Thursday, February 28, 2008 Hillary On The Prison-Industrial Complex
Well, not 48 hours after Joan Morgan's Vibe.com interview with Hillary Clinton went live, her campaign staff issued the following statement.
You might remember that the Vibe cover and website followups we did on Obama last year hammered at felon disenfranchisement and disproportionate incarceration, among other hip-hop gen issues.
No she doesn't sound like Angela Davis. But especially for us older hip-hop gen activists who're used to simply being ignored or attacked, it's interestingto see how far Clinton and Obama--and by extension, the Dems--have come in terms of seeing the hip-hop generation and its issues as important enough to address...
Statement from Hillary Rodham Clinton
"America's prison population has grown at a staggering rate over the past quarter century. A new report now reveals a staggering and heart-breaking statistic: One in 100 American adults is currently behind bars. Our incarceration rate is several times greater than that of any other developed country. To state it plainly, the 1-in-100 figure represents a failure of our society at a number of levels. And the cost – to our families, to our communities, and to state budgets to the tune of almost $50 billion – are simply too great to bear. Many of those costs are borne disproportionately by minority communities: One in 15 African American adults is behind bars, and one in 36 Hispanic adults. We need a President who will be tough on crime, but smart about it too. A President who will take innovative steps to ensure our crime policies are reducing crime in the long run so that we have fewer victims of crime and fewer prisoners.
"To reverse this alarming trend, interventions are needed before crimes are committed, before offenders are shipped to prison, during their terms of incarceration, and as they are released and begin to reintegrate themselves into our communities. I will work to deter crime by re-investing in our communities, re-invigorating the COPS program, and putting 100,000 new officers committed to community policing into neighborhoods across America. Studies have shown that the COPS program deters crime. And I will close the revolving prison door by reforming our sentencing policies, promoting effective alternatives to incarceration, and investing in new "second chance" Reentry Partnership Grants to support reformed offenders and reduce recidivism. The solutions are within our grasp. What we need now is leadership, and that's what I'll provide."
He has, actually, and I think this is potentially very much a winning hip-hop gen angle. Before Sharpton claims credit for this too, I wanted to point out that the idea came from hip-hop activists at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights here in Oakland.
A few years ago, these veterans of the anti-Prop 21 campaign pushed through legislation in the city to launch the Oakland Green Job Corps program, a $250K pilot project that brings together urban youth employment and green jobs, fighting pollution and poverty at the same time. It's a simple idea that could be scaled up and gain broad popularity.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008 2G2K Circus :: Debate Fatigue, Farrakhan, And Where's The Plan?
After work out of town, flu bugs, cable news stuff, and other stuff, Two Guys, Two Keyboards And A Circus is back! Ferentz sets it off talking Hillary-Barack's 20th debate last night:
Last night's debate was fairly collegial and was essentially a draw. Obama is playing keep away these days and will not engage in anything unless it's going to deliver the knockout punch to Clinton. Clinton, at least during the exchange on the question about Farrakhan appears ready to concede. She injected herself into that question in a peculiar way by rehashing how she was attacked by republicans in New York for allegedly supporting Palestine. There were a number of ways she could have entered that dialogue with the intent of harming Obama, but she did not and I think this represents a new tone in their debates.
They both actually seemed tired of these debates and it is becoming more evident that this process is wearing on both of them. Afterwards the pundits discussed the moderators' inability to elicit any new answers from either candidates, but why would either Obama or Clinton say something substantial?
I agree that there is a sense of exhaustion to the debates.
But I think the Farrakhan exchange was really interesting. Farai Chideya actually played some of The Minister's speech on her show today, and Debra Dickerson made the substantive point that this may be more about Farrakhan trying to move towards redemption than about Obama being painted into the nationalist corner, a la Jesse '84 and '88.
I think many of my friends sympathetic to Minister Farrakhan were probably appalled last night at the exchange, and I can't say I'd blame them. But I thought Barack's point about rebuilding Black-Jewish relations was really refreshing to hear. When's the last time a presidential candidate was, uh, candid about issues like that? Oh yeah, never. The ease with which Obama brushed off the exchange with Russert over Farrakhan and Reverend Jeremiah Wright indicates how much things have changed since the 80s.
Or have they?
Judging by Bill Cunningham's performance the other day, we'll be getting lots more of this on right-wing radio this summer and fall if Obama is the nominee. Those fools are all too eager to refight the culture wars even if Obama is running like Gnarls Barkley from that era in his life.
I've made this point before: he should just put them to rest--embrace his activist days and talk about how the nation and world are all the better because students fought against apartheid and for diversity.
One last point for now, is it me, or has health-care become a democratic proxy for the economy? It's amazing actually how much time Clinton and Obama spend referring to their health-care proposals, when in effect neither proposal can be launched if the economy is not somehow revived. Think about it this way, our current health care system all but means you need a job in order to have health coverage. If somewhere between 10 - 17,000 people a month are losing their jobs, fewer people are obviously going to have health coverage and the economy is not going to be able to afford to pay for them to be covered. Regardless of how much money we shift from spending on Iraq or how quickly we bring the troops back, neither plan will work under our current economic conditions.
I actually think health care is about the only place Hillary can claim a philosophical difference, even if it's mainly masks procedural differences. (And these are policy objections that scan as obscure to the average voter.) That, and foreign policy "hypotheticals" as she puts it, are what the campaign perceives to be her comparative advantages over Obama.
Trouble is, if the two candidates essentially look the same, voters will tend to vote their aspirations. This is why Hillary's women are still so committed to her. But Barack, though, has been more, what did Biden say, "articulate" in making a broader aspirational call.
Your main point--"Does anyone think that either of the three remaining candidates can oversee a economic renaissance?"--goes to the heart of this. What really is the economic agenda here?
JOAN: Is there a chance Senator Clinton, that if you win the nomination that you will have Barack Obama on your ticket?
CLINTON: Of course there is. Of course there is. Now neither of us will answer this question [definitively] because we don’t want to look presumptuous and premature. But it is more than fair to say that—of course there is.
Lots more noteworthy stuff, including Hillary on African Americans and prisons, addressing young feminists, and more. A must-read.
Sunday, February 24, 2008 Maths + English :: Your Boy CNNing
Hey fam, well the CNN thing has come and gone and what have we learned?
Time delays suck. I suck at looking where I'm sposed to look (the little smiley face above the camera thing). Lesson learned in kindergarten remains true: I suck at sitting still. And it all ends up looking so unpretty.
And I still suck at math, especially on TV.
