Sunday, September 20, 2009

Obama Can’t Talk About Race Even If He Wants To




Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The bitter truth is that President Obama can’t talk about race even if he wants to. This has absolutely nothing to do with his mixed racial upbringing, or his straddle of many worlds. It has everything to do with politics.
If Obama spoke out on race he’d confirm the deep suspicions of the right that he’s a closet racial panderer, ala Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. He’d also get creamed as a Democrat who tilts to minorities. Democratic presidents and candidates Clinton, Gore, and Kerry in four presidential elections avoided that tag like the plague. It was deemed a political kiss of death. Obama followed the same script to the letter during the presidential campaign. He talked race only when he was shoved to the wall forced to denounce his former pastor Jeremiah Wright. That was the price to save his campaign.

Obama well knows that the GOP lost an election, but it still packs a wallop. It can disrupt, obstruct, and create chaos for his administration, his political agenda, and him personally. And it does it not only because that’s the warfare that Republicans wage against Democrats anyway, but because the GOP has masterfully reignited its populist base against Obama. The base is rock solid conservative, lower income white male loyalists, with a heavy mix of hard line Christian fundamentalists. Despite the GOP’s wailing that racism has nothing to do with the white fury at Obama, the final presidential vote gave ample warning that many white voters do not and will not accept a black president. Contrary to popular belief, McCain (not Obama) won a slim majority of the vote of white independents in the final tally. Obama bombed badly among Southern and Heartland America white voters. They gave McCain nearly 60 percent of the overall white vote. The percentage he got was even higher among white males.

McCain would not have been competitive in the presidential campaign without their vote. The flip side is that Obama would not have been competitive if African-American voters had not turned his election into a virtual holy crusade and gave him a record percentage and record number of their vote. Hispanic, Asian, young voters, and a significant percentage of independents, and progressives also gave him overwhelming support.
It's true that blue collar white voters have shrunk from more than half of the nation's voters in the past decade to less than forty percent in national elections. This hardly means that the GOP's white vote strategy is doomed to fail. Elections are usually won by candidates with a solid and impassioned core of bloc voters. White males, particularly older white males, vote consistently and faithfully. And they vote in a far greater percentage than Hispanics and blacks have in most elections.

Blue collar white male voters can be easily aroused to vote on the emotional wedge issues; abortion, family values, anti-gay marriage and rights, and tax cuts. GOP presidents and aspiring presidents, Nixon, Reagan, Bush Sr. and W. Bush, and McCain and legions of GOP governors, senators and congresspersons banked on these voters for victory and to seize and maintain regional and national political dominance. It didn’t work for the GOP in 2008 only because of Bush. His mangle of the war and the economy, and the terrible stench of GOP corruption and sex scandals, was too much even for legions of traditional GOP voters to stomach. Their vote for Obama or more likely their decision not to vote at all was more a personal and visceral reaction to their horror of the mess Bush and the GOP made of things. The GOP may well be an insular party of Deep South and narrow Heartland, rural and, non-college educated blue collar whites. But this isn’t a demographic to sneer at. Their numbers are still huge.
The recent straw poll among religious conservatives which put former Arkansas Deep South, religious fundamentalist governor Mike Huckabee at the top of their vote heap as their presidential pick in 2012 should not be laughed off or ridiculed. Huckabee’s base will be the same conservative white voters who turned out in record numbers to put Bush over the top twice in 2000 and 2004. They haven’t gone away. And race always lurks just underneath the surface to add an ugly but potent color to their vote and national politics.

If Obama ran around and talked candidly about race or tried to spark a dialogue on race as some clamor it would turn his administration into a referendum on race. This would set the GOP counterinsurgency on fire. Obama can’t talk about race even if he wants to.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His forthcoming book, How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge (Middle Passage Press) will be released in January, 2010.

2 comments:

Buffalo Soldier 9 said...

How do you keep a people down? You 'never' let them 'know' their history.

The 7th Cavalry got their butts in a sling again after the Little Big Horn incident, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn't for the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry. Read, and visit site/history, rescueatpineridge.com

Ms. Cris Ericson said...

