December 30, 2009

"Our new 'post-modern' race problem" — Shelby Steele on Barack Obama.

In today's WSJ:
America's primary race problem today is our new "sophistication" around racial matters. Political correctness is a compendium of sophistications in which we join ourselves to obvious falsehoods ("diversity") and refuse to see obvious realities (the irrelevance of diversity to minority development). I would argue further that Barack Obama's election to the presidency of the United States was essentially an American sophistication, a national exercise in seeing what was not there and a refusal to see what was there—all to escape the stigma not of stupidity but of racism....

Mr. Obama won the presidency by achieving a symbiotic bond with the American people: He would labor not to show himself, and Americans would labor not to see him....

I think that Mr. Obama is not just inexperienced; he is also hampered by a distinct inner emptiness—not an emptiness that comes from stupidity or a lack of ability but an emptiness that has been actually nurtured and developed as an adaptation to the political world.
A truly tragic flaw, which we will read and think about for the rest of our lives.
... Mr. Obama always knew that his greatest appeal was not as a leader but as a cultural symbol. He always wore the bargainer's mask—winning the loyalty and gratitude of whites by flattering them with his racial trust: I will presume that you are not a racist if you will not hold my race against me....
It was much more than just "you will not hold my race against me." It was you will invest my race with a special, amorphous goodness — and I will not laugh at your foolishness. I will not doubt myself and you will assume I know what I'm doing.

***

Much more at the link. Steele writes an excellent essay — providing a great starting point for the self-examination that will be required of us in the years to come as we ask ourselves how this charming young man became President of the United States.

112 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

Althouse said...providing a great starting point for the self-examination that will be required of us in the years to come as we ask ourselves how this charming young man became President of the United States.

physician heal thyself.

vbspurs said...

What an absolutely beautifully writte, wise essay -- it has the kind of insight about a culture that is usually more readily seen by foreigners who have lived in a place, and who have observed the cultural quirks of a people for a while.

This bit:

Barack Obama, elegant and professorially articulate, was an invitation to sophistication that America simply could not bring itself to turn down.

And this:

He became Ronald Reagan through dissent, not conformity. And when he was finally elected president, it was because America at last wanted the vision that he had evolved over a lifetime of challenging conventional wisdom. By the time Reagan became president, he had fought his way to a remarkable certainty about who he was, what he believed, and where he wanted to lead the nation.

Describe these two men the best that I have ever seen in a newspaper opinion piece. There's hope for Murdoch's WSJ yet.

Great article, and heads-up, Ann.

Cheers,
Victoria

Tman said...

The way in which Steele contrasts the "individuating" Reagan with the "all thing to all people" Obama is quite effective.

Michael said...

Steele's article is exceptional in its clarity and honesty. There are hundreds of ways we turn our face from the truth, some more painful than others, but few with the disastrous results we have designed for ourselves in matters of race.

chickenlittle said...

╬ębama should have been profiled and discriminated against due to his lack of experience. Instead, we had a willful blindness and a deflection of the issue onto vice presidential candidates.
Hopefully, next time around, voters will feel no guilt in displaying their judgement of experience.

rhhardin said...

He's not charming and he was never charming.

He said over and over "I have no idea what I'm talking about."

Probably you have to have had the right boss to see it so clearly at once, though.

Anybody who knows what he's talking about positively enjoys explaining it, would be a good clue.

Arturius said...

Steele writes an excellent essay — providing a great starting point for the self-examination that will be required of us in the years to come as we ask ourselves how this charming young man became President of the United States.

Correct me if I am wrong but didn't you vote for this guy? Granted, the choices were something between lousy and nauseating but such a statement from someone who pulled the lever for him makes me wonder if you're having memory problems.

chuck b. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

I think it is a bit too soon for an essay like this to have much of an impact.

My white friends who donated and volunteered and blogged (and blogged some more) for Obama have too much invested in their sense of the moment to analyze deeper now.

The tweets and facebook status updates I read on Nov. 4 reflected this.

miller said...

a. Ann already said she was sorry for voting for him.
b. I certainly don't find him charming, and never did. However, he is making Carter look better and better. At least Carter only let tyrants kiss him.

rhhardin said...

old comment

Obama's still doing the clean and articulate act that's gotten him a pass his whole life.

Nobody thinks of him as black today though, so it comes off as incompetence.

vbspurs said...

Hopefully, next time around, voters will feel no guilt in displaying their judgement of experience.

Chicken, I believe that Americans elected Obama primarily because they are a people who are into making statements -- in this case, a statement about their country. A country which includes everyone, and leads the way out of racism where other countries merely talk about it (most of Western Europe).

But once the statement is made, there is less need to repeat it. Not only will many young people stay away from the rigours of voting during the next presidential election day, but so will many blacks.

After all, history can only be made, really and truly, once.

Cheers,
Victoria

PatCA said...

Brilliant essay.

Reminds me of Joan Didion's statment that the election represented "naivete transformed to hope."

Will the empty edifice crack only incrementally or all at once? The entire funding structure of the academy would have to be completely reorganized, for example.

On my campus, there has not been even a whisper of doubt about climate change. Don't want to rock the financial boat.

Major Hasan and Umar Underpants were "sad" people, not terrorists. Don't want to rock the racialist boat.

chickenlittle said...

On my campus, there has not been even a whisper of doubt about climate change. Don't want to rock the financial boat.

