Chicago Sun-Times
Discussions across the racial divide

Why are black lawmakers already jumping on Clinton bandwagon?

| 36 Comments | No TrackBacks

Mitchell column: Februay 15, 2007

Skepticism I understand. But when two black male legislators from the Deep South throw their hats in Hillary Clinton's ring at the start of a wide-open election, I want to slap them upside their heads.

Why are these black men so eager to drive Miss Hillary to the White House when Illinois' U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is also a front-runner?

State Senators Robert Ford and Darrell Jackson are considered key black political leaders in South Carolina because they backed John Edwards in 2004 and managed to hand Edwards 37 percent of the vote in a state where half the primary voters are black.

For those of you who don't understand why we keep harping on early primaries, it's simple. If a presidential candidate wins an early primary state -- like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- deep-pocket donors keep funding their campaigns.

The losing candidates are well on their way to becoming also-rans.

So you tell me why Ford and Jackson found it necessary to tell reporters that they were driving Miss Hillary so early in the game.

"It's a slim possibility for [Obama] to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed," Ford told a reporter with the Associated Press on Tuesday.

"Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything," he said. "I'm a gambling man. I love Obama," Ford said. "But I'm not going to kill myself."

This, from a man who claims in his bio that from 1966 to 1972, at the height of the civil rights movement, he was arrested 73 times as a staff member with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

With friends like these . . .
After coming under fierce criticism for comments that sounded a lot like the buzzwords some Democrats have long used to justify keeping African Americans off the top of the ticket, Ford, 59, apologized:

"If I caused anybody, including myself, any pain about the comments I made earlier, then I want to apologize to myself and to Senator Obama and any of his supporters," Ford said.

Jackson, who pastors a large congregation and also refers to himself as a businessman, says he considers Obama a "friend" but considers Clinton "our best shot."

If Jackson calls himself Obama's friend, I'd hate to see what he does to his foes. Why is it these black men, who obviously benefitted from the support of black people in their own political campaigns, like Clinton's chances better than Obama's?

Like any other Democratic presidential candidate, Clinton is dependent upon the black vote to put her over the top, and Jackson and Ford have the resources to churn out that vote.

So why don't they have as much faith in a black man as they do in a white woman?

A story a friend shared recently with me offers some clues. He recalled an incident in which he encountered Obama in the halls of the Illinois State Capitol. My friend was the only black person in a group that was in Springfield to lobby black legislators on a piece of insurance legislation.

Although Obama wasn't on the list, my friend said he passed him in the hall.

"There was a moment when Obama stopped and looked at us and indicated that he was open to talk. I looked at him as if he was just another light-skinned black man in a position of power," my friend said. "That's the thought that immediately crossed my mind. Now, I feel like I owe him," he said.

What does it mean to be black?
Forget that Obama's bid for the presidency will force some whites to deal with any preconceived notions they have about black men. It is forcing blacks to check themselves, as well.

The discomfort some blacks have with Obama has nothing to do with his resume nor his ethnicity, but with the simple fact that he is a light-skinned black man who was able to cross over into mainstream America. The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. couldn't do that. And the Rev. Al Sharpton certainly couldn't do it.

For me, the black experience has been growing up in poverty in a public housing project and overcoming that poverty to achieve a measure of success. For a dear friend, the black experience has been growing up in a solidly middle-class neighborhood -- after her family escaped the armed conflicts that once ravaged Nigeria. In fact, can anyone tell me what it means to be black these days?

The real problem here is that too many black leaders have lost confidence. They've given up on the hope in what they do could improve the quality of life for the people who put them in office in the first place, and it shows in our communities.

Political leaders like Robert Ford and Darrell Jackson are guarding their political turf in the same way drug dealers guard street corners. But worse, they are hatin' on a brother who dares to believe anything is possible.

No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL: http://blogs.suntimes.com/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/2433

36 Comments

the same reason you're jumping on the Obama bandwagon...

this whole "race traitor" agenda you're pushing is so played out. news flash: this ain't 1970. black skin doesn't make any candidate a better candidate. don't believe me? take a look at the alderman in your ward...

Why am I not surprised at the actions taken by Todd Stroger? People/Voters of Cook County, what made you think Todd Stroger would be any different than his father? You had a chance to elect someone with integrity & honesty but you must like corruption as a way of life. Todd Stroger has to remove all those 1000 plus hired by his father, those were non essential jobs and should have been the first to go. Than insult to injury, the new hires are family with high paying positions! All of you should demand his resignation. He lied to you!!
Happy to be out of Cook County,
Ame

Seems to me, that Jackson and Ford are showing Obama the same degree of confidence and support that Obama showed Brown and Walls, the two black mayoral candidates in Chicago. However, there are several significant differences:

Hillary does not have a history of turning her back on African Americans. Nor has she ever been accused of dolling out city contract inequitably. Last time I checked, she was not guilty of filling police and fire positions in our communities with a disproportionate number of whites.

Seems to me, not only was Obama premature, he is also suffering from severe case of "Blind Uncle-Tomism".

Whats good for the goose, is good for the Gooses high yella cousin.

"So why don't they have as much faith in a black man as they do in a white woman?"

So now Barack Obama is black. Weren't you the one who recently criticized the "white" media for employing the one-drop rule and labeling Barack African-American and not biracial? Didn't you in previous columns go out of your way to say that Barack Obama would not be the first black president (if he won) but the first "non-white president"? Now that your feathers are ruffled you say that Barack Obama is a "black man" who should be given greater consideration by other black leaders, more consideration than Clinton a white woman. Its nice to see you recognize Barack Obama's blackness.

