Campaigns/Elections

Obama-Sharpton Fooferaw

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CBS' Marcia Kramer is reporting on a brewing fight between presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and NYC-based power broker Al Sharpton:

With the race for the Democratic presidential nomination already in high gear, the Reverend Al Sharpton jumped into the fray today with some tough criticism for Senator Barack Obama. The outspoken reverend offered the harsh comments to Obama just as he looked to build support for his candidacy in the black community.

"Why shouldn't the black community ask questions? Are we now being told, 'You all just shut up?'" Sharpton told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer Monday. "Senator Obama and I agree that the war is wrong, but then I want to know why he went to Connecticut and helped [Sen. Joseph] Lieberman, the biggest supporter of the war."

Sharpton also questioned why Obama supports "tort reform, which hurts police brutality victims."…

"I'm not going to be cajoled or intimidated by any candidate not for my support," Sharpton said.

More here. It's unclear whether/how much Sharpton matters at all these days, but he may well swing a few dollars away or toward some of the Dem candidates, esp. in the the NY area in the early stages.

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  1. Ordinarily when I think buffoon in a suit, I think Sharpton. Yet, he’s right on to complain that to expect blacks to vote by color, without question, is wrong. Even racist.

  2. When I think of a foofaraw in a suit I generally think of Al Sharpton.

    But is this really a “foofaraw”? At the risk of making a foofaraw out of a foofaraw I would argue that the issues in question are hardly trifling.

  3. If Obama pisses off Al enough, he is sure to make friends with the milk faced majority that populates the two main players in the primaries, Iowa and New Hampshire. It is funny to keep reading about “who the blacks support for the primary”. Who cares? They have virtually ZERO say in who gets the nomination. It is like worrying about “who is going to get the libertarian vote”. I guess a state with a large black population could move their primaries up to become more important, but it hasn’t happened yet as far as I know, so I think it is irrelevant at this point, it may be an interesting question after the nomination.

  4. There are two things going on here in my estimate. (1) Al is worried about the competition –black “civil rights” leaders are getting increasingly pressure from younger more independent minded who are more concerned about things like entrepreneurship than affirmative action (not that Obama falls into this category).(2) Obama is mixed-race bourgeoisie, which makes other African Americans a little nervous.

  5. Does Sharpton still have a TV show?

  6. Al Sharpton doesn’t matter… African Americans are really irelevent to U.S. presidential elections. Such a huge overwelming majority of African Americans are life-long Democrat voters, and are pretty much “uncle tom” social outcasts if they would ever vote different, that there is zero concern about losing the black vote to Republicans. The Democratic Party owns the black vote, they have for the last 80 years, and they will continue to do so for the next 100 at least.

    Even the white liberal is pretty much garanteed to vote Democrat since Ralph Nadar “stole” the election for the Republicans. Republiphobia is enough to keep the leftists mouth shut and dutifully and unquestioningly voting Democrat.

    The only thing relevent to the Democratic party any more is the middle of the road independent voters, the ones who switch between Democrat and Republican.

  7. I didn’t know Obama supported tort reform. Googling that finds a lot of blogging but not so much with the direct quotes.

    Isn’t one of the big judicial hellholes in southern Illinois?

  8. Sharpton doesn’t like him, he doesn’t pay his parking tickets, his wife is nagging him to quit smoking, and he floated a “Lincoln Bedroom” retort to the HRC camp.

    I’m really starting to like this guy.

  9. massage his ego, kiss his ass a little, and he’ll come arround.

  10. Yet, he’s right on to complain that to expect blacks to vote by color, without question, is wrong. Even racist.

    Hussein Obama himself is a racist (and socialist), so why not? He attends a church which proclaims:
    http://www.tucc.org/about.htm

    1. Commitment to God
    2. Commitment to the Black Community
    3. Commitment to the Black Family
    4. Dedication to the Pursuit of Education
    5. Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence
    6. Adherence to the Black Work Ethic
    7. Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect
    8. Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness”
    9. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the Black Community
    10. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions
    11. Pledge allegiance to all Black leadership who espouse and embrace the Black Value System
    12. Personal commitment to embracement of the Black Value System.

    The Pastor as well as the membership of Trinity United Church of Christ is committed to a 10-point Vision:
    1. A congregation committed to ADORATION.
    2. A congregation preaching SALVATION.
    3. A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
    4. A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
    5. A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
    6. A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
    7. A congregation committed to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION OF AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA.
    8. A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
    9. A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
    10. A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.

    Sounds like a great guy for president, huh? Replace ‘black’ with ‘white’ and then tell me how wonderful it all sounds.

  11. Isn’t one of the big judicial hellholes in southern Illinois?

    Go Salukis!!!

  12. “Isn’t one of the big judicial hellholes in southern Illinois?”

    jb, i think its Madison County. And yes, its in Southern Illinois.

