Monday, January 29, 2007

Black pols see Obama as threat to their clout

I mentioned last week a video from Channel 2 about this quote from Chicago based historian Timuel Black...
Saying he's not black enough, is an attempt to discredit him among blacks because that may be the base that they want.
Now there is this morning's column by Laura Washington which would fit in almost exactly with Black's quote. There are some interesting excerpts to be taken up here. It just about illustrates my point...

In politics, crossover is the key to success. Until now, African-American leaders have tended to their own gardens. They cultivate black voters exclusively and make little serious effort to extend their attention beyond the base. This is one big reason why black politicians usually crash and burn when they seek office in districts where blacks are in the minority.

In the 2006 elections, Harold Ford is an exception to the rule. The congressman from Tennessee came as close as anyone in memory to snaring a U.S. Senate seat in the South. If he had run as an unabashedly black candidate, he could not have even made it out of the Tennessee Senate primary. He knew to get that office he had to run as a moderate and appeal outside his base. You haven't heard the last from him.

Enter Obama. He brings a black constituency to a larger progressive coalition and energizes younger voters who see him as a "new voice." It's a potent concoction -- and one that no black politician has seen the likes of before.

He won't have to fuss with the black vote. He knows race appeals turn off voters who have wearied of the "race men." Obama will be playing pragmatic politics -- the only kind that will put a black man in the White House.

That means, of course, that the black political establishment will see Obama as one thing only -- a threat. A threat that undermines and erodes their political clout.
Oh, BTW, Harold Ford is in today's The Fix, just a brief note since Washington mentions him in her column. He used to be a congressman in the 9th district of Tennessee. Anyway back to good ole Barack Obama.

And I really like his fundraising list too...

Unlike previous black presidential contenders, Obama won't have to run on a shoestring. His fund-raising machine is impressive and well-oiled.

He's got the bucks of the black bourgeoisie. Donors like investment managers John Rogers and Jim Reynolds, and publishing magnate Linda Johnson Rice. Funders like that didn't exist in the eras of Jesse Jackson and Shirley Chisholm. Funders like that looked askance at Sharpton's rough edges.

His ties to white liberal wealth stretch from Hollywood to Chicago's North Shore to the Empire State: Mega-director Steven Spielberg; Playboy Enterprises CEO Christie Hefner and her husband, real estate developer and restaurateur Bill Marovitz; movie mogul Harold Ramis; real estate big shot Neil Bluhm, and philanthropist George Soros. That kind of moolah will make Hillary shake and Biden bake.

No bake sales or lemonade stands, natch, for the Obamarama. The entire political establishment will be stupefied at his next fund-raising report, due in March. It's much more than the money that appeals. Obama is not from the South, or the ghetto. He's not a preacher and he didn't march. He went to Hah-vaad, my dear.
Well I posted about the blacks running for statewide offices around the country in the midterm elections last year. That ivy-league education is paying off wonders for Barack Obama right now. The question is though can he overcome the ice from the "black leadership"?

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