AmeriCAN-DO Attitude

Are you an AmeriCAN or an AmeriCAN'T?

Obama – An Old-Fashioned, Big Government, Race-Conscious Liberal Category: News and Politics

Via Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker Blog: Obama as a State Senator

Stanley Kurtz at The Weekly Standard: Barack Obama’s Lost Years

Barack Obama’s neighborhood newspaper, the Hyde Park Herald, has a longstanding tradition of opening its pages to elected officials – from Chicago aldermen to state legislators to U.S. senators. Obama himself, as a state senator, wrote more than 40 columns for the Herald, under the title “Springfield Report,” between 1996 and 2004. Read in isolation, Obama’s columns from the state capital tell us little. Placed in the context of political and policy battles then raging in Illinois, however, the young legislator’s dispatches powerfully illuminate his political beliefs. Even more revealing are hundreds of articles chronicling Obama’s early political and legislative activities in the pages not only of the Hyde Park Herald, but also of another South Side fixture, the Chicago Defender.

Obama moved to Chicago in order to place himself in what he understood to be the de facto “capital” of black America. For well over 100 years, the Chicago Defender has been the voice of that capital, and therefore a paper of national significance for African Americans. Early on in his political career, Obama complained of being slighted by major media, like the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Yet extensive and continuous coverage in both the Chicago Defender and the Hyde Park Herald presents a remarkable resource for understanding who Obama is. Reportage in these two papers is particularly significant because Obama’s early political career – the time between his first campaign for the Illinois State Senate in 1995 and his race for U.S. Senate in 2004 – can fairly be called the “lost years,” the period Obama seems least eager to talk about, in contrast to his formative years in Hawaii, California, and New York or his days as a community organizer, both of which are recounted in his memoir, Dreams from My Father. The pages of the Hyde Park Herald and the Chicago Defender thus offer entrée into Obama’s heretofore hidden world.

What they portray is a Barack Obama sharply at variance with the image of the post-racial, post-ideological, bipartisan, culture-war-shunning politician familiar from current media coverage and purveyed by the Obama campaign. As details of Obama’s early political career emerge into the light, his associations with such radical figures as Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Father Michael Pfleger, Reverend James Meeks, Bill Ayers, and Bernardine Dohrn look less like peculiar instances of personal misjudgment and more like intentional political partnerships. At his core, in other words, the politician chronicled here is profoundly race-conscious, exceedingly liberal, free-spending even in the face of looming state budget deficits, and partisan. Elected president, this man would presumably shift the country sharply to the left on all the key issues of the day – culture-war issues included. It’s no wonder Obama has passed over his Springfield years in relative silence.

Thomas Lifson highlights these two examples, but be sure to read the entire enlightening article by Stanley Kurtz:

In 2004, a U.S. District Court disallowed the ordinance under which Chicago required the use of at least 25 percent minority business enterprises and 5 percent women’s business enterprises on city-funded projects. In the immediate aftermath of the ruling, Obama and Jesse Jackson were among the prominent voices calling for a black leadership summit to plot strategy for a restoration of Chicago’s construction quotas. Obama and his allies succeeded in bringing back race-based contracting.

[ . . . ]

A Chicago Defender story of 1999 features a front-page picture of Obama beside the headline, “Obama: Illinois Black Caucus is broken.” In the accompanying article, although Obama denies demanding that black legislators march in perfect lockstep, he expresses anger that black state senators have failed to unite for the purpose of placing a newly approved riverboat casino in a minority neighborhood. The failed casino vote, Obama argues, means that the black caucus “is broken and needs to unite for the common good of the African-American community.” Obama continues, “The problem right now is that we don’t have a unified agenda that’s enforced back in the community and is clearly articulated. Everybody tends to be lone agents in these situations.”

Speaking in reply to Obama was Mary E. Flowers, an African-American state senator who apparently broke black caucus discipline and voted to approve the casino’s location in a nonminority area. Said Flowers: “The Black Caucus is from different tribes, different walks of life. I don’t expect all of the whites to vote alike.  .  .  .  Why is it that all of us should walk alike, talk alike and vote alike?  .  .  .  I was chosen by my constituents to represent them, and that is what I try to do.” Given Obama’s supposedly post-racial politics, it is notable that he should be the one demanding enforcement of a black political agenda against “lone agents,” while another black legislator appeals to Obama to leave her free to represent her constituents, black or white, as she sees fit.

Advertisements

August 6, 2008 , 3:06AM - Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Liberalism, Racism, Reverend Dr Jeremiah Wright, Socialism, William Ayers

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

%d bloggers like this: