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Short Takes for 2008-03-31 [UPDATE]

A few things you might know, or might not.

  • Unsavory reading for Alice Walker fans. Her open letter to “sisters who are brave” dumps on Hillary with a truckload of conceits, deceits, and resentments against white women; declares Obama good enough if we can’t have Rep. Barbara Lee for President; bemoans the fact “that many of my feminist white women friends cannot see him. … That they can believe that millions of Americans … choose Obama over Clinton only because he is a man, and black”. Must read to believe.
  • Convention history. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. endorsed the credentials “compromise” that seated Mississippi’s regular whites-only delegation to the 1964 Democratic National Convention by adding two token delegates from the rival integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Reasons? LBJ was an essential ally, the Democratic Party was the major vehicle for change, and it needed to keep the southern states in play. [You’d think this would give a moment’s pause to folks who claim MLK didn’t need LBJ … folks who think Change materializes in quantum leaps after big beautiful speeches … folks who think the nomination is all about the RULZ … and folks who realize their candidate might have a fight on his/her hands come November.]
  • Family Feud! Bob Casey Sr. tried to mobilize a Dump Clinton movement going into the 1992 Democratic National Convention, to save the Party from the “unelectable” presumptive nominee. Failing that, he felt he deserved program time for a passionate prime-time pro-life appeal (refused because he wouldn’t endorse the nominee). Failing that, he propagated the longstanding myth that Clinton would not allow pro-life Democrats to speak … damaging the party down-ballot throughout the 90’s. And after that, he prepared to challenge the incumbent Clinton for the nomination in 1996 (which bid was derailed by ill health). [You’d think that … oh, never mind.]

Reminder: Monday is the end of the quarter — be good to your dedicated public servants.

UPDATE: Adding a link to Brown economist Glenn Loury’s “Losing the Narrative”, a perplexed and perplexing foray into the wilds of Obama’s Big Speech and what the Obama phenomenon implies for the larger narrative of black folk in America.

28 Responses

  1. I couldn’t even finish that article. I am a feminist and I have never been a fan of Alice Walker. She seems like a person who would be very difficult to get along with on a personal level. Too radical even for a feminist and woman of color like myself. Her own life story is as turbulent as it sounds. She was married for a short time to a Jewish civil rights attorney which produced a daughter, third wave feminist Rebecca Walker. Rebecca and Alice have been estranged for quite some time and do not communicate with each other whatsoever. I’m really not surprised considering my evaluation of her personality.

  2. “Obama outspends Clinton 3-to-1 on contributions to superdelegates. See the whole list.”

    Another reason to think about the role of superdelegates in future primaries. However, I would like to bring up Bill Richardson. If superdelegates should ignore money and favors from candidates when deciding their vote, then in fact Bill Richardson is not a Judas. 😀

  3. OMG. Is Alice Walker serious? She is ALL about race. She can’t possibly still harbor resentment against white women just because we rude around in limos. Oh wait! We DON’T all ride around in limos. And it’s not like we disenfranchise all black voters. Oh wait! Hillary registered voters in Texas as one of her first jobs. Jesus! Remind me to purge all of Walker’s books from my shelves. Oh wait! I don’t have any. Well, she’s no Maya Angelou.

  4. This list is an eye-opener. I’m going to wait to read the Alice Walker piece, I don’t want to start my day in a rage. The Donna Brazile thing fits into the path I’ve been following. She’s a horrible politician. I spit on her.

  5. riverdaughter,

    For the past few days, I’ve been reading Shelby Steele’s book on Obama, “A Bound Man.” It’s fascinating. For the first time in my life I have started to rethink a lot of the things I have believed about race and gender. I read the whole piece by Alice Walker and I simply don’t buy her arguments. She writes:

    “If Obama were in any sense mediocre, he would be forgotten by now. He is, in fact, a remarkable human being, not perfect but humanly stunning, like King was and like Mandela is. We look at him, as we looked at them, and are glad to be of our species. He is the change America has been trying desperately and for centuries to hide, ignore, kill.

    Give me a break. I dislike Obama because, frankly, I do see him as mediocre. He has no core beliefs at all as far as I can tell. To compare him with Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela is outrageous. This man didn’t even stand up and speak about race after Katrina. He didn’t grow up poor and didn’t suffer at the hands of white people. In fact he was reared by two of the white women that Walker so disdains.

    After reading what Steele has to say, I’m convinced that Obama has worked so hard to fit into the black community that he has thrown away any possibility he might have had to bridge the racial divide. Steele argues that Obama might have chosen to talk about how he his white mother raised him to work hard and be studious and how that led to his academic and professional success. But instead he chose the path of framing himself and other black people as victims.

