January 30, 2007

Why aren't we ashamed of fawning over Obama?

Slate's Tim Noah has introduced a new regular feature called "The Obama Messiah Watch," devoted to "gratuitously adoring biographical details" about Barack Obama. The first item, from the LA Times, quotes a former classmate of Obama's marveling over the conciseness of the notes he took in class ("the pithiest, tightest prose you'd ever see").

Slate has some distance from the fawning it will be serving up. We can tell that Noah is sniggering at the overenthusiasm. Yet these regular features mean something. This one invites us to partake in the adoration of a man. "Bushisms" offers endless examples of another man's supposed stupidity. But Slate is committing to the repeated presentation of Obama as godlike for accomplishing tasks that require skill within the range of mere mortals.

"The Obama Messiah Watch" is ostensibly a fun little feature, highlighting the foibles of people who just love Obama so much. But what Noah fails to talk about is the likelihood that he's picking up evidence of racism. What accounts for amazement to the point of adoration at the fact that a man possesses excellent skill at something like note taking? Is it not that he can do it and he's black? You can laugh at Noah's nuggets of gratuitous adoration, but you ought also to look at them critically and think about the implications.

IN THE COMMENTS: Working on the theory that there's racism everywhere, readers are questioning my use of the word "sniggering"!

MORE: La Shawn Barber had some similar thoughts a few months back.

76 comments:

Paul said...

I don't see why liberals consider Obama black. He had an African dad and an caucasian mom. That makes him "mixed" to me. Yet the media universally considers him black. On what grounds? That a single drop of negro blood makes one a negro forever? Didn't we outgrow that when we outgrew Jim Crow?

AllenS said...

"Is it not that he can do it and he's black? You can laugh at Noah's nuggets of gratuitous adoration, but you ought also to look at them critically and think about the implications."

Your not fooling me, Professor, not when you cleverly work in a word like "sniggering".

bill said...

Ann, related is the Undercover Black Man's The Barack Obama ‘articulate’ meme

Mortimer Brezny said...

We can tell that Noah is sniggering at the overenthusiasm.

Damn. I wanted to be the first to make a sniggering comment.

Bissage said...

It's worth it to click through to the LA Times to mine for gems like these:

"Obama enrolled in two of Mitchell's courses: Making Weeples From Seedpods 101 and The Empowered Minority Paradigm. "Barry was good with a hot glue gun and he was an empowered minority paradigm or a paragon or a polygon or something like that," said Mitchell. Teacher and student barely knew one another but a picture of Obama was printed in the newspaper so Mitchell got drunk on grappa and left a message on Obama's answering machine asking for money.

Harold Wilson, the Mandingo Professor of Applied Miscegenation Studies and Physician’s Waiting Room Magazines at Occidental, said Obama had natural rhythm and could shuck and jive with the best of the crowd that hung out at the breezeway pitching quarters, throwing dice, taking numbers and hitting on the full-blooded white chicks by making loud sucking sounds and calling out "Hey, Baaaaaybee!"

On a more serious note, Howell said Obama already showed glimpses of things other people can't be certain they've actually seen, like when you're on the beach and it's really hot and sunny and you think there might be a tanker or a trawler or something way out on the horizon but it's hard to tell so you say to yourself it's probably just a mirage and you ask if there's anybody else who wants to go for a walk. "Clearly the guy had a presence or a gain switch or a squelch circuit because, boy, that guy was really a guy, or something." he said.

Al Maviva said...

Oh my God. Obama is black? Crap. Guess that means I'll have to vote for the wealthy White Southerner then. Honestly, I thought Obama was one of the Kennedy cousins, based on the media treatment he gets. I was positive that he was white, or at least Irish.

It's nowhere near November 2008, and I'm already sick of hearing about Articulate Obama's race. (If I hear another pundit call him well-spoken, I'm going to puncture my own eardrums with a dull screwdriver...)

I have the sneaking suspicion we're about to be guilted into voting for him - "Vote for Obama or you'll prove the US is a big racist nation." The mau-mau will be "sure, you say you just oppose his thoroughgoing liberal positions, but that's just cover for your racism." We're being set up in a similar manner with Mother Hillary, BTW, just in case you missed that... "If you oppose Hillary, you must hate women, children, and mothers, especially working moms. Hillary is a mommy, you know..." I actually respect Hillary though I disagree with a lot of her politics, but if her campaign goes the way I think it is, she'll un-earn my respect pretty quick.

Al Maviva said...

And on the Barack Obama articulate meme, Bill - I cringe when I hear it, and not just because some of my best friends are black, and I don't have a problem with *those people*, not that there's anything wrong with that. You condition us white male oppressors to self-police our speech for phrases that supposedly signify overt or unconscious racism, then you shouldn't be surprised when we cringe when a bunch of liberal pundits start mouthing things we would get reamed out for saying.