With all this talk concerning Barack Obama's "blackness" (or lack there of according to some folks) I predict that we will have another republican in office. I don't believe Barack Obama will win, although I would like him to, because for some odd reason there are too many persons within the African-American community who are ,dare I say, jealous of Barack Obama's accompishments. Other communities support their people, but us black folk are real good at criticizing and knocking our own down, its called playing the dozens. On the one hand we tell are young people to go to school, to be all they can be, that they can do anything they set their sights on. But the moment one of our own runs for president, we demand that he pass are own litmus test on blackness, that he guarantee a win before we cast our ballot.
There is no guarantee that Clinton will win the election, but there are already legions of African-Amercians lining up to cast their ballot in her favor. And what exactly has she done for African-Amercians lately? What did her husband do for black people during his administration. (Think Rwanada)

A white woman can become president before a black man. How novel. With the way Hispanics are grwoing in population numbers, I predict that a Hispanic will become president before a black man (or woamn). As ususal, we are always last.

Mitchell comment:

U.S. Senator Barack Obama identifies himself as black. My discussion in an earlier blog was about the one-drop rule which exists in this country.

People aren't voting for skin. It's what's within that skin that matters & the fact of the matter is that Barack Obama could care less about the future of black America.
It is proven by his lack of concern for the fact that 1/3rd of abortions performed in America are in black neighborhood on young black women.
When people? When will we all get it?
Don't tell me that just because I am not voting for Obama I am a racist. That's is a bunch of nonsense. If it were up to my vote & the vote of many others, just not enough, Alan Keys would be in Obama's senate seat today, probably accomplishing much more than the popularity tour that Obama is focused on this very day.

Abortion is a multi-million dollar a year business that makes most of its money by killing black children, says Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union.

In a statement released yesterday, Gardner called on African Americans to open their eyes to the fact that more than 1,000 black children die each day by abortion.

“These children are denied their most basic human right -- which is the right to life; a right which our ancestors so proudly worked for, marched for and many of them died for,” she said.

Since abortion was legalized in the U.S., more than 44 million children have been killed by abortion, and 15 million of them were black children, Gardner pointed out. More than 37 percent of all abortions are performed on black women annually. Last year, more than 400,000 black babies were aborted.

“Abortion has become the number one killer of black people in this country -- killing more African Americans than accidents, heart disease, stroke, crimes, HIV-AIDS and all other deaths combined!” she said.

“What bothers me is we are very quick as a people to recognize racism everywhere else except the one place that truly affects all of us,” she said. “Most blacks will agree that racism is sill very much alive, yet say nothing when abortion facilities are placed purposefully in minority and poor communities. This is no accident!”

“Abortion providers need us to make their blood money,” she said in her statement. “If we as black people say no to abortion, the industry will cease to exist.”

“We are the underground railroad of our time, and it's up to us to make abortion a thing of our historical past,” she said. “If we stand united against this horrific practice ... we shall overcome this, too.”


How presumptuous, hypocritical and offensive of you to so boldly assert that "they are hatin' on a brother who dares to believe anything is possible". And yes, I am a "brother" -- from Chicago. And no, I'm not lightskinned. But my brother and sister are.

You, who I believe has argued on many occasions that white folks erroneously view African-Americans as a monolith, seem so quick to all but reduce black lawmakers to traitors of their race (or self-interested hustlers) simply because they have the temerity to throw their support to a non-African-American, notwithstanding the presence of an African-American candidate you apparently support.

Well, from what I've read, the two lawmakers basically said they like both candidates but believe Hillary has the better shot -- one less eloquently than the other I admit. But the rationale seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Nevertheless, what do you ask? "Why is it these black men, who obviously benefitted from the support of black people in their own political campaigns, like Clinton's chances better than Obama's?" Well, what does their (and I presume Barack's) blackness have to do with it? Are you suggesting that they should support Barack because he is black (biracial, or whatever, since you've been all over the place on this as well)? You certainly didn't present any other case for why their "defection" to Hillary's camp is so outrageous. On top of that you have the nerve offer your "alley-mechanic psychoanalysis" of their motiviations -- i.e., that tired, absurd, pathetic, turn-of-the-20th century argument that "oh, they hate him 'cause he's lightskinned'. Ughhh! I thought that went out with Spike Lee's "School Daze".

How 'bout this? Maybe they believe Hillary has a better shot because she is currently polling better. Maybe they like Hillary's policies over those of Barack, which are quite sketchy at the moment by the way. Oh, and yes, maybe Hillary played the game a little better and offered at least one of those lawmakers a better consulting deal than Barack (yeah I did read your most recent blog). I don't know. But black lawmakers should not be intimidated into supporting Barack out of fear of the oh so passe tactic of resorting to all but calling black them "Uncle Toms" just because they don't tow your line.

Barack endorsed the white (democrat) candidate over the African-American (republican) candidate in the Maryland senate race. Barack endorsed the current white mayor of Chicago over two African-American challengers in the Chicago Mayoral race. And you know what? In my view both endorsements were perfectly reasonable, and I fully support him on those. So, I see nothing wrong with a black politician endorsing Hillary over Barack.

