A non-white (and/or) woman U.S. President?

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A non-white (and/or) woman U.S. President?

Post by admin » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:35 pm

MaximsNews Columnist
Marc Morial

NON-WHITE, WOMAN U.S. PRESIDENT? (MaximsNews.com, U.N.)

by Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League, former two-term Mayor of New Orleans, former President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and author of To Be EQUAL. Marc Morial is a Columnist for MaximsNews Network.


MARC MORIAL: A NON-WHITE, WOMAN U.S. PRESIDENT? (MaximsNews.com, U.N.)

UNITED NATIONS - / www.MaximsNews.com, UN/ - 09 November 2006 -- There is no doubt that the 2006 midterm elections have set the stage for some historic developments for women and minorities in the political arena. The Democratic Party's success this past Election Day has paved the way for a number of firsts.

With the party's takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Nancy Pelosi stands a very strong chance of becoming the first female Speaker of the House, while Rep. Charles Rangel is poised to take over the helm of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the first African American to have the job.

And in Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, a former official with the Civil Rights Commission under President Clinton, won his bid to become the second African American governor in U.S. history after former Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, who served in the 1990s.

By the same token, Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford, Jr., who ran a remarkable campaign, lost in his bid to become the first African American senator from the South since Reconstruction. Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swan were all defeated in their respective races for governor.

And in Michigan, voters gave affirmative-action foes a victory by approving Proposal 2, which would bar use of preferences by state colleges and universities as well as governmental agencies.

But the recent electoral outcomes still beg the question : if the nation is willing to have an African American lead one of Capitol Hill's most influential committees, a black female Secretary of State and a female Speaker of the House, is it ready to elect a female and/or African American to be president?

According to a recent Gallup Survey, the answer is a resounding yes: 58 percent said they believed the United States was ready to elect a black president and 61 percent a female. But are voters ready to put their vote where their mouth is?

With over 9,000 public officeholders nationwide, blacks have made major progress on the political front since the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

In 1967, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts became the first popularly elected African American to serve in the U.S. Senate. In 1969, the Congressional Black Caucus was formed with 13 members. In 1972, New York Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to the U.S. House, showed that a black woman could throw her hat into the presidential ring in spite of hopeless odds to demonstrate her sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo."

By 1984, Reverend Jesse Jackson galvanized the black community and liberal democratic base in bringing his candidacy from the fringe to the mainstream within the Democratic Party.

"White folks were indignant that he was running," said Eric Easter, who worked on both of Jackson's campaigns, in a 2003 Village Voice story. "And then black folks got indignant that they were indignant. . . . There was this very strong visceral reaction to his presence in the race, over whether this was the right time and right place for an African American to be, and that galvanized his base."

By 1988, he more than doubled his 1984 results, winning 11 primaries before losing to Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. In 1996, Alan Keyes ran for the GOP nod but had better success in 2000, taking 14 percent of votes in the Iowa caucuses and 21 percent in the Utah primary. Some news organizations even declared him the winner of the presidential debates.

In 2004, the Reverend Al Sharpton and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, the first black woman elected to the Senate, vied for the Democratic nomination, collecting few delegates.

Not since 1988 has a minority candidate seen Jackson's success. Now, two decades later, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama may be just the candidate to make history.

Largely unknown in 2004, Obama emerged from a very crowded field to win a U.S. Senate primary, paving the way for keynote speaking opportunity at his party's national convention. His performance caused the nation to take note, and his subsequent landslide over Keyes sealed the deal.

A December 2005 article in The New Republic argued that Obama would have his best chance of winning the White House in 2008, with no incumbent president or vice president in the race.

TIME magazine recently put Obama on its cover with the headline -- "Why Barack Obama Could Be The Next President." An editorial in the Chicago Tribune compared a possible Obama bid to President John F. Kennedy's successful run in 1960.

According to a recent CNN poll, the Illinois Democrat trailed only New York Sen. Hillary Clinton in a list of potential Democratic presidential contenders. Of registered Democrats, he drew support from 17 percent compared to Clinton's 28 percent. He still outpolled former Vice President Al Gore (13 percent), 2006 Vice Presidential hopeful John Edwards (13 percent) and Sen. John Kerry (12 percent).

On the GOP side, neither Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice nor Keyes was even included as a possible presidential candidate.

But does an African American like Obama or Keyes or even Rice have a realistic chance of taking the White House in 2008 or 2112 or even 2116? Or is the hype just fodder for pundits and journalists?

