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I watched a Panorama documentary the evening before last, about Barack Obama’s attempt at becoming the first black US president. Well, I say black, but actually he’s mixed race. The unfortunate thing for him though, is that people will still see him as black.

He comes across as a charming, articulate and most of all, conscientious man. A man who cares. All perfectly good attributes to have in a potential president, but I’m pretty sure it wont be enough to win over the majority of white America.

A political psychologist had this to say about Obama, and I found it quite interesting:

I couldn’t help but think that this stereotype of the “dangerous, dark skinned black male” could also be one of the reasons why the black hero isn’t popular amongst white romance readers. Sorry, I digress…

Apparently, no American president has ever won the election, without getting the Louisiana vote, (erm, or something like that) so the documentary makers went to America’s deep south to see what the people there thought of Obama. The reception was not great. The blacks didn’t know what to make of him, and the whites seemed to be saying hell no. I think one of the people they interviewed actually called him Barack Osama. (Although the guy in question was sporting a shaven head, built like a brick sh*thouse, tattoos everywhere, and looked like he hadn’t washed in quite a while though, so I’m not sure he was ever gonna say anything positive about Obama. Judgmental? Moi? Never in a month of puffs.)

They also interviewed a black Louisianan (is that right?) woman, and she said her vote was going to Hillary.

The documentary makers also visited Jena, in light of Obama’s emphasis on a United America, rather than a black/white America. There was a lot made of the fact that he didn’t attend a rally organised by black campaigners, who were protesting against the imprisonment of The Jena Six. A black man trying to run a race-neutral presidential campaign can’t afford to be seen rallying with other black folks, unfortunately.

Jesse Jackson was there of course, and gave his thoughts on Obama’s style of campaigning. He wasn’t particularly complimentary, and seemed to contradict himself somewhat. Nothing new there.

Obama was described as a man before his time, and others lamented that America had not yet reached the stage, where a black man could run for presidency, and have a realistic shot at winning it. A sentiment shared by a cyber pal who I spoke to recently.

I liked Obama, I really did. I mean what’s not to like? He’s handsome, (don’t tell me that doesn’t make a difference to somebody somewhere) he’s well turned out, and he knows how to give a rousing speech. He struck me as somebody I could sit down with, and have a really good chin-wag.

The problem for Obama as far as I can tell though, seems to be that the black folks think he’s not black enough, and the white folks think he’s too black. Poor sod, he’s got no effing chance. Maybe in a hundred years time he may have had a shot.

Oh by the way, they interviewed a woman from the deep south, who was clearly way below the poverty line, and initially, I felt a great deal of sympathy for her, (as any decent person would) until the documentary makers revealed that she was a single woman who had eight kids. My sympathy died on the spot.

You know what, if you know you can’t afford to feed your kids, then it would have been a good idea to either go on the pill, or make sure you use an effing condom. Or even better, keep your effing legs closed. Having eight kids when you have no way of looking after them, is beyond selfish and irresponsible. Why couldn’t she at least stop at four?



  • Anonymous
    October 17
    9:37 pm

    Karen, I gotta be honest here: To me, Obama’s skin color isn’t an issue. As a matter of fact his politics aren’t even an issue. My problem with Obama is his lack of experience. Do I think we need an octogenarian in the White House? Hells, no! However, we do need someone with more experience than a Junior Senator that has only been in office since 2005.

    I think (and fervently hope) Obama is going to do great things for this country. I think he’s charismatic (a necessity), intelligent (another necessity), attractive (hey, it’s a necessity…there haven’t been too many ugly American presidents since the advent of television media) and inspires people, which is a leadership quality that is outstanding. However, I don’t think he’s going anywhere in this election. And such a young man with only 10 years of in-office experience isn’t, IMHO, prepared to lead this country. Give him a few years and he will be.


  • QB
    October 17
    9:53 pm

    “Karen, I gotta be honest here: To me, Obama’s skin color isn’t an issue. As a matter of fact his politics aren’t even an issue. My problem with Obama is his lack of experience. Do I think we need an octogenarian in the White House? Hells, no! However, we do need someone with more experience than a Junior Senator that has only been in office since 2005…
    And such a young man with only 10 years of in-office experience isn’t, IMHO, prepared to lead this country. Give him a few years and he will be.”

    That is EXACTLY what I was going to say. And I hope that more people WILL knock off with the race issue, because it all boils down to his experience.

    Personally, I hope Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee. She’s such a love/hate lightning rod that she will virtually GUARANTEE another Republican in the White House, in fact SHE is probably the Republicans’ only chance.

    And that’s about as political as I get without getting cranky.