And one more thing, I like Barack, but I support Hillary -- not because I am crazy about driving "Missy" white woman around, and not because I feel I "owe" the Clintons anything. Why? Because Hillary has fought the fights and has the battle scars to prove it. And while others may talk about "hope" and "everyone working together to create some new kind of politics", I want to know my commander-in-chief is ready to go toe to toe because that is the reality and will continue thus. She's been in the White House and would have a hell of a strong First Gentleman backing her up against the Kim Jong-Ils, Vladamir Putins (and his successor), Al Qua'ida, the Taliban, et al. She's polarizing for a reason: she's had the fortitude to take some unpopular positions, some of which didn't work out, but at least she's shown some courage.

Don't hate on black folks who look beyond race and see what they perceive to be the stronger contender, leader or whatever. I have every expectation that Barack will be great some day, but don't diss me because I don't believe that day is now.

I personally have neither the time nor the money to go whisking away to springfield at a moment's notice. My non-attendance was not a snub. I'd say this was true for a lot of African Americans who have to make ends meet. Barack simply needs to cut us blacks off. He doesn't need us to be president. Blacks voted almost 90% Democratic in the last two presidential races and the Democrats still lost.

Besides, not having the support of blacks might win him the support of many others who wouldn't normally vote for him. "If a race of gang-bangers, welfare mothers and drug addicts doesn't support Obama, maybe he is the right man for the job", they'll think quietly to themselves.

I saw how uncomfortable he was in that 60 minutes interview when it came to the "are you really black?" questions. Obama's voice began to trail off when he said he'd had trouble hailing a cab. It seemed forced. Obama is simply not comfortable playing the victim. Since the beginning of his political career, he has fought to be a winner, not a loser. Winning the "black vote" requires that he complain about racism ad nauseum and make demands that we all know will never be granted. Winning the "white vote" requires that he speek standard English, and not talk about the past; especially when it comes to exposing certain inconvenient truths (He should not have mentioned IRAQ this early, even though most Americans don't want us there and it does give him the edge on Hilary, who supported the war at first.). Barack Obama cannot be the president of the white people and the black people at the same time.

Racial disadvantage does exist in America, but the fact is that the damage is already done. It was done hundreds of years ago and it will take hundreds more to rectify, if at all. Since none if us will be around that long, we might as well start thinking about how we can prosper with what we've got right now.

After Hilary Clinton made her speech to the NAACP, comparing the Republican administration to a "slave ship", I made the decision that I would never vote for her for as long as I live. If Barack wins the nomination, I will consider supporting him. If Hilary wins, I will not be voting Democratic.

Jesse Jackson called for a boycott of the Seinfeld season 5 DVD. Soon after, sales for the DVD's exploded. Jesse also called for boycott of the film "Barber Shop". It then went on to be a household name, spawing a spinoff and a sequel. Jesse Jackson's opinion is not important to this country.

I'm just a regular voter, not a politico, not a celebrity. But frankly, I think it's too early for anybody to be declaring themself a Presidential candidate. Think about it - for the next 2 years we will have non-stop sound bytes, kissing babies, news and press releases, face time, ad nauseum. My wish is that the Dems / Republicans would go behind closed doors, interview potential candidates and chose two that go head to head with each other in the primaries. To know that there are possibly 6 potential candidates running in February 2007 is going to turn off a lot of people.
It's not that I don't support Obama, I'm not supporting ANYBODY right now. The whole primary and Presidential campaign is a big turnoff - so much, that I probably won't even vote for a President next year.

Thank you Mary for such a profound article. Once again you show your true colors. Imagine if a white columnist had written an article with the implication that white political leaders should support white candidates because they are white. You and every minority leader, author, columnist and citizen would be outraged, and rightly so. However, here you are making exactly the same implication. Your article says nothing towards Obama's qualifications, abilities, or leadership qualities. Nor does it attack Clinton for her lack of abilities. The article only shares your distain and condemnation for two southern black legislators who dare to back a white candidate when a black man with political power is running for the Presidency. Forgive my ignorance but isn't this type of prejudice, judgment based on skin color; African Americans have been fighting against. Remember prejudice is a two way street and we are all responsible for its pervasiveness in our country. Your article only shows your unwillingness to judge a person based on their character and not their skin color.

Randy

to Biggdawg: Hey, I respect everybody's opinion. As long as there is no hate to it. Thats the beauty of America. As far as your post, you sure sounded like a Hillary worker to me (LOL).....You said, "she'd have a hell of a strong First Gentleman backing her up against the Kim-Jong Ils, Vladimir Putins (successor), Al Quida's, Taliban, etc." Well, I don't want to disagree with you, but much of the reason we're in the mess we're in is because we didn't do anything or much too little when the WTC was bombed the first time, the barracks in Saudi, the two embassies (Tanzania and Kenya), the USS Cole, taking out Bin Laden when offered to us, verifying and inspecting the treaty with NKorea, etc. He really messed up in Somalia, too. And he sure didn't do absolutely anything when innocent human beings were being slaughtered in Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Sudan, and Rwanda. Did save a few thousand of my fellow whites in Kosovo, however. And his trade deals with Asia on free trade, the GAIT deal, and NAFTA deal, hasn't benefitted the workers in urban America, as I see it. Although people here better start stressing education more and entertainment hero's less. You can't blame any politician for that. And people need to become more disciplined and SELF-responsible. So at this moment I'm not as enthused as you about her possibilities. But again, thats the beauty of America. We both have a right to our opinion.

I sure am getting tired of the media using race as an issue like the world depends on what they have to say on things. Politics is mucking things enough in this world. Now we have to be all "band wagon jumping" with a bunch of career politicians woh cares not about working people.