  13. Sounds like a great guy for president, huh? Replace ‘black’ with ‘white’ and then tell me how wonderful it all sounds.

    It would sound terrible if you replaced ‘black’ with ‘white’, because it would entirely change the context and meaning.

  14. Yet, he’s right on to complain that to expect blacks to vote by color, without question, is wrong.

    I think what he means is that its wrong for blacks to vote for color for someone who hasn’t been approved by him.

    Has he ever supported a white candidate over a black one?

  15. Wow, Le Mur….. Obama belongs to a church that is attempting to better the community in which it resides and help the specific members of its congregation? The nerve of them. Wait til this gets out!

  16. Does anyone think its because Obama is actually African by heritage? His father was from Kenya studying here and returned when he finished right? I know that Obama was born in Hawaii, but he was raised by his white mother and her family and his other heritage was Kenyan, maybe Sharpton is telling people “he’s not one of us.”

    Strictly backed up by anecdotal evidence African-Americans sometimes don’t get along to well with Africans. Since the history of their ancestors is different they don’t believe Africans have a “black experience in America”.

    Sharpton’s comments smack strongly of this same AA resentment of Africans. I could be off base here but it sounds eerily familiar to the resentment I heard in my schoolin’ years from AA’s when African students would chime in about race relations and other problems in America.

  17. “Hussein Obama himself is a racist (and socialist), so why not?”

    HOMICIDE BOMBER HOMICIDE BOMBER

  18. Dan T. and Cab,

    Come on, don’t you think it would be great if some journalist showed this list to Obama and asked him, “Do you oppose the pursuit of ‘middleclassness'” and then, “What the hell is ‘middleclassness,’ exactly?” Similar questions about what constitutes the “Black Values System” would also be interesting.

    I don’t think this would be out of line; didn’t reporters ask Presidnet Bush when he was running if he really thought Jews and Catholics were doomed to Hell?

  19. a state with a large black population could move their primaries up…

    South Carolina’s is now January 29th, 5 days after New Hampshire.

  20. …SC, BTW is about 30% black.

  21. [Sharpton’s] right on to complain that to expect blacks to vote by color, without question, is wrong. Even racist.

    I don’t recall Obama indicating or intimating any such thing. And Sharpton’s actions over the years make it clear who the racist is. But I guess since he’s the self-styled Leader of All Blacks, anyone who avoids him must be a racist…?

  22. It’s spelled “foofaraw”

    Everyone drink.

    He’s the leader of All Blacks? So, that’s why they’ve been dominating rugby so long…

    But if it’s not just Al Sharpton who is expected to hold his tongue, but any African American, then it’s reasonable to say it’s a fair complaint.

  23. I don’t see anything too terribly objectionable in that list except the weird bit about “middleclassness”, assuming it means what it sounds like it means. Is it racist? Well, yeah, a little, but it’s obviously of a different kind. And it’s a church, for crying out loud. Churches tend to believe in sharing.

  24. mitch,

    pursuing “middleclassness,” I assume, is pursuing being average. I suppose they mean they are attempting to teach the congregation members to strive for greatness, not mediocrity. Doesn’t sound too bad to me.

  25. The average churchgoer doesn’t have any clue what’s in their church’s doctrinal statements. Ask a Catholic to explain the process of apostolic succession, or a Jew to explain the transition between ritual animal sacrifice and modern synagogue practice. I doubt you get many coherent answers in either. If the worst charge that can be levied against Obama is that he goes to a black church which puts black people first, he’s in fine shape.

    – Josh

  26. I suppose they mean they are attempting to teach the congregation members to strive for greatness, not mediocrity.

    Which is covered by #5, “Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence”. Singling out “middleclassness” as something to avoid tells me they’re trying to say something else – what, I’m not sure.

  27. Perhaps it’s the notion that “middleclassness” represents polite respectability, comfortability, or complacency. Perhaps they are saying that advancing civil rights is bound to ruffle feathers. It’s not enough to just do one’s job and live out the American dream. If the dream seems out of reach for some, it must be fought for, something polite respectability opposes.

    Just a guess.

  28. Sounds like hippie folderol to me. Myself, I was only too happy to enter the “middle class” a couple years ago, after years of hard work and self-education. What the hell is wrong with that?

  29. Turns out Obama has already addressed this:

    From NRO:

    In an interview late Monday, Obama said it was important to understand the document as a whole rather than highlight individual tenets. “Commitment to God, black community, commitment to the black family, the black work ethic, self-discipline and self-respect,” he said. “Those are values that the conservative movement in particular has suggested are necessary for black advancement.

    “So I would be puzzled that they would object or quibble with the bulk of a document that basically espouses profoundly conservative values of self-reliance and self-help.”