  • emdee
    October 17
    9:57 pm

    I can remember when Kennedy was elected in 1960. He was the first Catholic president. There was so much controversy about how he was going to have to take orders from the Pope. (sigh) Things have changed and I do believe that we will someday elect a minority race president. But, the first minority president is going to need some really heavy Secret Service protection. Because I believe that every skinhead nut case will literally be gunning for him/her. Sad but true.


  • Rosie
    October 17
    10:24 pm

    I have to say I do a bit of eye rolling when people mention Obama’s lack of experience. People said the same thing about Bill Clinton because he had only been a state governor and was an “outsider” to Washington politics. I think the inexperience line is one the public is being sold by his opponents.

    Obama has his share of politician-speak to be sure, but his perspective, directness and fresh approach to things is very appealing.

    I’m hopeful. I really am. I’m certainly a bigger fan of his than I am of Hilary Clinton.

    While I don’t think ANY one in public life is safe from some crazy taking out after them with lethal intent, I have to agree with emdee and say that if Obama were elected his SS protection would have to be increased.


  • bettie
    October 17
    10:29 pm

    The news keeps going on and on about how black folks don’t think Obama’s black enough. Blah, blah. 24 Hour news channels need something to talk about 24 hours a day. I think they’ve played it up into more of an issue than it is. I have yet to meet anyone who thinks that*. I do, however, know a lot of young black folks who are tired of crooked hypocrites like Jesse “I was cheating on my marriage even as I lambasted Bill Clinton for cheating on his” Jackson and Al “I cheated on my hunger strike” Sharpton trotting out their civil rights credentials and claiming to speak for all African Americans.

    I love Obama’s nuanced approach to politics. In this age of soundbites and Fox news, it’s really nice to see someone looking deeper than just thirty seconds’ worth of talk. He’s especially appealing in contrast with W’s “with us or again’ us” Newspeak.

    Personally, I can’t stand Hillary Clinton. She seems insincere and too beholden to big-money donors. Plenty of people I know don’t care for Hillary, but will vote for her because they want Bill Clinton’s policies back in office. But voting based on name recognition is what got us into our current mess.

    I do think Obama lacks experience, but he’s the only candidate on the board who gives me hope that we can fix our government. When I vote, I’ll make my decision based on the candidates’ platforms, records and abilities. But for now, can’t I imagine a leader who is both idealistic and eloquent, one who will represent us on the world stage without his sordid personal life overpowering his message?

    *granted, people who do think being “half black” means you’re not black enough probably wouldn’t admit it to my face. Seeing as how I’d take it personal, and all.


  • December/Stacia
    October 17
    11:00 pm

    What Bettie said. Personally his color means about as much to me as my absentee ballot will mean in the next election, and I honestly believe it’s the same for most Americans. Don’t forget, when they film those specials they’re looking for extreme POVs to air. They’re not going to show the dozens of people they talk to for whom his race isn’t an issue. They’re going to show the ones for whom it is, because that’s the focus of the story.


  • Beverly
    October 17
    11:24 pm

    The thing that is more important that experience or name or really even party in American presidential races is who the candidates associate with. The people they bring into the cabinet (especially offices like State, Defense, Nat. Security) will have a lot more to do with how their years in office look that most of what they do themselves. I say, look at their friends (the political ones), their close associates, and vote based on that. Not just the convenient ones to get some votes, but the ones they agree with, they team up with, and they vote with.

    On the subject of a black president, I still wish Colin Powell would have run or will run sometime in the future. I don’t know enough about Obama to really feel comfortable voting for him, but my husband and I would vote for Powell in a heartbeat.


  • Barbara B.
    October 17
    11:29 pm

    I don’t think Obama stands a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming president. That’s NEVER gonna happen.

    I also think we’re (Americans) kidding ourselves if we think the Republicans are going to give up the presidency. Ever. If America was ever a democracy it certainly isn’t now. They took the presidency in 2007 by extremely dubious means and have since learned that they can pretty much do what they want. Richard Nixon would marvel at the things the Bush administration has managed to do with impunity. We no longer have a free press. Politically we live in a completely different America than we did only 7 years ago.

    “A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.”
    Bertrand de Jouvenel


  • Devon
    October 17
    11:35 pm

    I agree with Bettie. Used to be a Hill fan but no longer. She seems too fake to me. Obama’s my favorite for now. I do think his race will be an issue to as many people as his inexperience will be to others. In combo, it’s rough, but I’ll stick it out w/him.

    I’m very curious as to how the Republican nom will go. I think Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani will have limited appeal to the average American, much in the way Obama and Clinton might. Giuliani’s Italian American, socially liberal bombastic Noo Yawk personality puts him outside the mainstream, and Romney seems quite insincere to me. He seems willing to remake himself according to what gets votes (not unlike Clinton).


