The Respectable face of racism in America

In the inevitable discussions of race that take place in our country one defense routinely brought up by the Right is that America has given up its racist ways, and except for the occasional aberration, such as dragging a black man to death in Texas, or telling blacks in New Orleans that they pretty much deserve to die for being too poor to fly out of the city and check into a hotel, things are pretty good for blacks in America.

Like all conservative viewpoints, this one is completely wrong. While some may argue that the decline in popularity of the Klan and the lack of recent lynchings means White America has mended its race-hating ways, it has really just moved onto different, more socially acceptable tactics. Thus, while police turning fire hoses and German shepherds on blacks is now officially frowned upon, the police now routinely stop black drivers for alleged driving infractions, allowing them to harass, search and if they are lucky, provoke them into some indiscretion that can lead to an arrest, with a tasering and/or beating on the side.

White financial institutions can no longer openly discriminate against black consumers in loans, but they can, and do, build huge numbers of payday loan centers in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods so they can legally rob them blind.

While corporations can no longer run "white only" hospitals, they can, and do, provide substandard medical care for blacks and other minorities.

Blacks are paid 72 cents for each dollar a white man is paid (Hispanics have it worse though, at 58 cents), businesses are more likely to hire a white ex-con, than a black man with a clean record, and it is far harder for blacks to rent an apartment than whites.

Understandably, blacks and other minorities are rather vexed at this treatment, and as such are vocally hostile to those they see as their oppressors. They are very skeptical of claims that racism is a thing of the past, when they live it every day. It is also very hard to view racism as a bygone practice when you read prominent Americans, people whom news programs routinely call upon for comment, writing things like this:

Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.

Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.

This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

According to essayist, columnist, political pundit, former Nixon speech-writer, and former presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan, uppity Negroes like Rev. Wright should get on their knees and thank God for being brought to this country as slaves (those that survived the trip at least). They should be thankful that their ancestors endured disease, starvation, branding, whipping, and being bred like cattle so that they could come to America and enjoy the benefits of Christian Salvation, i.e. enduring disease, starvation, branding, whipping, and being bred like cattle.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

I'm sorry, I had no idea that welfare was a "blacks only" program. In fact, more white people are "on welfare" than blacks. The BIGGEST welfare program of all is Social Security, where 88.7% of the people getting checks are WHITE. What about Medicare? Only 9% of Medicare patients are black, 84% are white. Only Pell grants, Medicade and the Food Stamp program have a majority of black recipients, which is not surprising, since the programs were created to help the poorest Americans with food, medical care and education. Since 33% of African Americans live in poverty, versus 11.6% of whites, is it unusual that blacks would make up a larger proportion of these programs?

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

Again, all of these programs seem to have some exclusionary racial quota I am unaware of. It is my understanding that most all of these programs are for poor people of ANY race, not just handouts to one racial group.

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?


Buchanan prattles on about all the usual canards about blacks being jailed seven times more than whites, while ignoring the fact that blacks charged with the same crime as a white are more likely to be given prison time. Not satisfied that his screed was sufficiently inflammatory, Buchanan then throws in the Klansman's favorite bugaboo:

Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse?

Of course, Pat doesn't bother to say where he got his figures from. My guess would be David Duke.

Given that, I can't find any such breakdown in the FBI's Uniform Crime Report to back his assertion, the numbers seem to me to have the strong whiff of anus about them

As to why there might be a greater number of whites victimized by blacks, than the reverse, I would offer the fact that there are ten times as many whites in the country than blacks. As to why blacks would rob whites more often than whites would rob blacks, I think we can use the apocryphal Willy Sutton quote: "That were the money is." The disproportionate poverty rate means that whites are less likely to rob blacks, since a third live in poverty, and thus have little money, whereas 88% of whites live above the poverty line, and are statistically more likely to have cash to steal. Apparently white and black robbers are hip to this reality.

We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al about Tawana Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena. And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black assaults on whites that are real, we hear nothing.

The Brawley case was a hoax. The Duke case was prosecutorial misconduct with racial overtones, and I have seen no evidence that the Jena Six can in any way be called a "hoax".

And since when are we ignoring black men attacking white women? The prisons are full of such people. Some are even guilty.

No, racism is alive and well in America. And it pays quite well.

Comments

Preachin' to the choir

What's more dangerous than the obvious folks like Pat Buchanan are the ones who have learned to be subtle -- to drop buzzwords instead of coming out with something easily assailed.

In fact, I almost have more respect for the out-and-out bigot who wears his stripes (or should I say hood?) out in the open than I do the guy who will just ever so gently drop a little word here or there in a honeyed tone.

