Brilliant Obama Will Get Us Past the Affirmative Action Era

US Politics
on 10 Comments

All I ever needed to know about how smart Obama is comes from a friend of my wife’s who was in law school with him. The friend didn’t read the books for administrative law, didn’t go to class. He borrowed Barack’s notes from the class. He got an A. Obama could capture the essence of the teaching and get it down. Didn’t miss anything important. Probably good penmanship too!

One of the great things about Obama is that No one is saying he’s an affirmative action baby. There’s just not a question. The asterisk that hung over so many second-raters in big jobs–Clarence Thomas–is gone. I hope that this will change American culture, move us out of the affirmative action period. I’ve always been very pro-affirmative action, but part of the reason I was is that I always regarded it as transitional. Obama may prove that point.

And when he’s president (aren’t we past If now?), imagine what that will do for minority hiring! It will be a boon to black employment in executive position. Foreign countries will hire black representatives with the idea that they will command Obama’s attention. So will local communities. NFL franchises and energy companies will all want to show that they’re down with the program. Affirmative action will give way to a kind of patronage. Like the Irish political machines of the early 20th century, Obama’s rise will include his community in American society in a whole new way. And blackness will never be the same…

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Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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10 Responses

  1. Jim Haygood
    February 22, 2008, 5:09 pm

    "when he's president (aren't we past If now?) …"

    Not quite, Phil. The theme is already being aired that Jews need to cast a strategic vote for the Republican candidate this time. Here's Shmuel Rosner, writing in Haaretz:

    "Israeli experts on American politics said in recent weeks that a campaign between Obama and McCain will place Israel at center stage and will require extreme caution on the part of Israel. McCain is hoping to attract Jewish American votes, both because of his many years of support for Israel, and also as a result of the endorsement he received from Senator Joe Lieberman.

    "Lieberman is often mentioned as a possible member of the McCain administration, possibly as secretary of defense.

    "Douglas Bloomfield, a former lobbyist and now a columnist in Washington, believes that McCain is "the Republican with the best chance of returning his party to the Reagan-era level of at least 30 percent of Jewish voters."

    link to haaretz.com

    'Extreme caution' is a euphemism for "Let's not go the race-baiting route or the Muslim-baiting route against Obama, but rather let's stress the positives [for Israel] of McCain."

    Reaching across party lines to nominate Lieberman for defense secretary is just the sort of maverick move that might appeal to McCain. It would be calculated to appeal to Jewish voters — "You can vote Republican and still get Lieberman."

    The thought of hawkish Lieberman as defense secretary, under a president who's already said that the Iraq occupation will last a hundred years, is appalling. But it's good for Israel, no doubt.

  2. Madrid
    February 22, 2008, 5:30 pm

    In the long run, the worst thing in the world for Israel would be for McCain to win.

    McCain as president means the following:

    1) Definite military confrontation with Iran
    2)Possible smaller military confrontations with Russia
    3) furthering of Neo-liberal economic policies which have destroyed US manufacturing base and bankrupted the country
    4) furthering of our enormous and unsustainable trade deficits with China
    5) furthering of unsustainable military spending
    6) further gutting of US spending on health and infrastructure
    7) further descent of the US into third-world status

    At the end of the first term of a McCain presidency, people will be so pissed off, they will be standing outside the Whitehouse and Wall Street with torch and pitchfork in hand, like in that scene from the movie, Frankenstein. The US will have been internally divided, it will have weakened beyond repair, and all the ancient hatreds will have resurfaced with a vengeance.

    Whether because the US is too weak economically or because the American people begin vehemently to despise and distrust their elites, it very quickly will become obvious to both American elites and Israeli elites that the current relationship with Israel has become unsustainable.

    For their part, American elites will try to save their own position at the top of the food chain by attempting to reaffirm and reestablish the old FDR-made alliances with the oil-producing states, since those states, unlike the US, actually produce something of value (Yes, oil is the most important commodity of the modern world). They will try to reestablish the US as the military protector of those states. What remains to be seen is whether China or Russia can compete for that role with the US, and whether those oil-producing states still want to maintain the alliance with the US.

    Such a future for Israel will be full of pitfalls. If it does not instigate a war with its neighbors (which is one possibility), it will try to sell its military technology to countries that actually produce and export things of value: China, India, Russia, and even possibily Japan. As a result, Israel is more likely to have a neutral or even a hostile status with regard to a declining and impoverished US.

    Granted, much of the same may happen to an Obama-led US, but at the very least, the military confrontations with Iran and other countries are less likely.

  3. americangoy
    February 22, 2008, 6:12 pm

    I am amazed at the depth of comments at this blog.

    Recent example: Madrid.

  4. MM
    February 22, 2008, 11:18 pm

    At the same time I am kinda kinda sorta sorta starting to share Phil's optimism about Obama, I still remain highly skeptical that he will be able to confront the powerful forces that direct American policy towards militarism, neo-liberalism, neo-feudalism (regressive taxation), etc.

    Who has Obama ever really stood up to?

    Won't Barack want another 4 years?

    Won't a new approach to, say, Israel, have those "Berman brakes" put on it by the crypto-Zionist majority in Congress before he can say Hussein?

    How will Barack be able to change what's entrenched?

    My cynical answer–he won't, mostly, though he will serve us better platitudes as the former republic continues its swirl down the drain. Madrid's conclusion will probably prove prescient.

  5. Gene
    February 23, 2008, 3:44 am

    I think we also should start praying for Senator Obama. Not because I like him particularly. His wife, Michelle, has an aggreived affirmative action chip on her shoulder as big as all outdoors. The reasl reason he needs our prayers is that the black community is heavily invested in Obama now. If some crackpot were to try and assassinate him on the verge of his winning the Democratic nomination, this country would erupt in flames, the economy will crash, our international influence will evaporate, the streets will burn, the universities close, and we could end up with martial law here at home.

    As I said, I'm not particularly enthralled with BarryO. My candidate is Ron Paul, the one remaining candidate with absolutely no chance of going anywhere. But as long as Obama is going to be the next president, I sure hope the Secret Service protects him better than they did yesterday when they let several thousand people stream into an auditorium in which Obama was to speak without even a cursory check for weapons. His death wouldn't even have to be deliberate. Even if a piece from that falling spy satellite hit his campaign plane, it would still be seen as an act of war committed by the military on the black community. And chaos would follow us for years.

  6. Madrid
    February 23, 2008, 10:02 am

    Gene:

    I agree–I was on a plane recently sitting next to an African American woman, whose first comment about the election was that she was voting for Hillary because she was certain that Obama would be assassinated if he gets the nomination.

  7. Protest II
    February 23, 2008, 2:23 pm

    Obama is incompetent, and a shallow product of a false affirmative action. He is an accidental black person. He has really not deserved any promotion. Accidentally, he is probably more Arab than Negro.

    He can not argue very well in a debate without the input of his manipulators, who are mass producing his insane answers and plans.

    Obama is nothing else than the puppet of a bunch of his corrupt consultants.

    The danger is in his empowerment message, which is so fascist, and will generate riots after riots.

  8. Charles Keating
    March 1, 2008, 12:11 pm

    I remember how affirmative action worked when I was in law school. The blacks were given free tutorials the summer before the freshman year started. Once regular classes started up, if they flunked an exam, they could take it a second time. Nobody else had that option. Most of the black students came from familys werein the parents were professionals, doctors, lawyers, etc. None of them had ever held a job to support themselves. The few blacks who actually came from the impoverished-to working/lower middle class all dropped out during the freshman year.

    That observation applied to the day classes. Similarly, most of the white law students came from the same well-off class as most of the blacks; they too had never worked a day in their life, especially to support themselves. But they did not get to take any test over.

    The night classes were full of working class & lower-middle class white students who all had day jobs and most had families to support. They were working their way through school. Nearly all eventually graduated–without the option of taking tests a second time.

    I guess that situation was part of affirmative action's "transitional" phase.

    The lack of economic means testing associated with the bulk of
    affirmative actions history as implemented annoys me.

    Mrs. Obama is annoyed too. She'd feel better if her husband was simply given the job he wants–part of the transition, the cherry on the pie of affirmative action.

  9. JH
    March 2, 2008, 4:46 pm

    The reality is that when African Americans
    really think about Obama (if they do) they
    won't feel encouraged at all.

    He is half-white and his African father
    was clever enough to scam an enducation
    out of the white man way back.

    He is simply not representative the general
    AA population.

    With that said, I haven't seen his SAT scores.

    The press published academic statistics from
    both Bush and Kerry as well as military
    standarized scores. Where are Obama's?

    This is a bit esoteric, but it has been written that the issue of the Harvard Law Review that Obama edited is one of the least
    cited ever.

  10. JH
    March 2, 2008, 4:47 pm

    The reality is that when African Americans
    really think about Obama (if they do) they
    won't feel encouraged at all.

    He is half-white and his African father
    was clever enough to scam an enducation
    out of the white man way back.

    He is simply not representative the general
    AA population.

    With that said, I haven't seen his SAT scores.

    The press published academic statistics from
    both Bush and Kerry as well as military
    standarized scores. Where are Obama's?

    This is a bit esoteric, but it has been written that the issue of the Harvard Law Review that Obama edited is one of the least
    cited ever.

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