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Three Good Things About Yesterday's Result:
I was not a supporter of Barack Obama. I did not hope he would win yesterday's election, and I am not looking forward to the short of "change" I believe he has in mind. I hope I am wrong, but I think some really bad stuff is going to happen as a result of Democratic control of the Presidency and Congress. But regardless of how much bad stuff happens in the future, three really good things happened yesterday that deserve note.

The first and by far the most important is the election of the first African-American as President. I won't spend as much time as my co-bloggers David and Ilya did in their posts last night, but I whole-heartedly endorse their analysis. It is only because we have made so much progress on the issue of race in this country that we can afford to glide over the enormous significance of the event that this progress made possible. African Americans were kept as slaves for over 150 years, followed by a brief period of liberty that was snuffed out by an organized campaign of rampant and cruel terrorism that culminated in 100 years of racial apartheid. I am old enough to remember what pervasive social prejudice against blacks looked and felt like. It matters more how Barack Obama was elected than the fact he was elected. Barack Obama's election in a campaign in which his race worked in his favor, and no palpable racial opposition emerged, is amazing to behold just 50 years or so after the formal end of Jim Crow. Until yesterday, there were millions of good hearted Americans who felt like marginal citizens in the land of their and their ancestors' birth. Barack Obama was not nominated to high office by a benign President, as were Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas. He was elected President by a majority of the American electorate. No matter what racism survives and racial politics continue--and continue it will--the felt relationship of African-Americans to the United States irrevocably changed yesterday. The same would be true with the election of a Jewish president, but to a much lesser extent because--despite the virulent antisemitism that has existed here--many American Jews consider the U.S. to be their Promised Land; an attitude that the history of African Americans makes all but impossible for them. I urge those readers who believe that the forthcoming Obama administration poses a genuine danger to liberty, as I do, to pause for a moment and savor the importance to the American story of what took place yesterday. This gain cannot be gainsaid.

Second, Barack Obama's election yesterday represents the end of the Bush-Clinton lock on the Republican and Democratic parties, which is a very good thing for both parties. Whatever his accomplishments--and I credit him for policies that kept American soil free of terrorist attack since 9/11--George W. Bush's Presidency was bad for the cause of liberty and for the Republican party. I won't enumerate all the reasons why since they are legion and obvious. I want to focus instead on the end of Clintonism in the Democratic Party. Without Obama, there would be Hillary and Bill for years to come, and it is good riddance to both. Family dynasties--including the Adams father and son--are not befitting a Republic, except the banana kind. True, President Obama's policies as President will likely be far worse than Bill Clinton's, though the good parts of the Clinton Administration happened after the Republicans took control of Congress. Regardless of whether that happens again, or whether Obama is a worse President than Hillary would have been (which is likely), finally ridding us of the 20-year Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton cage match was a second good thing that happened yesterday.

Third, John McCain will not be President of the United States. Denying the ultimate political reward to a politician who was so principally responsible for gutting the freedom of political speech, and continuing the assault on the electoral process that was begun after Watergate, is justice. Even many of those who preferred McCain to Obama would acknowledge that McCain would have done many of the same bad things as President they fear Obama will do. When this happened, Republican opposition would be divided and muted, and responsibility for the bad effects of these policies would necessarily have been shared by both parties. The election of a Democratic President, Senate and House will place responsibility for the coming "change" squarely where it belongs. A whole generation of Americans have yet to experience the joys of one-party Democratic rule. I sincerely hope that this experience will be better than I expect it to be. I want only the best for this country. But if it doesn't, then Americans will know who to blame in a way they would not if John McCain were President. Now is not the time to discuss all the ways that this responsibility will be deflected or denied. The point is that this will be much more difficult than it would have been with John McCain as President. (Of course, I would have made the opposite claim has McCain been elected: At least Barack Obama will not be President of the United States.)

One final thought. In the discussion that has already begun about how the Republican Party needs to change to adjust to this election result, one consideration is overlooked. Much will depend on exactly what the Democrats attempt, accomplish, and the results thereof. These cannot be reliably foretold in advance and are less clear today than they ever will be again. If the Democratic Party forthrightly assumes the mantle of the Party of Government, this will present an obvious political opportunity for the creation of a Party of Liberty in opposition. Not that I am predicting this. I am just saying that it would be in the political interest of Republicans to become that party, which makes it somewhat more likely that they might do so if a critical mass of Republican activists and leaders can point the way.

I do not believe in historical inevitability. Whatever opportunities may be created for Republicans will not automatically be recognized and seized by them. My only point is that we cannot know today the exact nature of these opportunities because we do not know exactly what the Democrats will do next and how. The point of this post, however, is that no matter what may happen in the future, three good things happened last night.
SteveMG (mail):
I thought about your major point this afternoon when I used the restroom at the local fast-food joint (outside of Mobile, Alabama).

As I was going about my business, a somewhat elderly (I'd say sixties-ish) black gentleman came in and used the urinal next to me.

As I glanced over, I thought of that point. Forty years earlier, he wouldn't be allowed to "share" that restroom with me. Or even that eatery. Some white trash would call him "boy" and he'd be forced to leave.

And today, a black man is the President of that same country.

Amazing.
11.5.2008 6:19pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Barack Obama's election in a campaign in which his race worked in his favor, and no palpable racial opposition emerged..."


I'm sure there was a non-negligible amount of racial opposition to Obama. Some of it was documented. Was it "palpable"? No, I'm sure most of it was done secretly.

You seem to assume that the number of people who voted for Obama based on his race (and who wouldn't have voted for him otherwise) was larger than the number who voted against him for the same reason (and who would have voted for him otherwise).

Do you have any evidence for that?
11.5.2008 6:20pm
Nunzio:
"This gain cannot be gainsaid." Aesthetically, I kind of like this line and kind of don't.
11.5.2008 6:20pm
byomtov (mail):
It would be better as "Said gain cannot be gainsaid."
11.5.2008 6:24pm
Oren:

whole generation of Americans have yet to experience the joys of one-party Democratic rule.

Those under 14 that weren't around to see Clinton squander his majorities in 1992?
11.5.2008 6:30pm
Anonymousone (mail):
Mahan Atma,

Yes, race was a net benefit for Obama.
11.5.2008 6:31pm
Oren:
That makes me realize -- in 1994 the GOP revolution hoisted one George W Bush into the governorship of Texas. Perhaps 2008 can be said to be the end of that chain of events.
11.5.2008 6:32pm
The General:
I guess it all stems from where you start out. I, for one, never thought that a black man couldn't be elected president of this country. It just hadn't happened yet, and I wish it wasn't this particular black man who won due to his horrendous policy views and radical associations. I would have gladly vote for a black conservative should one get that far. For many people like me, race simply isn't a real obstacle to winning an election. It's an imagined one.

But if you start out with the frame of mind that America is a horribly racist place that won't vote for a black person to be president, then I suppose you have a reason for celebration. Unfortunately, I fear that this view is the dominant one.

As for race working in Obama's favor, that is unquestionably true. (Though, you're a racist to point that out - ask Geraldine Ferraro.) That isn't a positive development either. Race is still a factor in too many people's decision-making. Americans need to be color-blind. Race shouldn't matter when electing a president or any other office. If it is, then you're just as racist as someone who voted against Obama because of his race.

That critics of Obama have been and will continue to be called racists regardless of the criticism doesn't bode well for the future of race relations in this country. It is a great cause for concern. It will probably increase tensions despite the obvious "step forward" that is evidenced by Obama's victory. If he doesn't want to be the last black president, he'd be well served to halt the race-bating tactics and be honest with the American people that anyone of any race can accomplish anything in this country and should stop using race as an excuse not to.
11.5.2008 6:42pm
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
Barack Obama's election in a campaign in which his race worked in his favor

Just great. What else does that sound like? Is that a good policy? Wasn't BHO elected in part through playing the race card, and is that a good thing to encourage?

Barack Obama's election yesterday represents the end of the Bush-Clinton lock on the Republican and Democratic parties, which is a very good thing for both parties.

Please. The same people are behind the scenes now as were there before. And, "P." will be running - and perhaps as a Democrat - any year now.

As for McCain and the FirstAmendment, there would have been opposition to what little he tried to do. BHO is going to be able to get many things he wants, and he's already shown just how bad he is on that issue. Some of those 1st-related issues have already been discussed at this very site.
11.5.2008 6:56pm
Opher Banarie (mail) (www):
For many people like me, race simply isn't a real obstacle to winning an election. It's an imagined one.

There were many imagined issues. Dennis Prager discusses several of them in his column:
The left, from The New York Times to MoveOn.org, has led itself and others to believe that:

--George W. Bush lied America into war.

--Tens of thousands of Iraqis and more than 4,000 Americans have been killed in a war waged in order to line the pockets of Vice President Dick Cheney's friends.

--The Constitution has been trampled on.

--America has become a torturing country.

--America's poor have become far more numerous and far more downtrodden.

--American troops in Iraq repeatedly have engaged in atrocities against innocent civilians.

--The opportunity for economic self-improvement has ceased for most Americans.

--Racism is endemic to American society.
--Republican rallies are hate-fests.

--John McCain has run a racist campaign against Barack Obama.

--Sarah Palin, the governor of Alaska, is a religious zealot and an idiot.

--Christian fundamentalists are on the verge of taking over America and turning it into a theocracy.

--The world is getting closer and closer to catastrophic and irreversible damage caused by human beings; and George W. Bush and energy interests are standing in the way of preventing universal destruction.

--America is on the road to fascism.

Now, as it happens, none of those things is true. But the left believes them all. That is why radical "change" becomes mandatory -- or America will collapse (and the world, too, which is why Barack Obama often mentions changing the world, as well as America).
11.5.2008 6:57pm
john w. (mail):
"The first and by far the most important is the election of the first African-American as President. .... African Americans were kept as slaves for over 150 years, ... -... the felt relationship of African-Americans to the United States irrevocably changed yesterday."

At the risk of quibbling: Mr. Obama is not an "African-American" in the sense that the word is normally used, and he is definitely not a descendant of slaves (unless there was black-on-black slavery in East Africa at some time in the distant past, which I don't know anything about.) His ethnic and cultural history is totally separated from, and irrelevant to, the Atlantic slave trade.

Mr. Obama is the result of a voluntary relationship between a Caucasian woman and an East African man. In a sense, that is almost the exact opposite of the cultural/ethnic history of the typical "African-American."

P.S.> Before people start calling me names, I should point out that I personally don't give a rat's patootie about Mr. Obama's ethnic heritage (or anybody else's for that matter); but for those of you who like to obsess over that sort of thing: shouldn't you be consistent in your definitions?
11.5.2008 6:59pm
Light Hearted (mail):
From Randy's second sentence: "and I am not looking forward to the short of "change" I believe he has in mind."

I, too, expect to be short of change as a result of an Obama victory...
11.5.2008 6:59pm
pjohnson (mail):
At the risk of sounding mawkish, I think of my assistant, a proud African-American (in the usual sense of the term) woman, single mother of an 11-year-old son, who can now look her son in the eye and say, "In America, anyone can grow up to be president" -- and have an example for him. With luck, the next minority person elected President will have the right political positions, but it is an immense achievement that African-American parents can say what we have all heard, and actually mean it.
11.5.2008 7:16pm
Huan (www):
I do not believe the Republicans should wait and see what the Dems fail or succeed at to decide where to go. This would relegate the Reps to be the anti-Dems party.

Instead i believe the Reps should refocus and rebrand themselves as the party for strong national defense, sound fiscal policies, personal responsibility, economic opportunity, and family value. Strive to act guided by these principles uncompromised. Strive to sell these ideas to individuals of all race and creed, economic and education levels.

regarding race, it was never an issue for or against with me. For me the biggest problem with racism in the US is not bigotry but the culture of victimhood when you are of an affected minority. i hope that with Obama's win there will be less "woe is me because America is KKK."
11.5.2008 7:29pm
bbbeard (mail):
I demur.

I'm in the narrow 50-something demographic that came of age in the seventies. I came of age when the Civil Rights movement was about stamping racial preferences into the fabric of American society, not about stopping the lynching. My memories of Vietnam were not of My Lai but rather of people pushed into the South Chine Sea, of Communist re-education camps, and of Khmer Rouge genocide. I came of age as the Democrats presided over an America weakened by the New Left, while large chunks of the world fell into Soviet hands.

So, I understand people of a certain age will focus on Obama's skin color. As for me, I couldn't care less that his father is from Kenya or what his Pantone code is. But I care deeply that he has in his circle of friends more than a few Communists and, yes, terrorists. I do not trust him. He has lied about his connection to these people, to Saul Alinsky, and about what the left really means by "community organizing". Over the last several weeks my opinion of him has shifted from 'amiable dunce' to 'Communist fellow-traveler'. His attempts to enlist government bureaucrats to silence his opposition, to shout down his critics on the radio, even the creepy spawning of paramilitary 'Obama Youth', are all bad leading indicators of what an Obama presidency will be like.

BBB
11.5.2008 7:33pm
Malvolio:
unless there was black-on-black slavery in East Africa at some time in the distant past, which I don't know anything about
There is black-on-black slavery in East Africa now, so there probably was a long time ago too.
11.5.2008 7:35pm
Gene Vilensky (mail) (www):
Randy, I want to comment briefly on your third point about the Republicans becoming the Party of Liberty. I think that the fact that the GOP has been getting resoundly trounced in nearly every major urban area in this country is one thing and has been well-known for several elections now. But now, they are losing in suburbs and losing ground in rural areas. The fact of the matter is that many fiscally conservative, socially liberal (not quite libertarian, but close) people have been utterly disenchanted by the domination of the Republican Party by the lunatic religious right fringe. The party would be well-served by dumping that faction.

Palin, who I am certain was a net liability to the ticket, was a big accomodation to them. And it cost McCain, big. I can count numerous urban Republicans I know who voted for Obama or didn't vote at all because of her and because of the stranglehold that kooky social conservatism has on the Republican Party.

It can't continue to alienate the residents of every major city in America. I think a more dynamist philosophy (like that of Virginia Postrel) would be very attractive to young urbanites who aren't necessarily huge fans of excessive taxation, but really care about their ability to control their sexual lives any way they wish without being told they're going to hell and without some pastors from rural Kentucky talking about how the city they love is a cesspool of immorality, at a breakfast attended by the Republican candidate for president.

Just as rural voters don't want us urbanites to think of them as hicks, perhaps they shouldn't think of us as over-educated Satanists. This is a big country and there's lots of room for everyone. Why antagonize the urbanites?

Note that the Mormon Jeff Flake (R-AZ) doesn't really mention "family values" all that much (only as it relates to economics). I couldn't find much on that issue on his Congressional website. People like him and Gov. Mitch Daniels of IN are people we should be bringing up as standard bearers for our party, not people like Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee.
11.5.2008 7:49pm
Fortytwo:

Barack Obama's election in a campaign in which his race worked in his favor, and no palpable racial opposition emerged


Excepting a few unfortunately attended, poorly controlled Palin rallies, maybe. And in many sections of the country (though possibly not in many states Obama even had hopes of winning), it certainly seemed palpable. In any event, the fact that racism was not overt hardly seems encouraging. Is subtle, quiet racism an improvement? Maybe. What does seem encouraging is that in the end, it wasn't a major issue -- by which I mean not major enough to affect the outcome.
11.5.2008 7:58pm
MisterBigTop (mail):
"Palin, who I am certain was a net liability to the ticket, was a big accomodation to them. And it cost McCain, big. I can count numerous urban Republicans I know who voted for Obama or didn't vote at all because of her and because of the stranglehold that kooky social conservatism has on the Republican Party. "

I seriously doubt that. Without Palin, McCain would have lost by even a larger margin. The social conservatives would have stayed home.
11.5.2008 8:02pm
DangerMouse:
arack Obama's election in a campaign in which his race worked in his favor, and no palpable racial opposition emerged, is amazing to behold just 50 years or so after the formal end of Jim Crow.