  • Barbara B.
    October 17
    11:37 pm

    Oops. Sorry. I meant that the Republicans “won” the presidency in 2000, not 2007.


  • Ann Bruce
    October 17
    11:38 pm

    Personally, I can’t stand Hillary Clinton. She seems insincere and too beholden to big-money donors.

    Including Rupert Murdoch, who is the man behind FOX News, which enabled Bush to steal the election in 2000.

    Frankly, I think a Clinton-Obama ticket is sure to get the Democrats back in the White House. However, Obama has already gone on record as refusing to run for VP.

    Oprah is endorsing Obama, so it’ll be interesting to see how the world’s richest and most powerful woman in entertainment can influence American politics.

    – A Canadian who is highly interested in Indecision 2008 because I’m tired of the looks I get when I travel abroad and people assume I’m American because of my accent.


  • Ann Bruce
    October 17
    11:45 pm

    We no longer have a free press.

    My hero, Stephen Colbert, roasts Bush and takes the press to task in the following video:

    Stephen Colbert’s 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner speech


  • Barbara B.
    October 18
    12:10 am

    Thanks, Ann. I absolutely adore Colbert. I saw the clip last year and it was so sad that a comedian was the only one in the room with any kind of courage and integrity.
    The American press has completely rolled over. What we get these days is relentless non-news events like missing blondes and train-wreck celebrities on drugs or using racial or gender slurs. Distractions.

    BTW, Ann, I somehow thought you were British. Sorry you’re getting shit for being American when you’re not. That’s pretty scary these days.


  • Lynne Simpson
    October 18
    1:13 am

    My number one choice for president is Gore, but he won’t run. The day he conceded the election in December 2000 is the day my husband and I started making plans to become Canadians. What happened in 2000 was wrong on so many levels that we just didn’t feel right about being Americans anymore, and the events that have taken place since then have further confirmed that this is what we want to do.

    It’s going to take a little bit longer for us to move, but we’ll get there. In the meantime, I’m hoping for an Obama/Edwards (or vice versa) ticket in 2008. I’ll vote for Clinton if she’s the nominee, but I hope it doesn’t come to that.


  • shiloh walker
    October 18
    1:43 am

    I actually think he’s got a decent chance. No, he might not have much experience… but I dunno… is that a bad thing? He might not be as ‘politically minded’ as some. His goals might be to help… not just further his own political legacy.

    I’d hope his color doesn’t play into it. I’d also hope Clinton’s sex doesn’t win her female votes just because she has ovaries instead of a penis.

    It ought to be about the candidate, not their color, their sex, or anything else.


  • bettie
    October 18
    5:56 am

    “A Canadian who is highly interested in Indecision 2008 because I’m tired of the looks I get when I travel abroad and people assume I’m American because of my accent.”

    ::gulp:: sorry ’bout that, Ann.

    Hey, do you think Canada might want to annex California? We’re 36 million people stuck to a federal government that takes our money, fucks with our environmental regs, and couldn’t care less about our votes. Sure, we’ve got a crumbling infrastructure, a small smog problem, and an action hero for a governor, but Canada could really use a sunny state–um, province–right?


  • Anonymous
    October 18
    9:10 am

    I just think that it is sad that leaders of any country are being voted for their skin colour or race and nothing else.
    I guess racism will always be a part of life wherever we are. The difference is only how severe or mild the situation is.

    ~A citizen of a country run by a government with a racist policy which discriminates against the minority race~


  • Leslee
    October 18
    11:54 am

    I agree with Barbara B. I have lost faith in our government. That is why I would vote for Obama. He gives me hope. His lack of experience is one of the things I like about him. His wife seems like a lovely woman. I will vote for Hillary if I have no other choice, cause I can’t face another four years of Republicans who veto bills that deprive children of healthcare but spend billions on a war that I didn’t want and don’t support. I fully support the troops because they are protecting me and mine and their sacrifice is incredible! I wish people wouldn’t be so blind and foolish as to buy in what the media tells us and us their brains. I was called for a political survey this week and told them that I thought Rommney was creepy. Thanks Karen for such a interesting post, as usual.


  • Scott
    October 18
    12:04 pm

    When it comes to Obama’s lack of experience, that is one of the BIGGEST reasons I would vote for him. I am sick and tired of seeing “experienced” politicians doing the same old shit. Every damn time. It doesn’t matter who they are. They all want to make a legacy for themselves instead of doing what they originally got into politics for – TO CHANGE WHAT IS WRONG!

    As it stands, Obama is my leading candidate. Whether Democrat or Republican. I think he knows what needs to be done to change this country. Unfortunately, I don’t think he stands a chance either. Not only will he not get the nomination, if he did, he wouldn’t get the votes, and if he won, he wouldn’t get the help from Congress, because it’s filled with politicians that do the same old shit.