CRIS ERICSON says: BIRTHERS!
REQUEST NEW FEC RULE
REQUIRING ALL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES
TO PROVIDE THEIR
ORIGINAL LONG FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE!
http://www.fec.gov

TITLE 11 CFR (CODE OF FEDERAL REGULATIONS) Section 105.3
Place of filing; Presidential candidates and their principal campaign
committees (2 U.S.C. 432(g)(4).
All designations, statements, reports, and notices, as well as any
modifications(s) or amendments(s) thereto, required to be filed
under 11 CFR parts 101, 102 and 104 by a candidate for nomination
for election or election to the office of President or Vice President
of the United States or by his or her principal campaign committee
shall be filed in ORIGINAL FORM with the FEDERAL ELECTION
COMMISSION.

11 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Chapter 1, Subchapter A
Section 111.4
COMPLAINTS
[2 U.S.C. Section 437g(a)(1)]
(a) Any person who believes that a violation of any statute or
regulation over which the Commission has jurisdiction has occurred
or is about to occur may file a complaint in writing to the
General Counsel, Federal Election Commission, 999 E Street,
NW., Washington, DC 20463. If possible, three (3) copies
should be submitted.
(b) A complaint shall comply with the following:
(1) It shall provide the full name and address of the complainant ; and
(2) The contents of the complaint shall be sworn to and signed in the
presence of a notary public and shall be notarized.

The Federal Election Commission oversees all the money spent
in campaigns for federal office.
11 CFR Ch. 1 Part 101 Section 101.2 CANDIDATE AS AGENT
OF AUTHORIZED COMMITEE [2 U.S.C. Section 432(e)(2)]

QUESTION: BECAUSE THE CANDIDATE IS THE AUTHORIZED
AGENT OF THE COMMITTEE, THEN, THEREFORE,
SHOULD
THE DUTIES OF THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION
INCLUDE DETERMINING IF EACH CANDIDATE FOR
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS IN FACT A
NATURAL BORN CITIZEN by providing their original
long form birth certificate?

11 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Ch. 1, Subchapter B
Part 200
PETITIONS FOR RULEMAKING

11 CFR Ch.1, SubCh. B, Section 200.2 PROCEDURAL
REQUIREMENTS
(a) ANY INTERESTED PERSON MAY FILE WITH THE COMMISSION
A WRITTEN PETITION FOR THE ISSUANCE, AMENDMENT, OR
REPEAL OF A RULE IMPLEMENTING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING
STATUTES:
(1) The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended, 2 U.S.C. 431 et seq.;
(2) The Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act, as amended, 26 U.S.C. 9001 et seq.;
(3) The Presidential Primary Matching Payment Account Act, as amended, 26 U.S.C. 9031
et seq.;
(4) The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552; or
(5) Any other law that the Commission is required to implement and administer,

(b) THE PETITION SHALL
(1) Include the name and address of the Petitioner or Agent. An Authorized
Agent of the Petitioner may submit the Petition, but the Agent shall disclose
the identitify of this or her principal;
(2) Identify itself as a PETITION for the ISSUANCE, AMENDMENT, OR REPEAL of a rule;
(3) Identify the specific section(s) of the regulations to be affected;
(4) Set forth the factual and legal grounds on which the petitioner relies,
in support of the proposed action; and
(5) Be addressed and submitted to the
FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION, OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL,
999 E STREET, NW., WASHINGTON, DC 20463.
(c) The petition may include draft regulatory language that would effectuate
the petitionser's proposal.
(d) The Commission may, in its discretion, treat a document that fails to
conform to the format requirements of paragraph (b) of this section as a basis for a
sua sponte rulemaking. For example, the Commission may consider whether to
intitiate a rulemaking project addressing issues raised in an advisory opinion request
submitted under 11 CFR 112.1 or in a complaint filed under 11 CFR 111.4. However, the
Commission need not follow the procedures of 11 CFR 200.3 in these instances.

Ms. Cris Ericson may be reached at http://crisericson.com
CRIS ERICSON
2010 VOTE CRIS ERICSON