An Interesting Way in Which Barack Obama’s Race Helps Him

 

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

The 2012 presidential election is shaping up to be an election highly focused on economics and class. It seems that one of the main themes of the election will be class, or the gap between the rich and the poor. At this point, it’s pretty likely that the main Democratic attack on Mitt Romney will be an attack based on class. Mitt Romney will be portrayed as rich and out-of-touch, a Wall Street banker.

Now what does this have to do with the title of this post?

Well, obviously this critique of Mitt Romney wouldn’t work if his opponent was also a billionaire businessman. The attack against Mitt Romney relies on the fact that Barack Obama is not rich, is not out-of-touch, and is not a Wall Street banker.

Except one of these things is false. Barack Obama is rich. His income level squarely puts him in the top one percent.

One can make a good argument, of course, that Obama’s wealth is a very different thing from Romney’s wealth. Obama is wealthy mainly due to the success of his books. He has never been and will never be rich in the way Mitt Romney is. Before gaining political success, Obama was pretty heavily indebted. Not to mention that he deliberately chose to be a community organizer after college, not the most high-income of jobs.

But more importantly than all these facts, there is the fact that Barack Obama just doesn’t look very rich. The typical American does not think of Obama as belonging to the top one percent when they look at him. Obama just doesn’t exude wealth in the way Mitt Romney’s very presence does.

Why is this? The answer is pretty simple: it’s because Obama’s black.

Despite the occasional successful black entertainer or athlete, the black community is still very strongly associated with poverty. Think about, for instance, the first image that usually comes to mind when people talk about poverty in America (and especially urban poverty).

The result is that Americans almost never associate Barack Obama with being rich, even though today he has become quite wealthy. This is one of those subconscious things which most people don’t even realize is happening in their minds. Nor even do many political experts realize this. Nor did I for the longest time.

But the fact that Obama is African-American, and the fact that very few people associate African-Americans with wealth, will end up making a huge difference in the 2012 presidential election.

 

 

Weekly Audit: Standoff Continues in Wisconsin

 

By Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

The 14 Democratic state senators who fled Wisconsin to thwart the passage of a draconian anti-union have no plans to return.

On Sunday night, a Wall Street Journal blog reported that the senators planned to return soon. Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly found it odd that the piece didn’t contain any direct quotes from the exiled Democrats. The claim that the Democrats were planning to return rested on a paraphrase of State Sen. Mike Miller said about the Democrats coming back. Miller says the Journal misconstrued his remarks and that the Dems are only coming back “when collective bargaining is off the table.”

It would be an odd time for Democrats to return. Republican governor Scott Walker has offered them zero concessions. Furthermore, as Benen observes, Walker’s popularity is plummeting. The latest poll by the Wisconsin Research Institute puts the governor’s approval rating at 43%, with 53% disapproving. A majority of respondents had favorable opinions of state Senate Democrats, public employee unions, and teachers’ unions.

Benen writes:

The significance of these polls can’t be overstated — they stiffen Democratic spines, while making Republicans increasingly nervous about standing behind an unpopular governor with an unpopular plan.

In YES! Magazine, Amy B. Dean explains why every American should care about the situation in Wisconsin. The collective bargaining rights of public employees are the central issue in this standoff. Walker is testing a radical new approach to unions and several other Republican governors are poised to follow his model if he succeeds. It is naive to assume that the war on unions will end with the public sector.

Jobs gap

Writing at The Nation, Chris Hayes explains why Washington doesn’t care about jobs. Hayes argues that Washington elites are insulated from the toll of unemployment by class and geography. The jobless rate for workers with college degrees is only 4.2%, which is less than half of the official unemployment rate of 9% and a quarter of the 16.1% underemployment rate. (The underemployment rate counts both the jobless who are still looking for work and those who have given up and left the labor force.) Furthermore, Hayes notes, the unemployment rate in greater Washington, D.C. is only 5.7%, which is lower than that of any other major city in America. He writes:

What these two numbers add up to is a governing elite that is profoundly alienated from the lived experiences of the millions of Americans who are barely surviving the ravages of the Great Recession. As much as the pernicious influence of big money and the plutocrats’ pseudo-obsession with budget deficits, it is this social distance between decision-makers and citizens that explains the almost surreal detachment of the current Washington political conversation from the economic realities working-class, middle-class and poor people face.

