Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Scanning the headlines this morning, I came across this link to Ben Smith's blog on Politco.Com. Just when I thought that maybe A Certain Ethnic Candidate might not be as bad as I had originally painted him, he proves my original misgivings to be correct in a recent speech in Milwaukee. In a rambling oration that plays to his (de)base(d), the Junior Senator from Illinois manages to tie every major broad theme of the left liberal Democrats (global warming, Iraq, evil corporate America) to Don Imus, and in turn, Imus' "verbal violence" to the Virginia Tech tragedy. He even managed to throw Dr. King and Selma into the pot, at the end (yes, I listened to the whole thing). How's THAT for multitasking?!
Obama deserved points, I quietly believed last week, for not jumping immediately into the Imus fracas. Some questioned (once again, and stupidly) his "blackness" for not being one of the first so-called "Black Leaders" to jump on the Imus media clusterf--k. I took it as a sign of a candidate showing maturity and thoughtful reticence in not joining a mainstream media feeding frenzy at the first sign of a microphone or camera, like the usual suspects. Then he trotted his two daughters as being "victims" of Imus' march into Poland, er, Rutgers. Stupid though that was, what politician hasn't screamed "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!!!" at one time or another?
So, to the Debra Dickersons of the World: after listening to the Milwaukee speech, I've come to the conclusion that if Obama's ability to wax histrionically in vague, visceral terms without specific plans for action, yet somehow tying it all back to American Racist calumnies, doesn't prove that Mr. Chocolate Lincoln is truly a "Real Black American Leader," what does?
I find Obama's adoption of Sharpton Lite Rhetoric (plays straight, less feeling) tying Don Imus and race to a deranged killer at Virginia Tech to be sadly amusing, considering that back in his Windy City one of the formerly entrenched stalwarts of old-style race-baiting identity politics, Dorothy Tillman, was defeated yesterday in the aldermanic run-off races. For those not familiar with Chicago politics, think of her as a hat-sporting, somewhat more urbane, less batsh*t-crazy version of Cynthia McKinney. Ms. Tillman's antics during my time in the Greatest City in America (sorry, New Yorkers) included a call for slave reparations and an early 1990s very news-making imitation of Pancho Villa during a public meeting . So even as the Junior Senator adopts a more victimology-tinged hue to his speeches, some Chicagoans have decided that phantasms of white supremacy aren't enough to get support and votes (though the selection of pro-Big Labor candidates in The City That Works still bodes well for Mr. Obama's anti-Walmart thrust).
Luckily for the Senator this timeless product is still available, even in the 21st Century, for the aspiring African-American fabulist. Just ask Al ...