    In his published memoirs, Obama said even he was stopped by Trinity’s tenet to disavow “middleclassness” when he first read it two decades ago in a church pamphlet. The brochure implored upwardly mobile church members not to distance themselves from less fortunate Trinity worshipers.

    More:

    Vallmer Jordan, a church member who helped draft the precepts, said they were designed to empower the black community and counter a value system imposed by whites. “The big question mark was racism,” he said. “Black disempowerment was an integral part of that historical value system. It became increasingly apparent to me that we black people had not developed our own value system . . . to help us overcome all we knew we had to battle.”

    He acknowledged that the principle on “middleclassness” was a hard sell, even then.

    “There was a hunk of resistance to that principle,” Jordan said. But eventually committee members came to understand its intention: “Any black person who identifies himself as middle-class psychologically withdraws from the group and becomes a proponent of strengthening and sustaining the system,” he said.

    Harris-Lacewell, the Princeton professor, said the “disavowal of the pursuit of middleclassness” is simply an argument against materialism and the pursuit of the American standard of wealth. Many white Christian churches also preach against materialism.

  30. Perhaps it’s the notion that “middleclassness” represents polite respectability, comfortability, or complacency.

    Perhaps it means, “Don’t move to the suburbs.” I was already to post from NRO but Dan T got there first.

    Many white Christian churches also preach against materialism.

    But they don’t preach against “strengthening and sustaining the system.” Maybe this church is a hotbed of libertarians. 😉

  31. Cab,

    I have to assume you are kidding when you suggest “middle class” means “mediocre.” For centuries people have used the phrase “middle class” to mean something along the lines of the bourgeois class, the merchant and professional class, and their values, and recently, especially in the U.S., to simply mean “middle-income.” Politicians and other people who seek to court or sway opinion (like Lou Dobbs) say “the middle class” all the time, and they never mean “mediocre;” almost always they mean, “ordinary people like you, not on welfare and not flying around in a private jet.”

    It is more likely that the injunction against “middleclassness” means “if you get some money, don’t buy yourself a nice car or house, give the money to the church; you can trust us to spend it more wisely than you would.”

  32. Dan T.,

    Thanks for the NRO paste, which you posted while I was still typing my response to Cab.

    I for one won’t be voting for someone who, apparently, thinks blacks shouldn’t “withdraw from the [vaguely defined] group” and should work to destroy some (vaguely defined) “system.”

  33. Sharpton just needs to keep his name in the papers, so this particular foofaraw is serving its purpose. If Al wasn’t busy mixing it up with the Obama campaign, he’d probably be . . . oh, I don’t know, probably threatening to boycott NBC until they hired a black actor to play one of The Black Donnellys.

  34. I’m pretty sure the “middleclassness” means becoming a deracialized subject that uncritically participates in the white suburbia dream. These are liberation theologians, so part of their ethos is maintaining the strength of their community (ie, don’t make more money and move out to the atomistic suburbs; stay within the community and improve it).

    It’s not racist at all; replace “black” with something like “Indian” or “Japanese” and it’s not racist; it’s just a call to cultural values and tradition. Not everything involving race is racist.

  35. Dan T. is flemur’s foil?
    I did not see that coming.

    Good job, Dan T.

    By the way, anyone who refers to Obama as “Hussein Obama,” is instantly discredited in my book.

  36. “I for one won’t be voting for someone who, apparently, thinks blacks shouldn’t “withdraw from the [vaguely defined] group” ”

    How do you think Joe Lieberman would feel about his kids marrying Gentiles?

  37. Having Reverend Al oppose you is electoral gold in November. Could be dangerous in the primaries, but I suspect Obama isn’t losing sleep over it.

  38. “…SC, BTW is about 30% black.”

    South Carolina Democratic primary probably has an even higher percentage of black voters.

  39. The fact that a guy who writes, “Sounds like a great guy for president, huh? Replace ‘black’ with ‘white’ and then tell me how wonderful it all sounds.” leads off by referring to Senator Obama as “Hussein Obama” really should give adherents of “colorblindness” pause.

  40. If Obama really had balls he’d bring up Tawana Brawley and that firebombing incident in Harlem, kick back, and watch Al Sharpton’s head explode.

  41. Al Sharpton is not the emperor of black people.

  42. RC-

    Has he ever supported a white candidate over a black one?

    He did support Lamont over this guy

  43. Sounds like a great guy for president, huh? Replace ‘black’ with ‘white’ and then tell me how wonderful it all sounds.

    Jesus, don’t you guys get this. It’s OK for african americans to say and do hateful racist things towards white americans because those white american’s grandparents and great grandparents might have said and done even more hateful racist things to someone who … um …, well, I’m not sure where I’m going with this. But black racism just, white racism unjust.

  44. The “disavowal of the pursuit of middleclassness” was based on the realization that in the present economy you can not reach middle class on the welfare and food stamps and medicaid, so why try. I did not know they made it a religious tenet.

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