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Oh No, MoDo!

madamab's picture

Everyone in the universe has now weighed in on the Shirley Sherrod situation, which means that of course, our dearest MoDo must not be left out. Clash, bang, bam! Let the tone-deafness begin!

The Obama White House is too white.

It has Barack Obama, raised in the Hawaiian hood and Indonesia, and Valerie Jarrett, who spent her early years in Iran.

But unlike Bill Clinton, who never needed help fathoming Southern black culture, Obama lacks advisers who are descended from the central African-American experience, ones who understand “the slave thing,” as a top black Democrat dryly puts it.

The first black president should expand beyond his campaign security blanket, the smug cordon of overprotective white guys surrounding him — a long political tradition underscored by Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 when she complained about the “smart-ass white boys” from Walter Mondale’s campaign who tried to boss her around.

Otherwise, this administration will keep tripping over race rather than inspiring on race.

Oh, my goodness. That's a whole lotta stupid, even for Maureen.

Needless to say, MoDo's expert thesis on All Things Black didn't go unnoticed. First, the somewhat dispassionate semi-snark:

With regard to Dowd's assessment of the blackness of Obama's cabinet, two thoughts come to mind: First, it is sad that a white female is the only one empowered enough to speak on the lack of minority presence in the Obama Administration with a voice that is audible and respected. This is the benefit of white privilege in America, since there aren't nearly enough black writers working for the New York Times. Secondly, it suggests that Dowd herself feels qualified to be able to assess what a "legitimate" black experience happens to be. I'm not sure if she is qualified for this job or not, but Dowd is certainly entitled to her opinion.

Then, the extra snarky version, entitled "Maureen Dowd: arbiter of institutional blackness:"

Maureen Dowd has appointed herself the one who should tell President Obama, Secretary Vilsack and the White House Staff how to hire and deal with black people to avoid racial embarrassment in the wake of the Shirley Sherrod fiasco. You see, Obama and Jarett aren’t black enough to know this, but Dowd has talked to black enough Rep. Clyburn and Rep. Lewis and her verdict is final. The West Wing is too damn white. That’s why Shirley Sherrod was fired according to Dowd. Forgive me for not accepting the world according to Dowd’s anecdotal wisdom, some facts get in the way.

And finally, the just plain "Kiss my ass, lady" from Mediaite:

Apparently Maureen Dowd has grown tired of calling President Obama a girl. This week Obama’s problem is a a black one. Again.

It must be said that, if nothing else, MoDo is brilliant at taking the week’s news and shaping it into a catchy talking point that will dominate the Sunday shows and at least a few days of morning shows in the week to come. Whether or not Dowd offers any insight or enlightenment regarding the issue at hand long ago seemed beside the point.

Oh, snap!

Now it's my turn. Does this woman really imagine that there are black people lined up around the corner, waiting for the MoDo "Black Enough" seal of approval? May I ask what, except her utterly unearned sense of entitlement, qualifies her to judge Barack Obama by the color of his skin, and not the content of his character?

For it is character that the Obama White House is lacking, not skin color. It is character that causes people to stand up to pressure and take a stand against the rightwing noise machine. Sherrod was not fired because she is black. She was fired because Obama is a coward, a narcissist who cannot stand to be in disfavor with even one member of the press corps (even if said member is a drooling lunatic who poses in a Nazi-like uniform on the cover of his latest book). Imagine if Bill or Hillary Clinton had been similarly cowed! They had six YEARS of nonstop media attacks from every quarter, then ten more years after leaving the White House. 16 years they've stood strong, and Barack Obama bent over and showed his ass after half of one fucking day. What an absolute disgrace this man is.

As for Dowd, I so wish that one day she would read her own nonsensical maunderings, slap her forehead and realize: "My God, I'm a complete idiot! What the hell am I doing? I'm so embarrassed. I think I'll just retire to the Bahamas and leave the rest of America in peace."

But since that will never happen, look on the bright side: Much hilarity at her expense, for many years to come!

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a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

This "Obama is not Black enough" shit is just distraction, no matter how it's dressed up, and you've done a good job on it here.

One of O's biggest, hugest problems (even on a policy level) is an inability to see and empathize beyond his narrow circle's viewpoint, and that has nothing whatever to do with his race. It does, perhaps, go a ways to explaining why he was pushed so hard by Versailles insiders.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

with your assessment.

I wrote a piece a while back about Obama's narrow viewpoint, which I didn't post here:

...Like it or not, Obama seems to be a guy who is only comfortable in Chicago, surrounded by Chicagoans and working in the Chicago Way.

There have been so many indications of this parochialism, right from the beginning of his campaign. He didn't know how to bowl, because urban Chicagoans don't do it (and when he went bowling, he did so in a dress shirt and tie, something no one who knows anything about bowling has done since the 1950s). He thought the people who voted for Hillary instead of for him were bitter, racist, bible-thumping, gun-toting rednecks. His (Chicago) campaign manager said it was no big deal that Obama didn't appeal to white working-class voters, because they usually voted Republican anyway, not understanding that those voters DO vote Democratic sometimes (and that they had been, in the past, the key to Democratic electoral victory). But hey, how many white working-class voters had Obama actually met while hanging out in Chicago? He married a woman who was born and raised in Chicago. Chicago icon Oprah Winfrey campaigned with and for him for months. Chicago friends like David Plouffe, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and Valerie Jarrett make up his inner circle. When he spoke to the "faith community" during the campaign, his spokesperson referred to the participants as "from Chicago and from outside Chicago," as though the rest of America, to the Obama camp, was a vague, amorphous mass with no distinguishing characteristics.

This parochial Chicago-centrism, I believe, is the key to Obama's air of mildly puzzled detachment in the face of all the domestic and foreign disasters that are taking place around him. Although I believe Obama is an extreme narcissist, so were many other Presidents before him; that doesn't really explain his curious air of not seeming to understand what the big deal is about the oil gusher, the Israel-Turkey showdown over the Gaza blockade, the "jobless" recovery, the Health Whatever Bill's massive flaws, the Iranian quest for nukes and its implications for the region in which we have tens of thousands of troops, and on and on and on. But if you think about it all as "outside Chicago," it begins to make sense.

Parochialism also explains his attachment to the trappings of Presidential power, some of which he famously appropriated prior to even gaining the nomination. He loves flying on Air Force One, hanging with Sir Paul McCartney and taking his wife to a Broadway show at his leisure. He thinks these perks are really cool and nifty. But he doesn't get the symbolism of being President; like when he famously bowed to the Saudi King, or when he sent the bust of Winston Churchill back to England, or when he muffed the gift-giving to Gordon Brown. And on Memorial Day, he broke with long tradition, and instead of going to Arlington, Virginia to lay the wreath, he did so at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in...Chicago.

I really think that Barack Obama doesn't understand what it means to be from America. He only understands what it means to be from Chicago. And unfortunately for the rest of us, we live "outside Chicago."