No palpable racial opposition? Do you realize what black Republicans put up with on a daily basis? They are called traitors to their race, Uncle Toms, etc. I realize that's not exactly what you had in mind, but it's the same thing.

How do you account for the suddenly post-racial America, given that reality?
11.5.2008 8:07pm
Daniel Chapman (mail):
If Palin hurt McCain at all, it was in the general sense that he was too much of a "maverick" (read: centrist) to appeal to the base of his party on his own, and he had to campaign to the right.
11.5.2008 8:11pm
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
Regarding what the GOP should do, jettisoning the "religious right" would jettison a large part of their party and an even larger part of their members who are actually willing to do things. Perhaps being more of a big tent might be a better idea.

On their approach to economics, "dynamism" would definitely be a great idea, considering all the tens of millions of Libertarians and the widespread support for government that can fit in a bathtub.

And, regarding the GOP's approach to race, perhaps they might consider fighting against the far-left's definitions and agendas, rather than capitulating to them and supporting them (e.g., McCain pandering to rather than taking issue with LaRaza) or this example from the Bobarr campaign.
11.5.2008 8:17pm
Kevin P. (mail):
From Exit poll results


Four in 10 voters overall said Palin was an important factor in deciding whom to vote for, and this group was about as likely to vote for Obama as McCain. But nine in 10 Republicans calling Palin's selection important were voting for McCain.


So, Palin was a net wash overall, but she energized the Republican base. Without her, I suspect that many
Republican voters, never thrilled about McCain would have stayed at home and he would not have come as close to Obama as he did.
11.5.2008 8:24pm
Joshua:
MisterBigTop: Agreed. That's the fatal flaw of our present political system: In order to win an election, you need both your base and the swing voters on board, even if those factions have such wildly diverging interests that it's pretty much impossible to keep them both happy.

In any event, one of the cable networks (it was either Fox News or MSNBC) claimed exit polls suggesting Palin was more or less a non-factor in McCain's defeat. McCain could have picked just about anyone else as his VP and the Dems could have nominated a ham sandwich instead of Obama, and the ham sandwich would still have won. It's still the economy, stup... oh, never mind.
11.5.2008 8:25pm
Kevin P. (mail):
Malvolio, the slavery in Sudan is mostly committed by Arab slavers against black slaves. It's not black on black slavery for the most part.
11.5.2008 8:54pm
rrr (mail):
Re: your third point. Apparently you've not got the memo from the legacy media that any downturn, regardless of who is in power, is always the fault of the Republicans. Always. No matter what.
11.5.2008 8:57pm
24AheadDotCom (mail) (www):
One very helpful thing the GOP could consider is to ditch those companies that rely on illegal labor; having them as supporters is one reason why the GOP is so corrupt. If they did that, they could use intelligent, non-food-fighters to make arguments like this that would completely undercut the Dem's own support for illegal activity.
11.5.2008 9:11pm
MatrixArchitect:
Kevin P and Malvolio: As a student of maritime history, especially Portuguese, English and Dutch maritime empires, I can assure you there was black on black slavery before the slave trade began in earnest. I can recall reading about slavery in several sub-Saharan African civilizations. Specifically, Portuguese traders would buy them in exchange for such things as salt.

On the larger point, I'd echo the other sentiments expressed here to the effect that if race was a net positive for Obama, then we still have a racial problem and are a ways away from color-blind contemplation.
11.5.2008 9:17pm
Norman Bates (mail):
I seem to remember a lot of Democrats claiming that Bill Clinton was the country's first black president [and saying this without a hint of sarcasm/irony].
11.5.2008 9:30pm
SteveMG (mail):
to-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow...

Oy, we elect a black President almost one generation after Jim Crow and folks are talking about black conservatives and the slave trade and everything else under the sun.

Yes, I'm not dismissing those points or concerns. I respect and appreciate the scholarship.

But for one day can't we just appreciate the significance of that?

It's enormous.
11.5.2008 9:31pm
WHOI Jacket:
Good to be back,

Anyway, I can say that 1) Yes, Obama's election is signifcant and 2) I think we're in for a really bumpy ride.
11.5.2008 9:43pm
GWB (mail):
bbeard: the "amiable dunce" is you although maybe not so amiable. whatever Obama is, he is not a dunce, and whatever else he is, he is not a communist, fellow traveler or otherwise. Where do guys like you come from? You have no idea how to disagree on the merits and civilly. Clearly you are in the minority and I can only hope it is a small one and that you stay there.
11.5.2008 9:47pm
Constantin:
At the risk of sounding mawkish, I think of my assistant, a proud African-American (in the usual sense of the term) woman, single mother of an 11-year-old son, who can now look her son in the eye and say, "In America, anyone can grow up to be president" -- and have an example for him. With luck, the next minority person elected President will have the right political positions, but it is an immense achievement that African-American parents can say what we have all heard, and actually mean it.
I've heard this same illustration made about ten times today. It seems to be the one that drives home the historic impact most viscerally for some people. What it ignores is that (1) I think it's pretty condescending to claim that only black people can serve as examples for black kids and (2) Obama's mother could have told him at age 11 (maybe she did) that he could be the president, and she would have been right. That would have been 1973.

As to Prof. Barnett's post, I couldn't believe my eyes when I read it, because these are the exact same three "silver linings" I've been telling myself all day, with the additional and more cynical caveat that the first one might be used to finally put to rest the shameful practice of discrimination in admissions, govt contracting, etc.
11.5.2008 9:51pm
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Another good thing about the election -- Palin didn't know Africa was a continent, not a country. Palin didn't know what countries were in NAFTA.

Did we dodge a bullet or what?
11.5.2008 9:59pm
rfg:
Constantin:

Of course, anybody can serve as an example for a black kid. But a black example is more powerful...
11.5.2008 10:08pm
glangston (mail):


Yes, we did, all 57 States.
11.5.2008 10:10pm
glangston (mail):
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Another good thing about the election -- Palin didn't know Africa was a continent, not a country. Palin didn't know what countries were in NAFTA.

Did we dodge a bullet or what?



Yes, we did, all 57 States.
11.5.2008 10:13pm
Mahan Atma (mail):
"Yes, race was a net benefit for Obama."


No, that doesn't tell you how many people would or wouldn't have voted for Obama based on his race -- it only looks at whether race was a factor they considered.

For example, I would say Obama's race was important to me, but I would have voted for him even if he was white. Race simply was not determinative.

To know whether Obama's race helped or hurt him, you need to know:

(1) The number of people who voted for him but would not have voted for him if he was white;

(2) The number of people who did not vote for him because he was black, but would have voted for him if he was white.

If (1) is greater than (2), then his race helped him.

Good luck getting any decent estimate of those numbers though.
11.5.2008 10:22pm
EG (mail):
Constantin,

The point is not condescending, when the truth is that black kids have heard it said many times that a black man can't get a fair shake in America, that no black man could ever be President in this country. Mom could always say what she wanted, but now there is some obvious truth behind it.
11.5.2008 10:26pm
Constantin:
Of course, anybody can serve as an example for a black kid. But a black example is more powerful...

This is shameful even if it's true. I'd hope that the reverse isn't true, that Obama must be less of an example to a white kid because he's black.

The point is not condescending, when the truth is that black kids have heard it said many times that a black man can't get a fair shake in America, that no black man could ever be President in this country. Mom could always say what she wanted, but now there is some obvious truth behind it.

Then that's an indictment of the racism and ignorance of those black parents.
11.5.2008 10:47pm
Slappy (mail):
Hi there,

You say that you think that very bad things are going to happen under a Democratic President and Congress.

I have a question: Do you really think they'll be WORSE than the last eight years?
11.5.2008 10:53pm
geokstr:
Fortytwo:

Excepting a few unfortunately attended, poorly controlled Palin rallies, maybe. And in many sections of the country (though possibly not in many states Obama even had hopes of winning), it certainly seemed palpable. In any event, the fact that racism was not overt hardly seems encouraging. Is subtle, quiet racism an improvement? Maybe. What does seem encouraging is that in the end, it wasn't a major issue -- by which I mean not major enough to affect the outcome.

There was only one source, a reporter, for the supposed "n*****" supposedly shouted by one attendee at one Palin rally, and no one else can support that it happened at all. But the smear will live on, just like when Palin wore that pregnancy suit to cover for her daughter's bastard son, even though Palin's travels caused Trig to be born a "retard" (the tolerant, sensitive leftist term for him).

And now we have claims (even less supported) of the detection of a "quiet, subtle racism", which I guess just sort of emanates from the membrane surrounding the penumbra of the typical right-winger's consciousness, apparently.

(sigh)

Any criticism of Obama whatsoever has been pre-emptively branded as "racism" by his supporters. Even when it is totally undetectable, it must still be there, right, 42?
11.5.2008 11:06pm
David Warner:
John W.,

"At the risk of quibbling: Mr. Obama is not an "African-American" in the sense that the word is normally used, and he is definitely not a descendant of slaves (unless there was black-on-black slavery in East Africa at some time in the distant past, which I don't know anything about.) His ethnic and cultural history is totally separated from, and irrelevant to, the Atlantic slave trade."

You've got it exactly backwards. Obama is one of the few of us who actually are "African-American". Those usually designated by that moniker have more right to be called un-hyphenated Americans than all but a few of the rest of us. The last slave ship left these shores half a century before my first ancestor arrived.

As a true African-American, Obama has inherited the immigrant mentality that is the birthright of every American, denied only to those whose ancestors were taken here against their will on those slave ships. If Obama can restore to them that long denied birthright, more power to him, and to all of us.
11.6.2008 12:26am
David Warner:
Norman Bates,

"I seem to remember a lot of Democrats claiming that Bill Clinton was the country's first black president [and saying this without a hint of sarcasm/irony]."

By the same line of reasoning, Obama is the next white one.
11.6.2008 12:36am
rarango (mail):
some random thoughts: with respect to black on black slavery: Distinguishing between Arab and black slavery ignores the fact that many arabs are, in fact, black.

with respect to racism and the election: I am noting an argument that says "while race did not determine MY vote, I am sure it determined someone else's vote. I find that very interesting. Rather a variation of the "some of my best friends" argument?
11.6.2008 8:28am
rarango (mail):
Oops--forgot to agree with Randy's point about the election driving a stake in the Bush-Clinton dynasties--about effing time!
11.6.2008 8:30am
eddie (mail):
Please, please . . . can the distinguished professor please name one of those horrendous things that is going to happen simply because Mr. Obama will be president. Making such a sweeping statement to justify anything is sort of like saying, "If we do not overturn Roe V Wade, the country is doomed."

I expect a little more from someone who has an advanced degree.

But maybe creating straw bogey men does require advanced knowledge.
11.6.2008 11:57am
Jim O'Sullivan (mail) (www):
{{{sigh}}} You're usually so much better than this.

(1) At the risk of seeming too snarky: keen grasp of the obvious. Too high a price to pay. Yeah, it's good in that much-anticipated way that a black man was elected. But this one - the most left-wing President in our memory history. Net negative.
(2) Same risk: slippery grasp of the obvious. That's an argument for why it's good thing that he won the nomination, not the general election.
(3)What's worse? Getting some of the bad things Obama will do as President, like McCain would have done. Or getting all of the bad things that Obama will do, in return for a feeling of "justice." Sorry, but your feelings aren't that important.
11.6.2008 12:11pm
FWB (mail):
I've spent my life where whites were the minority (30-40%). In my home town we elected a black man mayor in the 70s, had white, latino, and asian councilmembers and mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs, etc.

I've always said we had to be fair to each other because there were so few of us that if you weren't you'd have no one to play with.

I see the election as the election of a man, nothing else.
11.6.2008 12:59pm