So I was making some point about the real issue around John McCain is whether he supports corporate interests vs. the public interest (prompting "Right Wing" Mike from the Daily Standard to call me "boring"...ohhh man, if only!) and said it was something we'd all be looking at more closely over the next 5 months of this election. Mike corrected me, said 8. The actual answer is 8 and 1 week and 2 days.
In August 1973, a hulking Jamaican American teenager named Clive Campbell started throwing back-to-school parties with his sister Cindy in their building, 1520 Sedgwick Ave.
Campbell, nicknamed Hercules because of his size, bought multiple copies of the same albums and, spinning his turntables, stitched together a new genre with a mix of music and break beats.
Soon teenagers were flocking to parties in the recreation room. Two-by-fours and metal crates served as chairs and tables, but no one was sitting down; the place was packed with dancing kids.
"It got a little out of control," said Campbell, who became known as DJ Kool Herc. And so music and turntables moved from Sedgwick Avenue to the nearby Twilight Zone club, and hip-hop spread throughout the city.
"We weren't doing [the parties] for money -- it was just about music," said Campbell, who is considered by many a founding father of hip-hop.
He sees the building on Sedgwick as a musical monument like Graceland or the Apollo Theater in Harlem. "This is part of the American dream," Campbell said.
This summer, state officials declared the building the "birthplace of hip-hop," making it eligible for national and state registers.
But for Pauline Beckham, 54, the battle to buy the building is not about preserving the past. She is fighting to save her home of eight years, a place where she has watched children hunt for Easter eggs in spring and attended barbecues in summer.
"I thought I had a safe environment," Beckham said, referring to her modest two- bedroom apartment decorated with family pictures and ironwork above the kitchen door.
"Why are they taking the little bit we have?" she asked, despair creeping into her voice. "I didn't think they could do that."
Built almost 40 years ago, the building is covered by the state Mitchell-Lama program, which helps moderate-income families afford housing.
Last year the owner announced plans to sell the building to high-profile New York investor Mark Karasick and opt out of the rent-control program.
A representative for the building's management company didn't return calls for comment.
Tenants raised money online and from city agencies and other organizations -- about $11 million with high-profile help from DJ Kool Herc, Rep. Jose E. Serrano (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who have lobbied the city and the owner on the residents' behalf. But the tenants need $14 million.
The city, which can overrule the sale, is expected to make a decision before the end of the month, according to Amy Chan, an organizer with Tenants and Neighbors, a statewide tenants' rights organization that is working with the Sedgwick Avenue residents...
Friday, February 22, 2008 2G2K Circus :: This Post Is Not Original
Hey fam, still dealing with the flu bug in the family here but I wanted to drop in to let you know two things: first is that the estimable Ferentz Lafargue is continuing to rock the 2G2K, so check out his blog to see what you've missed.
The other is to talk some about Hillary's last stand last night. She knew she only had two cards to play--health care and the phony plagiarism charge--and the panel handed her another with Cuba. I think she got some jabs in with health care and Cuba, but these were not new points. It would seem by now that voters have made up their minds that Obama's differences on health care don't trouble them greatly (tho I still think Hillary has a more coherent case for her plan). On foreign policy, she outflanked him with something like a Diplomacy 101 tutorial, and he sounded a bit awkward in his response. But again, this doesn't seem to trouble voters who have shifted to his camp.
(LATE MORNING ADD-ON :: Ned Sublette emails to say that clearly neither candidate has a coherent Latin American policy, judging by their incoherence on Cuba. That's worrisome.)
On the rest of the points Obama either won, or they had virtually no differences at all. And in that instance, Obama won too. In this primary, voters aren't voting against a candidate. (This is why the theories about Asian Americans and Latinos being unable to vote for an African American candidate have all been garbage...uh, Hawai'i going 76% for Obama, hello? And the inexorable shift of Latinos post-Super Tuesday to Hillary's camp? Real deal, Holyfield.) No, voters are going aspirational. So if the two candidates are just about the same, they're moving to the one who inspires them.
Which brings me to the last point: Hillary's ridiculous plagiarism charges. Most folks, I think, are Gnarls Barkley on this: she could go on and on and on, but who cares? If she wants originality, she can check Dreams From My Father from the library. Or she could pledge to fire her own speechwriters and write all of her stumps by herself in a distant cave away from the talking masses.
But she shouldn't even try to argue borrowing is a character flaw. Campaign speeches don't need to come footnoted. Martin Luther King, Jr., has been forgiven his own plagiarism because the moment demanded "I Have A Dream", whether or not the three words were arranged by Republican Archibald Carey. (In which case, I bet there was still some 18th-century child who woke up one morning and said, "Mummy, I have a dream.")
In a democracy, the best ideas, by definition, must have multiple authors.
Just to get all writerly for a second? Writing is like dancing. You can only move your body in certain directions. That's why we are enthralled by people who can do seemingly impossible things with theirs. And while they remind us that the body is capable of amazing and beautiful things, they also remind us it still has its limits and it is locked in time.
Language is the same. If Deval Patrick and Barack Obama had the same thought, it could be because that idea's time has come. If Patrick's way of expressing that idea inspired Obama and that in turn inspired us, well that's how an idea becomes manifested in the world. What did those people fond of the internets used to call it back in the day? Oh, yeah. A virus.
Before I go back to being Mother Theresa and tending to the sick babies, I did want to say that I thought Hillary ended the evening very well. "Whatever happens to Senator Obama or I," she said, placing a hand on Obama's shoulder, "we'll be fine." It was a graceful way to close her last debate, to say goodbye to the 2008 Democratic primary.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008 Your Boy On CNN Sunday
Shoot, guess I really am sick.
Here's the official PR thang from the good folks at Picador Books:
Jeff Chang will appear in CNN's "Blog Buzz" segment this Sunday, February 24, at 6:30 PM EST live/3:30 PM PST. This weekly segment, hosted by Tony Harris, features two people, one from the Left and one from the Right, discussing the political issues currently being buzzed about online. The program is broken into two segments of approximately 2 and a half minutes each. For a sample, the Blog Buzz segment for January 13 can be viewed here.
Tune in. I'll be talking about all the things I said I was too diseased to talk about in the last post. At least whatever fits into 5 minutes. And don't worry, I'll dress nice.
posted by Zentronix @ 3:55 PM0 commentslinks to this post
Hey fam, I'm sick. No metaphor there. I'm just sick. After a great weekend in Ithaca--thank you ECAASU, Thu, Blue Scholars and Brian, D-Lo, NAASCONers, my family--the Lins--out there, and everyone for the warm hospitality in the cold cold weather--I'm flat on my back fighting off the flu bug I'd managed to buck the whole winter.
So while I have mad stuff I want to say regarding Plagiarism-gate, McCain, Michelle, the seemingly inexorable shift of Latinos to Obama, whether Obama has an Asian problem (answer: nope), my homestate of Hawai'i going 3-1 for Obama--uh, who was saying that Latinos and Asian Americans won't vote for an African American?--and a whole bunch of other stuff, I'ma catch some sleep and get back into fighting condition first.
Thompson begins with an early strategy meeting, in which Obama lays out his philosophy in five words:
Halfway into the session, Broderick Johnson, a Washington lawyer and informal adviser to Mr. Obama, spoke up. “What about race?” he asked.
Mr. Obama’s dismissal was swift and unequivocal.
He had been able to navigate racial politics in Illinois, Mr. Obama told the group, and was confident he could do so across the nation. “I believe America is ready,” one aide recalled him saying.
The race issue got all of five minutes at that meeting, setting what Mr. Obama and his advisers hoped would be the tone of a campaign they were determined not to define by the color of his skin.
Obama has shown a desire to box away his experiences as a student activist during the 80s. In his autobiography, he has been dismissive of his days in the anti-apartheid, pro-multiculturalism, pro-affirmative action battles at Occidental, Columbia, and Harvard. He regards his experiences in Chicago's Southside, which he still cites as the transformative period of his life, as certainly more authentic. Yet his language--drawing freely from Gandhi and Chavez--suggests he has a more conflicted relationship to his student activism years than he is ready to admit.
Was he so eager to suppress the memory of that era's campus culture wars (over multicultural curriculum, affirmative action, hate speech, etc.) that he had embraced too naive a view of how to articulate an approach to race in his campaign?
Staff divisions didn't help. Early on, high-ranking white advisors deliberately steered him away from African American audiences.
Instead of following a plotted course, Mr. Obama’s campaign has zigged and zagged, reacting to outside forces and internal differences between the predominantly white team of top advisers and the mostly black tier of aides.
The dynamic began the first day of Mr. Obama’s presidential bid, when white advisers encouraged him to withdraw an invitation to his pastor, whose Afro-centric sermons have been construed as antiwhite, to deliver the invocation at the official campaign kickoff. Then, when his candidacy was met by a wave of African-American suspicion, the senator’s black aides pulled in prominent black scholars, business leaders and elected officials as advisers.
Aides to Mr. Obama, who asked not to be identified because the campaign would not authorize them to speak to the press, said he stayed away from a civil rights demonstration and did not publicize visits to black churches when he was struggling to win over white voters in Iowa.
Remember this Cornel West rant on the weekend Obama announced his candidacy? Black aides struggled to rectify this mistake. Thompson later describes how Obama took care of the snub of Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the Covenant With Black America. (West is now prObama.)
(In an aside, Rev. Al Sharpton takes credit for Jena 6, not only inviting comparison of himself to Martin Luther King Jr. and Obama to LBJ, but entirely rewriting the history of the protest. It was actually called by Color of Change and organized by hundreds of thousands of young activists working in an entirely decentralized manner on the web and in the schools.)
Obama's Black advisors pushed to make Michelle Obama central to the campaign.
“It took Barack a while to agree,” said Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a Harvard professor who is part of the black advisory group. “But we told him she had to be the one to confront the myths and fears of black voters.
“Here was a black woman, a mother, who grew up poor, learned to sleep without heat and rose above that to get an Ivy League education,” Professor Ogletree added. “But she was also the kind of woman who would take her shoes off because her feet hurt. She was real from the moment she stepped on stage.”
In other words, Obama's Black advisors told him, forget the "color-blind" pitch. Michelle embodied the idea that no one could escape history, that a "post-racial" politics still needed to account for racial solidarity and to directly address the desires and needs of racially oppressed communities. She delivered big-time in South Carolina, the turning point for Obama in the African American electorate.
But, in no small part because of their denial of the realities of race, Obama and his campaign still had to play catchup against the Clinton campaign with Latino leaders and communities.
The campaign’s strategy in the first contests left Mr. Obama vulnerable with Latinos, which hurt him in California and could do the same in the Texas primary on March 4.
Faulted by Latino leaders as not being visible enough in their communities and not understanding what issues resonated with immigrants, the campaign has been trying hard to catch up, scheduling more face-to-face meetings with voters, snaring endorsements from Latino politicians and fine-tuning his message.
The campaign claims it has learned from California, and his Latino field director says Obama will apply to Texas the same kind of attention it has lavished on Iowa and South Carolina.
Mr. Obama’s national field director, Cuauhtemoc Figueroa, vowed that Mr. Obama’s effort in Texas would be different.
“You are going to see Senator Obama campaign the way he did in Iowa,” Mr. Figueroa said. “We’re going to take him to little communities so that he’s not only going to touch voters with his words, he’s going to be able to reach out and physically touch them.”
One revealing quote should raise worries. Here's his top advisor, David Axelrod, who seems to suggest that the campaign still views even African Americans more as emergent--useful for votes and campaign donations--than insurgent--needing to be considered carefully in agenda discussions.
“He believes you can have the support of the black community, appealing to the pride they feel in his candidacy, and still win support among whites,” Mr. Axelrod said.
Do "post-racial" politics merely mean a new way of marginalizing a racial justice agenda?
Monday, February 11, 2008 2G2K Circus :: I Got 5 On It
Ferentz leads off with a fine, necessary rant against Hillary and Barack over their focus on the fundraising arms race:
McCain and Mike Huckabee both ran their campaigns on shoestring budgets, and neither one is revered by "die hard conservatives." Their campaign narratives exist in stark contrast to Obama and Clinton's, which is littered with ostentatious fundraising boasts, ivy-league advisers, and high profile celebrity endorsements. What sense does it make for Obama supporters to pat ourselves on the back for raising 32million, or for Clinton supporters to fire back that they raised 7million in 24hours? How do they think these outrageous fundraising figures sound in light of the fact that 17,000 jobs were eliminated in January?
Ahem. Word. Forget the $400 haircuts.
Despite our pronouncements about free speech, campaign finance case law has firmly established that money is speech. Not even McCain, in his bipartisan work around campaign finance reform, has wanted to touch this third rail of moneyball, this sacred cow of modern politics.
Obama rightly calls attention to the fact that his campaign is based largely on small donors. Call it his "money of the masses" argument. But from the beginning, Obama's fundraising skill marked him as the best-fit insurgent candidate, in the most Darwinian/Mobb Deep sense. In the long months before Iowa, money defined his competitiveness.
The problem isn't now--it's for the long run. Does his campaign actually raise the bar far too high for future insurgent candidates? Will the ridiculous, historic levels of money flowing through this primary season make future insurgencies impossible?
