May 2, 2007

The real Obama

Lots of white people keep telling themselves that electing Sen. Barack Obama President will convince black people that the only thing that is holding them back is their own lack of self-discipline. Surely, somebody as smart as Obama, they assume, must understand that the ostensible purpose of most of his career -- getting more government money for blacks -- is exactly what has most damaged blacks morally.

That, however, is not exactly what Sen. Obama is telling blacks. For example, on the 15th anniversary of the most shameful event in recent African-American history, Obama played the black self-pity card in demanding more handouts for the inner city. From the LA Times:

Obama appeals to blacks in L.A. remarks
By Scott Martelle, Times Staff Writer

Invoking images of Los Angeles in flames, Sen. Barack Obama argued Sunday — the 15th anniversary of the nation's most violent modern civil uprising — that little had been done to fix the chronic social and economic conditions that gave rise to a three-day rampage that killed at least 53 people.

And although the riots occurred in L.A., the conditions that spawned them persist across the nation, Obama told an overflow crowd at South-Central's First AME Church. The Illinois Democrat is seeking his party's presidential nomination.

"There wasn't anything going on in Los Angeles that was unique to Los Angeles," Obama said. "If you traveled to Chicago, you would see the same young men on street corners without hope, without prospects, and without a sense of any destiny other than ending up in prison or in a casket."

Obama drew a sustained ovation when he rebuked the Bush administration for, as Obama put it, funding the war in Iraq instead of impoverished Americans — particularly those in minority neighborhoods. "We have now spent half a trillion dollars on a war that should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged," Obama said. "We could have invested that money in SouthCentral Los Angeles, or the South Side of Chicago, in jobs and infrastructure and hospitals and schools. Why is it we can find the money in a second for a war that doesn't make any sense?" ...

Obama did not offer specific proposals to solve the problems he described. His approach has more often relied on lofty rhetoric than real-world prescriptions. ...

There's a widespread assumption that the vagueness of Obama's platform stems from his lack of experience, but it seems equally plausible that he's just hoping to keep secret what he really favors.

Speaking in a church that has a stained-glass window depicting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy and his brother Robert, Obama recalled a news article he read at the time of the riots about a young pregnant woman shot in the abdomen, the bullet lodging in the soft tissue of her fetus' arm. After surgery, the mother and baby were fine, although the infant was left with a scar.

Obama made the infant — and the bullet — symbols for L.A. after the riots.

"Even in the midst of violence and despair, there's always something to be hopeful for. That baby represents the rising up of hope out of darkness and despair," he said.

"It made me think about us in this country 15 years later, how not only do we still have scars from that riot, but in many American cities we haven't even taken the bullet out," he said. "We still haven't stitched up the patient."

The problems were exposed again with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he said, when countless poor people had no way to leave their neighborhoods ahead of the floodwaters. Many perished, or were left stranded on rooftops for days.

"The tragedy struck New Orleans long before the hurricane hit," Obama said, citing lowperforming schools and high levels of violence and poverty. "There's a reason why the planning to evacuate them was ineffective — because the folks who were making the planning assumed that people had cars."

The parallels to Los Angeles in the years since the riots are clear, he said: At neither time has there been sustained public interest in correcting underlying problems.

"We go from shock to trance," Obama said. "We wake up and we're surprised that there's poverty in our midst, and that people are frustrated and angry."

He mocked the creation of investigative panels to divine the causes of problems.

"There's a little bit of money that folks piece together to send it into the community to make sure that folks are quiet and go back to the status quo, but we never take the bullet out of the arm," Obama said. "We don't need panels and reports and commissions. We need some surgery on the indifference to poverty in this country."

By the way, here is my UPI article on the 10th anniversary of the South Central Riot.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer


Anonymous said...

{ Invoking images of Los Angeles in flames, Sen. Barack Obama argued Sunday — the 15th anniversary of the nation's most violent modern civil uprising }

"Civil uprising" nice euphemism by LA Times.

Anonymous said...


Do you think half-a-trillion would be enough for black poverty? I'm not so sure... I think 500 billion might get ya' twenty years of "hope", but what ya' do when that runs out!