Major Hasan and Umar Underpants were "sad" people, not terrorists. Don't want to rock the racialist boat.


You state the problem beautifully. When I returned to the US in late 1993 after 3 years of complete immersion in Western European culture (and willful avoidance of my American heritage) the first thing that struck me as different was political correctness. It literally came to prominence during that period 1990-93. I recall noting changes in others, having endless arguments of the folly of going down this path (for most academics, it was mostly passive acquiescence than anything else). And yet down that path we went.
People like Glenn Reynolds are not joking when they mention the lack of diversity of political opinion on campuses, especially amongst faculty members.

It is too late to do much about the monolithic thinking of the entrenched; it's not too late to do something about the next generation.

Lem said...

You can make a very good comedy about nothing .. but the characters and (our president) have to be about something.

Example

The biggest and most glaring problem with The Phantom Menace is the characters.

Paul Snively said...

When I worked at Apple from '89-'91 I had the good fortune to work with a colleague who had spent several years overseas, in the UK, and had recently returned. Since he'd been gone for something like five years, I asked him what had changed in our culture since then. His immediate response: "I came back to a country that seems to believe that there's a Constitutional right to Have a Nice Day."

Word verification: outack. "Out! Ack!"

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Having lived more than 20 years -- half my adult life -- in a parliamentary democracy, I find the explanation rather simple.

Because in America the Head of State and the Head of Government are vested in the same office, President, we Americans tend to become entangled between the two.

Obama won because an awful lot of Americans wished to see a person of color as our Head of State.

It was well high time. MLK himself predicted it would come around the year 2000, so he wasn't very far off. It might have been Powell in 1996, were it not for the Rabin assassination having freaked out Powell's wife.

I could not vote for him on account of his rabidly neo-Marxist politics, but was willing to give him a chance, and was not displeased to have a person of color as our Head of State.

Unfortunately, the intersection of psychotic leftism with dreadful inexperience and a "rage" (his word) against America has completely swamped any good will I might have felt.

Contrast this to Reagan, who as an actor understood exquisitely well his role as Head of State. You could agree or disagree with his politics, but he filled the HoS role fantastically well.

Obama was not up to the task, and in the process, by his rage, he has set race relations in this country back by at least a generation.

The next person of color elected to that office will be -- as it always should have been -- a conservative. After this experience, it may be a tragically long time.

David said...

This essay is consistent with some of my instincts, which is why I am suspicious of it.

Steele says: I think that Mr. Obama is not just inexperienced; he is also hampered by a distinct inner emptiness—not an emptiness that comes from stupidity or a lack of ability but an emptiness that has been actually nurtured and developed as an adaptation to the political world.

That's quite a psychological leap to make while observing from the distance we see Obama, or any politician. Plus what is he saying? That all politicians either have or develop an inner emptiness that enables them to adapt to the political world? Or that there is something particular about Obama, which may be activated by race and race perception, that causes his emptiness?

The real starting point for understanding Obama and why the nation embraced him will come not from an essay but from revelation of the details that are always hidden in the moment but emerge over time. Steele may prove to have an idea of the truth, but chances are just as good that his analysis is a blind alley. The fact is we just can't know now.

Obama may be an "empty" vessel. He may be just inept. Or he may be inexperienced and will improve as he learns. Unfortunately I'm afraid that the last is least likely. A successful President has certain instincts that serve him well, regardless of experience. (Truman). Obama is not exhibiting these.

Smilin' Jack said...

...a great starting point for the self-examination that will be required of us in the years to come as we ask ourselves how this charming young man became President of the United States.

Good grief, the answer to that question is obvious. Obama was elected to become our first black president. Does anyone seriously believe that he has any qualifications for the job other than his color?

That's why I don't understand all the criticism of him lately from those like Ann who voted for him. Regardless of how inept he proves to be in matters of economics, national security, etc....he is still black. He is thus still doing the job you elected him to do. Unless he suddenly turns white, you have no legitimate complaint.

Big Mike said...

Shelby and his twin brother Claude are among the most lucid and insightful writers in America today. Add in Thomas Sowell, and we could do vastly worse than to simply do whatever those three tell us to do.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Big Mike:

Plus Walter Williams and Star Parker, for starters.

Big Mike said...

@Bart, I'm not so thrilled with Star. Where can I find Williams' essays?

Nomilk said...

Obama was not up to the task, and in the process, by his rage, he has set race relations in this country back by at least a generation.

The next person of color elected to that office will be -- as it always should have been -- a conservative. After this experience, it may be a tragically long time.



Wow, spot on. O's election also did a disservice to the black community by cementing it to the failed statist ideology of the modern Democrat party for the conceivable future.

Although Colin Powell is not much of a political conservative, he should have been the first black president, as others have suggested.

Oh, any by the way, when is Powell going to apologize for his dishonest and disloyal endorsement of Obama? I know McCain insiders who think the Powell endorsement had a big effect.

kathleen said...

Mind blowingly brilliant essay. Mr. Steele is a walking, talking, writing argument against the need for affirmative action.

birdie bob said...

Big Mike,

You can find Walter Williams' columns at Townhall.com

Maguro said...

I know McCain insiders who think the Powell endorsement had a big effect.

If true, that just goes to show how clueless the "McCain insiders" still are. Powell, being the frontrunner that he is, didn't jump on the Obama bandwagon until the campaign was pretty much over. His endorsement had no effect whatsoever on the outcome.

