Tag Archives: politics

Is Edwards the Great White Hope for Obama?

I was REALLY torn about what angle to take on this piece. It was either the obvious path I’ve decided to go, OR I was going to make a sort of Police reference and use the opening line “Don’t stand so close to me.” And why would Edwards be apprehensive about standing too close to Obama? Well ever since I was a little black kid all the way until I became a doddering old black man (40!) every single black comic I’ve ever heard has had a routine about a black man becoming president and how very SHORT his term would be with the gag line being about how fast he’ll be shot. So now that this premise has become a real “life imitating art” scenario I DO wonder about the prospect of that happening. But since presidential assassination is sort of an American tradition, I decided NOT take that angle on this piece. I’m trying to bring new idea to the table here!

So instead I want you to consider this premise; John Edwards is being presented as the safe white man who’ll “be there” to keep the ship on course. Just like good ole’ dad holding onto the back of jr’s first bicycle ride. Here’s the deal; have you noticed in the last few weeks how Howard Dean has popped up again like a rejuvenated, hibernating bear? Well, he clearly has been very busy behind the scenes, and one of the things I believe he spent May doing was convincing John Edwards to be Obama’s Vice President.

So Edwards, who repeatedly said (like they all do), that he had no interest in being vice president is doing a considerable amount of VP posturing. That endorsement looks VERY running mate/winning ticket photo op. So you know what this about right? I mean we’re all adults here, so let’s be real. This is how it’s GOT to be playing out in Dean’s mind an the DNC think tank. ”OK, let’s let Clinton and Obama fight it out and whoever seems to pull ahead in a definitive way is who we’ll throw Edwards at.” Because again, let’s be real; Clinton and Obama-a woman and black guy, sure that’s OK for democrats around the country but the Red State people? Get real! I mean really! Get real. No matter HOW sick they are of Bush, no matter HOW much money McCain’s wife wont disclose that she has, no matter how bad McCain’s temper is or how old he is-those Red State people will let this country burn to a cinder before they put a woman or a black guy in office-without a some kind of safety net. ESPECIALLY Bill Clinton’s wife. I mean really! Get real. So what do you do? You slap a standard issue, Southern drawl talkin’ white guy on the ticket. Fait accompli. Despite the tiff that supposedly happened between Obama and Edward’s wife-water under the bridge now that they’re looking at the next 4-8 years doing Air Force 1 flights together.

Meanwhile the temerity to suggest that anybody AT ALL was wondering what Al Gore is going to do with his super delegate vote. AS IF. As if this is a question in any way, shape or form. Listen Gore is NOT Bill Richardson. Gore can’t claim he “paid his debt” to the Clintons. Bill Clinton did a lot for Richardson and Gore, but he made Gore VICE PRESIDENT! There have only been 43 in the history of this country. And let’s face it; after Gore lost people were really ANGRY that he didn’t try a little harder only showed his “human” side after the election. So he spent the next several years doing all kinds of “works for the world” to rebuild his personal capital and become beloved. So if he switches over to Obama…that’ll go down the drain. He’ll revert to persona non grata. I don’t care if Hillary was some old broken whore in some old fashioned Western town, Gore would STILL have to sleep with her. He is DUTY BOUND to slap on 10 rubbers and get into bed with her. And so Gore’s vote is not even up for debate.

Black on Black Crime Obama vs. Rev. Wright

If you watched The Daily Show this week, aside from President Jimmy Carter making a visit, maybe you saw the montage of Reverend Jeremiah Wright “clarifying” his various statements. I cringed and cringed and cringed. As a Black man, to see an adult, ex-military, presumably educated black man go into multiple media venues and express himself with seemingly no regard for the impact it would have was mind blowing . And I’m not even running for President! God almighty, what must life be like for Barack Obama these days? Watching Wright do a Stepin Fetchit routine in particular was so upsetting I had to just turn the volume down. I couldn’t take it. Well of course, Obama came right out there and said what he was supposed to say “I denounce his actions…”

But most (white) Americans are probably scratching their heads and have no idea what happened. Hell, I’m sure even some BLACK people are wondering what the hell would make a man do that. What would make a man, who says he’s the friend of another man, go out in public and cripple him? A Black man. A minister no less. To destroy by association, another Black man-who’s running for President? First time in HISTORY that a Black man might have an actual snowball’s chance in hell of winning . So how could this happen? I’ll tell you. As it happens all three of US are from Chicago. (Barack is an import, but he’s put in 25 years so we’ll call him a Chicagoan). And most people do NOT know what being Black in America is like. And most people REALLY do not know what being Black in Chicago is like. That. Is. A. Unique situation. I kid you not. Keep in mind, I had been out of town for nearly 20 years, and when I got back almost 3 years ago I had to RE-learn what being Black meant around here.

By now I think it’s become part of the lexicon to talk about “Black on Black crime.” It’s one of those platitudes people throw out there whenever yet ANOTHER crime takes place “in the city” and gosh darned, they just wanna make sense of it all! But have you heard about the crabs in a basket analogy ? I’ve heard that when crabs have been captured and they’re all piled in a basket if one tries to claw his way out the other crabs will pull him back down. None of the craps escape. The fishermen don’t even need to put a lid on the basket; the other crabs will do the work for them. Can you see where I’m going with this? And so it is with Black Americans; especially in Chicago. Did you know that the 1st generation children of African immigrants (and even Jamaican immigrants!) tend to do better in education and economic growth then most long standing Black people? Say, isn’t Obama’s dad an African? And aren’t Colin Powell’s folks from Jamaica? Yeah, the Black people in this country have a problem . And that problem is NOT White people; it’s other Black people. Shhhhhhh!! This is kinda secret. I mean it’s the worst kept secret since…well, no this is the worst.

