Monday, March 08, 2004

John Kerry: Black like me?

"President Clinton was often known as the first black President. I wouldn't be upset if I could earn the right to be the second."...[John F. Kerry]

I was cruising some of my favorite blog reads and came across a spot on Oliver's site that talked about John Kerry and his mission to connect with all populations of U.S. Voters. In a quotation from USA today, it referenced that quote with this line....

"Kerry signaled his resolve to cement his support among blacks this week when he told a radio interviewer, "President Clinton was often known as the first black president. I wouldn't be upset if I could earn the right to be the second."

I was mildly amused when I heard about Tony Morrison referencing Clinton in that way. Don't get me wrong, I liked Clinton despite the attention to his personal life and business dealings. However, I was taken aback by how the idea of him being a "Black President" was centered not around his fiscal policies, his recruitment of minorities, or simply his love of Jazz music; he was thought of as a black President after he started getting into trouble. I would think that most black men would be outraged if a person stated that most black men were womanizers, guilty of lying, unfaithful to their wives, and always subject to losing their jobs. I think that Tony Morrison made that statement with tongue-in-cheek, especially in light of how Clinton was viciously attacked by opposition party members. Yes, they had a legal standing, but we all know that it was because President Clinton was incumbent Executive to a hostile Congress.

I would think that Tony Morrison made her statements in light of the fact that Clinton was "going through" a lot at the time. Yes, he was from the South, raised in a single parent home, was working class and could better identify with blacks than a blue blood northerner. I was a fan of Clinton because he was a Fiscal conservative, thought about domestic issues first, and also presided over a time when the economy boomed and the surplus ballooned. Things at that time were so good that he hoped to use the surplus to pay down the National Debt, though some of the Congressman on his side of the aisle wanted to expand and create new programs. If this was the reason for his being compared to a black man, I would have no problem with it. But the joke was really on us with this one, because in the words of Kevin Gray, "The punch line is that Clinton is decadent nd promiscuous, got rythm, got caught, and got over - so he's black!" Amazingly enough Gray was Al Sharpton's former campaign manager.

For John Kerry to make a statement like this is tantamount to 1st degree pandering. I think I would still have a problem with Kerry's infantile statements about wanting to be a "black man's President". Even if after he was elected the problems with terrorism vanished, Unemployment was at 3%, he would still have a "soul quotient that would make George Bush look like James Brown."*

If Kerry wants to identify with blacks, or capture the vast majority of black votes he doesn't need to try and be "Brothaman". More than likely he needs to stop referring to issues on "State's Rights". (pronounced states raughts in the South) If he knew anything about black people he would realize that the term "States Right's" in the South used to mean, "Do whuteva the hayul we want to the darkies no matta whut the gubmint says". I am not sure if there are really black issues that a politician needs to "get" from the black perspective, but I don't think that Kerry is any more or less capable than anyone else of getting the job done.

Bottom line, stick to being a blue blood, but be aware that you serve the entire constituency. Don't pander to a certain group, do what you think is right. And damn, leave the Jazz to Clinton.

*quotation from Kathleen Parker from the "Jewish World Review".

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