AllenS said...

If Powell had endorsed McCain, it would have had no impact on the election. It certainly wouldn't have changed any black voter's minds.

slarrow said...

I'll repeat what I've long maintained: Barack Obama did not run for the office of President of the United States. He auditioned for the role.

We weren't looking for the next leader of the free world. We were looking for President Palmer from '24'. Oops.

Arturius said...

If Powell had endorsed McCain, it would have had no impact on the election. It certainly wouldn't have changed any black voter's minds.

Perhaps Powell was simply trying to get back into Harry Belafonte's good graces.

Lem said...

Steele may prove to have an idea of the truth, but chances are just as good that his analysis is a blind alley.

Steele was wrong in his prediction that Obama could not win.

The WSJ cuts off the archive at 3 months - so I cant link to it.

Oligonicella said...

"providing a great starting point for the self-examination that will be required of us in the years to come as we ask ourselves how this charming young man became President of the United States."

So the author of this 'brilliant' essay hasn't figured out it was because approximately fifty percent of the population was gullible?

That self-examination need only apply to that half.

Alex said...

I'm still waiting for the invasion of 3-name trolls.

Gotta pinch a loaf!

Harry Mellon said...

That Wendy Williams is hot mama!

former law student said...

Surprise, surprise. The author of A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can't Win. still doesn't get it.

I'm still waiting for Steele's analysis of how a lifelong doofus like W. became President. We knew all about him, and still he came within a hair's-breadth of winning the popular vote.

But Obama's vices were W.'s virtues, according to Steele: How can such spending not trigger smothering levels of taxation?

Mr. Obama's economic thinking (or lack thereof) adds up to a kind of rudderless cowboyism combined with wishful thinking.


Did W. think that invading Iraq, a country that posed no danger to the US, and harbored no al-Qaeda, would make us safer? Yes, W was a rudderless cowboy.

Did W., like Reagan, but not GHW, wishfully think that tax cuts equalled national prosperity? Check.

How could W. think that starting two wars, largely staffed with expensive contractors instead of American servicemen, would not trigger massive levels of taxation?

Here Steele simply joins the "It's OK If You're a Republican" brigade.

former law student said...

The other galling thing about this essay is that it is Steele, not Obama, who has built his career around being Black in America. He has not written a single paragraph on anything other than race.

ricpic said...

A truly empty vessel would be receptive to whatever works. Obama is not empty, rather he is full to the brim with one and only one world view and has not the slightest interest in what works, only in stamping his boot on the faces of all those who don't share that view.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Maybe I don't appreciate the concept behind the essay because I never tried to overlook B+'s lack of experience, leadership and leftist nature. If anything I think the election had more to do with Bush and war fatigue than racial issues. Obama seemed to recognize this as well. After all, he spent his entire campaign running against Bush.

Kurt said...

Uh, fls... maybe you forgot, but in 2004 GW Bush did win the popular vote.

And given what a fool the Goreacle has made of himself since 2000, I don't think that W was the bigger doofus.

Michael McNeil said...

Fls beclowns himself saying that Iraq was a “a country that posed no danger to the US.” Of course it was a danger to the U.S. If America had not held it down under a boot for the previous dozen years, Iraq under Saddam would have long since had nuclear weapons, which it was within months of acquiring at the end of Gulf War I. And the sanctions, no-fly zones, and other international apparatus for holding him down were visibly decaying (largely due to Saddam's successful corruption of the UN and other countries' leaders) at the time of the (second) Iraq invasion.

Coffee Guy said...

Good point FLS. Also, it is mostly older people like Ann who still obsess about race. For younger people it is less of a central issue.

Ann makes me laugh. She does not bat an eye over the question of how George W. Bush became president. Hint-it was his daddy. But she questions how Obama did. He did it by his boot straps Ann.

cokaygne said...

Great essay, and thanks for the link.

The comparisons with Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods and Bill Cosby don't work, however. Those individuals rose to dominate their chosen professions and did so in spite of their race. The comparisons don't work because Obama was elected president because of his race. Would any white person with Obama's exact cv even have been mentioned as a candidate?

If Obama is a failure, and it may be too soon to tell, it is because of his inner emptiness, or lack of backbone if you will. He has allowed others to roll him. Summers and Geithner rolled him on behalf of Wall Street. The unions rolled him on bailing out the automakers. Congress rolled him on the stimulus and health care reform. By going abroad and apologizing for his country, Obama invited our adversaries to do what they will.

Through these failures, however, Obama may be developing a backbone. His speech to the Norwegians was a great departure from previous apologies. His recent statement on the "systemic failure" that almost resulted in a major tragecy over Detroit may signal a change for the bureaucrats.

After he lost Congress, Clinton led a better government until the GOP blew it with impeachment. My hope is that 2010 ushers in divided government. Then Obama will need some backbone in dealing with some of the troglodytes who will be chairing Congressional committees.

nathan said...

This is all very simple. Someone said it and he was right:
Bush and the GOP were so bad that even a black man in America could win the presidency.

so gnaw your lips but We Won and You Lost.

traditionalguy said...

Don't kid yourself that Obama has no charm. He is CHARM incarnate. The dilemma is that voters vote for the charmer, and reality in economics and world balance of power politics ignores all charm between elections. So the next world Marxist Savior is stuck in a rough patch until the next Mass Media election campaign begins. If anyone wants his ass kicked out then, you better donate to and nominate a Charmer that can out charm Obama's charm. Now who could that be?