Word verification: hnmnm. Is this your idea of a Negro Spiritual chorus?!!

Anonymous said...

"the only thing that is holding them back is their own lack of self-discipline"

one positive aspect of the frank discussion of abilities, biology, and race is that it suggests a pharma solution to deficiencies such as lack of discipline. Current attention therapy may be tentative, a general IQ drug may never be possible, and one might want to be careful about dosing the urban population with, say, Ritalin ("I went on Ritalin and cut my carjack time to 3 seconds"; "we switched from pot to ritalin for the drive-by and didn't lose a man"). However, compared to non-biological government prescriptions, a drug driven solution to underperformers actually holds some promise. lack of discipline is probably as big an impediment to a good life as lack of IQ.

Separately, my 90 year old grandmother emails from Houston: "I wish I was fluent in Spanish, since almost all my neighbors are Mexican, and even the grocery ads are printed in Spanish. This was a middle-class all white neighborhood when my house was built in 1959, but since the Mexicans have 5 or 6 kids to 1 white, they overtook us. But they are more friendly and helpful to me than the whites, so I can't complain."

Anonymous said...


You entirely underestimate the extent to which the reason that Obama is popular is due to his position on the Iraq war. If the Iraq war were not an issue, or if Hillary Clinton had taken Obama's position from the get go (or perhaps even at least admitted she made a mistake), Obama never would have gotten off the ground.

Obama's rise to prominence is much more akin to Howard Dean's rise than to Jesse Jackson's (and certainly to the Roger Stone enabled huckster Al Sharpton).

You pride yourself on intellectual honesty; while your discussions about Obama's views on race are certainly a worthwhile topic (even though I disagree with much of what you say), if you think that Obama's rise to prominence is mostly related to "white" desire for "black" America to do well, then you simply don't know what you are talking about.

This is understandable; you are a conservative/libertarian type. Expecting you to understand liberal politics would be like expecting me to understand the inner workings of The Federalist Society.

But since you probably agree with this notion -- that all you have is your integrity and intellectual honesty -- please pause for a moment and consider the possibility that Obama's popularity is about the war.

Chris Dodd and Dennis Kucinich are the only other two guys in the race who could have captured that ground. Kucinich is obviously too extreme. Dodd is an interesting candidate and I wouldn't be too quick to rule him out.

If you were to want to make the case that Obama's rise to prominence is largely driven by race, you'd need to explore why Dodd hasn't gotten the same level of attention.

I think a far better theory than race is to look at the way the media works. In a nutshell, Dodd isn't the kind of guy that they think will get people to watch TV. Obama is younger, better looking, more telegenic, and at times he's even more articulate. Moroever, Dodd is old news to the media; they've known him forever, and I don't think they've given him a fair shake.

Obama's rise began with his speech at the 2004 convention. It's like Mario Cuomo in 1984, except Cuomo took a pass on the race in 1988 (and 1992).

Anyway, since I've got no doubt you're going to continue grappling with how you feel about Obama, please try to understand why he has support.

Anonymous said...

Because he's a lite skinned negro who is "clean"...right?

Anonymous said...

Steve --

Liberals might ascribe to those theories (or not) but most of the electorate could care less. The self-serving rhetoric of millionaire athletes and rappers crying "discrimination" has pretty much eliminated that card from the general public.

I think the commenter pointing out Obama's anti-War position as the winner has it about right. And what's notable is how empty the anti-War rhetoric is.

Withdraw from Iraq ... and then what? Turn that nation over to Iran and Al Qaeda? Show weakness when weakness gets defeat? The Speaker of Hamas (their Nancy Pelosi) called on Muslims world-wide to kill every Jew in the world and to kill every American in the world. That our weakness in Iraq and elsewhere "proves" this will happen soon. And we send them billions of dollars.

For this, the problem of every Muslim state wanting it's own nukes since Iran will get them without anyone stopping them, the threats of Al Qaeda nuking cities (Tenet writes the CIA was convinced in 2001 they'd smuggled a nuke into Manhattan), the take-over of Europe by the Islamists, the slide of Pakistan into bin Laden and Taliban control, the problem of British citizens of Pakistani descent being the nexus of bin Laden's army in the West, the desire for most Muslims to have a global caliphate and impose Sharia law everywhere ...

