I like it when people talk critically about race in the Obama era. Just so long as it avoids the well-worn battles of the Politically Correct era of the 1980s, the early 1990s. I had my fill of that in life, at Penn and Temple. When people start at the failure of Reconstruction, that’s what gets me sitting up in my chair.
Coates is saying that Barack Obama studiously avoids anything that would be interpreted as “black rage”; and, when the President even talks about race, it sets off the goons of the far right, who quickly misinterpret whatever Obama had said.
He points out that the police officer who arrested Professor Gates of Harvard, in his own house, was treated to the “Beer Summit” of 2009. Shirley Sherrod, the official who was maligned by the late Andrew Breitbart and fired from the USDA by Obama’s Agriculture Secretary, only got a brief phone call for an apology. It’s an interesting contrast.
The current economic troubles, and they have been troubles, have been for so much of us in America—except the really rich. But they have been particularly tough on traditional minorities. Yet blacks are still very positive on Obama. He is leading 94% to 0% against Romney, among black voters, in an NBC Wall Street Journal poll.
The real question mark on the President’s re-election is how he is being received in the white community. Romney’s people are indicating that they are going for 50.01% of the vote. They know they have no shot with any other group but whites. So it’s anticipated that Romney is going to tug at every heartstring to pull off white voters from Obama.
Someone said that Obama only needs 39% of the white voters in America, to win. This means Romney needs 61%. He will get a lot of the Southerners—that’s de rigeur for them. What tricks will he have to pull to get swing state Northerners, or Floridians, to go for him as well?
Does the President have to talk more about race in order to win? Coates says that Obama has spoken the least about the issue of any Democrat since 1961. (Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton). Does he have to?
I don’t think so.
The anger that had been missing from Barack Obama was the indignity of how Congressional Republicans have been screwing around, sabotaging his efforts, since early 2009. Is this partly race motivated? Oh, yes. The heart of that party, the party of Lincoln, is now in the Deep South. But the other motivation going on is pure beat-the-opponent, garden variety politics. Maybe they realized that Obama, as first black president, had to be careful how he fought. But they (and Coates) also forget that Barack Obama spent some formative years in Asia.
To me, the fighting back that Obama has been doing since maybe September last year has been a lot more Asian than white-ideal-black. Asian strategy seems to me to figure out what the opponents’ nature is, and then try to plan out four or five steps down the road. The Republicans have been walking into several sh*t piles lately, and I’m not sure that’s by chance.