The Washington Post ran an article about the two messages and styles of Bill Clinton vs. Michelle Obama. Yall already know where I stand on a return of Bill to the White House (please no!), but there are many positive reasons to prefer Michelle.

Our own rikyrah has been a big Michelle supporter for some time. You can check out all of our Michelle Obama posts and get a glimpse here:

I love this woman!

I tried…I really really tried to be a ‘skeptic’. I tried being cynical, hardened, jaded, and ‘too smart to fall for this’. I really did.

But, Michelle pulled me in.

From the moment she took the stage, she commanded it. There’s something about her; something so earthy and grounded, and REAL, that she connects with you immediately. As she spoke about growing up on the South Side of Chicago, and how she spoke of her father, and the example that he and her mother provided for her and her brother, it was as if she was talking about my father, and any number of Black men that I knew growing up.

hat tip: poster gregory here at JJP

From the

Bill Clinton Prepares Mea Culpa
UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. ET: It looks like former president Bill Clinton will not have to make an apology to the congregations of black churches in South Central Los Angeles after all. At least not in writing.

Our posting on Bill Clinton’s “mea culpa” tour (as we worded it) to African American in L.A. this weekend (ahead of Tuesday’s hotly contested California primary) apparently caused much consternation inside the Clinton campaign. Campaign officials scrambled Saturday to dispel the notion that the former president will be making any form of an apology.

The Clinton camp asked Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) to clarify remarks she made in an interview with The Sleuth on Friday evening in which she said Clinton needed to “renew his relationship with the South Central community” after turning off voters in her district with his racially tinged comments during the South Carolina primary campaign.

To achieve that, Watson said she had asked the former president to write a letter “explaining his commitment to civil rights and equal rights.”

“He knows what needs to be in it: He needs to renew his relationship with the South Central community,” Watson said Friday evening.

But on Saturday, things changed after the Clinton campaign called Watson who then told The Sleuth there will be no letter after all. She had mistakenly thought, she said, that Clinton would not be able to speak inside the churches on Sunday and, therefore, had asked him to put his thoughts in writing.

“I just learned he will be able to speak,” Watson said. “So there will be no need for any kind of letter.”

But what about mending fences with voters who felt Clinton had unfairly injected race into the campaign? “He can do that now in person in true Bill Clinton fashion — personally and verbally,” Watson said.

So, he doesn’t even respect folks enough to put it in writing. Why am I not surprised.


I thought the Clinton campaign didn’t do anything wrong?

That those of us pointing out the Dogwhistle Politics…well, we were just ‘ Obama agitators that were IMAGINING things.’

Uh huh.

Here’s something from Diane Watson in an earlier article:

Watson predicts Clinton’s visit to churches in her district and his letter of apology will be enough to mend fences with those who once considered him one of their own. “I think it will be a good day,” she says.

One of their own? Her handkerchief’s on too tight.

So, rikyrah, why is Bill doing this phony tour?

Well, loyal reader, putting on my tinfoil hat, here’s what comes across my skeptical mind:

1. Hillary’s Handkerchief Heads are indeed beginning to seriously look like Handkerchief Heads.

You don’t think that Waters, Watson, Rangel, et al, have been getting ‘ that look’ from their constituents? We know Black Code. We know that there was a way to support Hillary Clinton without denigrating and disrespecting Barack Obama, which is what more than a few of the HHH Brigade have done. And, in staying MUTE, while Clinton has been pulling this Dogwhistle Racial Politics on Obama…well, it makes Black folk, even those that weren’t warm towards Obama, raise their eyebrows towards the HHH. Even if they don’t say anything in the presence of the HHH, and they nod politely as the HHH make their case for Hillary, the HHH know the Black Code too.

2. The Southern Strategy all out in the open.

When it could be blamed on Obama Agitators and Their Imagination…when it could be left to Black Radio, Black Talk Radio, and Black Newspapers….basically, when it was only Black folk discussing it amongst themselves, then the Clintons and their defenders were so dismissive of the Black Blogosphere when we sounded the alarm. The damn began to break when Donna Brazile and then Rep. Clyburn spoke up. Then, all of a sudden, it wasn’t in our IMAGINATIONS anymore.

3. The Kennedy blowback. The Kennedys standing with Obama, declaring HE was the future – there was no more authoritative voice.