If Obama really wants to change the game, his gamble is a little crazy and not a little foolish: it's a bet that his success is a leveling event strong enough to overturn the inertia of big money and open the field for a new generation of insurgent candidates. As Spongebob once said to Plankton, good luck with that. On the other hand, as long as the overwhelming majority of elected officials are willing to leave the "money is speech" doctrine unchallenged, he--and we--may not have had and may not now have any other choice but to roll.
While prejudice and narrow-mindedness circulates in various forms within sectors of the Latino and Asian populations, crude thinking can blind us to the less sensational but more significant reasons why Clinton prevailed. She had built up a huge lead and enjoyed immense name recognition, which translated into a huge lead in absentee voting. In many places, Obama has overcome these obstacles with an excellent ground game that has attracted and energized new voters. Local observers, however, have remarked that his campaign lacked either the time or proper strategy to develop effective grassroots outreach to Latinos and Asians in California.
But here's the money point, a thoroughly convincing argument. It gets at why the Clintons are on the wrong side of history, why the old-guard civil rights establishment has disappeared in this election, and why most of the talk about Asian and Latino votes these past two weeks in the commentariat has missed the point entirely:
But if Clinton's multicultural strategy is unprecedented, Obama's effort to transcend "minority" politics is historic. Casting Obama as a "colorblind" politician, the pundits and his left skeptics have largely missed the significance of what he represents. Getting "beyond race" today is not about ignoring the problem of racism or moderating ones politics to appease whites. Instead, it means thinking about America as a multiracial nation that dispels old notions of both white normativity and majority/minority identities. Culturally and demographically, millions of Americans -- especially youth -- already live in a world where that notion of white majority has been displaced by a multiethnic reality. Obama is helping us to envision what a new majority will look like politically.
For this reason, the Obama campaign is the only one with movement building potential and why we all have a stake in its efforts to build a multiracial coalition on new ground. Following the dictates of pollsters and consultants, traditional Democrats carve us all up into "interest groups," so they can push the hot buttons that reinforce our sense of victimization and vilify the other side. Obama has learned -- both from his study of what historian Charles Payne has called the black freedom struggle's "organizing tradition" and from his experience organizing against the depths of despair in Chicago's deindustrialized South Side -- that such an approach is not only ineffective but also spiritually bankrupt. If you are just a "minority leader," then you're not really a leader at all. If you are only fighting for your "fair share" of the riches controlled by those in power, you'll never address the root causes of oppression. Above all is the sense that none of us can be free in America or face the global crises of our lifetime until we change the whole country. That is why Obama has the "audacity" to think he is the best person to lead the entire nation.
It is clear from the California result that we will now be witness to a paradigm shifting clash between two consciously multiracial organizing strategies. Clinton's appeal is to give all minorities a seat at the table and a share of the pie. Obama challenges us to see ourselves instead as a collective majority....
Here's a rationale: Obama's victory in central Brooklyn and his ability to record a split in Congressman Charles Rangel's district in Harlem reiterated a national trend of African American votes steering in his direction. For example, in Brooklyn Obama received an endorsement from Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, who shares the senator’s profile as a charismatic emerging political star. Meanwhile in Harlem, Rangel, the dean of black democrats, older and like his fellow black political patriarch, Andrew Young, failed to deliver a victory for Clinton. Rangel’s failure should not have been a surprise considering Obama’s recent success in South Carolina, but this observation does nothing to replace the political capital that Rangel aggressively extended on Clinton’s behalf even as her support among his Harlem constituents plummeted.
These conclusions may seem trivial to non-New Yorkers, but they can potentially mark a historical breakthrough if Clinton makes it into the White House. A Clinton victory in November coupled with letdowns by Rangel and his Brooklyn counterpart, Yvette Clarke, means that New York is now poised to send a Latino senator to Washington, one who would join Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Ken Salazar of Colorado.
In the view of the establishment, we're all interchangeable:
Of course, the decision of choosing the senator to replace Clinton rests solely in Governor Eliot Spitzer's hands, but given New York's current demographic shifts, most notably the fact that Latinos outnumber African Americans, Spitzer would have very little reason for selecting any of the black democrats who are presumably currently favored for this position.
Need more? Here's a doomsday scenario from Frank Rich, linking the superdelegate problem with the race problem, as pointed out by our man Paul D. Miller...:
The campaign’s other most potent form of currency remains its thick deck of race cards. This was all too apparent in the Hallmark show. In its carefully calibrated cross section of geographically and demographically diverse cast members — young, old, one gay man, one vet, two union members — African-Americans were reduced to also-rans. One black woman, the former TV correspondent Carole Simpson, was given the servile role of the meeting’s nominal moderator, Ed McMahon to Mrs. Clinton’s top banana. Scattered black faces could be seen in the audience. But in the entire televised hour, there was not a single African-American questioner, whether to toss a softball or ask about the Clintons’ own recent misadventures in racial politics.
The Clinton camp does not leave such matters to chance. This decision was a cold, political cost-benefit calculus. In October, seven months after the two candidates’ dueling church perorations in Selma, USA Today found Hillary Clinton leading Mr. Obama among African-American Democrats by a margin of 62 percent to 34 percent. But once black voters met Mr. Obama and started to gravitate toward him, Bill Clinton and the campaign’s other surrogates stopped caring about what African-Americans thought. In an effort to scare off white voters, Mr. Obama was ghettoized as a cocaine user (by the chief Clinton strategist, Mark Penn, among others), “the black candidate” (as Clinton strategists told the Associated Press) and Jesse Jackson redux (by Mr. Clinton himself).
The result? Black America has largely deserted the Clintons. In her California primary victory, Mrs. Clinton drew only 19 percent of the black vote. The campaign saw this coming and so saw no percentage in bestowing precious minutes of prime-time television on African-American queries.
That time went instead to the Hispanic population that was still in play in Super Tuesday’s voting in the West. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles had a cameo, and one of the satellite meetings was held in the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s smart politics, especially since Mr. Obama has been behind the curve in wooing this constituency.
But the wholesale substitution of Hispanics for blacks on the Hallmark show is tainted by a creepy racial back story. Last month a Hispanic pollster employed by the Clinton campaign pitted the two groups against each other by telling The New Yorker that Hispanic voters have “not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.” Mrs. Clinton then seconded the motion by telling Tim Russert in a debate that her pollster was “making a historical statement.”
It wasn’t an accurate statement, historical or otherwise. It was a lie, and a bigoted lie at that, given that it branded Hispanics, a group as heterogeneous as any other, as monolithic racists. As the columnist Gregory Rodriguez pointed out in The Los Angeles Times, all three black members of Congress in that city won in heavily Latino districts; black mayors as various as David Dinkins in New York in the 1980s and Ron Kirk in Dallas in the 1990s received more than 70 percent of the Hispanic vote. The real point of the Clinton campaign’s decision to sow misinformation and racial division, Mr. Rodriguez concluded, was to “undermine one of Obama’s central selling points, that he can build bridges and unite Americans of all types.”
If that was the intent, it didn’t work. Mrs. Clinton did pile up her expected large margin among Latino voters in California. But her tight grip on that electorate is loosening. Mr. Obama, who captured only 26 percent of Hispanic voters in Nevada last month, did better than that in every state on Tuesday, reaching 41 percent in Arizona and 53 percent in Connecticut. Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign’s attempt to drive white voters away from Mr. Obama by playing the race card has backfired. His white vote tally rises every week. Though Mrs. Clinton won California by almost 10 percentage points, among whites she beat Mr. Obama by only 3 points.
The question now is how much more racial friction the Clinton campaign will gin up if its Hispanic support starts to erode in Texas, whose March 4 vote it sees as its latest firewall. Clearly it will stop at little...
Last month, two eminent African-American historians who have served in government, Mary Frances Berry (in the Carter and Clinton years) and Roger Wilkins (in the Johnson administration), wrote Howard Dean, the Democrats’ chairman, to warn him of the perils of that credentials fight. Last week, Mr. Dean became sufficiently alarmed to propose brokering an “arrangement” if a clear-cut victory by one candidate hasn’t rendered the issue moot by the spring. But does anyone seriously believe that Howard Dean can deter a Clinton combine so ruthless that it risked shredding three decades of mutual affection with black America to win a primary?
Friday, February 08, 2008 Rest In Power :: Tony Silver The great Tony Silver.
Tony Silver passed last week after a courageous fight against brain cancer.
A few years back Henry Chalfant, Tony, and I went up to Billy Jam's radio show at KALX to talk about "Style Wars" and its impact. It tells you the kind of person that he is that after the show when the rest of us were wiped out, he was still just getting started. Although I only knew him after he was safely in the AARP target demo, I will always remember him as one of the most youthful people I've ever known.
Tony is also for me a model of an engaged aesthete. He always knew great art the instant he saw it, not a little of which he was making himself. And he didn't sit there smiling with it, he immediately became its champion. He wanted to share it. That's the way it was with graffiti.
Tony had been working as a director and actor for about a decade when he and Henry Chalfant began planting the seeds of what became "Style Wars". Graffiti was the scourge of NYC, a public nuisance and embarrassment. Yet he staked his all on the loony idea.
They ran out of money trying to shoot it. More than a few times. But to Tony, the story of hip-hop--esp. graffiti and b-boying--was like an opera . He was convinced graffiti was some of the most important art he'd ever seen--if it could survive heartless politicians, cold municipal bureaucrats, and its own internal beefs, it might change the way people saw the world.
When the movie came out on PBS, people couldn't believe he and Chalfant had glorified property crime and feckless urban youths. But for a new generation, "Style Wars" became a spark for one of the most vibrant and influential global visual art movements of the last two decades. Tony is a reason that street art lives all around the world, even fetches hundreds of thousands of dollars in rarified auctions. Elitist art historians may not give up the love now, but time will prove Tony was right.
To a man who lived deeply and always saw clearly, this one's for you, Tony.
A remembrance will be scheduled in New York for Tony on February 16th.
Wanted to pull some excerpts. First, some more data, and Barack's 'spinion:
Clinton won a majority of Latino votes in several states with high proportions of Latino voters, including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and - the biggest prize - California, where she beat Obama 2-1 among Latinos, according to an MSNBC exit poll. And she drew votes from about 75 percent of Asian American Democrats in California, who represent about 8 percent of the state's total Democratic vote, according the MSNBC exit poll.
But Obama did well with Latino voters in his home state of Illinois (JEFF NOTE: CNN's exit poll, shows he took 58% of 30-44...), as well as in Connecticut, and he took more than 40 percent of Latino votes in Arizona, the exit poll shows.
"We actually made enormous progress last night," Obama said at a news conference Wednesday in Chicago. "You take a look at a state like Arizona, where we got somewhere in the low 40s with the Latino vote, and it indicates what I suggested earlier after the Nevada contest, which is as Latino voters get to know me, we do better.
"And so it's just a matter of us getting more information to them, doing the kind of advertising that we had the resources to do leading up to Super Tuesday. When they receive that information, they realize that I'm somebody who's going to be battling for all people, including the Latino vote."
Here's David Ayon, from the Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount on the upcoming race in Texas, pertinent also to Cali:
But Ayón doubts Obama will capture the Lone Star state's Latinos, given Clinton's advantage.
"It's a real hard sell. The only advantage he has in Texas is, he's got money and he's got time. But he's unknown," said Ayón. "The Clintons have really worked this ground. They're able to stage events, work those networks, get the machinery going. What Obama's doing everywhere is building an organization from scratch. And that's a lot harder to do in a large state."
On the question of time and on-the-ground organizers, I wanted to point out a comment posted below from an old colleague John Delloro, now a union organizer and activist (also check out the comment by Monxo & Libertad):
Because the key to Obama's campaign success is its ground operation that is based on a grassroots community organizing model (a la Marshall Ganz), any time the campaign treads the traditional top-down and tested electoral campaign approach the Obama campaign falters in that area. I don't believe the kind of structure that existed in S.Carolina and Iowa existed in AA/PI immigrant L.A. or Latina/o L.A. If SEIU in LA had switched for Obama earlier and hit the ground, that structure would most likely would have existed. the past L.A. Latina/Labor alliance electoral work has proven this to be true. Maria Elena Durazo got involved with the Obama campaign without the usual footsoldiers she has on hand to make things happen. I don't believe it is just a case of whether a particular community has reached a particular zeitgeist of generational insurgency but the presence or absence of grassroots organization in particular communities.
On the Asian Am vote, some thoughts from one of my mentors, Don Nakanishi, at the Asian American Studies Center, speaking to API emergence:
Clinton also has emphasized her commitment to Asian Americans, locking down several important Asian American politicians, said Don Nakanishi of UCLA's Asian American Studies Center. Last year, for example, Clinton landed support from Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Sacramento, who chairs Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Hillary.
"The vote doesn't surprise me at all," Nakanishi said, noting that Clinton has strong roots in the community. "But there was a very active core of young Asian Americans who are very supportive of Obama, trying to raise his visibility."
