See today’s Washington Post article. There’s a whole bunch of stuff we talk about routinely in barbershops. But for some reason the only thing that comes out as “courageous” and “authentic” is the stuff that points to black people as the root of our problems. Now there’s some funny writing in this article like:
Obama, too, employs a slightly different style of speechmaking in front of black audiences, invoking, for example, a hypothetical “Cousin Pookie” in a speech in Selma, Ala., to talk about African Americans who do not vote. But while Obama has eschewed overt appeals to black voters, comparable to the way Hillary Clinton targets women with specific policy proposals, the substance of his remarks to African Americans, some Obama allies say, reflects an ability to speak about issues that a nonblack candidate probably could not have.
Earlier the writer shuts down his own argument by noting that Obama’s speechifying borrows a lot from Bill Clinton, who last I checked wasn’t black. But what jumped out at me on first reading was the comparison to Hilary. Is the author saying that Clinton HAS targeted women with specific policy proposals? If she HAS, then what we have here with Obama ISN’T comparable. Because as far as I know Obama has only targeted black people to speak tough love to them. And that’s not the type of target we need. Around now damn near everyone with a mic is blaming black people for our problems–our lack of discipline, our apathy, our language, our lack of self-love.
That’s all bs. Sounds good on paper. But it’s empirically false, and cannot serve as the basis for anything substantive and progressive politically.
John Edwards announced his candidacy in New Orleans. He’s the first major presidential candidate in several election cycles to talk about poverty and inequality as structural rather than personal failings.
So as far as I’m concerned, Obama is 0-1.Â A few more pitches to go…we’ll see what we see.