But I'm not sure why anyone would be afraid of statistics. That is, instead of challenging whether or not the crime rates do show more black on white (and black on black, for that matter) crimes, one might be better off asking why we have such an inordinate number of blacks in a sector of the population that resorts to desperate measures?

Gee, wonder why that might be?

In terms of world history, this country is still a baby, and slavery was just a few growth spurts ago. But as Lyndon Johnson pointed out, back when it was still acceptable to point this out, you can't take shackles off the legs of a man who has been wearing them since birth and expect him to win a footrace with the guy who has been flexing and running free all his life.

For some reason, people don't want to acknowledge that slavery has a legacy and that we will be paying for the riches we earned off that trade for generations yet to come.

Why is is a shock that there are more blacks in prison than white? Statisticians would probably point out that generations of racism have perpetuated not just poverty in the black population but other more vicious cultural inheritances from a society that was predicated on the inferiority -- in every sense -- of people with dark skin. No serious student of history could argue that it is about genetics; it's about the part of the brain that is nurtured in a petri dish of social and legal loathing.

Ok, I get carried away with metaphor.

In any event, I doubt there's a person on this blog who hasn't already accepted that racism is alive and well in the Unites States. Like poverty, it is reinforced by its own consequences.

I strongly believe, however, that crying "racism" every time a black person is accused of a crime does nothing to educate the ignorant, oppose the bigoted, uplift the oppressed or enhance the dialogue -- the badly needed dialogue about race in this country.

I think Barak Obama's speech went a long way toward educating, oposing, uplifting and enhancing, if only we could keep that level of conversation going.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing
-Edmund Burke

Nice post.

I'm already loving the new discussions. Maybe it's been happening elsewhere, but I haven't much been part of it.

Talking about this whole business candidly seems like a really good first step.

____________________________________

We are not amused.

It's good that we are having this conversation

but are we the only ones and as pointed out up thread, only to the choir? Because this is the way that too many American's believe and the conservative party not only takes advantage, but embraces this.

Back when coulter was in the news so much it was because she wasn't afraid to be pc and said nasty things about JE. Then Andrew Sullivan wrote this article with this thought...

She's absolutely right that this is absurd and funny and an example of p.c. insanity. She could have made a joke about that - a better one, to be sure - but a joke. But she didn't just do that. She added to the joke a slur: "John Edwards is a faggot." That's why people gasped and then laughed and clapped so heartily. I was in the room, so I felt the atmosphere personally. It was an ugly atmosphere, designed to make any gay man or woman in the room feel marginalized and despised. To put it simply, either conservatism is happy to be associated with that atmosphere, or it isn't. I think the response so far suggests that the conservative elites don't want to go there, but the base has already been there for a very long time.

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.

Progressive Discussions

The elites vs. the Base

Actually, the conservative elite are fine with it. They just don't want to be SEEN endorsing it directly. They may want to run for higher office at some point, or get a lucrative job, and such things can come back to haunt them (ask Ron Paul).

Also, while their base is useful to their aims, they would really prefer not to associate with the rabble. To them, trash is still trash, even if it buys their books, supports their opinions, and keeps them in power.


Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Singing Out of Tune?

The problem, dear choir members and friends, is that blanket statements that racism is alive and well is just too broad, angry and historically static.

I prefer the following statement, made recently. I have substituted the name "Kosh" for another name; otherwise, I have not changed the quote:

The profound mistake of [Kosh’s post] is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

I'm singing with a different choir.

-- ge

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
http://george.entenman.name

Besta é tu se você não viver nesse mundo
https://george.entenman.name

Well actually,

I specifically made a point that things have changed. Yes, things are not as bad as they were 50-100 years ago, but they are still very substandard.

These days the racism is present, but beneath the surface and very subtly institutionalized, so much so that simply pointing out the fact that it still has prevalence results in being slapped down for "living in the past". That is the whole point of racism as practiced today.

While it is certainly nice that the Klan no longer holds sway, that lynching is no longer a weekly occurrence, that we are starting to accept interracial marriage, such tolerances are not universal by any means. I do not have to go far to find racism. In fact, I can see it very close to home in business, family, and community.

Apologists claiming that minorities should be happy because racism isn't as lethal as it once was will find a cool reception.


Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Someone I know recently used data

showing the sharp decline of KKK membership between 1900 and 1930 as evidence of "great strides" in race relations during that era, but frankly, I think that merely represents a drop in popularity of the Klan itself, not a drop in fear/hatred.

This was part of an ongoing battle I've been waging against those who (claim to) believe the problem of racism in this country is "overblown" and being artificially kept alive by activists. ;/

Some folks think that they fact we don't

keep slaves anymore is such a great improvement, what else could "these people" want.