Obama, who grew up in Hawai'i and has Asian family members, has made his multi-ethnic roots part of the political campaign. Last week, his Chinese Canadian brother-in-law, Konrad Ng, addressed Asian American voters, telling them that their perspective is important to Obama.
Although small compared to the Latino vote, the Asian American vote is gaining clout. The Asian American Studies Center estimates that between the years 2000 and 2005, the number of Asian Americans eligible to vote in California increased from 2 million to 2.5 million, pushing the Asian American share of the proportion of the state's voters to 12 percent.
"They also developed this reputation of being the new source of financial contributions, so they are being courted by political campaigns," Nakanishi said.
BTW Don's point about Doris Matsui prompts me to realize that the glaring hole in my piece and most of the discourse in the MSM and the blogosphere is that no one has thought to talk about the possibility of a huge gender gap in California's Latino and Asian American electorates, in turnout and in choice. Anyone care to comment on this or point us in the direction of some commentary?
And finally, this from Rafael Sonenshein, an expert on race and politics in Los Angeles and California who has done pioneering studies on Tom Bradley's and other campaigns:
"People say Latinos won't vote for a black candidate. Well, sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. There are existing tensions, but the way to overcome those is through familiarity, through learning something about a candidate that helps you connect."
Wednesday, February 06, 2008 2G2K Circus: Latinos And Asian Americans, Part 2
Two guys, two keyboards and the circus continues. Ferentz picks up the thread and notes that although Latinos in NY and NJ reportedly voted overwhelmingly for Clinton (3-1 and 4-1 margins), that many are now wondering what they got for it.
Ferentz, this is actually what I was trying to lay out with the emergent/insurgent idea. I don't think I developed it all that well.
Candidates treat emergent groups as easy votes. It's the classic top-down party machine style of organizing--get as much as you can while giving up as little as you can. It's the old Plunkitt of Tammany Hall bit. The relationship of the voters to the candidates are essentially retail: the potential of patronage seals the deal.
Insurgent groups, by contrast, can be frightening. The votes are coming, but the candidate sometimes knows not where or, more worrisome, why. Strenuous demands are made upon candidates and party leadership. These, of course, also offer the possibility of transformation.
To me, two of the most classic insurgent campaigns were Jesse Jackson '88 and Harold Washington's Chicago mayoral run. You could also go back to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. All attempted to organize an in-party insurgency that would bring in new voters and thereby change the direction of politics, with candidacies and parties coming second.
The truth is, we haven't seen this kind of politicking on the Dem side since Jesse Jackson went home to Chicago and the Rainbow Coalition promptly dissolved. Clinton and the DLC depended on everyone staying in their appointed place, and empowering the demandless middle.
Obama's campaign is nominally insurgent, but it doesn't compare to Jackson's bid because there is no effort to build a long-term mechanism to bring insurgents into the party (the thing the Rainbow Coalition was supposed to be). Clinton's campaign is all emergent. The DLC may be in its death throes because of the war and Bush and young people, but its method survives.
In this instance, I've used the terms "emergent" and "insurgent" referring to the Latino and Asian American electorate on purpose. Although both have been in the party for a long while, Latinos especially are at the point where they can play a crucial role in the party's fortunes. So "emergent" is pretty descriptive.
I use the terms wishfully as well. I'm hopeful--actually pretty certain over the long run--that both will move from emergent to insurgent, from being used as a passive source of votes to being heard as a force within the party. Perhaps what you're seeing and hearing in New York and New Jersey Latino communities is that very process in motion.
2G2K Circus :: Anti-Black Racism and My Alleged Cynicism
For the many of you who are coming to my blog for the first time, welcome! The HuffPost version of my last post has drawn lots of you in to our little neck of the interweb. Stick around if you like.
Normally I don't feel a great need to respond to objections to most stuff I say--OK, I know, it doesn't stop me--but there are two themes that are developing that I wanted to comment on.
The first emerges from the piece I did on Clinton, Obama, and Latino and Asian American voters. Many are criticizing me for downplaying or ignoring anti-Black racism amongst Latinos and Asian Americans. Um, let me just say, mercifully: you can spare your bytes trying to lecture me. You might instead use your bandwith searching through this blog for any of the zillion posts and discussions that we've had here over the last 4 years on the topic of interracial relations, or as the MSM likes to call it, Black-Brown-Yellow tensions. Shoot, pick up almost anything I've written over the past 20 years. (I seem to recall a whole chapter in a book I did once that talked about the issue.)
My post was a reaction to the knee-jerk MSM question asked of Latino and Asian American politicos beginning on NPR this morning--some version of "Well, gee, doesn't this show that you all are just as racist as whites are?" I think that's ridiculous. It's a self-serving question, and much less revealing than it is presumed to be.
I doubt Michelle Obama and the Secret Service worry about Latino or Asian American extremists. I haven't seen a Latino or Asian American leader or activist pull the race card during this campaign season. Happy to be proven wrong, but I haven't seen it. Clearly, though, some parts of the press have had no problem pulling the race card. And look how easily we can get caught up in it. It's the American way.
Let's turn the question around: did Obama voters vote against Hillary because they're all misogynists? And has this question been asked by any pundit of any male? Who are these questions serving, hmmm?
I don't live in hippie la-la land. (Well OK I live in Berkeley but I'm saying you know metaphorically and shit.) There's more than enough racism, sexism, and discrimination to fight on the daily. So ease up and just let me hold up a simple standard, the kind of standard that one might hope could raise discussions, instead of lowering them: bring on the evidence and then let's talk. In turn, I'll remain fully accountable for what I write.
I wrote a piece that offered a theory based on what I can report, what I can show, and what I can prove. Now I'm no diehard empiricist. I realize the blogosphere is a wonderful place for wild speculation, and I'm guilty of it (ex. South Carolina), and I'm staying in the blogosphere. But I'd like to think I can draw the line at becoming a tool for people who get a kick out of seeing folks fight over non-issues. I mean there's plenty of real issues we're already fighting about, no?
My point is not and has never been to deny the existence of anti-Black racism, or just as important, to deny the need to fight anti-Black racism in my community or any other. I think I have been consistent and honest and open on this issue. My point is: let's call it where we actually see it, and let's fight it on our own terms and our own turf.
The other theme that's come up here some are angry/sad/disheartened at the thought that after writing a glowing piece about Obama in Vibe, I've turned "buzzkill" and "killjoy". All I can say is that I don't think this is a game, or mere entertainment. Candidates recognize they turn into used cars when they declare a run for office. Voters are gonna come in and kick the tires. So if I'm a bit moody or excessively sober or allegedly cynical, well, someone's gotta be. And, uh, I guess I'm the one I'm waiting for.
Among Latino and Asian American circles, Super Tuesday brought a sense of giddiness. Thanks to the central importance of California to the primary elections, here was a chance to not just be heard, but to be recognized as a voting bloc right up there with the privileged masses of Iowa or New Hampshire. Boy, did they make some noise.
In California, while Obama took a plurality of white voters (including white males) and the overwhelming majority of African American voters, Hillary won the popular vote by 8 points. So how did Hillary make her 10% margin of victory? A big part of the answer was in the Latino and Asian American votes. A CNN exit poll last night indicated that Latinos in California went for Hillary by a 2-1 margin, and Asian Americans went for her 3-1. Democratic polls showed Hillary winning Latinos by 3-1.
Soon we'll be hearing a number of crackpot theories as to why this was so. Are Latinos and Asian Americans in fact slightly more conservative on immigration issues than everyone previously thought? Ridiculous. Are Latinos and Asian Americans unwilling to bring themselves to vote for a Black man? Get out of here with that.
The reason Hillary won is because the Latino and Asian American votes remain emergent, not yet insurgent.
Emergent voting blocs respond to leaders in their community. If the candidate wins the leader, she wins her followers. Insurgent voting blocs instead respond to calls for change, and may focus more on single issues or agendas. If a candidate stakes out a good position, she captures the community. Hillary played the politics of emergence.
Early, she locked down important leaders in the Latino and Asian American communities. In Los Angeles, that meant securing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's support, and the predominantly Latino unions that have supported him. She also landed the support of Fabian Nunez and Dolores Huerta. In San Francisco, that meant seizing on Mayor Gavin Newsom's popularity amongst Asian Americans. She also captured a who's who of Asian American elected officials starting with Controller John Chiang and moving on down. Just as important, Hillary's campaign locked up a huge number of the leading Latino and Asian American party operatives--the people who actually deliver the voters.
All of them--from Villaraigosa to the Asian American precinct captain--were responding to what might be called aspirational politics. The individuals become proxies for the community. You hear them say in their campaigns, "When I win, you win." Clinton's main advantage is that she has the access to power and the party structures that deliver promises to officials and operatives. Obama doesn't. Emergent politics favors individuals seeking power. Think of it this way: Hillary, the woman candidate, is bringing Latino and Asian American leaders into the old-boy's network.
These leaders, in turn, deliver votes via their community's structures of power: business groups, labor unions, voter groups, community organizations. Those groups tend to deliver an older voter who is already "in the game", who can directly benefit from the opening of the old-boy's network. "Experience" really is a cover for "access".
Latinos and Asian Americans in California are overwhelmingly Democratic, and will likely remain so for a very long time because of Reep immigration demagoguery. But they also tend to be more mainstream and conservative. Remember that, to the great embarrassment of many Asian Americans, it was the influential Chinese American Democratic Club in San Francisco that sponsored anti-affirmative action attacks on the prestigious Lowell High School. It's also possible Obama's call for change is received differently even among dissatisfied immigrants. Who better understands the disruption and dislocation that change can bring?
And finally, one should never underestimate the ability of Democratic party operatives to screw up a good thing. Although Obama is from Hawai'i, has Asian family members, and is beloved there, his largely white campaign staff blew it big time early in the campaign last year. After circulating an anti-outsourcing memo to the media that called Hillary "the Democrat from Punjab", Obama was forced to apologize and distance himself from his staff. The episode barely rippled outside of the community, barely inside of the community, to be fair. But it had a number of Asian American political insiders and campaign donors bolting for Hillary's camp.
Emergent groups are highly sensitive to perceived snubs. The so-called 80-20 Initiative, an effort led by former Delaware lieutenant governor S.B. Woo (a Democrat) to unite 80% of the Asian American electorate "defeat Obama", began when Obama staffers answered a yes-no questionnaire with a "well, yes but..." on a question asking whether he'd promote affirmative action for Asian Americans. Hillary's campaign, with ample access to Latino and Asian American leaders, never made any of these mistakes.
So Hillary won by old party-style top-down appeals to Latinos and Asian Americans. Dems shouldn't rest thinking that this strategy will hold for long. Younger Latino and Asian American voters were energized by Obama, and formed a visible and crucial part of his GOTV ground troops. They had an impact. Roberto Lovato notes that Obama was able to bring down Hillary's overall 4-1 advantage among Latino voters to a 3-2 advantage by Super Tuesday. It could be argued that Obama's bottom-up machinery hasn't yet taken full advantage of the pent-up energy amongst young Brown and Yellow voters.
When that power is unleashed, it will be unpredictable. The 1.5 generation, young Latino and Asian Americans from the ages of 16-40 who were born elsewhere but raised multilingual and multicultural in the U.S., represents a massive demographic bulge in those communities only beginning to feel itself. Before long, they will turn their communities' emergent vote into an insurgent vote. And then the country will really discover not just the necessity of the Latino and Asian American vote, but what it is that they really want.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008 2G2K Circus :: Run On Ballots In College Precincts Keeps Polls Open
Wow. KRON-4 and KGO Radio have been reporting all night that precincts at Cal and Stanford have had a run on paper ballots due to the huge increase in voter turnout. In addition, many precincts in Berkeley, Hayward, Fremont, and Oakland are reporting similar runs on ballots. This is still a fluid situation. Barbara Lee has just asked people to stay in line to cast their vote.
A judge in Alameda County has apparently ordered polling places stay open to 10pm, 2 hours past the regular time.
At the same time, polls are reporting Clinton ahead of Obama by a 20% margin or over 200k votes. About 15% reporting, though no one knows what the actual precincts are. This one is going mad late folks.
Interesting exit polls too, more in a future post.
UPDATE 9:23 :: Contra Costa and San Mateo County also reporting a run on ballots. Voters have been waiting in Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Clara County precincts on xerox copies of ballots.
UPDATE 9:28 :: CNN is now calling it for Clinton, she's at a 30% lead. It's possible, even likely, that Obama will take Alameda, tho probably not San Mateo or Santa Clara. The numbers will likely close later tonight, and the final delegate counts won't be clear for a few hours, at best. I don't think we're looking at a 2000 style missed-call fiasco, but Obama may still have some good news coming from Northern California.
UPDATE 9:38 :: OK, here we go, finally some clarification. KRON reports three judges have issued consecutive orders. The upshot is that voters who were in line at 8pm will be able to vote at any time until 10pm. 14 polling places in Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, and Fremont reported ballot shortages. Santa Clara was low on ballots because of a large turnout of independents, but voters received xerox ballots. It's not clear if complaints from the Stanford precincts were adequately handled.
