The Race-Based Candidate (Etc. Etc.)

Over at Soob, Curtis has a comment that highlights the race- and ancestry- based nature of Obama’s campaign. Most of it is as expected (essentially: Obama’s support from blacks is transnational). However, two quotes from an article by the niche newspaper Washington Informer has Curtis all abuzz. The relevant sections appear to be:

Former high-ranking Indian United Nations diplomat and columnist Shashi Tharoor was quoted in a recent TIME magazine article as saying that “An Obama victory would fulfill everything the rest of the world has been told America could be, but hasn’t quite been.”

Obama is effectively the “Afro-Asian candidate” of the emerging developing world anchored by his family roots in Kenya, the economic hub of East Africa and Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country and the leading economy in the Association of South East Asian Nations.

From this poor foundation (an assertion by one Indian and the editorializing of the article itself), Curtis concludes “The “Africa” connection has been expanded to the “Asia” connection, or effect as you called it, following Obama’s success in the primary:.” After linking two the articles and posting an excerpt smaller than the one I did, Curtis concludes, “Etc. Etc.”

Obama’s race-based campaign is sickening enough without the nonsense he inspires among his supporters. Now, it may be the case that an Obama presidency campaign would be a net-positive for the United States in Asia. I find this unlikely: Asians are one of the groups most hostile to Barack Obama in the United States, and this is true among both foreign-born and American-born Asians. But Curtis does not bother to link to a single opinion poll, describe a single election, or even do anything except take the apparent endorsement of two men (Mr. Tharoor and Francis Kornegay) and conclude “etc. etc.”

Obama should reject and denounce his race-based supporters, out of concern for the United States. And Obama supporters should argue that anecdotes do not a valid argument make.

6 thoughts on “The Race-Based Candidate (Etc. Etc.)”

  1. Unfortunately, Obama’s race is such an obvious subject, both he and McCain are going to have to host their own hour-long morning show 7-days a week to apologize for everything their supporters will say.

  2. I would be wary of making conclusive statements about Asians being hostile to Obama’s candidacy. We have no conclusive polling data proving that, merely that a majority in California and New York voted more for Clinton than Obama (is that a surprise, NY was Clinton country as well as California). You claim hostility but where is it? A preference based on a history with the candidate they vote for is understandable for minority groups… Clinton appointed the first Asian-American cabinet member and apparently that mattered, much in the same way the Clintons supported Latino candidates early and often for Cabinet positions and political office.

    If by September or October, gen. election polling is showing Asian-American Democrats moving to McCain, well, then we’ll have some real red meat to chew on.

    Re: your broad argument against this, I am in agreement with you halfway. I would be shocked if focus groups of interracial Americans don’t show conclusive majority admiration of Obama, if not political support.

    As well, I would not be surprised if global and regional polling trends showed Obama way ahead of McCain.

    Does that mean much of anything? I’m not sure. We don’t know. We can sneer or cheerlead the possibility, but I’d rather wait and see until March 09 or so to see how the world views Obama’s presidency.

    Btw, hasn’t it been argued that Asian politicians and business leaders prefer Republicans in office?

  3. Further because this logic of yours is wonderful, by your argument, shouldn’t conservatives still be considered hostile to John McCain because so few voted for him up until Romney and Rudy dropped out?
    How are Asian-American or Latino Democrats for that matter any different from conservative Republicans in this regard?

  4. From this poor foundation (an assertion by one Indian and the editorializing of the article itself), Curtis concludes “The “Africa” connection has been expanded to the “Asia” connection, or effect as you called it, following Obama’s success in the primary:.” After linking two the articles and posting an excerpt smaller than the one I did, Curtis concludes, “Etc. Etc.”

    Very silly Dan. This actually points up a consistently fallacious method you use when discussing Election 2008. Because I gave two examples — let’s say that again, examples — you conclude that’s all the substance. (Hence the frequent reference via the word “substantive?”) Similarly, whether speaking of 2 speakers at Obama’s former church, or a single reference to a single speech in 2002, and so forth, you are drawing a universal from very limited data.

    America is not the only country aware of America’s history on race relations. If — I’ll say that again, If many parts of the world are noticing a difference in this election (that an African-American-in-appearance, but really a biracial candidate has won a major party nomination), their awareness of “difference” in this election may be inform by an understanding of our history rather than a knee-jerk “Lookie there, blackie’s won it!”