Even as the overall unemployment rate falls, economic recovery proves elusive for many workers of color, Shani O. Hilton reports at Colorlines.com. The February jobs report shows that the economy added 192,000 jobs, with overall unemployment falling by a tenth of a percentage point, bringing joblessness to its lowest rate since 2009. However, the unemployment rates for black and Hispanic workers remained fixed in February, at 15.3% and 11.6%, respectively.

Hilton notes that even if the economy were to add 200,000 jobs a month, it would take three years to bring general employment up to pre-recession levels.

Public innovation

The stereotype is that the private sector drives innovation. However, as Monica Potts reports in The American Prospect, industry’s well-deserved reputation for innovation is built on a foundation of publicly funded basic research. Conservatives often argue that the private sector would pick up the slack if public funding for basic research were reduced. Potts argues that public funding for basic research is essential because companies will naturally gravitate towards research that has an immediate payoff, instead of investing in cultivating deeper scientific understanding through basic research.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the economy by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Audit for a complete list of articles on economic issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Mulch, The Pulse and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

(Video link) Obama and Black Bloggers at White House

Well it looks like black bloggers are gaining opportunities for conversations at the highest levels of government in Washington, D.C. 

OK, let me re-state it differently: "Black bloggers who conditionally or unconditionally support the Obama administration are gaining DNC and White House conversation."

First there was the meeting of black bloggers with DNC Chairman Kaine (which I attended), then there was there was a  "black online summit" at the White House Monday as part of an outreach to African American journalists and bloggers before the midterm elections. 

According to reports from the Maynard Institute, even President Obama stopped by a "black online summit" at the White House Monday as part of an outreach to African American journalists and bloggers before the midterm elections, an effort that includes the Democratic National Committee spending what it calls an unprecedented $3 million to reach the most loyal part of Obama's base, African American voters.

"I thought the meeting was great in that it showed that President Obama and his administration are taking black new media and our growing influence seriously," David A. Wilson, managing editor of theGrio.com, told Journal-isms via e-mail.

 "They outlined how the administration's policies have had a positive effect on the African-American community and they invited us to make suggestions on how they could work better with us and provide us with more access to the White House.

However, Leutisha Stills, who blogs at Jack & Jill Politics, cautioned, "The summit was a good one and very comprehensive, but we made it known that if we really have 'influence,' we are going to test drive it and see how many more invites we get from the White House."

The Columbus Day session lasted from 9:15 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett present along with specialists from various parts of the administration, including the first lady's office. Among the 20 African Americans working on the Web were representatives of theRoot.com, Black Entertainment Television, Essence, Jack & Jill Politics, City Limits, Concrete Loop, AOL Black Voices, Black America Web and even the gossipy MediaTakeOut.

Monday's session is to be followed Friday by a presidential meeting with 10 members of the Trotter Group of African American columnists. Moreover, six or seven African American bloggers were credentialed for Obama's rally in Philadelphia last Sunday, although invitations were extended to about 20.

AAP says:  I was one of the 20 African American bloggers who was extended an invitation to be  credentialed for Obama's rally in Philadelphia last Sunday, unfortunately because of schedule conflicts, I was not able to attend the President's rally. 

The DNC and White House outreach effort with African American bloggers are noteworthy. The folks at Jack and Jill Politics and their partnership with Kevin S. Lewis , director, African American media for the White House is awesome. The work of senior DNC staffers, including Clyde E. Williams, Political Director for the DNC, along with Derrick L. Plummer, Regional Press Secretary,  and Jamiah Adams, New Media Constituency Manager at the DNC is equally as noteworthy. I can only wonder out loud if this effort is just to gain black blogger support for the mid-terms - only? I understand this is a political town.

Is the White House and the DNC reading the content of black blogger concerns regarding our economy and the need for the Obama administration to aggressively enforce of Federal contracting requirements, while establishing new programs in the Department of Commerce, and labor to address the need for job training and small business/micro business "grants" (not loans), for low-income urban dwellers?

I hope the DNC and The White House will continue to expand the working group to other progressive African American bloggers, such as  Afro-Netizen, Black CommentatorBlack Agenda Report, Field Negro, Faye Anderson, Oliver WillisPrometheus 6Republic of TSkeptical Brotha, and so many others, who may have other observations and thoughts regarding what the administration can do to "really" address issues like jobs, the economy, health care, education, community capacity-building, and investment in our communities. I'm hopeful that the DNC and the White House is not, what some may consider the pimping the growing influence of black bloggers Only smart work and full engagement on the part of all parties, and time will tell... 

As a black Independent voter and blogger, I remain cautiously hopeful.

UPDATE: Check out the news article in the NY Times about the black bloggers meeting with President Barack Obama. It includes video link of White House meeting with President Obama, Valarie Jarrett and Black bloggers, including corporate so-called afro-centric news groups,The Root (owned by (the Washington Post) and the Grio (owned by NBC)

 

                      Cross posted on African American Pundit Blog

 

DNC Chairman Meets with Black Bloggers

A few days ago I attended a DNC meeting with Black Political and Social Action Bloggers and DNC Chairman, Gov.Tim Kaine. This is a 180 degree change from the days of black bloggers concerned about a lack of access within the DNC. I'm reminded about a post a number of years ago, by Liza at the culture Kitchen when she wrote: "These are the 20 liberal bloggers that met with Bill Clinton in Harlem

It was great to see and hear black political bloggers like Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal from Jack and Jill Politics, Black Snob'sDanielle.Belton, Blogger Jeneba Jalloh "JJ" Ghatt, Kristal High of Politic365.com, Garlin Gilchrist II at Garlin.org, Donna Marie Coles Johnson at Indie Business, Debbie Hines atLegalSpeaks.com, Navarrow Wright at Maxie Solutions, Keli Goff, Barry Miles from Wee See You. Com, Carmen Rosenweek at All About Race, CPR Thomas at WeeSeeYou.com, along with representatives from Blogging While BrownTheLoop21,  Electronic Village,The RootLegal Speaks and the Center for Community Change,  attending and engaged in the meeting with the DNC Chairman. 


"The conversation  revolved around the DNC’s efforts to inform, engage and empower voters – especially African American voters- to participate in the upcoming elections. 

The DNC senior staff have said if President Obama is to continue moving our country forward our community has to be informed.  Moreover, he needs allies in Congress and in order for him to have allies in Congress we need people to come to the polls and vote.

The conversation with Chairman Kaine took place today at the DNC headquarters in Washington, DC with a conference call-in number for black bloggers who were not be able to attend in person. 


There were background discussions with  senior DNC staffers, including Clyde E. Williams, Political Director for the DNC, along with Derrick L. Plummer, Regional Press Secretary,  and Jamiah Adams, New Media Constituency Manager at the DNC.  Read more HERE


Bloggers in attendance got a real opportunity to discuss the DNC’s detailed plan to engage voters and how the DNC can be a resource to members of the African American Political blogger community.

This meeting in many ways appeared to serve as a DNC coordinated follow-up to an earlier high level meeting between black bloggers and the Obama administration. 

As reported by Casey Gane-McCalla over at NewsOne,  President Obama's staff has been reaching out to an array of new black opinion-makers ---- black political bloggers and Pundits.   As reported by Casey Gane-McCalla, the White House meeting was brokered by Cheryl Contee of the blog Jack & Jill Politics, and was several months in the making. As reported by NewsOne, It also offered the bloggers a chance to connect with the administration and find ways to gain more White House access. Over 60 bloggers met in June with Jesse Lee, director of the White House’s Online Programs, and Corey Ealons, White House director of African American Media, while in the DC for Blogging While Brown conference. More HERE

Regarding the meeting with the DNC Chairman Kaine it was organized by DNC Regional Press  Secretary Derrick L. Plummer, along with Jamiah Adams, New Media Constituency Manager with the DNC.   

During the meeting we learned from the DNC Chairman that the DNC will provide an unprecedented amount of resources with a special emphasis on base turnout — youth, African-Americans, Latinos and first-time voters. I found the DNC Chairman to be thoughtful, candid, and willing to listen to ways to improve DNC communication to African American voters and African American bloggers.


Advertising on black political blogs websites

This Pundit asked whether there would be any special emphasis for the DNC to advertise on black political blogs. Something that has been a concern of mine and other black bloggers for some time. We will be asking that question again, and will inform our readers of the final answer. Show me the money!