Mortimer Brezny said...

IN THE COMMENTS: Working on the theory that there's racism everywhere, readers are questioning my use of the word "sniggering"!

Oh, I didn't think you were racist, Ann. I have always presumed your sex robot is black.

RogerA said...

Henceforth, any anagrams of the "N" word are probably going to be suspect and elicit a charge of racist; eg, "ginger," or "gringer." (OK--I made the last one up)

Joe said...

I remember seeing an interview with Spike Lee where he described someone as "articulent."

Pogo said...

Ashamed? Heck, as a white male, I am excluded from all discussions of race and gender, except to stand up for Self-Criticism and shout "I am guilty".

P.S. sniggering, niggardly, and renege, negotiate, etc. are all now Forbidden Words For White People.

For the children!

bearbee said...

Al Maviva said...
"..signify overt..."

Sexist!!

Anonymous said...

Snegroing?

Trey

Ken Stalter said...

Maybe "sniggering" is bad by association, but I think it likely had a linguistic lineage independent of the n-word. The initial sound "sn" typically goes along with words that have to do with the nose and mouth area and functions of that area. For example, "snore", "snout", "sneeze", "snicker", etc. Even "snide" may be part of this usage.

reader_iam said...

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, "snigger" (1706) is a variant of "snicker," (1694), "possibly of imitative origin, similar to Du. snikken 'to gasp, sob.' The noun is first recorded 1836, from the verb."

Bill Peschel said...

Barack Obama: Bush, version 2.0, but with less governing experience.

After all, there seems to be a strong sense of entitlement hanging over him, but no evidence that indicates his skills at people management, his reasoning skills and his political beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, "ginger" is already taken by South Park -

"In a class presentation, Cartman argues that "Gingers"—those with red hair, freckles, and pale skin —are creepy and evil. They suffer from "gingervitis" and their light skin comes from a lack of soul."

Richard Fagin said...

I seem to recall some of the same fawning adoration directed toward Colin Powell when he considered a presidential run, espeically when it became clear that he supported affirmative action and was at best an extremely cautious general who eschewed the use of military force except as a last resort. None of this "nation building" and "liberating" nonsense for the old Vietnam War vet.

Of course the media love Sen. Obama. He's another white liberal with at least partially black skin.

Mike said...

"What accounts for amazement to the point of adoration at the fact that a man possesses excellent skill at something like note taking?" Liberals endless obsession with race.

I thought I knew all the words, but I've never heard of the word "sniggering".

Cedarford said...

I'm convinced that Jews in the media and Hollywood - plus a healthy part of the guilty white liberal class - have suffered a recent drought in available moral legitimacy in other quarters. White Christians are morally deficient, just about every global problem is white's fault...nothing worse than a mega-church crowd of theocrats, nothing more pitiful than a simpering left-wing minister in an empty Church issuing apologies for white Christian failure to save the saber-tooth tiger. Communism, the great early 20th century hope of Jews - failed. Israel, the 2nd half hope now is seen as colonialist. Liberals lost faith in the Party of FDR somewhere between Carter and the Clintonistas. Latins are too patriarchal to have moral superiority. Asians typecast as smart, nerdish, just lacking the whole moral authority oomph. Native Americans are noble as all blazes...but typecast as stewards of the environment that swear they know nothing of what happened to the saber-tooth, or the Mammoth.

That leaves blacks.

The other night I saw a marvelous grade B action flick (the Punisher)with Thomas Jane, Rebecca Romain, John Travolta where the hero has his whole family murdered, is shot, burned, blasted off a pier into the water by the villains. He washes up on rocks. Slowly dying. A small boat comes into view and gets closer. You know that it is a rescue, and just as surely, you know that there is a Magic Negro onboard.

Sure enough, the Magic Negro arrives, rescues the broken white guy, helps heal the body, but more importantly because of the moral superiority of being black (at least to Hollywood writer's mindset)- imparts the great folksy wisdom the white hero needs at this time to help heal his soul so he can regroup and "move on" to kill about 60 villains by very gory, violent methods in the remainder of the movie. Saving villain Travolta for the last, most agonizing ending maybe because his acting sucked ass..

We all know the media formula - and the situations - when you want jury room wisdom, look to the wise magic negro in the room. Utter chaos in disaster flicks? Fear not, look for the black character - because The Negro Knows Best.

Outside the media, in a public debate, the emphatic exclaimation point must come from an angry, loud Strong Black Woman. Coherent or not. The expected reaction should be everyone nodding their head...hey, debate over. The Strong Black Woman has spoken! It's like opera and the fat lady singing.

Barack Obama is now fulfilling the Magic Negro Role in politics to Jews and liberals in the media.

