Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Niche Marketing

I've been enjoying--as a way of staving off depression about it--the way that the media have been talking about the "white male" vote, and whether Clinton or especially Obama will scare us off. I suppose it's a good thing that we're not being conceptualized as an universal here, that we are demographically identifiable now. But I still have to laugh at insinuations that come through in reportage or interviews that indicate that we are the forgotten children of this campaign, with "no one to represent us."

Are we really so pampered we have to cry about this lack of representation in the Democratic nominee during this one election? Well, yes, I guess we are.

I didn't see the speech where Obama ended racism yesterday, but I saw clips of it. I don't get the furor over Wright's comments, which are generally tiptoed around in the articles I've read, not even saying what they are, only that they're "controversial." (Better to repeat that something is controversial, too hot to touch, than circulate the comments in context and let people decide.) As readers of EL will recall, I am not exactly won over by Obama, but I think it's disgusting the way he's been pressured into denouncing his pastor, assuring that all important white voting bloc he doesn't think in terms of "race" (those were the Sixties man!) but rather in terms of healing divisions in all of society. My girlfriend laughed as The Daily Show covered these issues last night at the fact that so many of us (white people) are shocked that black churches act as fora in which black people discuss issues relevent to them and their communities. The horror! Obama handled the uppity media's minor firestorm as well as could be expected, but I would have liked him to say, "A lot of what my pastor said was perfectly defensible. Deal with it."


edo said...

He actually does say that in his speech, if not in the way that you've phrased it. He expressly does not condemn Rev. Wright, only his remarks, and, at the same time, he elucidates the context of the remarks and the historical experience which has inspired them and many others of the same spirit. He does provide the context. So it was to me a surprisingly compelling speech, probably the best I've seen him give, and I urge you to watch it in its entirety.

I'll admit I am an Obama supporter and have been for a while, but I'm not a wholehearted or uncritical one. I've been frustrated that he hasn't in the past been more audacious when confronted with these issues - the lack of movement on Rezko being a prime example - but here I think he's really taken a step up. It's certainly an unconventional response. If his manner and rhetoric are still within the bounds of social acceptability, reserved and cautious, his points are substantial, and may even prove difficult for the mainstream media to package.

Where most politicians would have just disassociated themselves from the weak link and then swiftly changed the subject, Obama's trying to arrest the debate and raise it to a higher echelon. It's still a political maneuver to shift the attention off of a potential blemish, but this time he's given priority to the issue and trying to stir discussion. Whether this move hurts or helps him remains to be seen, but I think he's done right by where the debate is concerned.

ZC said...

Edo, good to know. If Obama's proving my suspicions wrong that's a positive thing--I'll seek out his whole speech. Thanks.

Frank Partisan said...

You don't hear much about Clinton's religious views. Motther Jones exposed she belongs to what is almost a Christian cult.

Bottom line: All three have wacky religious views.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the issue is how Obama, as a presidential candidate, MUST have some kind of religious figure as a part of his campaign. Given the chance, I doubt he would bring religion into it at all, and certainly not someone who is likely to jeopardize his campaign (whether what he said was defensible or not, it doesn't fly in politics).