As I said back in 2007, more black voters will be reading these black bloggers views and opinions. There are progressive black political bloggers suchJack and Jill PoliticsAfro-Netizen,Black CommentatorBlack Agenda ReportBlack Races,BlackProfBrownFemiPowerBlack electorate,Field Negro, Mirror on AmericaNegro Please,NegroPhileOliver WillisPrometheus 6Republic of TSkeptical Brotha,Where Is The Outrage?,Francis Holland, Anderson at Large, and so many others, (don’t forget the Angry Indian – Voice of a Native Son) who just may be interested in advertising and the DNC's advertising dollar.

Future Black blogger - DNC Coordination

During the discussion with DNC Chairman,  Tim Kaine the former Virginia governor says given all the challenges his party's faced since the 2008 election, and despite the poll numbers, he's believes the Democrats can pull off victories in some races that will surprise people.  He pointed out Democrats need help from all segments to inform, engage and empower voters – especially African American voters- to participate in the upcoming elections.


AAP says: "I know I want my President to be successful. Do you? It's about rebuilding our nation, our communities our neighborhoods. Although I am not a Democrat, I believe it's time to rally with the President and his party around issues we agree upon. I believe progressive black political bloggers should support the President and the DNC... even when we disagree. Just remember to hold the DNC and the President accountable, if they don't address issues like high unemployment, poverty reduction and other issues important to our communities."

- African American Pundit can reached at: africanamericanpundit@gmail.com 

 

Sharron Angle’s Black Day at Tonopah

People of Nevada, I feel your pain. I get it. Really I do. It’s not like Harry Reid has been worth much as Senate leader and I’m sure he’s sucked just as bad as your personal Senator. But fer Chrissakes, couldn’t you come up with someone to run against him other than Sharron Angle? Someone respectable, you know smart and cultured – I’m thinking Rush Limbaugh.

Angle is so spectacularly bad as a candidate and – well, let’s face it – quasi-sentient being that she actually makes The Grizzly Whisperer™ look like a genius. If you elect this woman to anything, much less the US Senate, your license plates will have to say, “Welcome to Nevada, the Moron State” as a mater of truth in advertising. And that’s saying something when you’re up against the competition from Texas and Arizona. I mean those people are real pros.

An Idiot That Keeps on Giving
Nary a day goes by that Over-Sharin’ Sharron doesn’t do or say something stupid. Reporters should only ask the questions she wants to hear and write stories that only she can approve. She thinks God called her to run for Senate, proving once again that God should hire a much better class of PR flaks for his domain. She doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state and accuses Democrats of being in violation of the First Amendment Commandment. Gadzooks Nevandans!

I’ve always believed that to be a success in life you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, but use a personal yardstick to compare yourself to what you are capable of.  Angle clearly has some sort of weird metric mojo going on when it comes to her personal yardstick.

Case in point : She denies it now, but back in 1992 she came out foursquare against the scourge of black. Not black as in African American (although she doesn’t seem like a BFF of them either). Not black as in Black Friday. Not even – to employ a Nevadaism – blackjack. No, Sharron Angle is against black…the color. Specifically, the color of football jerseys at Tonopah High.

It’s evil. It’s close to sacrilege she said of a move to change the school’s jerseys to red. So evil in fact that she agitated to have the change repealed, the jerseys seized and put under lock and key, and the kids who bought them left holding the bag because the school wouldn’t reimburse them.

I suppose we could infer from this that Sharron would lead the charge against all sorts of other “colorism” too.

The Amish Are Evil
Priests and ministers would have to exorcise their black vestments. Amish folks would have to wear hot pink (because we all know what raving, hell-raising devil-worshipers they are). Black Flag insecticide would be verboten and the Oakland Raiders banned from the football field – although some would think that an improvement.

I’m used to politicians saying and doing stupid things. It is what they do and you can expect a certain amount of that from the sheer volume of hogswallop they spew. Talk enough and you’re bound to look like a goob occasionally. It’s an occupational hazard. But I’m aghast to say she easily snatches the Scepter of Stupidity from Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann. Even the unholy Troika of  Trolldom, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, and all the Fox News blondie bubbleheads rolled into one, run a distant second.

So people of Nevada, take mercy on the rest of us. Harry’s worthless, but at least he’s emasculate. Sharron is so stupid she might even figure out how to be dangerous – although I admit I may be giving her mental powers more credit than they deserve. Don’t elect this pinhead. We already have enough trouble as it is. Good God, Newt Gingrich might even make a comeback and that would be worse than a lifetime supply of Glenn Beck reruns!

Elect Sharron Angle and it will be a black day for us all.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

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