To John,

We obviously have a different read of history. I would disagree with your characterization (and opinion as it is) that "we didn't do anything or much too little when the WTC was bombed the first time, the barracks in Saudi, the two embassies (Tanzania and Kenya), the USS Cole, taking out Bin Laden when offered to us, verifying and inspecting the treaty with NKorea, etc." We could go point by point, but I don't have that much time. But did you really say "[Bill Clinton] really messed up Somalia too"? With all due respect, Somalia was messed up long before the first George Bush dragged the US into that morass of a so-called "humanitarian effort", and it was a mess when Clinton inherited it from Bush. Clinton simply got us out of a no-win situation, as he should have. And the other countries he apparently neglected? Thank you for at least acknowledging that people need to become more disciplined and SELF-responsible. Gotta admit you got me on that Kosovo thing, though.

I didn't say Hillary is perfect, but good luck if you think amorphous sermons and platitudes about "hope" and "a new kind of politics" will get us any further down the road to solving the conflicts you raise. I don't think for a moment that a President Obama would deploy (or would have deployed) American troops to the African countries you mention, and I wouldn't fault him for not doing so.

One the other hand, I do doubt that had he been in the US Senate he would have voted against going into Iraq. His conservative, don't rock the boat, talk about new kind of politics but play the totally conventional style would in my humble opinion have led him to vote the same way Hillary and Edwards did. One of his so-called mentors was Lieberman for crying out loud. Mere speculation and opinion on my part, I know. But I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid just yet.

I do respect your point of view nonetheless, and I think the issues you raise are valid.

The race for Presidency is going as expected the ole "divide and conquer philosophy".It happened with Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King(He was a communist etc.agitator,!)claims from paid off uncle tom "preachers in the 60's.The tone of alot of these bloggers seem actually like whites pretending to be blacks with outrageous racist comments.Are you actually that afraid that Obama would do a better job then a white man in the "white house" that you would sell your soul to stop him from getting in .What about your previous hatred for Hillary?suddenly she is the best thing since water!Not that she is bad or wouldnt make a good Pres. I just hope she crosses out the racists and Uncle Toms and runs on a card with Obama(probably wont though)Her handlers are not going too go for that.Whites should stop playing the race card, 400 years of this nonsense is enough.Dont worry he doesnt want your wife or daughters either that stereotype is played out!.How in your wildest dreams could you let Bush literally get away with murder and steal our Taxpayers money by the trillions,constantly lie to the Public and then try to Talk negatively about Obama?Racism and stupidity is alive and well in america and there are plenty people who want to keep it that way.

Oh, and John. Sorry I forgot to mention. No. I am not a "Hillary worker", nor did I work on any of Bill's campaigns. And I'm not working on anyone's campaign at the moment. Non-campaign workers can form political opinions, so please don't dismiss my opinions as such. I simply haven't bought into the "Hillary is the devil" hype any more than I've bought into the "Barack is the second coming" hype.

And frankly, working on anyone's campaign would not render my views any less valid for that matter....

Thank you Randy and John for saying so eloquently what I wanted to. Both of you are absolutely correct. While it doesn't surprise me that you would actually write something so overtly racist, it does surprise me that your readers are coming out in force and calling you on it. And while it would be nice to see the Times do away with someone with such a closed mind, I don't think that they would care to lose such a controversial writer such as yourself. After, controversy is great for business, isn't it?

As for what you wrote, you don't honestly believe that, do you? Black people should support other black people because of the color of their skin and not because of their abilities? Aren't you usually knocking white folks who judge black folks because of the color of their skin? Who's the racist now?

In my opinion, politicians and voters who support one candidate over another based on political affiliations rather than actual abilities are one of the biggest problems in this country. You, however, are even worse. You have picked up right where the bigots of previous generations left off. God help us if there are more people who think like you come election time.

Just like African-American voters, I do not believe that African-American politicians are obligated to endorse a candidate simply because that person is African-American.

A person's decision to support that candidate should be based on who they believe is the strongest and best represents their political views.

Are you suggesting that all African-Americans should have endorsed Clarence Thomas even though many did not agree with his views?

Mitchell comment:

No. I'm suggesting that the black lawmakers are writing Obama off because of his race and the misguided belief that he cannot possibly win the nomination over a white woman. I'm also arguing that African-Americans are key to the primary and should not be misled into believe it is impossible to elect a black president. Further, I would not compare Clarence Thomas' controversial selection to Sen. Barack Obama's race for the White House.

Barack Obama is an intelligent and engaging and clearly articulate man.

However, he lacks some things in terms of identifying with African American voters:

1. He is not a descendant of slaves. His father, who he did not know, was a Black African from Kenay, who abandoned his white mother, and did not have a slave history nor mentality.

2. He does not have the historical connection of the "great migration" of American Blacks from the South to the North. Most African American Chicago politicians have connections like Jesse Jackson Sr, Alice Tregay, former MWRD Prez Fuller from South Carolina or the Strogers from Arkansas and the other connection to the Catholic-Black community(ies) in Louisiana at Xavier University. The tar and featherings, the abject poverty, the fighting with white ethnic immigrants in Chicago. Obama has no connection to that history.

