June 4th, 2008

Obama’s “historic” win

Obama won enough delegates yesterday to almost certainly become the 2008 Democratic Presidential nominee. A number of articles about that fact make use of the word “historic.” Indeed, it is.

Of course, if Hillary Clinton had won the nomination instead, it would have been equally historic. Obama would/will be the first African-American to secure the Presidential nomination of either major party, but Hillary would have been the first woman. And, if the two manage to unite the ticket as running mates, it will be doubly historic—or perhaps even historic squared.

I’ve made no secret of my disapproval of Obama’s record, proposed policies, failures of judgment, naivete, associates, arrogance, and extreme liberalism. Some people on the Right have wanted him to become the Democratic candidate for those very reasons; they think he’s so weak and so controversial that the American people will reject him.

I disagree. I think the antagonism towards Republicans is so strong this year that Obama stands a good chance of winning no matter how egregious his errors, cloudy his judgment, empty his record, or shady his mentors. I’m not a Hillary fan and would not vote for her, but I would much have preferred her as a candidate because I think she has a certain basic common sense despite her flaws.

Hillary may be an egotist, like almost all politicians. But unlike Obama, I can’t see her as having the combination of ignorance, hubris, and naivete that would make her think she could magically reach the Iranians by the force of her magnetic personality and her willingness to dialogue with them. She is more of a realist than that.

In summary, I believe Hillary’s Presidency would have resembled that of her husband, whereas Obama’s Presidency would resemble that of Jimmy Carter. I judge the latter to have been far more damaging to America than the former.

That said, I try to be philosophical. Despite everything, I take some joy in the “historical” nature of the Obama nomination. I grew up in a time when segregation was still the rule in much of the deep South, when African-American professionals were few and far between in all areas of the country, and when one hardly ever saw a black face in advertisements in mainstream magazines (the covers of Ebony on the newsstand were the sole exception, and that was not regular reading matter in most white households).

The idea of a black Presidential nominee was a distant dream back then, and in the abstract I’m happy it has finally been realized. The general idea is good; unfortunately the particulars of Obama’s point of view are not good.

It’s of some interest that a black man has been nominated before a woman of any race has reached that pinnacle. I think that might just be an accident of these particular personalities and the peculiarities of the rules of the Democrat primary season; Hillary might have made it but for Obama’s charisma and his ability to work the caucuses.

I recall what a big deal it was when Kennedy won another “historic” victory by becoming the first Catholic President. That seems odd, doesn’t it? After all, we’re so far beyond that now.

Except for one thing: to this day, Kennedy remains the only Catholic President.

Not only that—there has only been one Catholic nominee from either major party since JFK, and that is none other than John Kerry.

And he, of course, is Jewish. Sorta.

36 Responses to “Obama’s “historic” win”

  1. Richard Says:

    Of course, even if Hillary does become the VP, she won’t be the first woman to ever recieve a vote from the electoral college.

    That honor goes to Toni Nathan, who was the VP candidate for the Libertarian party in 1972.

    Funny how the MSM conveniently forgets these historic firsts when it comes to the Libertarians. Geraldine Ferraro wasn’t the first woman nominated for Vice President or President. Not even close. But you’d never know it from listening to them.

  2. SteveH Says:

    I’d call Obama’s nomination historic for different reasons. Historic because its the first time that slick image marketing has surpassed voter intellect and savvy.

  3. kungfu Says:

    “combination of ignorance, hubris, and naivete”

    Hmmm. Who does that sound like?

  4. gcotharn Says:

    I think, vis a vis religion, we’re at a point where a Presidential candidate must explain why and how his or her religion is separate from his or her political belief.

    In past, we said: Keep a candidate’s religion out of it. However, in past all candidates were Christian, and Christianity explicitly counsels that the spiritual be kept separate from the political.

    In contrast, Islam intermingles the spiritual and the political, with Sharia being the most overt manifestation.

