March 17, 2006

"And would those cheering, white 'Bama football fans check her name when they're in the privacy of the voting booth?"

WaPo op-ed columnist Eugene Robinson contemplates Condoleezza Rice running for President:
Black conservative Shelby Steele recently speculated with an interviewer from the American Enterprise, a conservative journal, about how a race between Hillary Clinton and Rice might turn out. "If Hillary runs against a man, my guess is there's a certain women's vote out there that will go for her, even many Republicans," he said. "But if she's running against Condoleezza Rice, that would disappear. A large bit of the black vote that Democrats are so desperately dependent upon would also disappear. If Condoleezza Rice ran, she could win by simply taking an extra 15 percent of the black vote."

But from my own anecdotal observation, Spike Lee speaks for a lot of African Americans who have strong negative feelings about Rice. If she runs, he told the New York Observer, "African Americans will have to really, really, really, really, really , REALLY analyze the secretary of state's record, and get past the pigmentation of her skin. . . . I'm not going to vote for that woman. No. Way. "

Steele acknowledges that he might be wrong, that Rice might turn out to be a lousy politician. Lee acknowledges that "I'm not the spokesperson for 45 million African Americans." The truth is that nobody knows how voters would respond to a black woman who loyally serves an administration so reviled in the black community.

And would those cheering, white 'Bama football fans check her name when they're in the privacy of the voting booth?

Nobody knows. But I'll bet that someday -- maybe not soon, but someday -- we'll find out.
I hope we do.

28 comments:

knoxgirl said...

I sure do want Condi, but I'm sure the Repubs will give us someone tedious like one of the many charmless senators they keep offering up in all those polls. Yuk.

Goatwhacker said...

And would those cheering, white 'Bama football fans check her name when they're in the privacy of the voting booth?

I don't know Eugene Robinson's political leanings, but he references the old saw that down deep conservatives, especially Southern ones, just HAVE to be racist. There are certainly racist conservatives out there but any Democrats relying on racism to put their (white) candidate over the top will likely be disappointed. I can tell you in a choice between Hillary and Condi race will not put Hillary over the top. Racism exists in conservatives but pragmatism is much stronger.

Gahrie said...

Most of those 'Bama fans who would have qualms voting for Sec. of State Rice because she's black, wouldn't be voting for her anyways because she's a Republican.

First, where has this myth of Republican racism sprung from? The Republican Party was formed to oppose slavery. The Democratic Party supported it. The Republican Party supported the CRA of 1964 and opposed Jim Crow. The Democratic party imposed Jim Crow and opposed the CRA. The Republican Party has appointed more highly placed black people to positions of power. The Democratic Party continues to support and re-elect an organizer for the Klan.

Second, I think you'll find that many of those good ol' boys are much more distrustful of that Yankee Sen. Clinton than Sec. of State Rice who they understand, especially when Condi starts talking about wanting to be the commish of the NFL.

I do agree however that people overstate the support that Sec. of State Rice would receive from the black vote. That vote truly resides on the Democratic plantation.

Ken Begg said...

Rice would be elected, and then Spike Lee and all the usual suspects would say it doesn't mean anything because Rice "isn't really black."

CB said...

The situation with Ms. Rice dramatically illustrates how disfunctional black politics has become. A black female is appointed secretary of state--an astonishing and unprecedented accomplishment--and she is met with nothing but criticism from blacks. The mind boggles. It seems that most of the praise for Ms. Rice comes from conservative white males like me.

MrBuddwing said...

There have been rumors - just that, rumors - that Vice President Cheney might not serve out his entire second term. Wouldn't it be a real kick in the head if President Bush were to choose Secretary Rice to be vice president for the remainder of his term?

Too Many Jims said...

"That vote truly resides on the Democratic plantation."

Given the context of this discussion, nice use of the phrase "plantation".

"The situation with Ms. Rice dramatically illustrates how disfunctional black politics has become. A black female is appointed secretary of state--an astonishing and unprecedented accomplishment--and she is met with nothing but criticism from blacks."

Couldn't one draw the exact opposite conclusion from blacks' criticism of Rice. That is, blacks no longer look to the pigmentation but to the individual's record in deciding how to react to a politician. Rather than dysfunctional, that seems quite healthy.

Jeff said...

"African Americans will have to really, really, really, really, really , REALLY analyze the secretary of state's record, and get past the pigmentation of her skin. . . . I'm not going to vote for that woman. No. Way. "
Right. Like with Marion Berry.

bearbee said...

Condoleezza Rice in Australia
Soft face of the hard line

AJ Lynch said...

