Monday, August 04, 2008

Obama and the Race Card

The upcoming presidential election has really made me want to start blogging again. It's just too big of an issue for me to not be getting my voice out there. Especially since I feel that there is almost no one who is saying the things that I feel. I've had a few ideas for posts rolling around for a while now, but just haven't devoted the time to actually writing them. Well, with the recent news from the campaign trail I just couldn't hold back anymore. So on with the blogging!

Last Thursday a new debate erupted between McCain and Obama. McCain claimed that Obama had "played the race card" while of course Obama initially denied it. In case you haven't heard, Obama said that the McCain campaign would try to scare voters by saying that he [Obama] doesn't look like all the other presidents on the dollar bills.

There are really two very big problems with this statement. First off, its completely untrue. The McCain campaign, and more specifically McCain himself, has never ever brought up the race issue.

The second problem, and perhaps the biggest, is that by saying this Obama has perhaps launched the biggest attack anyone can make on another human being: to accuse them of hating someone based solely on the color of skin.

To me, this doesn't sound like the words of a new kind of politician.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and also the insinuation is that whoever doesn't vote for Obama this November is racist, too. Sorry, that's such a load of baloney. There are several black people I'd love the chance to vote for in a presidential campaign (off the top of my head: Ken Blackwell, Michael Steele, Condi, Thomas Sowell). Obaama's an empty suit with no strength of character and no resume. If/when McCain wins, the next day it'll be all about why Americans are still so racist.

-Erica

Rob Howard said...

Lol, I thought to myself, "I think I know who "anonymous" is," and sure enough, she gave herself away at the end, hah!

But yeah I agree completely with the wife here (and your post). The insinuations will be ridiculous, but it will be worth enduring if it means we don't have to deal with this inexperienced Chicago politician for the next four years (or more, gulp).

In addition to race baiting, I also think it is laughable that Obama has used, unsuccesfully so far, the "another Bush term" tactic. McCain has spent the better part of a decade making sure EVERYONE knew he wasn't Bush, and Barack isn't going to reverse that with platitudes from the campaign trail.

As I tell people at school: take it from someone who actually voted for Bush twice: McCain is NOT Bush! (-:

In any case, despite various differences I have with McCain, I do like some of the fight and zest he's showing on the trial lately. And of course Obama keeps tossing him easy pitches down the middle with a campaign that has been making lots and lots of mistakes.

Brian Knoblauch said...

I almost forgot there was an election this year... Nobody's talking about it anymore, must be a fairly boring one?

Josh Pollard said...

Brian,

you really haven't heard much about the campaigns? I see campaign commercials all the time, and they have been talking about it on the news a lot. Maybe I'm just THAT engrossed in politics. With under 100 days to go I'm sure you'll hear a lot more about it in the coming weeks. I wouldn't be surprised if the next couple of weeks are a little quiet because of the Olympics though.

Josh Baltzell said...

I do think McCain WAS different from Bush in 2000, but I am not sure I see that now. It looks to me like every political movement he has made to become more electable has been becoming more conservative. Of course all of you guys like that I'm sure.

How will 4 years of McCain actually be different from 4 years of Bush? Are we assuming he will be better able to work with the congress and be more interested in environmental issues?

Josh Baltzell said...

I got curious about why Obama worded the last part of this quote this way:

***
...so what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, "Oh, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name.

"He doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills."
***

I think most people will consider that last part to be the moment where he is laying down his race card.

I think he said that particular phrase not just out of thin air, but because of this ad: (This is not a Rick Roll. (Really. (I promise. (You really don't trust me do you?))))

[WATCH]

Now, he also refers to "They" and not specifically the McCain campaign, albeit "They" must contain the McCain campaign. I have seen Fox and Friends nearly obsessing on Obama's middle name. In fact I think every time Steve (The blond guy that opens his mouth too far when enunciating things.) mention's Obama's name he says "Barrack Hussein Obama". I ask you this, why would someone make such a big deal of a middle name?