    Black Liberation Theology mixes Christian Gospel with Marxist economic policy and pro-black racial policy. BLT stuffs elements of Christian Gospel into a tunnel which leads towards pre-conceived economic and political goals.

    In future, a Romney or a Jindal, for instance, might need to explicitly draw a contrast between their religions – which are founded on spiritual goals – and an opponent’s religion which might be founded and premised on the intermix of religion and political goals(BLT), or on the intermix of religion and civil and behavioral strictures(Islam).

    The line of demarcation is this: does a candidate’s religion intermingle the spiritual with secular gov’t policy? If not – a candidate ought not discuss his religion, as his religion will not impact his policies. If so, a candidate owes some explanation.

  5. Teri Pittman Says:

    No, I think that it’s unlikely we would have a black presidential candidate before a woman. After all, that’s the way voting rights played out. If there is one thing this election cycle has taught us, there still are a bunch of folks out there who are more than willing to make women second class citizens. The comments on some of the internet sites have been shocking, whether you like Hillary or not.

  6. Anonimous Says:

    “… the combination of ignorance, hubris, and naivete ”

    That sounds just like the Spanish president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero (also known as ZP)!

  7. Daniel Stark Says:

    As I have said on another blog…
    “I still don’t get the “first” thing as much as seeing progress in policy and societal changes. Being a token representation of a certain group doesn’t necessarily reflect what is best for that group nor the country as a whole. Will we as a nation really step forward when a little person is elected President? Native American? This is not to diminish Obama in anyway, just a frustration to constantly state it as if this country is a haven of racists (I saw more opposition and discrimination towards Mitt Romney and his faith than ANY other candidate). I would rather have people vote on character, judgment, and record. If people felt Obama had these three characteristics and voted for him for those reasons, then I call that true progress and I congratulate them.”

  8. Steven Says:

    Let’s just get it over with and nominate a black Jewish lesbian (if we can find one).

    As to gcotharn’s comment about Bobby Jindal, what are you referring to? He’s Catholic, not Hindu.

  9. stumbley Says:

    ““combination of ignorance, hubris, and naivete”

    Hmmm. Who does that sound like?”


  10. Al Fin Says:

    Back when the Republicans were actually running strong candidates, too many bloggers buckled under and chose McCain as the bland vanilla candidate who would not offend, and so would be most likely to win. Very stupid thinking. Watch the stupidity play out over time.

    Obama has no substance, no achievements, no experience of worth. But he does have energy and an army of financial backers and armies of campaign workers willing to go the extra mile for him.

    McCain has almost nothing, except something all the other Republicans had–support for the military. The other pubbies had a lot more going for them and they could have had all this time to put it in front of the public. Instead, the pubbie establishment (and a lot of bloggers) folded, and backed McCain.


  11. Pat Patterson Says:

    William “Bill” Miller was the VP nominee for the Republicans in 1964 and he was a Catholic. Plus there was the Doublemint Catholic candidacy of Michael Dukakis-Greek Orthodox and Lloyd Bentsen-Roman Catholic in 1988.

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    Vice President doesn’t count. Greek Orthodox doesn’t count. One of the objections—actually, the main objection—to JFK and other Roman Catholic candidates was the idea of mixed loyalty, with greater loyalty to the Pope than to the interests of this country. Kennedy addressed that question in this speech.

  13. gcotharn Says:


    I think we’ve reached a point where Presidential candidates are going to have address their religion. Jindal should point out the ways in which his own Catholicism keeps the spiritual separate from the political. Jindal should explain whether or how Rome will influence him in the areas in which Rome reaches into American politics: abortion, birth control, et al. As with JFK, such a task ought be easily handled by Jindal.

    If Jindal runs against Obama, Jindal should encourage Obama to point out how Obama’s policy beliefs diverge from Black Liberation Theology’s economic, social, and legislative priorities. The economic, social, and legislative priorities of BLT are a legitimate issue in this campaign. Because Barack appears to share some of BLT’s agenda, it is neither unfair nor prejudicial to examine that agenda, nor to request that Barack elaborate.

    I feel I should give a couple of examples:
    Barack’s economics are BLT to the core. He advocates forced wealth redistribution via government fiat: “

    It won’t be easy to get those oil companies to give up that profit.”

    A second example: Barack goes so far as to reject the American Dream:

    “the unrealistic politics of integrationist assimilation — which helps a few upwardly mobile blacks to ‘move up, get rich, and move out….’”

    Read it again, if you wish. It was hard for me to believe I had read it correctly the first time. These beliefs appear to be either influenced or honed by Barack’s exposure to BLT.

  14. Artfldgr Says:

    What a sick slick trick it would be if they selected obama precisely because he was who he is. If he screws things up bad enough, or too radical, it will be the first and last time for such history for a long time.

    the thing that barak has said that gets my hackles up worried is “remake america”.

    and on BLT, most wont realize it. Just as they dont realize the dual definitions and other word games that have been played. on this i agree with cardinal ratsinger (the pope),

    A theologian who has learned his theology in the classical tradition and has accepted its spiritual challenge will find it hard to realize that an attempt is being made, in all seriousness, to recast the whole Christian reality in the categories of politico-social liberation praxis. This is all the more difficult because many liberation theologians continue to use a great deal of the Church’s classical ascetical and dogmatic language while changing its signification. As a result, the reader or listener who is operating from a different background can gain the impression that everything is the same as before, apart from the addition of a few somewhat unpalatable statements, which, given so much spirituality, can scarcely be all that dangerous.

    People dont know their history very well. Chavez right now is slowly shifting through the years. as of this week, he has made moves to insure that he will remain in power. protestors dont realize yet that they have no more voice any more, they voted that out. the poor are in bad shape, and he is militarizing.

    look to russia too… putin may have become prime minister, but you can tell thats not his job. when he went to france recenly he was not greated by their prime minister, he was greated as a head of state.

    most have no idea of the major make up of those who voted for that german dude (the young, and the women vote).

    we also have a demographic crisis of huge size looming up real fast and no solution. the retirement of the baby boomers and them doing it in a socialist state which follows pragmatism. it means the cry to socialize medicine is to be able to let rationing create administrative euthanasia.

    heck if you look at the cap and trade and future controls they are working towrds and you might realzie that the only way to get that far is a world war of nasty proportions…

    every option is blocked by the socialists, the greener alternatives are not workable or work to the level that they are thunderously claiming (not to mention they are huge space users and will crowd out and make the landscape look like industrial crap real fast! )

    heck their energy standards as to miles per gallon totally ignores reality based things like physics.

    the US has HUGE amounts of oil… but we arent allowed to get to it (china though can drill closer than our guys can). bakken fields are not even mentioned.

    and the funniest thing is the report that people in north korea are going to starve because of a cold spring…

    reports on sun spots puts us in a position where you might want to pray for a few…

    which person we get will be very critical… with so many termites i dont know how they will ever clean house and gain some form of stability without going the way socialist states eventually go. how long before we pupate and our remade america emerges?

  15. armchair pessimist Says:

    I contemplate a President Obama and half of me repeats that mantra of the Russian progressives before the revolution, “the worse, the better.” My other half, the saner one, replies, How did it work out for you, you dumb SOBs?
    We’re screwed.

  16. harry McHitlerburtonstein the COnservative Extremist Says:

    “Despite everything, I take some joy in the “historical” nature of the Obama nomination. “

    I can’t. He’s there for all the wrong reasons. He’s there mostly because he’s black. Its like the guy who’s getting ready to cut into you on the operating table got his doctorate from affirmative action.

    I’d love to be happy with this occasion. I just cant.

  17. Artfldgr Says:

    oh.. forgot to mention that the whole pressure on the oil industry while blocking them is to build up enough hatred so that the socilaists can nationalize it. Wasnt it Maxine Walters who unintentionally let it slip that the “nationalization” of the oil companies is one of their primary ambitions?

    would obama consider it a national emergency and rather than open up all the sources that we are not permited to go after, or put nationalization of the oil companies on the table?

  18. harry McHitlerburtonstein the COnservative Extremist Says:

    I’d just like to add that it isnt about ideology. If Obama was more of a Lieberman liberal, I’d have more respect that he at least got where he is honestly. I’d feel better at least that they guy got there through honest and well thought out positions on the issues. But face it: he’s there mostly because he’s black.

  19. Bugs Says:

    We survived Carter. Maybe we can survive this guy.

  20. Perfected democrat Says:

    Steven Says:

    June 4th, 2008 at 3:44 pm
    “Let’s just get it over with and nominate a black Jewish lesbian (if we can find one).”

    That would be Whoopee G., wouldn’t it?

  21. nyomythus Says:

    You’re keeping it real, great post neo!

  22. Tom the Redhunter Says:

    “I think the antagonism towards Republicans is so strong this year that Obama stands a good chance of winning no matter how egregious his errors, cloudy his judgment, empty his record, or shady his mentors.”

    Exactly right.

    McCain was not my first choice, and he often annoys me. But he will win the war.

    “We survived Carter. Maybe we can survive this guy.”

    It’s not that simple. We could fix Carter’s mess. The problem with Obama is that much of the damage he does will be permanent. Consider:

    1) 6 of 8 Supreme Court justices are over 68 years old. The next president will appoint several, and they’ll be on the bench for decades

    2) Once you establish universal health care as a “right”, and set up some huge federal bureaucracy to manage it, you’re not taking it back. If Reagan couldn’t get rid of a pipsqueak department like Education, we’re not going to be able to get rid of their health care monstrosity.

    3) If we lose in Iraq it’s lost for good. We aren’t going back in

    4) If Iran gets nukes there’s no going back on that one either.

    Bottom line; we’ve got to pull out the stops to make sure Obama isn’t elected.

  23. gcotharn Says:

    The Pope quotation about the insidiousness of liberation theologies was excellent.

  24. Mitsu Says:

    Oh, I think comparing Obama to Carter is not apt at all. Carter was an idealist; Obama is a pragmatist. Carter was and is a true liberal believer; Obama is interested in utilitarian measures of policy, not in ideology per se. Carter was uninspiring and unconvincing; Obama is not only able to persuade but able to reach across the aisle for political support as well as for political ideas.

    My chief worries about Obama do overlap yours, Neo: that he is arrogant, he tends to blur past details, he tends to jump ahead a bit too quickly. However, I see very little resemblance to Carter. Just look at how Obama has run his campaign so far: he’s made a huge number of correct calls (targeting caucus states, building momentum thereby, etc.) whereas Hillary has made blunder after blunder. Given Hillary’s huge initial lead it’s incredible she squandered it in this way — this to a large degree points out what people have been saying about Obama all along: he may be a novice, but he’s got both good judgement and he learns quickly. Clinton is a political triangulator: Obama is someone who makes mistakes, learns from them, and makes adjustments. That’s how he won this nomination against all odds, and I believe that will make him one of the most effective presidents we’ve seen in a long time.

  25. OBloodyHell Says:

    Frank, over at VariFrank, said this back in April:

    5. Obama’s numbers will go up, and Clinton’s down. She is the anti-particle to Bill Clinton. Where he could charm even his enemies, she can only annoy; even her friends and allies.

    The problems with Hillary aren’t sexist, she’s just a friggin’ b**ch, and everyone knows it. She’s pissed off too many people. The reason Edwards came out and blunted her election win in WVa was payback for her refusal to come out in support for Kerry/Edwards in 2004.

