Saturday, January 05, 2008

My thoughts on Obama and Iowa (**and now N.H.)

As much as I hate to admit it, when it comes down to the Presidential election, I have no idea where my loyalties lie or what's gonna happen in the next few months. Lately, I've been starting to dig Ron Paul a lot more. Depending on what day of the week of it is, I like -- or can at least tolerate -- Dennis Kucinich; or so I've been told. Hell, I even make no bones about liking Mike Huckabee. But, even when he does stupid things like disenfranchise my vote as a Michigander, I'm still enamored most by Barack Obama. And now that he's won the Iowa caucus, many analysts say that the White House is but a hop, skip, and a jump away.

But the fat lady hasn't even started to get her voice ready yet.

There's no doubt about it: Obama's win in Iowa was amazing especially considering its historic precendence and the nature of race relations in this country. But to say that this is a prelude to living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is a bit of a stretch right now.

For starters, consider that Sen. Obama hasn't had the same run-ins witht the media (especially CNN) as Hillary has as of now. In fact, it's been the very opposite. Ever since his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he's been adored by virtually everyone in the national media. Now, I'm not saying that this isn't well deserved. I mean, the brotha did come across as being far more charming, relatable, and likable as Hillary has ever been (even with her Sopranos parody). Most of the backlash Hillary receives in the media -- though not equitable when compared to the other candidates -- is pretty justifiable. Still, I'm a little nervous that the same media who is currently shouting "Hosana" as Obama makes his way through the primaries riding his donkey will the very folks yelling "Crucify him" when it becomes fashionable to do so later on.

What's also been bothering me about Obama-mania is how the concept of race relations has been significantly skewed by analysts. Many analysts are using Obama's victory as some sort of indication that race is not a factor for Obama and that America has somehow moved beyond racism. But what they often miss (easy to do when you're a privileged white person in America) is that though the racism which disallowed blacks to have a significant presence in politics is a thing of the past, deeply rooted systemic racism is still alive and well. Sure a black man is currently a legitimate candidate for president. But this is a drop in the bucket when you juxtapose it to the racial inequality still prevalent in the world.

Also, I think everybody needs to stop making a big deal every time Obama wins a primary. if you recall Jesse Jackson; as disliked as he was and still is; won eleven different contests during his run for President (including seven primary elections and four caucuses). Democratic candidates for President; even those as legitimate as Obama; are just not newsworthy anymore. You wanna impress me? Find a legitimate Black candidate who wins primaries in the GOP race.

Finally, I've always maintained that I think Obama's momentum will be seriously compromised by his decision not to be on Michigan and Florida's ballot. One thing that connects Michigan and Florida (besides the thrashing that the Wolverines just gave the Gators! HA!) is that both are critical swing states with expansive memories. They won't soon forget about how he and three of his fellow Democratic Presidential hopefuls all decided to skip out on us. I'm curious to see how this will effect his chances. But frankly, I'm not optimistic.

Simply put, Obama has indeed been impressive so far. But this thing is far from over. I mean, even Kerry won in Iowa; and we all know what happened next. Let's not get too carried away yet.

- ACL

22 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

nic said...

"But the fat lady hasn't even started to get her voice ready yet."

Hallelujah! If you listen to what the news has been saying you'd think Obama had just won the presidency, the World Series, AND the Super Bowl! Seriously though, what does impress me about his Iowa win is that not only was it not by a slim margin, but his significant lead was accomplished in a state w/ a very low black population, AND by "stealing" a large amount of the female vote.

"Also, I think everybody needs to stop making a big deal every time Obama wins a primary. if you recall Jesse Jackson; as disliked as he was and still is; won eleven different contests during his run for President (including seven primary elections and four caucuses)."

Yes, but he never won Iowa, & that's the significant difference. As much as I hate how different State's primaries/caucuses are spread out, for one reason or another some people still allow themselves to be influenced by the voting results of states in which they don't reside. Don't believe me? Clinton had a rather significant lead over Obama in the N.H. polls just last week. And now? Dead even.

"Finally, I've always maintained that I think Obama's momentum will be seriously compromised by his decision not to be on Michigan and Florida's ballot."

I won't delve into this as it's a bit off topic & the fact that this has occurred seriously fills me w/ rage (I simply cannot express my frustration enough...). But I agree w/ you, as this could very possibly be his biggest regret when all is said & done.

