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Three Positive Aspects of Obama's Victory:

For a variety of reasons, I oppose most of Barack Obama's policy agenda and therefore do not welcome his victory. At this moment, however, I think it appropriate to note what I see as three important positives that will result from his triumph.

First and foremost, Obama's victory is an extraordinary milestone in the history of American race relations. Anyone with even slight familiarity with our history of racial oppression can hardly fail to recognize what an important historical moment the election of the first African-American president is. As a constitutional law professor, I have probably spent more time considering that history than most. The history of American constitutional law is to an important extent the history of racist repression and the long struggle to overcome it. As recently as 45 years ago, most American blacks did not even have the right to vote, much less any hope of being elected to the highest office in the land. Just a few decades before that, in the early 1900s, many southern blacks could not even freely change jobs, because of constraints imposed by state peonage laws, about which co-blogger David Bernstein and I have written in some of our academic work. David, of course, is far more expert on the history of racist law than I am, and I am more than happy to agree with what he says in his most recent post.

Obama's victory will not eliminate the vestiges of racism that remain, nor will it solve the problems of the black underclass. But it is an important symbolic moment, and it should help to alleviate racial tensions.

Second, it is clear that Obama's win will improve the image of the United States throughout much of the world. I do not believe that pleasing foreign public opinion should be the be all and end all of American foreign policy. Sometimes, we can and should take unpopular actions. But it would be wrong to assume, as some conservatives have during the Bush Administration, that the good will of foreign publics is irrelevant. Most of our key allies are democracies whose governments are to some degree constrained by public opinion. If that opinion is more favorable to us, it will make our foreign policy objectives easier to achieve because allied governments will be more inclined to cooperate with us.

Finally, Obama is an incredibly talented and charismatic politician. His meteoric rise from being a little-known state senator just four years ago is the most rapid ascent from obscurity to the White House in at least a century, if not longer. Conservatives and libertarians underestimate his competence and political skills at their peril. Just ask his defeated opponents, including Hillary Clinton. Obama's competence and charisma is of course a double-edged sword. Political competence used in the service of a harmful big government agenda could actually make things worse than they would be under a less skillfull leader. For this reason, I cannot be as enthusiastic about Obama's potential for "greatness" as co-blogger David Post.

However, it is fair to say that Obama is unlikely to commit serious mistakes merely because of incompetence or stupidity. If he adopts flawed policies, it will be because of his ideology or because of perverse political incentives that enable him and his party to reap short-term political gains from policies that cause long-run harm. The latter temptation, of course, is far from unique to Obama or the Democrats, as we have had occasion to learn during the years of the Bush Administration. If Obama's election achieves nothing else positive, it can at least help us get to the point where the election of a black president will be viewed as normal, and that president himself judged by the same standards as those applied to other politicians.

Guest12345:
Isn't it a bit racist to be calling this a historic election because we finally elected a black man?
11.5.2008 12:15am
Tomm:
Is calling a racist "racist" racist?
11.5.2008 12:19am
Cold Warrior:
Good Lord. The first comment already has to veer off in a silly direction.

The best thing for me about Obama's victory: it consigns the Republican narrowcasting campaign strategy to the dustbin of history. Pandering to religious conservatives and mocking education and intellect will allow you to paint a swath of red across the traditional South and the Bible Belt Midwest. And you'll lose everywhere else.
11.5.2008 12:19am
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
Why is that a "silly" direction? There's no way BHO would have been elected if he were white.

Regarding the second point, someone else said he has a "glass jaw", and that's been clear to me for a long time. He's able to fool a lot of people - including those here - because he's never been challenged. Foreign leaders aren't going to pull their punches, and there's a good chance that BHO is not going to be able to take the pressure.

If you don't understand that, watch the last debate. After McCain called him on his associates, he spent 20 seconds stammering while he was thinking of something to say. Our foreign opponents will realize his personality type, even if his opponents in the U.S. were too stupid to realize it or too corrupt to take advantage of it.

One of the only good things about BHO being president is that he might destroy the Democratic Party, and he'll also give us a chance to completely discredit anyone who publicly supported or him or did little to prevent today's result.
11.5.2008 12:26am
Josh644 (mail):
Pandering to religious conservatives and mocking education and intellect will allow you to paint a swath of red across the traditional South and the Bible Belt Midwest. And you'll lose everywhere else.

Explain 2004, then.

