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On grounds of race or trust?

Written By: - Date published: 4:28 pm, August 24th, 2008 - 15 comments
Categories: International, us politics - Tags:

Regular Standard readers will know I like to keep an eye out on what’s happening in the States (where the arte of politic$s is bigger, brighter and harsher). While there’s been comment on Obama’s choice of running mate, it was this piece in the Observer that caught my eye, where Paul Harris asks “why has Obama stalled?“:

“The Democrats are starting to struggle in a presidential race which they should be dominating. America is beset by economic troubles, mired in an unpopular foreign war and facing an unpopular Republican party. A stunning 80 per cent of Americans think that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Yet Obama and McCain are virtually tied in the polls. The possible explanations are multiple. The Democratic campaign is being daily assaulted by withering Republican attack ads. At the same time, there are still deep scars in the party left by the ferocious battle between Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton….

Is is a question of race he asks:

By the end of this week, America will finally be facing up to the question that might truly define the 2008 presidential race: is America ready to elect a black President to the White House?…

It had seemed to many outside observers that Obama was the front-leader by a country mile. However,

The Denver convention has gone from a coronation to a challenge. ‘This is tricky. He wants to leave the convention with the party as united as possible,’ said Larry Haas, a political commentator and former aide in the Clinton White House. Polls last week showed Obama’s lead over McCain narrowing to just a few points. One, a Reuters-Zogby survey, even had McCain with a lead of five per cent. McCain, with his new aggressive strategy, is now settled into the ‘happy warrior’ mode. He is the insurgent underdog taking chunks out of a more favoured opponent. Yet such an analysis is unfair to Obama. A study of the electoral coalition shows just how narrow Obama’s margins of victory are. His levels of support among blacks, Hispanics and young voters are already squeezed close to their likely maximum.

In order to win in November he undoubtedly needs to persuade white, working class and elderly Americans to back him in much greater numbers. McCain needs to keep them away. That alone will ensure that the issue of race cannot remain underground. For, in the heat of the fight ahead, it could actually become the main battlefield itself.

So it comes back to who can capture soft voters in the centre ground. That’s a situation not unlike that here in New Zealand. Guess that’s where Bill English’s “Labour-Plus” comes in!

15 comments on “On grounds of race or trust?”

  1. obama is going to get his arse kicked. he is a one term senator with the most left voting record. up against a guy who has served his country with integrity in a non partisan way for over 50 years.

  2. It seems Old man McCain will win.

  3. Draco TB 3

    Here’s an interesting article about McCain.

  4. Scribe 4


    It had seemed to many outside observers that Obama was the front-leader by a country mile.

    Only because they’ve been “drinking the Kool-Aid”, as some people call it. They’ve been reading/listening to a group of journalists in love with Obama and the prospect of covering such an historic presidential campaign that the regular punters have been misled.

    The same was happening in NZ when I returned from the US in September 2004. All the reports here made it seem Kerry was an absolute lock to win in November. It was very different from the sentiment in the US and we all know what the outcome was (for better or for worse).

  5. Scribe 5

    Draco TB,

    Michael Moore on John McCain? Interesting stuff.

    One could almost agree with some of the points he makes, but it’s not just the fact he served in the military that helps him — it’s McCain’s actions while in the POW camp.

    He was given the opportunity of being released (while his fellow soldiers stayed in the Hanoi Hilton) but turned it down, knowing he would continue to be tortured. The son of a powerful military man, he could have taken the “easy” way out. He didn’t. That’s loyalty that many, many Americans admire.

  6. Savage 6

    I think people are missing the point that it doesn’t really matter who wins. Nothing will change if Obama wins. McCain is no different from George Dubya – he has the same cabal of neo-fascist idealogues that Bush had.

    Obama is going to be much different on foreign policy? Nope. The withdrawal from Iraq has already been outlined and Obama has already stated his support for Israel against Iran.

    “…Support for Israel in this country goes beyond party…”
    Obama at AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee)

    So it doesn’t really matter who America votes for because the people who are in charge aren’t stupid enough to let just any old fool to take charge.

    Mr Hicks says it best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXpdJLJqG9U

  7. Scribe 7

    When will reporters covering the presidential race ask this question: Is it racist that Obama is beating McCain 74% to 7% among African-Americans?