What about the emails going around and around about Obama going to a terrorist madrasa, or Obama being a Muslim, or the pictures going around and around of him in the traditional dress in his father's home country which includes (gasp) a turban?

Are we really arguing that a young black man from a single parent home that has lived in Indonesia and Hawaii will have an easier time getting Americans to elect him than an older, richer, white, war hero from the southwest?

There are plenty of reasons to disagree with Obama, or question his experience. I don't think we need to focus on something as silly as this.

Josh Pollard said...

Josh Baltzell said:
"I don't think we need to focus on something as silly as this."

You obviously said a lot of different things here, but really your last statement, which I quoted above, would be the response to my post as a whole. My response to your comment is simply that calling someone a racist, especially a serious presidential candidate, is not "silly." Its a very serious attack on someone's character.

Josh Baltzell said...

But the McCain campaign produced an ad with Obama's face on the currency.

I guess it is possible that there is nothing to that commercial, and it is possible that Obama wasn't even talking about that commercial.

I think the point Obama was making was that the strategy of McCain's campaign is to make us consider Obama risky and that is pretty lame.

Josh Pollard said...

I don't think Obama's comment had anything to do with that commercial. Also, I have to disagree with you saying "the point Obama was making was that the strategy of McCain's campaign is to make us consider Obama risky"

I dont think that is what Obama was trying to say. He clearly said that he felt that the McCain campaign was trying to scare people by pointing out that Obama is black. And if that were true, that would clearly be a horrible, dirty, racist thing to do, to imply that someone shouldn't vote for him simply based on his race.

I think you are getting confused between what Obama said, and what is actually happening. McCain is definitely trying to paint Obama as a risky choice. We could argue about whether he is risky, and whether that is an argument that is even worth making, but that isn't what my post was about. It was about the fact that Obama said McCain was trying to scare people by pointing out that Obama is black. And that is simply not true. In fact, it was Obama who in June went out of his way in one of his speeches to point out that he himself was black!

Rob Howard said...

"Are we really arguing that a young black man from a single parent home that has lived in Indonesia and Hawaii will have an easier time getting Americans to elect him than an older, richer, white, war hero from the southwest?"

Yes, we are, because we reject just this sort of identity politics, and I do not see the factors you present, outside of substantative issues like McCain being a war hero (not as important as his political ideas, but it does speak to character) as mattering that much to most Americans.

Ultimately this election will probably come down to who people think will have a more positive effect on their pocketbooks and lifestyles, unless there is, God forbid, a terrorist attack or something that gets people in the mind of national security issues.

Josh Baltzell said...

Josh:
I don't expect a black person not to mention that he is black. In fact being a historically significant black man is worth mentioning.

It's a shame that this election is not going to be about the republican candidate. It is going to be either Obama, or not Obama.


Rob:
I know people scurry to republicans when scared, but I just don't understand why. I get it that if you were to line up all the hawks and all the doves you would have more republicans on the hawk side. But what does the historical evidence show?

The biggest terrorist attack in history happen under a republican president, and the biggest budget deficits happen under republican presidents.

I can get the ideals of being a republican, but the ones we have elected don't seem all that effective.

Josh Pollard said...

Josh Baltzell, you still haven't really responded to the original idea behind this post. Why is it ok for Obama to accuse McCain of being a racist?

Rob/Josh, you two have gone off in so many different directions!

"Are we really arguing that a young black man ... has an easier chance of getting elected? - well, no. that wasn't the point of this at all. the only point of this post was whether obama played the race card or not.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you guys, but I'm honestly considering writing in "my father" on the election card...
It is honestly almost scary how far away from the "important issues" this country has strayed. Although, all the election commercials say that they are focusing on the needs of the country, while the other candidate is steering away from them, I honestly don't think it matters which person becomes president. What does matter is who we elect into Congress, our state representatives, those are the people with the real power. Because yes, even the President of the United States has to get their permission before doing anything! It seems that the idea of the President now is just someone that we all are comfortable with being the deliverer of bad news. The face that we put with everything that is going on in our country.
It is a horrible thing to use someone's race against them, I have to agree with Josh on that one. But is this country completely "hate" free?? Sadly, no. There are still many people out there that hold racial grudges. Until we can become a country where every race truly is viewed equal by everyone, there will always be these types of issues.
The disturbing part is there are people who think on things like what Obama's face will look like on currency, and base their vote off of that! I feel sorry for them on judgment day!
Sadly in all campaigns it is very difficult to sift through all the rubbish and get to the core of the person running for office. I only hope that whichever man is elected, he is able to deal with all the issues at hand without crumbling. This country needs a very strong leader, not just "a face", someone who never falters. (and I know we're only human, but Bush has been the butt end of far to many jokes for people to take him seriously anymore. and a lot of it is because of his "southern drawl" which is just as bad as making fun of someone's race!) This country needs a true leader, and only time will tell which man is cut out for the job!

Josh Pollard said...

anonymous,
I have a hard time disagreeing with you on most of your points. And I definitely agree with you that there are people who won't vote for Obama simply because he is black. And, like you said, that is truly sad. My main point here wasn't about whether people will cast their vote based on racism, because some surely will, but rather about the egregiousnesses of Obama calling McCain a racist person.

Anonymous said...

sadly, not only will people vote for Obama because he is black, but another point that I was attempting to make is there are people that will vote for McCain because of the "alleged comment" that he made portraying him as a racist. There are some people in this country that will vote for McCain just because they think he doesn't like black people! So it is a 2 way street.
Personally I'd like to hear how they plan on saving this country from itself rather than who is what color/nationality/religion!

Josh Pollard said...

I would rather hear what the candidates are going to do to improve this country also. But lets not forget that we really choose our president based upon two things: 1.) how we think they make their decisions, and 2.) their character.

I think that Obama's character is really what is called into question from this whole matter.

Josh Baltzell said...

But which candidate is running the attack ads?

Let's talk about character based on quotes. I did 5 seconds worth of googling and found a few McCain Gems:

"Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran."

On the subject of rape: "As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."

"I hate the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live…I hate the French…I hate Californians…Gook is the kindest appellation I can give."

"I didn’t decide to run for president to start a national crusade for the political reforms I believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In truth, I wanted to be president because it had become my ambition to be president."

"You don’t actually have to use a computer to understand how it shapes the country…John McCain is aware of the Internet."

"I’m an [computer] illiterate who has to rely on my wife for all the assistance I can get."

Josh Pollard said...

Baltzell,
Frankly I'm really disappointed. You still haven't responded to the actual point of this post. What that tells me is that you really do agree that he was indeed playing the race card and calling McCain a racist. All you have done is change the subject and attack McCain.

I will stray off topic with you briefly to respond to one thing.

"But which candidate is running the attack ads?"

Obviously that is McCain. But you and I both know that the only reason Obama isn't running them himself is because he has MoveOn.org running them for him.

Anonymous said...

I think that the only obvious thing here is that McCain's campaign manager should be fired! I would fire whomever they are anyhow! But sadly even though the attack "ads" are being run by the "McCain-ers" he still ultimately has to approve them! As well as I'm sure he reads over his material before he gives a speech. I would have to agree that he is running an attack campaign - especially since I have seen the "celebrity" ad against Obama! Comparing him to Brit and Paris! Not only is he attacking Obama, but he is attacking the celebrities who have had a "rough patch" in their careers. (not that I'm excusing them for their actions...trust me!)

Josh Pollard said...

I'm not saying that McCain hasn't run attack ads. He clearly has. I was just saying that the only reason the Obama campaign hasn't run their own attack ads is because MoveOn.org is running them for him.

I'm also not sure that I would agree that McCain's campaign manager should be fired. The ad that you mentioned had some valid points. As far as the celebrity part of it, the whole point was to say that Obama is empty and vapid like those celebrities.