"But this thing is far from over. I mean, even Kerry won in Iowa; and we all know what happened next. Let's not get too carried away yet."

Far from over, yes. But Kerry won in Iowa & got the Dem's nomination, & that is what we're talking about. Baby steps grasshopper. The Presidency is still a few steps away. ;)

-n

The H.C. said...

Hey Dre,
Your sooooo pessimistic. O.k., I guess it's justified. The South will be the real obstacle for Barack. If he can win there the Fat Lady will indeed be singing for Hillary. As far as your other statement about racism still being a problem. I don't think anyone's suggesting that even if Obama gets the Presidency that everything is all straightened out. But, you have to admit, it would be a step in the right direction, right?. You feeling a little "half-empty" today? I was expecting confetti, not folded arms.

KC said...

Andre, for you to be an Obama supporter you're sure spittin' sour grapes.

Andre said...

@ Nic: "If you listen to what the news has been saying you'd think Obama had just won the presidency, the World Series, AND the Super Bowl..."

This is why I'm not exactly doing cartwheels over Iowa. I'm excited for Obama for his win and for acheiving the do-no-wrong love from the media. But they're fickle, I tell you. Fickle!

"Yes, but he never won Iowa, & that's the significant difference."

But Jesse DID win Vermont; and that's about as white bred as you can get. But you're right in saying that "...As much as I hate how different State's primaries/caucuses are spread out, for one reason or another some people still allow themselves to be influenced by the voting results of states in which they don't reside.". That said, I'm curious to see how pulling the upset in "I ain't nothin' by white"-owa will boost Obama.

@ HC: Pessimism = realism? Call it pessimism if you want, but there are only so many miracles a person can pull off in an election. Iowa's win was an amazing feat. Getting an love in the South will be Mission Impossible.

As it relates to the race observation (the "step in the right direction"): I guess my thing is: I'm sick of the country taking steps in the right direction. They need to tread a path in the right direction. This 'taking steps' nonsense is getting old.

@ KC: Dude, I'm not spitting sour grapes here. I'm just callin' it as I see it. I'm a huge Obama fan. But I'm wondering if he's really gonna get validation from the country or if he's just gonna be the token black candidate who's NOT Hillary. Of course I've got some other issues, but I think I've already covered those thoughout my political coverage...

heiresschild said...

hey andre, i'll come back and read, but wanted to say you're welcome. i forgot all about it, but i would have remembered it in a day or so to make sure you got it. enjoy it!

i'm glad to see NIC here because i've been thinking about him because i have a tech question for him that i think he can answer. be back shortly.

saved sinner said...

Andre, I see where you're going with this. While I thought it was a terrific "sign of the times" that a bunch of white, moral conservative people came out to support Sen. Obama, I too am a little leary with how the media (especially CNN) handled the Iowa primaries. I hope Obama doesn't plan on relying solely on them to gain momentum. That would be scary.

Andre said...

Rob, I think you're on the same page with me on this one. Don't get me wrong: Obama's win was hella impressive, but I don't think that he has a great chance of beating some of the leading Republicans (I'm not including Huckabee in this discussion, because his win in Iowa was a fluke. He won't go any further than that). So now we have the media pushing Obama as the Second Coming; only for him to get creamed by a Republican. I mean, do you REALLY think that he stands a chances in the southern states? REALLY?

I know who I like. But sadly, the guy I like is NOT the one who has the best chance at winning. The Dems need to figure that out before it's too late.

Andre said...

I'm sorry Sylv; I missed your comment. THANKS FOR THE GIFT!

beachgirl said...

Hi Andre,
I never pay attention this early. I do find it amusing that everyone thought Hillary was going to win in a landslide and she tanked and came in 3rd. I'm not a big Hillary fan.

But in local elections one of my oldest sons friends is running for the city council. I do believe I will vote for him. I wonder if he still drinks like a fish. I hear he does. He's also an up and coming lawyer.



As you can tell I do NOT take any of this vying for position too seriously. Let the talking heads talk.

Have a fun night.

heiresschild said...

well you know i'm a die-hard Obama supporter, and even if he didn't win, it's still a BIG step for mankind.