Everything he does is magic. The mundane in others who are Asian, white, hispanic with a resume similar to his become extraordinary when Barack Does It. Just like in the 60s when wealthy Irish supposedly had all the moral authority born of deep values and past suffering - and we thrilled to rich Irish playing touch football, soothing oppressed people with their healing touch, even speaking articulately!!

It will be fun to see how far Barack can take the Magic Negro in politics.

If you miss not being in Barack's glow, if you live in an area with air traffic above - you can do your own sort of Magical Negro tribute in the spirit of Obama. Seek out a large crowd of Progressive Jews or white liberals. Announce to them that a friend of yours at the airport alerted you to extraordinary news about the next two jets. When the next jet comes overhead, announce that it is being flown by a black pilot and a black co-pilot - a 1st. Listen to the murmers of approval, cries of "Wow! That's great!" The jet becomes special. Observe their gazes of wonderment akin to the S Pacific islanders that got convinced God was in a plane because it dropped free cargo goodies down to them by parachute.

Then announce the next jet is being flown by 2 Asians in the cockpit. Also an airport 1st! *Shrug*

Of course the same crowd would strongly approve if Native Americans were putting their unique moral superiority and deep spirituality into flying a jet. But you would get some disappointment. "Why are they flying jets? Shouldn't they be busy saving us Jewish progressives and guilty white liberals by healing the environment we trashed? You know, making friends with endangered species, and guiding us in responsible stewardship of Gaia with exciting new renewable fuels developed on the Reservations?"

Not to worry. Obama will help us sort this out. And aid the Native Americans in saving the environment and freeing the NA's from their Gaian burden so all-Cherokee cockpit crews and flying casinos are feasible.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Why the skepticism, haters? I mean, perhaps Obama is ACTUALLY magical. Have you considered that?

It would make sense, wouldn't it, given that Mitt is a cult member, Hillary is a witch, Sharpton is a troll, Kucinich is a leprechaun, Edwards is eternally young, and McCain is older than alchemy.

rhhardin said...

Look as always in media frenzies to the soap opera potential. ``Is this a black man I could date?''

Audience that tunes in day after day for more is the goal.

Anonymous said...

I don't see why liberals consider Obama black. He had an African dad and an caucasian mom.

Well, we all know who the most successful Asian in the history of golf is, right?

vbspurs said...

Working on the theory that there's racism everywhere, readers are questioning my use of the word "sniggering"!

Oh God, bad flashbacks to the day a professor at Med School called me racist for using the word niggardly. :((

(He got a reprimand from my Dean, and was ordered to apologise in class, which he didn't do...)

About The Slate Obama anti-fawning:

Yet these regular features mean something. This one invites us to partake in the adoration of a man. "Bushisms" offers endless examples of another man's supposed stupidity. But Slate is committing to the repeated presentation of Obama as godlike for accomplishing tasks that require skill within the range of mere mortals.

Insightful comment, Ann.

To me, it's like the Jaywalking segment on Jay Leno.

At face value, it's just a funny running gag on how stupid people are, even when picked randomly in the crowd. But if you analyse it deeper, it's a highly editted segment which ONLY shows mass retardation by your average American on the street.

You think the French have segments on their television, showing how ignorant the average Frenchman is? No.

And the reason is beyond just "we have a better sense of humour about ourselves".

Of course, laughing at dewy-eyed elegies to the Hero of the Moment is also very cool -- so not only is it "sniggering" at the Obama-Canonisation, whilst still allowing one to see Obama only in a positive light, but it's also the "Cool Kid Remove" syndrome, which invites you to be a part of the cool cynicism by extension.

Cheers,
Victoria

Meade said...

Paul said...
I don't see why liberals consider Obama black...

Or why anyone does for that matter.

What exactly is it that constitutes whiteness or blackness anyway and isn't Obama both white and black? In fact, isn't he really neither? BTW, as I watch that latest blogginheads episode, I notice, on my screen anyway, Schmitt's color is a warm orange while Althouse is a pretty pink but neither is either black nor white. And who cares? In fact, if one takes a closer look, the skin colors of Obama, Schmitt, Althouse, and Sharpton are nothing more than varying shades of one single color. One can be a racialist without being racist but focusing on and discriminating over racial characteristics, one way or another, historically, does seem to lead to more racism.

What is it that keeps us from being able to let the whole thing go? If Obama really does have the power to 'enter our space and organize our thoughts' away from what is, after all, a false dichotomy of race based on skin color, wouldn't that be a good thing? Imagine the disappearance of white people due to a new enlightenment, one that leaves formerly self-identified whites (with any and all prerogatives attached to that identity surrendered) not guilty but just somewhat embarrassed to have ever thought themselves as being such. Call it "Dis-affirmative Action" -- a cultural movement government has nothing to do with.