4. The Black/Latino divide.

Now, everyone knows that I’m no ‘ Kumbaya’ person when it comes to Latinos. But, the obviousness of it -from that quote by the Hillary pollster to stoke the fires of Black/Brown dissention, to her ‘ The Shit Aint Subtle, and You Aint Slick’ response in the last debate about illegal immigration, when she deliberately tried to pit Black vs. Brown…..Black folk are fast being hip to it, and surprise, so are some Latinos.

Bottom line: I think the CA polling is telling her that she’s losing some of the White vote, and, gasp, she’s losing some of the Latino FIREWALL, and thus, you mean, that those NEGROES, are back to being important again?Actually, I don’t think that’s the case- at all. For now, this church tour is about White voters, to convince them that the South Carolina narrative wasn’t REALLY all that bad. That the Clintons were just ‘ misunderstood’.

UPDATE: Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll in California has OBAMA LEADING!


Well, well, well…….guess those Black votes aren’t so insignificant after all…


UPDATE#2- There is someting called the Field Poll.. Seems to be the gold standard in California.

Latest Field Poll:

Clinton 36, Obama 34, Undecided 18.

For comparison, Field’s 1/22 numbers were Clinton 39, Obama 27, Undecided 20

cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

Blog readers, here’s yet another account from an Obama volunteer, Marisa Darden, who traveled to South Carolina. It’s a letter she sent out to friends and gave us permission to post here…

Hey All,

I know I haven’t spoken to some of you in quite awhile, but I wanted to share a little bit about a weekend that has really changed my belief on politics and this upcoming election. I’ve been wanting to send this out for days, but it’s been more than difficult trying to encapsulate the true depth and emotion that I feel when I think about the tremendous history that is being created, and how one candidate so emphatically embodies our nation’s future.

I have been a Barack Obama fan since his DNC speech in 2004. While I was excited to know he’d be running for president, I have been in awe of his campaign from afar, subconsciously worried about his chances at a real shot for the White House, and reluctant to put my full weight behind this rising star. I signed up to help in the South Carolina Primary, mostly because I wanted to do something, rather than just sit and bitch and complain about the state of politics today. I signed up a few days before the Iowa Caucuses.

Wednesday after class, I drove to Kingstree, South Carolina, located in Williamsburg County. The county is the second poorest county in the state, and is overwhelmingly African-American. More information about the county can be found on Wikipedia. While I had motivated several other Duke Law students to come down and participate, no one else wanted to skip school (ha!), so I went alone, really not knowing what to expect. Obama had about 80 paid staffers in South Carolina, and three of them were mobilizing in this county. They had a great ground effort going, but it was clear they needed our help. About 2 hours before I got there, 7 Harvard post-graduate students had also come to Kingstree to help, and they turned out to be a godsend, taking me under their wing and providing hours of entertainment and fun. The campaign arranged for me to stay with a family in neighboring Greeleyville, where me and the Harvard kids all stayed.

It turns out I made a great choice coming down early, because Senator Obama was coming to Kingstree the next day! Bright and early last Thursday, the other volunteers and I made our way to one of the two high schools in the county to set up and prepare for Obama’s visit. The crowd was almost all Black, but spanned all ages. It was an amazing turnout for a Thursday morning, and Sen. Obama spoke for 30 minutes, giving a similar version of his stump speech. The crowd was clearly enthralled by the Senator, though they got bored pretty easily when he went into too much detail about his policies. This crowd responded to the rhetoric mostly, and there was very little Clinton-bashing, even though Bill Clinton had been in the area the day before, disparaging the Obama campaign. After the rally, the Senator came out to thank all the volunteers, was very polite, and shook everyone’s hand. We were all really excited, and motivated to keep working towards his win.

Friday, I spent the day going door to door in Kingstree and Greeleyville, stopping at homes that had been earmarked by the campaign as Obama supporters. Door to Door isn’t exactly accurate, particularly in Greeleyville, where it seemed as though we were going “quarter-mile to quarter-mile” because the houses were so far apart. This was where the county’s poverty was most apparent because most of the homes were permanently placed double-wide trailers that were run down and dilapidated. A few highlights from the day:

  • I fell through a porch
  • I received a marriage proposal (I said maybe… hold the gifts)
  • Chased by a rotweiler on a very long leash…
  • I met an 86 year old African-American woman who had 11 children, all grown and successful. She told me that she felt this election wasn’t about her because she was “on the way out.” Instead, she was voting for Obama because she wanted her grandchildren to see that they could achieve anything and be anything they put their mind to. She told me that she hadn’t seen anything like this since Dr. King, whom she met in the 1960′s.
  • A group of construction workers told me I was “preaching to the choir” about Obama, because their pastor had told them all about the campaign and Obama. I heard this a lot- pastors played a tremendous part in the grassroots campaign. Those of you from the south aren’t likely surprised how entwined religion and politics are, but I guess I had never seen it in action. I walked away grateful that the pastors were on our side.

