Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Right Wing News = Wrong Wing Nut

Way, way back in June of 2006 I posed a question to conservative blogger John Hawkins of Right Wing News, which he answered on his blog. Here's the post which contains my question and Hawkins' answer:

Q&A Friday #43: Will Obama Be The First African American President?
Question: "And do you think Obama will be this country's first African American president?" -- huckupchuck
Answer: I'm of the opinion that the first black President is likely to be a conservative Republican who pulls in a big chunk of the black vote without turning off the rest of the country by being in favor of Affirmative Action, reparations, racial set-asides, and all the other noxious black policies Democratic pols seem to feel obligated to support.
I wonder how Hawkins is feeling today about being so wrong back then.


Eric said...

While Hawkins was certainly wrong about the conservative part, the fact is that Obama's success is based largely on him smashing the template for a black Democratic politician. He's said very little about affirmative action (in fact, he said that his daughters didn't need it). His black ancestral roots are in Kenya, not in the cotton fields of the South, and that gives him a respectable distance from the race-baiting black Democrats. He even disavowed his racist pastor when there was no way of justifying the relationship in a political context... and that's something that former black candidates from the Democratic Party would simply never have done.

I will give Obama credit for this, he kept the racial politics to a bear minimum in his campaign. While there are certianly people in this country who voted both for and against him based solely on the color of his skin, neither Obama nor McCain courted those voters, and that is the one bright spot in this election for me. America has left institutional racism behind, and Obama is proof. This should be celebrated, and I think you'll find that John Hawkins agrees with that, even if it came about in a manner that was at odds with his prediction.

Huck said...

Eric - You've always been an excellent analyst of this aspect of our social dynamic, and have really been an very positive example to me of an admirable conservatism on the question of race. Before I read this comment of yours, I put up a new posting on Hawkins and the subject of race. And while I think Hawkins wants to be in the right place on the subject, I think he is profoundly and deeply conflicted about this -- to the point that he is always giving simultaneous mixed signals about it. I think he perpetuates racialized politics in this country all the while he rails against it. I just don't think he sees and understands the subject as clearly as you or I do. I probably should give credit to Hawkins for trying; and being from the deep South myself, I know how deep these things run in culture and in social psyches. But it's not enough, and I feel obligated to point this out whenever I see it.

I do agree with you that Obama is proof of a new day in this country as far as institutionalized racism and racial hucksterism goes; but it's because of people just not seeing so much racism in his candidacy. And as much as Hawkins tries to be a color-blind analyst of Obama, he has seen a sinister racism at work in the entire fabric of Obama's campaign. Hawkins might agree with what Obama's election means in regard to race, but he should stop being part of the tide that flows against this meaning.

Cynthia said...

Left institutional racism behind? Hmmmm... There's that pesky fact lingering that white deep south voters voted overwhelmingly red last night, while there were a lot of crossover white voters in other states.

Don_cos said...

There's that pesky fact lingering that white deep south voters voted overwhelmingly red last night, ~ Cynthia

Yeah, it could posibly be because there are people there who do not agree with Obama's promised policies.

Don_cos said...


Could = couldn't.

D'oh! 8-}

Eric said...

Cynthia, surely you'll at least admit that there's a good possibility most culturally conservative southern voters didn't vote for Obama because they were turned off by his policies. Most white southern voters didn't vote for John Kerry either, what does that prove?

Sure, there were some people who wouldnt' vote for Obama becasue he was black... there were also some people who voted for him exclusively FOR that reason (which is just as absurd), but the point is that that there wasn't a political or institutional aparatus in place that forced race to be a factor. Instead of an institutional issue, race is now a personal issue in America, and as such it isn't widespread enough to swing an election.

For instance, there is no longer any reason to assume that a culturally conservative black Republican couldn't win wide support in the GOP. Race just isn't a big enough issue anymore to effect our politics like it has in the past.

Eric said...

Here's an example for you, Cynthia:

In 2004, John Kerry got 34.4% of the vote in my state of Oklahoma, a state often derided by liberals as being part of the 'redneck racist south'.

Yesterday, Obama got 34% of the vote here.

Now, go ahead and explain to me how "red" equates to "racist".

New Orleans Ladder said...

Check this out y'all: