Thursday, March 20, 2008

8 flags over Barack Obama

You know how much trouble a politician has gotten into by counting how many flags he’s standing in front of as he tries to squirm out of it. Last week Eliot Spitzer went to a 2 flag alert after getting caught paying the big bucks for a girls gone wild wannabe (could have just bought the DVD). This week Barack Obama went to 8 flags after getting caught with a white-trashing black minister (could have slept in all those Sunday mornings). 2 flags wasn’t enough but 8 flags might just get out of this yet:

(1) Barack is still winning, 1621 delegates to 1479. He was probably going to lose Pennsylvania anyway, and that’s still not for 5 weeks. Worse case scenario: maybe he has to settle for the VP slot.

(2) The Obama people knew this was coming, and they had a pretty good speech ready. Jeremiah Wright’s name doesn’t appear in the index to Barack’s book, The Audacity of Hope, even though the title is said to come from one of Wright’s sermons. And Wright was covered in a New Yorker profile on Michelle Obama a couple of weeks ago.

(3) Irving Berlin isn’t alive to Tammy-Wynette Barack for standing by his man Jeremiah Wright, and grandma also isn’t around to complain:

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

(4) It’s ingenious for Barack to give whites permission to feel their own anxieties and he might be able to win Pennsylvania talking like this:

Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience - as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

(5) It’s also ingenious to let Geraldine Ferraro off the hook:

We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

(6) Wright helps to quash the rumors that Barack is a Muslim. Now you get to see right inside Trinity United Church of Christ. Who is the white woman named Hoffman on the church web site? Yep, they were ready.

(7) If the campaign becomes about race, and the Fox network comes after Barack the way that one expects they will, no one but Barack will be better situated to turn that to advantage.

Then Brer Rabbit started talking mighty humble.
"I don't care what you do with me, Brer Fox, says he, "Just so you don't fling me in that briar patch. Roast me, Brer Fox, says he, "But don't fling me in that briar patch."
"It's so much trouble to kindle a fire," says Brer Fox, says he, "that I expect I'd better hang you," says he.
"Hang me just as high as you please, Brer Fox, says Brer Rabbit, says he, "but for the Lord's sake, don't fling me in that briar patch," says he.
"I don't have any string, " says Brer Fox, says he, "Now I expect I had better drown you, " says he.
"Drown me just as deep as you please, Brer Fox," says Brer Rabbit, says he, "But please do not fling me in that briar patch, " says he.
"There's no water near here," says Brer Fox, says he, "And now I reckon I'd better skin you," says he.
"Skin me Brer Fox," says he. "Snatch out my eyeballs, tear out my ears by the roots," says he, "But please, Brer Fox, don't fling me in that briar patch, " says he.
Of course, Brer Fox wanted to get Brer Rabbit as bad as he could, so he caught him by the behind legs and slung him right in the middle of the briar patch. There was a considerable flutter when Brer Rabbit struck the bushes, and Brer Fox hung around to see what was going to happen.
By and by he heard someone call his name and 'way up on the hill he saw Brer Rabbit sitting cross-legged on a chinquapin log combing the tar pitch out of his hair with a chip. Then Brer Fox knew he had been tricked.
Brer Rabbit hollered out, "Born and bred in the briar patch. I was born and bred in the briar patch!" And with that he skipped out just as lively as a cricket in the embers of a fire.

(8) The press has not yet found the full words to the Jeremiah Wright version of God Bless America:

God damn America, land that I loathe
Stand astride her, and deride her
Thru the chains in the hold down below
From the slave ships, to the auction,
To the prisons, black with race
God damn America, my homeboy home

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