More on Obama - sort of...

Really, it's more on race and class in the U.S.

I. This is old news but I didn't hear it talked about much. A couple of weeks ago, Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice weighed in on Obama's speech and the issue of race in this country. She said it was "important" that Obama gave the speech "for a whole host of reasons," and described slavery as a "birth defect" in the founding of our nation. She pointed out that the African American experience is different from that of Asian Americans or Latino Americans in that African Americans are not immigrants (in the sense traditionally used in the U.S. - we're obviously all immigrants compared to Native Americans):

Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together - Europeans by choice and Africans in chains.

But even as she recognized the reason for the anger as expressed by Rev. Wright, Rice was quick to defend black patriotism:

What I would like understood as a black American is that black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when this country didn't love and have faith in them - and that's our legacy.

I bet Obama would agree with her on that, tho I know not all blacks would, and understandably so. Anyway, it was refreshing to see that Rice does recognize that race is still a problem in this country that needs to be addressed. One would think that any semi-intelligent person of color would, but then there's people like Clarence Thomas so ya never know.


II. Hillary Clinton is attacking Obama for using the word "bitter" to describe Pennsylvania's working class, claiming that he is "out of touch" and "elitist." For perspective, this is the full quote in context:

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Call me out of touch and elitist (I'm sure some will), but I don't see anything wrong with what he said. Of course it's not true for everyone. Generalizations always have exceptions. But Obama was describing the economic situation and explaining why issues like gun control and immigration might take on more prominence than they otherwise should. It was a compassionate explanation.  Are we at the point where a politician cannot speak the truth (without getting blasted) just because it doesn't sound nice?

Clinton (and McCain) can keep making their claims of elitism, but ultimately it depends on whether the working class who are being talked about see Obama or them as more truthfully describing their situation, not just giving platitudes.  Will people actually buy Clinton as a pro-gun, church-goer?  The Clintons didn't even start attending church until Bill lost re-election of the Arkansas governor's mansion.  We'll see.


Addendum (2008.04.13 4:34 pm)

Tracing back through a series of blogs, I found this great news article that pertains to the Wright controversy: 

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