Al Gore has been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize and is probably the favorite to win it:
Some new polls have come out showing Hillary Clinton absolutely killing Barack Obama, among *black* voters. We seem to have a case here where a black candidate, Obama, is more popular among white voters than he is among black voters. And a white candidate, Hillary Clinton, who is evidently more popular among black voters than white voters.
Which brings up the question-- is Barack Obama's popularity among white voters actually hurting him among black voters? Do african american voters see Obama's white popularity as an indication that he's more white than he is black? When you hear black columnists calling Obama an "honorary white man", you get that impression.
Errol Louis has a strongly worded op/ed piece in today's Daily News (01/25) where he accuses the anti-Ratner forces of wrongly playing the race card in the debate over that project. Ratner has signed on Barclay's, a british bank that two hundred years ago had connections with the slave trade, as the arena's sponsor. Louis points out a recent Brooklyn Paper headline calling this deal "Blood Money" because of that. as proof the anti-Ratner forces have become desperate and are playing the race card.
He thinks that the anti-Ratner forces, by portraying Barclays as a bank that once had slave-dealings, are trying to sway public opinion by portraying Ratner and anyone who supports the deal now as racists, and any blacks who support either the Barclays deal, or the project itself now, as Uncle Toms. Basically turning a disagreement over how a neglected property should be developed from a high minded debate into the gutter, into a race war.
Illinois Senator Barack Obama today filed the paperwork to form a committee for a Presidential campaign and will officially start raising money. He has placed a video message at www.barackobama.com. Check it out.
I expect a record fundraising the next few weeks, there is a great deal of interest in his campaign.
Howard Dean and the DNC folks are at their wits end right now, because they need to choose a site for the 2008 Democratic Party Convention, and neither of the finalists are exactly kissing their asses to get it. Dean wanted Minneapolis, but the republicans beat them to it, and it is just not considered proper etiquette for these things to have both parties going to the same city weeks apart. Invites too many comparisons, good and bad. This leaves the choice between Denver and New York City. They favor Denver, its in a key city in a key region of the country. It makes sense to have it there. But there is a huge, deal breaking stumbling block.
Did anybody catch this story in the Times:
This young man down in georgia is doing ten years without parole for being caught having consenual oral sex with a girl two years younger than him. He was seventeen, she was fifteen, a year younger than the age of consent. Because of this he was found guilty of statutory rape and after doing ten years, must register for the rest of his life as a sex offender. The Georgia criminal justice system is doing a good job of ruining this man's life because he got a blow job. Now the story says that the jury did not know how harsh the penalties would be when they found him guilty, but you have to wonder if how he looked played into their decision. All too often justice in the courts is not color blind.
This week there was a press conference outside the Queens courthouse to protest the Sean Bell shooting as a race incident. There was city councilman Charles Barron standing next to Kevin Muhummad of the Nation of Islam and Malik Zulu Shabazz, head of the New Black Panthers. Barron was there protesting racism in police actions by appearing with representatives of two known racist groups. This is like if some white city councilman had a press conference to say it wasn't a race incident and appeared with former KKK leader David Duke! Why is Barron giving credibility to these guys who lead groups who have racial agendas? This doesn't help solve the problems highlighted by the Bell shooting, it only provokes more problems. Shabazz is a hardcore anti-semite who has spoken out about "whites being the devil" and the government being run by jews. Here are some of Shabazz's quotes, ugly, hate-filled rhetoric:
The fight's over. The PACB-- Public Authorities Control Board-- voted unanimously to authorize the Atlantic Yards project this afternoon. Shelly Silver did not block the project. The digging will soon begin. Its a sad day for Brooklyn. The DDDB folks put up a good fight, at least that can be said.
Hillary Clinton is no doubt deep in preparation right now for a presidential run, and has to be grappling with a couple of particular problems:
1. What would be the "rationale" for her candidacy?
2. How do you deal with the "legacy/royal family" issue, i.e. voters having had a bush, then a clinton, and then another bush, so now another clinton?
I think there's a way to deal with both of these issues. Hillary's "rationale" can be "Bill and I want to come back in and fix the mess!" She can argue that Bill Clinton left a strong presidency, a world at peace and a national defecit under control, and George W. Bush has come in and thorougly messed everything up.
I think Barack Obama is an exciting, dynamic young political leader who could be a Kennedy for this generation. He's going to run for President and will be a strong contender. However, looking at his potential campaign, you can see where the republicans would attack him:
-- His lack of national policy experience. He's got grassroots experience and nine years in the illinois state house, but it would only be half a term in the Senate.
-- He has close muslim relatives. His middle name is "Hussein". Would he too pro-arab for a decidedly pro-Israel electorate?
If you think its premature to be talking about the 2008 Presidential race, consider that here in NYC the 2009 Mayor's race is already well under way. Mike Bloomberg is term limited and the Mayor's Office will be open in 2009 and many of the best names in town are already effectively campaigning for the job. Among the unannounced candidates:
CHRISTINE QUINN-- The City Council chair is having an event in all five boroughs coming up, yet another sign that she is clearly running for Mayor. Her problem is the same as Gifford Miller had, which is that because the council chair is an appointed, rather than citywide elected position, it doesn't make the best platform for a mayoral run. When was the last time a council chairman got elected Mayor?
The dust had barely settled from this past week's 2006 elections, when Clinton/DLC loyalists, using James Carville as their mouthpiece, started calling for the ouster of DNC chairman Howard Dean. Carville's claim is that Dean did not spend enough money targeting specific races and was wrongly intent on spreading the money around in a fifty state strategy. He is spearheading a movement to replace the progressive Dean as DNC chairman with the centerist Harold Ford Jr., who needs a job after losing the Tennessee Senator's race. The DLC led Clinton Folks, Carville, Begala, Rahm Emanuel, .etc never wanted Dean as chairman in the first place. They think the future of the Democratic Party is as a centerist party, a more moderate version of the Republicans. To that end, a number of the candidates who the DCCC and DSCC ran this year, to the consternation of Dean's people at the DNC, were centerist and conservative candidates (Tester in Montana, former reaganite Jim Webb in Virginia, pro-life Casey in Pennsylvania, conservative heath shuler in north carolina .etc)
Okay Barack Obama, the Senator from Illinois, is all over the news. He's considering running for President and has a lot of people encouraging him. Oprah Winfrey practically begged him to run. George Clooney endorsed him. Even David Brooks, the conservative new york times columnist, is encouraging him to run. Donna Brazile, Al Gore's campaign manager, is reportedly already advising him.
So the question becomes, is Barack Obama the real deal? Should he run for President? Would his lack of experience be a factor? Charlie Krauthammer said in his op-ed piece in the Washington Post that he encourages Obama to run, but that he can't win because americans don't elect inexperienced people to the Presidency during wartime.