Obama ought not become president because it would violate the social customs and practiced which have been observed since that time. One of those social laws has been that no Black man shall become president of the United States. This custom of American society has been observed with perfect obeisance through 43 consecutive presidential elections, and color-aroused white antagonists are systematically resisting change.
Will Hillary Clinton defend the right of a man to run for the presidency even though his skin is brown? Or will she join forces with the systematic color-aroused denigration and subjugation of Black people politically? I think we already know the answer to that question. Hillary Clinton will do whatever seem more likely to result in her assuming office, regardless of how unconscionable and reprehensible those actions are.
So, Blacks will find ourselves in a tough place politically, should Hillary Clinton somehow win the nomination. Do we vote for McCain or stay home, both of which would assure that McCain would win the election and then be empowered to spread the war more broadly in the Middle East?
The New York Times reports that a prominently placed section of the John McCain website that was devoted to his wife's cooking recipes was actually copied verbatim from the Food Network:
Until early Tuesday morning, visitors to
John McCain's campaign Web site could find seven of "Cindy's Recipes," among them three elegant and healthful offerings: passion fruit mousse, ahi tuna with Napa cabbage slaw and farfalle pasta with turkey sausage, peas and mushrooms.
Doesn't this mean that John McCain's campaign has engaged in deliberate "plagiarism"? Cornell University's policy on plagiarism says:
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is misrepresenting somebody else's intellectual work - ideas, information, writing, thinking - as your own. In other words, it is a misuse of source material. Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism is a serious violation of Cornell's Code of Academic Integrity. Cornell University
For example, in the 1988 Democratic Primary race, "Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden Jr., a U.S. senator from Delaware, was driven from the nomination battle after delivering, without attribution, passages from a speech by British Labor party leader Neil Kinnock."WaPost.Com
Now we discover that McCain's campaign deliberately took entire recipes from the Food Network and presented them, on McCain's official website, as Cindy McCain's "family recipes," which was a bold-faced lie.
Are John McCain's claims to "straight-talk" really just a lot of flatulence?
Of course, McCain blames the plagiarism on an intern and claims that the intern has been fired. Who is that fired intern? Is he or she available for an interview to confirm or deny the McCain campaign's version of events? Did the same low-level McCain aide plagiarize both the articles published in 2007 and those published a year later, in 2008? That strains credulity.
What's clear now is that the McCain campaign has "plagiarized" and the media, including the New York Times, is loath to use the precise term that most aptly applies.
This post at the AfroSpear's All About Race blog inspired me to wade once again into the question of the continuing use of the word "race" by Black thinkers. Consider the title that Huffing Post gave to the speech that Obama named "A More Perfect Union": "Obama Race Speech". Isn't it negative propaganda about Black people that the word "race" is attached ubiquitously to us and to everything that we think and do? The American Conservative says,
In an era when fashionable thinkers claim that race is just a social construct, Obama's subtitle [to "Dreams of my father: a story of race and inheritance,"] is subversive."
Note the phrase "claim that race is just a social construct". You see, the American Conservative does NOT believe that "race" is "just a social concept"! Black thinkers insist upon using the word race in the belief that it has a legitimate sociological meaning. But, every time we say that we are of "the Black race" or otherwise use the word, we validate and legitimate the conservative white supremacist idea that "race" is biological. Of course, to them the word "race" is both their badge of superiority and ours of inferiority, which they use ubiquitously as a substitute for the "N" word. Instead of challenging them, we are providing linguistic cover to white supremacy by continuing to use the word "race" ourselves.
If instead we Blacks used the term "systemic denigration, subjugation and exploitation of African-Americans based on our skin color and ethnicity, then whites would be forced to either describe functionally what "race" really consists of sociologically and politically (which would educate the public) or they would have to acknowledge that they really ARE asserting the theory that Blacks are fundamentally different biologically. Because we have never abandoned the "race" word ourselves, we have never forced whites to take a position on the matter of whether "race", in their eyes, is biological or social and political.
Robert Reich was Bill Clinton's first Secretary of Labor and a friend of both the former president and his wife for four decades. (His wife, Claire Dalton, was my Torts professor in law school, and a renowned legal mind for women in her own right.) Today, Reich formally to declared his support for Obama on his blog. He says that, in spite of his long personal and professional relationship with the Clintons, "my conscience won't let me be silent any longer. I believe that Barack Obama should be elected President of the United States."
John Heilemann of New York Magazine, who spoke today with Reich about his decision, says:
For some time, it's been clear to anyone paying attention that Reich favors Obama. Back in December, in a blog post titled "Why is HRC Stooping So Low?," Reich loudly and sharply criticized Clinton's conduct in Iowa and defended Obama's proposals for health-care and Social Security reform. Two days before the race-charged South Carolina primary, he assailed Bill Clinton's "ill-tempered and ill-founded attacks" on Obama, arguing that they were "doing no credit to the former president, his legacy, or his wife's campaign." And all throughout the primary season, he has spoken and written of Obama's candidacy with evident admiration and enthusiasm. NYMag
But all of that wasn't enough to get Reich to publicly disavow the Clintons who made him a cabinet secretary.
So what's changed? I asked Reich.
"I saw the ads" -- the negative man-on-street commercials that the Clinton campaign put up in Pennsylvania in the wake of Obama's bitter/cling comments a week ago -- "and I was appalled, frankly. I thought it represented the nadir of mean-spirited, negative politics. And also of the politics of distraction, of gotcha politics. It's the worst of all worlds.
We have three terrible traditions that we've developed in American campaigns. One is outright meanness and negativity. The second is taking out of context something your opponent said, maybe inartfully, and blowing it up into something your opponent doesn't possibly believe and doesn't possibly represent. And third is a kind of tradition of distraction, of getting off the big subject with sideshows that have nothing to do with what matters.
And these three aspects of the old politics I've seen growing in Hillary's campaign. And I've come to the point, after seeing those ads, where I can't in good conscience not say out loud what I believe about who should be president.
Those ads are nothing but Republicanism. They're lending legitimacy to a Republican message that's wrong to begin with, and they harken back to the past twenty years of demagoguery on guns and religion. It's old politics at its worst -- and old Republican politics, not even old Democratic politics. It's just so deeply cynical." NYMag
Reich echoes something I and many other Democrats have been asking for a long time: 'What's the strategic logic behind Hillary's losing campaign at this point?' Heilemann offers his assessment, particularly after his conversation today with Reich:
[B]eyond the bald fact of Reich's support for Obama, the Clinton campaign should pay heed to the reasoning behind it. In his disgust with Hillary's increasingly harsh tactics, Reich is hardly alone. Indeed, the feeling seems to be spreading more broadly in the party with every passing day. It's been clear for some time that Hillary's attacks on Obama were driving up her negatives.
You could certainly argue this might be a price worth paying if those attacks were amping up doubts about him. But it's hard to see any logic -- or even sanity -- in the tactic if the result is to drive even people who once regarded Hillary dearly into Obama's arms. NYMag
BET founder Robert L. Johnson says that Obama's only the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination because Obama is a Black man. If it's so easy for Black men, then why didn't Bob Johnson run long ago?
The Charlotte Observer reported on its Web site Monday that Bob Johnson, one of Hillary Rodham Clinton's top black supporters, was commenting on remarks previously made by Geraldine Ferraro, another Clinton supporter.
"What I believe Geraldine Ferraro meant is that if you take a freshman senator from Illinois called 'Jerry Smith' and he says I'm going to run for president, would he start off with 90 percent of the black vote?" Johnson said. "And the answer is, probably not." Yahoo News
Doesn't Hillary realize that color-aroused arguments by surrogates like Bob Johnson's will only push more Black super-delegates to dump Hillary and support Barack Obama? Hillary, many of your Black super-delegates are up for re-election and these arguments are taking them down with the ship!
Before the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton went on Fox News and responded to Barack Obama's frequent invocations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "Dr. Kings dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964," she said. "It took a president to get it done."
The message was clear: knowing how to work the levers of power is more valuable in getting stuff done than even the mightiest of speeches.
But slighting Dr. King is probably not the best way to make any political point. Maybe the biggest ramification is this: South Carolina Representative James Clyburn, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress and a veteran of the civil rights movement, appears poised to abandon the neutrality he has maintained throughout the presidential race and endorse Barack Obama. Mother Jones
All too often, the word "racism" sends discussion about color-aroused antagonism off on a wild goose chase. Here's how it works:
1). A white human being in the United States does something to a Black human being, or says something about a Black human being or all Black human beings, which many whites and Blacks find to be repulsive and intolerable.
2). Some whites and Blacks insist that the intolerable and repulsive act was "racist" while some whites and Blacks insist that it was not, even if all agree that the acts were intolerable and repulsive. The assumption is that if the intolerable acts are found to be "racist" than they are impermissible, but if the intolerable acts are NOT "racist" then they are permissible and may be repeated at will.