    At the beginning of the campaign, it was argued that Obama represented something new and different–that he would unite black and whites, liberals and conservatives. But instead he has torn the party asunder, divided the country by again and again playing the race card. If he had chosen the path of unity, maybe it would have worked. I don’t know if his dirty campaign has been his own choice or Axelrod’s, but it’s too late for unity now. I’ve honestly begun to rethink a lot of my reflexive opinions on race as a result of this campaign.

  6. I wrote a long comment about Alice Walker and Obama that is awaiting moderation. It must have been too long, because it didn’t have any links in it.

    I heard on the radio this morning that Dick Durbin weighed in again, saying Hillary has no chance and should get out. I can’t find any news stories about it yet. I guess the Obama folks aren’t going to “relax” and tone down their obnoxious calls for Hillary to hand the nomination to Obama. Sorry boys, he’s just going to have to work for it anyway.

  7. Shorter Alice Walker: Hillary ain’t never been called a n_”

    On the same day, here’s what Obama had to say:

    I am not interested in having, in wallowing in a, lengthy conversation about race. What I was trying to do in the speech was point out that we often use racial divisions, or politicians also often use racial divisions, as a way of ignoring the common problems like terrorism, or the foreclosure crisis. And so, my argument is not that we should focus obsessively on race. My argument is, we should acknowledge the dangers of racial division. Precisely in order to pivot and focus on those problems that we all have as common Americans.”

    What a phony.

  8. All right, people, have you seen this?

    The party that I’m no longer part of has clearly decided to not allow Pennsylvanians to weigh in, not to mention any states after PA.

  9. Nice post ronk.

    Ms. Walker says:

    “Even if Obama becomes president, our country is in such ruin it may well be beyond his power to lead us toward rehabilitation.”

    Oh really? Lowering expectations already?

  10. My new pet peeve is the abhorrent treatment Hillary Clinton, a great Democrat, the first woman ever to have a real chance at becoming POTUS, has suffered at the hands of Democrats, liberals, progressives, whatever you call them. Those are her people and she is us.

    I never ever thought this could happen, but I was probably naive. A better observer of us should have seen it coming and at least one person I read long time ago did.

    Check this extraordinarily prescient blogpost, written in December 2006 :

    The Serial Killing of Hillary Rodham Clinton: How and Why She Is Doomed in 2008

    And any student of the couple knows what will happen to Hillary during the 2008 cycle. Four words: She will be humiliated.

    That last word, humiliated, I choose very carefully. Because the story of Hillary’s public life, especially as it intertwined with her husband’s career, has been one of prodigious success and promise, dashed by periodic, meditated cruelty on the part of the press and the voting public.

    It is a psychological dynamic that has far more to say about America than about Hillary Clinton, but it is real, and it hasn’t diminished in force since she left the White House.


    Hillary will go down in the primary cycle, at the hands of activist Democrats themselves, her people, her base. This the press will read as deep and thrilling Greek tragedy. (You can already see this in the breathless press accounts of the way in which Obama might steal Hillary’s African-American constituency out from under her.)

    Here is the shame inducing conclusion for us, Democrats:

    In short, if Hillary flies, we will torture her and pull off her wings. It’s who we still are.

    Anybody still have questions about Nostradamus?

    As I said yesterday: Democrats, be not proud.

  11. Shirley Chisholm said in an interview that being a woman was tougher on her than being an AA. Obama”s platform has been one of going forward and not living in the past. However, he surrounds himself not with new or young people, but old Democrats who seem to be bringing us back to the racial 60’s. Racism was not an issue for most people in this election. War, the economy, habeus corpus, FISA, healthcare and education were what I thought was of necessity for choosing the next president. Obama says he does not want to be known as the black president but he is doing everything to make race an issue. I CAN’T STAND IT! I want to move forward with a qualified and competent president. Obama represents regression to a place and time i do not want to return to.

  12. the fix is in

    wake up

    time to dump the dems and start a third party behind HRC

    otherwise say goodbye democracy

    BO = HWB =McCain

  13. Also, with regards to Alice Walker, she and Michelle seem to link all the whites as elitist snobs who drive around in limos. Read Michelle’s Princeton thesis. For two educated women, they sure say some stupid things. And they should know better. Stereotypes are dangerous!

  14. UpstateNY – that sentence jumped right out at me, too. I immediately thought, “There’s the excuse – but it wouldn’t be the same for Hillary, now, would it? She’d be blamed for making the situation even worse.”

    MABlue – that is a horrifying article you linked to, but absolutely necessary reading. This sentence describes, for me, the crux of the psychological happenings in this election; it appears just before the sentence you quoted:

    “Disturbed children run over rabbits with lawn mowers, and pour gasoline on the family cat. And we are disturbed children in America, a good part of the time, sitting in dark rooms with our sugary drinks, watching and cheering as the thing on the screen suffers.”

    Notice the “as the THING on the screen suffers” phrasing. Just like pornography.