Seven Machos said...

Obama needs to take up with a mistress to get the left to rally around him and get the right to start saying crazy shit, to get the left to rally even more.

Seven Machos said...

P.S. Nathan, like so many lefties, is a racist.

TMink said...

The problem with racism in America is that the focus of racism was only on whites. Now, whites are as a group post racial while the other races are rampant with racism. White racism is no longer the problem. Minority racism and victimhood are the problems.

Trey

Coffee Guy said...

Is there a blog out there that obsesses more about Obama's race than Ann's?

Coffee Guy said...

The claim of "victimhood" has become the main domain of Palin conservatives. It is all whine whine whine from them.

Coffee Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coffee Guy said...

Shelby Steele is one of the biggest race hustlers still out there.

ricpic said...

Apparently everyone's a racist but Mocha Java Guy.

Coffee Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ricpic said...

tradguy -- Obama has charm for coastals, not for flyovers. Broad brush, yes. But only for the pure urban coastals does he resonate. Bitter clingers always had his number.

Coffee Guy said...

I don't think Ann or anyone else here is a racist. I do think that many older people like Ann (65+) are still obsessed about race. That is too bad. Most younger people do not find the topic to be that relevant nowadays.

Harry Mellon said...

Coffee guy, you best watch out for Chase.

Thats one angry sumbitch.

MrBuddwing said...

I don't think Ann or anyone else here is a racist. I do think that many older people like Ann (65+) are still obsessed about race.

Uh ... how old do you think the perfesser is, anyway?

traditionalguy said...

I fear that coffee-guy is like teaparty guy and just wants to shout for attention. Steele's article suggests that Obama is a white guy with a non-white guy's skin coloring allowing him to play both side for what he can get from his positioning. We need to replace him with a Presidential type leader.

Coffee Guy said...

Based on the small picture I would guess she is in her sixties.

Peano said...

David said, "Plus what is he saying? That all politicians either have or develop an inner emptiness that enables them to adapt to the political world? Or that there is something particular about Obama, which may be activated by race and race perception, that causes his emptiness?"

Obviously it is something particular about Obama. How could you even ask whether he was alluding to all politicians? Didn't you read the part about Reagan?

MrBuddwing said...

Based on the small picture I would guess she is in her sixties.

According to that bastion of accuracy, Wikipedia, the prof turns 59 next month.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I develop an inner emptiness every time B+ opens his pie hole.

Pogo said...

"Mr. Obama is not just inexperienced; he is also hampered by a distinct inner emptiness..."

I always thought he had a soft chewy center, like a Mounds bar.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Sorry, he lost me at the first sentence when he proclaimed that whites being racist against blacks wasn't a problem anymore. He says it's "an almost universal disgrace" for whites to hate blacks. Good lord. Shelby Steele just got in under the wire to pen the worst article of 2009.

michael farris said...

Maybe not living in the US I was never quite taken in by Obama. Yeah, he can deliver a good speech (though if you're even partly familiar with the traditions he's drawing from, he's only a B+ and not so impressive).

I still think he never really intended to win. I think he was running for experience and/or a chance at the number two spot on the ticket.

But the press fell in love with him (and the idea of sticking it to Hillary - also a big motivator for Althouse) and the same idiots in Iowa that gave people sick of Bush ... Kerry (of all people) in 2004 gave us Obama. God, I _hate_ Iowa!!!! Can't we just give Iowa to Canada or something?
Then he had the momentum and by the time people started realizing maybe this wasn't the best idea in the world he had the nomination sewed up.

And then the republicans had to go and choose John "Crazy old coot" McCain (why? why?? WHY???????) and _he_ had to choose Annie Oakley for his VP candidate and my heart for America died.

I still think Hillary would have been the best choice among the dems and Romney among the repubs even though I don't like or trust either one.

Well, you chose him, you got him, America ---- Obama!

(for the record, I don't think he's an unmitigated horrible disaster or undercover communist or muslim or anything like that, I think his personality is basically unsuited to be president and not very good at it - sort of like what the country is doomed to as long as the current primary system is in place).

Nomilk said...

If Obama is a failure, and it may be too soon to tell


Too soon to tell? He's already failed. He ran against all of Bush's aggressive tactics to protect the nation and what does the score card say: 14 dead from Islamic terrorist attacks on U.S. soil in Obama's first year in office.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Shelby Steele, a lifelong hack if there ever was one, fails to recognize that America elected Obama because he's a Democrat, not a black man. Duh.

Pogo said...

Yeah, Zach, you white guys need to tell the black man the right way to think!

danielle said...

since there is no hope of convincing all of you of anything else, i'll just paraphrase the words of christopher hitchens: the clintons were to corrupt to let back into the white house, and mccain is borderline senile and made it impossible for any responsible person to vote for him when he picked sarah palin as his running mate.

i dont have the energy to waste typing about shelby steele, the soulless and favorite token of white conservative americans. but, please, you all, you can keep him !

miller said...

Ah, danielle, we'll take him. He's pretty smart and doesn't need massah to tell him what to think.

Now go round up your Obama sycophants. I'm sure they're in need of their daily hate session.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

ZPS said: "Sorry, he lost me at the first sentence when he proclaimed that whites being racist against blacks wasn't a problem anymore. He says it's "an almost universal disgrace" for whites to hate blacks."

