Thursday, January 31, 2008

Post-racial politics?

The extraordinarily long campaign of 2007-08 requires an extraordinarily strong stomach. It's not just what the candidates say but the realization that this stuff works with the electorate.

"I am ready to take on energy and the environment," one of them mentioned on a TV-news clip yesterday. What does that mean? It does not matter who said it. Most of them are ready to "take on" anything -- and usually via some crackpot socialist scheme. When the pundits explain that candidate X is "strong on" issue Y, it usually means that he or she has a socialist fix for that one first.

On a slightly more positive note, I just read "The Color of Politics: A mayor for the post-racial generation" by Peter J. Boyer in this week's New Yorker (only the abstract is available electroncically). It begins this way: "One evening this past fall, Barack Obama's Presidential campaign went to Newark, bringing together the two leading figures of what might be called the Oprah Winfrey wing of the Democratic Party." The writer referred to Obama and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

The article is a disheartening tour or Newark and its politics, which are pretty awful. "The Newark Police Department sponsors an annual 'safe day' for Jewish families to visit cemeteries in neighborhoods now considered unsafe." Booker's opponents have used "white", "Jewish" and "fascist" to describe him.

Yet, much of white and black America (and the Clintons) have to get past the politics of race. Obama's politics are seemingly standard left-liberal hackery. But if he and others like him can really usher in a post-racial era, that would be wonderful.