Everyone was genuine, friendly, and sincere, and I really recommend the experience to anyone who has a passion and wants to help others understand their motivation.

Friday night we went to a volunteer meeting and heard a rousing speech from a community leader who stressed the historical legacy of this time in Williamsburg County. No only had no presidential candidate ever come to their county, he said he had never seen so many people of the community get involved and participate in their government. It moved him almost to tears to talk about how long he had been in the community and how proud he was to be able to help mobilize for a candidate he truly believed in. I walked out energized and ready to take on Primary Day.

Saturday brought surprises and interesting challenges. I had two jobs during voting day: throughout the course of the day, I was on standby to do “Voter Protection” work, which is a fancy term for lawyers (and law students) who make sure that everyone at the polls gets a chance to vote and those associated with the Obama campaign, like poll watchers, etc., weren’t denied the ability to do their jobs. There were several other attorneys and law students in the area, so I only ended up handling one issue. Around 6.30 a.m., we were called to a voting place in Kingstree where the (white) poll captains were denying our (black) poll watcher from being able to check off the number of voters and those who are Obama fans (that’s legally allowed). Our poll checker was a 17-year-old who was very frustrated and confused when we arrived. He didn’t want to confront the women directly, but kept saying “I just want to be a part of history.” After sweet talking the poll captain and politely informed her of his right to poll watch, she made a call and came back fairly agreeable. I was nervous while we tried to handle the situation because I wasn’t familiar with the underlying racial tensions of the community, and didn’t know how I’d be received. Some of the locals had warned us that tensions ran high, and there had been some church bombings of black churches in the area just a few years ago. In the end, the incident went off without a hitch.

My second job turned out to be far more interesting. My job as a “runner” required me to go to three targeted precincts several times throughout the day and obtain various information from the poll watcher. I would take the information back to the Obama local “staging area,” where we’d call the Obama supporters on file who hadn’t yet voted. Our staging location had about 20 or so volunteers in and out all day, many of whom had slept there the night before to prepare everything. There was food, laughter and a common mission to share. Joining the student cohort was a carload of University of Connecticut undergraduates who drove 17 hours on Friday and were going back Sunday morning. The hubris of the young! I had to take a nap at one point, having gotten no more than about 10 hours of sleep the previous nights. After 3 visits to each of the precincts, I returned to the staging area to help the phone people make the final push of calls to get people out to vote. The day’s organization was tremendous. Volunteers knew what to do, who to call if they had questions or concerns, and where to go. I was very impressed.

Me and another law student left our posts and drove straight to Columbia for the big rally. We were anticipating a victory, but didn’t know until friends and loved ones called us to report the big news that Obama had cleaned up. In Williamsburg County alone, he beat Clinton by 58 percentage points, and the county had record turnout.

I know this is long, but I wanted to share my experiences with you. After hearing Obama’s victory speech (which moved me to tears), I am more convinced than ever that Senator Obama not only could be president, but should be. His ability to use a message of hope to rally people to possess a vested interest in change. This is a man who has convinced thousands of Americans to participate in their government, many of them for the first time.

Politics by design are decisive. Many believe they have no place in social or academic relationships. Forgive me for thinking that’s crap. If I believed in the most reliable and trustworthy vacuum cleaner, or stain remover, I wouldn’t hesitate to share my discovery with those I love. And while those who do know and love me know that the odds of me USING a home appliance or stain remover are slim to none, the analogy is nonetheless useful. This is no different. We may not agree. But the discussion is half the battle.

Thank you for reading. Please email me if you want to talk, share a response, or have any specific questions about Senator Obama and his positions. I’d also encourage anyone to visit his website to learn more.

Debate Open Thread

1 Feb 2008

Discuss what you saw last night!

