Today on Blogcritics
Home » I’m Not Black. I’m Not White. And Neither Are You.

I’m Not Black. I’m Not White. And Neither Are You.

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

These are interesting times—whether living in them is a curse or boon is ultimately going to hinge upon whether we’re willing to shed our tribal instincts and cultural preconceptions in favor of redefining ourselves in a new century.

The American presidential campaign and the requisite coverage of it mirror those preconceptions and fears. Is Obama black enough? Is McCain young enough? Is Clinton woman (or man) enough? You have to take those questions, and their inevitable follow-ups, as rhetorical at best. They’re the political equivalent of a tabloid headline, and do nothing but divert our attention from the issues that are relevant to the future of not only America, but to the entire globe.

I’m not knocking rhetoric—it’s woven into the fabric of American history. From “Give me liberty, or give me death” to “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” to “I have a dream” to “Yes we can”, well-timed phrases galvanize us to action. But like any force, rhetoric in the wrong hands becomes insidious, inspiring our basest emotions of fear and hatred. Unwisely used, rhetoric destroys its practitioners and followers.

In the current US presidential campaign, rhetoric has become the bogeyman, cited as the evil destroying legitimate debate, except when those citing it use the very tool they rile against to further their own agendas. It’s always been like that, of course, but in our YouTube universe, the wrong nuance at the wrong instant can be used as leverage against the other side. That’s all well and fine, but eventually we have to step gingerly through the minefields the candidates and the pundits have set before us. We have to decide: do we really want a new future for America, or are we content to wallow in the muck of a failed past?

We in America tout our diversity as our greatest strength, and well we should. It’s also undeniable that we’ve committed some unforgivable errors along the way. No amount of reparations or apologies will erase those stains. And no amount of ancestral outrage is going to advance us further up the evolutionary scale. What will save us, if anything, is a rational approach to unifying America.

Only one presidential candidate has risen to that challenge. To be sure, Barack Obama is no stranger to the power of rhetoric. But he is the only presidential candidate who infuses it with an aura of genuine integrity. He’s shown that he’s willing to cross party lines to get results, and he’s also proven that he has the gumption to not back away from a principle in which he believes. Time and again, he’s substantively demonstrated his message of hope is a concrete one that transcends racial, social and all but the most extreme political factions.

This may very well be one of the most important presidential elections in American history. The country is poised precariously at a crossroads that may chart its course for generations. The question becomes, will America continue to be a heart in conflict with itself, or will the US return to its roots, and become united once again? We can no longer afford to look at ourselves as black, white, brown or yellow, or define ourselves along ideological lines—we have to once again be the United States of America.

Barack Obama is the candidate most qualified to inspire us to achieve that goal. Agree with him or not on specific issues, he articulates his views in such a way that you have to admire him. More importantly, he leaves his viewpoints open to some degree of internal debate. And that’s something we haven’t seen in a long time.

Powered by

About Ray Ellis

  • skywalkerjlp

    In the United States, voter registration has never been higher (70 % of the eligible voters ) and yet there has been a steady DECLINE in voter turnout. We had a more than 10 % spike last election after Bin Laden released his video 2 days before the election, and I’m sure there will be another spike this year when Obama becomes the next President. This may placate the masses for a while, but nothing has actually changed. In this day and age of modern technology, a NATIONAL POLL – instituted so the masses can be actively involved in their REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY on a weekly basis, adding in their 2 cents on all the major issues of the week – is the best remedy for ailing voter discontentment. Of course there is probably not one elected official who would ever WANT such a thing, and that has more to do with the FACT that we are a FEDERAL CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC ( google United States, Wikipedia, first sentence ) and NOT a representative democracy. The PEOPLE want to be heard, my most distinguished and learned gentlemen and ladies, or so many of them would not be registering. If you truly want the people to feel positive about politics in general, why not give them an opportunity to become actively involved, say once a week, allowing them to voice their opinions on the major issues. When that day comes to pass, you will have solved voter discontentment in the United States.

  • troll

    *Agree with him or not on specific issues, he articulates his views in such a way that you have to admire him.*

    save us from the rhetoricians – nationalism blows

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    But which candidate will approve Rhetoric as an OTC analgesic under their universal health care plan?

  • JustOneMan

    “Barack Obama is the candidate most qualified to inspire us to achieve that goal.” This statement is blantant racism…vote for a guy because of his color?

    Gee…talk left wing racism at its best….

    JOM “Color blind”

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    After reading this lengthy Obama commercial I was wondering if Hillary and McCain should be asking for equal time.

    Dave

  • troll

    …but Dave – neither of them is running for sainthood

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    JOM “Color blind”

    Remind me never to cross the street while you’re waiting at the light…

  • JustOneMan

    Question – How come diversity never includes white males?

    JOM “Somebody has to be white I mean right”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Question: What does every President of the USA have in common?

    Take your time, JOM…

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Good to see you’re blathering on and saying nothing, JOM. Diversity does include white males, you see. It just doesn’t exclude everybody else. That sounds like what you want.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Oh, and by the way, I’m not voting for Obama because of his color. I’m voting for him because he’s the only candidate whose views reflect my own. How exactly is that racism?

    I know your man Romney fell by the wayside. With supporters like you, it’s not hard to fathom why.

  • JustOneMan

    I never said exclude everyone else…but when someone makes the statement we should vote for someone because of their race…THAT IS A RACIST COMMENT.

    If someone said vote for Hillary because she is white…exactly what Ed Rendell said..it would be racists.

    JOM “Its hard being white…I mean right all the time.”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    JOM, where exactly did anyone on this site make the statement that we should vote for Obama because of his color?

    By the way, er… remind me – who was it you said you were going to vote for?

  • JustOneMan

    ummmm did you read Rays post…racist rhetoric

    “It’s also undeniable that we’ve committed some unforgivable errors along the way. No amount of reparations or apologies will erase those stains. And no amount of ancestral outrage is going to advance us further up the evolutionary scale. What will save us, if anything, is a rational approach to unifying America.”

    PURE RACIST GARBAGE…

    JOM “Somebody has to tell the truth”

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Cite me, JOM– show me exactly where I stated, or even implied, we should vote for ANYBODY because of race or gender.

    In fact, if anything, I said, from the title on, we should ignore pseudo-issues like that.

  • JustOneMan

    JOM has never formally endorsed a candidate….

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I’m giving J1M a 7.2/10 on the troll here. It’s obviously a little forced, but there’s definite conviction and he stuck the landing.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    JOM:

    1. Since when is it racist to acknowledge the slavery which is an integral part of United States history?
    2. I didn’t say anything about formal endorsements, sunshine. But you did say that you would vote for a particular candidate if things panned out in a certain way – and it looks very much as if they’re going to. So, for the benefit of our readers who may originally have missed this momentous statement of yours – who, pray tell, is that candidate?

    :-D

  • STM

    Skywalker says: “In the United States, voter registration has never been higher (70 % of the eligible voters ) and yet there has been a steady DECLINE in voter turnout.”

    Easy remedy. Bring in compulsory voting. Hell, how is it different from the state forcing you to have a drivers’ licence?

    Driving on state and federally funded roads is a privilege, not just a right, and you makes yer contribution partly by paying for a drivers’ licence and you get the benefits.

    Similarly, you pay your direct and indirect taxes that go towards funding the federal, state and local electoral process.

    You get the benefit. Voting in a democracy (yes, in the modern sense, not the ancient greek) is also privilege, not just a right.

    Part of the contract should be a compulsion to take part in the democratic process.

    It’s no different to the state inisting on educating your children, levying income tax or upholding the law. Libertarian ideals can be taken just a tad too far.

    But at least with compulsotry voting and a system of preferential voting that runs off to two-party preferred, ALL the people get a voice, not just the lobby groups in Washington with the big bucks.

    Until you do this, the US will remain the oligarchy (but one falsely dressed up as a representative democracy .. yes, in the modern sense of the word, not the ancient greek) that it’s always been.

  • http://canadiancinephile.com/ Jordan Richardson

    The state forces you to have a driver’s license even if you don’t drive? Man, you Americans are crazy.