  • Jackie
    October 18
    12:07 pm

    My only problem with Obama is his lack of experience. And that’s not a deal-breaker for me…especially considering some of the other contenders. It’s going to be very interesting to see who gets the ticket.

    (Jon Stewart for President!)

    ((Sorry, Stephen…))


  • Jaci Burton
    October 18
    1:05 pm

    I find Obama to be charismatic, intelligent, well spoken and trustworthy. Yes, Obama lacks experience but what he does have is desire and guts.

    And I wonder out of all those naysayers they interviewed, how many were actual registered voters who will go to the polls on election day and vote? If they don’t vote, they don’t count so they can say what they want on camera and it doesn’t matter.

    My vote is for Obama. I think he’d make one hell of a leader, because he has the drive and the interests of the country as a whole in mind.


  • Shannon Stacey
    October 18
    1:58 pm

    A side effect of not having the political experience is not having the political juice necessary to accomplish anything. Obama needs more time to build his network, I think.

    I also don’t think he’s aggressive enough, and if he doesn’t have the nut to appear with people protesting blatant and horrific racism, he doesn’t have the nut to run this country.

    The Clintons were one of the best presidential packages this country has had, and I think they’ll take it again, even if the roles are reversed. And Hilary might take it on health care alone.

    An interesting sidenote: Being here in NH, we’ve been inundated with this for a while now, and it seems Obama gets a better reception than Mitt. They’ve shown restaurant patrons and others refusing to speak or shake hands with Mitt Romney not because of his platform or party affliliation (he’s a Republican this week, right?) but because he’s a Mormon. That surprises me.


  • Jana J. Hanson
    October 18
    3:21 pm

    As someone born and raised in the American South, many of us vote with the party our parents and grandparents supported. My staunchly Republican grandfather would come up out of the grave if he knew I’d voted Democrat in the last election.

    Obama/Edwards (or vice versa) is a choice I could get behind. I’m a big fan of John Edwards, and voted for he and Kerry based on the fact I liked Edwards.

    Since many Southerners vote as their family had voted, I’m not Obama could win the South. It would certainly be a tough fight. He’ll have a lot of prejudices to overcome.

    On the Republican front, I think if Fred Thompson did more campaigning, he’d win the South for sure. Heck, he may win primary votes now.

    I do believe Hillary talks out of both sides of her face. That’s to say, she’s backed by money, so she’ll tell the people one thing then do the opposite. Again, if Obama can’t win the South, I don’t think Hillary will either.

    What an interesting topic, Karen!!


  • Ann Aguirre
    October 18
    3:47 pm

    I suspect Obama is running too soon. He would’ve been a better candidate for ’12.

    And he made a serious misstep in suggesting an invasion of Pakistan. His main supporters appear to be peace-loving folk, who want a shift away from warmonger politics and the “blood for oil” agenda. By trying to establishing himself as “tough” enough to take command of the situation Bush has created in terms of foreign policy, he really shot himself in the foot.

    Which is a pity, because he had showed so much promise ere then.


  • Anonymous
    October 18
    4:14 pm

    I have to say I do a bit of eye rolling when people mention Obama’s lack of experience. People said the same thing about Bill Clinton because he had only been a state governor and was an “outsider” to Washington politics.

    Clinton DIDN’T have the experience necessary, IMO. He rode the wave of one of Amercia’s greatest economic booms, which is why people think he was such a fabulous president. Did he do anything for foreign policy? Not as far as I’m concerned. Did he do anything for national (US) policy? Again, he happened to be president during an unprecidented economic boom. Was he charismatic? Yes. His leadership qualities (in the abstract sense) are definitely strong, however I do not believe he was a strong leader for the US.

    I agree with Ann; Obama jumped the gun with this election. I think his chances would be fantastic in ’12. And I do believe that experience counts. While I certainly would choose him over Hillary I don’t think I’m going to get the chance.


  • Desiree Erotique
    October 18
    4:30 pm

    Scott said, “When it comes to Obama’s lack of experience, that is one of the BIGGEST reasons I would vote for him. I am sick and tired of seeing “experienced” politicians doing the same old shit.”

    I think a great deal of Americans feel the same. We’re tired of the same old rhetoric and same old breaking of promises. Skin color isn’t an issue.


  • heather (errantdreams)
    October 18
    4:43 pm

    I agree it’s a shame race is still an issue for so many people. For me, I really don’t give a crap about race or gender. Hell, even political party affiliation is secondary. I just care whether they can get the job done.