    The answer is obvious. But no one wants to cover that story.

  8. Pascal's bookie 8

    Scribe, What percentage of AA’s affiliate with the Democratic Party? Why is that?

    Who do you want the reporters to ask that question anyway? Rove?

    Sounds to me like you just want them to start speculating.

    We could just as legitimatly ask why is that so many conservatives will be voting against the black guy.

  9. Scribe 9


    We could just as legitimatly ask why is that so many conservatives will be voting against the black guy.

    People ARE asking that question. In fact, the story linked to is based on a comment from a vendor in Denver that some people might not vote for Obama because he’s black.

    They’re not asking why African Americans are going to vote for Obama 10 to 1 over McCain. Why is it OK to ask it in one direction, but not the other?

    Sounds to me like you just want them to start speculating.

    No, I want journalists to ask African-American leaders questions.

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    Well the GOP does have a racism problem Scribe. Sorry about that, but it’s their own damn fault. Did you see those buttons with Obama as a Chimp, or asking will it still be called the White House and so on.

    AA’s vote Democratic by about that margin because of the GOPs pandering to the racist vote since the late sixties. What’s your point?

    Or are you saying that AA’s should have to explain to you why they don’t like the GOP. Ask Lee Atwater instead.

  11. Scribe 11


    Each party has nutters producing nonsense like that. Obama is the person who has been introducing the race card at the upper levels of the campaign.

    Here’s an interesting link to the story behind the civil rights movement, which gives evidence of the hard work of Republicans, often harder than the Democrats, to bring about change: http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2002/12/13/194350.shtml

  12. Pascal's bookie 12

    Newsmax? Mate. Please. Does the article talk about the southern strategy or Lee Atwater? Pre the Civil rights act the northern GOP was ok on the issue. Then the Democrats passed the Act and the Dixiecrats revolted, switched to the GOP and the south has been the GOPs.

    And the GOP has been the south’s.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    Is it racist that Obama is beating McCain 74% to 7% among African-Americans?

    The answer is obvious.

    Your idea that Obama’s support amoung African Americans is because of racism falls over when you consider that African american candidates for the GOP don’t get such support, while white candidates for the Dem’s always get high African American support.

    But never mind asking why that is. AA’s are just racist and don’t know that the GOP is really truly on their side. Newsmax (scaife) says so.

    Stupid racist African Americans eh scribe? 😉

  14. Scribe 14


    I’m pointing to the inconsistency in coverage. White people who vote for McCain can be accused (rightly or wrongly) of being racist, but black people who vote for Obama aren’t considered to be racist. It’s the double standard that bugs me.

    Some African Americans are racist. Just like some white Americans are. It’s a fact, regardless of whether or not the media cover it.

    Do you agree Obama has played the race card?

  15. Pascal's bookie 15

    Well you initially said the answer was obvious, which I took to mean that you were saying that Racism is in fact the factor.

    You havn’t provided any evidence for racism though, other trhan the high level of support that Democrats always get from African Americans.

    On the race card, it depends on what you mean. Has he brought up race, of course. It has been and will be an issue.

    Have his opponents used his race against him? Well, I’d argue yes. All that Wright business wouldn’t have come up if the crazy pastor was a white crazy pastor. It was, and will be, used to paint Obama as a radical. That term means something when you apply it to a black man that it doesn’t when you apply it to a white man. ooh the scary black radical with his terrorist fist jabs and his sceret muslimness.

    None of his opponents are so stupid as to come out calling him a n*gger, but google that word and ‘Lee Atwater’ and you’ll find out that you don’t need to say that word for your opponents to catch your drift.

    Think about those McCain ads with attractive white women saying how dreamy Obama is. Can you see the racist dogwhistle there? Ties in to the fears about the virile black man coming to steal/rape your womenfolk.

    “Presumptious” equals uppity, etc. and so on. Nobody called McCain presumptious about his actions getting involved with the Russia Georgia carry on.

    So if you are asking me if Obama has responded to this by gently reminding people that it is going on, then yeah.

    If you are concerned abiut double standards, then fine. I’m guessing you are troubled by the fact that McCain campaign keeps playing the POW card, and the press are letting it slide.

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