  • STM

    Hillary’s apparent fall by the wayside means America won’t have its first woman president.

    Leaving the way open for Obama means America won’t be having its first black president.

    The reason: deeply conservative America isn’t ready – it’s about a generation away (at least) from electing either.

    The Democrats have just about shot themselves in the foot and it’s another two terms with a Republican in the White House as a result.

    Simply, if Obama is the Dems’ candidate, he can’t win. Hillary probably couldn’t have either.

    So it’s President McCain … and everyone knows it, don’t they?? Especially the NYT, which is why it had to resort as part of its agenda to underhanded tactics and an attempted smear campaign of McCain this week.

    About now, I reckon he’s a walk-up start.

  • STM

    Jordan,

    I think young Americans have to have an official age-ID card anyway, don’t they (at least if they want to get into drinking establishments). Is that issued by the states’ motor transport departments like it is in Australia?

    Either way, they are forcing you to pay for everything else.

    Why not force you to vote as well and have a REAL say in how the country is run.

  • Clavos

    “The state forces you to have a driver’s license even if you don’t drive?”

    No it doesn’t.

    In order to obtain a drivers license, you must take a test driving a car with the examiner in the car with you. You can’t pass such a test if you can’t drive.

    The state issues a state ID card for non-drivers, but doesn’t oblige you to have it.

    Others do, however; merchants demand a picture ID to take your check for example.

  • STM

    Did you get my garbled message on Saturday night Clav??

  • Clavos

    Stan,

    I DID get your message; thought you said you’d try again later, but it’s just as well you didn’t at that point. I was showing boats most of the weekend (leads generated at the Miami Boat Show), and in fact sold one on Friday, as well as a probable second one this evening (fingers crossed).

    Did you look into Skype yet? Free download, mate, and free computer 2 computer calls worldwide. With a web cam they’re even video calls!

    I hope all’s well with you and yours…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Stan #21: I really think you’re wrong about this. America is going to have a viable non-white-male presidential candidate whether it likes it or not. Tends to focus the mind on what’s really important, does that.

    They may still end up with McCain – not because they were too chicken to elect a woman or a black man, but because the anally conservative wing of the Republican Party got over its bad self and realized old Johnny wasn’t the Antichrist after all.

  • STM

    I reckon McCain’s a shoo-in (says me, the US presidential election expert who is still scratching his head wondering why there’s so much fartin’ around with these silly bloody primary things).

    Just elect some poor bastard NOW, I say, like people do in normal countries (Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Canada … is Canada really normal, though? …, etc :)

    Actually … I think Canada IS normal, but only in the same way that having a fridge in your kitchen is normal. It’s just kinda there, taken for granted although it serves a useful purpose, you know it’s there in the back of your mind, it makes some occasional low-volume noise, but no one’s bothered by it and no bastard’s going to worry about it until the ice melts.

  • STM

    BTW, I love how the American presidential election process is enthusiastically and euphemistically referred to in the US as the “race for the presidency”.

    I dunno about that. Well, f..k me if it’s not the longest race in living history.

    It’s more like an ultra-marathon at an old-folks’ home (can’t wait until the really exciting bit … the slow jog towards the finish line).

    Bring out the oxygen … for the spectators!

  • STM

    Clav, I thought you might have been working and I was pretty tired after a marathon day at work. I have had a look at skype, but I’m confused by anything tecker-nical.

    Actually, the real truth behind this is that I’m a slack bastard.

    That last call cost me a maximum of 20 bucks I reckon, probably not even that, so it’s not too bad for the time being. It’s good being able to talk on the drive home anyhow, although I’ll use the bridge and the highway next time instead of the tunnels.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Says STM, “the US presidential election expert who is still scratching his head wondering why there’s so much fartin’ around with these silly bloody primary things”

    One thing about this system, Stan: if you’re still standing after 2+ years of campaigning and wrangling, it does demonstrate very handily that you really, really, really want to be President.

    Toughest job interview in the world.

    Whether such enthusiasm means you’re actually suitable for the toughest job in the world… well, that’s where the voters come in!

