Don't Mug Me: I Voted for Barack Obama

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On NBC's surprisingly funny sitcom 30 Rock, Tina Fey feels betrayed when her TV show's black star pumps her for favors by pretending he's illiterate.

Tracy took advantage of my white guilt, which is to be used only for good, like overtipping and supporting Barack Obama.

And as usual, comedy writers and Steve Sailer are the only people who see a smoldering racial issue and want to talk about it instead of running full tilt in the opposite direction.

Supporting Obama for President, like supporting Powell a decade ago, is seen by many whites as the ultimate in White Guilt Repellent.

Plus, I suspect there's an even more hidden reason many whites wish Obama is elected President: They hope that when a black finally moves into the White House, it will prove to African-Americans, once and for all, that white animus isn't the cause of their troubles. All blacks have to do is to act like President Obama—and their problems will be over!

Sailer is right about Powell and mostly wrong about Obama. Unlike Powell, Obama is a serious politician who's run for office, won, and developed a political philosophy he's exposited in countless speeches and one and a half books (most of his first book wasn't about politics). Powell, like Obama, released a best-selling book as the campaign season ramped up, but My American Journey was a memoir with brief passages about race and serving in the White House that pundits had to torture to squeeze out any political grist. The Audacity of Hope is a political book with some memoir trimmings. The Powell boomlet is more comparable to the Dick Morris-fueled (maybe "greased" is a better word when we're talking Morris) Condi Rice boomlet than the real (and getting realer) Obama campaign.

It's true that Obama's support is mostly emotional, but that's not out of the ordinary for presidential candidates. (After you tamp down the "first female president" talk, what's Hillary's qualification to be president, after all? She's not even the most accomplished female senator.) The feel-good factors Obama benefit from are, in order:

1) The "uniter" factor. Obama wasn't in Washington for the Clinton scandals or the Iraq war builup and vote, both eras that the detestable, responsibility-shrugging American voter wants to forget. They don't get that chance with Hillary or McCain, or even dream candidates like Gore and Rice, but they get it with Obama. And Obama's actually made a couple small efforts to reform the way the Senate works. The Coburn-Obama transparency bill wasn't world-changing, but it's a wonderful thing to explain to voters.
2) The "fresh start" factor. Voters don't actually reward the young, insurgent candidate in every presidential race, but give them a choice between Kennedy and Nixon or Carter and Ford or Clinton and Bush I and they'll go all gooey. They tend to support the insurgent after a long period of political turmoil like, say, this one. Obama can be that insurgent. (A corollary of this is Obama's openness about his past drug use and current smoking habit, which political reporters find incredibly refreshing.)
3) The "white guilt" factor.
4) The "alternative" factor. Only Obama can defeat an anti-matter humanoid who threatens to destroy space and time. Oops, wait…

There are probably more factors that'll become apparent as Obama runs, but "white guilt" will never be the preeminent one.

NEXT: Don't Be Stupid, Be A Smarty! Come and Join the Lieberman Party!

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  1. “Sailer is right about Powell and mostly wrong about Obama. Unlike Powell, Obama is a serious politician who’s run for office, won, and developed a political philosophy he’s exposited in countless speeches and one and a half books (most of his first book wasn’t about politics).”

    Please name me ten things that Obama actually believes? Or better yet find me ten people who support the guy, are not political junkies who can name two things about the guy other than he is black and got elected to the Senate? Obama is exactly that. That doesn’t mean he can’t become more in the future. He may have some great ideas. The point is whatever those ideas are, the vast majority of people who claim to support the guy for President have no idea what if anything the guy really stands for.

    Further, Powerll was hardly a light weight. The guy was chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and a huge player in the first Gulf War. It was the Gulf War that propelled Powell to prominance. I think Powell accomplised a lot more in his career than Obama has so far. He got elected to the Senate, so what? When is the last time a sitting Senator got elected President? 1960? Trent Lott and Robert Bryd have been elected a lot more times than Obama, you going to call them the real deal for President to? There are a lot of similarities between the Obama boomlet and the Powell boomlet. Of course Obama is a Democrat and Powell a Republican, why am I not surprised which one Reason thinks is the serios politician?

  2. Nor does Obama (or Powell for that matter) have slavery in his family history, a bit of non-baggage that refreshingly separates him from most black American politicians.

  3. There’s no way the bigoted simpletons in middle America will ever vote for Obama.

  4. These libertards might vote for him, he is half-white after all.

  5. Obama may be cool now, but are we ready for a world where we could be plunged into a long and bloody war because some foreign dignitary mistakes him for the help at a state dinner?

    The “Anyone but Hillary” movement may be the tipping point for Obama. It’s almost enough for me, but it’s early in the season.

  6. Don’t count on it, Ted. The Reasonoids are only about a half goose step behind the neokkkons with their racial sensitivities.

  7. Now you’re just getting fucking annoying, Dan T. God I’d love to whoop your ass. Sit behind a computer making inflammatory remarks all day. How big of you.

  8. Obama as president and a Republican-controlled legislature (which could happen in 2010 maybe??) would be as good as it could get for libertarians in the near term.

  9. I think you’re wrong David. Whatever else he’s got going for him, “He’s black” tops the list.

    Query: How does his white mother figure into white guilt or black rage?

  10. Warren,

    She doesn’t. The one-drop rule is alive and well in the US. That’s why he’s ubiquitously referred to as simply “black.”

  11. Pound sand Dan, we only need one troll around here.

  12. Please name me ten things that Obama actually believes? Or better yet find me ten people who support the guy, are not political junkies who can name two things about the guy other than he is black and got elected to the Senate? Obama is exactly that.

    I think you got it backwards here.

    The political junkies are the ones who are most critical of him, IMHO, because they see the exact same flaws you are pointing out here.

    As one of Obama’s constituents and someone who voted for him for Senate, I find myself unable to support his candidacy for President at this time exactly because I am very aware that he has no real accomplishments (either in the US Senate nor did he do much in the State Senate in Illinois) or positions on important issues.

    He has no executive experience. ( Personally I think the smart move would be to run for Governor of Illinois after his senate term and then make a run for the WH) Also, when he gives his speeches he has mastered the art of talking a lot while not really saying anything of substance of specifics.

    For someone whose background was Constitutional Law, he has been eerily silent on topics like the NSA spying, the expansion of the powers of the Executive or any of the abuses of civil liberties relate to the drug war.

    He also has a bad habit of using GOP framing to contrast himself with the “secular democrat who is hostile to religion” and likes to chide these unnamed and imaginary dems who are “hostile” to the believers.

    Not to mention that guy picked Joe fucking Lieberman as his mentor in the Senate.

    The point is whatever those ideas are, the vast majority of people who claim to support the guy for President have no idea what if anything the guy really stands for.

    Yes, but its the people who aren’t political junkies who this describes. The rank and file voters who have better things to do in life than read political blogs seem to love him. I have to believe that at least in part this is due to the fact that he is a media darling.

  13. “He has no executive experience. ( Personally I think the smart move would be to run for Governor of Illinois after his senate term and then make a run for the WH)”

    ChicagoTom,

    i agree. i think illinois is a great cross-section of america state where a governor can get executive experience dealing with nearly all issues they’d face in the white house sans foreign policy and some others.

    however, i’ve formed the opinion that the state of illinois largely runs itself no matter who is in springfield. (fairly quick dmv, decent roads – at least down here)

    the problem with obama running for gov is why he would want to be the second most powerful politician in the state? 😉

  14. . . . developed a political philosophy . . .

    He has? What is it?

