Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Progressive Conservative

How Bizarre. It turns out that Alexander Konetzki, the very short-term assistant editor of The American Conservative, left the magazine because it published Steve Sailer's article on Barack Obama's Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. According to Konetzki, who comes out as a "progressive," Sailer mischaracterized Obama's book. Konetzki opines, "as of mid-March 2007, no one had tried in earnest to subvert the idea that, as president, Obama could help ease America’s racial tensions because his mother was white and his father was black."

Gee, allow me to subvert that. Even if Obama were to serve two successful terms in the White House, the United States would still have uneased racial tensions. Not having read, (and not planning to read) Obama's book; I don't have an opinion on who has a better interpretation of Dreams. I will say, that although critical in some respects, nothing in Sailer's profile would lead me to think he would be any worse as president than say, John McCain, Hillary Clinton or Rudy Giuliani. I would add that Obama's apparent difficulty in forging an identity seem perfectly natural for somebody who grew up under his circumstance: the frequently moving about with no geographic ties while being raised by grandparents of a different skin color.

Sailer makes the occasional peculiar claim, such as that "[i]n his head, Obama surely knows that his becoming the world’s biggest man would be bad for the work ethic of Kenyans, some of whom would assume America would support them. But in his heart, none of that matters." I say, good, since as an American he should put the needs of his own country over those of Kenya.

Konetzki glosses right over one of the more disturbing passages in Sailer's article:

There is an amazingly candid moment in Obama’s autobiography when he writes of his childhood discomfort at the way his mother would sexualize African-American men. 'More than once,' he recalls, 'my mother would point out: "Harry Belafonte is the best-looking man on the planet.'" What the focus groups his advisers conducted revealed was that Obama’s political career now depends, in some measure, upon a tamer version of this same feeling, on the complicated dynamics of how white women respond to a charismatic black man.

How dare Sailer suggest that Obama has some special appeal to white women similar to that of Harry Belafonte. But, oops, it turns out that is a quote from a Rolling Stone article written by Washington Monthly contributing editor, Benjamin Wallace-Wells.

Daniel Larison adds this:
In this article he then gave the ultimate offense: he suggested that the great multiculti political hope of the present moment tends to identify with one side of his background over the other. If this is true, this is not obviously disqualifying; it may not even be an unattractive trait. It is considered a negative only by those who think race and ethnicity are or ought to be entirely irrelevant to our entire political discourse. Identifying with one group over another and championing their particular interests are not bad traits to my mind, but if that’s true about Obama this would directly contradict his current public image that so many people find appealing.




Big Bill said...

Obama is a nice guy. No experience, mind you, but a nice guy. He will never be rude, or unkind. He has been able to present a warm, caring, kind, understanding persona to every group he addresses. He makes everyone go away feeling warm fuzzies.

The flip side is that he avoids conflict at all costs. He cannot resolve conflict because he cannot bring himself to judge anyone except in the most mealy-mouthed, qualified, hedged-in and platitudinous terms.

If you are happy with any decision as long as the decider "agonized" and "wrestled with the consequences" before making it, you will love Obama.

Speaking as a white father of a young, intelligent, high yellow daughter, speaking as a man who married a black woman who was knocked up and dumped by two violent playa gangsta black men (and sent her two boys to school on my dime), I can tell you that Obama's father is my waking nightmare.

The boy cannot bring himself to call his own father what he is: a pump-n-dump, womanizing, boozing, bigamizing "playa".

Given that, how in the world can anyone expect Obama to deal honestly with race problems in this nation and tell black folks what they desperately need to hear?

Andre Kenji de said...

Obama has SERIOUS problems as a potential presidential candidate: his gun grabber positions, his pro-abortion and pro-death position, his pro-bomb Iran position. Worse, Obama is a tax, spend and spend liberal that would do everything to appease the pro-war aisle of the Republican Party and OPAC.

When people criticize him using *race* as a basis, people forget the real problems of Obama. I think that Sailer did a big favor to Obama this time.