SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Obamarama - Memo to pundits *** Updated x2 ***

Friday, Feb 23, 2007

[Updated and bumped to the top.]

The coverage and analysis in the national media of how Obama’s support is supposedly shaping up in the black community has irked me for weeks. So, I decided to literally send the pundits a memo via my Sun-Times column

Memo to all national political journalists, columnists, pundits, etc.: Please, get a clue.

Perhaps because I live in and cover the politics of a state which has elected two African-American U.S. senators, a black mayor of our largest city and a black secretary of state who four years ago carried all 102 counties, I find your coverage of the ‘’race issue'’ in the presidential contest to be utterly devoid of insight and context. I’ll try to fill you in.

First, just because a prominent African-American leader endorses Hillary Clinton, that doesn’t mean Barack Obama’s campaign has suffered a mortal wound. It may seem unusual to you that some black leaders aren’t supporting a black candidate, but, take it from me, this happens all the time. […]

Next, you “experts” assume that just because viable, credible black candidates end up winning overwhelming majorities of black votes that polls currently showing Hillary Clinton leading Obama among African Americans are somehow important.

Wrong again.

Go read the whole thing for plenty of examples, context and more analysis, then come back here and discuss.

*** UPDATE *** Not all the national coverage is mindless. The Wall Street Journal has a pretty good article on Obama’s time at the Statehouse.

…a lawmaker of lofty, liberal rhetoric who nonetheless pragmatically accepted bipartisan compromises that won over foes — and sometimes left supporters dissatisfied. […]

As for sharp elbows, the scraps for which Mr. Obama is remembered — including near-fisticuffs once on the Senate floor — were with fellow black Democrats, some of whom were resentful of his ambitions and his successes. […]

When the legislature revisited the ethics issue in 2003, Mr. Jones was among those who resisted changes Mr. Obama promoted. “He wouldn’t buck Emil Jones,” Ms. Canary said. The Senate and House agreed to a weaker bill.

The credit that went to Mr. Obama for the racial-profiling and videotaping measures stoked tensions among black colleagues who had sponsored similar proposals only to see Mr. Jones promote his protégé’s efforts. One was state Sen. Rickey “Hollywood” Hendon, an outspoken Democrat, who once had to be separated from Mr. Obama in the Senate after confronting him for reasons that witnesses don’t recall and Mr. Hendon won’t discuss.

*** UPDATE 2 *** By the way, I was there during that fight with Hendon. I thought this incident looked familiar, but I couldn’t remember the details. It all came back to me when a former PAR intern sent me an e-mail this afternoon reminding me that he was there in the press box with me.

As he remembers it (and I’m pretty sure he’s right), Obama had voted against one of Hendon’s amendments for the South Side. Then Obama spoke in favor of a different amendment for the region. Hendon rose to complain during debate.

Afterwards, the two talked, and Obama wagged his finger in Hendon’s face. Well, Hendon didn’t like that much so he swatted Obama’s hand away. There was a throwdown and then they were separated.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


24 Comments
  1. - Number 8 - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 8:58 am:

    Rich, I’m glad to see you call these people out. Their assumptions are pathetic and their focus on race completely off track. Race is a factor here to the extent that Barack could become the first black President of the U.S. — thats it. His support is wide and deep and will only get stronger as he becomes better known nationwide.

    I hope that you continue (start?) to be the barometer of good journalism and the whieslt blower of misguided media reporting.


  2. - Bill Baar - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 9:08 am:

    Yet another example along those lines was the 1983 Chicago mayoral race when incumbent Jane Byrne (white) was endorsed by a whole host of black political leaders. African-American Congressman Harold Washington came in at the right time, with the right message and the right campaign, set fire in the precincts and won the race, carrying the black wards by a large margin. In the end, the endorsements did Byrne no good.

    Washington destroyed the regular and reliable Black Political Machine in Chicago. Now we have Obama at the right time, with the right message and the right campaign and he may well do the same thing to the most reliable political block of votes Democrats have. Get a guy out there setting fires and people wonder who’s going to get burned.


