Obama’s Black Problem

I unfurled my Washington Post this morning and my eyes were met with an interesting front page story on Obama’s troublesome relationship with the African-American community (or at least the traditional leadership of the African-American community).

A particularly interesting nugget: “Black Democrats prefer Clinton 3 to 1 over Obama, and four out of five of black Democrats view her favorably, much higher than the 54 percent who have a favorable view of Obama, according to combined findings from two Washington Post-ABC polls taken in December and January.”

And, on cue, the inimitable Al Sharpton offers a very Al Sharpton quote: “Right now we’re hearing a lot of media razzle-dazzle. I’m not hearing a lot of meat, or a lot of content. I think when the meat hits the fire, we’ll find out if it’s just fat or if there’s some real meat there.” (Translation: Expect a Sharpton candidacy in 2008 – should make the debates interesting. You can’t help but marvel at the man’s brilliant command of the English language.)

This article really highlights the difficulties facing Obama as he tries to establish his bona fides in the black community without becoming another Jesse Jackson (i.e. a marginal, sectarian candidate). It is really unchartered territory in American politics, there is no playbook for such a candidacy (much as there is no precedent for a candidate of Kenyan-Kansas descent).

ps. I have nothing coherent or insightful to say about the State of the Union except my shock – and occassional horror – at how many times Nancy Pelosi blinks per minute. It is astounding. I wonder if that is a side effect of Botox?

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10 Comments on “Obama’s Black Problem”

  1. Faith Says:

    Man, now I feel like I totally put you guys on the spot with that whole State of the Union thing. And now I don’t feel so bad about not having any earth shattering thoughts on the matter myself. As for Obama, personally, I love him. I’m also a huge fan of the Clinton family (come back, Bill, we miss you!). But I’m starting to worry that maybe the Democratic party isn’t going to be able to come up with a viable candidate. As much as I love Barack and Hillary, I’m not sure if mainstream America is ready for them.

  2. ERG Says:

    I was meeting with a friend last night and he is big-up on John Edwards. And he made some decent arguments. We should not underestimate the viability of an Edwards candidacy. He has been working it hard on the ground in Iowa (in particular) and New Hampshire for almost a year now. My friend, who full disclosure would like to work for the Edwards campaign so his analysis is – how shall we say? – skewed, makes a compelling case that is behooves Edwards right now to be the third candidate in the top tier (along with Hillary and Obama). Let the kleig lights burn the two front-runners up, let them tear each other up, and when the dust settles – so the thinking goes – Edwards will be there, well organized. The campaign is so damn long this go around, who knows?

  3. Faith Says:

    That sounds, in theory, like a good strategy and yet it’s that sort of strategy favored by the Democrats that has had me so worried since the last election. I feel like the Democrats spend so much time tearing each other apart rather than focusing their energy on banding together. Although, admittedly they seem to be doing better in this area of late. At least, no matter what happens and no matter what new and exciting ways the Democratic party finds to self-destruct, Bush cannot win again. Thank goodness for small mercies.


  4. […] small-d Fiendishly Clever Tagline Pending « Obama’s Black Problem […]

  5. Dan Goldman Says:

    Rahm Emanuel in ’08! Oh wait, that’s the same as Obama…and why he can’t be stopped.

    Clinton may soak up all the big money, but Obama will have the votes. He’ll do better than expected in Iowa and NH and then it’s on for the rest of the campaign. Edwards is deep in Iowa ’cause he hasn’t had a job for 2 years and we’ll see what happens in the new early states, like NJ!

  6. HW Says:

    John Edwards is a punk. How’s that for trenchant political analysis?

  7. Faith Says:

    So this is the brilliant insight to which I’m directing my faithful readers (all 8 of them)?

    Oh, and, go Jersey!

  8. Evan Says:

    I have my skepticism about Edward, HW, but a “punk?” Strong words, my friend. Strong words.

  9. HW Says:

    Allow me to elaborate on Edwards’ punkdom. First, he has done nothing in his political career save for run for office. He was a one-term senator and an ambulance-chaser before that. All he cares about is running for president, which is what he’s been doing ever since 2004. Second, he’s a lightweight. Sure, he looked shiny and pretty in his debate with Cheney, but Gargamel growled him into a corner. He never has anything substantive to say and everytime he’s on a talking head program he spouts some grinning nothingness. All his energies are devoted to projecting a bright, beaming optimisim and perhaps this will be enough to win the nomination and even the presidency, but not to lift the mark of punkdom from his brow.


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