Obama, the NeoAlchemist... the Great Not-White Hope.

Anonymous said...

Hey, use the word "tittering" just to get a charge of sexism thrown in there too!

Anonymous said...

That a single drop of negro blood makes one a negro forever? Didn't we outgrow that when we outgrew Jim Crow?

Didn't we outgrow the term "negro" after Jim Crow? The fawning isn't coming from liberal circles, it's coming from idiot pundits that get paid to say stupid shit. Look at Bill Kristol, Glenn Reynolds, Jonah Goldberg, etc. I defy anyone to point out one thing they has been right about regarding foreign policy, and yet they get rewarded. Somehow they are considered "serious", and pundits that predicted events correctly, lose their jobs. Foreign policies are discussed, and decided at cocktail parties, not by people that actual study and do their homework.

Build up the "Negro Messiah", then take it apart piece by piece. Beltway pundits decide the rules, the discourse, what policies will be debated, even who is a top tier, or 2nd tier candidate. Bill Richardson laps the entire field, but it's sooooooo much more fun to talk about Obama's "blackness", or Hillary's "shrillness". Tee-heee-heee.

vbspurs said...

Al Maviva wrote:

Oh my God. Obama is black? Crap. Guess that means I'll have to vote for the wealthy White Southerner then. Honestly, I thought Obama was one of the Kennedy cousins, based on the media treatment he gets. I was positive that he was white, or at least Irish.

LOL!

Meade wrote:

In fact, isn't he really neither?

Not to interrupt and get serious on your funny stream-of-consciousness, Meade, but have we thought of seeing what the man has to say about that, rather than projecting our views on the matter, on him?

TTBOMK, Obama self-identifies as black. He's married to a black lady, and his kids are "blacker" in appearance than he is.

I think that puts paid the angle that he's neither fish nor fowl, as it were.

Cheers,
Victoria

TallDave said...

I see you're using a WHITE background for your blog, while blacks are only good enough to for your text.

RACIST!!

Daniel in Brookline said...

Cedarford: please forgive me for belaboring the obvious, and pointing out -- in response to your post -- that not all prominent outspoken liberals are Jewish.

Yes, they're represented out of proportion to their numbers. But it's not even close to being a majority. Nor was Communism a particularly Jewish cause, although some of its early proponents were Jewish -- Jews were victimized rather brutally by Communism.

I'd agree with a lot that you had to say, except for the gratuitous adjective "Jewish" that you use here and there. It's not all about the Jews, friend; hardly anything is.

- - - -

On the subject of debunkings, by the way:

> I have the sneaking suspicion
> we're about to be guilted
> into voting for him - "Vote
> for Obama or you'll prove the
> US is a big racist nation."
> The mau-mau will be "sure,
> you say you just oppose his
> thoroughgoing liberal
> positions, but that's just
> cover for your racism."

Al Maviva, I fear very much that you're right. This might be a good time to revisit the false dilemma logical fallacy, of which "vote for me or prove you're a racist" is a pretty good example.

For any important decision, there are many ways to reach a conclusion. Some are legitimate (e.g. "I won't vote for Obama because I don't like his voting record"); others are not (e.g. "I won't vote for Obama because his last name starts with O, so he must be Irish").

Starting from someone's conclusion, and assuming that there can be only one reason for having reached that conclusion, is patently false. It's important to remember that, and to keep people from getting away with that.

respectfully,
Daniel in Brookline

Anonymous said...

Has "Halfrican American" been taken?

vbspurs said...

Tall Dave wrote:

I see you're using a WHITE background for your blog, while blacks are only good enough to for your text.

RACIST!!


Ahh, yes, but note that Ann's blogphoto shows her wearing Folsom Prison black.

Interestingly, her Flickr and official Wisconsin pics show her wearing Virgin Queen white.

Is there more proof-positive required for Ann's "I'm so non-partisan" moderate bona fides, than this?

Cheers,
Victoria

HipsterVacuum said...

" Utter chaos in disaster flicks? Fear not, look for the black character - because The Negro Knows Best."

And don't forget when wisdom is needed turn to the wise Native American. Metaphors involving Earth and buffalo with wind-whipped hair flowing. That pensive Indian flute music, etc. Everything I need to know I learned from John Redcorn.

Mike said...

Naked Lunch said: "The fawning isn't coming from liberal circles, it's coming from idiot pundits that get paid to say stupid shit. Look at Bill Kristol, Glenn Reynolds, Jonah Goldberg, etc."

Don't be ridiculous. The fawning is not coming from the people you cite.

Anonymous said...

LOL. This place is just a petri dish of festering ignorance.

Pogo suffers from persecuted white male syndrome. Richard Fagin says Obama is white (because all blacks sound like those thugs on the BET). And in the most damning and baseless accusation, Bill Peschel equates him with George W. Bush.

I'm sure there was some outrageous stuff in Cedarford's "Magic Negro" essay, too, but who has the time?

P.S. Halfrican American has been patented for use in slurring Obama by Rush Limbaugh.

Meade said...

vbspurs said...

"...have we thought of seeing what the man has to say about that, rather than projecting our views on the matter, on him?"

I was only projecting my own funny-to-not-so-funny views, not meaning to project them on him or anyone else.

I am seriously suggesting, though, that if only self-identified whites were to give up their (IMO) inauthentic identity, it could conceivably free everyone else to give up theirs.

Alas, unfortunately, homo sapiens being as we seem to be, what would follow might be nothing more than an equally poor classification system based on lightness and darkness.

Cripes... the whole mess makes a feller want to just jump out of his own pallid skin!

Anyway, my views, all mine, all the time -- streaming live, as it were. (Thanks for noticing.)

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess it shows what a contrarian you are Ann, that you're supporters seem to have quickly disproved that theory of "white guilt". This truly has been one of the most inane, ignorant threads yet. But it seems that when the subject of race comes up on this blog, people can't wait to out do themselves.

I have to say that I rarely see the word 'negro' anymore, but I can just come here and act like it's the gold ol' 50's. And for the fawning over Obama, it's no worse than the right's fawning over Condi. "See she can play the piano!" It is probably a bit condescending and ridiculous, but it's better than the ignorance typically displayed by those, as on this board, who think that "negro" still sounds just about right.

Anonymous said...

Don't be ridiculous. The fawning is not coming from the people you cite.

I veered off into foreign policy. I should have started a new paragraph.

Anonymous said...

It is racism to fawn and express awe over Obama's abilities. A milder gentler form of racism but still racist. The fact that he is an articulate, well educated and personable human being would be totally unremarkable in any one else who wasn't part of a "minority" group.

The sneaking racism is in expressing surprise and wonderment, because the secretly held stereotype by the liberal left is that the accomplishments of Obama are out of the ordinary and unachievable by "regular" black people.

If I were he, I would wonder if I wasn't being given the performing circus animal treatment. "Wow, look at that....a talking cat and a dancing pony!!!" "Amazing....a black man who is articulate and can take good notes in class." and another version of the same thing. "Incredible...look a woman who can do math and understands the business world."

The racism of low expectations is just as bad as the overt racism of repression, possibly worse because it is cloaked in the "best of intentions".

Anonymous said...

The fact that he is an articulate, well educated and personable human being would be totally unremarkable in any one else who wasn't part of a "minority" group.

Categorically false. He's unusually articulate, well-educated, and personable by any standard. Especially by the low one set by the current president.

Denny Flood said...

"Categorically false. He's unusually articulate, well-educated, and personable by any standard. Especially by the low one set by the current president."

Nobody's gonna argue that Bush is among the super-articulate, but poorly-educated, and not personable?

He graduated from Yale and Harvard, which seem pretty close to top tier to me. Did Mr. Obama attend better schools? Is this a JD vs. MBA thing?

And by what scale do you measure "personable"? He actually seems to connect with ordinary people pretty well. I'd be interested to know how you've evaluated this quality, Doyle.

Anonymous said...

I hope this isn't too far off topic, but speaking of liberals who make racist comments without meaning to... these days you often hear rich white liberals using the term "white trash". Don't they know that this is a not-so-subtle racist term? It kills me to hear this term used in general conversation these days. It used to mean "whites that are as low as blacks... whose trashiness goes without saying". The implication is right there for all to see.

Anonymous said...

With all this black-text-on-white stuff floating around, has everyone forgotten the MeBlog? I rest my case!

Anonymous said...

Bush would probably have gotten into Yale or HBS without his family name. Plus he's famously incurious, and it's almost like he goes out of his way to make grammatical mistakes.

I'll grant you that personable is a matter of taste, but most Americans these days don't find him trustworthy or approve of his job performance. I think "Strongly Disapprove" is over 50% these days. He is widely, and in my opinion rightly, reviled.

Anonymous said...

Correction: Bush would probably NOT have gotten in...

Menlo Bob said...

We first judge people we don't know on the most obvious characteristic. Obama is considered black on account of the color of his skin, despite the fact of mixed parentage. Accordingly, the son of a mixed race couple of my acqantance will forever be white because his skin is white. It's all about visual expectations.

Anonymous said...

Bush would probably have gotten into Yale or HBS without his family name. Plus he's famously incurious, and it's almost like he goes out of his way to make grammatical mistakes.

