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African-American leaders slow to warm up to Obama

Judgment reserved until plantation membership is fully certified

January 13, 2007

The media may have anointed Barack Hussein Obama as their "chosen one" in the race for the presidency (at least, their "chosen one" for this month, with a mere 22 months remaining before the election). However, the similarly-anointed "Leaders of Black America" appear to be tightly guarding their own lamp oil, and to be watching Obama with more than a bit of apprehension.

"Civil rights leaders who have dominated black politics for much of the past two decades have pointedly failed to embrace the 45-year-old Illinois senator who is considering a bid to become America’s first black president," reported London's Sunday Times. The story quotes Jesse Jackson as saying, "Our focus right now is not on who's running, because there are a number of allies running."

Calypso singer-cum-politico Harry Belafonte chimed in with the warning that America needs "to be careful about Obama," because "we don’t know what he’s truly about."

Other than lamenting the "media razzle-dazzle" and lack of "meat," Al Sharpton declined to comment on Obama, citing a possible presidential run of his own (again).

The reason for the chilly reception? One self-proclaimed "independent" Democrat strategist has a theory:
They are basically jealous. They’ve been toiling in the trenches for decades, and along comes this son of a Kenyan farmer and suddenly he’s measuring the drapes in the Oval Office.
Obama's ability to garner media attention without appearing at the side of Cindy Sheehan or Hugo Chavez, without publicly supporting the Duke rape case accuser in Durham, NC, without defending criminals with often-hollow claims of racism or police brutality, and without having to go to any other extreme lengths has doubtless grated on these men, none of whom shy from the spotlight.

While Obama has managed to maintain the appearance of being a centrist Democrat due in large part to his ability, for all intents and purposes, to "cherry-pick" those issues on which he will go on record with his opinion, a presidential campaign would seriously hinder that - especially, as the Times has reported one "analyst" as saying, if there were a Sharpton candidacy to contend with in the primaries, since it
would "put Obama on the spot" by forcing him to address awkward civil rights issues such as police brutality and racial profiling that he tends to steer clear of.
"One Democratic blogger," the Times added, "argued that Sharpton was 'just what the doctor ordered to keep Obama on the straight and narrow'."

The report concludes:
Others suggested that Sharpton would help [Hillary] Clinton by dividing black primary voters. In one interview last week, Sharpton warned that Obama could not take the black vote for granted. A strategist pointed out, however, that Obama could emerge as a "model of reason, compared to that blowhard Al (Sharpton)."
All true. One has to wonder, though, even if this is not only about attention (which, judging by the past records of Sharpton, Jackson, Belafonte, etc., it almost certainly is, at least in part), whether the biggest issue has to do with a desire to withhold approval until Obama's public persona moves farther to the left, and more in line with the toe-the-line-at-all-times, no-deviation-allowed black liberal Democrat standard (or at least the private assurance that he will do so once he has fooled the American mainstream into a victory).

The biggest worry, of course, would be that Obama would risk original thought, and thus require branding with the dread misnomer of "Uncle Tom" and the more hateful epithet of "Oreo" - much like Michael Steele, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, Ken Blackwell, and any others who have committed the cardinal sin of questioning the givens of African-American political thought have been.

The choice will have to be made sooner rather than later, and, as Barack Hussein Obama will soon discover, the path of least resistance within his own party is clear: remain on the plantation, and receive unbending support regardless of how out-of-bounds you may go, much like William Jefferson ("in his freezer!"), who was given a standing ovation by the Congressional Black Caucus upon his reelective return to Washington, despite his being caught accepting bribes and hiding cash, has.

On the other hand, the tougher path involves much more risk, and very little reward from the left side of the aisle (or from "civil rights" leaders, or the CBC, or...). This path requires original thought, real principles, and the willingness to go against the grain and to march to a different beat than the locksteppers who set the standard for "acceptable" black leaders.

Should Barack Hussein Obama let his loyalty waver, and take the path of free thought and intellectual honesty, though, there is always the wife of the First Black President waiting in the wings to scoop up America's black vote.

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At 2:46 AM, Blogger 2spotlefty said...

Mr. Emanuel,

Do you know why this column was PULLED FROM TOWNHALL.COM ? I liked it,but didn't know who had written it,so it took some work tracking you down.

Mark Ducharme

At 11:04 AM, Blogger J.P. Emanuel said...

Mr. Ducharme,

The column has not been pulled from Townhall. It can be seen right here:




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