Please, do tell me what circles you run with where it is not considered disgraceful for white people to hate blacks?

- Lyssa

danielle said...

wow, miller .... the irony ... did you read any of the posts above, starting, with say, your own ?

such a stunning lack of self-awareness.

miller said...

We'll take Williams. What's hard to understand about that? He's a smart guy. And for a bonus, we'll take Steele, too. (The thinker.)

Try again.

You can have Rosie O'Donnell. She's a sharp thinker - "fire cannot melt steel."

Zachary Paul Sire said...

And Steele's masturbatory prose for Reagan, a tragic amalgamation of fake plastic Hollywood and the $$$ hungry neocons who propped him up and pulled his strings from the get go (think Bill Kristol's Sarah Palin), while proclaiming Obama's emptiness is particularly hilarious. Oh, the irony.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Lyssa: Read my comment again. I can't take anyone seriously who starts their article by claiming racism isn't a problem anymore, but then goes on to say that it exists, at least in some form, because it is "almost" universally disgraced. If something is "almost" disgraced, then it certainly still exists, does it not? And if it exists, is it not a problem, at least for someone? Maybe not Steele, the good son.

Steele's a clown.

Roux said...

He could have gotten to the point quicker... Obama is an empty suit and he and the media fooled the American middle into thinking there was something to him.

Palladian said...

And Steele's masturbatory prose for Reagan, a tragic amalgamation of fake plastic Hollywood and the $$$ hungry neocons who propped him up and pulled his strings from the get go (think Bill Kristol's Sarah Palin), while proclaiming Obama's emptiness is particularly hilarious. Oh, the irony.

Zachary Paul Sire writes copy for a gay porn blog. That's right, folks: a man who is paid to write about people who jerk off in front of cameras is calling another writer "masturbatory"!

Not to mention someone who spends his days writing about men who wax their assholes and put foundation makeup on their balls before they suck weenies on tape is complaining about "fake plastic Hollywood". And of course no one in the porn industry is $$$ hungry!

Oh, the irony!

Extra points for the anti-Jewish undertones of "neocons who pull the strings" comment.

vbspurs said...

TradGuy wrote:

Don't kid yourself that Obama has no charm. He is CHARM incarnate.

You know, I couldn't disagree more. I find him lacking the least amount of charm I've ever seen a politician have -- instead he offers a metallic sophistication that to some, looks almost like Will Smith in "Men in Black". Cool. Dispassionate. Energetic. Commanding. Relaxed.

To be truly charming you have to be the slightest bit roguish, especially if you're a male. Obama is a puritan, a scold, a conscience. No wonder young people like him -- they secretly love being told what to do, in a way they don't find threatening, of course. They are dying to have an example they could admire -- something just alien enough to be able to follow, for the newness of it all, but just flawed enough in their personality and background so they don't feel at a disadvantage compared to him.

Obama was the people's cure to what they perceive was wrong with America. The racism cure. The societal imbalance cure. The political cure. The world cure.

It'll be a long time, before they turn on him. As another commenter said about his blogging friends, there is still too much invested in him, for that to happen in the near future.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Zachary Paul Sire writes copy for a gay porn blog.

I just voted for Manuel. :)

Palladian said...

sorry, v, but it's jay all the way.

TMink said...

"He says it's "an almost universal disgrace" for whites to hate blacks."

That is factually accurate. All the pro-white groups are marginalized as racist. Which is just fine with me as I am not a racist. All the other pro-race groups are mainstreamed, well, except those with Jews involved, even CAIR which is a terrorist front group like the Italian Anti-Defamation League was. Mainstreaming hatred and bigotry is bad for America.

Trey

TRO said...

"Most younger people do not find the topic to be that relevant nowadays."

This is bullshit, of course. I know quite a few younger people through professional and personal contacts and they all find race relevant. Oh, they say they don't but there constant viewing of everything and everyone through politically correct eyes tells it all.

You actually think the majority of young people really knew who Barry was and what he represented? Of course they didn't. They just knew he was black and it was the "in" thing to do to vote for him.

The proof will be when few of them vote in the mid-terms because he is not running.

It's amusing really.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

That article was nonsense. Do those guys at the Hoover Institution ever get outside the front door? Ask anyone who voted for Obama why they did so, and the answer is not going to be "race". Ask them to think deeply about the pomo aspects of it all, and they're still gonna tell you that it wasn't about race! Race was, at most, the icing on the electoral cake.

The article has Thomas Sowell written all over it. Whine, whine, whine... What happened to strength and determination in your candidates? McCain and Palin showed none of that and most Obama voters could see that theirs was a vapid, valueless, and dangerous choice.

If Republicans believe this Steele-Sowell nonsense, then they are going to LOSE LOSE LOSE in 2010 and 2012.

Recovering Lutheran said...

I think that it was Mark Steyn who said that, unlike Clinton, Barack Obama does not feel your pain and does not care if you know it. Aloofness and disinterest (mischaracterized as charm, calm and cool) is Obama's trademark.

In 2008 Obama understood what most Americans know in their hearts but refuse to give voice to - that black Americans can be just as good or bad, clean or corrupt, intelligent or stupid as Americans from other ethnic, racial or religious backgrounds. In Multicultural America black skin is revered as a sign that its owner is free of the Original Sin of racism, and therefore cannot be criticized by the heathen bitter-clingers. Obama recognized that white Americans longed to be pardoned from the stigma of being white, and semi-sort-of kind-of promised to think about considering absolution (maybe).