3. Barack Obama is not an American Black. This is not to be a joke, an insult, or be stereotypical but if you watch the video of Obama swaying back and forth--he does not have the same rythm or flow of the other Church goers at the Church. Obama did not grow up stepping. He did not grow up throwing raps or rhymes or insults. He didn't go to jookie parties on the South Side or even oldie stepper sets. When he was in the Senate, the other Black Senators like Donne Trotter and even Ricky Hendon used to make fun of him and mock him. Even Jesse Jackson Jr made jokes about him not being Black enough or Chicago enough.
His skin is Black but his culture is not. Barack Obama did not endure the racism of Chicago or the Deep South but the multicultural warmth of the Hawaiin sun and the wealth of white family and the opportunity of private schools.

4. He does not bond or provide a real role model because he is not from Chicago and did not have a hard life or poverty. He did not go to Chicago Public Schools bad or good. He did not go to Catholic or Baptist Chicago Schools. He did not get beat up in Bridgeport or have gangs follow him home from school. He never had to go to County Hospital.
He grew up a life of privilege and luck and opportunity. No doubt he has talent and worked hard. But his life was not one of difficulty or challenge. He did not know his dad, but unfortunately that is not atypical.
He went to elite private schools. His step dad was an International Businessman and he was world travelled by the time he was a teenager. His mom was white. He never knew nor dealt with any Black people. As a teenager his white grandparents raised him in Hawaii in a upper middle class environment. He never had to deal with gangs. He went to all good schools. He did not know dangerous streets. He never went without a meal. He went to private school in Indonesia. He went to private school in Hawaii. He was in a white and wealthy international world. He went to Columbia undergrad and Harvard law. He and his wife are wealthy get inside deals on books and property, get government or corporate travel. He is an elected official.
This is not a challenged person, again he worked hard and is talented but this idea that it is so odd he is where he is and had to overcome the name and being Black is absurd. Barack Obama had a life of privilege and opportunity. This is not the life of most Black kids in the South or West Side of Chicago. Not the biracial kids who are tall or good looking or at Latin School or U of C prep but the poor kids in the Chicago Public Schools. Barack Obama's upbringing and history is radically different and he is no more of a role model than any successful Ivy League white kid.

5. Yes, he has chosen to Black (maybe for political reasons but don't be so cynical. Clearly chose a lovely Black wife and has Black(er) kids. So he is Black. BUT HE IS ALSO WHITE. WITH A WHTIE MOTHER WHO RAISED HIM. AND WHITE GRANDPARENTS WHO RAISED HIM. HE NEVER DEALT WITH BLACK PEOPLE UNTIL HE WAS AN ADULT.
He represented a Black (primarily Senatorial District) that is relatively unchanged because of his representation (still many chronic problems)

6. There is also a double standard of support. Obama can endorse White candidates over Black in other states but we must back him because he is Black. Emil Jones says that Blacks must go with Barack because he has a somewhat Black skin color (there are Hispanics darker than Barack Obama) but Obama backs Mayor Daley over a Black candidate (with a much more compelling story than Barack---Dorothy Brown had a large family, illiterate parents who got educated later in life, mother was a maid, dad was a farmer and factory worker, poverty, religious, dark skinned black, South, real racism, real poverty, real overcoming of obstacles) Now, Obama can back Mayor Daley but don't than play the race card to say we must now back Obama. There is a hypocricy and Double standard here.

7. Obama seems rightfully justified in talking about the genocide in Sudan or the corruption in Kenya. But he is silent on the corruption in Chicago under Daley or the torture in Chicago in Areas 2 and 3 under Jon Burge or the genocide of African American children being murdered, in jail and in a system that seems not to work. Obama is silent at home and in with the powers that be.

8. Obama is NOT a historical first. There is nothing that unique about his candidacy except that the media loves him and he is being hyped and like Biden says he is "clean". BUT the first African American to run for President was Shirley Chisolm a Congressowman from Texas when it was historic and different, Rev. Jesse Jackson ran for President and actually did very well, Rev. Al Sharpton ran for President, and with the Republicans Alan Keyes ran for President and had a small but fervent conservative following and did well in debates, General Colin Powell was almost recruited. So Obama is not a first and really not that unique, the uniqueness is in the number of media stories. Is it because he is light skinned? or more acceptable to whites? or he is a good speaker? What is historic or unique here that was not with Colin Powell, Alan Keyes or Cong Chisolm? Why isn't the darker skinned JC Watts loved by the media or even Democrat Harold Ford?

9. Most people I talk too don't know his stands on the issues or what he really thinks or means or does, just that he is different or represents hope. Was he different in endorsing Todd Stroger or just doing the partisan line? Was he different in endorsing Mayor Daley or doing a good political move? Was he different or reform in wanting to pay the pastor $10,000 or month or was he just like any other politician? What about his fundraising or Tony Rezko? What are his stands on issues?

10. He is more hopeful or optimisitic or not negative yet his operatives and the media destroyed Blair Hull because of his wife and he accepted Congressman Jackson making jokes about wife beating even though that was not what it was, he admitted to drug use but Jack Ryan's sex life with his wife became the biggest story and forced him out of the race, should we explore Barack Obama's sex life? It was fair game for Jack Ryan. Is it negative to ask Barack Obama about his private sex life because he is kind of Black or hopeful or a Democrat but not for Jack Ryan. Obama benefitted from the negative attacks on Blair Hull, Jack Ryan, and the maneuvers of Daley consultant and guru Axelrod.
Obama was the beneficiary of a brutal media and good political operatives.

I am uncertain what is historic, different or hopeful. It seems more of the same with a better and maybe slightly darker veneer.

Mitchell comment:

One way to determine where he stands on the issue is to research his voting record in the U.S. Senate and General Assembly. You could also go to one of his free rallies and listen to him speak about those issues. I would also suggest that you pay attention to the upcoming debates.

