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Dr. Adolph Reed Explains It All

This article that vastleft at corrente pointed me to is a must read. It’s by Dr. Adolph Reed, a PoliSci professor at the University of Pennsylvania and is featured in the May 2008 issue of The Progressive. It’s called, Obama, No and that’s no understatement. Dr. Reed says he knew Obama at the beginning of his political career. I have a few issues with what he’s written in that his overall opinion of all candidates this cycle is negative though he has become a reluctant Clinton supporter. But his most withering criticism is saved for Obama himself. Here’s some of the best stuff:

Obama’s style of being all things to all people threatens to melt under the inescapable spotlight of a national campaign against a Republican. It’s like what brings on the downfall of really successful con artists: They get themselves onto a stage that’s so big that they can’t hide their contradictions anymore, and everyone finds out about the different stories they’ve told different people. And Obama’s belonging to Wright’s church in the first place was quite likely part of establishing a South Side bourgeois nationalist street cred because his political base was with Hyde Park/University of Chicago liberals and the foundation world.

For now, the Jeremiah Wright connection probably won’t hurt him too much, partly because the Republicans at this point mainly may want to keep him and Clinton bleeding each other as long as possible. And his Philadelphia compromise speech—a string of well-crafted and coordinated platitudes and hollow images worthy of an SUV commercial, grounded with the reassuring “acknowledgment” of blacks’ behavioral inadequacies—has gained him breathing room by holding out a vague promise of racial “reconciliation” that has appealed to centrist liberals ever since Booker T. Washington’s comparably eloquent 1895 accommodation to Southern white supremacy. Obama gets credit for “opening a conversation” on race, for “taking the matter on squarely.” But he doesn’t really speak to what we ought to be doing to address the injustices, past and present, that he mentions. Despite all the babble about Obama’s transcendence, Obama persists in portraying black Americans as a stereotypical monolith: blacks feel x; whites feel y. And the trope of black “anger” is a tired chestnut that neither explains nor characterizes political grievances or aspirations. (By the way, Obama’s casting Wright’s alleged “anger” as generational is entirely consistent with his earlier praise of Ronald Reagan for sensing Americans’ desire to undo the “excesses” of the 1960s and 1970s.)

The only thing I can’t figure out is why he waited so long to say it. Oh, yeah, that’s right, the Obamaphiles would have just stuck their fingers in their ears anyway singing “lalalalala! We can’t HEAR you.” Well, better late than never.

Update: This comment from Corrente is priceless. Reprinted without permission:

Submitted by dws on Fri, 2008-05-02 08:25.
It’s almost as if he has something against vacuous opportunists.

27 Responses

  1. Great post! Before I retired I was a recruiter for a hospital. I never would have hired Obama ahead of Hillary because he lacks the experience and qualifications of the job description. Hiring someone lacking the background for the job is a disaster for the hiring manager and the candidate as well since it is a recipe for failure. The recruiters were sometimes encouraged by the hiring manager to overlook the deficiency, assuring us that this would all work itself out once the candidate hit the ground. Nine times out of ten we saw our predictions come true. Those mistakes cost the hospital in money, time, manpower, and morale. Just not worth the risk.

  2. We knew this but it’s always good to know we were right.

    BTW, George Stephanopolous’ Sunday show will be a 2 (?) hour town hall with Hillary. Spread the word!


  3. New Insider Advantage Indiana poll:

    Clinton: 47
    Obama: 40

  4. I said a few days ago expect a vicious attack on Hillary.

    So far there have been two, plus that goofy guy in Inane-diana.

    The Boiz are doing a furious haka but it’s kaka.

  5. Thanks for the great article, RD. I guess we can expect Dr. Aldolf Reed to be righeously swiftboated over the weekend by the blogger boyz. I hope someone warned him that he’ll be getting gobs of angry e-mails and death threats.

  6. in other developments, Keith O. has his knickers in a twist about Hillary’s appearance on Bill O.’s show. K.O. opines that her “appearance with O’Reilly is more pathetic and revelatory than it is outrageous.”

    How was her interview “outrageous”, you might wonder? Keith: “She was doing a freakin’ info-mercial.”

    K.O. bleats on in search of attention for several pathetic, revelatory paragraphs atop the dkos Rec list – challenging, but not yet besting a diary that diagnoses the Kantor clip as “bait”. He sounds obsessed to a degree that’s downright creepy … and he sounds tired.