    Obama is nice, and there’s a lot about him to like. My only problems with him are: first, that little things around the edges have shown that he, like every other candidate, is, when it comes down to it, a politician, with all the crap that entails. I’d love to believe in all the optimistic idealism, and I think there’s some of that there with him, but a lot of it is image, IMO. Second, like someone else said, he lacks experience. I don’t need someone old in the White House, but at such a delicate time I’m not sure we should have someone as new as he is either.

    That said, I don’t see any other great alternatives, so he might get my vote anyway.


  • Ann Bruce
    October 18
    6:01 pm

    Bettie — Uh, do we have to take Arnie, too? Just joking. If you’re okay with higher income taxes and same-sex marriage, welcome aboard!

    Jackie — How about Jon Stewart for President and Stephen Colbert for Vice President? Colbert recently announced that he will run for president on Larry King, but as both a Democrat and a Republican.

    Anon — I used to live one hour (by air) from London and the BF just moved back to Canada after a three-year work assignment in England. I used to visit quarterly and every visit was interesting. Earlier this year, we went to a drinking establishment in London and as we were ordering drinks at the bar, one of the other patrons, who was swaying a little on his feet, heard me and yelled, “Damn American! Go home!”

    Startled, I looked around for a few seconds before realizing he was speaking to me. (By this time, the BF had picked up a faint English accent, so I knew he wasn’t the intended victim.) I turned to burly Englishman and, rolling my eyes, said dryly, “I’m Canadian.”

    Drunk Englishman leaned down and peered at me, reddened eyes narrowed, like he can tell if I’m lying if he can just stare at me close enough and long enough. “You sound like an American. Say something Canadian.”

    At this point, the BF, who’s a little young and a little hotheaded, stepped forward. I pulled him back and edged in front of him.

    “Gary Bettman’s an idiot. Under his leadership, the NHL’s going to go the way of the dodo.” I paused deliberately. “Eh.”

    Drunk Englishman blinked at me, bemusement replacing the aggression on his ruddy face.

    “She’s definitely a Canuck!” shouted a voice from the end of the bar.

    The people close enough to overhear the exchange laughed. The BF and I got our drinks paid for for the rest of the evening.

    As for Obama jumping the gun, I’m not so sure because with Bush not being allowed to run again (thank, God), Obama doesn’t have to compete against an incumbent. Generally, for an incumbent NOT to get re-elected, s/he has to screw up majorly because people do not like change.

    And I think Bill Clinton did a fine job on the international front because he generated a lot of goodwill for Americans. Plus, the man’s conscience actually bothered him when he ordered a missile strike on Afghanistan.

    There was a mayoral election in my city this Monday, and it was sad that I had to vote for the person who I thought would do the LEAST amount of damage because very few politicians manage to keep their promises. I wonder if Americans will do the same in 2008.


  • Giselle
    October 18
    8:51 pm

    I actaully like Obama for just his lack of “experience. I like the fact that he hasn’t been wallowing in the cesspool that is D.C. for years.

    And if Obama’s chance of getting elected hinges on Louisiana then he’s not going to be. My hubby’s is from small town La and the N word is seen as a normal part of the vocabulary there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to walk away from people (including family) right in the middle of the conversation because of it. The old south is truly alive and well there.


  • Eve Vaughn
    October 18
    9:59 pm

    I hate to be a cynic but I don’t think his chances are good, especially with so many good ole’ boys. They vote unfortunately and there’s too much voter apathy over her for him to be elected. Personally I think Hilary will be the democratic nomination. I like Obama though for his lack of experience. The career politians haven’t done much, its time for some fresh meat in the White House. I would love to see the Clinton/Obama ticket.


  • Karen Scott
    October 18
    10:08 pm

    Would Americans really vote another republican in, having experienced the worst period in American politics, that they’ve seen in quite a while?

    I think the people who don’t believe that race will be the deciding factor in how well Obama does, are basically sticking their head in the sand. For many, it wont be a factor, but I think for a lot more, it will make a difference in how they vote.

    I think the problem with Obama is that he’s trying to please all of the people, all of the time, which is always going to be impossible to achieve.

    Ultimately, trying to remain neutral and on the fence will probably only lead to suspicion from both sections of the crowd.


  • Monica
    October 19
    12:42 am

    In the good ol’ U.S. of A.?

    Of course not speaking of YOUR open-minded readers, but…

    I think damned near any white male, even Dick Cheney, has a better chance than a woman or a black man to win a Presidential election.

    You will see romance sites and blogs review a fair percentage of black romance authors in comparison with the rest before you see that.

    And we KNOW that’s not happening anytime soon, don’t we?

    What folks say they’ll do and what they actually do are two different things.

    Elections aren’t that fair anymore anyway. They let Bush steal ’em, not once, but twice. Sheesh.



  • Sarah McCarty
    October 19
    1:17 am

    “I think damned near any white male, even Dick Cheney, has a better chance than a woman or a black man to win a Presidential election.”

    And the current rhetoric is we’ll see a black man in office before we’ll see a woman in office, but as women speculating, our focus is on whether race is an issue, not gender bias. Which probably explains why the rhetoric is skewed the way it is.

    Historically, woman have borne more prejudice, bias, and gender based violence much longer than men (pick any skin color of preference. Heck even lump them all together) yet the focus of this discussion among women of all skin colors is the smaller issue of whether the skin color of one of the men running will impact the rather small chance he had anyway due to his lack of experience and connections.

    Maybe it’s my age and the times I grew up in, but I find that rather discouraging.


  • Janean
    October 19
    1:23 am

    I don’t hold any hope for it really, but I would really love for Obama to win. I know he’s a politician and says what he thinks ppl want to hear, but he’s the only candidate so far that even comes close to saying what I want to hear.

    Of course even if by some miracle he wins the nomination, my vote for him will be more symbolic than useful; I live in SC and whether he’s black,white, green or purple doesn’t even matter as much as the fact that he’s a Democrat. SC always sends it electoral votes to the Republican candidate. Most of the people surrounding me are so hung up on their religion they think God is going to strike them dead with a bolt of lightning if they vote for a Democrat president.
    Makes me want to pull out all of my hair!


  • Lynn Emery
    October 19
    1:39 am

    I live in Louisiana, have all my life. Of course I live in the state capital with two large universities on either end of the city and a thriving community college in the center, so we can’t be called “small town” by any means. As for race down here, racism is entrenched as it is all over the country. I’ve been to NY state- er, the “N” word is quite popular there. I have relatives in Cali, etc. Racism my have a different face so to speak, but the south has no monopoly on it. All that to say Obama’s race matters.

    Btw, I think those documentary people missed a whole lot of Louisiana folks who probably wouldn’t have made their film quite as interesting. Black people who might have said, “Gee, I think Obama hasn’t really made his case.” Or “He’s an unknown. We KNOW Hil’s got the balls and contacts to get stuff done.” Or some might have said, “The white majority media, politicos, money power brokers will make sure Obama is not only ineffective, but will probably try to destroy the man.” See, black folks can be practical, too.

    Btw, our state elects a governor on Saturday (or maybe we’ll have a run-off). Bobby Jindal (parents from India) is running as a republican again. He ran in the previous election for governor 4 years ago. White folks voted for a *white woman* rather than vote for a man they thought of as “black”. Race matters. It’ll be interesting to see what happens this time around.

    Black folks in Louisiana know the deal. They figure the same will happen to Obama. White folks all over the country will vote for whoever knocks him out of the race. Period. I’m not just talking Louisiana folks.

    Some of the most talented, educated people you’ll ever meet live in Louisiana. Don’t let the press fool you. We’re a lot more diverse than the stereotypes, but finding those makes the story simple for most media. Life is not that simple. Anywhere.


  • Emma
    October 19
    12:03 pm

    I guess I’m the only one of Karen’s American readers who still likes the fact that she was born and raised in the USA, and who still feels a smidgen of citizenly and political responsibility? I ask, because I read comments like this —

    The day he conceded the election in December 2000 is the day my husband and I started making plans to become Canadians.

    — and actually get pissed off. If you don’t like what’s going on in your country, you work to change it. You work to change it for all the folks who don’t have the resources to up-and-run when things political start going awry. That’s what politics IS.

    I’m just baffled and stupefied by those who believe they’re making any sort of thoughtful, respectable political gesture by announcing that they want to change countries like they would change their choice of take-out restaurants.

    As for Obama — I do have a few reservations in regard to some of the gaffes he has made vis-a-vis our relationship with India and Pakistan. But I do think it will come down to him and Hillary. There’s just no way the Republicans are going to win this year.


  • Teddy Pig
    October 19
    4:26 pm

    I’m going with Hillary for my vote.

    I would love to see Hillary change a few things.


  • Shannon Stacey
    October 19
    4:43 pm

    I guess I’m the only one of Karen’s American readers who still likes the fact that she was born and raised in the USA, and who still feels a smidgen of citizenly and political responsibility?

    Oh, definitely the fact one person said that makes you the only responsible American in the room. That makes sense.


    Before the elections y’all should read Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill. The yellow journalism is neck-deep at times and one really has to pay attention to the source notations, but there are some issues above and beyond Blackwater itself that Americans should be scared of and pissed off about. I had goosebumps by the end of chapter one. Your libraries should have it.


  • Anonymous
    October 19
    7:01 pm

    Politics is bs. Period.