It's a shame the doctrinaire Robinson didn't get up out of his chair and walk around DC to ask some average blacks on the street what they think and feel and know about Condi. No it was too easy for him to just quote a celebrity.

I'd like to know if a significant percentage of blacks give Bush credit for his minority appointments. Could someone do a poll, please?

And I predict BLACKS would vote for Condi in big numbers.

yetanotherjohn said...

Both Steele and Rice are right in this. Out of the 90% of Black votes the democrats take now, about 15% would likely switch to support a Rice candidacy. It might be more.
The other 75% would likely still vote for the democrat. Look at what percentage Steele pulled of the Black vote in Maryland. It's the same idea.

What is interesting to me is that the debate both shows how close and how far we are from the King dream. Lee is saying we should only really, really, really look at their charachter if their color is black. Steele is saying that being Black will pull a certain number of voters.

As far as racism or genderism is involved, yes it will be there. Some won't vote for a black or a woman. Some will vote for them because they are black or a woman. Both are being bigots, but hey that is the reality of the world we live in.

bearbee said...

"I'd like to know if a significant percentage of blacks give Bush credit for his minority appointments."

I have heard that minority homeownership and minority owned business' have significantly increased due changed loan qualifications requirements. This also does not seem to get much attention.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't see this as a problem. Whenever the idea that Republicans are racists is trotted out, it is backed by reference to Nixon's Southern Strategy. But that ignores a lot of things. First, as pointed out, the Republican Party was founded on emancipating the slaves. The Democratic Party was founded by slave holders. The southern Democrats left the Union to maintain slavery, and many of the Northern Democrats of the time agreed with them. They went on to impose Jim Crow, joined the Klan, and lynched a lot of Black people to keep it all in place. A Republican President first desegregated the White Hoouse, and a Democratic one who resegregated it fifty years later. It was the Republicans who overwhelmingly passed the CRA, while Democrats filibustered it. And, I would suggest, the bulk of the Republican Party still believes this way. My ancesters helped with the Underground Railroad, voted for Lincoln, and we have been Republicans ever since. I don't think we are that atypical.

Also, Dr. Rice has southern roots. She was born there and raised there until moving here to CO. Sen. Clinton is a carpetbagger of the worst type. Add to this religion and national defense, and I don't see very many Southern Republicans defecting.

On the other hand, Dr. Rice has shown that African-Americans can live the American dream too. She did it the American way, through a lot of hard work. And she has ascended to be probably the most powerful woman in the world today. She did this on her own merits, and not running in a gerrymandered district with a large Black majority.

Yes, a lot of the Black constituancy will stay on the plantation. But I think Steele is right - in the privacy of the voting booth, a lot of blacks are going to say, she is one of us, and we want our kids looking to her as a role model. (And, besides, how can they really vilify the church organist, esp. since she played in several Black churches when she was at Stanford?)

minimus said...

Secretary Rice attended the Alabama Tennessee game this fall. She would best Hillary with Alabama football fans of all skin tones. Thanks to Sam Cunningham and Paul Bryant the operative color with Alabama football is Crimson.

Charlie Eklund said...

Amen, Gahrie!!

What is it about the Democratic Party, anyway, that they're always re-writing history? And that they're always so successful at it?

Is is partisan of me to say something like that? I supposed it is. At any rate, it's certainly "part" of the reason I'm no longer the Democratic voter I started my voting-life more than 25 years ago.

Chrees said...

Well, speaking as a white Alabama alum (I wasn't cheering yesterday since I couldn't watch the game), I would consider Rice if she were to run. If I didn't vote for her, it has nothing to do with her race or sex and everything to do with how I view her competence.

Elizabeth said...

First, where has this myth of Republican racism sprung from? The Republican Party was formed to oppose slavery. The Democratic Party supported it. The Republican Party supported the CRA of 1964 and opposed Jim Crow. The Democratic party imposed Jim Crow and opposed the CRA. The Republican Party has appointed more highly placed black people to positions of power. The Democratic Party continues to support and re-elect an organizer for the Klan.

It's no myth. The GOP post-Civil War and up through the early 1960s is gone, thanks to the "Southern Strategy" of the 70s, that wooed those unreconstructed Southern Democrats over, and in doing so, opened the door to racism in the GOP. The GOP is the party that makes it election year pilgrimage to Bob Jones U., and it's the party that accepted David Duke as its candidate for state-wide and national office in Louisiana. You can't argue that GOP racism is a "myth" without having to go back to Lincoln.

As for Byrd, the Christian church copes with St. Paul. Byrd had his road to Damascus experience.

There are racists in both parties; currently, the Democrats appeal more to black voters. I have to assume those voters understand their own interests.

Ricardo said...

Can someone, in a non-hyped and factual way, please give me "the case for Condoleeza Rice"? What has she done, besides prop up George W. Bush? I'm not looking for accolades or titles or awards ("first black women to ...." doesn't count). I'm looking for things she has "done".

I've already seen the list of things she hasn't done. For example, as the National Security Advisor to the President, there is no evidence that she was at all interested in, or engaged in, anti-terrorism work during the summer months of 2001, just prior to 911.

But can someone give me the opposite viewpoint? What real accomplishments qualify her to be President?

Goatwhacker said...

I actually agree with Elizabeth here - the history of racism within either political party is unlikely to resonate much with minority voters today, they are much more concerned about current policy in determining their vote. This generally translates to policy on affimative action and entitlements. Unfortunately discussion on those issues often descends into charges of racism rather than gaining any mutual understanding.

I don't agree with Elizabeth's David Duke reference, it's a cheap shot since Duke is by no means accepted by the conservative mainstream, he's an embarassment and should just go away.

Elizabeth said...

Goatwhacker,

He is indeed an embarrassment, but he has been a part of the GOP, actively, here in Louisiana. He's no myth, sadly, and as the topic is racism in the GOP of the South, he's relevent. He held state office, representing the suburb next to New Orleans in the late 1980s. He ran for U.S. Senate in 1990, and governor in 1991, and in both elections, while he lost, he got the majority of the white vote in the state! In the gubernatorial election in 1995/1996, the winner, Republican Mike Foster, paid Duke $200K for his mailing list, and then paid another $52K in 1997 for continuing use of it. Foster had to be getting some fundraising benefit from Duke's list. You're right, the GOP ought to be embarrassed by Duke, but that embarrassment would be more if they would have purged him from their ranks right from the start. When he was useful to them, they let him in the big tent.

Elizabeth said...

that embarrasment would be more credible--sorry for that omission.

bearbee said...

Seems to me it is difficult to detail accomplishments of a Secretary of State as so much is behind closed doors but here is a Slate article What the secretary of state has done right, and wrong, in her first six months
written August 11, 2005 listing accomplishments in the first six months.

I do not recall reading other articles by this
writer.

The US Department of State has much in the way of her travels, meetings, remarks
What the SoS has been saying

PatCA said...

"And would those cheering, white 'Bama football fans check her name when they're in the privacy of the voting booth?"

Again, a sneering racial stereotype that is totally permissible in today's PC world because it's against whites. I'm a graduate of Bama, and I think most of the conservatives that I knew would vote Condi. Go to hell, WaPo.

Elizabeth said...

I agree with Pat, here. I'm also tired of the stereotypes, and they appear in every media. I do think that race will be a factor for some voters, and not just in the South. Me, I hope not to be voting for a conservative, of any color, gender, or party. I don't always have much of a choice, however.

hygate said...

I'm an Auburn fan myself, but I know quite a few Alabama fans and almost all of them are democrats. And no, I don't think they would vote for her.

Ricardo said...

bearbee: Thanks for the link. That was an interesting article.

Brendan said...

In 1964, George Wallace won 45% of the popular vote in the Democratic primaries he entered. Forty five percent of those who "champion" themselves as the founders, protectors, and supporters of Civil Rights voted for an avowed racist.

"But he wasn't a real Democrat! He was a heartless Republican in Dem clothing!"

Horseshit. He wasn't a Republican in those days because the GOP had no use for him and nothing to offer. The party was anti-Communist, not anti-black. Sorry, but "segregation now, tomorrow, and forever" will always be a stain on your party, not mine.

Blacks blackballing Condoleeza? Since when do they give a toss about foreign policy?

Sanjay said...

Now, I love this woman. Love love love her. I think she's great at her job and I'd love to have her as Secretary of State for the next many many years; I actually think that might be her ideal (but probably not realistic) scenario too.

President? Dunno. The head says no, the heart says yes. But this is where I find a lot of the "will she or won't she?" speculation sort of crazy.

Because the reason I'd love to see her run is that beautiful, clear, and (God help us) "nuanced" way she has of articlulating things, the straight-shooter way she jets off to Idonesia and lets the Chinese have it with both barrels, then savagely beats on Iran with one hand while delicately finessing them with the other. That amazing unwillingness not to "dumb down" an idea, but instead to sell it as it is. I'd love to see it in a campaign.

But it is that very quality about Dr. Rice that makes the idea that she'll run weak. She's said no. She means it. When a politican says no --- maybe. When Condi Rice says no --- it's no. She's thought it through and that's what she's got.