Tag Archives: Jim DeMint

Hating on Obama- Is it Racial?

One thing is for sure. You’ll never hear President Obama himself say so.

For him to do so would simply feed a frenzied media cycle that would last at least a week. “Obama Plays the Race Card,” the headlines would scream. Yet more and more black folks I talk to are starting to believe a good deal of the opposition to this President is based on the inability of some Americans to get used to a black man in the White House.

People will point to everything from Rep. Joe Wilson’s “You Lie” during Obama’s speech to the joint session of Congress, to likening him to Hitler, to that oft repeated phrase “I want my country back”.

Rep. Joe Wilson
Rep. Joe Wilson

And they have a point. Of course, no one who makes these statements would admit to hating black people. They say they’re judging Obama on his merits (or lack of same).

Still, their language, and the slavish devotion to the agendas of the Glenn Becks of the world give some people pause.

glenn-beck

What’s troubling is more black folks want Obama to call out his opponents for their perceived racism. In fact, some are taking him to task for not doing so. And these are not “militant nationalists”, who often get dismissed even inside the black community. No, these are the people in the barber shops, the hair salons, and yes, some folks in the political establishment as well.

However, consider the impact if the President did speak out and call out some of his opposition on racism.

Here in New York, Gov. David Paterson, in a radio interview, hinted that some of the media coverage of his tenure was tinged with racism. The media had a field day. There were more stories using the media’s favorite crutch words, the “race card” than had been written in a year.

All this speaks to the central role race still plays in American political discourse. The election of Barack Obama, post racial though it may have seemed, didn’t change that. President Obama knows this. That’s why his references to race are usually talking to black people about responsibility rather than the nation as a whole about dealing with race prejudice.

Those who want him to strike out at the Joe Wilsons, the Glenn Becks, the Jim DeMints of the world are bound to be disappointed.

jim_demint
Jim DeMint

Justified or not, it’s not going to happen. That leaves a stark choice for black America. Should we do that heavy lifting for the President? Or should we — of all races — simply keep discussing it among ourselves?

You tell me.

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Was Sotomayor's Confirmation Really a Surprise?

It shouldn’t have been. The final vote was 68-31, hardly close by any measure. The media will lament the fact that only nine Republicans voted for her. So what? She’ll be sworn in Saturday, GOP support or not. I guess we should count our blessings nine Republican senators had sense enough to vote yes.

sonia_sotomayor

Throughout Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation process, Republican opposition was overblown. People like Jeff Sessions and Mitch McConnell were paraded on the Sunday talk shows as if they had the power to stop or at least derail a process that seemed inevitable by the numbers. Now we know how that turned out.

Aside from the fact this was a victory for the White House, it should tell President Obama something as well. Bi-partisanship is overrated. Why should this president waste his own political capital on finding common ground with lawmakers who have a naked, partisan agenda? For every Lindsey Graham, who voted in favor of Sonia Sotomayor because it was the right thing to do, there’s a Jim DeMint, who sees Obama’s undoing behind his every initiative.

Beat ’em down, Mr. President. And that goes for Democrats who cross you as well. I say this knowing it’s not Barack Obama’s style to use a stick on his opposition. His nice guy approach worked well during the presidential campaign, but these people are playing for keeps. Not for nothing they’re saying if he can’t get healthcare reform passed, it means the end of his presidency.

Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation is metaphor for a new reality that Republicans are having trouble figuring out. They’re not the majority anymore. That’s why they’re sending out minions to disrupt town hall meetings on healthcare. That’s why the birthers won’t go away, no matter how bankrupt their cause. Since January 20th they’ve been looking for an opening, any opening to land a mortal blow on the Obama presidency.

Time will tell if healthcare is in fact that blow. But for now, the Sotomayor confirmation, plus the extension of “Cash for Clunkers” both represent incremental victories for President Obama. They should also represent abject lessons about the limits of a bi-partisan approach with this particular batch of Republicans.

To be fair, not all of them subscribe to the “party of no” doctrine that their leadership embraces. Not even all those who come down as opposed to some Obama policies are bad people. It’s going to be up to this president to separate the chaff from the wheat.

So, back to the original issue. Were you surprised by Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation, or by her margin of victory? You tell me.

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Cash for Clunkers…cars… A New Partisan Fight?

It sure looks that way. The Cash for Clunkers program, which gives buyers of new, fuel efficient cars rebates of up to $4500 for turning in old gas guzzlers, has become a political football.

That should be no surprise. What’s interesting is the fighting now is directly because of the program’s popularity. The $1 billion dollars budgeted for the program has quickly run out. Now, the House has passed an additional $2 billion dollars, but the Senate may not follow suit.

So what’s not to like? New car sales during Cash for Clunkers have gone up, dealer inventory has dropped, and in theory, gas guzzling relics are leaving American roads.

cash.for.clunkers

The problem, say Republican senators, is the cost and the fear on the part of people like John McCain that speculators are already abusing the program. In fact, he threatens to lead a filibuster against extending Cash for Clunkers any more money.

As usual, the McCains and Jim DeMints of the Congress are just saying no. Never mind that buyers exhausted all the money in the program in about a week. Never mind that Ford will post its first monthly sales increase since 2007. The point is to never give an inch, unless you absolutely have to. The government says it will continue the program until the Senate acts (or doesn’t), but like with health care, one has to ask why the GOP is so good at forging a united front, while Democrats seem to be hedging their bets.

To be sure, no one is saying Cash for Clunkers should go on forever, And yes, there have been some problems, like the government’s Website crashing, and too much paperwork. But still, it’s a popular program even has an environmental benefit (though no one’s talking about it).

Cash For Clunkers

Maybe this time Republicans are overreacting. It’s hard to argue with a program that offers a serious discount during times like these. Americans like Cash for Clunkers. Otherwise, the McCains and DeMints would be arguing it was a bad idea in the first place.

So give it the extra $2 billion, and let it run its course. More than that the Republicans might have a point. US car buyers know that nothing is forever, not zero percent financing, not employee pricing, and certainly not Cash for Clunkers. It’s a shot in the arm the economy could use, and, more importantly, you can’t treat every Obama Administration initiative like it’s health care.

But the Republicans should know that by now, shouldn’t they?

What do you think? More Cash for Clunkers, or no?

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