  7. Hmm…Does KO know that Obama was on Fox last Sunday spewing right wing talking points? I feel sorry for Obamamann. He picked the wrong horse and now he’s going to lose his shirt. Poor, poor Keith. What a loser.

  8. YES SHE CAN! C’mon seismic victory and welcome Hillary with open arms (May 6th). 🙂

  9. Plus the ratings for Billo were through the roof for those segments so that must have sent KO into spasms as well. When Hillary has that 2 hour town meeting on Sunday she will be answering questions from the audience. Obama will be softballing it with Russert.

    ws: That poll number is great.

  10. Joseph Cannon has a sobering post up about Sen. and Mrs. Obama’s involvement in corruption in Chicago politics, backed up by recent testimony in the Rezko trial. Is there any doubt that all of this will be splattered across front pages during the general election?

    Rezko kept huge amounts of money in a private safe to be used for payoffs to polititicans. Obama either met with or talked to Rezko nearly every day.

  11. OMG. I’m famous! 😉

    Love the site, riverdaughter.

  12. What another great line from the article:

    “And, while it makes some liberals feel good to think that a majority of the American electorate could vote for a black Presidential candidate, we should keep in mind that the Republicans haven’t let one dog out of the kennel against him yet. The Jeremiah Wright contretemps is only the first bark.”

    Woof Woof

  13. KO is really nutz. Was he upset with Obama’s sit down with Wallace(who clearly has a crush on Obama)? I’m going to guess,no. But facts are stubborn things, and the fact is O’Reilly has the most reach because it’s the most watched cable news program. Cable news is nothing more than infotainment and this election has taught me they all have their biases, so really who cares? She did a great job. What does he mean “infomercial”?

  14. Interesting; NBC News Obama reporter just said Obama had realized people didn’t know that much about him.

    Okaaaaay — how many months has be been campaigning for president?

  15. <i.WS, on May 2nd, 2008 at 5:23 pm Said:
    New Insider Advantage Indiana poll:

    Clinton: 47
    Obama: 40

    13% undecided? And did they poll R’s like to vote in the Dem primary?

  16. jawbone: 15 months!!!

    bostonboomer: Saw that too. You don’t have to be psychic to figure out that there is something nefarious between them.

    And I looked at the piece on Huff regarding KO going off the rails. What is this guys problem? She is running for office in a pretty close race and he practically calls her a succubus. Has anyone ever noticed that KO never has a guest with an opposing viewpoint? All the same people who only show up long enough to validate one another’s point of view. Give Fox some credit they do invite the opposition if only to shout them down but the invitation is still out here. KO, never.

  17. BTD at TalkLeft also picks up on K.O.’s latest Big Orange emission.

    Swerving back on topic, Dr. Reed drops the “neoliberal” label on Obama without much explanation. When I listen to Obama, I hear a man with a profound distrust of the powers of government, and a naive optimism regarding the powers of markets.

    Perhaps someday he’ll be the first black Republican President.

  18. Did you read the *comments* by Keith?!

    But It Isn’t Dislike of HER

    This is about her campaign and those who have directed it. I have seen them try to alter or break every rule of the game to which they have previously agreed. I have seen them run advertisements that could have been swapped into the Bush reelection campaign. I have heard them create ridiculous postulates about thresholds and experience that might be to her favor and not to Obama’s, but are certainly going to be to McCain’s favor and not to hers. I have watched them alter the metric of who is winning so often that the only one not yet tried is “Ladies First.”

    On the logical, ethical, historical, and party-definitional levels, my sensibilities have been offended. And because I have not been willing to agree that it would somehow be a good thing for a presidential nomination to be decided in a back room, in favor of a candidate whose nomination is now being transparently campaigned for by the far right – because I haven’t done that I’ve been picketed as a sexist, described as less “fair” than Fox News, and gotten death threats.

    I have pulled punches against her. Repeatedly. Sometimes on a personal-I-just-can’t-do-this basis. And as to those who have applied the Bushian Formulae to her campaign, I think I’ve been fair.

    The ugliness you perceive in the coverage, emanates from the covered.

  19. OT – Just when you think you’ve heard the lowest diss against Hill…

    Current diary title at the cheeto joint, “Senator Obama please take your foot and step on her throat! ” Lovely, just lovely. You really have to wonder about anyone capable of writing something like that.

  20. ufa– Don’t let my kids read this post, but please to you think Obama has the guts, the will, the power to step on Hillary’s throat and end it? That is the problem Obama is a wimp and Hillary has more strength than 10 (maybe 20) average men. Have you seen her on the campaign trail? How many vacations has he taken and he still looks tired. Hillary has the stamina because she is driven to change the country. Obama was sold a bill of goods. He was told it would be easy!! Pelosi, Kennedy, Kerry and Daschle lied it is not easy!!!

  21. Pat and jawbone,

    here are the internals of the Insider Advantage poll:

    Women: 52%
    Men: 48%

    AA: 10%
    White: 87%

    And yes, the Insider Advantage poll included Republicans/Independents as well.

    Democrat: 63%
    Republican: 8%
    Independent: 30%
    (these figures are rounded up so its 62.something percent etc.)

    There was also the Downs Center poll that was released today (Obama led by 5 in their last poll and now Hillary is leading by 7) .

    Clinton: 52
    Obama: 45

    Survey USA will release their last Indiana and NC poll on Sunday or Monday (crosses fingers)

  22. I thought about doing another “Unintentional Ironies” post on K.O.’s meltdown, but there’s probably more interesting material out there – what’s cooking at the NC Jeff/Jack dinner?

  23. How many contests will the Obamabots not count so that Obama can “win?”


    Chuck Todd is not counting Puerto Rico and will put them in a column alongside Florida and Michigan:

    “What about Puerto Rico, where pundits suggest a million voters could take part in a June 3 primary?

    CNN remains undecided. The Times and RCP will include them. NBC’s Todd is less enthusiastic. “The superdelegates probably aren’t going to care,” he says, adding that he may include them, but segregate the results like Michigan and Florida, allowing viewers to indulge in a bit of choose-your-own-tally.”

    So from Chuck Todd’s estimation, superdelegates “don’t care” about Florida and Michigan. These same superdelegates (supposedly) will throw Puerto Rico in the “don’t count” contest pile.

    I wonder what MSNBC’s Puerto Rico primary coverage will be like?

  24. ronkseattle

    I’m wating to see a repeat of the nc jeff jack dinner on c-span. I wanted to go, but we had to head down to the coast this weekend, so I couldn’t cover it. Hillary was going to have a big rally all day at Dorton Arena and then speak to the crowd after the dinner. Anyone out there from the Triangle area attend?

  25. It will be reaired on CSPAN at 12:38

  26. We know she wins voters every time she debates.

    Has anyone noticed she has always arranged that in the last couple days before each primary, to be in a situation where she shines (on policy) prereably in a debate or, if she can’t get Obama to agree to one, a similar forum for her to show her superior skill and detailed understanding of how good policy can help us.

    Obama is better in inspirational speech, and that appeals to other types of voters. But where she is the stronger candidate is in one on one conversational discussion of policy.

    Right before SuperTuesday: Kodack Theatre debate
    Right before Ohio/Texas: Ohio debate, (+Daily Show)
    Right before PA: (second hour of) ABC debate(otherwise silly)
    Right before Indiana/NC: (Obama spurned the Lincoln/Douglass flatbed truck debate spurned by Obama, so) so she will take town hall questions on Sunday.

    Obama is not being as smart schedualing a MTP interview opposite her as he is a bit boring in one on ones. His fans like to see their own great hordes get in line validating their judgement.

    She really got a chance to show this expertise on O’Reilly/Faux.

    The ratings for that episode jumped through the roof: 6 times his audience, so even though its Faux, she was able to reach potential voters and make clear to them that she knows America worked with 90% top tax rates in the 40’s and 50’s. O’Reilly’s audience remembers those good old days but this good government policy is news to them having been so propogandised by the VRWC.

    She shamed the YOYO party into agreeing that the rich should pay higher taxes. She did this by owning up to being(now)among those rich who should pay higher taxes, and making her equally rich O’Reilly squirm and admit he too should pay higher taxes.

    Since that selfishness is the essence of what Republicans sell to their YOYO’s, this was a terrific GE battle against not just Republican wannabe Obama but the real thing: McCain.

  27. Another interesting analysis of Obama and Wright-gate: are white liberals just as responsible for the double-standard that requires blacks to denounce each other? http://dissentingjustice.blogspot.com/2008/05/sinister-minister-race-wright-and-obama.html#links

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