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Obama's been lauded
July 28, 2004 3:38 PM   Subscribe

The first black president of the United States.
posted by swift (96 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
Real Audio of his keynote available here. The guy is electrifying.
posted by gleuschk at 3:45 PM on July 28, 2004


If GWB gets to stay another four years, I wonder if the Dem ticket in '08 will be Clinton/Obama or Obama/Clinton.

With a name like that, he could be a Jedi knight. If the whole politics thing doesn't work out...
posted by emelenjr at 3:51 PM on July 28, 2004 [3 favorites]


oh sure, pick the skinny kid with the funny name.
posted by car_bomb at 3:52 PM on July 28, 2004


Obama/Ford in 2012? (Sorry, Edwards.)

Could the guy HAVE a more unfortunate last name? Without actually swapping in the S, that is.
posted by rushmc at 3:52 PM on July 28, 2004


I like this guy. He's a good representation of a nation that's changing in some ways and remaining the same in others. Based on what I've heard, he seems like he'd be a great candidate.

Plus if we're still hunting down Bin Laden at that point, someone could make a tie-in video game: Obama Vs. Osama.
posted by jonmc at 3:57 PM on July 28, 2004 [12 favorites]


The first black president of the United States...

I thought that was Bill Clinton...
posted by Rastafari at 4:06 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


He gave a truly great speech yesterday. And I hope to see & hear more from this guy in the future. But I'm not sure that one great speech is all it takes to become the prez. Let's give it some time before we fit him for a crown....
posted by spilon at 4:07 PM on July 28, 2004


Full text of his speech last night.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:11 PM on July 28, 2004


Could the guy HAVE a more unfortunate last name? Without actually swapping in the S, that is.

From the New Yorker article:

Jan Schakowsky told me about a recent visit she had made to the White House with a congressional delegation. On her way out, she said, President Bush noticed her “obama” button. “He jumped back, almost literally,” she said. “And I knew what he was thinking. So I reassured him it was Obama, with a ‘b.’ And I explained who he was. The President said, ‘Well, I don’t know him.’ So I just said, ‘You will.’”
posted by swift at 4:11 PM on July 28, 2004 [60 favorites]


Obama's speech, and his life story, are incredible. My favorite part was the quote "in no other country on earth, is my story even possible." I knew he was a rising star in the Democratic party, but until Tuesday night, I didn't know why.
posted by rcade at 4:15 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


I think his gift is the ability to pull off things like this in a way that seems 100% honest and passionate.

"I’m not talking about blind optimism here—the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I’m talking about something more substantial. [...] The audacity of hope!"

We're used to hearing that from politicians and automatically filing it as BS. From him it sounds darn good.
posted by y6y6y6 at 4:17 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


The guy is a stud, there's no doubting that, declaring him the first black president is a wee bit of a stretch though.

Besides, the shocker at the DNC is going to be that Al Sharpton is going to get the nomination. You read it here first.

spilon, read some of the other links up there, he's not just a one speech wonder, he's got a pretty impressive track record and carries a pretty amazing amount of street cred in a notoritously tough part of the Midwest.

On Preview: Its funny but I read your comment and thought about the first time I saw John Kerry interviewed and thought to myself almost the exact same thing you wrote.
posted by fenriq at 4:20 PM on July 28, 2004


Obama's got the magic ingredient for a politician: he makes you want to follow him.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 4:20 PM on July 28, 2004 [4 favorites]


y6y6y6- Yeah, I thought it sounded good from him too, which immediately makes me suspect somethin'. Ah, cynicism. While I did think the speech was still a bit... I don't know, optimistic maybe... It was a pretty great speech - especially considering the bland bullcrap we are used to. I'll be interested to see if he backs it all up with action.
posted by fillsthepews at 4:21 PM on July 28, 2004


Obama / Herseth 2012! :)
posted by Space Coyote at 4:22 PM on July 28, 2004


i was thinking exactly the same thing when i saw him speak. he seems to have that charasmatic something that really comes across. good luck to him, i say.
posted by triv at 4:22 PM on July 28, 2004


Obama's "one america" vs. Edwards "two americas" = 1.5 americas?
posted by dagny at 4:22 PM on July 28, 2004


dagny: the point is the same as Clinton's best line the previous night: "they need a divided america, we don't".
posted by Space Coyote at 4:24 PM on July 28, 2004


Swift,

In response to your story about the Bush and Obama button, I think Bush just gets nervous whenever he hears or sees a foreign sounding name.
posted by graventy at 5:41 PM on July 28, 2004


Great stuff! Just what the US needs right now. Yet another politician yapping on the 'America is the greatest nation on Earth' tip.