The result - a politician from a corrupt Chicago machine, a not-even-one-term-Senator who had a resume that could be printed on a postage stamp and surrounded by a motley gang of supporters that included 9/11 Truthers, tax cheats, pedophiles, bomb-toting terrorists from the 60s, and race-baiting anti-Semites - became President of the United States. In Hollywood this would have been the sort of movie a B-list director might have made on a bad day and a low budget.

There is hope, however, that Barack Obama may do to the multiculturalists what William Jefferson Clinton did to feminists. The feminist movement self-destructed defending Clinton's misogynist pants-down Presidency at every turn. Obama may perform a similar service for the nation in bringing down the multiculturalists as they label all criticism as racism.

Fever said...

Julius:

If the election wasn’t about race can you explain why Obama got nearly 100% of the black vote? Let’s face it Obama, ran against Bush and his expensive wars. And if blacks weren’t so racist versus such open minded white voters, Obama might have lost. Obama can no longer Bush bash and any criticism of inflated budgets will be from Republicans about Obama. As far as the black vote is concerned, I imagine they will remain as racist in 2012 as they were in 2008.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

@Fever-

Obama ran against Bush in the same way that Reagen ran against Jimmy Carter. But no one claims that this evoked Americans bigotry against stupid funny-taking Southerners.

Twelve years later, Clinton ran against Bush I. Eight years after that, W ran against Clinton. Running against is a popular thing to do when you are running for President.

It just so happens that this time there was a half-black guy running against, and Steele and Sowell seize upon it and take the opportunity to blame it all on race.

As for your comment that almost 100% of blacks voted for Obama-- yeah, we like to vote someone like us. We'll give him much more benefit of doubt. It's human nature. Remember 1984 when Reagen crushed Mondale everywhere except... Minnesota? Nobody says the Minnesotans still voted for Mondale because of some complex post-modern agenda. Nobody accused the Minnesotans of being closed-minded. Everybody understood that they were just being human.

Besides, where does this line of inquiry lead you? It only leads to complaints, of the Right blaming Obama's election on the fact that blacks were not "open-minded like white people". What good is that? It's just whiny and wussy and its not an appealing message for a Right that ought to be demonstrating strength.

JAL said...

...Iraq ... harbored no al-Qaeda

That, FLS, is simply not true.

Kansas City said...

Fascinating and very well written column by Steele. Race obviously had something to do with the unwillingness to look for the true Obama during the campaign, but it also involved dissatisfaction with Bush and media bias. Ann is correct that we will be looking back for years trying to determine how he was elected president. Of course, the alternative as it turned out was Hillary, whom I think would be just as problematical as Obama. I have not given up entirely on Obama. He was an almost imcomprehensible choice to be president, but he still may be shocked into reality by events and change his direction.

The "inner emptiness" is harder from me to accept. I assume that his inner is wild left wing radicalism, which he hides for political reasons. He certainly does not have Reagan's convictions, and Obama's brand of liberalism is not of great intellectual depth, but I assume it is there. He has been sheltered and coddled since college, but that does not mean he is empty, simply that he has been unchallenged intellectually.

SteveR said...

Hopefully lots of people will think long ang hard about why they voted for Obama but I don't care. It was a glaring mistake that should have been forseeable well before the campaign got fully underway.

Easy enough to blame HRC, McCain, and the dopes in the MSM, but it really was an easy bad call.

Fever said...

Julius:

You can bring up all the historical references you like nothing will be compare to how Obama put the face of Bush on McCain.

It’s true; I don’t have physical evidence to support that statement, but how much money was spent of that ad showing McCain hugging Bush? How many times did we hear Obama say “the Bush-McCain ________?” I’ll answer that, it was unprecedented, your historical references do not compare.

Moving forward, you bring up a good point, calling blacks racist, albeit true, doesn’t lead the American People anywhere. Obama, by his actions has given the Republicans all the strength they need and race will have nothing to do with it. Obama will get the black vote, the union vote and the welfare vote, the rest will go Republican.

On a side note, voting for “someone like us” gave the city of Detroit Coleman Young for 20 years. Why is it that bad white politicians get removed from office but bad black politicians seem to stay there until they get indicted or something? It’s because people like you give them the “benefit of the doubt”.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

@Fever- I meant "us" as in "we humans". I didn't mean to claim that I was black.

I have no idea what you are talking about when you blame "people like [me]" for keeping bad politicians in office. Everything I wrote here was in relation to the claim made in Steele's article, and I don't understand how what I think about his ideas has anything to do with how long any politician stays in office.

Johnny1A said...

Obama was elected on a very simple basis, the same basis that drives almost all national elections: relative turnout.

John McCain's worst problem was not W, the Iraq War, or Palin, it was John McCain. He had just come off ramrodding no less than three successive failed efforts at Comprehensive Amnesty, a position to loathed by his entire base that it did more damage to the GOP than any three of their other problems combined.

He had an eight-year track record of crossing over to work with the Dems and against his own party on precisely the issues that his indispensable base felt most strongly about. Then he tried to run on that as a selling point. He wanted to be elected because he could 'cross the aisle' and because he was a war hero.

