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Zeh Donkey

A few quick notes and about the debate and my scores for the candidates before I head off to the beds.

  • Mike Gravel has Grape Nuts for brains, I am absolutely sure of it. No serious policy points, just the usual crazy outbursts of random insults lobbed at the other candidates. C-
  • Hillary Clinton could kick my ass, she was easily the most concise person on the stage. My God, what have we created… A
  • Dennis Kucinich loves Michael Moore, hates capitalism, and is totally into black chicks, the crowd ate him up. B
  • Barack Obama wanted to Have A Dream (TM) sooo bad on stage, but the evil Tavis Smiley wouldn’t let him have more than a few seconds. Obama can survive these events with stage presence alone, but he needs a pulpit to really take on Hillary (who’s the master of the heavy sound bite). B+
  • Bill Richardson is trying really, really hard to be Bill Clinton. Good policy points, nowhere near the flair of the other candidates…he can’t get away with being the boring wonk like Hillary can. B
  • John Edwards, soft spoken, a bit solemn. Making your audience cry won’t get you elected, but I was impressed with his willingness to engage the other candidates’ policy positions and offer some mature rebuttals. He did well this time. A
  • Chris Dodd had a good Clintonesque (as in Hillary) presence on-stage that was quite Presidential looking. Too bad he was trying to juggle the policies of Kucinich and Richardson…he was like a very deceptive tofu filet minon. B –
  • Joe Biden, as much as people make fun of him, he does so well in these debates I can’t fathom why he isn’t higher up in the polls. Wait, he’s Joe Biden, that’s why. Regardless, a lot of well articulated ideas. A

The candidates are getting better, and with the slow summer months ahead, we should begin to see the definitive front runners come late August.

Also, Cornel West looks really funny.

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obama.jpgHey-O, back again after a bit of a hiatus.

USAToday (Where everything is A-OK…in COLOR!) is reporting that Hillary has managed a double digit lead over Diet Jesus Obama. Drudge has jumped on this, probably to raise Dick Morris’ blood pressure, but this is hardly new.

Hillary has a strong, organized, and effective campaign. She, along with Mitt Romney on the GOP side have managed to change this race into a new monster entirely. Here we have two strong contenders (meaning Clinton and Romney), who are neither well liked by even their own constituency, nor particularly energizing in their own right. That, however, doesn’t change the public’s awareness of their capability to lead.

Hillary’s ability to lead is unquestionable, I’m convinced she could successfully wrestle every Republican challenger to the ground physically…even if she has a harder shot at winning the general election.

But where does that leave Obama? Well, he leads every other Dem or GOP candidate among independents, he leads every other Democrat among conservative and GOP voters, and he leads every other candidate period in hypothetical general election mashups.

What can we take away from this? America isn’t necessarily ready for a black president, they are, however, ready to stop caring he is black.

America is ready for Obama.

Even if the Democrats aren’t.

This weekend, the two Democratic front runners went head to head competing for black voters’ hearts and minds in Selma, Alabama.

Hillary was armed with her husband and Obama was armed with his melanin, and the two duked it out in what can only be described as a dignified, civil discourse of ideas and perspectives.  The two candidates treated each other with respect, singing their individual praises, and welcoming them to a sporting campaign whose outcome would benefit America no matter who ended up on top.

I’ll be interested to see which one goes back to the usual mudslinging.  As that excellent piece by ABC News (click on that link people) explains, Hillary’s only true setback is her charisma, or lack thereof.  The stiff stoic-ness may seem more presidential…but it rarely works.  These days, you have to be both a stage performer and a political junkie to get anywhere.

Regardless, cheers to the candidates for taking the high road this weekend.

Exploded

Not content with minor coincidences, Barack Obama’s ancestry apparently poked through Drudge the other day and found out about the Strom Thurmond/Al Sharpton connection. From the Baltimore Sun:

“According to the research, one of Obama’s great-great-great-great grandfathers, George Washington Overall, owned two slaves who were recorded in the 1850 census in Nelson County, Ky. The same records show that one of Obama’s great-great-great-great-great-grandmothers, Mary Duvall, also owned two slaves”

The Hillary camp will no doubt use this as ammo when the REALLY greasy politics comes into play during primary season especially considering how important the black vote is in the primary. Here are some other interesting tidbits from the piece:

“Reitwiesner’s research identifies two other presidential candidates, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, as descendants of slave owners. Three of McCain’s great-great-grandfathers in Mississippi owned slaves, including one who owned 52 in 1860. Two ancestors of Edwards owned one slave each in Georgia in 1860.”

There, that’s more like it. Let’s level the playing field a little bit.

Anyone else find it disturbing that all this is coming up now? I mean, I understand all the hubbub about Strom Thurmond, first off he’s dead, and secondly it wasn’t as though he was a good person. I fear the worst when the most compelling thing about a campaign right now revolves around what your great-great-great-great grandfather did.

Barrack Obama, or “Diet Jesus” as his friends call him, is making some serious headway with black voters at the expense of Mizz Hillary.A few Obama fans According to a piece in the Post (the good one), Hillary’s lead among black voters has been “sliced in half” in favor of the junior Senator from Illinois.

This raises an interesting spectre for the psychology behind Obama. Is he truly black or is he “African” and should there even be a distinction?

Wait, I know what you’re thinking, this isn’t interesting. Why is it that as soon as a viable black candidate appears, people have to immediately deconstruct his racial identity.

He can’t really be black, can he? Because he hasn’t shared in the strife of the black experience, he’s an American African, not an African-American.

This is complete and utter nonsense. Racism by its very nature lacks any reason or sense, it is based entirely on the color of one’s skin or the ethnicity from which one originates. Because of the color of his skin, Obama has been subject to the same reduced set of expectations as that of the entire African-American community and he has shattered them completely and utterly.

Perhaps it’s time to look at the content of his character.

Being a Puerto Rican man who looks nothing like the average Boricua, I’m on the opposite end of this argument. Because I don’t look Hispanic, I have benefited from a society that for all its rhetoric about cherishing different cultures is actively and unjustly hostile to the Latino community. I’ve seen first hand how an ultra-modern republic can still be so swayed by our primitive instinct of fortifying communities made up of people that look alike.

From my personal experiences, a Latino is a Latino, regardless of whether he or she is from Mexico, Honduras, or Michigan. Sure, many people think Cubans and their deadly Republicanism are annoying, but they are still our brothers and sisters, we love them just the same. My black friends, however, see themselves as having an entirely different identity from even the second and third generation Haitian and Jamaican people they know. They simply aren’t black according to them.

My criticism is thus, how can these communities celebrate the entrance of a viable minority candidate while simultaneously picking his identity to pieces?

There is nothing wrong with an Afro-Centric perspective and point of view on the candidacy of Barack Obama. What I believe is inherently wrong, however, is how a surprising percentage of the community’s intellectual backbone is holding the man at arms length while he so clearly better represents their interests.

My $0.02.