Same shit, different shovel. Roll on December.
posted by i_cola at 5:41 PM on July 28, 2004


Obama is a star, and that speech was inspired. I don't think predictions like "first black president" are premature.
posted by Outlawyr at 5:45 PM on July 28, 2004 [8 favorites]


You Americans are so optimistic! It's really sweet...[don't forget: he's a politician!]
posted by dash_slot- at 5:46 PM on July 28, 2004


He once was followed all the time during his public life by someone with a camera -- courtesy of Jack Cages & Whips Ryan. The harder they are on you, the more they have to hide -- sad righteous fucks (there, I said it.)

Barack is gold. I wish him well.
posted by NewBornHippy at 5:47 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


troutfishing/amberglow 2012! The MeFi Party: The politicalparty.com its OK to like...
posted by limitedpie at 5:49 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


My favorite part was the quote "in no other country on earth, is my story even possible."

Which one of the few pieces of that fairly impressive speech that was complete and utter bullshit.

There are any number of countries where his story is entirely possible, and the sort of rah-rah-America-#1 crap like that, along with a few too-well-turned phrases that (despite the fact that the bastard made even me mist up a few times) make me suspect he may just be as slick as the next. Or the previous.

Still, he talks a damn good talk, and would appear at least to believe with some passion and intelligence in what he's saying, which is certainly more than we're used to with the modern brand of American politicians. There may be some hope yet.

It certainly doesn't take much to stand out from the scrum of lowlifes and incompetents, though, does it? I mean he's good, and I like the guy a lot, but his speech was an object lesson in how little it takes (again, by comparison to the crowds of craven dwarves in public office) to stand out.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:53 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


i'd be honored! (but Obama's better) : >

He rocked (and there have been some really great speeches this time--Carter was exceptional too). You can watch Obama here --go to Democratic National Convention: Day 2, Part 3-- if you missed it.
posted by amberglow at 5:54 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


Obama's "one america" vs. Edwards "two americas" = 1.5 americas?

Don't bring up the fuzzy math this year!
posted by mwhybark at 5:54 PM on July 28, 2004


My favorite part was the quote "in no other country on earth, is my story even possible."

Which one of the few pieces of that fairly impressive speech that was complete and utter bullshit.


Yeah, that's the one part of the speech that struck a major wrong note with me. But give the American's some slack--that's their mythology, that's what they do. I'm sure he doesn't really believe it either.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:12 PM on July 28, 2004


From TNR - Boy he's getting a ton of press.
posted by loquax at 6:19 PM on July 28, 2004


Which one of the few pieces of that fairly impressive speech that was complete and utter bullshit.

I'm shocked--shocked!--to find hyperbole used as a rhetorical tool. You'd think he was giving a speech, or something.

No, but seriously...of course, it's an unrealistic exaggeration, and taken literally, unfair to the rest of the world. And I don't mean to just say that "the end justifies the means". But if you work backward from where he was, what he was doing, and what he was trying to accomplish, it was part of a very effective rhetorical approach.

He totally understood that if a crowd's going to really go over the top, they need some red meat. Of all the things he could have said to whip up some emotion, it's not all that bad. It was, after all, a national convention focused on who's going to be the next president of the United States--I bet you if he ever addresses the UN, he wouldn't come anywhere near a statement like that.
posted by LairBob at 6:24 PM on July 28, 2004


funny, i remember that thread about stalking Obama, but i never heard the follow-up about the sex club allegations against Jack Ryan. cue Nelson ...

i didn't like the "only country in the world" part either, nor did i like "we worship an awesome god" (what is this? xtreme bible study group?), but it was a darn good speech otherwise. he definitely has the presence and the looks (cute wife, cute kids) to be the next president, but i think we're overestimating the people who won't vote for him b/c he's black.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:29 PM on July 28, 2004


great thread title, btw. i just noticed it.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:29 PM on July 28, 2004


Daily Kos has an excellent thing on the speech, and the right's reaction to it:
The reason Obama has put the Right into a quandry is that he exposed, in one masterful performance, every caricature the Right has of liberalism. He affirmed our belief in government's ability to make life better without conjuring up images of "welfare queens". He affirmed the right every American has to believe in the god of his or her choice, or no god for that matter, without making it a public matter. He affirmed the beauty of multiculturalism, that we are more than white, black, Asian, Latino, or anything else, without feeding the fiction that we all want a balkanized country. He affirmed that unity is an American value, while dividing Americans based on sexual orientation or race is not.

In short, he lay the Right's arguments against liberalism to waste in one relatively short speech.

posted by amberglow at 6:32 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


That really was one hell of a speech. How good? Even the right-wingers at the National Review liked it. ("[B]y the end, when Obama said "the people will rise up in November," and "this country will reclaim its promise, and out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come," it seemed more than garden-variety political rhetoric. Because it was.") Yes, it's much too early to start angling for tickets to his inauguration, but it's very easy to see him on a national ticket in four or eight years' time.

There's also an instructive contrast between last night and the less than friendly reception Colin Powell got from the Republican convention four years ago.
posted by Zonker at 6:34 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


He'll be assassinated if he's any real threat to the current political structure. I don't think the powers-that-be are ready for a black, liberal president.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:55 PM on July 28, 2004


The Democratic powers-that-be are ready (and we are, too). They're the ones that gave him this prominent spot at the convention, and he's not even in office yet. It's really unheard of.
posted by amberglow at 7:05 PM on July 28, 2004


I also enjoyed Ilana Wexler's speech.
posted by homunculus at 7:11 PM on July 28, 2004


A black sheriff?
posted by Stan Chin at 7:19 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


i can't wait for tomorrow nights farting around the campfire scene!
posted by quonsar at 7:35 PM on July 28, 2004


is anyone here chewing gum ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:40 PM on July 28, 2004


As an American lving in a country where my mixed-race son hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of making it to the national legislature, I would like to call out those who take issue with the "only in America.." to provide names of other countries where a similar story is possible, and any examples of dirt-poor, different race, third-world immigrant to first-world Senator/MP/President in 2 generations.

I really would be interested in learning more, as I wouldn't mind resettling somewhere besides the U.S.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:42 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


if there's a link to mr obamas speech that works i'd love to see it .

obama/karlan 2012 !
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:44 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


I really would be interested in learning more, as I wouldn't mind resettling somewhere besides the U.S.

In the 80s the premier of my home province, (Joe Ghiz, PEI) was the son of a Lebanese immigrant. First not-of-European-origin premier in Canada I believe.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:47 PM on July 28, 2004


Canada would be an example, bashos_frog. Noting that Obama hasn't quiet made it to Senator/MP/President status yet, we've several first- and second-generation Canucks who are in the Legislature or Parliment.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:48 PM on July 28, 2004


Sarge, you can see it through C-SPAN -- the link is at the bottom of the front page right now, or search for "Obama" in their video search box. Or just try this link, in Real Player.
posted by Zonker at 7:51 PM on July 28, 2004


O crap, sarge, I didn't realize my link was blown. Try this one.
posted by gleuschk at 7:55 PM on July 28, 2004


I overlooked Canada - 51st state mentality, I guess. Joe Ghiz is a good story - son of a Lebanese shopkeeper. So we have one example, but from the comments, I would have thought it was a much more common occurrence.

I know there's a bunch of Euro folk here - where are the stories?

Stavros - what do think are your odds in Korea? Australia?
posted by bashos_frog at 8:13 PM on July 28, 2004


FFF: Technically he's not made it yet, but would you make a wager on him losing the Senate race?
posted by bashos_frog at 8:15 PM on July 28, 2004


Does Obama even have an opponent for Senate? Last I heard, the Republicans still hadn't managed to come up with a replacement for Jack Ryan, whose difficulties were discussed here. (By the way, best correction ever, from Josh Marshall: "A number of readers have written in to inform me that Jack Ryan, one-time Illinois Senate candidate, actually didn't want to have his wife have sex with other men in front of an audience in a Paris sex club, as I said yesterday evening. He wanted to have sex with his wife in front of an audience in a Paris sex club. I stand corrected, though with the nature of the distinction you do get a sense of why Ryan is no longer in the race.")
posted by Zonker at 8:25 PM on July 28, 2004


Jack Ryan is still on the ballot...he hasn't filed the paperwork to be taken off. He just isn't campaigning.

Obama was amazing last night. I'm going to be so proud to be able to call him my senator.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:41 PM on July 28, 2004


Someday I'll tell my niece "I saw the President at the 2004 convention." And yes, the wonderchicken is right and yes, he's just a politician, and yes, he's bound to disappoint us, but right now if anyone's feeling up the fresh green breast of the new world, it's Barack Obama. My dad still talks about seeing RFK. Last night I thought, "So this is what he saw."
posted by octobersurprise at 8:55 PM on July 28, 2004 [10 favorites]


Obama's "one america" vs. Edwards "two americas" = 1.5 americas?

If you ask Bush he'd say there had to be 3 Americas, one for him, one for Dicky and one for Rummy.
posted by fenriq at 8:56 PM on July 28, 2004


heh. Obama bin Laden.
posted by angry modem at 8:58 PM on July 28, 2004


check this speech of his out, from Oct. 2002: I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.
posted by amberglow at 9:01 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


bashos> Joe Ghiz isn't the only example in Canada, and isn't even a particularly recent one. We have a number of first and second generation MPs serving in Parliament and the various provincial legislatures. It's not really remarkable enough up here any more that we bother to make news out of it. The most famous minority MP was Svend Robinson, who's been openly gay, and serving in Parliament, for about twenty years, until his semi-retirement earlier this year.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 9:03 PM on July 28, 2004


I wish the man the best.

I even think he's kind of hot.

And I think LairBob was right that Obama would not have used the rah-rah America bits at the UN. The New Yorker article noted that he adapts his diction to suit his audience. Very useful technique.
posted by orange swan at 9:05 PM on July 28, 2004


However, this statistic had me swearing at the screen:

An Obama victory.... also would make Obama only the third African-American to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction.
posted by orange swan at 9:07 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


I know...it was disappointing that there are only 9 female Democratic senators too (they were all onstage Monday night). At least we're working on making the place more representative (as opposed to the Repubs).
posted by amberglow at 9:12 PM on July 28, 2004


Quicktime video of his speech here (the Real link posted above was choppy for me). I just watched Edwards give the same speech tonight: Obama was better and Edwards is damn good...
posted by costas at 9:15 PM on July 28, 2004


If the senate reflected the actual make-up of the united states there would be:

51 women
49 men

68 whites
13 blacks
13 hispanics
4 asians
1 native american
1 person of mixed race

It is sad how far we are from these numbers.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:27 PM on July 28, 2004 [2 favorites]


Jessamyn has a textfile of Obama's speech here. (And here is a directory of bunches of speeches.)
posted by Vidiot at 9:33 PM on July 28, 2004


The actual make-up of the Senate
14 women
86 men

97 whites
0 blacks
0 hispanics
2 asians
1 native american
0 persons of mixed race
posted by bashos_frog at 9:34 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


Nobody move or the nigger gets it!

He's crazy enough to do it!
posted by blasdelf at 9:45 PM on July 28, 2004


If the senate reflected the actual make-up of the united states there would be three senators under the age of fifteen. One Senator would be a furry-porn-fetishist. One Senator would have to vote from his prison cell. Three Senators would be illiterate.

Three cheers for identity politics!
posted by trharlan at 10:06 PM on July 28, 2004 [3 favorites]


His mother is white, from Kansas. He was raised by her and her parents. Why do people call him black? Was the one-drop rule reinstated while I was out?
posted by euphorb at 10:16 PM on July 28, 2004


If the senate reflected the actual make-up of the united states there would be:
5 Democrats, 4 Republicans, and 91 Senators from assorted other small parties.
posted by kickingtheground at 10:20 PM on July 28, 2004


One Senator would be a furry-porn-fetishist.
Jack Ryan knows which one this is.

One Senator would have to vote from his prison cell.
See DeLay ,Tom

Three Senators would be illiterate
Fish. Barrel. Armalite AR-180.
posted by bashos_frog at 10:32 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


with all due respect to obama, rev. al truly electrified that arena tonight, and the best part, the second half, was off-script.

it's a shame gwb can can easily move on after misleading the world about wmd, but sharpton will never be allowed the same forgiveness after twana, and clinton will always be haunted by monica.
posted by tsarfan at 10:33 PM on July 28, 2004


Stavros - what do think are your odds in Korea? Australia?

Korea? Don't make me laugh. *laughs, bitterly, anyway*

Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any number of European nations seem like quite viable candidates for locations where such a magnificent story might happen, I'd venture, as a start.

if you work backward from where he was, what he was doing, and what he was trying to accomplish, it was part of a very effective rhetorical approach.

Granted, but the kind of softheadedness that values and is swayed by rhetoric over substance (see: GW Bush supporters) is dangerous at any time and positively suicidal these days, coming from either 'side' of the debate.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:46 PM on July 28, 2004


If the Senate reflected the actual make-up of the US, it would only have a quorum, briefly, once every four years.

Obama is electrifying, and I'm sorry I'm no longer voting in Illinois (I get to re-elect Feingold, though -- we're sort of friends with his family). I think Obama will be the closest match Feingold's every had in that body and predict interesting things.

I was astounded today to hear CBS radio (on WBBM 780, no less) describe Obama as using his speech to "move beyond his African-American base". Clue: putting aside the man's only half African-American, and that his district includes Hyde Park, a diverse but largely white enclave amid more grisly black neighborhoods, he won outright many overwhelmingly white parts of the state. (Illinois was inured to the shock, one might say, by having had Carol Moseley Braun elected, but she only squeaked through the primary by plurality.) Truth be told, I saw more Obama signs on the North Shore than for any other candidate; he had a natural base in the suburban progressive wing and exploited it by running a high-road campaign statewide. Amid high-stakes campaigning by divorce-record flameout Blair Hull, diligent Machine work for Dan Hynes, and a local claque favoring Hispanic pol Gery Chico, Obama rose to the top with one memorable campaign ad, a simple, enthusiastic endorsement from the daughter of former Sen. Paul "bow-tie" Simon. Illinois responds to stuff like that.

Probably because he is part Kenyan, i.e. of late immigrant status, he has never been caught up in the identity-politics scene. I think that blacks who have lived here for generations and have slavery in their pasts do have a different point of view, for better or worse, than those who come to America recently and voluntarily, and often with change and a dream in their pockets. It's no wonder that his father married a white woman when that could get you lynched in many parts of the country; he didn't have the baggage. As a legislator, Obama has been a nuts-and-bolts, district-benefits kind of guy, ready to wheel and deal with the best of them. He's won the respect of even the GOP (in Illinois, there's really one ruling party, and that's the wheeler-dealers). Kirk Dillard, the GOP legislator mentioned in the article, recently turned down a for-the-party run in the theoretically open spot against him.

As for Jack Ryan, not only did he burn his bridges (in advance) by lying to every Republican pol in Illinois about his divorce records, right now, by refusing to remove himself from the ballot, he's effectively shooting the firemen. I don't know what he expects from anyone now. It's similar to his bizarre misjudgement in having as a wife a really, really, hot chick, and blowing it all by asking her to fellate him in public.

Anyway, people expecting him to retreat to a corner in the Senate and play little influence-peddling games on the fringes, like his predecessor Moseley Braun, will be sorely disappointed. Obama isn't the retiring sort, and his political instincts are sure. He won't be content to pose for "the black guy in the Senate" photos for six years. Stand back; Barack's coming to DC.
posted by dhartung at 11:24 PM on July 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


"in no other country on earth, is my story even possible."

No doubt all over the world wordsmiths are warming it up to talk about how silly "those Americans" are for believing that we hold something special. Is this statement somewhat rhetorical? Of course. But that won't explain the vitriol with which it will be attacked.

Success brings anger, resentment and hatred. Those who have become less than relevant (what's the European line these days "We were a major power once" or "look at us, we're almost antonymous!") will always attack those at the front. It happens inside the US as well. It's nothing new, and nothing to really take to heart.

"If the senate reflected the actual make-up of the united states there would be:"

50% absent when a vote was called :)
posted by soulhuntre at 11:33 PM on July 28, 2004


In surprised no one has noted yet that this is the first black president of the U.S.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:43 PM on July 28, 2004


And I explained who he was. The President said, ‘Well, I don’t know him.’ So I just said, ‘You will.’”

isn't that cute? I mean, it's a very well known fact that Bush doesn't read the papers because they're not fair and balanced, listens to his daily Condi briefing instead, but it's just wonderful to see the no 1 guy in DC admit that he is unfamiliar with a candidate known to literally everybody and her brother in DC.

the fact that Bush never heard about Obama is really amazing. the man lives in a terrifying bubble, indeed

re President Obama: I think it's wishful thinking, actually. I'm quite sure it'll be easier to see a white woman be elected President first, and she'll probably be a Republican, a Thatcher / Liddy Dole type, a white Condi Rice without the WMD shameful lies. the first African American President? he'll be no (Clarence Thomas-like) Republican simply because he just couldn't win the nomination, all those nice GOP Southerners would vote for the other guy in the primary, no matter who the other guy is. so yes, the first African American President will be a Democrat, but I see more a DLC, New Democrat guy getting elected. Obama -- very unfortunate name aside -- just sounds too liberal. even if he was white.
posted by matteo at 12:04 AM on July 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


why does realplayer suck so much, the QT version is one thousand times better, and that speech kicks ass.
posted by rhyax at 12:15 AM on July 29, 2004


His mother is white, from Kansas. He was raised by her and her parents. Why do people call him black?

Which part of the bus do you think he'd get to sit on if he found himself in 1948 Montgomery?

If detained by the LAPD, how do you think he'd be described?

That should be black enough to qualify.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:19 AM on July 29, 2004 [2 favorites]


DevilsAdvocate: didn't President Tom Beck come first?

The more I see movies like 10.5 and The Day After Tomorrow, the more I realize Deep Impact is about as good as that sort of movie seems to get.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:23 AM on July 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


i'll wait and see what effect his affair with lilli von schtupp has on his ratings.
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:20 AM on July 29, 2004


hmmm after watching his speech......he's quite good , isnt he ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 2:39 AM on July 29, 2004


His mother is white, from Kansas. He was raised by her and her parents. Why do people call him black?

Obama calls himself black:
"If I was arrested for armed robbery and my mug shot was on the television screen, people wouldn't be debating if I was African-American or not. I'd be a black man going to jail. Now if that's true when bad things are happening, there's no reason why I shouldn't be proud of being a black man when good things are happening, too."

New York Times
July 26, 2004
posted by LairBob at 4:13 AM on July 29, 2004 [6 favorites]


i don't understand why so many of you are harping on his one over-rhetorical line when this convention has seen entire speeches full of "yay america!" bullplop. i was very impressed by his speech. if he always speaks that well i don't think president obama sounds too farfetched.

He'll be assassinated if he's any real threat to the current political structure. I don't think the powers-that-be are ready for a black, liberal president.

sadly, i wouldn't be surprised.
posted by joedan at 5:22 AM on July 29, 2004


Maybe I was a little hasty in condemming him. As has been said, he ain't the only one with the 'Yay US!' lines and considering the political landscape in the US he is a breath of fresh air.

soulhuntre: Interesting that your argument is based on something that hasn't happened yet. And may never. Maybe it's a case of the facts being slightly different to what is said as opposed to your perceived anti-Americanism?

I can only speak for the UK but of the 12 Black & Asian MPs in parliament, 6 were born outside the UK and a further 5 of immigrant parents:

Paul Boateng (b. London of Ghanian parents)
Dianne Abbott (b. London of Jamaican parents. And a woman too!)
Keith Vaz (b. Aden (now Yemen) of Indian parents)
Oona King (b. Sheffield to Jewish mother & African-American father. Yup, she's a black Jewish woman MP. Those hoping for a full-house will be disappointed to learn that she is married.)
Dr. Ashok Kumar (b. India)
Piara Khabra (b. Punjab)
Mohammad Sarwar (b. Pakistan)
Marsha Singh (b. India)
Parmjit Dhanda (b. UK of Punjabi parents)
Mark Hendrick (b. Salford)
David Lammy (b. London of Guyanan parents). Tipped as the UK's first black Prime Minister. Elected to parliament following the death of Bernie Grant (b. Guyana).
Khalid Mahmood (b. Kashmir)

[For the record 18% of the UK House of Commons are female & there are/have been 7 openly gay MPs including 2 who have held cabinet posts.]

Some would say that there is still more to be done as the Black & Asian population of the UK is around 5% with only 1.8% representation in the House of Commons. Then again the aforementioned Paul Boateng says:
One of the major problems of an MP who is black is to be recognised simply as a member of parliament who is black rather than a black member of parliament; the idea that one is going into parliament to represent black people is absolute baloney but one you constantly have to state is not the case.
posted by i_cola at 5:45 AM on July 29, 2004


i don't understand why so many of you are harping on his one over-rhetorical line

FWIW : I wasn't harping. I was replying, in full snark, to rcade mentioning that he thought that was the best bit. Thassall. Hell, I like the guy (Obama and Rogers, both).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:26 AM on July 29, 2004


Liar Bob, great quote. I hope the future is bright from Obama. I think the US is in a desperate need of some of his passion.
posted by chunking express at 8:18 AM on July 29, 2004


Back when I was a grad student at the University of Chicago in the early 90s, I had the privilege to meet in person and play some pick up ball with Barack Obama. I must say that, while I have met my fair share of people that were or have become famous, he stands out in my memory as someone that comes across as well in person as he did on the grand stage on Tuesday night. He is an incredibly engaging personality, and from all early indications, a gifted politician. If he manages his career smartly, and has a little bit of luck, I see no reason why he wouldn't be elected president in 2012... assuming we're still holding elections in this country by then.
posted by psmealey at 9:45 AM on July 29, 2004 [7 favorites]


I overlooked Canada - 51st state mentality, I guess.

Let me put this delicately: don't ever mistake Canada for the 51st US state. A lot of Canadians are very sensitive to the balance between our political independence and economic reliance on the USA.

My gut feeling is that we're nearing the point where a majority of people take a "fuck you" attitude to our biggest trading partner and start demanding that we seek bigger and better markets in Europe and China.

It would hurt us over the short term, but I think we'd be willing to take that pain for the long-term gain of establishing ourselves wholly separate from the US.

Why this love-hate relationship with the US? Because while we like the market, we despise the corporate control, sleazy politicking, bullying, and big brotheresque bullshit that seems to be spinning out of control down there. Y'all keep that shit within your own g.d. borders and leave us-all out of it, thankyouverymuch.

posted by five fresh fish at 9:55 AM on July 29, 2004 [1 favorite]


The premiere of British Columbia a while ago was South Asian - did he end up running for the Federal Government this year? The MP from Etobicoke South is Jean Augustine, a black woman, who may be from the Carribean (I can't remember now, but I think she had a soft accent), but she is a Liberal Party member, which would put her in the ruling class : )
posted by jb at 10:25 AM on July 29, 2004


Why this love-hate relationship with the US? Because while we like the market, we despise the corporate control, sleazy politicking, bullying, and big brotheresque bullshit that seems to be spinning out of control down there.

So Canada lacks these things?
posted by swift at 11:10 AM on July 29, 2004


Canada's not nearly as fucked-up as the USA is, at this point. We still have a chance of making changes that benefit society instead of corporation's bottom lines. Canada's general population still firmly believes in things like socialized healthcare, corporate accountability, and people before profits.

This is off-topic.

posted by five fresh fish at 11:29 AM on July 29, 2004


"in no other country on earth, is my story even possible."

Alberto Fujimori was the son of Japanese immigrants to Peru, and became the country's president.

Italian-born Sonia Gandhi was elected as Prime Minister of India, but decided not to take the post and stay behind the throne as head of the ruling party.

Half-Ghanaian Paul Boateng is the UK's Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

The US has always been a great country, but until recently its dirty secret was the depth to which the creed of "separate but equal" had sunk in the American psyche. Thank goodness for Jerry Springer.
posted by iffley at 2:24 PM on July 29, 2004


Continuing Derail: Canuck electoral politics is relatively clean because it's small potatoes. All the important power is in the bureaucracies, which mostly involves a bunch of autocrats fighting one another over funding. It's corrupt, but meaningless in our daily lives. Our legislature is heavily defanged in practice, and hasn't passed a law regarding a serious issue since it had its hand slapped on abortion back in the early 90's. I quite like Canada for just that.

jb> Dosanjh's government collapsed over a corruption scandal, didn't it? I don't recall him running, but I could be wrong.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 6:15 PM on July 29, 2004


I think it's more accurate to say that Dosanjh's government collapsed for basically the same reason as any other BC government has collapsed: because BCTV News decided they had to go.

The "corruption scandal" turned out to be bullshit in the end, as far as I recall and maybe that's the problem with us BCers, we keep forgetting! but the media made hay while they could.

BC's politics seem to be fairly unique. As a province we elect nucking futty premiers to power, doing a maximum pendulum swing each time. Each time, they get a couple years, or even a couple of terms, and then BCTV News decides that things are boring, churns some stories, causes a whole lot of panic, and pushes the pendulum to the other side.

Tick. We get Bill Bennett, as corrupt a politician as one could ever desire. Tock. We get Bill vander Zalm, an evangelist who somehow survives despite having no brain at all. Tick. We get Harclarksanjh triplets, which is kind of like having the Keystone Cops running amuck. Tock. We get Gordon Campbell, who is the devil incarnate.

Tick... we'll get some loony party back in once BCTV has grown tired of our drunken, heartless, cheating Premier.

It's never boring.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:48 PM on July 29, 2004


Thank god the dope is plentiful and semi-legal, huh?

Disclaimer : I haven't lived in BC in well over a decade. I did protest against vander Zalm, though, way back when.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:22 PM on July 29, 2004


Don't look at me, I'm a Torontonian. What the RoC gets up to is no concern of mine. ;D
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 1:03 AM on July 30, 2004


I think the dope may be why BC keeps forgetting its past mistakes...
posted by five fresh fish at 1:14 PM on July 30, 2004


fff can correct me if I'm wrong, but the rumour I heard is still amusing: that the "corruption" scandal involved a neighbour building a deck for the premier (or perhaps another politician) - and then asking for a favour, which got turned down. Apparently 22 Minutes had many good laughs with this.

I was remembering this example (of Dosanjh) because I have an Indian friend who was suprised to find out that South Asian Canadians were elected to high offices. Having lived in Britain in the 80's, she thinks of South Asians as being the primary target for xenophobic racism, and didn't really understand that while there are many South Asians in North America, they aren't the principal minorities. (Things may have been different in BC in the past - I know they have a large Sikh community. But in recent years this seems to be completely outnumbered by the Chinese community.)
posted by jb at 7:36 AM on August 3, 2004


That's one of the scandals, yes. Tempest in a teapot, truly. But it was enough for BCTV to just go apeshit all over the reigning government.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:16 AM on August 3, 2004


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