  • Howard Bowen

    Once again a writer has chastised America, insinuating that the workers on the farms of the anti-bellem south, were evolved then, as they are today. The facts are seldom revealed, but whenever an African evolved into having the six scenses of a human being, they were given “papers” and sent to the northern or westen regions of America. Too often history is depicted as settings that were populated with people that are as people are today. They were not. Men knew that in order to attain manhood, they must pass through “rites of passage”, and find redemption to achieve the status of manhood. Not now today. As the dwindling numbers in the realm of Men lesson, the increasing numbers of Women, and boys who assimilate new postures proclaimed to be as men, aggravate and compete against what a man is supposed to be. Neither woman nor boys, both of whom really cannot supplant men as the mainstay of society, will be successful in thier current endevour to do so, with the computer as the fulcrum or not. The media repeatedly and relentlessly has used the racial bias against “white” men as a threat to bringing all people into a “one size fits all” computer facsimile of a new race. As the social code that enforces the punishnment of men for the failings of woman and blacks, so is the gaping truth that TV and computers did not exist for men any sooner that they did for everyone. All men are not created equal.

  • JustOneMan

    Barack Obama is getting a pass and, should he win the nomination, he will be no more than an “Affirmative Action” candidate.

    Yes he can memorize someone elses speech and deliver it fairly well but has numerouse flaws that would have doomed a “white man”.

    1. An awkward political name,
    2. past drug use,
    3. little if any experience to be president,
    4. a too liberal fringe past in Chicago,
    5. numerous gaffes – including suggesting attacking Pakistan, an ally.
    6. he and his wife are starting to sound like selfish, self-entitled twits –

    The media still gives him a pass – why…because he is Black….no other reason…

    JOM “Truth in every post”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Something we don’t agree on, however, is that Obama is getting a free pass from the media. I found op-eds critical of him in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and his own hometown Chicago Tribune.

    Several major newspapers, including the NYT, the Salt Lake Tribune, the Hartford Courant and the Kansas City Star have endorsed Hillary Clinton, not Obama, as their preferred Democratic candidate.

    Then, of course, there are political blogs like this one, where you will find some of the strongest criticism – the Obnoxious American’s recent piece, for example. Or do they not count as ‘the media’ in your book?

    I’d dig up more, but unfortunately the internet connection where I’m at is currently slower than an arthritic turtle on Mogadon.

    It’s true that Obama doesn’t arouse the venomous ire that some of the other presidential candidates do. That may change if he’s confirmed as the nominee.

    BTW – who was it you said you were going to vote for?

  • JustOneMan

    “Obnoxious American’s recent piece, count as ‘the media’ — LOL LOL..

    Know one in the media is present the full Obama story what has he ever accomplished– nothing, his past affiliations with anti-semitic groups — here ys go Ruvy, his phony war vote story and grilling him on his non existent economic platform…

    Instead the New York Times is sending 20 reporters to find out who McCain slept with 8 years ago…

    JOM “Obama – The Affirmative Action Candidate”

  • JustOneMan

    JOM has not endorsed a candidate

  • zingzing

    “Know one in the media is present the full Obama story what has he ever accomplished…”

    say what now?

    “…nothing, his past affiliations with anti-semitic groups — here ys go Ruvy, his phony war vote story and grilling him on his non existent economic platform…”

    and here i was thinking that’s what the media has been reporting on… his lack of experience, his war votes, his mercurial platform… if not, where did you find it? and where’s Ruvy? (“anti-semitic groups…” eh?)

    “Instead the New York Times is sending 20 reporters to find out who McCain slept with 8 years ago…”

    well, that’s not entirely true… and it would be important if he was sleeping with a lobbyist, wouldn’t it? the times slapped itself pretty hard for that story, and now it has become THE story about mccain these days… the times either has to prove the affair bit or bite the bullet and apologize. so, it’s fair of them to look into and see what really happened, yeah?

  • Baronius

    Ray, are you voting for Obama because his views correspond to yours? Why? You told us not to worry about his positions in your article. You told us to consider racial healing as the primary issue.

    You also said that Obama is the best qualified to heal our divides. Why would that be? I’d have to guess it’s either his skin color or his rhetoric. But you told us not to consider either.

    As for our failed past, I’m not sure what you mean. If Obama wins or loses because of his color, that would be a tragedy. If he wins or loses based on his qualifications, policies, and character, it would continue the American tradition of picking the candidate that the people believe to be the best. That’s not a failed past; that’s a past to be proud of. I think it’s fantastic that we had a German president in the 1950’s. It’s great that a Jewish VP nominee lost the 2004 election because his running mate stank.

    I’m proud of this country’s track record of voting against lousy black candidates. I imagine I’ll get to be part of that tradition this fall. When a conservative black runs for the presidency, I’ll vote for him (if he’s the best qualified), and I look forward to that day. I don’t get to vote for conservatives that often.

  • http://culturesalad.blogspot.com Ray Ellis

    Apprarently, you’re confused about a lot of things here, Baronius. I never said anything about anybody bringing racial healing to the country. That can only be done on an individual level. What I said, was it’s time we put all those things behind us, and concentrate on the future. I never said Obama could heal our divides. I said he’s the candidate most willing to cross party lines in the name of a solution.

    Nor did I say anywhere we have a “failed past.” I said we’ve made some errors along the way. Things like–I dunno–exterminating an indigenous culture (notice I said “culture” not race), resorting to a civil war that resulted in over 100,000 casualties just to realize slavery is fundamentally wrong, raping the environment from Day One–little errors like that.

    His views correspond to mine, yes–I didn’t realize I’d have to detail either his or my own positions to make that point clear.

    BTW,We didn’t have a German president in the 1950’s. I assume you talking about Eisenhower, and not Truman. He was of German ancestry, true but his family settled in Pennsylvania in the 18th century. Ike himself was born in Denison, TX, and spent his childhood in KS.

    That’s about as American as you can get. We all came from somewhere else, Baronius. We don’t have “track record of voting against lousy black candidates” either. There haven’t been that many to vote against, has there?

    We do have a tradition of cutting through the bullshit of failed policies and covert activities. We vote the SOB’s out.

    It’s not a racial issue–not to me, not to you. It’s whether the future wins, or whether we cling to the Lie that the last seven years have represented.

    I’m betting on the future.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    It’s great that a Jewish VP nominee lost the 2004 election because his running mate stank.

    John Edwards is Jewish?!

  • STM

    Zing: “well, that’s not entirely true… and it would be important if he was sleeping with a lobbyist, wouldn’t it? the times slapped itself pretty hard for that story, and now it has become THE story about mccain these days…”

    Which would be all well and good, except it’s bollocks.

    The whole thing’s been consistently debunked.

    I’m no supporter of the republicans as you know, but political smear campaigns are just that and have no place in this process no matter what our views. And it’d be foolish to think the NYT didn’t have a liberal agenda.

    The first casualty of war is truth, right?

  • STM

    BTW, is JOM fair dinkum or is it just a screen persona that someone’s made up for a laugh, you know … like a bloke with two dicks, ’cause you can’t that silly playing with one?

  • Baronius

    Yeah, Dread, I screwed up. I was typing quickly. (A lousy excuse, I know.)

    Ray, I guess I took your phrase “failed past” to refer to a failed past. I see my mistake in retrospect.

    But what healing do you see Obama as accomplishing? I assumed you meant racial. Maybe you meant ideological though.

  • STM

    And on Obama … well the poor bugger hasn’t got a free media pass today.

    There are pix of him in the newspapers in Australia today wearing a turban and looking very Taliban-style tacky-chic, pictures reportedly leaked by the Clinton camp. (although that might be a smear campaign as well).

    The fact that this was simply traditional dress he wore during a visit to Kenya will go over the heads of most voters, who will almost certainly decide: “That dude’s wearin’ a turban, I ain’t votin’ for him”.

    I’m betting that after a lot of marginalised swinging republican voters disillusioned with Bush, and seeing that picture and assuming Obama gets the Dem nomination, will now be giving McCain the nod when the time comes.

    Which in all honesty, might not be that bad especially compared to the incumbent.

    At least he’s a man (person, sorry) of substance.

    I maintain that I won’t be wrong on this: I still don’t believe, sadly, that America can shake off its very conservative shackles and cast a vote for a) a woman president, or b) a black president.

    That’s a ways off yet. It ain’t happened in 200 years, and I don’t see much indication that it’s going to be any different this time.

    Americans are the most conservative people on the planet. They don’t like change that upsets the applecart, even if the applecart has a few rotten apples and the odd one that’s rotten to the core.

    Old saying: you can be up to your neck in sh.t and still think you’re comfortable if that’s all you’ve ever known.

  • Clavos

    “There are pix of him in the newspapers in Australia today wearing a turban and looking very Taliban-style tacky-chic, pictures reportedly leaked by the Clinton camp. (although that might be a smear campaign as well).

    The fact that this was simply traditional dress he wore during a visit to Kenya will go over the heads of most voters, who will almost certainly decide: “That dude’s wearin’ a turban, I ain’t votin’ for him”.”

    Those pictures (and the leaking thereof) have gotten a landslide of media coverage here, the net result of which I think is that anyone who would have even contemplated voting for him before, still will. Those who wouldn’t have considered it, still won’t. And those who might have, still might.

    In other words, a big zero.

    Check yer email, mate.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    There are pix of him in the newspapers in Australia today wearing a turban and looking very Taliban-style tacky-chic

    He looked more like Santa Claus to me, because of the red t-shirt he was wearing underneath.

  • Zedd

    Ray,

    I think that the person’s description is not rhetoric, it is who they are. I think a person’s color does matter, so does their age and gender. Those factors are their experience.

    We should not overlook who people are, we should accept people who bring a variety of elements to the table.

  • STM

    “He looked more like Santa Claus to me, because of the red t-shirt he was wearing underneath”.

    Doc and Clav … in that picture, I reckon he DOES look one o’ them Talibans!!

    I know you blokes think I’m just the not-very-well-informed-but-interested outside observer, but I’d put London to a brick on McCain getting up. The next president of the Yoo-narted States will be a Republican. The Dems have really shot themselves in the foot in the election they couldn’t lose.

    Somehow, they are finding new ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  • Clavos

    “I know you blokes think I’m just the not-very-well-informed-but-interested outside observer…”

    Well, mate, now that you…

    Nah. Too easy.

    :>)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I’d put London to a brick on McCain getting up. The next president of the Yoo-narted States will be a Republican. The Dems have really shot themselves in the foot in the election they couldn’t lose.

    Well, I know there’s a long way to go, Stan, but that doesn’t seem to be the mood here. Real Clear Politics has Obama beating McCain by about four points in their round-up of the latest polls – and this is looking more and more like it will be the final match-up.

    The only head-to-head where a Republican wins at the moment is McCain v. Clinton, and that barely.

    I think Johnny is going to struggle unless he can persuade the Righties who think he’s Satan to bite the bullet and vote for him.

    Early doors, as they say. Karl Rove was on Fox News earlier, working his evil Machiavellian magic on the subject of Obama’s middle name and being far more subtle about it than, for example, our own RJ. Input by the likes of him will probably have a significant effect.

    Personally – assuming the Mittster doesn’t change his mind or the Huckadola doesn’t pull off a miracle comeback – I’d be fine with any of the remaining candidates plonking their buttocks down on the Oval Office swivel chair.

    My main worry with McCain is who he picks as his running mate. Considering his age – and the fact that he doesn’t seem to have Ronald Reagan’s Peter Pan qualities – there’s a distinct chance he’d pop his clogs while in office.

  • STM

    Trust me Doc, I know how them Seppos think.

    Your judgement in regard to that is flawed at the outset and can’t be counted because you live in Fresno, which is NOT officially part of the Yoo-narted States.

    McCain’s a walk-up start. Obama just won’t make it, and neither will Hillary (as is already becoming obvious).

    I reckon a lot of disaffected Dems might vote for him too, safe in the knowledge that the Senate and Congress go their way.

    I realise that doesn’t offer the same brake on the head-of-state’s power as you’d have in comparison to the UK and Australia, et al, say with different party majorities in the upper and lower houses – but it’s still something, and not to be sneered at.