McCain lost because the economy took a dive during his party's incumbency.
11.5.2008 12:26am
J. Kee (mail):
This is truly a historic moment for America. Don't spoil it over irrelevant policy issues. Or do, if it suits you......
11.5.2008 12:27am
astrangerwithcandy (mail):

Second, it is clear that Obama's win will improve the image of the United States throughout much of the world. I do not believe that pleasing foreign public opinion should be the be all and end all of American foreign policy. Sometimes, we can and should take unpopular actions. But it would be wrong to assume, as some conservatives have during the Bush Administration, that the good will of foreign publics is irrelevant. Most of our key allies are democracies whose governments are to some degree constrained by public opinion. If that opinion is more favorable to us, it will make our foreign policy objectives easier to achieve because allied governments will be more inclined to cooperate with us.


i am not a fan of an aggressive policy that disregards foreign opinion. however, simply electing obama isn't going to make any particular policy palatable....and if it does, i think that says more about the foreign public than it does about us. it wasn't bush the man that made the us unpopular, it was his policy - iraq war. obama the man is going to be popular for 15 minutes, or however long it takes him to make a decision in the interest of the US that is not popular in continental academic circles.

in other words,i guess, i find that view naive.
11.5.2008 12:36am
Justin Levine:
You forget the best part about an Obama victory - denying the Clintons the reigns of power for at least 8 years.
11.5.2008 12:40am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
24AheadDotCom and Josh644 are both absolutely correct. This was a year that pretty much any Democrat could have won and Obama had more help than most with the desire by the MSM to have the "first African American president in our lifetime" and he still managed to nearly screw it up. The Republican response should be to pledge to show Obama the same courtesy that he showed President Bush and follow through accordingly.
11.5.2008 12:40am
Cold Warrior:

Regarding the second point, someone else said he has a "glass jaw", and that's been clear to me for a long time. He's able to fool a lot of people - including those here - because he's never been challenged. Foreign leaders aren't going to pull their punches, and there's a good chance that BHO is not going to be able to take the pressure.


Check back with us once you're past the denial phase.

Obama was challenged - personally, repeatedly - by Hillary (and Bill) Clinton, by McCain and Palin, and by a whole host of Republican surrogates. I had made up my mind by about March that I wanted Obama to win. And I was frustrated that he seemed to be unwilling or unable to hit back. C'mon, Hillary is calling you to task about Rezko; you mean you're not going to mention Whitewater? The cattle futures? The missing Rose Law Firm documents? Monica? C'mon, McCain is calling you out for your associations. You mean you're not going to mention Rev. Hagee (he of the Pope may just be the Antichrist theory), even when you're scrambling for Catholic votes? No mention of G. Gordon Liddy? You're being accused of being cozy with Fannie and Freddie and you don't even mention the Keating 5 business? What could be more obvious? Fight back, young man!

But no. He was disciplined. He stayed on message. He didn't let his competitor force a change in his strategy. He slipped in the polls after the RNC. He could've panicked. He didn't. He stayed the course. McCain blinked during the financial crisis; Obama didn't.

Obama cracks under pressure? Yeah, just like the Phillies do.
11.5.2008 12:40am
Cold Warrior:

and he still managed to nearly screw it up.


367 - 165.

That's the likely final score.

Plus a true majority of the popular vote.

Umm, yeah, that was a nailbiter.
11.5.2008 12:46am
DiversityHire:
Well said, Cold Warrior.

President Elect Obama is also a post-boomer, so he represents a generational shift, too. I hope that really means something because I know us generation-x'ers couldn't possibly screw-up any worse than those boomers. :)
11.5.2008 12:53am
LM (mail):

But it would be wrong to assume, as some conservatives have during the Bush Administration, that the good will of foreign publics is irrelevant.

Worse, they've acted like it was radioactive.
11.5.2008 12:57am
David Warner:
DiversityHire,

"President Elect Obama is also a post-boomer, so he represents a generational shift, too. I hope that really means something because I know us generation-x'ers couldn't possibly screw-up any worse than those boomers. :)"

Yes, we can. = ) = )

But we won't.
11.5.2008 12:59am
Pyrrhus (mail) (www):
"it is fair to say that Obama is unlikely to commit serious mistakes merely because of incompetence or stupidity"

Ilya,

How about Obama's healthcare plan? Obama is promising to create a public plan that offers an "affordable" (so assumedly below market cost) policy that will cover pre-existing conditions without mandating that Americans get coverage. His intelligence never stopped him from substituting this obvious free rider problem for a healthcare plan.
11.5.2008 1:02am
A. Zarkov (mail):
"Obama was challenged - personally, repeatedly - by Hillary (and Bill) Clinton, by McCain and Palin, and by a whole host of Republican surrogates."