    Frank puts it much more eloquently with the excellent:
    Ode To Hillary – From Jim Morrison.
    Which ends with:
    I stand by my previous prediction of a 49 state sweep by McCain.

  26. OBloodyHell Says:

    I am not quite so optimistic as Frank, but no, I don’t think either Dem has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning (regardless what the betting markets say — Hillary’s odds on Intrade.com: From 70% to 6% in 120 days — it’s *six* months to the election — Obama will fare little better!)

    Hillary can’t win because too damned many people hate her guts. Waay back in mid-2006, the WaPo did a poll of what people thought of the then-three most obvious Dems’ chances in the 2008 election (they also asked about the GOP, but that’s irrelevant). The three “obvious” candidates they chose were Hillary, Kerry, and Gore. All three had responses in the 40-45% range that people “Absolutely would not vote for”. Yes, before the election season even started, over 2/5ths of the people would not consider Hillary under any circumstances (I suspect that, given the current eco-doom BS, that Gore’s the only one who has improved his numbers there).

    You don’t overcome that kind of hurdle — too much fecal matter hits the rotary wind moving device in the course of any election cycle for you to reduce 2/5ths of the electorate who absolutely hate your guts to a manageable number. Mother Teresa could not get elected starting with those numbers.

    And Obama is just too smarmy, too stupid, too clueless, too vapid, too shortsighted to win. This whole Wright thing has apparently blind-sided him. It was blatantly obvious to anyone with 1/10th of a brain that that whole thing would have been a concern if he had distanced himself from the church 5 years ago (the media’s casual looking the other way early on might’ve worked, then).

    To demonstrate such inability to grasp the basic poltical consequences of this matter shows how utterly unprepared he is for the office of PotUS. I, personally, seriously doubt if he could ever become politically astute enough to function well in that office.

    and, as Cassandra’s article:
    Obama, Kennedy, and the Disturbing Matter of a Dog
    showed, he can’t even win a negotiation with his obnoxious wife over somethng trivial (or at least get her to clue in and STFU on such in public, which also says a lot about both him and her! She hates Hillary because she’s the same personality type.).

    And if he can’t win that argument, how the hell will he do against someone like Ahminajad or Kim Jong Il?

    Does the phrase “he’s toast” come to mind?

    God help us if that dumb SOB gets the presidency.

    He will literally surpass Jimmy Carter as the worst PotUS in US history. Not only will our economy tank, but our foreign policy will be a disaster, as well (even Carter managed the Camp David Accords).

    In the immortal words of Obammi Wright Kinoby:
    “This is not the black president you are looking for…”

  27. Beverly Says:

    Black men got the vote in the US over seventy years before any woman did: this order of going doesn’t surprise me.

    Shirley Chisholm said that, of the two prejudices, against blacks and against women, the prejudice against women is deeper, older, and worse to deal with. And that’s after going through what she did as a black woman in her day.

  28. Perfected democrat Says:

    Obi’s unequivocal (remember Hil’s comments?) speech before AIPAC, especially concerning the status of Jeruselum, was surprising. He appears to have blind-sided his left and arab side support with that stance. Considering all of his previous associations, including several significantly less than pro-Israel “advisors”, I wonder how that will play out or what other’s think about it. I’ve long seen him as a master of the duplicitous, is this just more cheap talk, maybe bait and switch? Several candidates in both parties, I believe, “promised” to move the American embassy to Jeruselum while campaigning, then squirmed out of it after they were elected. Any comments around here?

  29. expat Says:

    Beverly, there are lots of women who didn’t vote for Hillaryand not because they are prejudiced against women. I am highly offended that she presumes to speak for me. Likewise, I am highly offended that a vote for Obama is supposed to say something about my racism. I really don’t need him to absolve me from my sins. Anyone who doesn’t respect me as a thinking individual doesn’t get my vote.