There used to be a rap song in the 80’s where the refrain was “Self destruction, you’re headed for self destruction!” Well that’s us! And Chicago is like a petrie dish for me. It is easily the largest grouping of Black people, unbroken by other races, in America. In other words it’s the biggest Black neighborhood in the world. And because of that, all of our bad habits are MAGNIFIED here. So let’s just say on any given day on this side of town (that’s the South Side y’all) you’re very likely to hear “man them niggers is crazy” at least a dozen times. Oh yeah. It’s a VERY popular expression around here. And the reason for that is…well them niggers IS crazy. What can I say?

Reverend Wright is not only a product of this environment, but he’s a product or our cultural flaw of crab-like behavior. Rather than see another Black man move in an impossibly lofty position he’ll ruin him. He’ll ruin him. NOBODY else has it in them like us; sit down for a moment and reflect on the one step forward, 2 step back hokey-pokey the Black population has been doing for all these years. We are broken on such a deeep level that a guy whould make himslef look like an ASS on the world stage (and it’s going in the history books folks) out of vindictiveness. I’m asking you to consider the SCALE of what he did and then try to imagine some other group of people doing that. Especially given how often we do it. It’s unimaginable for ANY body else except Black people. We knew what it was right away.

Wanna Know Why Obama Lost 3 of 4 States on Tuesday and Clinton Won?

Listen, there are exactly two reasons; race and cost . I have to assume that reason number one is CRYSTAL clear, so let’s deal with it. My name is Dave Rosenthal for example, and I’m a Black guy. That’s it! Now look at my last name again, and stop by my About page and take a look at my face. Starting to get the pictures? I’m a person of “mixed heritage.” And I’m not walking around taking the “Tiger Woods Approach to Racial Descriptions ” I, and everybody else, just call me a Black guy. End of story. Yes, when people hear the name they start asking questions, but UNTIL they hear the name I’m a Black guy.

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I’m not a guy involved in politics. When it’s time to vote I site down a week before the elections and read then make my decision. That’s it. That’s the whole process. Now that reading part actually means something in LA where I lived for ten years, because that place is proposition crazy. But for every place else voting is not a big deal. So my mom, has been rooting for Barack Obama in the 2008 Election. But I told her months ago he didn’t have a chance-for the obvious reason. But this past week it started looking like he was going to get the Democratic nomination. So on Super Tuesday I got up and wrote a piece in the middle of the day, and then had to update it that night when the surprising results came in. And very briefly I explained what I’m essentially clarifying now. The reason for the loss.

RACE . Here’s what happened; years ago Jesse Jackson ran for President. He, and everybody else, never thought he had a chance in hell. But we all understood. He was running to show that we as Black people can run, and like Nader today trying to put some issues on the table that normally wouldn’t be presented. Plus it was a bit of a publicity stunt to raise not only Jacksons cache, but Black people’s in general. Again, we all understood-and I was just a kid! So when Barack threw his hat in the ring I said to myself, “now what is he up to?”

There’s a book out right now that talks about this giant debate the Abraham Lincoln had with this guy for a Senate seat here in Illinois, and how Lincoln lost the debate but became widely known throughout the country and 2 years later WON the presidency. Maybe, I thought, that’s what Obama’s got in mind. Or maybe he thinks he can win…that the momentum against Bush is swinging the political pendulum unusually far in the opposite direction. But no, I think he got into it like Lincoln with the intent to set the stage for the future. But what I think happened was…things changed. I think at some point he, and those others around him, thought he might REALLY be able to win. And he started running for real.

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But then Super Tuesday happened. And he lost 3 out of 4 states. Wanna know a strange fact I learned a few years ago reading the Statistical Abstract of the US? Vermont has the highest interracial marriage in the country. So I was not surprised he won there. And I think like most people, my mother expected, if not a clean sweep, that he might lose one of the big states, but CERTAINLY not both. But it happened. And it happened because lots of people, of ALL colors, got into the voting booth where the Obama magic is no competition for that bland fluorescent lighting. And people started saying to themselves “a BLACK President? A Black president…well…yeah it’s almost time for one. Maybe when I retire in 5 or 10 years…” End of story.

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COST . Time to address this issue; Seems a little mysterious? Let me expand; have you noticed how Hillary has been throwing this buzz word around. Experience. But see, that doesn’t make a lot of sense if you think about. She only made it to the US Senate 4 years before Barack. And yet Obama was elected to the state Senate twelve years ago. See that’s experience. But what if you look at the word “experience” as a subliminal cue? What if the “experience” she’s talking about doesn’t refer to herself? Are you catching my meaning yet? That’s right, He’s been keeping intentionally low key but nevertheless making his presence known. Bill. Do you see now? There’s been a subtle message that by voting for Hillary you get 2 for the price of 1. You get a guy who WAS president and woman who IS competent on her own, and sure, she’ll be president from 9 to 5 but when the doors close it’ll be both of ‘em. That’s what’s formed in people’s minds about her. We may not really like Hillary, but everybody loves Bill! And it’s 2 for the price of 1! And all Americans love a deal.

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There is some good news. Whoever does NOT win is going to be thanking their lucky stars and realize they really dodged a bullet. Because whoever DOES become President has to contend with the Bush mess. And I may need to write an entire piece to expend on that issue. But plain and simply, if a woman or a Black guy goes in after Bush they’re going to be blamed for the ton of hell that’s coming our way thanks to Bush. Even if McCain makes it he’s gonna have an awful time too.