  3. - Leroy - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 9:14 am:

    “It may seem unusual to you that some black leaders aren’t supporting a black candidate”

    Hehe..remember the time he went to Harvey, wagged his finger at the residents and said: ‘Government is not the place if you want to get rich, if you want to get rich, go into the private sector’. Then he got back into his fleet of SUVs and drove back to his million dollar home in Hyde Park?

    I wonder if that has anything to do with it?


  4. - George Ryan's Cellmate - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 9:40 am:

    Great column, Rich.


  5. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 9:55 am:

    Thanks, GRC.


  6. - Papa Legba - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 10:10 am:

    Rich,

    How can you question the National Press Corps? I mean they are never wrong, they will tell you so, a lot.

    Those idiots pound on a story, true or not, until the masses pick up on it and believe it’s true.

    It happens in many areas, not just politics. All it takes one moron financial analyst to utter something stupid one morning and crash a whole sector of the market for a week or two.

    Americans have lost the ability to think one their own, or they are just too lazy to think.


  7. - Hopefund - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 10:11 am:

    I hope this article is picked up this makes the rounds this weekend! It’s great! Thanks, Rich!


  8. - VanillaMan - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 10:29 am:

    What you are saying makes a lot of sense.

    Why are so many other pundits so off base on this?

    I would like to know how poorly they cover other candidates and campaigns. It seems logical to me that the writers who have been blowing it in regards to Obama and African American voters are also using obsolete thinking and unfounded generalities regarding all campaigns.

    Are African American pundits talking about Obama the way you say other pundits are misinterpreting him and black voters?

    What do you think is going wrong to create an illusion so off-mark? Deadline stress? Laziness? Do we have too many pundits? Is it too easy to become a pundit? Why is this happening in your opinion?


  9. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 10:48 am:

    VM, I think the reason for the Obama errors is that they have no experience covering viable black candidates. Also, while I try to avoid listening to them, many seem to be woefully unqualified, ill-informed, lazy, but clever bloviating gasbags.

    Punditry favors cleverness over research and mindlessly agreeing with other pundits over uniqueness of thought. If you didn’t notice, it thoroughly disgusts me.

    Washington, DC is broken, and the pundits are an integral part of that problem.


  10. - Levois - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    Very inciteful. I’ve never thought of this in that way. Perhaps it should be known that blacks play politics too. And that blacks aren’t all affected by who endorsed who.


  11. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 12:19 pm:

    Can any observer of Springfield think of a more compelling reason to support Obama than that he tangled with Hollywood Hendon?


  12. - ZC - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 12:43 pm:

    What most delineates D.C. pundits is that they are paid to gibber endless opinions and sound well-reasoned about subjects that they are usually proven wrong about. And they know this. So as Rich notes, they tend to cluster in a “herd mentality” so if they are wrong, they can at least point collectively and say, “Hey, we were all wrong.” Rare is the D.C. pundit who will go out on a limb and lose that kind of security.

    Nor can pundits get paid for saying, regularly and repeatedly, “I don’t know.” Which is what we all should still be saying about Obama and the black vote. “I am not sure how black voters outside Illinois will react to Obama, but my guess is they will ultimately rally for him,” is a fair statement. Anything too strong beyond that is ridiculous, this many months out. In 2004, none of the other Democratic candidates for IL Senate started off with any goodwill vibes like the Clinton brand still has for many African-Americans. So to compare Obama in 04 and in 08 is slightly apples and oranges. We’ll know soon enough.


  13. - Frank Booth - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 1:22 pm:

    I need to add this line to my resume, thanks Rich:
    Woefully unqualified, ill-informed, lazy, but clever bloviating gasbag.


  14. - Pat Collins - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 1:27 pm:

    Washington destroyed the regular and reliable Black Political Machine

    Really? Todd Stroger might disagree.

    column

    While not wanting to be a jerk, the main point seems rather obvious. I mean, all one needs to do is see where Jesse Jackson won primaries when he ran, and he had WAY more baggage than even I can load on the Prince.

    JJ won a lot (not all!) of his primaries by doing very well with the Black vote.


  15. - Truthful James - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 1:27 pm:

    One of the nice things about the Obama candidacy is that it will force the republicans to look for a Black national candidate to fill at least the Veep spot.