I'll grant you that personable is a matter of taste, but most Americans these days don't find him trustworthy or approve of his job performance. I think "Strongly Disapprove" is over 50% these days. He is widely, and in my opinion rightly, reviled.


You digress....once again. This has nothing to do with the topic of why we should or should not be embarrassed about the excessive fawning over Obama or whether the fawning is excessive at all. We get it. You don't like Bush. I suggest you move on.

I also wonder what in the world are you going to be able to talk about in a few years when Bush is no longer President and you can't turn every conversation back into a Bush bashing rant. I'm not a Bush fan....just sick of there being no topic of conversation that the "Left" doesn't twist into a Bush bashing rant.

Mortimer Brezny said...

It is racism to fawn and express awe over Obama's abilities. A milder gentler form of racism but still racist.

Yes. First they praise you; then come the concentration camps.

Anonymous said...

Dust Bunny -

My comment was in response to Denny at 12:05, and it wasn't even a rant so much.

As for what I’m going to talk about when Bush is no longer president… that’s what I’d call a good problem to have.

Charlie (Colorado) said...

Why aren't we ashamed of fawning over Obama?

Because some of us aren't fawning over Obama?

Pogo said...

The hardest part for Obama will be when he disappoints the ones seeking a messiah.

For he will, of course, disappoint them by acting like every other damn human. Where are the magic cures he promised? Where are the cotton candy and peppermint trees? And isn't there supposed to be a damn pony in here somewhere?

P.S. I would feel my day is complete making Doyle sputter my name, grind his teeth, and spit Busssshhaaarrgghh, but then he does that pretty much every post.

kmg4 said...

According to the 'one-drop rule' determining who is black and who is not, our first black President was Warren G. Harding, 85 years ago. He had some small amount of black ancestry.

Look it up.

Anonymous said...

It is racism to fawn and express awe over Obama's abilities. A milder gentler form of racism but still racist.

So, no one can admire any abilities of Obama. That is racist. Would blacks be racist for admiring Obama? Nobody is asking you to fawn, or even support him. By the same token he is open to criticism just like any other candidate. I personally hate his mushy stance on Iraq, and I don't understand it, as he is the only one in the race that voted against the AUMF. He could hit Hillary like a ton of bricks on this, if he chose to, and if he doesn't Hillary will crush him.

But trying to squeeze the Clintons is like squeezing a water balloon, the harder you try, the bigger it comes out the other side. Bill got Chris Wallace answering his questions when confronted. He is a political idiot savant. It's no an accident Hillary's face has been splattered all over tv since the election, and no accident she is polling so well early.

Anonymous said...

So, no one can admire any abilities of Obama. That is racist.

Of course not. There is plenty admirable about Mr. Obama. The question is the over the top "OMG!!!" quality of the wonderfulness of the candidate Obama that has been discovered by the media who promote him. Would he be just as miraculous, wonderful and awe inspiring if he were not "a person of color"? Maybe, but I think not.

Harkonnendog said...

Thus the Althouse becomes another cog in Hillary's machine. Praising Obama shows you're a racist. Criticizing him shows you're not, if you accept Ann's premise.

(I'm being sarcastic. But my Clinton paranoia is so deep and lasting that I really did think this for a moment, lol.)

hdhouse said...

I would vote for my pet goat if he were not a liar and could speak in an intelligent manner...heck, he wouldn't even have to make sense...

Seriously, Obama didn't create this manic state by accident. The guy isn't an idiot and he can, actually, see what is going on and prime the pump.

Let him have his due. He will either grow or fizzle. My guess is he won't fizzle but he won't be the nominee either. A coherent voice would be welcome.

Anonymous said...

Would he be just as miraculous, wonderful and awe inspiring if he were not "a person of color"? Maybe, but I think not.

I don't know the answer to that. I do think that if Hillary were black that it wouldn't necessarily help her, as you seem to be suggesting Obama being black makes him awe inspiring. You either are, or you're not.

Anonymous said...

While I find BDS as annoying as the next non-sufferer and, like "Dust Bunny," wonder what Doyle will find to talk about post-1200 EST 1/20/09, I would remind us all that there's still plenty of CDS (which I also do not suffer from) going around, and there will be lots of people blaming either or both (or all three, heh) President C's for the problems of the 2020s.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, Jay. I've been mostly on the Obama subject. Denny provoked me.

BDS/CDS is sort of nonsense nomenclature, IMHO, but at least there's good reason for the former.

Mike said...

Denny said: "Nobody's gonna argue that Bush is among the super-articulate, but poorly-educated, and not personable?"

Yeah, a real provocateur, that Denny.

Anonymous said...

Good one, Mike. How about "[Bush] actually seems to connect with ordinary people pretty well."