For this Osama has no answer. Asked about the nuking by Osama of two American cities he can only talk of first responders.

In coming up with a policy to fight Muslim aggression against the US and the West in general, Obama and the Dems have ... first responders. The party is as weak and pathetic as Jimmy Carter because of the influence of Kos and the loony 9/11 Truther Left.

Ironically the African-American community and the wealthy white liberal Truthers both believe 9/11 to be "Justice" as KRS-One says, something they are happy about, and blame on the GWB and "Jooooossssss!!!!!!!!!" ala the Muslim conspiracy theory loonies. There is a deep, deep sickness culturally in both the loony left which controls the Dem Party and the African-American community. A search for scapegoats, conspiracies, anything but taking stock in their own failure and reality.

Who fired that bullet that scarred the baby? Black gangstas. Who form the shock troops of racial separation and African-American "purity" (ironic that Blacks have basically embraced a variance of the Klan). Just like White Jim Crow Southerners their racial separation and identity comes at a heavy price.

Anonymous said...

The previous commenter is as crazy as the loons who think that 9/11 was a gov't conspiracy. It's possible to have an honest disagreement about the war in Iraq. The crux of that debate is clearly whether you think there is a high risk that if we leave a state friendly to Al Qaeda will take root. But to think that mainstream leftists think 9/11 is justice would be like thinking that mainstream conservatives think 9/11 is god's wrath because of our tolerance of gays. In point of fact, neither are true, and anyone who believes either assertion is doing their brain a disservice.

Steve Sailer said...

It's silly to say that Obama's one antiwar speech of 2002 is driving Obamamania. That was hardly mentioned in the press until very recently. It certainly wasn't a big issue at the 2004 Democratic convention where Obama had his breakthrough. There are, what, about 50-100 Democrats in Congress who actually put their necks on the line and voted against the war resolution in 2002.

Anonymous said...

For a different view of what Obama is saying in the black community:

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is delivering pointed critiques of the African American community as he campaigns for its votes, lamenting that many of his generation are "disenfranchising" themselves because they don't vote, taking rappers to task for their language, and decrying "anti-intellectualism" in the black community, including black children telling peers who get good grades that they are "acting white."

As he travels around the country in his effort to become the nation's first black president, Obama has engaged in an intense competition for black voters -- a crucial Democratic Party constituency that accounts for as much as half the electorate in some key primary states such as South Carolina. But the first-term senator, who has sought to present himself as an agent of change eager to challenge political convention, has taken the unusual route of publicly criticizing his own community.

In a brief interview, Obama said he is simply giving broader exposure to the problems that African Americans discuss with great frankness in private. "It's what we talk about in the barbershops in the South Side of Chicago," Obama said, adding that he talks about these problems more in the black community because they are more pronounced there. "There's an old saying that if America has a cold, we have pneumonia," he said.

Aides say there is no specific strategy to target black voters by injecting these themes into the race and note that Obama speaks to white audiences about the importance of parents turning off their kids' televisions and demanding that they finish their homework. Obama says he is echoing the concerns he hears from and shares with other African Americans.

"In Chicago, sometimes when I talk to the black chambers of commerce, I say, 'You know what would be a good economic development plan for our community would be if we make sure folks weren't throwing their garbage out of their cars,' " Obama told a group of black state legislators in a speech in South Carolina last month.

Svigor said...

Just like White Jim Crow Southerners their racial separation and identity comes at a heavy price.

Oh? What price is that, aside from the external (jews and blacks going on freedom rides, Yankees up in arms about how you conduct your affairs, liberals looking to bury you, etc)?

Other than "it will make non-whites, hypocritical whites, and jews hate you and try to bury you," please let us all know the "heavy price" of self-determination.

Svigor said...

Lol, I'll bet slavers would've talked about "heavy prices" too, with the black slaves bold enough to mention emancipation.

"Boy, you're gonna pay a heavy price for seeking freedom (ergo, slavery's better for you)."

The blacks might've been dumb enough to fall for that drivel, but I'm not.