Monday, February 04, 2008 2G2K :: Diddy Answers Davey D
Just got this in the inbox, in response to this and probably this (from this) too. If you fall asleep while reading this post, just please make sure there's a pillow nearby.
SEAN “DIDDY” COMBS ISSUES A CALL TO ACTION FOR YOUNG VOTERS TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED ON SUPER TUESDAY
Diddy Declares 2008 "The Year of the Youth Vote"
New York, NY—Diddy issued a challenge to young voters everywhere to finish what they started in the 2004 election and make their voice heard by turning out in force and casting their ballots in the two dozen Democratic and Republican primaries taking place on Tuesday, February 5th.
More than any other group of voters, young people are most directly affected by the issues at stake in this election. From the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, to health care to the rising cost of a college education, young people need their voice to be heard, if there is going to be change on the critical issues.
“Thanks to your VOICE and your VOTE, the political candidates can no longer ignore your concerns about this country and your future. Young people are poised to continue the work that Citizen Change and other organizations started in 2004, when more than 20 million young people showed up at the polls and voted,” said Diddy. “In 2004, you waited in lines, you said enough was enough. And in 2008, you’ve inspired more young people get in the game.”
“Change will only be real when young people across this country go to the polls on Super Tuesday and in November and stand up and have their votes counted. This election is already historic because of who is running in it. It will gain a greater place in history because of who is voting in it.”
According to CIRCLE, voters age 18-29 account for 21% of the voting eligible population account for 20% of registered voters in this election. There are 32 million Millennial voters in the United States, who are spreading out across the political parties and winning their vote will be crucial to both determining each parties’ presidential nominee and who will ultimately become the next President of the United States.
Diddy will be announcing Citizen Change’s plan of action for the 2008 election in the coming months.
2G2K Circus :: Tom Hayden Endorses Obama
I worry about the substance of Obama's candidacy, and not just because I'm a former wonk. For me, it's the difference between pragmatism and triangulation as an acceptable end (the old New Dem way) versus realism as a mode of pushing toward the real goal.
In other words, let's be real and get everything.
Civility, the core Obama principle that excites folks like Andrew Sullivan, is important only as much as incivility is a sign of torpor or lack of imagination. But transformation is not a civil thing. I like transformation more than propriety.
All that said, I think Tom Hayden's thoughtful endorsement of Barack Obama (written last week before Edwards dropped out) captures a lot of how I feel about the direction of Obama's candidacy.
I have been devastated by too many tragedies and betrayals over the past 40 years to ever again deposit so much hope in any single individual, no matter how charismatic or brilliant. But today I see across the generational divide the spirit, excitement, energy and creativity of a new generation bidding to displace the old ways. Obama's moment is their moment, and I pray that they succeed without the sufferings and betrayals my generation went through.
There really is no comparison between the Obama generation and those who would come to power with Hillary Clinton, and I suspect she knows it. The people she would take into her administration may have been reformers and idealists in their youth, but they seem to seek now a return to their establishment positions of power. They are the sorts of people young Hillary Clinton herself would have scorned at Wellesley. If history is any guide, the new "best and brightest" of the Obama generation will unleash a new cycle of activism, reform and fresh thinking before they follow pragmatism to its dead end.
Many ordinary Americans will take a transformative step down the long road to the Rainbow Covenant if Obama wins. For at least a brief moment, people around the world -- from the shantytowns to the sweatshops, even to the restless rich of the Sixties generation -- will look up from the treadmills of their shrunken lives to the possibilities of what life still might be. Environmental justice and global economic hope would dawn as possibilities.
Is Barack the one we have been waiting for? Or is it the other way around? Are we the people we have been waiting for? Barack Obama is giving voice and space to an awakening beyond his wildest expectations, a social force that may lead him far beyond his modest policy agenda.
Sunday, February 03, 2008 2G2K Circus :: Underdog Love Is Back David Tyree wants more confetti!
Cal Men's sweep through Washington. Cal Women's headed for the Top 5. Cal student activists past present and future showing their huge hearts at the Activism Right There event Friday night.
Stevie Wonder's surprise endorsement. Maria Shriver's surprise endorsement. Michelle Obama's brilliant, funny, and heartrending speech.
Belichick leaving his team on the field and not congratulating Coughlin, just like the ass he really is. Manning to Tyree. Manning to Burress. The best Super Bowl ever. And the rains are finally over in Cali.
Even if Obama doesn't squeak out a victory in sunny Cali on Tuesday and shock the country by vaulting ahead of Clinton in the delegate scrum--both of which I think will happen but am now cautioned not to just come out and be like, it's going down--The Underdog Love is back.
Friday, February 01, 2008 2G2K Circus :: What We Learned
Hey yall, Ferentz is taking a break from the circus for a moment. Let me jot just a few notes on last night's debate...
First off, 5pm in Cali is the wrong time. I recognize East Coast runs this, but who's got the delegates next Tuesday? RRRRaaaah.
Leaving aside the aesthetics of debate performance, I dug the attention to issues this time.
On health care, Hillary has the better case, and the better program. That's it.
The question from Minnesota on immigration's effects on African American urban joblessness knocked me out of my chair. For 40 years, virtually no deep discussion of racial justice and then this? It's a testament to how much of a break this election is from the past. But also a troubling testament to how flat the discussion remains.
For the record, I thought Obama's answer correctly complicated the question. And it was viscerally heartening to hear him denounce scapegoating. The more Hillary spoke about immigration, the more she revealed how far she and mainstream of both parties have to go on the real issues.
Obama-Clinton or Clinton-Obama, a dream ticket? Errr. I don't know. What do you think?
n 2004, Diddy was everywhere. He was on Oprah, he was on CNN, he was on the campaign trail sparking rallies that drew hundreds and thousands of youth in numerous cities. Many activist and politicos cringed when Diddy showed up. They accused his 'Vote or Die' campaign as being nothing but a marketing ploy. Others felt that by showing up on the campaign trail he was taking away from the important issues the candidates needed to discuss. Republicans felt like Diddy was a Democratic shield, while Democrats felt like his 'non partisan' Vote or Die message was actually inspiring GOP youth to go the polls.
Although his Citizen Change was non partisan, there are a few of us who recall him standing on stage at a Rock the Vote Lippert Awards ceremony in Los Angeles where he was being honored in February of 2004. There he promised to do everything he could in his power to 'Kick Bushes ass out of office'...
When I saw Diddy about 4 months later he had launched Citizen Change and was distancing himself from those remarks by insisting he was non partisan. When I pressed him he became stern and repeated his non partisan status like a mantra. After the November 2004 election Diddy was and remains silent when it came to politics. I'm still trying to figure out what happened.