He was challenged by alright, but almost always with kid gloves. Did he do one TV or radio interview with a hostile host? He also made numerous factual errors which neither his opponents or the media saw fit to challenge.

One of his weak points was immigration. Was he ever questioned about the H1-B program? Does he support giving illegal aliens health insurance? What's his policy on amnesty? How about the relation between carbon emissions and immigration.

Why does he support a stimulus package when that's a jobs program for China and the US needs less consumption and more investment?

He supports "alternative energy." How is that going to help our liquid fuels problem? We don't use oil to generate electricity.

How is giving a tax rebate to lower income people going to increase investment?

His opposition was too weak or too compromised to bring up any of these questions or a host of others that would have shown his tenuous grasp on the issues and facts.
11.5.2008 1:09am
Joshua:
[Obama's] meteoric rise from being a little-known state senator just four years ago is the most rapid ascent from obscurity to the White House in at least a century, if not longer.

Meh. Obama has made a career out of basically being in the right place at the right time. As I recall, he was a longshot for election to the U.S. Senate until the incumbent got caught in a messy divorce/sex scandal. As for the presidential campaign, McCain and Palin looked poised to blow Obama's doors off until Wall Street melted down.

If anything, Obama is the ultimate personification of the old adage that it's better to be lucky than good.
11.5.2008 1:15am
Cornellian (mail):
Obama has been remarkably lucky, but he's also skillfully made the most of his lucky breaks.

He also owes a lot to GW Bush for trashing the Republican brand so thoroughly it will probably take a decade or more for them to recover.
11.5.2008 1:22am
Anonymous Attorney:
As for the presidential campaign, McCain and Palin looked poised to blow Obama's doors off until Wall Street melted down.

Not sure I buy that. It would still have been a very close election, I think. McCain's chances would certainly have been better, but I don't see that it would have resulted in the same kind of McCain victory that Obama has won. Why do you think it would have?
11.5.2008 1:22am
Derrick (mail):
Did he do one TV or radio interview with a hostile host?

A host who frequently calls people pinheads might be classified as such.

I'm a little younger but this must have been how liberals reacted to Reagan back in the day. What partisans can't seem to understand is that the great ones make it look easy, as if they are barely trying. You can criticize from your limited, hypothetical-inspired perspective, but Obama beat a former President and his wife along with an established statesman, war hero. Did some circumstances work in his favor? Sure, but I doubt Reaganites were willing to concede because Iranians decided to take US hostages and make Carter look bad.

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."
11.5.2008 1:28am
LM (mail):
Derrick,

Here here.
11.5.2008 1:35am
Hoosier:
The best thing for me about Obama's victory:

The presidency is now an entry-level position!

YAY!
11.5.2008 1:58am
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
Justin Levine writes: You forget the best part about an Obama victory - denying the Clintons the reigns of power for at least 8 years.

Yeah, thanks for that because as we all know Hillary is far worse than BHO or McCain.

Unfortunately, your employer (Bill Handel of KFI) could have stopped both Hillary and BHO if you'd taken the advice I gave you in comments over at one of the most worthless, braindead, self-aggrandizing sites around, patterico.com. In comments there, I suggested that Handel hire people to go to the candidates' appearances and ask them tough questions on tape. That would have increased his ratings and done a public service; why didn't he do that?

As for BHO being questioned, as mentioned above he was almost always given the pullball treatment. One set of "reporters" even asked him, "Beatles or Stones?" That was "reported" at the WaPo's The Trail as if it were real news.

Let me give you an example of what BHO should have faced. A few years ago, I asked an immigration expert - someone who's written countless opeds about the topic, spoken to Bush about it, and been quoted in endless articles a stumper of a question. She didn't have an answer. If I'd got it on video for Youtube (which didn't exist at that time) and anyone else knew who she was, she wouldn't have been considered much of an expert after that point, because it was clear that she hadn't thought things through.

