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Opening Arguments


James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web Today reports on two views of Obamamania (you'll probably have to click on "previous day" to see it). Slate's Tim Noah has begun a new feature, "the Obama Messiah Watch,"which will collect examples of fawning coverage of Obama in the media, like this, from the Los Angeles Times:

In [political science professor Roger] Boesche's European politics class, [classmate Ken] Sulzer said he was impressed at how few notes [italics {Noah's}] Obama took. "Where I had five pages, Barry had probably a paragraph of the pithiest, tightest prose you'd ever see. . . .

But Ann Althouse looks beyond the humor:

But what Noah fails to talk about is the likelihood that he's picking up evidence of racism. What accounts for amazement to the point of adoration at the fact that a man possesses excellent skill at something like note taking? Is it not that he can do it and he's black?

I think we've all heard this very subtle form of racism. I heard an example of it on the "Bob and Tom" radio show a couple of weeks ago. They'd just gotten through talking with a black comedian, and one of them praised him for being "so articulate." The "for a black man" wasn't expressed, but how else are we to take such a statement? I've heard them talk with scores of white comedians, not a one of them singled out for being able to talk good English.

And such statements, probably with a lot of feelings white guilt behind them, come from people who would be horrified to think they sound racist. I wonder how much of the Obama Messiah phenomenon is because of people trying to purge that guilt. That's a fine thing to do, but it's a lousy reason to pick a president.


Bob G.
Thu, 02/01/2007 - 5:45am

Funny thing...minorities had a fantastic candidate a while back....ALAN KEYES...and they dismissed him...(because he stood for REAL values)...go figure.

Maybe he spoke English TOO well...?


tim zank
Thu, 02/01/2007 - 7:57am

The same "articulate" tag was attached to Colin Powell also. You bring up a very valid point. Old white guys used that description, and the Black Democrats used "Tom"...

He got screwed by BOTH sides.

Steve Towsley
Thu, 02/01/2007 - 7:15pm

Black comedians have ridiculed black men like Colin Powell who speak articulately, rather than in some hip brand of ungrammatical jive-talk, for a very long time. I recall Eddie Murphy's stand-up acts in which he mocked black men whom he characterized as Uncle Toms (or white wanna-bes) just because they spoke correct English.

Independents are supposed to like Obama, but conservative independents are still stuck with the fact that Obama will increase the power of old-guard liberals who want to force all of the most radical elements of the same old red agenda into law -- gun bans, ammunition bans, unlimited abortion, welfare for everybody, and, in general, the adoption of the ever-increasingly anti-American "California model" of leftists' notion of a "better" (aka socialist) America.

It all is a liberal pipe dream so long as most Americans remain sane.

Kenn Gividen
Fri, 02/02/2007 - 2:34am

Imagine a major presidential candidate who is a member and guest speaker at a church that openly flaunts its racist agenda by publishing the following statements on its web site:

Ethics standards...

Steve Towsley
Sat, 02/03/2007 - 3:45pm

There is a legitimate debate in this country about whether affirmative action has gone on long enough. Mr. Gividen implies that it is high time we stopped it.

I do think there is a point at which affirmative action just becomes another shade of racism. I understand how people, no matter the race, who are comfortable with the advantages of affirmative action, could have trouble recalibrating their own assumptions of what is fair, but I think the question of "when is enough enough?" genuinely deserves consideration as we approach 40 years away from the civil rights unrest of the late '60s. At least, there's nothing rude about asking the questions and researching the answers. I appreciate the importance of reparation for atrocities and oppression, but there comes a point when "eyes on the prize" no longer justify special treatment, and in fact may become a drag on real individual opportunity.

Mon, 02/05/2007 - 4:30pm

I want to be the first black mayor of fort wayne...and i'm white- just like Bill clinton. when are people going to stop looking at pigmentation, and start looking at relevant factors, such as wisdom? Obama's whiter that me. I never went harvard, or got elected senator. I'm more dirt poor than the poor dude living in eden "cabrini" green, or the blackhawk "projects".maybe I could be Senator, if I had myself tatooed with black ink all over?
he's a clueless young man, with no real world experience of any kind. just another child of a priveleged upbringing being sold to the people of america with an ulterior agenda.
he's not even a veteran of any kind. My vote is with Hillary in 08. she has more wisdom in her big toe than obama has in his whole body. call us back in 15 years. dude.