While I see nothing wrong with diversity in the White House, I vote for values, not race or even ethnicity. I don't know too much about either candidate, but Obama is probably closer to my vote--even though I have not yet checked out candidates from other parties.

I will say this, though: if Obama wins, he will be the first Black (as he defines himself) president, but he will NOT be the first African American president. He is half European and half Kenyan. His ancestors were NOT brought to what is now the USA from West Africa as slaves, so anyone who calls him African American (a distinctive ethnic group) is wrong. His wife and children may be African American, but he is not.

kudos Mary for pointing out the obvious, about the black political bosses protecting their turf/influence and their standing. On the other hand, why wouldn't they? that is what political bosses do and this transcends issues of race/skin color.

kudos also to the "brother" above for making some excellent points.

from where I sit, it all ties in with general thoughts on the topic, that being that most black political leadership, of the old school variety is basically, or should be an embarrassment to African Americans. Think Tillman, most Chicago politicos (though this easily crosses racial lines, most white alderman, etc are also complete buffoons), Jesse "what can I shake you down for" Jackson and of course Al Sharpton, of the Tamika Brawley fame, though as someone else commented somewhere, I also loved him on Saturday Night Live.

Clearly the cream of the crop in terms of intellect and ability don't make their way over to the political side (once again, this applies to whites as well).

People like Obama and Ford Jr in Ten (though I know little about him) finally represent a generational breakthrough in terms what one considers a politician, or black politican to be, and anyone who questions their "blackness" is simply a supporter of the political ancien regime.

what I personally don't quite understand is why "endorsements" matter anyways, unless you are a Burke, Daley or Lipinski in Chicago and can send out thousands of political workers, against the law, on election day to Neanderthal parts of the city to get people to vote for "your" candidate (I still don't quite understand how anyone could be so easily coopted).


We as black people are going to be really conflicted during this '08 campaign. Some of us will feel that Barack Obama does not yet have the experience or gravitas to handle the presidency. Others will vote against him because they feel the nation is still not ready to elect a black man to our highest office. Sadly, many blacks will vote against Obama because they feel he hasn't proved himself as a leader of black people first -- he's not a product of "The Struggle".

Whatever the South Carolina state senators do, that's their call. To me, it's a parochial attempt on their part to maintain some power.

Utimately 2008 will be a test of Black America's political maturity. Since the 1960s we have put politicians in office to serve OUR interests, at the exclusion of broader citywide, statewide or national interests (think Jesse Jackson's run in '88). But that puts a low ceiling on those politicians, who know they risk losing the base that put them in office if they reach out to other groups on broader issues. I think that's why there's really been so few statewide and nationally elected black politcians in the U.S.

Now we have a black man -- a self-identified black man, no matter how others may describe him -- who has decided to transcend boundaries. Would he be in this position if he simply kow-towed to a color-based constituency? No, not at all.

Many of us were lucky enough to have parents tell us that we could do anything we wanted when we grew up, even become president. And if we believed that, did we really think we could do that by being America's most successful "black" leader?

There were black preachers under the influence of racists in the 60's who claimed Dr.Martin luther King was a communist.Obama is going to get hit from lot of sides especially neo-cons ,racist whites and uncle toms.some whites are on the "anybody but a black man mode"and would sell their souls for the continued reichwing policies of the Repubican party ,no matter had bad they are.The exposure of neo-cons as one of the main reasons for the spread of terrorism wont stop whites from taking our country down the road of war and destruction.Anyone who would vote for someone like Bush is out of touch with reality anyway and you cant convince them they were wrong .They are going to try to place the blame on the liberals when the war is over .They claim the terrorists will follow us home when we leave Iraq ,but it seems to me that the 9-11 hijackers knew the way before the war.Neo-cons still sleep well even with the blood of our U.S troops and hundreds of thousands of innocent men,women and children on their hands ,just like their leader Dubya.The Obama issue and the lies and distractions that will occur in the future will continue because those responsible for the escalation of terrorism continue to reap the benefits of using(misusing)our taxpayers money.Great job rightwingers the way you say you are "fiscal conservatives"yet spend our money in ridiculous and illegal ways.In closing I cant wait for the dems to call for more investigations so those who have committed war crimes and treason are brought to justice.I believe you reap what you sow,you cant rewrite history,I am sure this administration will go down as most inept and corrupt ever.We need Obama to turn this thing around ,the neo-cons are happy with the disaster they have caused and will enlist any co-horts to stop Sen.Obama from doing a better job then they have.

Moderator, from reading this column you must surely think it's a good thing if a white voter or white politician supports a white candidate only because the candidate is white. If you don't think that's okay, than that is hypocrisy at its finest. But I encourage you to keep on writing these columns. I constantly tell my friends and family members to read your columns, go on the message boards on BET.com, and Chicagodefender.com, so they can see what black America really thinks about them.

You are starting to affect me the way Je$$e Jack$son does and that's not good. I hear your voice but it sounds like blah, blah, blah, and blah. Same old, same old. Race baiting, trouble making, malcontent with a chip on her shoulder big as the Millenium Park bean. Stick a sock in it already, Mary.

The blue-eyed white devils up in Mass. voted in a black governor, and you never even gave those nasty blue-eyed, racist, Nazis any credit. If white people attempted to tell blacks how to vote you would be having a hissy fit, so where do you get that right? This is America, and so far we still have the right to enter a voting booth and vote the way we want. If it was up to the likes of you it would be color coordinated voting, all the blue-eyed devils vote black and all the blacks vote black. You are like a spoiled child.

