Why McCain and Obama Won’t Talk about Race

Obama and Mccain

Obama and Mccain

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama made one speech in March to damp down the furor over his relationship with his controversial former pastor Jeremiah Wright. He made another speech at the NAACP convention in July. Other than those two speeches, he has not uttered another word about racial issues since.

Republican rival John McCain spoke at the same NAACP convention. Shortly after that, he issued a terse statement backing the Ward Connerly concocted anti-affirmative action initiative on the November ballot in Arizona and two other states. Other than that, he has not uttered a single word about racial issues since.

The audience for McCain and Obama’s speeches at the NAACP convention were mostly blacks. That reinforced the notion that racial issues are by, and for, blacks, with no broad policy implications for all Americans as issues such as health care, jobs and the economy, terrorism and Iraq.

About the only talk about race during the campaign has been the interminable Hydra headed question of: Can Obama make history by being the first African-American president? And if he doesn’t will race sink him? That’s hardly the candid, free-wheeling, in-depth talk about the problems that impact the lives of millions of black, Latino, Asian, and American Indian voters. Minority voters make up about one quarter of American voters, and they deserve to hear what the candidates have to say about racial matters and, more importantly, what their administration plans to do about them.

Obama and McCain’s racial blind spot has been ritual blindness in all candidates in recent America presidential races. Racial issues have seeped into presidential debates only when they ignite public anger and division. In a 1988 debate, Bush Sr. hammered Democratic contender Michael Dukakis as being a card carrying ACLU’er, a milksop on crime, and tossed in the Willie Horton hit to drive home the point. In one of their debates in 2000, Bush and Democratic challenger Al Gore clashed over affirmative action

Race has been a taboo subject for presidents and their challengers on the campaign trail for the past two decades for a simple reason. No president or presidential challenger, especially a Democratic challenger, will risk being tarred as pandering to minorities for the mere mention of racial problems. In stark contrast, Obama, let alone McCain, would never worry about being accused of pandering to Christian Evangelicals by talking incessantly about gay marriage and abortion.

Full article: www.insight-info.com

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Neither respected nor feared

Elihu Root

Elihu Root

In an exalted phrase, the keynote speaker at the Republican convention reviewed the record of the administration, and asked, “When have we rested more secure in friendship with all mankind?” That wasn’t in St. Paul, where the Republicans are gathered this week, but at the 1904 Republican convention in Chicago, when the speaker was Elihu Root, a past Secretary of War and future Secretary of State.

His words were sonorous then, and they are haunting now. They will not be repeated this year, because they could not be. A senior American politician might have said something similar in 1920, or 1945 or 1960. But no Republican now – and no Democrat – could utter Root’s words without inviting utter derision.

Today there might be a more bitter question: When has America rested less secure in friendship with all mankind?

And that explains the intense interest which this year’s presidential election has inspired beyond the shores of the United States. It’s not just Obamania – there’s no point in denying that Senator Barack Obama is the man most people outside the United States would like to win – but he was one of three potential candidates until Senator Hillary Clinton conceded defeat who were all fascinating simply in personal terms: a septuagenarian war hero, a woman, a black man.

The election absorbs us in Europe – and others in Africa and Asia – because we can see that a general crisis spreading around the globe is directly linked to the follies and failures of American policy. In his new book, “The Much Too Promised Land,” about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which he used to be engaged as a State Department official, Aaron David Miller puts it with lapidary succinctness.

Having stumbled for eight years under the Clinton administration over how to make peace in the Middle East, and then for eight years under the administration of George Bush the Younger over how to make war there, the United States finds itself “trapped in a region which it cannot fix and it cannot abandon.” Still more to the point, throughout that region, for all of her seeming might, America is “not liked, not feared and not respected.”

full article: www.insight-info.com