Likewise, if I had gotten to ask BHO about this topic on video, I could have easily shown that he hadn't thought things through (for instance, by making the points like the ones at 24ahead.com/blog/archives/007603.html). Unlike his other opponents, my goal would be to show he wasn't qualified, not simply to have some puffball debate.
11.5.2008 2:00am
Hoosier:
Please, please, please—Everyone refrain from calling Obama a Gen-Xer. Unless you can provide: (A) a birth certificate that proves he was born ca. 1964-65; and (B) a picture of him wearing a t-shirt bearing the name of grunge band (Stone Temple Pilots does not count).
11.5.2008 2:02am
Joshua:
Anonymous Attorney: McCain's chances would certainly have been better [without the financial collapse disrupting the campaign], but I don't see that it would have resulted in the same kind of McCain victory that Obama has won. Why do you think it would have?

Simply put, because all the momentum was on McCain's side for the week-and-a-half or so between the GOP convention and the collapse of Lehman Bros. Over the summer he had slowly whittled away Obama's once-huge lead (or rather he sat back and let Obama whittle away his own lead by drawing attention to political inexperience and leftist background at seemingly every turn), and that was before Sarah Palin entered the picture and brought the once-apathetic GOP base back into McCain's camp. But that all became ancient history once Lehman went down. Suddenly the one issue where Obama still had an insurmountable advantage (on account of not being from the incumbent party) went from being merely the campaign's top issue among many, to becoming its be-all and end-all. For Obama this was the equivalent of winning the lottery.
11.5.2008 2:07am
Careless:
It's really hard to imagine:
Win your spot as state senator because all other people are disqualified
win your senate seat because your opponent wanted to have sex with his wife
Win the democratic nomination because the voters wanted someone who acted as left as possible, your people own the caucuses, and the media didn't investigate you until you had an insurmountable elead.
11.5.2008 2:15am
Ken Arromdee:
Actually I'm beginning to think of Jimmy Carter. I was going to say that Carter seemed more leftist out of office than in, but looking through a Wikipedia page I don't really think that's true. Still, he did damage, but nothing that couldn't be recovered from.
11.5.2008 2:16am
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
Two words: racial estoppel.

No african american can ever complain (at least, not with a straight face) about American racism holding them back. There will be a two word retort to any such complaint: President Obama.
11.5.2008 2:17am
Careless:
I'm just amazed that Obama got to this point without ever being in a contested race where a random Democrat wasn't favored over the Republican by double digits
11.5.2008 2:19am
pmorem (mail):
The best part about President Obama is...
Whatever goes wrong, it's now the Democrats' fault.
11.5.2008 2:20am
Kevin P. (mail):

Cold Warrior:
... the Republican narrowcasting campaign strategy [of] ... mocking education and intellect...


Please provide links to examples where the Republican campaign has mocked education and intellect.
11.5.2008 2:35am
richard cabeza:
Whatever goes wrong, it's now the Democrats' fault.

With control of the executive and a majority congress?

Of course not. Bush did it (even if Clinton did it first!), for all values of "it".
11.5.2008 2:46am
Visitor Again:
No african american can ever complain (at least, not with a straight face) about American racism holding them back. There will be a two word retort to any such complaint: President Obama.

Rubbish. Your claim cannot reasonably be made with a straight face. It is cause to celebrate that racism did not prevent the election of a plainly superior candidate for President. But one would have expected a landslide of much greater proportions given the mess the Republicans have made over the past eight years and the economic collapse. That Obama managed to prevail does not mean racial prejudice has been wiped out;

The best part about President Obama is...
Whatever goes wrong, it's now the Democrats' fault.


More rubbish (although from a different person that the first piece of rubbish). The public knows Obama will inherit the unholy mess the Republicans made over the past eight years.
11.5.2008 2:47am
Vermando (mail) (www):
Classy. Well done sir. Needless to say, the pendulum will swing back, as it always does.

Kevin P. - I've got one off the top of my head: Sarah Palin speaking derisively about fruit fly genetics research. This reflected her disdain for the research, but also her ignorance of the fact that such research is one of the cornerstone of modern genetics, so a double whammy.
11.5.2008 2:55am
Sagar:
Justine Levine,

Absolutely! Hillary will have to wait for 8 years minimum - definitely a positive outcome:)

Ilya left out the "healing the planet, lowering the oceans" stuff - i think that is a big positive as well.