He fairly visibly wanted Joe Lieberman as his veep. Joe is respected by GOP voters but he's still a Democrat in spirit and most votes.

McCain was used to be treated with respect by the news media, and failed to grasp that this was conditional on his being useful to them as Democrats, and he simply refused to use the opportunities Obama and his team gave him.

In fact, in many ways McCain simply tried the exact same approach Bob Dole tried in 1996, and got the same result: an uninspired, resentful base and an opposition that proceeded to vote for their own guy in spite of having a more 'reasonable' Republican available.

McCain was supposed (party wise men sagely said) to have 'crossover appeal'. He would be appealing in the northeast. Etc. Come E-day the Northeast voted for Obama as a bloc. The women who were supposed to be angry about Hillary losing voted for Obama as a bloc. All the usual Democratic groups voted, as usual, for the Democrat.

A lot of GOP leaders have a fantasy that if they just found the right candidate, and embraced social liberalism, huge chunks of the Democratic core electorate would cross over. It's a mirage.

On E-day 2008, a big chunk of Republican voters stayed home rather than vote for McCain. The Dems, on the other hand, were highly energized, Obama in some ways had disguised himself as their dream candidate, and the press adored him. That's 90% of what happened in a nutshell.

Jim said...

I agree with the commenters above who pointed out that Obama is not a "charming young man" in any way, shape or form.

To this day, I am bewildered by people who claim that he has ever had an ounce of charisma. No, he hasn't. He has been classless and graceless from the moment he stepped on the public stage.

Lest we forget, this is the juvenile mind that led him to give the finger to both Clinton AND McCain. While that may be red meat to the nutty nutroots like ZPS and FLS, it is so far beneath the behavior of a candidate for the presidency that those acts alone should have been disqualifications.

That any thinking person could rationalize his lies and obfuscations beggars belief. I understand blacks - he claimed to be one of them, even though he shared only skin tone, and none of the American Black Experience (TM). I understand Marxists and Leftists - again, he was one of them.

But for everyone else? It was, and will always be, a mark of shame to have pulled the lever for an obvious charlatan in way over his head even as a US Senator - let alone a president....

Kirk Parker said...

"Obama ran against Bush in the same way that Reagen [sic] ran against Jimmy Carter."

Well, except for the fact that Carter was actually running against Reagan, whereas Bush wasn't a candidate this time, you mean...

Patm said...

Obama did not manage to sucker all of us.

Yos said...

"...as we ask ourselves how this charming young man became President of the United States."...

WE? WE? " ... as we ask ourselves ...?"
let me correct you, WE should not ask ourselves ... YOU, Ann Alhouser, YOU should ask yourself. Why can't you get it? My answer: you can't admit your mistakes. Therefore, you want to share YOUR mistake with everybody, "WE". I don't want to share it with you. It's all yours. WE?, nay ... should be "... as I ask myself how this charming young man became President of the United States ...".

M Jordan said...

The black vote for Obama is entirely understandable and should not be used as an example of racism. The racism that was revealed in 2008 was that of the liberal white who voted for a black man to assuage their guilt at living the good life while so many African-Americans do not.

By voting for Obama they were telling the world, I'm a good person, can't you see! Now can I please go buy something expensive?

Michael said...

Mr. Steele beautifully put in words what I could only put in pictures -- http://www.penetratinginsightsintotheobvious.com/emperor.html

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm just going to sit here and smile at all this. You do remember me, don't you? The only honest black man you know? The one who complains that I don't get enough respect because I'm the only honest black man you know?

Steele points out, as have I, such honesty breaks the unspoken racial "bargain" liberal whites demand - to never make them feel too uncomfortable - and so, will be twisted and used. Everything will. Look how someone has twisted the fact that Shelby Steele and I didn't think the country could elect Obama - we were giving our nation more credit for intelligence than it deserved (especially after seeing the crazed reaction to George W. Bush) and now, also, have the privilege of being dissed for extending our fellow citizens that much as well. Hey man, we tried to stop ya, but you wanted to be a jackass.

Obama's not a charming man, you've been deluding yourselves. Bush wasn't an evil man, you've been deluding yourselves for a long, long time. A delusion so severe it even had many siding with Kanye West's first weird outburst of "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Yes, I know we don't talk about Kanye West anymore, but that's mostly because he's another bad case of You Didn't Know, too, and are you noticing how what you don't know affects things for the rest of us?

So where do we go from here,...? Here's a hint:

I think a great place to start is by eliminating that damned "bargain" because I ain't playing it and it's definitely holding me back.

The Macho Response

Paul Zrimsek said...

Obama will not carry a single southern state. The racists and religious nutjobs will be out in full force. --ZPS, 1/8/08.

amba said...

You voted for him, that's how! What got into you? Multiply that by some millions . . .

vw pitymau

(mau-mauing the flak catchers at a pity party?)

amba said...

That said: Lotta substance already today, Althouse.

amba said...

by his rage, he has set race relations in this country back by at least a generation.

The next person of color elected to that office will be -- as it always should have been -- a conservative. After this experience, it may be a tragically long time.


You're suggesting a Nixon-to-China dynamic, huh?

I think you're wrong about this setting race relations back. I think Obama's election smashed some kind of racial glass ceiling and that's over now. Henceforth it will all be about experience, competence, and character, not color.

amba said...

many older people like Ann (65+)

Ann is in her 50s! How young are you that it's all the same to you?

former law student said...

when is Powell going to apologize for his dishonest and disloyal endorsement of Obama

I'm still waiting for W. and Cheney to apologize to Powell for violating his trust in them by making him repeat the bullshit that justified our invasion of Iraq.