  16. - Really? - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 1:48 pm:

    Truthful James,

    I think that’s the same logic the Republicans took in 2004 when they brought in Alan Keyes. How’d that turn out?


  17. - Truthful James - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 1:56 pm:

    Really? –

    Wrong. Keyes was brought in in a fit of pique. Jack ryan was a good candidate. He might have been able to overcome the phony issue (regarding Jeri’s closed door deposition in an effort to gain custody.) The Tribune did not want him and the Thompson/Edgar people did not want a young energetic candidate.

    If Keyes had been vetted one would have immediately found out that he was not running to win on Illinois issues, but running to push his own agenda and widen his mailing list.

    There were, believe it or not, issues in that campaign

    However, on the national scene there are Powell and Rice on the one hand — Powell could top the ticket, and state and national officials who have really been elected to something.


  18. - A Citizen - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 2:23 pm:

    That race and/or gender can so flood the thinking mind as to blind it from rational decision making is astounding and so disappointing. Probably will continue for decades to come.


  19. - grand old partisan - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 2:31 pm:

    I agree with Rich’s assessment of the situation, but for “Number 8” to suggest that race is only “a factor here to the extent that Barack could become the first black President of the U.S.,” well that’s just ridiculous. If we are ever going to have an open and honest discussion about race relations in this country, we can’t pretend that race doesn’t have anything to do with Obama’s ability to get this far, this fast on the national stage. I mean, would Obama-mania as we know it exist today if he hadn’t delivered the 2004 DNC keynote address? No. And would he have delivered that address if he were white? Most likely not. Serious, why in god’s name did the Democrats pick someone who was projected to win about 106% of the vote in his Senate race? Because, despite fancying themselves the “party of diversity,” they were about to nominate two super-rich white guys named John on their national ticket. I find it hard to believe that it’s just a coincidence they decided to put the only viable African-American candidate for a major office that year front and center (Sowell and Majette were projected to lose their Senate races by the same margin Obama was to win, and no African Americans were running for Governor).


  20. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 4:13 pm:

    ZC, this also applies to presidential politics. jesse jackson won the michigan caucus in 1988 even though the black mayor of detroit, coleman young, put his machine behind dukakis. it’s not apples and oranges. it’s black voting patterns. you are making a leap of logic that can’t be supported.


  21. - Rich Miller - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 6:10 pm:

    CR, all of your comments are automatically going into the moderation que (you may see them on your screen, but nobody else ever does) because most of your posts lately have been little more than off-topic gratuitous insults. Get a life.


  22. - ZC - Friday, Feb 23, 07 @ 7:39 pm:

    Rich,

    That’s why I said name recognition of the Clinton brand, not endorsements … as you note, Coleman Young’s endorsement did not help Dukakis. In 2004, Jim Clyburn, who is supposed to be THE preeminent black power broker in South Caroline, first endorsed Gephardt, then Kerry, then watched Edwards carry SC anyway.

    What I’m talking about, though, is in the days before the SC primary, Bill Clinton appears on every TV throughout the state and encourages the black electorate to go out and support Hillary. That’s what different. Dukakis didn’t have anything like that. Will it help Hillary? Maybe not. But it’s different from Obama in 04.


  23. - State of Farce - Saturday, Feb 24, 07 @ 2:57 am:

    Go Obama! Another reason to love him! Bustin Hendon’s chops….priceless!


  24. - Bill Baar - Saturday, Feb 24, 07 @ 7:19 am:

    LA Times story with Hendon’s endorsement plust some history on Obama’s first race for Alice Palmers seat. I didn’t realize she had changed her mind about not running but Obama wouldn’t back out… and was confronted over it.

    Obama first hit my radar screen with the run against Rush.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Fracking rules finally unveiled
* Question of the day
* A big IDOT roundup
* Even Steven, for now
* *** UPDATED x1 - Confirmed *** Report: Libertarians file charges
* Big guys dinged a bit, but little guys helped a lot
* Today's photo
* Stark contrasts on taxes, minimum wage
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Samsung to launch Galaxy S DUOS 3, gets KitKat upgrade
        * Automate your Mac: 10 ways to make managing email easier
        * Month: The Calendar Widget puts pretty calendars on device
        * Manage Your Personal Health Records with Lumia
        * Samsung Gear S Swarovski strap announced, Note 4 will follow with back covers
        * Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact specs allegedly leak
        * HTC Nexus tablet leaked to come with keyboard folio cover

        * 5.5 Inch iPhone 6 Rear Shell Appears On Video
        * Recording the Frenzy of Soccer Goalkeeping, 1,000 Times a Second
        * The Next Big Thing You Missed: Startup Aims to Give Everyone the Mighty Shipping Power of Amazon
        * This Magical Inkless Pen Never Needs a Refill
        * BBC Launches Coding Initiative, Teaches Kids How To Program
        * Apple iWatch Apparently In Engineering Verification Test Stage
        * Destiny For Xbox One Could Take Up 40GB Of Storage

        * White Sox Minor League Update: End of the regular season
        * Noesi looks to continue push toward season's end
        * Williams conveys important message to Little Leaguers
        * Podcast: Dunn Deal
        * Thoughts on the Adrian Nieto experiment
        * Breaks turn in Quintana's favor against Tigers
        * Molina outrighted; roster spot opens up for Rodon


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * Chicago school year to begin with more safety g.....
        * School to begin in Chicago with more safety guards..
        * Rauner vow revives governor’s mansion issue..
        * Laborers Spend Labor Day on the Picket Line..


        * More storms roll through Midwest with hail, winds
        * School to begin in Chicago with more safety guards
        * Cubs honor Jackie Robinson West little leaguers
        * Man found dead in central Illinois was hit by car
        * US eating habits improve a bit _ except among poor
        * Study: Action-packed TV might make you snack more
        * Patients to start applying for medical marijuana
        * US Rep. Duckworth announces she's pregnant
        * Bloomington shuttle bus driver charged with DUI
        * Chicago police: Murders down, shootings up

        * Audit finds state lax in reviewing eligibility for children’s health insurance program
        * Does the governor need to live in the Executive Mansion?
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * State of unions: AFSCME wins some, loses some on outsourcing
        * State of unions: Domination of Illinois' workforce becomes campaign issue
        * State of unions: Lawmakers approved keeping some workers out of unions
        * State of Illinois posts applications for medical marijuana businesses
        * DNR issues long-awaited ‘fracking’ rules
        * Quinn grants 38 clemency requests
        * IDNR issues long-awaited ‘fracking’ rules

        * If only it were this easy to lift share prices
        * 'Chicagoland' star returns to school
        * Amid re-election fight, Quinn pushes through a tax on business
        * Chicago's worst IPO in 2014: Ryerson
        * Why ComEd is worried about your smartphone


        * Three dead, at least 35 hurt in Labor Day weekend shootings
        * Three dead, at least 37 hurt in Labor Day weekend shootings
        * CPS can cheer, but challenges remain
        * ‘Long way to go’ but Roseland Hospital shows signs of stability
        * Moms, dads get kids ready for school
        * Ald. Pope rehired city worker who quit after sex harassment allegations
        * It's a girl: Rep. Tammy Duckworth due in December
        * Ex-cop convicted of protecting crooks is back on public payroll
        * Three dead, 35 wounded in Labor Day weekend shootings
        * Police: Man throws baby from vehicle, beats girlfriend and boy in domestic fight


        * Woman killed in Streator home explosion
        * Police: Man charged after infant thrown from vehicle during dispute
        * Police charge man, 55, in Northwest Side stabbing
        * Man charged in shooting after soccer match in Oak Forest
        * 2 shot in separate incidents on Northwest, Southeast Sides
        * Cops: Man on moped leads cops on North Side chase
        * Survivors of Elmhurst family laud parents 'unwavering' commitment
        * Survivors of Elmhurst family laud parents 'unwavering' commitment
        * 1 dead, 13 hurt in shootings across city
        * I-90/94 reopened after semi rollover leads to inbound closure


