May 1, 2008

"Where, when he could have used them, were Obama's oh-so-famous endorsers?"

Daniel Henniger notes the famous names:
Jesse Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Oprah, John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Patrick Leahy, Tom Daschle, Amy Klobuchar, Claire McCaskill, Jay Rockefeller, John Lewis, Toni Morrison, Roger Wilkins, Eric Holder, Robert Reich, Ted Sorenson, Alice Walker, David Wilhelm, Cornel West, Clifford Alexander, Donald McHenry, Patricia Wald, Newton Minow?

Where were all the big-city mayors who went over to the Obama camp: Chicago's Richard Daley, Cleveland's Frank Jackson, Atlanta's Shirley Franklin, Washington's Adrian Fenty, Newark's Cory Booker, Baltimore's Sheila Dixon?

It isn't hard for big names to get on talk TV to make a point. Any major op-ed page would have stopped the presses to print a statement of support from Ted Kennedy or such for the senator. None appeared. Call it profiles in gopher-holing.
Why is Obama so alone? Are his powerful supporters afraid of saying the wrong thing and angering black voters? Or does precisely the right thing need to be said — and Obama is the only person on the face of the earth who is capable of determining what that precisely right thing is?

Perhaps it's the unpleasantness of trying to draw the line between religion and politics. Or of drawing the line between race and religion. Is the line between religion and politics different in the black community for historical and cultural reasons? But these are not such exquisitely delicate matters, that you can't make bland but emphatic statements of support, and the people listed above aren't the type who hold their tongues until they know what to say.

So why did they hang Obama out to dry?

29 comments:

rhhardin said...

Obama has to say now, to blacks : merely being angry is no longer enough.

That would make the black anger industry people angry.

An angry black anger industry is too much of a threat to Obama's friends, though ; where in the case of Obama himself perhaps they sense it's a rope-a-dope move and will allow it to pass.

Cato Renasci said...

I was struck by Henninger's article as well.

I think that the reason everyone is laying low is that they don't know what other shoes are going to drop (and there have been hints in the media that there are - last nigh O'Reilly said he had more stuff coming out on Wright - and, I think, they are waiting to see if the taint sticks.

The politicians are letting the media do the defending of Obama, which it is trying to do. It's only the conservative media and the polling data that indicate ordinary people are taking the questions Obama's association with Wright raises seriously.

And, politicians being politicians, why should they rush to defend Obama if they have someone else to do the riskier dirty work for them? If it works, they can jump back on the band wagon, if it doesn't, they can say they were 'deeply troubled' and had to reflect on things before they walk away from Barry.

Martin Gale said...

Gene Kranz: Let's look at this thing from a... um, from a standpoint of status. What do we got on the spacecraft that's good?
--Apollo 13


If Obama has any long term associates who aren't domestic terrorists or racist loonies now would be a good time to bring them out.

AllenS said...

Right now, Obama needs to bring out a typical white person, like a grandmother-type to take the heat off. And then move the issues to something more important like obesity.

tjl said...

Maybe the endorsers are silent because they're thinking about what form Hillary's vengeance will take if she becomes the nominee -- as now seems much less unlikely.

George said...

Springsteen, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Stevie Wonder, Michael Stipe, Chris Novoselic, Dave Matthews (?) and some guys from Pearl Jam, Death Cab for Cutie, one of the Sleater-Kinney broads, and Rufus Wainwright, but not John Mellencamp!

I'm waiting to learn who Bonnie Raitt is for.

bearbee said...

Well at least Carolyn Kennedy has shown spine and continues to stump for Obama. Ted Kennedy can spin this 2 ways....if all works out well, he can claim Carolyn as his surrogate, blah, blah. If it ends badly then he can claim Carolyn as a woman of principle, blah, blah.

It would be interesting to know if ANY of these "luminaries" have had contact with Obama during this difficult time with advise and counsel, or are they letting him twist in the wind.

Call it profiles in gopher-holing

Profiles in mediocrity.

Pogo said...

Obama sings his favorite (again),
Positively Faithless Street
You've got a lot of nerve, To say you are my friend, When I was down, you just stood there grinning.

MadisonMan said...

So why did they hang Obama out to dry?

When did a politician ever take a risk that wasn't necessary? A Mayor is gonna risk Clintonian wrath or just keep quiet for a week or two.

Hunkering down is something all politicians -- consider Larry Craig! -- are good at.

Hogarth said...

Being any kind of meaningful leader, and in particular being the President, is a very lonely job.

Better that he learn it now.

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

So why did they hang Obama out to dry?

They are beginning to question his judgement. And his perception of reality. They don't trust that there's not a video-in-waiting of Obama sitting in the congregation while his priest invokes his God to curse the nation.

Zach said...

If you stick up for Obama over Wright, does that make you the go-to guy for questions about Ayers? Rezko? If people start asking you pointed questions about Rezko buying Obama's yard for him, are you confident you have a good answer?

paul a'barge said...

They hung Obama out to dry because that's what you do with losers.

These people are politicians. It's their business. It's not personal for them, it's a business. They made an objective business decision to hang Obama out to dry because Obama knee-capped himself.

Obama is an America hating loser.

PatCA said...

I saw the Caroline Kennedy/Michelle Obama interview. Or should I say tea party? A few questions about how that bad stalker, Mr. Wright, is just hurting our candidate! Then on, moving on past the distractions.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"So why did they hang Obama out to dry?"

Because they are all a pack of self-serving, venial cowards who only take a firm stand when they will personally benefit?

vbspurs said...

Well at least Carolyn Kennedy has shown spine and continues to stump for Obama.

I like her. She takes her father's words and its subsequent award to heart -- Profiles in Courage.

I still disagree with her about Obama, but Henniger made a startling true point. WHERE were the A Listers?

Cheers,
Victoria

Pogo said...

"Where ...were Obama's oh-so-famous endorsers?"

Don Oprah: It's not personal, Barack. It's business.

William said...

Conservative preachers like the Rev Falwell and black liberation preachers like the Rev Wright are agreed on one thing: America has sinned and deserves God's punishment. The Falwells define America's sin as tolerance of gay values; Wright believes that the irredeemable sins of America are racism and imperialism. When fundamentalist preachers say something crazy, politicians--including those on the right, and the media rush to condemn this craziness. Whe Wright calls down God's judgement on America, the left politicans are silent and the media types are eager to parse his words and explain how a reasonable man could reach this conclusion.

Mortimer Brezny said...

It was a test to see how he handles crisis. He nailed it.

bearbee said...

These people are politicians. It's their business. It's not personal for them, it's a business. They made an objective business decision to hang Obama out to dry because Obama knee-capped himself.

When it appeared he would likely be the nominee, they fell all over themselves to endorse him. Now tt appears none of these politicians were astute enough to take the time to investigate his background for hidden explosives.

It is indicative of the quality and depth applied to legislative matters.

KLDAVIS said...

"...Obama is the only person on the face of the earth who is capable of determining what that precisely right thing is?"

I think you hit the nail on the head. It's further elucidated in the post above regarding why it took so long for him to respond with any sort of emotion to Wright's speech. Obama has the typical genius/intellectual bias toward discounting everyone's judgment but his own. How does that trait play in a President?

He couldn't drum up the anger to react without seeing the replay of the speech himself...couldn't take an aides' word for it that this was something he needed to handle now, not tomorrow.

Richard Dolan said...

"[T]he people listed above aren't the type who hold their tongues until they know what to say. So why did they hang Obama out to dry?"

I doubt that the "endorsers" think they are doing any such thing, and would be happy to speak up if there was something useful to say. So what would that be? The only thing the endorsers could say is "move on." Team Obama's cheering squad in the media will soon be saying that, more effectively, for them. And having the "endorsers" saying it would have many downsides -- too reminicient of the Clintonian "sweep it under the rug" approach to problems, too worn out in general, and in this context just a way of focusing on the very subject they want everyone else to stop talking about.

Obama has dug himself a big hole here, by offering many contradictory tacks to change the subject from Rev Wright. It's a function, in part, of the fact that Obama just fell into running for President two years ago, when Obama launched his campaign based mostly on the PR glow from his 2004 speech and all the fawning hype in the media that followed it. Image and reality got confused, and he never focused on all the stuff that could (would if not dealt with firmly) shred the vaporous imagery he was counting on.

Team Obama's whole approach to the Wright affair has been amateurish, quite astonishingly so, which they've made worse by combining it with a desire to put off dealing with personally difficult issues. Early on Obama and Wright both knew that the "pastor" would be a political problem, but thought that wishing it away would somehow work. The same attitude was evident in the Philadephia speech. Not a great combo of attributes for a would-be president.

vbspurs said...

Ahem, so I blogged about the Caroline Kennedy thing on CNN.

"Caroline Kennedy Shows a Profile in Courage"

I even referenced your Oedipal observation, Pogo. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

Martin Gale said...

Caroline Kennedy Shows A Profile In Courage

As an unelected anything, what did Caroline have to lose by standing up for the chosen one? Whereas, if Obama falters the magic of her early endorsement would soon be forgotten. So maybe she is just trying to protect her investment and the Kennedy brand: smart, maybe, but not particularly courageous.

vbspurs said...

As an unelected anything, what did Caroline have to lose by standing up for the chosen one?

Sometimes you don't have to "lose" all (in that dramatic way of zero sum game ideologies) to risk something.

Seems to me that given what Henniger wrote, and what Ann herself mentioned, that at least this lady didn't hang him out to dry.

They'll all trickle back now, all the A-listers, Uncle Ted including. Some will say that "corporate media" crucified Obama, braying racism and crying foul.

But last night on 360, it was this lone, soft voice of support which spoke out in his favour.

In today's climate, that's courageous.

Cheers,
Victoria

Martin Gale said...

But last night on 360, it was this lone, soft voice of support which spoke out in his favour.

In today's climate, that's courageous.


Ok, but I think this defines "courageousness" down in the Moynihan sense. (And it doesn't address the issue of self-interest.)

vbspurs said...

self-interest

I think that's too cynical, if I may say so.

Obama was likened to Kennedy before, as well as, whether or not she hopped abroad that train.

Her backing Obama has also caused yet another rupture between her and the Hudson River Kennedys (Bobby Jr's family), the latter of whom has more more vested interests in seeing his choice, Hillary Clinton, win the Presidency.

He has formed a research committee on whether he should run for her NY Senate seat, should she be successful in her White House quest.

There is also another component, which may sound a bit forced but I have it on good personal authority is the case.

She is pro-Obama, because her eldest daughter is especially invested in the Senator.

It opened up her eyes and mind to Obama, not that that was hard, but certainly the extent of it, and the courage to buck her entire famous family was (save for Maria Shriver, but she's not a real Kennedy).

In other words, her motives are not quite so narcissicistic as some may think.

Cheers,
Victoria

bearbee said...

Maybe she is just a good Dem just trying to stem the mad dash of superdelegates or whoever, to the exits.

While the pols and celeb's are all stacked up in the exits ready to claw their way out, she made the decision to stay.

If he does get the nomination, her action could well be considered as the turning point.