Of course, some people have yet to realize it was all bullshit:

Iraq under Saddam would have long since had nuclear weapons, which it was within months of acquiring at the end of Gulf War I

Ten years ago, I was within months of marrying Cameron Diaz -- but don't go shopping for wedding presents now.

But I don't see how Iraq would have been a threat to the US unless it had developed ICBMs at the same time. This does assume that airport security would have kept swarthy Middle Easterners with "suitcase nukes" off Delta flights to this country -- maybe that's too big a leap of faith.

And al-Qaeda in Iraq didn't exist until after we invaded them. Hussein was powerful enough to minimize threats to Iraq's status quo.

amba said...

In Hollywood this would have been the sort of movie a B-list director might have made on a bad day and a low budget. Naw. Billy Wilder would've had a field day with it.

vw spanshi (that'll be our first "Wise Latin@" president?)

Beth said...

I'm the only honest black man you know...

I have to hope this is offered tongue in cheek, but in any case, I'm impressed with just how Crack-o-centric is TMC's universe.

Michael McNeil said...

Ten years ago, I was within months of marrying Cameron Diaz — but don't go shopping for wedding presents now.

Countries don't age like people do, but they can change — provided their leadership does. Now that Saddam (thanks to GWB) is gone from the scene, Iraq is a friend rather than enemy to the U.S. — but barring the (second) Iraq war, Saddam would still be there (with his loathsome sons waiting in the wings), and he and they never changed their spots.

But I don't see how Iraq would have been a threat to the US unless it had developed ICBMs at the same time.

Well, duh! You think Saddam hadn't been trying all along to develop larger and larger missiles to carry his WMD (not just nukes but also chemical and biological) weaponry? He tried all kinds of things in this regard, even building a “supergun” that could do much the same as rockets.

This does assume that airport security would have kept swarthy Middle Easterners with “suitcase nukes” off Delta flights to this country — maybe that's too big a leap of faith.

Even if Saddam lacked ICBMs (for the moment), you have heard of ships and submarines and seaports (such as New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Seattle, and a host of others), right?

American liberals and leftists (many of them), with their narrow blinders on fixating their attention solely on America's sins, are so stupidly naive and trusting about foreign megalomaniacs like Saddam. And no, he wasn't just your run of the mill “bad guy,” and GWB wasn't “just like him.”

elHombre said...

fls wrote: I'm still waiting for W. and Cheney to apologize to Powell for violating his trust in them by making him repeat the bullshit that justified our invasion of Iraq.

Of course, some people have yet to realize it was all bullshit


Secretary Powell's principal statement justifying the war was before the U.N. on February 5, 2003. In a January, 2004, press interview, Powell asserted that his U.N. briefing had been meticulously prepared and reviewed, saying “Anything that we did not feel was solid and multi-sourced, we did not use in that speech.” (Emphasis added on the justifiable assumption that "we" included Powell himself.)

So I guess in assessing bullshit, we should push past your implication that Powell was some poor exploited black man and look at what he actually said.

Of course, we are then confronted with a choice: Who is the real bullshitter, Powell or you?

Der Hahn said...

Zachary Paul Sire said...
Shelby Steele, a lifelong hack if there ever was one, fails to recognize that America elected Obama because he's a Democrat, not a black man. Duh.


BS. Your own comments show you supported him because he was black, and assume anyone who opposed him did so for the same reason.

--------------------

The leak from Armitage about Plame/Wilson is good evidence that Powell had reason to believe, from the get-go, that Tenet's 'slam-dunk' evidence was no such thing. He pushed for the UN presentation because he thought that W, like Bush pere, would limit his actions in Iraq to what could be justified under UN Security Council resolutions.

The Crack Emcee said...

Beth,

If you know of any other black guys hanging out here, defying conventional wisdom, whether it's by breaking with other blacks and opposing Obama or dissing the actions of people ostensibly trying to bring me comfort - the gullible white liberal "supporters" of blacks who put this dangerously ignorant black know-nothing in office - show him to me. I've also mentioned to Ann how it's a desire to be seen as "sophisticated" that's pushed us here - as best evidenced by a fetish for racially hypocritical France, which demanded we had to have a black leader, though they don't even have a black politician.

So yea, Beth, I'm sorry but I've got a case of the bighead's because it's me, not you, who has tread over all this terrain many times before, only to be shouted down, or otherwise attacked by some self-appointed liberal snark (such as yourself) who - in my humble opinion - has never contributed much of any real worth to these matters, racial or otherwise.

Anytime you'd care to start I'd be happy to hear it - maybe you can make that a New Year's resolution or something.

Beth said...

Crack, I have nothing against your having the big head. But I must firmly reject your offers to define whrt it means to be honest, your assumptions about who I know, and your characterization of my worth or contributions. Any resolutions I make will br according to my own wants.

For someone who professes to despise gur
us, you sure seem to want to be one. I need no guru, si, no thanks.

Happy New Year. I mean that, with good wishes.

Beth said...

I find it necessary to add that I posted the previous comment from my iPhone, while not wearing my reading glasses. Rather than correct it, I'll leave it and enjoy the vagaries of what happens on a tiny virtual keyboard.