I missed it. Was on a plane and am mad that CNN is not compelled by law to provide complete downloadable video and audio within 2 hours of the debate’s close. Aside from my bitterness, I want to know what you think.

Liza Sabater, blogger extraordinaire at Culture Kitchen (among other places) has come out for Obama. Liza describes herself as “black Puerto Rican” and dropped a Spanish (Una carta abierta para Barack Obama) and English version.

Here’s an excerpt from the English side:

I am not a poet by any stretch of the imagination. I just find it really interesting that the only way I could work through my ambivalence about Obama was through poetic prose and that I could only do so in Spanish.

Why have I been ambivalent? I actually believe he is going to be a great President, even better than what Hillary Clinton could be. I am just cautious because, he will be after all the first black president, and I do believe in such a thing as “the curse of the first one out”.

Hat tip: icebergslim over at DailyKos


Breaking: Obama raises $32 million in January
Posted: 11:55 AM ET

Obama has raised over $30 million in January.
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — Democrat Barack Obama raised $32 million in the month of January alone for his presidential bid, CNN’s Candy Crowley confirms.

That total roughly equals his previous best three-month fundraising haul.

The campaign would not divulge how much money it has on hand — a more accurate measure of a campaign’s financial health going forward.

A campaign source also tells CNN the Illinois senator received contributions from 170,000 new donors in January.

The Clinton campaign would not indicate how much money it had raised in the same time period.

I think his fundraising abilities have helped him a great deal in this race.

cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

I’m in a California hotel after giving a talk to students at the Five Colleges consortium in Claremont. (great students BTW).

I turned on Anderson Cooper, and he had Claire McCaskill and Stephanie Tubbs Jones on talking about Obama and Clinton, respectively. Tubbs Jones tried to act like Florida was such a big deal, blah blah.

Then it occurred to me what really bothers me about her:

Stephanie Tubbs Jones doesn’t close her mouth when she’s not speaking. Look!

There’s just something not right about that. That’s all I have to say in the mean department.

Elsewhere in thought land, I kicked it with a group from the school for several hours, and someone mentioned an idea I hadn’t even considered.

If Barack Obama used gender against Clinton in the way she used race against him, he’d be dead. Her folks calculated that you could dis black folks who stand at only 12 percent of the population. He can’t rightly dis over 50 percent of the electorate. Nasty.

I’m gonna be on a TV-less plane during the one -on-one debate tonight, so yall have to watch and take good notes for me!

I find it so interesting that Alec Baldwin got so much static for publishing this piece. I actually sort of enjoyed it. It’s like a surreal, funhouse of mirrors walk inside a tightened, frightened mind. I’ve heard friends with racist parents, particularly their dads, describe their backwards-thinking parent affectionately as an “Archie Bunker“.

Most white people in my experience — conservative or liberal — seem to respond positively to Barack Obama, even if they preferred another candidate. He’s almost like the Lenny Kravitz or Darius Rucker (from Hootie and the Blowfish) or Wayne Brady of politics. I don’t mean that in a bad way, either. Those men all broke down social barriers in their own way.

So it’s fascinating to see what a white person who really doesn’t like Obama is actually thinking. This piece is the naked truth of the savage racist mind. There’s no filter from this “Archie Bunker”. For those of you with Archie Bunkers for parents, only you can decide what level of ignorance and hatred you personally can tolerate from those in your life. And what you plan to do about it.

I also find it interesting that Baldwin had to explain (though probably not to his minority readers) why he posted it after the paper’s weak apology.

I don’t see how anyone can ask, “Why reprint this? They pulled it from their website.” So, essentially, leave it alone? Well, why bother doing anything worthwhile? Why vote? Why go to church or school? Why learn the violin or read a book? We expose racism, real racism, because it is a worthwhile thing to do.

To those who believe hatred should be ignored, I give you the sad facts of what bigotry unconfronted tends to become over time. Violence, discrimination, ethnic cleansing, genocide. Whether it’s religious intolerance or racism, we turn away or wink at society’s grave peril. Thank you, Alec for publishing this.

I’m tempted to go line-by-line and analyze this opinion piece. It’s so rich with history, information, mis-information, confusion and ignorance. It’s also pretty shake-your-head hilarious. Still, like any “work of art”, perhaps the final impression is best left in the eye of the beholder. For the unenlightened though, I refer you to the Nobel Prize winners bio page for Dr. Martin Luther King which explains that he earned his doctorate from Boston University, completing his studies in 1955.