Bet this missive never sees the light of day. You don't believe in freedom of speech either, unless it's your own big fat mouth doing all the flapping.

I am a voter who will not be voting for Barack Obama, but it has nothing to do with him being black, It's just that his views on issues differ from mine. This difference is fundamental. Issues such as the war in Iraq, government spending, abortion, taxes, etc.. However you can rest assured that I defintely won't be voting for Hillary or any other democrat.

I don't think it is necessary to vote for a candidate no matter what the office because they are black, and Mary you of all people should know that. It is unfortunate that many blacks feel it is necessary for every other black person to follow them lockstep in their social and political beliefs. I wonder would these same people support Condelezza Rice if she ran for president just because she is BLACK. Did the same people support and vote for Kenneth Blackwell in Ohio or Michael Steele in Maryland just because they are black?

My disagreement with these two is not their support of Hillary, but the reason the two political hucksters gave for not supporting Obama. That was one of the most SLAVEISH statements I've heard in years and is indicative of the morally bankrupt tactics and pimpish style amongst many democratic politicos. These people have no respect for members of their communtiy as evident by the statemnts. The problem isn't the fact that these politicos are for sale, but the fact that they feel they can make such ludicrous statemnts and the black public not be insulted. I think this is the reason to take them to task and illustrate that being black and democrat ain't all that. I am sure there are many people who feel insulted and recognize these rascals for what they are. Leave them alone to their dimwitted followers and let Obama make his case.

Furthermore, Mary when did being democratic become synonomous with being black? CHUCH!

A Chicago African American political operative has informed these African American Senators from out of State about the BURGE TORTURE. The silence of Obama on the Burge torture is deafening.

Watch for Hilary Clinton to endorse Hilary Clinton with a focus on the Burge torture and Daley's hypocricy.

A Chicago African American political operative has informed these African American Senators from out of State about the BURGE TORTURE. The silence of Obama on the Burge torture is deafening.

Watch for Hilary Clinton to endorse Hilary Clinton with a focus on the Burge torture and Daley's hypocricy.

Oprah Winfrey, Lovie Smith, Tony Dungy, Collin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Astronaut Frederick Gregory, Astronaut Ronald McNair, Astronaut Bernard Harris, Astronaut Guion Bluford, Astronaut Mae Jemison, Astronaut Michael Anderson, just to quickly name a few, none of these people got to where they are because they are black or becasue they were supported by today's black population, they got there from hard work and because they were the best at what they did.

Don't be the rusted piece of metal that rips and scars this campaign with race, because if you do Obama will loose. Allow him to be the best candidate hands down without bringing something as trivial as skin pigmentation into it. Obama is not on a black or white side he is a politician and it is not your duty to assign him or anyone a responsibility of upholding a black stance if they didn't ask for that position. Jessie Jackson Jr took a Black stance and when he did he forever disqualified himself as a potential presidential candidate. Obama proved that he is neutral when he backed Daley over two Black Candidates for mayor of Chicago.

Part of the reason the world is so racial is because we as blacks to often feed into it. If a person wants to back a politician (regardless of race) so be it, let them have their opinions regardless of where it may be coming from, and regardless of what your opinion of them is,, its my opinion that those black people will help him win because America will see that this is not a race of race but a race between good candidates and the best one will win. Do a little research without white votes Obama will not and can not win because sadly Blacks don't vote as they should.

Ask yourself are you a good columnist or a Black columnist. A much more interesting story would of been "The new Face of Anti-Racism, Just Don't Make it an Issue" and focus on people (who happen to be black) who have done great things without race becoming a driving force. Its columns like this one that will be key in Obama's down fall, you are not helping.

"Hillary does not have a history of turning her back on African Americans"
Ok, if that is true give me some specifics...
The Democratic Party does have a history of turning its back on African Americans. Oh, sure they talk the talk and once they get your vote, they are walking away...
Yeah, I know the Democratic party is always promoting itself as the party of the black man, the poor man and the abused man..etc..etc
but what have they really done? nothing comes to mind does it?


Since this topic is about presidential politics, I thought I might share a rumor I heard. I read on the internet that if Giulani becomes the next president he is going to make Johnny Burge his secretary of state. The thinking being that diplomacy has not worked when dealing with leaders in the middle east. So maybe a tactic that is completely opposite of diplomacy will.

o where to start. rey i dont criticize ppl for there belifes when they are reasonble if yo uvoted for alan keys you might want to get yourself checked out . keys said women who have aboritions are like the people who few in to the WTC. If he was such a good canidate why did he get so little of the vote why did white republicans vote for obama.

why did baraka support daily over the other.
1. daley was going to win not matter what
2. daley supported him
3. daley has improved the city yeah he is tearing down the project but and moving thoes people out so more peopel move in to the city. but he is also the reaosn why we have melinium park and are being considered for the olympics.

obama wont get the bid not because he is black but because he is to liberal and doesnt have the experience. if black people ever want to see a black persident actually VOTE how hard is that. we are the lowest % of voter turn out. obama will get the nod as VP and anybody with any political knowledge knows that.