I suppose, if you consider pissing ordinary people off a form of connection, this might be true, but I don't think that's what Denny meant.

If there was a rampant disease, it was Bush Approval Syndrome, but thankfully that fever has broken for most.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Synchronicity is wonderful.. I just re-read this analysis of the Clarence Thomas inquisition....I mean hearings. This is apropos to the discussion of racism and the treatment of Obama as the newest great thing since sliced bread. Relevant parts below and a link to the article

http://www.reason.com/news/show/29332.html
One of the major reasons for the persistent problem is that millions of white adult Americans define "racism" as its most pathological manifestations: wearing white gowns and hoods, burning crosses, tarring and feathering blacks, hunting them down with dogs. Because those same millions of white Americans would not dream of committing such atrocities; because they vote for political representatives who pass civil-rights bills; because they applauded Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall; because they respect the changing nomenclature by which certain blacks wish to be addressed, they imagine themselves to be free of racism.

What they have never learned is that racism is an idea, a very old and intransigent idea. That idea exists on an unbroken continuum -- all the way from a form that is fully conscious to a form that is unconscious. Its manifestations can range from the most grossly offensive and scornful invective to a compulsive noblesse oblige that cannot permit itself to make any criticisms at all. But whatever the degree or kind of racism, it invariably contains a double standard: The racist simply does not treat black individuals the same way he treats whites.

Dust Bunny Queen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Globber said...

I too sniggered at the niggardly way Noah danced a jig around the racism element. Instead of spearing it, he monkeys around with the notion. I'm spooked by the fact that common sense has not colored Noah's analysis.

Douglas said...

Ann Althouse--

But what Noah fails to talk about is the likelihood that he's picking up evidence of racism. What accounts for amazement to the point of adoration at the fact that a man possesses excellent skill at something like note taking? Is it not that he can do it and he's black?

Frankly Ann Althouse, that’s just such fraudulent posing. Of the sort that’s massively common in Academia and the media these days, but which one might have hoped you’d avoid.

Blacks on average ARE less intelligent. Overlapping Gaussian (bell curve) distributions on IQ, with blacks being the left side, lower shifted curve. And they’re greatly UNDERREPRESENTED at the lofty high extremes of intelligence as well. Their average IQ is around 85, while the American overall median is 100, an overwhelming number of intelligence tests, particularly the larger and more rigorously sampled ones have repeatedly shown for almost a century. The reasons for the Black / White IQ gap are debated (gingerly, or more often especially outside the psychometric field asserted to be all ‘nurture’ rather than nature without remotely fair assessment of the data which suggests it’s both) but it’s existence is denied only by those unfamiliar with the field. Or by the dishonest, who are legion on this topic, for what they are religiously certain are good and necessary reasons.

The existence of that sizeable racial gap is not some ‘racist’ but a fact. The gap may or may not be recently narrowing (there’s conflicting data), but some evidence to suggest it might be at little – or perhaps that it was but has stopped. Open areas. But the facts are not “racist”. And from experience, all those not engaged in Orwellian doublethink have some everyday knowledge of this gap. THAT direct perception is of course widely condemned as “racist”. Well, it could be, IF rigorously sampled statistics and huge numbers of tests didn’t bear it out.

Of course the Left labels such facts as “racist” anyway.

Even Princeton and Harvard Presidents Bowen and Bok, in their book “The Shape of the River” written to defend affirmative action, state that if the same academic admissions standards were applied to blacks as whites, the most selective colleges such as their own would see the percentage of black students fall from the current levels which roughly reflect the 12% blacks constitute of the overall population, to only a few percentage points 2-4% if I recall correctly.

Further the situation is even worse in the most elite graduate programs, such as at Harvard Law, where only a small sampling of the graduates of the most elite colleges are smart enough to get in -- without AA that is. As one moves further out to the right side of the bell curve a diminishingly small number of blacks can be found there.

That Obama is as genuinely smart (as opposed to merely AA promoted above his abilities) as he appears to be does not make him unique among those we still classify as “black” in this country (he’s half white), but it does make him pretty unusual. Particularly in the national political arena. Obama it seems clearly is not merely smart enough (like I would say Jesse Jackson), he’s brilliant. Even smarter than Bill Clinton most likely. (Doesn’t mean he’s a politically savvy as Bill Clinton – that remains to be seen.)

He’s also chockablock with genuine charisma – which unlike the very highest levels of intelligence is not rare among African Americans. (It may be more common in fact.)

Joel said...

While I am somewhat more niggardly with the word sniggering, I do not see it as indicative of some repressed racism.

Joel said...

I bow in capitulation to globber's superiority.

Long live Globber

michael a litscher said...

This fawning over Obama reminds me of an episode of Will and Grace.

There was some local election; one of the candidates was a male homosexual, and one of the other candidates was a Jewish female.