Bruce_M

I think I read on Reason Online that Charlie Rangel (or someone at his victory party) said this is not a complete victory for "African Americans" since Obama is bi-racial. So, good luck with your racial estoppel.
11.5.2008 3:01am
Sagar:
"The public knows Obama will inherit the unholy mess the Republicans made over the past eight years."

the same public that re-elected Bush 4 yrs ago "knows" of the Republican mess over the past 8 yrs?
11.5.2008 3:08am
Sagar:
for me the good thing about tonight was the broad majority Obama has won; had it been a narrow victory of a few thousand vote majority in a couple of swing states, it would have been attributed to fraud, and with atleast some truth to it.

now, there is no doubt that "the American people have spoken" and tomorrow everyone will get on with it.
11.5.2008 3:11am
Cold Warrior:
Derrick said:


I'm a little younger but this must have been how liberals reacted to Reagan back in the day.


Very true. I was young then, just starting college, and unabashedly liberal. It just seemed so wrong that Reagan had been elected. I mean, Carter inherited an economic mess from Nixon and Ford. Then there was the Iranian hostage situation and the 2nd oil shock. And the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. And Reagan waltzes in with a stupid grin and vacuous quips and the presidency is just handed to him.

Yup, that's how I felt. So I guess I have some empathy for the Obamaphobics. It'll be o.k. It took me 9-10 years to fully reevaluate Reagan and come to terms with the fact that his presidency was a great success.

Here's hoping that Obama causes the same delayed reaction in his opponents.
11.5.2008 3:21am
EIDE_Interface (mail):
I'm supposed to be impressed with 800 million circus election + endless pandering to buy votes. Sorry, but Hussein is NOT my President and never will be. I might end up on a "political enemies" list, but fuck it.
11.5.2008 4:22am
dirk calloway (mail):
What evidence is there that Obama's election "should help alleviate racial tensions"? Seems to me the opposite is just as likely to be the case.
11.5.2008 4:24am
LM (mail):
EIDE_Interface,

Sorry, but Hussein is NOT my President and never will be.

Barack Obama is going to be President of the United States of America. What country are you a citizen of?
11.5.2008 4:39am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Prof. Somin.
WRT yr last sentence. Not in this universe.
11.5.2008 4:40am
Splunge:
I hope that really means something because I know us generation-x'ers couldn't possibly screw-up any worse than those boomers

Oh I dunno. Given where Obama's support came from, I'd say you just have.
11.5.2008 5:03am
Kevin P. (mail):

Vermando (mail) (www):
Kevin P. - I've got one off the top of my head: Sarah Palin speaking derisively about fruit fly genetics research.


Are you referring to this story? Sarah Palin has an unlikely defender on the issue: Daily Kos. It is clear that she was speaking derisively about a earmark for something that many can see as a pork research project (yes, they do exist. I work in the sciences, I know).

Next please. Please provide links to examples where the Republican campaign has mocked education and intellect.
11.5.2008 5:17am
Kevin P. (mail):
Citizens Against Government Waste lists the fruit fly project in their list of pork:

CA $211,509 Olive Fruit Fly, Montpelier, France (Agricultural Research Service: Salaries and Expenses) Thompson (CA)

Now you can argue that the earmark is actually a justifiable use of the taxpayer money to benefit the olive industry. And you might even be right if the olive industry is a matter of legitimate government concern. But to argue that this is an attack on science is farfetched.
11.5.2008 5:32am
Javert:

and it should help to alleviate racial tensions.
It will worsen racial tensions because affirmative action (which he supports) encourages individuals to see themselves and others through the lens of race. And critical race theory (the ideology of some of his key supporters and advisors) injects racial discrimination into the law.

it will make our foreign policy objectives easier to achieve because allied governments will be more inclined to cooperate with us.
This is a positive only if one believes that it is more important for the U.S. to curry favor with those who want us to genuflect, than it is for the U.S. to combat Islamofascism.
11.5.2008 8:05am
hawkins:

Unfortunately, your employer (Bill Handel of KFI) could have stopped both Hillary and BHO if you'd taken the advice I gave you


24Ahead knew the secret to winning the election, and nobody listened to him! The GOP are all fools for not letting 24Ahead run McCain's election.
11.5.2008 8:25am
hawkins:

Next please. Please provide links to examples where the Republican campaign has mocked education and intellect.


Did you miss the GOP convention? With all the slandering of east coast elites?
11.5.2008 9:21am
Joel Rosenberg (mail) (www):
Your first point? Sure. In and of itself, that's kind of cool.

Improving America's image? I think that, six months from now, the not-quite-totally-legitimate conventional wisdom will be how Obama squandered all of that goodwill. All in all, I don't think that other countries go along with the US because they like the US, or like the President, but -- when they do -- because they think it's in their interest to. And that requires both carrots and sticks.

Talented politician? Sure. He's real, real good at getting elected. We're about to see how good he is at governing, and I think we're going to have a demonstration of how bad that is -- particularly if he is effective. Which, alas, he likely is.
11.5.2008 9:26am
EH (mail):
EIDE_Interface:
Sorry, but Hussein is NOT my President and never will be. I might end up on a "political enemies" list, but fuck it.


So what we have here is a shining example of grace and of resolving oneself to exhume the anti-Bush bumper sticker mentality of eight years ago. It's quite a life you've built for yourself there. Your parents should be proud!
11.5.2008 10:24am
LT Dan:
I do think their are many positives to having elected our first African-American President. (Though I guess Bill Clinton loses his "first black president" honorarium).

I think the numbers bear out more of a generational passing of the torch, though I haven't studied them too much. This could point to a much more dramatic long term change in American politics but only if:
1. younger voters continue to vote in larger numbers than the past
2. this election's young voters remain more liberal than conservative (anecdotally, my understanding is that this is not true, as kids and a real job tend to make one more concerned about things like tax rates and such).

EIDE_Interface,
Really, is this debate still at that level?
It is one thing to disparage his policies, call him socialist, etc.
Referring to him as "Hussein" or Barack Hussein Obama (stress on the Hussein), IMHO, is racist. To me, emphasis of that name self-indentifies personnel who (at least in some part) didn't vote for him because he doesn't look like the Presidents iin the history books.
11.5.2008 10:38am
Ken Arromdee:
Referring to him as "Hussein" or Barack Hussein Obama (stress on the Hussein), IMHO, is racist.

There's a difference between "because he's named Hussein, that proves he's a Muslim", and believing for non-name-related reasons that he's sympathetic to Muslims and then using the name as a convenient hook when you want an epithet that indicates that. The former might be racist. The latter isn't.

But this is is an example of how anything said against Obama gets answered by playing the race card, even if it'd be politics as usual when used against anyone else.
11.5.2008 11:14am
elim:
I look forward to the mainstream media rediscovering that there are bad guys out there who want to kill us. I also have a hunch that the poor detainees at Gitmo and their noble "pro bono" lawyers are about to get hit with an avalanche of bad press.
11.5.2008 11:21am
calmom:
I don't think we really know what Obama will do as President - except - he won't go so far to the left that he becomes a one term president or a president who loses the House in two years ala 1994.

Obama doesn't have any core principles except promoting Obama's career. Exhibit A would be the 'present' votes on any tough decision in the Illinois Senate.
11.5.2008 11:25am
Sarcastro (www):
[EIDE_Interface

If you care about this country, hold Obama's feet to the fire AS PRESIDENT, don't throw a hissy fit and just hate him ouf of the gate.

Remember how lame those Dems seemed to you in 2000? The idea that BDS was silly and bad?

Grace in defeat is the best revenge.

Also: Fuck. hehehe!]
11.5.2008 11:26am
LT Dan:
You are right, maybe it isn't truly racist.

However, those who use the name are trying to either:
1. insinuate the falsehood that he is muslim
2. highlight his non-european ancestry

believing for non-name-related reasons that he's sympathetic to Muslims and then using the name as a convenient hook when you want an epithet that indicates that

Using the name as a "hook", without explanation comes across as one of the two interpretations above.
11.5.2008 11:30am
David Warner:
Hoosier,

"Please, please, please—Everyone refrain from calling Obama a Gen-Xer. Unless you can provide: (A) a birth certificate that proves he was born ca. 1964-65; and (B) a picture of him wearing a t-shirt bearing the name of grunge band (Stone Temple Pilots does not count)."

Years spent in Indonesia don't count. Negatives: Muslimly stuff. Positives: honorary Gen-Xness. Clearly a net positive!

What I'm wondering about is the fate of a certain JukeBox we all know and love. Does he:

(1) Bring the noise doubleloud against the public's enemies now that he's one of the President's Men?

(2) Finally pass the Turing Test and join the VC as a regular commenter/(gulp, poster?) with actual original thoughts from an unpredictable perspective?