3). Since there is no generally agreed upon test to determine what is "racist" and what is not (US courts don't use the term at all as the basis for their decisions and the US Congress has never defined "racism"), we therefore can reach no consensus about how to apply the "racism" test or even what the "racism" test is.
At the same time, there IS general consensus that antagonism that is aroused by perceiving the skin color of another is always suspect. And everything one does after that perception (ideation, emotion and behavior) should be subject to exacting scrutiny. For example, under federal law, if one person calls a stranger the "N" word and then shoots the person, that can be prosecuted as a hate crime. The simple fact of using an antagonistic color-associated word pretty much resolves the question of whether it was a hate crime or not.
Because Elton John is well known for songs that denigrate Black people based on their skin-color, I call upon Hillary Clinton to apologize for inviting him to sing at a concert for her and to disavow and disassociate herself from Elton John and his color aroused antagonistic and filthy lyrics. Although there has been some debate over whether Clinton violated election laws by having Elton John, a foreigner, host a concert for her to raise funds for her nomination campaign, no one has addressed the fact that Elton John lyrics have been antagonistically color-aroused, misogynistic, base and vulgar.
When she gets up in the morning
It's enough to wake the dead
Oh she turning on the radio
And dancing on my head
It's no good living in the sun
Playing guitar all day
Boogalooing with my friends
In that erotic way
Come on Jamaica
In Jamaica all day
Dancing with your darling
Do Jamaica jerk-off that way
Come on Jamaica
Everybody say We're all happy in Jamaica
Do Jamaica Jerk-off that way
Let the ladies and the gentlemen
Be as rude as they like
On the beaches, oh in the jungle
Where the people feel alright
So do it Jamaica
Got plenty for you and me
Honky tonking with my baby
In that deep blue sea
And then consider the lyrics to the song, "Island Girl". Not only does Elton John characterize Jamaicans as all perpetual "jerk-offs", but his other stigmatizing song about Jamaicans, "Island Girl", stereotypes Black Jamaican island women as prostitutes. Rolling Stone says, "And whoever bothers to listen to the lyrics of "Island Girl" might well find them racist and sexist . . ." Here are the lyrics to "Island Girl":
I see your teeth flash, Jamaican honey so sweet
Down where Lexington cross 47th Street
She's a big girl, she's standing six foot three
Turning tricks for the dudes in the big city
What you wanting with the white man's world
Black boy want you in his island world
He want to take you from the racket boss
He want to save you but the cause is lost
Island girl, island girl, island girl
Tell me what you wanting with the white man's world
She's black as coal but she burn like a fire
And she wrap herself around you like a well worn tire
You feel her nail scratch your back just like a rake
He one more gone, he one more John who make the mistake
Never were there two clearer examples of lyrics that intentionally subject Blacks to ridicule based on skin-color. One music aficionado says, "Island Girl's reasonable melody is ruined by racist lyrics."
Hillary Clinton's campaign has struggled recently to present a credible way that she could win the Democratic presidential nomination, considering that Barack Obama leads her in the earned delegate count, the popular vote, and has pulled nearly even with her in the number of super-delegates who have committed themselves to his nomination. Most observers say that only a miracle could bring her even to Barack Obama in the popular vote.
Now, Hillary Clinton's closest surrogates seem to be abandoning her efforts, effectively telling the news media that there is virtually now way that she can win.
(CNN) -- Two prominent supporters of Hillary Clinton suggested Thursday the New York senator needs to best rival Barack Obama in the total popular vote to have any chance at winning her party's presidential nomination.
In separate media interviews, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and Pennsylvania Rep. Jack Murtha both indicated they believed Clinton will be unable to convince enough superdelegates to support her if she finishes second to Obama in both the pledged delegate count and the popular vote.
Speaking on CNBC, Corzine suggested it won't be enough for Clinton to argue she deserves the nomination because she has won more crucial swing states than Obama -- a talking point the senator's campaign has long argued.
"I think it would be a very hard argument to make," Corzine said of that position. "I'm a very aggressive supporter of Senator Clinton, but I think you need at least a popular vote."
Corzine also suggested he himself may cast his superdelegate vote for Obama should Clinton fail to win the popular vote, though the New Jersey governor insisted he thought Clinton would come out on top in that count if the Florida and Michigan contests were counted.
Murtha echoed Corzine's sentiments in an interview later Thursday, saying, "Clinton has to win Pennsylvania...She has to be ahead in the popular vote to have any chance at all of getting this nomination." CNN