Sadly, I hear this kind of thing WAY too often.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

I just spent 8 months living in a predominantly minority area

Now I live in a predominantly white area.

It's nice to no longer be forced to wait behind five and six people to check out at the local grocery stores, the Home Depot, WalMart, Target, you name it. It was so constant and so obvious (compared to my 48 years in whiter areas of Maryland as well as in Massachusetts and North Carolina) that I started talking to my fellow line-waiters about it. Every single time I suggested that it might just be these particular stores didn't hire enough employees because most of their customers were black, every single black person agreed with me. No one brought this up when I first asked, "Why do we always have to wait so long at this store when the lines at the store down the road (in a white area) are never this long?" But they agreed with me when I brought it up. Many of them jumped on my suggestion before the words left my lips.

I emailed most of the corporations, asking if they were making it hard for the local store managers to hire more employees because the profits would take an initial dip. I also pointed out that since so many people have no car in those areas, I imagine they can treat customers pretty bad and they'll still come back. And that they were actually making more money off of poorer people. (To be fair, Target had several security guards in lieu of more cashiers so perhaps the higher profit isn't true for that store.) The others had no more security, however. Not one company responded to my email.

My theory: Racism against black customers (don't even get me started on the electric company) is institutionalized.

AND, since no black waiting in line with me was going to initiate the concept that racism is behind the long lines, I'm starting to think that blacks don't and maybe can't trust the average white person enough to tell them/us what they really think. And that makes me sadder than the institutionalized racism. If the average black person waiting in line at a store can't be honest about their experiences to a liberal white person like me stuck in line with them, then this country is still in big effing trouble.
 
See Pat Go Bye Bye. Support Daniel Johnson.

One possible exception?

My wife and I shop in one of the most affluent—and, sadly, lily-white— ZIP codes in our area, and my anecdotal evidence is that Meijer doesn't staff enough employees anywhere, under any circumstances.

This has made me furious on several occasions, but they're open 24 hours. What am I gonna do, go to Wal-Mart? Plan better? (Everybody laugh now...)

--
relocating from Indianapolis, IN to RTP, NC soon; got any advice for me?

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

--
Garner, NC

I wouldn't recommend drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity for everyone, but they've always worked for me. -- Hunter S. Thompson

And Katrina . . .

Remember how something like 80 percent of white Americans thought the poor governmental response to Katrina was because most victims were poor, not because so many of them were black. And how that stat was flipped for blacks. Three quarters of blacks thought that the government response was poor because they were black, not because they were poor.

Of course, we'll never know the truth but we do know that blacks and whites completely disagreed. We saw the situation completely differently. Did that start a dialogue about race in this country? Of course not.

And, before that, the OJ verdict. I was in a cafeteria (in Hendersonville, NC) where the majority of diners were black when the verdict was announced. I was shocked when they cheered. I realized something was going on that I didn't understand. It was more important to the blacks who cheered that a black man got off than that justice was served (I didn't believe for a minute they were cheering because they thought he was innocent but I could be wrong . . .) Anyway, if they thought justice in the short term was less important than a symbolic victory against "the man," I concluded that we Americans have a long way to go to heal the race wound in this country.

In my opinion, nothing has happened since that day to indicate to African Americans that Anglo-Americans are interested in making things better. I just keep hearing about how they should shut up about it. I'm not sure what we should do but I'm pretty sure telling them to shut up and/or making them shut up isn't going to fix anything.

 
See Pat Go Bye Bye. Support Daniel Johnson.

The choir needs rehearsals too

It's so nice to see discussions of race open up on BlueNC. We might consider ourselves the choir, but we need rehearsals too. And for a truly democratic debate on this site, we need to make sure that a wide variety of opinions are considered.

I spend a lot of time discussing politics with African-Americans. Although I have no idea what the race or ethnicity of most BlueNC posters is, my guess is that there are very few posters who are black. Why? Because they understand that you can't talk about politics in the U.S. without talking about race. It should come up more often around here.

Indeed.

It's only been since I started working in the non-profit world that took me into "black" neighborhoods and businesses that I realized I didn't understand race relations. I am liberal, after all, so I thought things were a lot different than they are. It was quite a wake up call to me.

I have had parents ask me "in confidence" if the child care center I was referring them to was "black" or "white". Parents of both races ask that question. At first I was really indignant. Now I just answer "I don't know - quality child care is not dependent upon the race of the teacher."

I have been at conferences in large metropolitan cities with my friend, who is black, and watched taxis pass her by, only to have them stop for me when I stood out front, even though we are both the same age, and we were both dressed the same way.

I spent the first part of last week with that same friend. She asked me if I truly thought Obama could win the presidency. I answered her "Yes." She said she didn't think so, because if he had to give a speech about race, the country wasn't ready. I don't know if she's right or not. I told her I hope that she's wrong. She had a sad look on her face and said she thought that a lot of people will say one thing in public and do something else in the voting booth. She doesn't trust white America. I don't blame her, but it hurt me that I was included in that. There's still a long way to go.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

I blogged about this today

You should see the comments -- a very interesting and open conversation on a difficult topic:

Exhibit A: Pat Buchanan - why we desperately need to discuss race.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

I saw the article

I was just about to send you a link to my post at TC on this, then saw you already had it well in hand.

My cohort in crime also covered the InstaPunk article.

http://www.thoughtcrimes.org/s9/index.php?/archives/2375-Racism-A-Refres...

Pam does any excellent job spelling it out for the very dense out there.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

There's no such thing as "RACE"

There's only 1 race: the Human Race.

If there was more than 1 race on this planet then the members of those separate races could not create offspring with each other. That is not the case, so there is only one race on planet earth.

AP newswire article from more than 20 years ago - stated: More than 87% of Americans have black ancestors.

You can't tell by looking:

College textbook: You can have as little as 13% genes of African origin and still look black. You can have as much as 37% genes of African origin and still look white.

Some children who have one white appearing parent and one black appearing parent - look entirely white.

After the Civil War in the border states there were whole towns full of white-appearing "black people". Because the local people knew who the parents of the white-appearing "blacks" were - white people would not allow them to live in their towns ... because they were "black" ... AND ... black people would not allow them to live in their towns because they looked white.

Those white/"black" towns eventually disappeared when the inhabitants moved away and passed as white.

If "the media", or Barack Obama really wanted to "transcend" and "get past" racism all they have to do is: Study up on the subject; Show our Real History about those "black" towns with all white-looking people ON TV, and PASS THE WORD:

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS "RACE".
MOST AMERICANS HAVE BLACK ANCESTORS.
YOU CAN'T TELL BY LOOKING.

Obama's Fairytales

Obama's NEW Kind of Politics = FAIRYTALES

FAIRYTALE #1 - He will usher in a new kind of politics, get past the politics of division; "a uniter not a divider" .... uh huh, yeah riiiiigt... but ... in the real world, as the Right Wing Repub Smear Machine has already begun to demonstrate it takes TWO to tango and the Right Wing Repubs are going to be just as negative and nasty to him as they have been to the Clintons all these years.

Ok.... WHERE IS IT? I haven't seen him DO any kind of "NEW" Politics. All he's done is the same old negative campaigning, name-calling, and personal attacks .... AFTER .... FIRST... proclaiming he wouldn't do negative campaigning .... and bragging about being .... better than that, above it all. He's continued with the same ol dirty politics ever since .... while periodically PROCLAIMING that he's not doing dirty politics ... and bragging that he's abvoe it all.

"New Kind of Politics" = NON -I SSUE. DISMISSED.

FAIRYTALE #2: Its about JUDGMENT (& His Judgment is best): "Hillary voted to INVADE Iraq". "She was in favor of the war". .... uh, Noooo, she voted to use MILITARY FORCE, if necessary, to find out if Saddam had WMD's, or Not. Quoting Obama: "I don't know how I would have voted if I had been in the Senate."

Welllll .... IF it was a Vote to INVADE Iraq ... and ... he was opposed to invading Iraq ... how come... he doesn't know how he would have voted?

Answer: Because HE KNOWS it WAS NOT a Vote to Invade Iraq. Having said that he doesn't know how he would have voted -THAT- should have been the END of that: NOT Entitled to Criticize Clinton for her Vote. He is using the very same negative distortion and smear campaigning that he so hypocritically denounces.
"HIS JUDGMENT is best = NON-Issue. DISMISSED.

FAIRYTALE #3: "I'm not the black candidate". Yes. He is the black candidate. He MADE HIMSELF the black candidate WHEN he FALSELY (& ridiculously) accused the Clintons of racism - in order to win the South Carolina Primary. He CONTINUED to make himself the black candidate by making MORE false accusations of racism ... everytime ... he got behind in the the polls.
RACISM= NON-ISSUE. DISMISSED.

FAIRYTALE #4: Clinton is the Establishment Candidate. Clinton is in league with the Big Corporations that have too much control over our government.

Clinton voted AGAINST the Dick Cheney Energy Bill of 2005 (H.R.6). Obama voted FOR it. GE (2nd Largest Corporation on earth), Excelon Corp of Illinois, Entergy, along with 3 consortiums of other corporations - want to build 29 new nuclear power plants.

For the past 30 years the banks would not loan them money to build nukes - too risky....until The Cheney Energy Bill ENABLED them to proceed with their plans ... by Guaranteeing TAXPAYER PAYBACK of any of the nuke loans that go into default. (With the Risk of Default Rated by the Congressional Budget Office at 50% or greater.)

p.s. the BOP-N (the "boppin" B.arack O.bama P.ropaganda N.etworks)-(Formerly known as NBC/MSNBC) ... are owned by GE ... just in case you were wondering WHY MSNBC/NBC were transformed (last fall) into foaming at the mouth rabid Obama PUSHERS. OBAMA = The Establishment Candidate.

FAIRYTALE #5: Its about the future, turn the page. Nope. Its about TURNING THE PAGE ...BACK... to the PAST
building CENTRALIZED Monopoly Nuke Power Plants - with thousands of tons more nuke waste; with all existing nuke waste dumps CLOSED; nuke waste stored ONSITE providing terrorists with DIRTY BOMB nuke TARGETS all over the country .... instead OF Proceeding to the FUTURE with CLEAN, Renewable, DE-Centralized, CHEAPER Energy.

FAIRYTALE #6: Better Foreign Policy: Electing Obama will "send a message" to the rest of the world ... enhancing America's "image" ... as a new kind of country ... ready to get along ... and do things differently.

Wanna put the rest of the world on notice that U.S. Foreign Policy will very likely be just as insane, or insaner, than Bush/Cheney's ... and ... put Russia on an even more nervous HAIR TRIGGER than ithey are now. .... just elect Obama and that's what would happen ....Because .... Zbigniew Brezinski is an Obama Foreign Policy Advisor.

Zbig used Billions of $$ and the CIA to gin up a War in Afghanistan between the Russians and the Taliban/Al Queda
(because he rabidly hates Russia). He CREATED the Taliban/Al Queda/ JIHAD Muslim TERRORIST "movement". He supported Pol Pot ... who massacred MILLIONS of innocent Cambodian Villagers. Asked if he had any REGRETS about creating the JIHADI'S, or supporting Pol Pot; given the benefit of hindsight does he wish he would he have done anything differently. Zbig's answers: No. No Regrets. Wish he'd done anything differently? No, he's satisfied with the results.

Elect a man President on the basis of such FAIRYTALES --- NIGHTMARES are likely to follow.

elme - a Warning

You are welcome to post your ideas here - but please do not spam the same post on several threads. Besides being redundant, it's rude.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

OK, you hate Obama and you

have a tenuous grasp about the race debate.

Sorry, you are part of the problem

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

To be fair

To be fair, I'm not just going to write you off because the tone of that post is screaming. I think it's true that cable news and a lot of newspapers have a pro-Obama bias. And you're perhaps right about Obama's judgment; we don't know for sure that it is good, but we do know it isn't bad. His opposition to the war and the much mentioned "dumb war" speech indicate good judgment, but this is only one example, that is true.

I think there is something to Obama's "new politics." His coalition of blacks, upscale white Democrats, young people in general, and independents is a genuinely new coalition.

I can't speak for everyone, but watching the news coverage of Iraq every single day in 2002, I was pretty well convinced that we were going to war. I find it hard to believe that members of Congress were any less observant than I was at the time.

The Clinton campaign started to belittle Barack Obama's candidacy when he started winning states in January and February. I'm convinced that "Jesse Jackson won South Carolina too" means "Barack Obama and Jesse Jackson are the same because they are black, that's the only way they won South Carolina, and the state's election doesn't mean anything for that reason."

Republicans are going to go after whichever Democratic candidate is nominated. I don't think anything Barack Obama does can possibly diffuse or prevent these attacks. You're right that no new politics or unity are going to prevent Republican attacks. But does anyone expect this to happen? It wouldn't really be an election without attacks going both ways.

Zbigniew Brzezinski has some skeletons in his closet. I don't think President Obama would make him secretary of state or national security advisor; I don't think he would be the defining foreign policy voice in an Obama administration.

The reason Obama impresses me is because I think he is reasonable and has some amount of political courage. I think nuclear power is our best, most reasonable source of electricity in the medium term. It's unpopular in many parts of the Democratic party, and Obama has guts to support it. I don't think you can seriously link Obama in any way to the rest of the Republican energy bill. I feel the same way about Obama and educational reform and merit pay. Firing bad teachers is not a popular thing for a Democrat or any politician to talk about, and I think it will have to be done. Hillary Clinton is definitely competent, but I have hope that Barack Obama is willing to risk political blowback to take on unpopular, important problems.