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What's wrong with Barack Obama?
By Ricky L. Jones


What's wrong with Barack Obama? One of my noon basketball buddies at work joked, "His name sounds too much like Osama." Outside of that, he certainly seems flawless. To be sure, Obama (who recently visited Louisville to stump for local Democrats) is nothing short of the greatest political phenomenon this decade.

He is tall, good looking, of exotic racial heritage (his father Kenyan, mother white American), clearly intelligent, masterful with words and charismatic. Obama is only the fifth black U.S. senator in the history of the country "” only the third since Reconstruction. The man has even won a Grammy for the spoken-word version of his autobiography.

Obama is easily the dumbed-down, spineless Democrats' hottest commodity. I mean, let's be serious. As bad as the Republicans have mucked things up in the country (and the world), you would think neither the midterm nor 2008 elections should be in doubt. The Democrats, however, are so woeful that they can't "win" anything "” the Republicans have to "lose." And they very well may "” at least a few races.

Because of the emptied-out talent level of his party, Obama is receiving pressure from many quarters to run for president in 2008. Who woulda thunk it? At this rate, we'll soon be at the point where politicos actually hang the "electable" tag on a black man when speaking of the presidency! While Obama and those close to him continue to deny any interest in throwing his hat into the ring, his actions sometimes betray his comments. Or do they?

Earlier this month, he was the special guest of Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin (D) at Harkin's annual steak fry at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Indianola, Iowa. Harkin has hosted the event for the past 29 years, and it has become a regular stop for presidential hopefuls. Of course, Obama explained his presence away by saying he was only there to help fellow Democrats in the midterm elections, not pursue his own political ambitions. So smooth.

People across lines of race and political party love him. In the 2004 Illinois race, he won a stunning 40 percent of the state's Republican vote. All things considered, if I lived in Illinois, even I would vote for Barack Obama. So what's my issue, you ask? My point is, in the political reality in which we live and languish, nothing is wrong with Obama. But, from a progressive's point of view, nothing is terribly right with him either. To be sure, he is all the things I mentioned above and more. But I fear that the greatest source of his appeal is that he is painfully "safe." He presents no real threat to the status quo.

The first red flag for me was raised a few days after I heard of Obama during the 2004 Democratic National Convention and before his now classic speech. Asked by an NPR reporter about the Democrats' concern that all speakers toe the party line (which I guess would be OK if their party line had an ounce of substance), Obama replied, "I certainly have no problem staying on message." To most, this comment would seem harmless. Problem is, those who have really impacted the world "” the true visionaries "” have frequently stayed "OFF MESSAGE!"

This is the crux of it, gentle readers. I think a couple of problems with Obama bear consideration. And I believe he shares them with another Democrat celebrity "” Hillary Clinton. For all his faults, I sincerely believe Bill Clinton actually believed in something. His wife, however, is a pure political animal and believes in only power. She will say whatever and do whatever to get and maintain it. Play the game, stay "on message."

The last problem is both America's and Obama's. In our current political haze, we have forgotten that there is not only a gap between political reality and political imagination, but a yawning chasm. Jeffrey H. Reiman articulates it better than I ever could in the book "In Defense of Political Philosophy":

    "The politics of a nation is one thing; its political imagination is quite another. Politics amounts to the day-to-day decisions and actions of politicians and their audiences. But political imagination refers to that sense of connection between the real and the ideal, and the boundary between the possible and the utopian, which is felt before it is reasoned out."

In our current Novocain Nation, Obama is clearly great at slotting himself into existing political reality. It seems, however, that he has sacrificed his political imagination to do so. Outside of that, absolutely, positively nothing is wrong with Barack Obama.

Remember, until next time "” have no fear, stay strong, stand on truth, do justice and do not leave the people in the hands of fools.

Dr. Ricky L. Jones is associate professor and chair of the Department of Pan-African Studies (U of L). His LEO column appears in the last issue of each month. Contact him at blackvanguard@hotmail.com


http://www.leovia.com/?q=node/2694&PHPSESSID=182b799c73f20cd01869a9b26bdac5ce
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ "I have not always been right, but I have always been sincere." ~ W.E.B. Du Bois ~~~~~~~~~~~
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My problem with Obama is that he's too moderate and he's trying to appeal too much to the "mainstream Center" (read: middle class White folks).

But, that's to be expected I guess, there will never be a Black president who gets elected without making White folks feel 'comfortable' with him. But then again, what good is a Black president if they don't do much for the Black Community and would be busy trying to make White people trust them?
quote:
Originally posted by Empty Purnata:
My problem with Obama is that he's too moderate and he's trying to appeal too much to the "mainstream Center" (read: middle class White folks).

But, that's to be expected I guess, there will never be a Black president who gets elected without making White folks feel 'comfortable' with him. But then again, what good is a Black president if they don't do much for the Black Community and would be busy trying to make White people trust them?


But who's to say whether he would do much or little for the Black community? Unlike, say, Condi, Obama knows and can articulate the problems and condition of the Black community. It would then be a question of whether or not he would be able/willing to enact legislation that would benefit us. And that remains to be seen.

Also, right now, the only way we get anything in this country is by pandering to White folks. We have not yet learned how to get anything through our own efforts (as a community). And until that changes ... Roll Eyes
quote:
My point is, in the political reality in which we live and languish, nothing is wrong with Obama. But, from a progressive's point of view, nothing is terribly right with him either.


I love it when people can say in a few words what I have to say in paragraphs. This is the point I was trying to make on the other thread.
My point is, in the political reality in which we live and languish, nothing is wrong with Obama. But, from a progressive's point of view, nothing is terribly right with him either... (Prof.) Ricky Jones

[I]I would submit that there is as much 'right' with Obama in today's political scene as was 'right' on that scene when Jesse Jackson ran in '84 and '88.

He has yet to capture the imagintion of African America.

Jesse did it with civil activism.[I]

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
quote:
Originally posted by Kocolicious:
:fro: Usually, I don't take part in political conversations such as this cuz it's really not my "thang." However I just have to say this for the record. I'd take Obama over Al Sharpton any day! fro


Why? Why is Obama more acceptable than Sharpton to you? Confused


froI don't like him...don't like his presentations....how he comes across with issues affecting African-Americans. He can never "speak" for me. I have a problem with him. Others may think he's Mr. Wonderful. I feel somethin' just "ain't right" with homeboy! On the other hand, Obama is new, fresh. We are ready for something different and innovative. Not the same old pimp-daddy-back-in-the-shaft-days rhetoric Sharpton always seem to project. But....to each his own. fro
quote:
Originally posted by Empty Purnata:
My problem with Obama is that he's too moderate and he's trying to appeal too much to the "mainstream Center" (read: middle class White folks).


He is too moderate and should be more????????

As if I need to GUESS.


In my view many of you PREFER ACTORvists who are EXECUTIVES, having to develop policy, implement it and take "on comings" as to the results.

SOME OF YOU prefer a person who RUNS THEIR DAMNED MOUTH but has nothing to prove that what they propose will work. THEY WILL AWAYS POINT TO THE OPPOSITION THAT EFFECTIVELY STOPPED THEM.
quote:
Originally posted by Constructive Feedback:

In my view many of you PREFER ACTORvists who are EXECUTIVES, having to develop policy, implement it and take "on comings" as to the results.

SOME OF YOU prefer a person who RUNS THEIR DAMNED MOUTH but has nothing to prove that what they propose will work. THEY WILL AWAYS POINT TO THE OPPOSITION THAT EFFECTIVELY STOPPED THEM.



So let me guess ... YOUR preference would be George W. "Stay-The-Course" Bush ... He can't provide a single god-damned shred of proof that any of his policies have worked worth a damn.


Iraq? .... a damned mess now ... no proof at all "Democracy" has been brought to this country ... but we need to "stay the course" ...

His tax breaks and the economy? ... no comment ...

No Child Left Behind? ... more like No Millionaire Left Behind ...


Let's not forget the first great ACTOR in American politics: Ronald Wilson Reagan ...
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
quote:
Originally posted by Constructive Feedback:

In my view many of you PREFER ACTORvists who are EXECUTIVES, having to develop policy, implement it and take "on comings" as to the results.

SOME OF YOU prefer a person who RUNS THEIR DAMNED MOUTH but has nothing to prove that what they propose will work. THEY WILL AWAYS POINT TO THE OPPOSITION THAT EFFECTIVELY STOPPED THEM.



So let me guess ... YOUR preference would be George W. "Stay-The-Course" Bush ... He can't provide a single god-damned shred of proof that any of his policies have worked worth a damn.


Iraq? .... a damned mess now ... no proof at all "Democracy" has been brought to this country ... but we need to "stay the course" ...

His tax breaks and the economy? ... no comment ...

No Child Left Behind? ... more like No Millionaire Left Behind ...


Let's not forget the first great ACTOR in American politics: Ronald Wilson Reagan ...


OPPOSITION IS NOT A SOLUTION

Hasn't YOUR BLACK AZZ COME TO THE CONCLUSION YET that all of your talking points over the past 6 to 12 YEARS HAVE FAILED?

This crap has FAILED to move the Black community FORWARD.

HOW MANY DEMOCRATS ARE CURRENTLY REPRESENTING EVER SINGLE BLACK MAJORITY VOTING DISTRICTS AROUND THE COUNTRY - from Dog Catcher to Mayor? Are your STREETS PAVED WITH GOLD?

Maybe instead of DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN the solution is something outside of this FAKE BINARY CONSTRUCT of the US Political system - the solution may not be POLITICAL in the first place!!
quote:
Originally posted by Constructive Feedback:

Maybe instead of DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN the solution is something outside of this FAKE BINARY CONSTRUCT of the US Political system - the solution may not be POLITICAL in the first place!!



I almost fell for this act ... I'm beginning to be convinced you're a mole ...

You talk about the failure of democratic policies ... but then when its pointed out to you that we've been under a republican regime for the last 6 years - and really more like the last 26 years since Clinton governed more like a moderate republican than a liberal democrat - and that there's even less evidence that republican policies "work" for our benefit (the opposite in many cases) ... then all of a sudden you change your tune to let's get beyond politics.

Funny ... just like a white republican .... If I can't convince ya'll to vote republican I'll convince you not to vote democrat .... and a month before the midterm election ... 19

PS: Please leave my "black azz" out of the picture please! Eek
Last edited {1}
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
quote:
Originally posted by Constructive Feedback:

Maybe instead of DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN the solution is something outside of this FAKE BINARY CONSTRUCT of the US Political system - the solution may not be POLITICAL in the first place!!



I almost fell for this act ... I'm beginning to be convinced you're a mole ...

You talk about the failure of democratic policies ... but then when its pointed out to you that we've been under a republican regime for the last 6 years - and really more like the last 26 years since Clinton governed more like a moderate republican than a liberal democrat - and that there's even less evidence that republican policies "work" for our benefit (the opposite in many cases) ... then all of a sudden you change your tune to let's get beyond politics.

Funny ... just like a white republican .... If I can't convince ya'll to vote republican I'll convince you not to vote democrat .... and a month before the midterm election ... 19

PS: Please leave my "black azz" out of the picture please! Eek


IF BLACK PEOPLE ALL VOTED REPUBLICAN - NOT A DAMNED THING WOULD CHANGE.
Your BRAINWASHED ASS MISSES THE POINT.
Maybe a POLITICAL/VOTING BASED SOLUTION IS NOT WHAT IS GOING TO TAKE FOR CHANGE.

There are few more BRAINWASHED individuals on this planet than the BLACK DEMOCRAT. Back in the 1990's he will tell you that "GOOD GOVERNMENT POLICY by BILL CLINTON" is what has TRANSFORMED THE BLACK COMMUNITY DURING THAT TIME. Ask him to JUSTIFY THIS POINT WITH NUMBERS - he can't.

I point to three streets in my debate with the Black Quasi-Socialist Progressive Fundamentalists - "Wall Street" and "The 101" (Silicon Valley between San Jose and SFO). The Money Exchangers on Wall Street setup the financial underpinnings of the run on the market at the time. You had companies starting from scratch and then trading at $400 per share, worth more than General Motors with a fraction of the assets - physical and intellectual. The 101 provided the VEHICLE to attach this market value to.

As much as you all HATE CORPORATE PROFITS - the only time in recent memory in which UNPROFITABLE COMPANIES had their stock prices rise where as today they are PUNISHED SEVERELY FOR MISSING REVENUE TARGETS IS BACK THEN. This HIGHLY SPECULATIVE MARKET had INVESTORS who ordinarily seek PROFITS to trade this in for FUTURE POSITION. Hype was that If you were not in the game as the NEW ECONOMY came to be then you will be missing out.

THE LAST STREET that I focus upon is MARTIN LUTHER KING JR BLVD. Every city that I travel to from East to West I make it a point to find the MLK Blvd and their Chinatown. I have YET to see an MLK Jr. Blvd paved with gold that would indicate that THIS BOOMING ECONOMY THAT THE BLACK DEMOCRATIC CHEERLEADER keeps talking about had any ORGANIC origins WITHIN THE BLACK COMMUNITY. The "FUBU" nature seen in Chinatown is no where to be found today on the average MLK Blvd. with most of the companies being undercapitalized and not able to provide jobs for the bulk of the local residents in the community.

But Honest Brother - I am not worried about you. You are IGNORANT (with all due respect).
Folks seeking power LOVE YOU. Your analysis goes as deep as "Clinton in power - Black people felt good. Bush in power - Black folks felt bad". PLEASE PRODUCE THE NUMBERS TO SUBSTANTIATE YOUR CLAIMS.

I am NOT defending Bush. I am working to GET YOU TO DEFEND what you believe. Absent any REAL PLAN to MOVE FORWARD - You must seek out the SECOND COMING OF A LEADER LIKE KING to take you to the promised land. Obama nor anyone else CAN MAKE A GROWN ASSED MAN LIKE YOU PROSPER. The Black community has too much education within our ranks TO LISTEN TO YOUR IGNORANT CRAP, having been scorned so many times before. It is time to GO IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION.

If you do anything - please spend a day in an immigrant community's retail district and see how LITTLE CONCERNED they are with ELECTORAL POLITICS as compared with their ORGANIC ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
quote:
Originally posted by HonestBrother:
PS: Please leave my black ass out of the picture please! Eek


Awww ... but I'll bet it's a cute little black ass!! Big Grin


Ordinarily I would tell HonestBrother to - kiss mine but he might be in the Mark Foley fan club and take me up on my offer.

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