    It can at least influence public opinion whilst niggling away at a president like Bush who thinks he can ride rough-shed over anyone who doesn’t hold to his ideas.

    The Democrats have tried to push two radical notions onto an American electorate not yet ready for them: a woman president and a black president.

    When successive elections feature serious female and black candidates, it will happen sooner or later. (and paradoxically, I believe there is probably more chance of a female conservative president being elected than a liberal one. Maggie Thatcher is a great example here … she’d never have been elected had she been a Labour Party functionary. Way too risky … Left AND a woman). Black? Nup, too many Americans just won’t wear it, despite the great strides made there since the 1960s. He’s also relatively young, and bizarrely many black voters seem not to consider him a real African-American. So he loses there too.

    So one day, yes, but that time is not now. It’s just too much of a shift for the majority of Americans to get their heads around in one go.

    America loves tradition, and remains a very conservative country, whether on the left or the right.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    So, Stan, are you saying (in a nutshell) that Americans are utterly superficial in their judgment of political candidates?

    All right then. Hearken back if you will to the 1960 presidential election where a young upstart named Jack Kennedy faced off against Republican behemoth Richard Nixon. The key debate between the pair – as they will be this year – was broadcast on radio and television. Strange thing was, when they polled people after the debate, the folks who’d listened to it on the radio thought Nixon had won while those who’d watched on TV reckoned Kennedy had nailed it.

    And we all know how that election turned out. It was a classic victory of style over substance.

    Having listened to a fair bit of talk from both Obama and McCain, I can tell you right here and now that McCain is going to get creamed in the debates – not necessarily on the issues, but on how he presents them in comparison to his opponent.

    He’s going to have to pull something pretty special out of the hat to translate debate defeats into an election win. As I said before, he needs the votes of the religious/nationalist/bee-in-bonnet (various) Right.

  • Clavos

    Stan, Doc,

    “Trust me Doc, I know how them Seppos think.”

    I agree, I think you do, based on the entirety of #50.

    “I believe there is probably more chance of a female conservative president being elected than a liberal one. Maggie Thatcher is a great example here … she’d never have been elected had she been a Labour Party functionary. Way too risky … Left AND a woman).”

    Dead on, though I do think that, as Doc points out, Obama has a chance to kick butt in the debates to come. Your thinking here is very good, Stan.

    “So, Stan, are you saying (in a nutshell) that Americans are utterly superficial in their judgment of political candidates?”

    Dunno if Stan intended that, Doc, but that IS how it reads, and as such, I agree; Seppos DO vote superficially, except for the minuscule minority like the posters on this and other political blogs.

    “As I said before, he needs the votes of the religious/nationalist/bee-in-bonnet (various) Right.”

    And he will get them as soon as they (the fundies) realize that if they don’t back him they’ll get an African American liberal instead.

    Props to you, Stan! I think you really do understand us very well.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Well, Clav, Stan, all I can say is we’ll see. There are certainly at least a few more surprises lurking between now and November – including, very likely, whatever the Clintons might still have up their sleeves.

    Since you bring up Maggie Thatcher, she was simply a product of the times. She rose to the leadership of the Tory Party because she was the only one with the guts to take on Ted Heath – but when MPs were finally faced with a choice between (a) Ted Heath and (b) anybody else, it was a no-brainer. (Ted never forgave Maggie until the day he died.)

    And let’s face it, the Tories could have put up a hermaphrodite gibbon with Alzheimer’s in 1979 and they’d still have beaten Labour.

    Very little of the passion or ire which Thatcher aroused had anything to do with her sex – it was her policies. Love them or hate them, everyone knew what they were – which is more than you can say for most politicians these days.

    Strangely, it seems to have been Maggie herself who was most conscious of her sex in regard to politics – which to a large degree explains why throughout her premiership her Cabinet remained exclusively male. When questioned about this policy, she would always say that while there were many able Conservative women MPs, none were yet ready for Cabinet office.

    As a fun footnote, doesn’t it strike you that of all countries on this Earth which you wouldn’t think would ever be “ready” for a female premier, it would be Pakistan? Yet Benazir Bhutto was elected prime minister of that nation not once, but twice. BTW, she was a lefty.