    The only way serious, effective change is going to happen is if the people of this country rise up and reboot the system. If we stop buying into the line that this a Democracy (which in fact it’s a Democratic Republic – there’s a difference). We don’t live in a democracy anymore than the people of China do- we just have more “rights”, which btw we are giving away left and right without any thought about the repercussions down the line.

    Something like less than fifty percent of registered voters vote in this country. They don’t have the ‘time’, but they certainly do love to bitch about what they hate and how awful America is, etc, etc, etc.

    The US needs to become a Democratic Socialist country in order for any type of major changes to happen. Socialism would give America the leveling it needs to offer affordable health care to everyone. It could stop the disgusting greed of corporate America in its tracks. Combined with Democracy it would continue to offer a free market and the ability of the average person to do better than their beginnings.

    One of the things I’m most pissed off about in the upcoming race is that NONE of the wannabe President’s has brought up a blinding slight on the American people. Last year, when gasoline ws seventy dollars a barrell, I paid four dollars a gallon for it. The Oil industry made ten-plus BILLION dollars in profits.

    This year, with the cost of crude up to over eighty dollars a barrel, I’m paying less than two fifty a gallon. But the Oil Conglomerates didn’t gouge the country. Yeah, right.

    Beyond even that, none of them have said anything of value on how they are going to wean us from oil and gas. Oh, same shit different day – hydrogen and ethanol, blah, blah, blah. Hello, peeps, hydrogen is a ridiculous option and ethanol(of the corn variety) costs more to make than gasoline.

    Solar power would solve all our problems, but OMG, if we went to that the Oil magnates would be out of buisiness *wah wah* and the economy would collapse.

    WTF? Hello, if we invested the money to make solar cells more effective and more economical – UH we’d have more money to spend in the market because we wouldn’t be spending a third to half our incomes on fuel and natural gas! Moreover, since IMO plastic(one of the many petroleum products that will go by the wayside when oil runs out) is more important than gas (considering the numerous amounts of applications it has in our lives), I’d like to know that plastic would continue to be a part of the human existence.

    Obama’s one plus, IMO, is that he HASN’T taken money from big buisiness or PAC or any of that. Do I think he’ll win? No. Do I think he should take a VP? Yes, it’d give him the experience a lot of people think he lacks.

    Do I want another Clinton? No, and I’m not a republican either. But Bill was lucky, not good, and the shit he pulled in Bosnia – disgusting doesn’t even come close.

    Now that I’ve rattled on, I suppose a lot of people will be looking to keep out the Republicans, and will then simply vote for the Democratic nominee who seems the lesser of two evils. If people still think the country isn’t ready for someone other than a white man in office, I think they need a wake up call.

    And if a Republican does take the White House — dear god, the end of times might be nearer than we thought.

    Btw, love your blog, Karen!


  • Ann Bruce
    October 20
    12:34 am

    The Oil industry made ten-plus BILLION dollars in profits.

    This statement’s not wrong, but this would be more correct and eye-opening: ExxonMobil alone made $39 billion. $10 billion isn’t really a lot to the oil industry as a whole.

    This year, with the cost of crude up to over eighty dollars a barrel

    Crude just broke the $90 mark.

    Solar power would solve all our problems, but OMG, if we went to that the Oil magnates would be out of buisiness [sic] *wah wah* and the economy would collapse.

    Actually, no they wouldn’t. Gasoline is only a very small and the LEAST profitable part of the oil business. Oil companies make the majority of their revenue on other consumer products, such as synthetic fibres, plastic goods, construction building materials, electronics, and even food products. Ever had a Wendy’s Frosty? Well, you just consumed an oil product.

    If you really want to stop the oil companies, you’d have to go back to living off the land with nothing but a spear made from a stone tied to a wooden stick and wear animal hides.


  • amused
    October 20
    2:49 pm

    I think damned near any white male, even Dick Cheney, has a better chance than a woman or a black man to win a Presidential election.

    Funnily enough there was a short piece in one of the Metro’s (Free UK newspaper given out on transport) about how Dick Cheney’s wife had been investigating her hubby’s family tree and apparently him and Obama are closely enough related to call each other cousin.

    It would be nice to see Obama elected but I don’t think he’s got a cat’s chance in hell. Shame, he seems like a nice guy. I didn’t have any sympathy for the woman with eight kids – you can be poor but that doesn’t stop you from using some sort of contraception. You need to take responsibility for your own life and stop holding your hand out but I digress.

    All those southern folks shown who thought that because Obama sounds like Osama meant that he had some muslim blood in him somewhere (like that’s a bad thing) – does this mean that Cheney has got this evil muslim blood as well? Heh!


  • Misty G
    October 20
    4:10 pm

    This is going to be a little long winded, but I don’t think the point of Obama running right now is to be President in this election. I think he wants to be President, but I think the point of running now is to show he will be a strong front runner in future elections. I don’t think he won’t win because he is black and I don’t think he won’t win because of a lack of experience as a politician. His experience as a candidate is what is lacking.

    The political process in any country is about the moves you make to get to the place you want to be (lawfully or not, depending on the country). The experience he gains from this election puts him out there for a future, stonger, running chance. This is the election that will give him the “experience” others say he lacks.

    I feel if Democrats want to take the election, whoever they pick in the primary has to be someone they stick by 100%, and keep their personal opinions to themselves. Same for Republicans.

    That’s what Republicans did before and after the 2000 election (no matter how people feel Bush became President), and that’s how he got the Presidency the second time. That’s why he gets away with what he does, in the end they mostly stick together, right or wrong.

    It could go either way this time around. Not all of the Repulican picks are truly right wing concervatives. Some are all the way to the right, some are in the middle, and some I just don’t know what they are. The same can be said for Democrats this time too. Some are all the way to the left of Liberal, some are in between, and some are just in their own world.

    Hard core concervatives, just like hard core liberals, will vote for the person they feel is on their side, even if that person is in the minority. Which pretty much leaves it open for the candidates who show a mixture of everything to come out ahead.

    Hello, Hilary and hello Rudy. They might not actually be middle of the road, but both have equal amounts of baggage to bring, and both have equal amounts of positives to bring. They also both appeal to different kinds of people, not just one political view pont.

    There are republicans who won’t vote for for Rudy because he’s pro-choice. There are democrats who won’t vote for Hilary because of her stance on Iraq when the whole mess first started.

    The party that picks their man (or woman), and stands behind them all the way, is the party that will win, especially if that person shows the experience of capably running that big of an election.

    Kerry did not have the full support of his own party in the last election. People can blame Fox news or soundbites all they want, but towards the end of the election, democrats were all over the place. He, or his people, did not have full control over the party and what was put out in the press. Carl Rove had the republican party in one cohesive unit and control over the press (not just Fox News).

    The winning team will have to have control. The quesion is, which candidate will be able to control their party the best? I don’t think Obama has that control yet. He will one day, but not at this time.


  • bettie
    October 21
    2:29 am

    emma said:
    I guess I’m the only one of Karen’s American readers who still likes the fact that she was born and raised in the USA, and who still feels a smidgen of citizenly and political responsibility?

    Do you get mad at Indian-Americans or Canadian-Americans for leaving their home countries in search of better opportunities in the US? Both countries are democracies, both can, conceivably, be changed or improved through the hard work of their citizens. But the U.S. offers them the opportunities they want.

    Immigrants don’t abandon their culture and love of their homeland when they come to the U.S. Mexican-Americans still love Mexico, Vietnamese-Americans still love Vietnam, Cuban-Americans still love Cuba. Immigrants often send money and news home to the family members left behind. They often fuel change from afar with material support, news and new ideas.

    If you want an example that strikes closer to home, look at the effect African-American expatriates like Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin had on the civil rights movement here in the States.

    I don’t think Americans who immigrate to other countries in search of a better life are being any more disloyal to the country of their birth than any other immigrant. No matter how often we say “We’re Number 1!” when it comes to life-span, height, health care access, working conditions, vacations, and benefits, we are way down the list. And I’m not saying that because I hate America. I’m saying it because I love America, and I think we need to move beyond knee-jerk patriotism to thoughtful, pragmatic analysis if we want to continue to strive for a “more perfect Union.”

    Maybe if more Americans left the States and lived and worked in other countries we would be able to discuss the pros and cons of our current system in a more nuanced and informed fashion. As a culture, we too often deal in absolutes. We say things like “America: Love It or Leave It,” when, really, it is possible to both love America and leave it.


  • Regina
    October 21
    3:59 pm

    Socialism would give America the leveling it needs to offer affordable health care to everyone.

    While I tend to agree – socialism is still a dirty word to the American public, as they tend to lump it in with communism and the like. Yes, I know it’s not rational, but that’s the way it is, and traditionally has been in American politics.

    Though I do think something has to give. I know I’m not the only American exhausted by the double-talk of today’s political scene, the idiocy of the mainstream press and the sheer ignorance of our president, and his policies. That’s why, I think, Obama and Clinton actually have more of a chance then they normally would. Since the candidates the Republicans have propped up are pretty pathetic – McCain? Thompson? Giuliani??! – and are coming off a disastrous Republican presidency, there’s a shot there.

    For what, I really don’t know. Something good, hopefully.


  • Anne
    October 21
    10:41 pm

    I’m more in awe of the fact that there could very possibly be a WOMAN president (even none of us like her). We’ve come a long way from bra burning, haven’t we?


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