  15. “the problem with obama running for gov is why he would want to be the second most powerful politician in the state? ;-)”

    good call! But it’ll be fun to see Obama go against HRC from Illinois: Emanuel is in the Clinton camp as is probably Blago. We might see a real slapfight until Ritchie tells them to knock it off 🙂

  16. . . . developed a political philosophy . . .

    He has? What is it?

    I call it “prosperity through thievery” but neo-liberalism will probably catch on.

  17. 5) Obama isn’t a baby boomer. He’s not going to talk about the 60s. His political outlook isn’t driven by a desire to prove the hippies/squares wrong. When faced with a foreign policy issue, his first reaction isn’t to ask “How is this like/unlike Vietnam?”

    Two baby boomer presidents are enough. I’m exhausted already. Let’s just hit fast-forward.

  18. She’s not even the most accomplished female senator

    Heh, it’d be interesting to see DiFi make a run. I’d support her over HC, though I have issues with both. (You can’t have meant Olympia Snowe, or (god help us) Barb Boxer….)

  19. Obama’s political philosophy is doctrinaire liberalism, but compare that to Powell in 1996. No one knew what he believed. He was probably pro-choice, pro-affirmative action. What did he think about taxes? What did he think about welfare reform?

    Obama, as a candidate for state senator, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate, has said where he stands on that stuff and has the voting record to prove it. Still, I’m not ready to dismiss Obama entirely when he says stuff like this, in his speech against the Military Commissions Act.

    I would like somebody in this Chamber, somebody in this Government, to tell me why this is necessary. I do not want to hear that this is a new world and we face a new kind of enemy. I know that. I know that every time I think about my two little girls and worry for their safety–when I wonder if I really can tuck them in at night and know that they are safe from harm. I have as big of a stake as anybody on the other side of the aisle and anybody in this administration in capturing terrorists and incapacitating them. I would gladly take up arms myself against any terrorist threat to make sure my family is protected.

    But as a parent, I can also imagine the terror I would feel if one of my family members were rounded up in the middle of the night and sent to Guantanamo without even getting one chance to ask why they were being held and being able to prove their innocence.

  20. Two baby boomer presidents are enough. I’m exhausted already. Let’s just hit fast-forward.

    joe, for once you and I agree. Time for the stoners and punks to have their whack at things. I doubt they could do any worse and they’d be a lot more fun. Fuck Woodstock, where did you see Repo Man?

    Heck, I’m listening to the DK’s as I write this. Pol Pot, Pol Pot…

  21. “I would like somebody in this Chamber, somebody in this Government, to tell me why this is necessary.”

    It would be nice if he had that same attitude about every bill.

  22. “Nor does Obama (or Powell for that matter) have slavery in his family history, a bit of non-baggage that refreshingly separates him from most black American politicians.”

    Powell’s family came from Jamaica. All black Jamaicans have slavery in their family history. How do you think all those black people got to Jamaica?

  23. In defense of the Powell for President boom of 1995:

    He’d been intimately involved in managing a successful national enterprise, the Gulf War of 1991. And he had articulated a thoughtful, cautious policy for when and how to conduct military operations, the Powell Doctrine, the wisdom of which subsequent events have only underlined.

    Does Obama have similar qualifications?

  24. “And as usual, comedy writers and Steve Sailer are the only people…”

    Steve Sailer isn’t a comedy writer?

  25. I would gladly take up arms myself against any terrorist threat to make sure my family is protected. – Sen. Obama

    Why the hell doesn’t he, then? Plenty of elected officials enlisted in WWII. My Boomer ass is too old to be allowed to sign up, but I believe that the services would waive the new 42-year-old upper limit for certain specialties, such as doctors and lawyers, right?

    Kevin

  26. You are mistaken. Colin Powell does have slavery in his family history. He is of Jamaican extraction and Jamaica, like most countries in the New World, has a history of slavery. (How did you think all of the African-descended people who reside in the Western Hemisphere came to live where they do?)

    In any event, what is so “refreshing” about his not being African-American?

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