Archive for the ‘ephemera’ category

Obama’s Black Problem

January 25, 2007

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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Better Left Unsaid

January 24, 2007

Our rivener of romance novels imagines that we here at small-d have something insightful to say about last night’s State of the Union address. I can’t speak for my PITC but I certainly don’t. I didn’t even watch the dratted thing. Instead, I spent the evening gorging myself on Sachertorte and then sipping ambrosia at a fine local establishment. I know that the pundicrati take ravenous interest in such things, trying to divine the political future from Bush’s words and Ted Kennedy’s head-bobs as though they were reading entrails, but this to me is something of a waste of time.

Bush has no majority in Congress and so will be unable to enact any legislative program. His political intentions are therefore broadly irrelevant. On the most important question facing the nation and his administration – Iraq – he has already set out his new policy (if you can call it that). The rest is smirking.

Picking through the newspaper reports, the one sensible idea Bush seems to have proposed is mandatory fuel efficiency and emissions standards. I’d be rather shocked if he matches rhetoric with action on this one though. Judging by the heavy emphasis on ethanol and a definition of “alternative fuels” that seems to include liquefied coal, the intent would seem to be to please the corn farmers and the industry lobbyists rather than increasing energy independence or warding off environmental disaster. I guess we’ll have to see how Arnie’s energy policy reforms go in California to see if the issue becomes an un-spinnable political juggernaut.