Monday, January 15, 2007

John Edwards - More Black than Obama?

Yesterday, John Edwards threw down the gauntlet to the newly minted Democratic majority congress by calling for them to cut the purse strings so the US can stop the Bush "surge" in Iraq. Edwards accomplished two important political goals at this speech:

1) he positioned himself against the other Democratic presidential frontrunners - Clinton and Obama - as the anti-war candidate
2) he aligned himself with the majority of American voters who want this war to end

I predict the leftwing mainstream media will spin the crap out of the meaning of the speech. And from all accounts, they've already begun. This morning on NPR's Brian Lehrer show guest commentator Juan Williams dismissed Edwards anti-war credentials because he voted for the Iraq war resolution. Apparently, like the Bush camp, Williams believes that politicians cannot change their minds lest they be weak or opportunistic.

Both Williams and Lehrer concluded that Edwards' positioning of himself as the anti-war candidate is an appeal to the Democratic base, while Clinton's response proves that her camp is attempting to appeal to the general population. This of course is poppycock. Apparently, like the rightwing mainstream media, the American people's repudiation of the Iraq war vis a vis the Democratic sweep of the 2007 mid-term elections has gone down the Williams/Lehrer memory hole.

Interestingly, Obama's camp has not yet responded to the Edwards speech. Williams and Lehrer glossed over this fact and instead concentrated on Obama's amount of foreign policy experience, and whether or not he has made his supposedly "mainstream" position on limited support for the war clear.

The two of course could not explain why Obama hasn't yet responded to the Edwards speech because they missed the third, more subtle political goal Edwards was shooting for: positioning himself as the real "black" candidate for the 2008 presidential election.

Obama has been playing a very slick game up until this point by keeping one foot in the black camp and the other in the biracial one. He has been coding his biracial consciousness underneath his status as a 2nd generation Kenyan-American. To my knowledge no pundit has yet caught onto this game, but Stanley Crouch has come awfully close. Since Crouch's November 2006 editorial, Obama has continued, albeit cautiously, riding between America's newly resurgent black/biracial color line. That is, until Edwards' speech at Riverside Church yesterday.

The Southerner Edwards has been making subtle overtures to black America at least since Kerry's failed 2004 presidential run, where Edwards served as the Vice Presidential candidate. When it became clear that the RNC was pulling a jack move in Ohio a la Florida circa 2000, Edwards called for a full recount while Kerry basically conceded. Kerry eventually came around, but the damage was already done and the presidency went to the Bush camp.

Edwards' second significant appeal to blacks was the launch of his 2008 presidential campaign from the ruins of New Orleans, where he lauded the efforts of the black children rebuilding a flooded house directly behind him as he announced his bid. In the speech he linked New Orleans, the Iraq war, the genocide in Sudan, global warming, poverty and the need for a new energy economy.

Edwards' most clear challenge to Obama as the candidate for black America, however, is evidenced in yesterday's speech at Riverside church.
Forty years earlier in an anti-war speech held at the same church, MLK called the Lyndon administration "the greatest purveryor of violence in the world today" for its prosecution of the war in Vietnam. Taken with his call for an Ohio 2004 vote recount and his campaign launch, Edwards' alignment with black America's ultimate political symbol on the eve of black America's most significant national holiday is calling Obama out on his game.

In effect, Edwards is rejecting America's two color lines and attempting to force Obama to do so as well. The more Edwards appeals (or appears to appeal) to black interests, the more Obama will be pressured to "out black" him - lest he be considered a traitor to the race and lose the support of both blacks and whites who are vested in the African American race category.

Obama's next move will be the most crucial in his political career. If he can deflect Edwards' attempt to force him onto the black side of America's color line - meaning maintaining biracial consciousness without losing the trust and support of black Americans while also keeping the support of white Americans looking to deflect responsibility for continued black American poverty - than the Jim Crow era of black/white racial endogamy may truly be over and a new three-tiered political system based on color has re-emerged.

Biracial America's Formidable Opponent

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Anonymous said...

Edwards is a wolf in sheep's clothing, plain and simple.

Stop for a minute, and consider what he's actually done, and not his talk.

While many members in congress wisely voted against the Iraq war, Edwards not only voted for it, he co-sponsored the disastrous resolution with neocon Joe Lieberman, that made it possible.

Edwards also co-sponsored and voted for the massive increase in H-1b visas, that dumped 195,000 foreign workers on the job market, destroying perhaps hundreds of thousands of American tech careers.

Edwards voted for normal trade relations with China, making American workers have to compete with Chinese labor standards, which of course they can't.

Edwards voted for the DREAM act, forcing states to give in-state tuition (a subsidy) to illegal aliens, when there are poor Americans in these states who can’t afford to send their kids to college, partially because illegal immigration drove down their wages. This act, of course only encourages more illegal immigration because it extends even further the taxpayers obligations to those who break our laws to come here.

But what about civil liberties? Here again, Edwards voted to the Patriot act, perhaps the greatest risk to civil liberties, ever.

Edwards supporters don’t want Edwards to be held accountable for these facts. Yet, Edwards made himself extremely wealthy holding others (such as doctors) accountable - while doctors malpractice premiums rose so much as to make many obstetricians leave their specialty. More illegal alien taxpayer payed births, and fewer obstetricians - could that be why health care costs are skyrocketing?

One simple question - 10 years ago, if you did your job, the way Edwards performed as Senator, do you think he would he advocate that you get a big promotion?

Or do you think he would he have sued you and taken you to the cleaners?

Jennifer said...

Thanks for all the background information about Senator Edwards. Although our focus on Mr. Edwards' political machinations is different, I think that you and I would both agree that he - like most politicians - has ulterior motives.

Iddybud said...

I thought I should mention that "anonymous" is on other blogs today making the exact same comments. He or she is trolling the net looking for John Edwards posts to blast. I don't know how you want to handle it, but I thought you'd want to know.

Here's my post where he (or she) did it.

Troll alert.

Damie_D said...

My name is Damon, and I'm a evenly mixed Eur-African too. It's unfortunate Jennifer and others have been previously mistreated by Negros.

Mulatto's like her use the internet to vent this. I have not had this negative experience, but I'm sympathetic.

I hope these mistreated mulatto's can come to reconciliation with blacks. Obviously from Obama's bio, he doesn't have that anger.

Jennifer said...

I am not "angry" with blacks. I am attempting to describe a social/political situation in the United States that I think is detrimental to blacks, whites and biracials. Critique does not equal anger. I use the internet to forward a discussion that people appear to have a hard time having in public.

No one can tell what Obama feels toward black people. He is a politician who wants to become president. As far as I am concerned, Obama is attempting to accomplish similar things to me, but cannot speak about it as bluntly lest he alienate blacks and whites who are invested in the black/white dichotomy. And he cannot afford to alienate ANYONE if he wants to win.