    What would be the world reaction if a Muslim Palestinian was close to winning the top leadership position in Israel? What was the world reaction to the election of the first black president of South Africa? Is it possible to notice a significant historical change without being a racist or extremist theocrat?

  5. Eddie,

    We can sneer or cheerlead the possibility, but I’d rather wait and see until March 09 or so to see how the world views Obama’s presidency.

    I hope we get the chance!

    My own guess is that much world opinion will begin similar to much American opinion which is supportive: we wanted change and Obama’s candidacy sure is change! (To put it crudely.)

    And then, as the world continues to deal with America, and work out agreements and disputes, the newness will wear off. We’ll be back to the type of self-interest which figures so prominently in Thomas P.M. Barnett’s strategies.

    Apparently (and Dan et. al. can use Google to look it up), Japan, for instance, is starting out very cautious, as are Iraqi leaders. One because of trade agreements, the other because of…well, Iraq. So not all areas of the world are Obamamaniacs or whatever we are being called today.

  6. Adam,

    I’d just be happy if Obama apologizes for the crazy things he has said, such as his awful speech on race [1].

    Eddie,

    I would be wary of making conclusive statements about Asians being hostile to Obama’s candidacy. We have no conclusive polling data proving that, merely that a majority in California and New York voted more for Clinton than Obama (is that a surprise, NY was Clinton country as well as California). You claim hostility but where is it? A preference based on a history with the candidate they vote for is understandable for minority groups… Clinton appointed the first Asian-American cabinet member and apparently that mattered, much in the same way the Clintons supported Latino candidates early and often for Cabinet positions and political office.

    Obviously if one discounts most of the polling that shows Asian Americans sketpical of Barack Obama, one gets pretty far in removing evidence that Asian Americans are skeptical of Barack Obama.

    Still, if you discount Californian asian support for Obama because California is Clinton territory, then you have the anolomy of California black support for Obama. It strikes me as analytically simpler, when you have a racially polarized electorate, to assume it is polarized along racial lines (and not just concidentally because one side is racially polarized, and the other is geographically polarized in a way that correlates strikingly with race).

    The rason for this is obvious. Obama supporters college and government programs that drastically reduce asian participation in academics and the public sector, in favor of his political supporters who could not otherwise gain those spots due to merits. This is an old pattern in American politics (c.f. the “whole man” programs of universities which limited Jewish admission), but it’s still sickening.

    Re: your broad argument against this, I am in agreement with you halfway. I would be shocked if focus groups of interracial Americans don’t show conclusive majority admiration of Obama, if not political support.

    Certainly it depends on how you define interracial. Certainly the largest mixed population (latinos) tend to support Clinton, and the second-largest (blacks) overwhelmingly support Obama. As for others, it would be interesting to see. Certainly it’d be interesting.

    Further because this logic of yours is wonderful, by your argument, shouldn’t conservatives still be considered hostile to John McCain because so few voted for him up until Romney and Rudy dropped out?

    Yes, and they are.

    How are Asian-American or Latino Democrats for that matter any different from conservative Republicans in this regard?

    McCain does not (in general) support genetically-driven-phenotypic tests to deprive conservatives of admission to universities and grants of government contracts, and to then give them to liberals with less merit wrt requirements.

    Curtis,

    Very silly Dan. This actually points up a consistently fallacious method you use when discussing Election 2008. Because I gave two examples — let’s say that again, examples — you conclude that’s all the substance. (Hence the frequent reference via the word “substantive?”) Similarly, whether speaking of 2 speakers at Obama’s former church, or a single reference to a single speech in 2002, and so forth, you are drawing a universal from very limited data.

    If you’re post is merely anecdotal, it’s nearly worthless from a substantive stand-point.

    If your post relies on something beyond those anecdotes, then retract them, and proceed with an open discussion.

    I’m not sure what the point of your second paragraph is.

    What would be the world reaction if a Muslim Palestinian was close to winning the top leadership position in Israel? What was the world reaction to the election of the first black president of South Africa? Is it possible to notice a significant historical change without being a racist or extremist theocrat?

    Are you using “notice” and “support” as analogies? It seems so.

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