A study that appeared in the latest Quarterly Journal of Economics concluded that the U.S. electorate is still hesitant about voting blacks into congressional office. It found that whites of both major parties are less likely to vote for their parties' candidates when they are black and that Republicans are 25-percent more likely to cross party lines in senatorial elections when the GOP candidate is black. And in U.S. House elections, white Democrats are 38-percent-less likely to vote for black candidates from their own party.

Can Americans really look beyond race and gender when it comes to choosing their national leaders? That remains to be seen. Still, we can be encouraged by the progress. It won't be too long before a person of color or woman does serve our nation's highest office or at least that is my dream.

MarcMorial@MaximsNews.com


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Empress Verite

Guy: Impressions of Marc Morial

Post by Empress Verite » Fri Nov 10, 2006 2:26 pm

Guy:

I read this article last night with interest becaue I thought that Morial would outline how each of these candidates provided measures of mandates on their platforms that would benefit the black populace in the US and abroad. (You know that he claims to be of Haitian descent). (First, with all due respect to him I find his organization not to be very effective at all. I posted my resume with them a few years back and they were so unresponsive. They claim to try and help women like myself but no one ever contacted me or tried to help me at all. I wrote several notes and renewed my resume.) Secondly, I realize that his wife the CBS anchor (Michel ??) seems like a nice person. She did a piece on Haiti when the African American group went there a few years ago and it was interesting. But I don't fully trust the African American interest in Haiti. I don't know there's just something about some of their efforts that seem so superficial perhaps it's because they don't address the hate that we experience at their hands in the US.

Secondly, what is the point of citing all of the black folks eihter DemocRat of RepubliKkklan who have run for office like the Presidency? I am glad that blacks in the US have come that far but how are they different from their white or brown or red or yellow counterparts? For instance, the housing secretary is a black man who appears to have worked his way up the ladder. But what has he done for poor black folks who continue to be pushed out of their homes all over the US? He does not care about the poor black person and I don't feel that the DemocRats are very different at all. I am not trying to be cynical but it seems to me that the Republikkklans are not affraid to assert how they will help their base and constituency once the'yre in power. For instance look at how Bush went out of his way to satisfy the Evangelicals and even the right wing KKKlan members of his party! When will some politicians specifically the DemocRats address the needs of their base in the same way with the same viguor and energy with no appologies?

I have no hope in Barack Obama. He is a well spoken man of bi-racial descent. His Kenyean father was a professor of economics at Stanford University. He comes from an upper middle class background but he seems kind. However, did you notice the physical transformation that his wife underwent when he was running for Senate? When it became apparent that he would have a shot at the seat because his opponent's wife had made public that he (the opponent) had sexual abused she quickly permed her natural hair and began to appear in suits. It was sad and discouraging for me. She's a very attractive dark skin black woman. But the press (at least CSPAN) tried to show that he had a thing for blond haired white women.

Also, I don't like the way that he treated Charles Ogletree at all. He was dismissive and rude to the man and it really pissed me off. This man is one of the strongest voices for reparations for African Americans in the US. After giving a speech with Hillary he approached Obama about a discussion with the Harvard Law School alumni and he was so dismissive. I thought that he was misbehaving because his comments about Paris Hilton were not well received by the audience and also because Harry Belafonte was getting all of the props. Whatever the reason he should have been more polite and kind to Ogletree. I have also heard Pedro Noguera criticize Obama on NPR and I would like to learn more about his concerns. Pedro is a nice and knowledgeable person so I am willing to learn more from him about this situation.

I know that I said a lot but it would be good to know whose on our side and who we can trust with our votes. I am no longer willing to go along with the Black middle class agenda because it does not benefit me. I also do not believe in talented 10th or chosen 1%. I feel that I deserve my humanity and so do my loved ones. However, I am made to feel that I should sacrifice myself and my children in order for the black middle classs who are "almost there" to make it all the way. I can't accept that.

Best,
EV

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Post by admin » Fri Nov 10, 2006 4:08 pm

[quote]I have no hope in Barack Obama. He is a well spoken man of bi-racial descent. His Kenyean father was a professor of economics at Stanford University. He comes from an upper middle class background but he seems kind. However, did you notice the physical transformation that his wife underwent when he was running for Senate? When it became apparent that he would have a shot at the seat because his opponent's wife had made public that he (the opponent) had sexually abused she quickly permed her natural hair and began to appear in suits. It was sad and discouraging for me. She's a very attractive dark skin black woman.
[/quote]
Empress, why is Barack Obama's wife's perming of her hair an issue to us at all? And what does it say about Barack Obama?