Let me know your favorite part….You can find the original here.

Spinning The Snub

30 Jan 2008

The Washington Press Corps, watching the State of the Union Address like it was an episode of Saved By The Bell, decided that the big story of the SOTU wasn’t the flagging economy, or the war in Iraq, but rather the fact that Zack Obama and Kelly Clinton didn’t make out during the speech.

When members of the Senate entered the chamber, Obama came in before Clinton. He went out of his way to greet as many House members as possible and walked halfway across the chamber to greet members of the Supreme Court, the president’s cabinet, the military joint chiefs.

That made what happened next even more striking. Obama returned to stand by his seat next to Sen. Edward Kennedy who endorsed Obama today in a widely watched event that reverberated across the political world.

As Clinton approached, Kennedy made sure to make eye contact and indicated he wanted to shake her hand. Clinton leaned towards Kennedy over a row of seats and Kennedy leaned in towards her. They shook hands.

Obama stood icily staring at Clinton during this, then turned his back and stepped a few feet away. Kennedy may’ve wanted to make peace with Clinton but Obama clearly wanted no part of that.

As president, Obama has said he would meet with the U.S.’s enemies without precondition. But making nice with Clinton apparently is another mattter after the increasingly angry fight the two have waged, with charges and countercharges, for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Can we trust Obama’s promise to meet with leaders of rival states without possibly snubbing them by not buying them a milkshake and a slice of pizza at The Max?

The Snub, as this moment has been dubbed, will plod along for weeks and possibly become a part of the political vocabulary. The Clinton campaign was hoping a delegateless win in Florida would halt the momentum of Obama’s win in South Carolina, but instead they’ve fallen ass-backwards into this story, which ultimately places Hillary in the only role in which she gets positive press: as a victim. It is the only role in which our sexist media has decided it is appropriate to treat her sympathetically.

The danger which Obama and Hillary face is in deviating from the script of their assigned roles based on race and gender. The problem is that for each of them, running in itself is deviating from accepted social norms.

The Snub is, like many other political flashpoints, (Dean Scream, Bush Poll Surge, Clinton Collapse, “This is Good For John McCain”) a press fabrication.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the Illinois senator said all the talk swirling around the moment the two crossed paths Monday night is much ado about nothing.

“I was surprised by sort of the reports this morning,” Obama told reporters. “You know there was the photograph in the Times about, sort of, me turning away. I was turning away because [Sen.] Claire [McCaskill] asked me a question as Sen. [Ted] Kennedy was reaching for her.”

“Sen. Clinton and I have very cordial relations off the floor and on the floor. I waved at her as we were coming into the Senate chamber before we walked over last night,” he continued. “I think that there’s just a lot more tea leaf reading going on here than I think people are suggesting.”

How dare Obama tell the press what the story is! The Washington press as a group had already decided that The Snub was the big story of the evening. What else could possibly be as important?

The Chicago Tribune’s transparent effort to turn the story to something substantive is reminiscent of the Right Wing talking points last spring regarding Fox News. But even the attempt to turn The Snub into a serious story with the question “If he can’t shake Hillary’s hand, how will he talk to Hugo Chavez?” is obscured by the candid admission in the lede:

So President Bush has delivered his last State of the Union. And what everyone in the House press gallery is talking about isn’t the speech. Rather, it’s the snub.

It’s the story because that’s what everyone in the press gallery wanted to talk about. Not because it’s important, not because it even happened the way it’s been written, but because it’s all the cool kids in the press room wanted to talk about. Baseless speculation about the candidates’ personal interaction is, after all, easier than writing about something that matters.

UPDATE: Forgot to mention Steve M.’s take:

You can blame Bill Clinton for the fact that Democrats are covered this way, but I blame the Vanity Fair-ization of the political press — that is, the spreading of the notion that there simply isn’t a line that separates glitz and substance — and I remind you that VF has been fairly besotted with the Reagans since the 1980s. But Clinton went Hollywood, and he was popular, and Republicans, especially Bush, were openly contemptuous of Hollywood and glitz (and, in Bush’s case, even entertaining or staying up late), and Bush and the Republicans began to screw up everything they touched, and so political journalists who craved fabulousness began to associate it exclusively with the Democrats.

By November the Republicans will get to seem like the party of Main Street (even if the nominee is Mitt Romney, who seems as if he owns Main Street). As it is, right now they even get to hang out with celebrities (Huckabee with Chuck Norris, Rudy, lately, with Jon Voight) without seeming like people who hang out with celebrities. By now, the Democrats don’t even have to hang out with stars — the Clintons and Obama, at least, are the stars.


Shorter Maureen Dowd

30 Jan 2008

If Obama wasn’t such a limp wristed fairy of a man, he would never have objected to the war in Iraq.

With respects to Sadly No, of course.

I mean really, you can’t be a black man in this country and talk like an intelligent person without some idiot emasculating you for it.

Leave It To Racists

30 Jan 2008

To take all the fun out of making fun of Canada.

Last August, a blogger in Cincinnati going by the name CincyBlurg reported that a black friend from the southeastern U.S. had recently discovered that she was being called a Canadian. “She told me a story of when she was working in a shop in the South and she overheard some of her customers complaining that they were always waited on by a Canadian at that place. She didn’t understand what they were talking about and assumed they must be talking about someone else,” the blogger wrote.

“After this happened several times with different patrons, she mentioned it to one of her co-workers. He told her that ‘Canadian’ was the new derogatory term that racist Southerners were using to describe persons they would have previously referred to [with the N-word.]“

A similar case in Kansas City was reported last year on a Listserv, or electronic mailing list, used by linguistics experts. A University of Kansas linguist said that a waitress friend reported that “fellow workers used to use a name for inner-city families that were known to not leave a tip: Canadians. ‘Hey, we have a table of Canadians…. They’re all yours.’ “

America has some real serious issues with shame. People are so concerned about not being viewed as racist that now, they even have to mask their racial slurs in the interest of plausible deniability? Just say what you mean.

It’s not like we don’t already know what you think anyway. I’m mostly just pissed that these people have ruined my entire inventory of Canadian jokes.

Hat tip: Racialicious

The Holocaust and the Middle Passage aren’t really comparable, except as two of the most horrifying examples of genocide in human history. But can anyone see the United States ever coping with its role in the Middle Passage the way Germany seems to have done with the Holocaust?

On Monday, Germany’s minister of culture, Bernd Neumann, announced that construction could begin in Berlin on two monuments: one near the Reichstag, to the murdered Gypsies, known here as the Sinti and the Roma; and another not far from the Brandenburg Gate, to gays and lesbians killed in the Holocaust.

In November Germany broke ground on the long-delayed Topography of Terror center at the site of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters. And in October, a huge new exhibition opened at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. At the Dachau camp, outside Munich, a new visitor center is set to open this summer. The city of Erfurt is planning a museum dedicated to the crematoriums. There are currently two exhibitions about the role of the German railways in delivering millions to their deaths.

Wednesday is the 75th anniversary of the day Hitler and the Nazi Party took power in Germany, and the occasion has prompted a new round of soul-searching.

“Where in the world has one ever seen a nation that erects memorials to immortalize its own shame?” asked Avi Primor, the former Israeli ambassador to Germany, at an event in Erfurt on Friday commemorating the Holocaust and the liberation of Auschwitz. “Only the Germans had the bravery and the humility.”

America’s unwillingness to cope with the evil of chattel slavery is at least partially responsible for the next century of legalized discrimination and violence against African-Americans. Never has there ever been a sincere and widespread recognition of how awful slavery and reconstruction actually were, and as a result to this day both events are trivialized, most often by conservatives clinging to racist beliefs. South Africa likewise had its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, but here in the United States we just try to pretend it wasn’t that bad. The philosophical underpinnings of slavery, that black people don’t deserve the same rights and respect as white people, persisted long after emancipation.

Thanks to Redlasso, I present the entire Ted Kennedy speech which you cannot yet find on YouTube.

The entire transcript is available at HuffPo

This is a really interesting interview. Shoutouts to Gina and to for this unique exchange. I’m pleasantly surprised that Essence noticed us black bloggers blogging our little hearts out. It’s a good convergence of new media and newer media that will keep old media relevant.

There’s a mention of the article by guest blogger Tami over at Gina’s blog What About Our Daughters. I’ve excerpted my favorite parts of the interview here. Gina, thanks for bringing out the best in the man. I like it when Jesse talks about maturity. We could all use a little more of that in today’s politics. As somebody who was born in South Carolina, what do you think about the way African-American voters were portrayed by the media leading up to the primary? For example, they started talking about the barbershop and the beauty shop vote. Do you have any problem with the way South Carolina voters were portrayed?

J.J: No. My concern is that while focusing on the color of the vote, they were not focusing on Black issues and substance. For example, student debt—I think student loans are like a billion dollars. The disparity between Black and White student loans is alarming. The great disparities in infant mortality and life expectancy—great disparities.The income disparity… The college enrollment disparities… The largest industry in that state is no longer cotton. It’s the jail-industrial complex. There’s 24 state prisons in South Carolina and only one state college, South Carolina State. So we are free, but not equal. We live in one America under one flag, but there are some structural inequalities. Stop focusing so much on the color of our vote and start focusing on the substance of our situation. Considering how much attention was given to the Black vote, do you think that African-Americans sufficiently stressed their demands with these candidates? Did we demand enough of them?

J.J: The civil rights agenda must always be kept out front: the civil right to equal opportunity. The civil right to health care, the civil right to adequate housing, the civil right to fair employment. There was this assumption that we’re all free now and it’s over. We’re all free, but we are not equal. Dr. King said that the next big chapter of our struggle was that we’ve won the battles of decency over barbarism, but equality? That was in the coming campaign. I’ve encountered many people who say we shouldn’t question Senator Obama about what he will do specifically for African-Americans, that we should just get him in the White House and then worry about specific issues. Should we be attempting to nail him down?

J.J: Every issue that came up, he addressed. The issue of affirmative action; he’s for affirmative action. The issue of jail or criminal disparities; he’s addressed that issue. The issue of should every vote count; he’s addressed that issue. I think in this setting, we really have to look at the common ground that includes our interests. For example, in South Carolina, 62 percent of the people who work don’t have health insurance. That affects everybody. The subprime crisis. It affects us disproportionately, but it affects everybody. The Iraq War affects everybody. In Iowa I was talking about family farmers. By the time we got to Chicago, I was talking about urban abandonment. I am about addressing the structural inequalities. The media has some responsibilities to ask the right questions.
[...] I understand that. But Rev. Jackson, there are a whole lot of Black folks who are very upset with the Clintons. They see a pattern. This is Bill Clinton, he knows how to craft words. So are you saying that the press is misinterpreting what President Clinton said?

J.J: I don’t know what he said. I was on my way to India. My point is I know that in November, whoever wins, Clinton and Barack are going to need each other. I saw in 1980 there was such a dog fight between Carter and Kennedy that they could not reconcile at the convention, and that opened the door for Reagan to get through to win. So, however tough this thing gets right up in here, keep one eye on the primary and an even bigger eye on the Super Bowl, which is in November. It’s interesting that you say that, because I’m a younger voter. I’m a blogger and a lot of bloggers are saying that they are so turned off, and they are so irate about how the Clintons are treating Barack Obama that they absolutely will not vote for her if she wins the nomination.

J.J: That means that they’re going to vote for some anti–civil rights Republicans, who’s going to further stack the Supreme Court. And they’re going to vote for some anti–affirmative action Republicans. So you have to be mature in this process. You have to think this thing through. Politics also comes down to options. In this marathon race, you have to be walking through a storm and thinking at the same time. Barack has my vote. My point is that when it’s over, the two of them and the others who ran must close ranks because you cannot beat the right wing unless you do.

The San Francisco Chronicle threw its endorsement to Sen. Obama today writing:

The American political system needs a period of reprieve and renewal.

It needs a reprieve from a White House that draws power from fear, sneers at any science that gets in the way of corporate or theocratic missions and stubbornly adheres to policies that leave the nation sinking in debt and mired in war. It craves a reprieve from the politics of bloodsport that prize clever calculation over courage, winning over principle, party label over national interest.

The renewal must come from a president who can lead by inspiration, who can set partisanship aside to define and achieve common goals, who can persuade a new generation of Americans that there is something noble and something important about public service.

There is no doubt about the Democrat with the vision and skills to bring that period of reprieve and renewal. It is Sen. Barack Obama.

The paper also posted this hour long video of Obama’s visit to the ed board on Jan 17.

Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats


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