Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I don't how you get from this to castration (if you don't know what I'm talking about, read the story and watch the video), but Jesse Jackson has never liked the faith-based provision of government services, or at least he's never liked the George W. Bush version: he told The Washington Post shortly before Bush was inaugurated, "I know the subplot: This is an attempt to play one group against the other," and a few weeks after the inauguration, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, he "issued warnings about faith-based social service programs funded by the government...[He said the] 'church must not...compromise its independence.'" So his criticism of Obama isn't surprising. (His imagery is another matter.)

My first reaction was something like Andrew Sullivan's: "Obama gets his Sistah Souljah moment handed to him on a plate."

But my second thought was that this could hit certain semi-racist hot buttons in some white voters. Remember the talk about Hillary Clinton and whether America was ready to endure the Clinton "soap opera" again? It seems possible that, for some whites, the appearance of Jesse Jackson in connection with Obama is roughly equivalent to the "soap opera." I'm thinking of whites who don't like Jackson (and Al Sharpton, who's twinned with Jackson in some whites' minds) and who, after seeing this, will think Jackson is an inevitable part of the "baggage" that comes along with having an African-American candidate. (Yes, I know -- Jackson was criticizing Obama, but he's since apologized.)

But my third thought is that most white people simply don't think all that much about Jackson and Sharpton, and that the ones who do are hardcore wingnuts. Looking at the blogosphere reaction to all this, I see wingnuts disproportionately represented. And, of course, it's Fox News that's making hay of all this.

As for black voters, I think they'll see this as just normal political debate with some unusually salty language, which is basically what it is. No big deal.

So I figure this will all blow over in about eighteen hours -- although the right-wing media will try to keep it going by saying Obama has offended yet another liberal. (New Fox drinking game: Everybody take a sip when you hear the phrase "under the bus.")

And hey, who knew Jesse Jackson had a little bit of Bada-Bing in him?

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