  30. Live Dangerously Says:

    Where have you been all my life.! Better, why wasn’t I looking for you harder. Just found your site. I’ve taken a quick tour and your baseball thing is great, your living in the den of liberalness is moving. My surroundings are as precarious but not at all in the same league. I mean NY and a small city no one outside of Michigan never heard of.
    >I’ve been wandering around the political landscape defining my beliefs then looking to see where I belong. Peggy Noonan I admire. The Tigers I root for. With Newt I learn how to organize. From the Libertarians I learn to temper my neo con leanings.

  31. Live Dangerously Says:

    Where have you been all my life.! Better, why wasn’t I looking for you harder. Just found your site. I’ve taken a quick tour and your baseball thing is great, your living in the den of liberalness is moving. My surroundings are as precarious but not at all in the same league. I mean NY and a small city no one outside of Michigan never heard of.
    >I’ve been wandering around the political landscape defining my beliefs then looking to see where I belong. Peggy Noonan I admire. The Tigers I root for. With Newt I learn how to organize. From the Libertarians I learn to temper my neo con leanings.
    >From you I’m remembering to remember why I’m so interested in politics in the first place. It’s a simple thing really. I’m trying to do what I can to protect that which helps me to work towards what I believe in. As does everyone else which is as it should be.
    > I’m linking you to my site as I wish others to see your gift.
    > Hope you don’t mind
    Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative

  32. harry McHitlerburtonstein the COnservative Extremist Says:

    Perfected Democrat:
    “Obi’s unequivocal (remember Hil’s comments?) speech before AIPAC, especially concerning the status of Jeruselum, was surprising. He appears to have blind-sided his left and arab side support with that stance. “

    A speech, I’m sure, that would under-go considerable tailoring if he had to give it before CAIR, with the media relegating the AIPAC speech to the memory hole.

  33. Jamie Says:

    When I was a little kid, we had a poster on the wall (usually in a hallway somewhere – we moved a lot, so it shifted around) that said, “No force is as great as an idea whose time has come.” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin?) I keep harking back to that poster as I consider this year’s Democrat Presidential contenders: has the party so utterly embraced that quote that they’ve forgotten their greater responsibility to try to put forward a candidate who can actual handle the job?

    The difference between Kennedy and either Obama or Clinton is that Kennedy was elected despite (not “because of”) his religion, so while he may have been a trailblazer by being “first,” he was not a “token.” ISTM that either Obama’s or Clinton’s election marks the elevation of a “token” rather than election of a truly worthwhile candidate, based on either of their records.

  34. njcommuter Says:

    Jimmy Carter’s presidency would have been a lot worse had he served two terms.

    In 1989, Ed Koch’s term as Mayor of New York ended. David Dinkins’s term began. Dinkins was a sophisticated politician who managed to do in four years what Koch had not done in twelve: the black Dinkens turned a tense situation into a race riot in Crown Heights and helped to create another racial conflict between local businesses owned by Korean immigrants and the surrounding ‘minority’ community.

    A sophistcated politician is not the same as a qualified leader or manager. Koch and Guiliani showed they could be all three.

    I fear that Obama will finish what Dinkins started.

  35. huxley Says:

    Oh, I think comparing Obama to Carter is not apt at all.

    Mitsu — Neo was comparing the possible Obama presidency to the Carter presidency, especially with regard to the damage it could inflict, not those two men to each other.

    Yes, Obama and Carter are different kinds of men. I’d say that Obama has much more in common with Bill Clinton for his inspiring evasiveness and ambition, which you seem to call pragmatism.

    However, unlike Clinton or Carter, Obama has so little experience of the real worlds of business, the military, or executive leadership (aside from campaigning) that I see no reason to suppose he will be an effective president.

    He certainly handled the whole Trinity church affair badly–leaving aside that a sensible presidential candidate would never have been in that position of justifying a church like Trinity in the first place.

  36. Vince P Says:

    This is a good video making the Obama – Carter comparasion:


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