BoJo for Barack O

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Lord Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, stalwart booster of the classic English game whiff-whaff and inveterate offender of the Papuans, has thrown his support behind Sen. Barack Obama. A big reason, Johnson says, is Obama's race, which, he figures, would have a profound effect on all of those white racists he's read about in The Guardian. A sample:

And then there is the final, additional reason, the glaring reason, and that is race. Huge numbers of voters, whether they admit it to themselves or not, will hesitate to choose Barack Obama for President because he is black. And then there are millions of white Americans who will undoubtedly vote Obama precisely because he is black, and because he stands for the change and the progress they want to see in their society.

After centuries of friction, prejudice, tension, hatred—you name it, they've had it—America is teetering on the brink of a triumph. If Obama wins, then the United States will have at last come a huge and maybe decisive step closer to achieving the dream of Martin Luther King, of a land where people are judged not on the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

I note that only one person has been shot by racist hooligans for wearing pro-Obama gear—and it was in the city Boris Johnson governs, not in the hillbilly USA. For a writer as consistently entertaining as Johnson, this is surprisingly weak, we-are-the-world stuff. (Also note BoJo's upbraiding of McCain for his impromptu "bomb Iran" song, which he acknowledges was a lame joke, but suspects would make the Iranians want a nuke even more if the Republicans win. Coming from Boris, whose gaffe tally is notoriously high, it's not a very convincing bit of criticism). Johnson's colleague at the Telegraph, America correspondent Toby Harden, thinks so too, arguing that the race bit is especially thin gruel.

With a seemingly straight face, Boris argues that race is a "reason" for wanting Obama to be elected, blithely stating that many white racists will vote against him because he's black while many blacks will back him because of he's one of their own. And yet—get this—an Obama victory will show that in modern America "people are judged not on the colour of their skin but by the content of their character". Talk about trying to have it both ways.

Boris concludes, with a customary flourish, that Obama being elected would mean that being black would be as relevant "as being left-handed or ginger-haired". Yeah, right. Somehow I doubt we'll be reading Boris columns about the need for ginger-haired American presidents to inspire persecuted carrot tops everywhere.

If Obama wins, Old Etonian born-to-rule Boris pronounces, "black people the world over will be able to see how a gifted man has been able to smash through the ultimate glass ceiling".

Well how about a black politician being judged on his economic and foreign policies rather than his value as an inspiration to other blacks?

I have a piece on Obama and race in the current print edition of reason, to which you should really subscribe if you haven't done so already.  

NEXT: The Return of the Thin White Duke

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  1. I note that only one person has been shot by racist hooligans for wearing pro-Obama gear-and it was in the city Boris Johnson governs, not in the hillbilly USA.

    Impossible. They have gun control there.

  2. Its sad when people across the ocean from us have a better view of the power of a candidate to alter the racial dynamic than we do.

  3. Well, I guess if electing a black president will alter the racial dynamic in London, then I guess you’ve got a point.

  4. The attacker then fired the gas-powered ball-bearing pistol three times, hitting the civil servant in the face, hand and shoulder.

    Wait a second…

    Wait the fuck a second. Is this the media’s description of a BB gun?!!

  5. Just curious, when was the last non-WASP the Lord Mayor of London? Prime Minister of Great Britain?

    Kiss my royal American ass, limey!

  6. Obama is merely transitional with his half-blackness. Before you know it, they’ll quote that America was almost there, but a shade off on Bojo the clown’s melanin scale.

  7. That’s right when history looks back they’ll say Obama wasn’t black enough. You keep telling yourselves that.

  8. To be a picky asshole about the whole thing, Barack Obama is not a black man.

  9. So I guess for you the only thing worse than an n-word is a halfie?

  10. Please don’t feed the trolls.

  11. Also note BoJo’s upbraiding of McCain for his impromptu “bomb Iran” song, which he acknowledges was a lame joke, but suspects would make the Iranians want a nuke even more if the Republicans win. Coming from Boris, whose gaffe tally is notoriously high, it’s not a very convincing bit of criticism

    Of course, Johnson’s current job involves absolutely no foreign policy, and as far as I know he has not expressed (serious) interest in one that does. For McCain, foreign policy-related gaffes are likely to matter just a little bit more.

  12. just for everyone’s edification, c.o. = Edward.

  13. A correction: Boris Johnson is not Lord Mayor of London, but Mayor of London. These are two wildly different roles.

    The Lord Mayor of the City of London is the older role – formerly called the Lord Mayor of London, the name was changed to avoid just this kind of confusion. The Lord Mayor is the Head of the City of London Corporation, and the Chief Magistrate of the City of London, as well as being an ambassador for the Business Community in the City.

    The Mayor of London (Boris Johnson) is an elected politician, put in charge of the management of Greater London.

    The City of London is the financial district at the centre of London (also known as the “Square Mile”), while Greater London extends out to an area of 600 square miles, including suburban areas.

    With regard to whether Boris is qualified to comment on US politics, he was actually born in New York, of British parents, and held dual nationality until 2006. So even though this was down to an accident of birth, I think it means he is marginally more qualified than some.

  14. Obama is black?

    Damn I gotta get the color on my TeeVee fixed.

  15. AO, you can keep beliving that I’m Edward but that doesn’t make it true.

  16. Edward, we know who you are. Just stop.

  17. Well how about a black politician being judged on his economic and foreign policies rather than his value as an inspiration to other blacks?

    Did it ever occur to you, you limey twit, that most of the people who are attached to the idea of seeing the color barrier smashed in American politics are white?

  18. AO, you can keep beliving that I’m Edward but that doesn’t make it true.

    That is exactly how Edward wrote.

  19. Chris is right. The Lord Mayor of London is David Lewis: http://www.welshliveryguild.org/Lord%20Mayor%20%20David%20Lewis.jpg

  20. Concerned observer,

    but that doesn’t make it true.

    Since we all believe you to be edward, it doesn’t matter.

  21. If Joe had half the balls that he wishes he had, he’d actually back me up instead of worrying whether you twit-brained libertarians were still his friends or not. He wishes he had the balls to say what I say on here.

  22. Anyone who doesn’t vote for Obama is just a racist. There’s no other reason. The time is now, people! Let’s get a brother in the big house!

    Oh wait…

  23. aww, joe, edward is upset you’re not his fwiend!

    poor edward *ruffles his hair*.

  24. I’m not terribly shy about speaking my mind to the libertoids, Edweird.

    You can ask ’em.

  25. Obama is the new American version of the Dali Lama. As soon as he’s inaugurated, we plan to change the title of the American President to the “Dali Bama”! It will be a wondrous and joyous day! The world will finally sing in harmony with the United States of America.

    After that, we’ll change the name of our country to the Socialist States of America, and the Dali Bama will work with Comrade Pelosi and Comrade Reid to amend the constitution, making the Dali Bama an exalted and permanent office. No more elections will be held, and millions of dollars of the people’s money that normally pay for these ridiculous and unnecessary elections will be returned to the people – the same people who will also be receiving the wealth of the few citizens that actually work, which will be spread around by the Dali Bama!

  26. I don’t give a rat’s ass what color the man’s skin is. I dislike socialists, and anyone who has paid any real attention to the things Mr. Obama wants to do can see the man IS a socailist.. And once America goes socialist, we are OUT of planet.

    If there was a decent pro-freedom, pro free markets person running, be they white, black, yellow, purple, or plaid.. Male, Female, or Undecided, They would have my vote.

  27. “…we plan to change the title of the American President to the “Dali Bama”!”

    Nah.. We can just call him “Dear Leader.”

    Or ELSE.

  28. I can’t believe I’m about to do this, but:

    Calling Obama a socialist is stupid.

    socialism – Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.

  29. TAO is right.

    Obama is no more of a socialist than many of our past (and present) Democratic and Republican Presidents.

  30. Okay somebody was fake posting under my handle last night which is really fucking immature. But go ahead, put words in my mouth. You fucking libertard twits.

  31. Technically, Johnson isn’t Lord Mayor – the Lord Mayor being the ceremonial head of the square-mile City of London, while Johnson being the mayor of the metropolitan area that includes the City.

    Interestingly enough, Boris suggests Americans ought to vote for Barack because his black to prove that Martin Luther King’s dream of Americans not being judged by the colour of their skin, but the content of their character… Interesting…

  32. Buddy Holly: I don’t think Blair or Brown, both Scotsmen, will agree to the descriptor “Anglo-Saxon”. And Blair, a Catholic, would object to the “Protestant” part as well.

  33. The best comment on the supposed firm lines between the races was Dick Gregory’s about what would happen if there were reparations for slavery divvied out perfectly by ancestry– something to the effect of, “A whole lot of black people would be pissed to only be getting a 50% check, and a whole lot of white people would be startled to be getting a 10% one.”

  34. Sir–If you follow the polls and the pundits you will find that increasingly Obama’s numbers are going up because he is seen as presidential, in control of himself, advances sound ideas, and does not resort to silly name-calling.

    that he is black is perhaps a good thing: think how few years since I Have a Dream speech, but he is a remarkable guy, very bright, a good speaker, and is inspiring a lot of folks at a time when that is called for.

    McCain has (1) waged a very stupid campaign (2) shows his poor decision making by selecting as a running mate a woman who three times demonstrated that she does not even know what the job of VP entails!

    Obama is the favorite at this late juncture and would be were he white or black or brown or yellow…

  35. I got 99 reasons for votin against Obama, but his skin color ain’t one.

  36. “For McCain, foreign policy-related gaffes are likely to matter just a little bit more.”

    What gaffe? Lets do it!

  37. Fred:

    Actually, Obama is going up in the polls because the majority of people in the USA still get their news from television or newspapers, and those media are clearly not only cheering for Obama, but in some cases actively campaigning for him. It is shocking that the polls are as close as they are with this amount of favoritism displayed by the news media.

    As far as Palin, she was correct in her description of the job of the VP. Joe “Law Professor” Biden was the one who made incorrect statements about the job of the vice president.

  38. Isn’t voting for someone solely on the basis of race, racist?

  39. Apparently it depends which side of that particular fence you are on.

    Reminds me of the time that my son was suspended from school for fighting, even though he was blind-sided in an unprovoked attack and was merely defending himself. He and the attacker got the same punishment.

    Now, I will admit that he is a *ahem* spirited lad, and had a reputation for being undisciplined. But I felt, in this case, that he was being unfairly punished.

    I consulted an attorney about the possibility of legal action to get the school to reconsider his suspension. She advised me that unless he were in a “suspect class” (her term), that there were no grounds.

    Now, I knew exactly what she meant by suspect class….so I told her that there wasn’t a more “suspect” class in America than white males, since he wasn’t a minority, female, gay, etc. he had to actually stand on his own against authority. IIRC, she got very angry with me. LOL

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