(3) Get unplugged by his owner?
11.5.2008 11:41am
Bruce_M (mail) (www):
Rangel really said this is not a victory for blacks because Obama is only half-black (or half-white, depending on your POV)? Jeez. He has black skin. Though he is a "light" african american with mostly white features. I suppose that does beg the very cynical, almost racist question: if Obama looked like "Bubba" from Forrest Gump, but still had the same commanding voice and all else being equal, would he still have won? I'd like to think so, but it's true that Obama is not the "blackest" of black people.

He'd still have had to drink from the "colored" waterfountain and use the "colored" bathrooms and sit at the back of the bus 50 years ago. So, if Rangel is really denegrating an Obama victory, then I think most people, like myself, will not agree with him, to say the least.
11.5.2008 12:15pm
Hoosier:
David Warner:

Even if one cheats on the "Indonesian Years," I still haven't seen the pix of Obama in a Mudhoney t-shirt.
11.5.2008 12:43pm
Bill2:

Obama's victory is an extraordinary milestone in the history of American race relations.


I have a hard time getting too thrilled about this. It really doesn't matter to me. I suppose there is some value in getting it over with so that we can drop it going forward (except per Rangle's comment it isn't really over with, is it?). On the other hand, to the extent that it helped elect such a leftist then this wasn't the best time to have gotten it over with. Much rather we'd done it with Condoleezza Rice (a twofer from that perspective), J.C. Watts or even Colin Powell.
11.5.2008 1:54pm
Opher Banarie (mail) (www):
Ilya: Regarding "...Obama's win will improve the image of the United States throughout much of the world. I do not believe that pleasing foreign public opinion should be the be all and end all of American foreign policy. Sometimes, we can and should take unpopular actions."

Here are some unpopular actions an Obama Presidency will bring to the rest of the world: Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland will all have to learn Russian (again). Taiwan will get a new flag. Japan will learn why their written language has Chinese characters, and how to pronounce them in Mandarin rather than Japanese. Most of Africa will be speaking Farsi since the area currently speaking Farsi will be uninhabitable for 10,000 years. Horse breeding will become more important technology than computer chip production. And anyone wanting to eat meat of any kind will be hauled into the International Criminal Court for "crimes against species".

Unpopular, but predictable.
11.5.2008 1:55pm
LN (mail):

I think I read on Reason Online that Charlie Rangel (or someone at his victory party) said this is not a complete victory for "African Americans" since Obama is bi-racial. So, good luck with your racial estoppel.


Link? I'm having a hard time finding such a quote.
11.5.2008 2:00pm
LN (mail):

And anyone wanting to eat meat of any kind will be hauled into the International Criminal Court for "crimes against species".


Aw, poor oppwessed meat-eater. Waa!

I admit to being a bit surprised when Obama recounted the history of American racial injustice in his victory speech last night prior to suddenly shouting out: "Now the shoe is on the other foot. It's payback time! WE WILL BURN SHIT DOWN." Maybe it's just me, but it didn't seem very Presidential.
11.5.2008 2:05pm
Opher Banarie (mail) (www):
LN: Sorry I didn't put enough context in there for you. I was referring to the "carbon footprint" of meat production causing there to be none available. People who would want to raise beef would be violating the CO2 output limits and thus endangering all species on the planet. It wasn't a racial/oppression issue at all.

But nice try....
11.5.2008 2:13pm
byomtov (mail):
A good post, Ilya.
11.5.2008 2:20pm
LN (mail):

But nice try....


Oh I'm so sorry Opher for taking this sentence out of context:

And anyone wanting to eat meat of any kind will be hauled into the International Criminal Court for "crimes against species".


You really busted me for my improper use of overheated rhetoric! I'm chagrined!
11.5.2008 2:35pm
richard cabeza:
Please provide links to examples where the Republican campaign has mocked education and intellect.
Did you miss the GOP convention? With all the slandering of east coast elites?

What do east coast elites have to do with intellect?
11.5.2008 4:32pm
LM (mail):
Hoosier:

Please, please, please—Everyone refrain from calling Obama a Gen-Xer. Unless you can provide: (A) a birth certificate that proves he was born ca. 1964-65; and (B) a picture of him wearing a t-shirt bearing the name of grunge band (Stone Temple Pilots does not count).

Not that they need any help raising money, but I think his campaign's online store should sell Obama birth certificates, with blanks for the buyer to fill in date and place of birth. But that's just me.
11.5.2008 5:11pm