Still, I'm a little nervous that the same media who is currently shouting "Hosana" as Obama makes his way through the primaries riding his donkey will the very folks yelling "Crucify him" when it becomes fashionable to do so later on.

you know they'll do this eventually, regardless of who wins. people are fickle; when they like or approve what's being done, "Hosanna," but when they don't, "Crucify him" as you said.

Finally, I've always maintained that I think Obama's momentum will be seriously compromised by his decision not to be on Michigan and Florida's ballot.

not sure what his reasons were, but i'm sure to him they were good ones. i guess Obama's learning early you can't please everyone so he has to do what he feels is best. could come back to bite him, but then again.....

i'm excited about the whole upcoming election; it's definitely a historical one.

Joanne said...

Hello Mr. Louis! For starters, I want to wish you and yours a safe, blessed, and annointed 2008! Secondly, to address your post; you seem to dealing with a great deal of conflict when it comes to who you should support. Why don't you just endorse Cynthia McKinney as the Green Party candidate and be done with it! :)

http://www.runcynthiarun.org/

heiresschild said...

ok Andre, we're into new hampshire now. any thoughts? well, of course you do have some, but are you writing about them?

Andre said...

@ Carol: By the time the media got a hold of Hillary, I wasn't suprised that her once juggernaut status was torn down. Still, I was suprised (plesantly) by Obama pulling off the win.

Interesting that you've got a buddy (or a friend of...) running for office. As much as I'm fascinated by politics, I would NEVER consider running myself. Too much Tolkien "Ring of Power" seduction in politics for my liking. All the same, good luck to him.

@ Sylv: I'm pretty excited about this year's election as well. Lots of unexpected twists, turns, and upset. And I thought this kind of thrill ride could only be found in College Basketball...

@ Joanne: You and my sister are among the only people on the planet who think the McKinney has any shot at winning. I semi-like her, but I even I wouldn't go down that road.

@ Sylvia (part II) It's scary how well you know me by now. As it so happens, I actually DO have my own theories about Obama's loss in N.H. Since Iowa was in a CAUCUS (with out-in-the-open involvement from participants on the Democrat side), people who sought to come across as being civilized and non-racist by supporting a black candidate did so openly. But with N.H. being involved in a secret ballot PRIMARY ELECTION, people were allowed to be more closeted with their opposition to the concept of a black candidate. So in a nutshell, I think race quietly played a factor in Obama losing his steam in N.H. And, as history has shown, it's not the first time something like this has happened.

KC said...

Dre, I can see your point somewhat; and I believe that race plays a role in many things. But you have to consider that most of the voting changes were found in women. If what you're saying is true, then only women voters have "closeted" racist tendencies. I just don't see that being the case.

KC said...

Recall too that Joe Liberman won N.H. as a Jew. All that said, I think you're wrong on this one.

saved sinner said...

I'm sorry: but Hillary pulled the sexist card in N.H. and it worked. The "Iron my Shirt" prop from earlier before gave her lots of momentum. I don't think Jesus could've competed with that. :)

Andre said...

KC & Rob; I don't completely agree or disagree with you. Hippie and I discussed the possibility of Hillary playing the gender card. And I do, in fact, think that the shirt ironing sign guy was a plant. That being said, why not consider the fact that BOTH Obama's race (the Bradley Effect) and Hillary's gender played roles. I never did think that nefariousness (is that a word?) only reared one head at a time.

Cynthia said...

"why not consider the fact that BOTH Obama's race (the Bradley Effect) and Hillary's gender played roles."

I feel that. Hillary's water works, the shirt guy, and Obama being black all factored into N.H.'s outcome.

Looking at this pragmatically, there's no denying that most of New Hampshire is white, with white preference. Though Obama's charisma and intelligence can cut across different races, I don't think that's enough to completely generate interest in the hearts of most N.H. whites. It doesn't help that he's married to Michelle Obama who is nowhere near being a pandering, teeth showing, submissive black women.

Let's face facts, much of White American still can't identify with Obama.

Andre said...

@ Cynthia: Amen.

heiresschild said...

i saw on t.v. today that Kerry is endorsing Obama for president. pow, upside Edward's head!!! (even though it might not shock Edwards because since he publically critized Kerry's campaign after that election). this presidential race gets more and more interesting as the days go by.

Andre said...

Kerry's endorsing Obama?! Yowzers!

If I'm Obama, I'd be shaking in my boots right about now.

Malissa said...

Good post.