Will immediately threw his support behind the male homosexual, and Grace immediately threw her support behind the Jewish female. They staunchly argued over the importance of getting a male homosexual versus a Jewish female into this rather minor position of power, not knowing anything about either of these two candidates beyond the thin veneer of identity politics.

They both went so far as to throw dueling fund-raising parties, only to discover late in the show that both candidates had policy positions neither could tolerate.

I'd bet that the vast majority of those fawning over Obama know only three things about him - that he's black, that he's well spoken, and that he's a Democrat - and would be hard-pressed to articulate any of Obama's policy positions or accomplishments.

If Obama were smart, he'd sell Obama for President bumper stickers for $50 a piece. Hell, he should also have a bumper sticker that's a mirror image of the first one, so you could advertise your "progressivism" to the schmuck in the Cadillac in front of you.

Obama bumper sticker for your rear bumper: $50

Obama bumper sticker for your front bumper: $50

"Progressive" street cred for having two Obama bumper stickers on your Prius: Priceless.

vbspurs said...

kmg4 wrote:

According to the 'one-drop rule' determining who is black and who is not, our first black President was Warren G. Harding, 85 years ago. He had some small amount of black ancestry.

I've read that, too, but I think it's just typical politically-inspired gossip.

One of the most persistent rumors about Harding alleged that he was actually part Negro. For more than a generation, Ohio neighbors had looked down on the Hardings because of suspicions of mixed ancestry, and at the time of Warren's marriage, his furious father-in-law publicly called him "a nigger." In 1920 several observers pointed to Harding's swarthy complexion as evidence that his blood was "tainted," and a racist professor at a small college in Ohio published a celebrated pamphlet proving the senator's "African" ancestry and asserting that his candidacy was part of a Negro plot to take over the country. When asked about the rumors by a friendly reporter, Harding replied, "How do I know, Jim? One of my ancestors may have jumped the fence." Historians have been unable to add much to Harding's uncertain reply.

FWIW, though, it was said he was amongst the handsomest men ever to grace the Oval Office as President.

The usual statement about the somewhat heavy-featured Harding, who was quite the ladies' man, as is very known...

...was that he was the only man in the US Senate you could put a toga on, and he wouldn't have looked amiss as a ROMAN Senator.

(Standards might've changed though. He looks hideous to me)

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Ack, sorry. I forgot to bowdlerise my post. My most hated word is staring back at me, in utter contemptibleness. :(

Cheers,
Victoria

Andrew said...

Harding was also one of the most popular presidents of the 20th century, and probably the most successful post-war president, in terms of moving on quickly from a war and getting his policies implemented.

He fell into disrepute not because of Teapot Dome (which was a minor scandal that his own Justice Department prosecuted), but because of the Depression, which made him Worst President Ever in the eyes of the intelligensia who wrote the history books.

But back to Obama. Ann's post reminds me of a similar routine used to great comedic effect by Chris Rock with regard to the boomlet surrounding a Colin Powell presidency in the mid-to-late 90's.

I paraphrase:
"He's so well-spoken? Of course he's well spoken; he's an educated man, what the [expletive] did you think he would sound like? 'I's gwine to be Pres-O-Dent'?"

joelr said...

I think it's rather niggardly to take umbrage at your use of "sniggering"; I think they're trying to blacken your reputation.

vepxistqaosani said...

Isn't this all about 'other people's racism'? None of us white guys are racist -- just ask us! -- but we all assume that all _other_ white guys are, since that's what we get from the MSM.

So Obama, like Colin and Condoleezza, is the kind of black guy that even those other, racist, white guys might like -- which is, come to think of it, the same kind of thinking that got us John Kerry.

Douglas said...

Andrew said--

“He fell into disrepute not because of Teapot Dome (which was a minor scandal that his own Justice Department prosecuted), but because of the Depression, which made him Worst President Ever in the eyes of the intelligensia who wrote the history books.”

You might find it wiser Andrew to not talk when you have no idea what you’re talking about. The above is a rather extreme howler – it’s wrong in every respect, and not by a little.

Harding died six years before the Great Depression began. His was President at the beginning of the “Roaring Twenties”. His Presidency was indeed in bad odor because of the teapot dome scandal. He was succeed by Coolidge.

The otherwise good man who was widely hailed as a man of both good works and great governmental managerial skill before he was brought low by his inability to deal effectively with the Great Depression which began while he was in office, was Herbert Hoover.

Mickey said...

have the sneaking suspicion we're about to be guilted into voting for him

Good observation.

I always thought Clinton was the 1st Black Predator of the United States.

Mickey said...

Why aren't we ashamed of fawning over Obama?

Because we don`t want to be considered a racist.
____________
Did somebody already say that?