I do not have any particular hope in Obama either, because I have yet to see (or know about) the substance of his stands on national issues that truly do matter to me. But, as far as I am concerned, his wife could shave her head à la Grace Jones or dye it blonde, auburn, golden or whatever. She could wear jeans or she could wear suits. Her personal appearance does not tell me anything about what Obama thinks of the United Nations military presence in Haiti, how he would act to transform bilateral relations between the two countries, his stance on Immigration Reform, the so-called Wars on Terror and Drugs, etc. I would be very happy to see him make a positive difference in those areas, regardless of what his wife does with herself.

[quote]But the press (at least CSPAN) tried to show that he had a thing for blond haired white women.[/quote]
How did the press or CSPAN do that? And, whichever way they did, why would we let ourselves be manipulated that way?


[quote]He [Obama] was dismissive and rude to the man [Ogletree] and it really pissed me off. [/quote]
Sorry for my ignorance of the facts, EV. Could you tell me exactly how Obama was dismissive and rude to Ogletree? What was Ogletree's reaction? Did Charles complain about it afterwards?

[quote][Ogletree] approached Obama about a discussion with the Harvard Law School alumni and he was so dismissive. I thought that he was misbehaving because his comments about Paris Hilton were not well received by the audience[/quote]
Say what? You mean to tell me that Obama gagged on some tiring Paris Hilton jokes? What in the world was he thinking??? Perhaps the man should pay attention instead to the way his wife dresses and combs her hair.

[quote]and also because Harry Belafonte was getting all of the props. [/quote]
That's terrible. Harry Belafonte is on his way out and has been for a long time (though he gets my full respect). Obama is on his way in (supposedly). The person on his way in should not have to envy the person on his way out.

[quote]Whatever the reason he should have been more polite and kind to Ogletree.[/quote]
Agreed in principle. However, I did not witness the dismissive behavior. Could you be more explicit about it?


Empress, once again, forgive my ignorance of the facts. And you are right, I do not watch much TV. In fact, I do not watch TV at all. I think I need a TV secretary to tell me what's going on. [And I do not mean "you" at all. Please do not take it the wrong way.]

In short, EV, I am fascinated about how much you read from external appearances. I don't have that gift. Nor do I understand why that is so important.

Empress Verite

Obama, his Wife, Ogletree and Comments about Paris Hilton

Post by Empress Verite » Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:01 pm

Guy:

First, I don't think that folks should care about other people's personal hair style. However, as demonstrated by Cynthia McKinney, Barbara Lee for black women in politics sporting natural hair is not a way to success. I don't need to tell you about the need for these women to put their best foot forward in order to make the best impression on those in power which include Black folks. Did you hear about the hoopla that black folks made when one of the kids on the Cosby show sported her hair in a natural style. And when Lisa Bonet sported dreads it was scandalous!

All the same, I know that you realize that unfortunately, folks are more concerned about how white and civilized black folks look rather than how important or intelligent or necessary what we say or do is. I' m sure you recall the lawsuits that black women brought during the late 90s about discrimination that they experience because they sported braids. And it's happenned to me so many times. A decade ago a HAFI counselor told me that employers told him NEVER to send folks with dreadlocks to them for jobs. In Miami, going to immigration with natural hair or dreads is a no no. And many jobs also won't even grant one an interview.

I don't care what she chooses to do with herself. However, it was interesting to observe the drastic change in her physical appearance when it became apparent that they could win. Perhaps she was advised (just like Hillary was told to change her appearance and undergo so many transformations that included bleaching her hair) to do so to help her husband win.

Secondly, I did not base my comments about Obama and Ogeltree solely on body language. After Obama and Clinton and the others on the panel spoke (including Belafonte, he is strong as ever especially with the Chavez situation) the folks on stage spoke with each other and the mikes were left on. And we could hear their conversations.

In one of his remarks on the panel, Obama tried to comment on how silly and superficial perhaps even detrimental the whole Paris Hilton craze was about. In fact, he pointed out that this was all because she was some rich kid. Well, folks (mostly middle age black women) did not respond at all. And he seemed surprised.

So you see even he ( a Harvard educated lawyer and elected Senator) cares about this popular culture phenomena and his girls are young (under 10) but he recognizes the significance of that situation.

Best,
EV

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