  15. I beg your pardon? Walker is comparing Obama to…. Nelson Mandela? And if I don’t agree that Obama has done **anything** to warrant that comparison, I’m a racist limo-riding white feminist? To heck with that noise. To heck with all that.

    Sorry. Angry. Angry!

  16. MABlue — That’s a prophetic piece indeed … especially so as the author has become one of the villagers crying for the witch to be burned at the stake.

  17. Hir, wasn’t Obama supposed to get 50 supers the day after TX/OH? Any movement that looks like party leaders trying to force Hillary out of the race will backfire.

  18. More to the point, let’s look at his super-delegates. A junior (first-term) senator from Minn. and Bob Casey, Jr. Swoon.

    The elections will continue after PA.

    More to the point, they are taking a horrible risk by knocking her out early. A lesser candidate than Hillary would have already made the move for a third party candidacy. Right now she is holding firm with the Party. But cutoff the election after she beats him in Pennsylvania – right now with the huge handicap already given to him (must be greater than 10 points) – and she might change her mind.

    Plus she would have all summer to put it together. (I know I would be in for it.)

  19. Swoon; Not. :>

  20. MABlue, eye-opener. Thanks for that prescience.

  21. Wow, that was a fascinating piece MABlue. I was too young to have cared much in the 90’s about anything more than whatever was cool/not cool on MTV’s Alternative Nation so I missed the earlier go rounds of press humiliation of Hillary.. but this primary has really opened my eyes. The way she’s been treated by the press and by “liberal” Democrats (and that really saddens me.. I never expected it).. that’s how strong women who cross certain boundaries (refusing to give up and go away in order to redeem herself) are treated.

    I guess one day a lot of feminist theory writers will have a lot to say about it.. or should, something tells me most are swept up in the Obama thing. But forget theory for the moment, I want her to win the presidency..

  22. Vote McCain. it is the only way to send a message to DNC and Pelosi gang that they can nominate their candidate but we don’t have to support them.

    Vote McCain. They game the system to psuh our candiate out so we must retaliate by voting against obama. No other choice.

  23. Alice Walker is full of shit. I once loved her work. The misogyny lies in the fact that she overlooks white men, you know, the whites who have power, who have had power and who control almost everything and place the blame squarely on the feet of white women. Yes many white women have been indifferent regarding race, many white women have been racist, but many are not, however, white men are forever holding on to their power and never questioning it, so what does Alice Walker do, blame white women. Give me a break. I hate to anaylse folks but I think she is falling for the same old crap a lot of radicals fall into. For years and years she was tarred and feathered for wrting black men in a bad light. So now it seems to make up for that she turned to white women because she cannot really insult white men since one was good enough to marry before.

  24. And Obama as MLK or Mandela? LMAO! A speech about race is just that a speech. It I became everything I can talk about then I would be something other than what I am. I will give a speech on being thin. Will that make me thin? I will give a speech on being young. Will that make me young again? LOL! So Obama talks a little about racism (let’s be honest, it’s not like he got down and dirty about racism, he just basically repeated the words, race, racism….blah blah, in other words half the net would be considered a MLK or a Mandela) and he has transcended race? And by proxy anyone who supports him can transcend race? Oh for the love of somebody, pass the magic beans.

  25. Justin: “However, I would like to bring up Bill Richardson. If superdelegates should ignore money and favors from candidates when deciding their vote, then in fact Bill Richardson is not a Judas.”


    Except we don’t know what deal Gov. Richardson cut with Sen. Obama. For example, the VP slot.

    And we can’t know until we know. I find it unlikely he didn’t ask for something in exchange for his support. Not a reflection on his integrity, just a reflection on the fact he’s a politician.

  26. Good find here, courtesy of comments at Taylor Marsh:


    Over a nice Vietnamese dinner yesterday with my Very Good Friend Paul Krugman®, who allegedly knows a thing or two about economics, he talked about the vicious hate mail he gets for saying positive things about Hillary Clinton. (No surprise to me.)

  27. Quote from Gail Collins about Hillary Clinton:

    The one unassailable fact about Hillary Clinton is not that she’d make the best decision when the phone rings at 3 a.m. in the White House. It’s that if the phone rang at the same time that her polls were at 12 percent and her attorney general was under indictment and the economy was in the tank and California had just broken off and fallen into the sea, she would still pick up the receiver.

  28. ghost2 — Good link to Krugman anecdote. It touches on a point I’ve been meaning to amplify in the “Audiology of Hope” series.

    Goolsbee (Obama’s chief economic advisor) and Krugman overlapped at MIT. PK has a sharp read on where AG stands, sits, and leans.

    This visibly informs PK’s perspective on , which visibly underlies his alarm at Obama’s policy portfolio.

    btw, Goolsbee shares the old (prep) school tie with Deval Patrick, just as he shares Skull & Bones brotherhood with John Kerry.

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