for those of who say Bill didnt do anythign and got us in to the problems we are in now. NEWS FLASH A DUMB PERSIDENT BUSH GOT US IN TO THE SITUATION WE ARE IN NOW. dont blame him for the problems in africa no preisdent or wolrd leader he stepped up either. and since bill has been out of office he has raised money for school in black areas and for relife in africa. oh yeah and we still havnt gotten bin laden we have had multible times when we could have gotten him since 9/11 but we chose to either wait in see, send in afgani troops, or invade another country. Bill is very well like in the international community b/c he is smart and is a very good talker. bills cheating on hillary didnt hurt out international standing it actually did the oppisit b/c thats wht leards do in other countries. but invaiding another country with fake intel that pisses a lot of people off.

if we want to be taken seriously he are a few things
1. value a good education.
2. VOTE
3. vote not on race but on wht that person has to offer
4. stop raising kids to be basketball stars...it's not going to happen
5. stop emulating the hip-hop world be your won person stop dressing and acting like a stero-type. act and dress to be respected
6. dont make the choice between new nikes and books for your kids(books should always win)
7. read to your kids everyday

we cant expect to be taken serious untill change and have our action demand we be treated seriously.

hey biggdogg, nice post, however you state that "Hillary has a better shot because she is currently polling better" I hope you are not just voting for her just because she will win. That is no better than voting for Barack because he is black.
I really think you need to look at what Hillary & Co. have done for you or the Nation. Neither candidate has done much for you, me or anyone else. I know what they and Democrats have promised election after election, but they have not delievered. Watch how Hillary tries to destroy Barack, then tell me you want her in power.

The reason these black men are shufflin behind Hilary is not about color, it's about the weakness of black men in this country, especially Chicago. some of them should purchase a dress. The new leadership in chicago is black women, not men. The women control city council and state government in regards to the black community. And we wonder why kids as young as 6 run the streets after 10pm? thier mom is at a meeting and dad at a club or on radio stations showing how weak they are.

"t is proven by his lack of concern for the fact that 1/3rd of abortions performed in America are in black neighborhood on young black women.
When people? When will we all get it?
Don't tell me that just because I am not voting for Obama I am a racist. That's is a bunch of nonsense. If it were up to my vote & the vote of many others, just not enough, Alan Keys would be in Obama's senate seat today, probably accomplishing much more than the popularity tour that Obama is focused on this very day.

Abortion is a multi-million dollar a year business that makes most of its money by killing black children, says Day Gardner, president of the National Black Pro-Life Union.

In a statement released yesterday, Gardner called on African Americans to open their eyes to the fact that more than 1,000 black children die each day by abortion.

“These children are denied their most basic human right -- which is the right to life; a right which our ancestors so proudly worked for, marched for and many of them died for,” she said.

Since abortion was legalized in the U.S., more than 44 million children have been killed by abortion, and 15 million of them were black children, Gardner pointed out. More than 37 percent of all abortions are performed on black women annually. Last year, more than 400,000 black babies were aborted.

“Abortion has become the number one killer of black people in this country -- killing more African Americans than accidents, heart disease, stroke, crimes, HIV-AIDS and all other deaths combined!” she said.

“What bothers me is we are very quick as a people to recognize racism everywhere else except the one place that truly affects all of us,” she said. “Most blacks will agree that racism is sill very much alive, yet say nothing when abortion facilities are placed purposefully in minority and poor communities. This is no accident!”

“Abortion providers need us to make their blood money,” she said in her statement. “If we as black people say no to abortion, the industry will cease to exist.”

“We are the underground railroad of our time, and it's up to us to make abortion a thing of our historical past,” she said. “If we stand united against this horrific practice ... we shall overcome this, too."

So black females should not exercise choice who is going to help them raise those babies not black men. These women are typically sexually active willingly or otherwise, maybe in love but the ending result is they will be raising black children on their own. Why not have a choice? Why should the women be stuck so they can raise another son for the prison system? Why should they bear witness to their children being raised by BET (Black Entertainment Television) so they can learn to be bitches and hoes, pimps, and playas. They really can't pick what their kids watch because unless they receive welfare, they are working two jobs they are not around to watch the kids. Oh, and "Daddy" is free to sow his wild oats depending on how he feelsion he may or may not pay child support or visit the children. In our community this seems to be perfectly acceptable. Again I ask Why should black women bear all the burden? Use protection in the first place but if you get pregnant you have choices.

Bigdawg...as a pasty white man, I could not agree more. At this point, I have no interest in voting for McCain, Edwards, etc. Get this, and THEY'RE WHITE! Obama is likely getting my vote. Why??? Get this...I looked beyond the color of his skin and assessed the positions he's taken so far. Isn't that a novel idea?

To reduce this next election as a "support those the same color as you" takes us back decades. We have a long way to go to break down remaining barriers. Writing positions like the one taken by this "columnist" is a disgrace.

Talk about racism, why should it matter what race a candidate is when considering voting. Look at their experience and voting record as well as effectiveness as a politician. Remember if they are a politician, politics overcomes race everytime.

I agree with LD. :) Obama is basically promoting himself with his books, Oprah appearance, etc.. I don't need to vote for someone who has a great image. If I want that, I can simply vote for Daley, Stroger2 , Bush, Clinton, etc. Obama became US Senator in 2005, but by the end of 2006 he showed his lack of interest by running for US President. We Illinoisans elected Obama to a 6 year term. We expected him to serve out that term, excluding illness and death. If that wasn't bad enough, he endorsed two whites who are clearly against African Americans: Bobby Byrd (an "ex-" Klan member) and Ritchie Daley.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mary Mitchell published on February 16, 2007 1:49 PM.

Biden is showing his age was the previous entry in this blog.

Pastors and politics is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.