        * State Starts Accepting Medical Marijuana Requests
        * Newborn Found Alive In Jacksonville Trash Bin
        * DNR Releases Fracking Rules
        * Listen to State Week - August 29, 2014
        * 'Belleville' The Movie Is NOT A Documentary
        * Journalist and doctor encourage honest conversations about death
        * Undocumented Immigrants Call For Presidential Orders
        * State Retirees To Stop Paying Health Premiums
        * How America's most plentiful bird disappeared
        * Pregnant Workers To Be Protected Under New Law


        * Catherine Rampell: Tech firms’ poor record of diversity
        * Audit finds state lax in reviewing eligibility for children’s health insurance program
        * Does the governor need to live in the Executive Mansion?
        * Our Opinion: Driving into floodwater a deadly practice
        * Angie Muhs: A debate in Springfield would send the right message from candidates
        * Charles Krauthammer: Lower corporate tax rates. Now.
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Dillman, Watson looking at possible runs for alderman
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * Statehouse Insider: Hands off investments
        * State of unions: AFSCME wins some, loses some on outsourcing


        * One injured in White County Crash
        * PV friends make it big with online T-shirt biz
        * Union members tout organized labor in annual parade
        * WADI to begin taking LIHEAP applications
        * Estes Construction co-founder dies at home
        * Run with Carl leaves 20-year legacy
        * Gala celebrates 40 years for United Neighbors
        * Road work continues on John Deere Road
        * A foggy start then mostly sunny in the Q-C
        * A foggy start then mostly sunny


        * East Dundee slaying shows how police merge when rare violent crime hits
        * Dawn Patrol: Local reality show, medical pot permitting begin
        * 'Pretty Little Liars' stylist started her career in Lake County
        * Imrem: Time for Bears' Cutler to show he's all grown up
        * 10 things you may have missed this weekend in the suburbs

        * Schock travels to India to promote humanit...
        * Congressman leads humanitarian trip to Ind...
        * Share Modi's resolve to fight poverty... -...
        * Share Modi's resolve to fight poverty: US ...
        * Rep. Aaron Schock on humanitarian trip to ...
        * Aaron Schock finds a new reason to show of...
        * Lawmakers React to Iraq Journalist Death -...
        * Congressman Schock to stop by LaGrange Loc...
        * Ground Broken On Tenth Street Rail Corrido...
        * Chicago Housing Authority changes supervou...

        * Bright Side: Peoria Labor Day parade sees ......
        * Bright Side: Peoria Labor Day parade sees ......
        * Bright Side: Peoria Labor Day parade sees ......
        * Politicians gear up for election season...
        * 47th Annual Labor day picnic...

        * Rubio, Colleagues Call For Latin American ......
        * Putin Hopeful Russia Won’t Lose Right to H......

        * IDOT Announces Overnight Lane Closures Wednesday On I-90/94
        * Byrne joines Ryan, Ford as transport tributees -- will 'Looie" be next?
        * September has crept up on me again...
        * Division Street Bridge gets Old Bailey Runaround
        * Report: Minimum Wage Increase Would Help 1 In 5 Illinois Children
        * Southwest Side Chicagoans Question TIF Use In 23rd Ward (UPDATED)
        * Harris v. Quinn: Another Nail In The Coffin Or Shot In The Arm For Labor?
        * OP-ED: What FDR Actually Said And What Bruce Rauner Doesn't Get This Labor Day
        * Election 2014
        * Guest Post: Harris v. Quinn: Another Nail In The Coffin Or Shot In The Arm For Labor?


        * Governor Quinn Invests $102 Million in High-Speed Rail Upgrades on Chicago-St. Louis Line - Funding Will Improve Capacity, Safety on Joliet-Dwight Segment
        * Quinn Refuses to Answer New IDOT Questions
        * IDNR Delivers Revised Rules to Implement Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act - Rules strengthened to ensure public participation, improve transparency, toughen penalties and protect the environment
        * Governor Quinn Proclaims September as “Recovery Month” in Illinois - Encourages people to speak up about mental illness and substance abuse
        * Governor Quinn Dedicates Jane Byrne Interchange - Governor Renames Circle Interchange in Honor of Chicago’s First and Only Female Mayor to Date




            Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller