Sunday, November 05, 2006

Warning: Black Leaders Ahead!

The Boston Herald has a rather pecuilar column on how Massachusetts impacts national politics. The thesis is that Massachusetts' true blue voting habits "show America what could be and America generally sees it and acts accordingly: runs in the other direction." Okay, sure, I guess--although I'm not sure the reverse dynamic doesn't occur with Mississippi, South Dakota, or even Texas. But what really struck me was this line--almost a throw-away:
With the likely election of Deval Patrick as governor, we'll give America a brave new Dukakis, not to mention an advance glance at an Obama administration. Watch and learn. It is perhaps the best 2008 gift we, Massachusetts, could give the GOP.

How does Patrick link to Obama? Well, they're both Democrats. But there are lots of Democrats out there--surely Patrick isn't the first one that will make voters realize that Democrats do run some major states (Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan...). It's highly unlikely that the author is trying to connect Patrick to Obama's demonstrated policy brilliance, since the point of the piece is to warn us of the prospective threat of Obama on the horizon. They're both rather progressive, but again, that hardly is a unique bond they share, and since this sort of writer is the type to merge every Democrat to the left of Zell Miller into one indistinguishable blob of scary liberalism, that's hardly persuasive. To these authors, Patrick will be as indicative of "liberal" Obama as "liberal" Hillary Clinton as "liberal" Evan Bayh as "liberal" Kent Conrad. Moreover, a Patrick administration (a progressive Democrat presiding over the most liberal state in America) would likely be very different from an Obama presidency (a progressive Democrat presiding over a still divided and rather moderate country). So what could it be, what could it be?

Could it be that Patrick and Obama are both Black?

Am I reaching? The standard I use on these things is "unexplainable but by race." In other words, we assume that race is operating on at least some level (even if subconscious) if there is no other persuasive reason why the racial parallel is drawn. There really is little that uniquely distinguishes Obama and Patrick particularly from other progressive Democrats (that a conservative would be willing to admit) aside from the fact that they are rising Black politicians who have demonstrated cross-over appeal to Whites. Black politicians = scary. Don't be fooled by their sterling pedigrees and soothing speeches. They're still Black (and they don't publicly kowtow to far-right conservative orthodoxy ala Blackwell or Steele). And thus, to the right, they can't be trusted--even more than comparable White liberals.

Via Powerline.


Anonymous said...

Nope. You are not stretching. Remember that poll that showed white's who saw the, 'Call me.' add where more likely to vote against the black man in question by a margin of 2-1.

Republicans can't run on the economy, on Iraq, on the War on Terror, immigration, etc., etc., etc.

All they have left is racism and homophobia.

jack said...

That ad was interesting. I agree it was racist but I don't think its the ad itself that is going to cost Ford the race.

Remember all the pundits that said the ad could backfire? Well it did, but then the backfire backfired. Not everyone sees racism when it isn't blatant talk of white supremacy. These notion of implicit racism isn't accepted by a lot of Americans, particularly red-state conservatives. So when the media and national Democrats jumped all over that ad as racist voters in TN didn't say "How outrageous of Corker" they said "Oh look, another black guy playing the race card."

Ford knew that was coming and thats why you never saw him say the ad was racist. If national dems had taken that cue this race would still be competative.

Here's what I'm sort of curious about: could the ad have been shot to make the same point without being racist? If the "Call me" playboy bunny had been black would the ad not be racist? I'm not so sure.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, but to be contrarian -- the reason he used Patrick as an example is because he is writing for an MA newspaper! Therefore, electing a Dem to the state executive office is an advance peek at electing a Dem to the federal executive office. He could have chosen either Obama or Clinton -- by far the two with the most Presidential buzz -- and chose Obama, who, to be fair, is probably more like Patrick than Clinton is. No?

Anonymous said...

Hey, dingdong ... Patrick trotted Obama out repeatedly to campaign for him. Clearly he likes the comparison. I also compared Patrick the sentence before to Dukakis (a white man). And last week, I called on the Bush admin to put a black woman into a position of more prominence, so she can carry the program forward in 2008 if she chooses. Now kindly stop being morons. Race-obsessed morons.

David Schraub said...

Clearly, Obama broke his long-standing monastic existence to campaign for Patrick and Patrick alone. And on the flip side, I'm sure no other politician has campaigned for Patrick besides Obama. Were those true, maybe you'd have established uniqueness. But since Obama has been a prolific campaigner (and other folks have campaigned with Patrick), the fact that he also campaigned with Patrick doesn't establish some unique bond between the two that shows how or why a Obama presidency would resemble a Patrick administration of Massachusetts. Indeed, that analysis remains wholly absent, which is what provoked my post in the first place (and warranted the "unexplainable but by race" standard). Again, since there is no reason to assume that a Patrick administration would resemble an Obama administration (or, to be more precise, would be more predictive of an Obama administration than any other Democratic governor's tenure), the "unexplainable but by race" thesis remains quite strong.

Also, we shoud be clear about something: Regardless of what you think about his politics, Obama is not some dog who gets "trotted out" to do anything. He (possibly more than any other politician in America) is a rather autonomous agent (or as much of one as a human can be) who makes decisions for himself. A word to the wise: When combatting accusations regarding racial prejudice, don't use needlessly disparaging rhetoric to describe the most prominent Black politician alive today.

Anonymous said...

You know, the sad thing is, when a black president is elected in this country, it's going to be impossible to criticize or even discuss that president's actions without some moron crying racism every five minutes. Thanks for the preview! It's been enlightening.