The 2012 US Election

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Voronwë the Faithful
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The 2012 US Election

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

We'll need a thread for this sooner or later. Might as well be sooner.

In the tradition of the 2008 election discussion, I could have entitled this the "Herman Cain Phenomenon and the 2012 Presidential Election." Never heard of Herman Cain? Neither had I until I saw an interesting AP article about the buzz he is generating in Iowa (where, of course, the first-in-the-nation caucuses are held). Herman Cain is the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza. He is that rare political creature: a conservative African-American. It appears that he has the potential to galvanize the potentially large and unpredictable Tea Party vote. I don't think it is likely that his message will resonate very well with me, but I still think it is a sign of how far the country has come that four years after electing the first African-American president, there is a chance for another African-American to create some buzz from the other side of the political spectrum.

Former pizza chain CEO mulling presidential run
Last edited by Voronwë the Faithful on Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Ghân-buri-Ghân »

I don't know whether this is pertinent, and if not I am sure it will be ignored, but I am fascinated by the term "African-American". I would say that President Obama is most certainly African American, as his father was Kenyan, and his mother is American, but I actually question whether that is what the term really specifies. I remember the tears of Jesse Jackson when Barack Obama was elected President, and I am near certain, from comments that Mr Jackson has made, that those tears were not necessarily of joy. There was anger in that emotion. Jackson was a product of a constituency; Americans of African descent who had their roots in slavery. For this constituency, Barack Obama was something of an interloper. Yes, he is a "black" man, as all who are of dual heritage are deemed (and I am uncomfortable with this also. Does being white require a certain purity, whilst black is all stripes?) But President Obama has not suffered the history of the oppressed black man. His upbringing is most certainly "unconventional".
So without more ado, and I await being shot down, is there really this monolithic identity called "African-American", to which both Barack Obama and Herman Cain belong? Because, apart from the comparative colours of their skin, I see little that identifies these two individuals as "brothers".
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

It's pretty far afield from the actual topic of the 2012 election, but I certainly opened the door, so I'll address your comments, with the caveat that it may end up making sense to split off the discussion (or perhaps just rename this thread and start a new one for the presidential election.

I partly agree with what you say, and partly disagree. Regarding Jackson, I think he had decidedly mixed feelings. There certainly was plenty of blow-back about Obama not being "black enough" or representative of the "African-American experience" since he was not the descendant of West Africans brought to America as slaves. And Jackson was certainly in the middle of that. But I still think that there was genuine emotion of joy on Jackson's part when Obama was elected. It is easy to criticize Jesse Jackson, and much to criticize, but he certainly was an integral part of the civil rights movement, and for him to see a seminal moment in which a person of African descent was elected president of the United States had to have been a moving thing for him. I have no problem giving that to him.

As to saying that Obama has not suffered the history of the oppressed black man, that is not completely true. He has experienced the discrimination that comes with being perceived as a black man in America, irregardless of his unusual background. Did his unusual background, and particularly the fact that he had a white mother, make him more palatable as a candidate? Perhaps; it is impossible to say for sure. But I have no problem at all with him identifying himself as "black" or as African-American.

It is unclear to me whether you are suggesting that Herman Cain should some how be considered "less black" because of his conservative political views, but I completely reject that argument, whether it is made about Herman Cain or Clarence Thomas, or anyone else. I certainly oppose the views of most conservatives (whether black or white or anything else), and in my opinion African-Americans that hold such views are doing no favors for African-Americans in general, but that is only my opinion, and I respect their right to hold a different opinion.

Is there a monolithic identity called African-American? Certainly not, and thank Eru there isn't. Rather there are individuals all of whom have their own unique story and identity and qualities, but who share the identity of being Americans of African descent, with all the history of slavery and segregation, and continuing discrimination that goes along with that identity.

In my opinion, of course.
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Post by Ghân-buri-Ghân »

Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:It is unclear to me whether you are suggesting that Herman Cain should some how be considered "less black" because of his conservative political views, but I completely reject that argument, whether it is made about Herman Cain or Clarence Thomas, or anyone else.
Voronwë, please excuse the selectivity of my response. I fully intend to address all the issues that you have made, which are substantive and cogent, but at this moment I will restrict myself (because of time constraints) to strongly rejecting your assumption of what I am suggesting. In no way would I attach a political persuasion to colour. Irrespective of the fact that I find the reactionary nature of the "Tea Party" anything but "conservative", I think to promote an expectation that the colour of ones skin somehow defines the nature of ones being is abhorrent. I despair with sectarianism, and as I am sure you are aware regarding my statements on another sectarian imbroglio, I find racial, cultural, sexual etc divisions fundamentally flawed. Thomas, Cains and Obama are people. That should be the end of the discussion. That it is not merely illustrates the deep seated, reflexive prejudice that is unfortunately still extant.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

As I said, it was unclear to me whether you are making that point or not. I'm glad you clarified (in your typical emphatic fashion ;)), that you were not.
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Post by Ghân-buri-Ghân »

Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:It's pretty far afield from the actual topic of the 2012 election, but I certainly opened the door, so I'll address your comments, with the caveat that it may end up making sense to split off the discussion (or perhaps just rename this thread and start a new one for the presidential election.

I partly agree with what you say, and partly disagree. Regarding Jackson, I think he had decidedly mixed feelings. There certainly was plenty of blow-back about Obama not being "black enough" or representative of the "African-American experience" since he was not the descendant of West Africans brought to America as slaves. And Jackson was certainly in the middle of that. But I still think that there was genuine emotion of joy on Jackson's part when Obama was elected. It is easy to criticize Jesse Jackson, and much to criticize, but he certainly was an integral part of the civil rights movement, and for him to see a seminal moment in which a person of African descent was elected president of the United States had to have been a moving thing for him. I have no problem giving that to him.
I do not doubt that Jesse Jackson was joyful about the election of a non-white person as President, and I take issue with much of the sniping against Jesse Jackson. It is concomitant with the general attacks on issues spokespersons for not being “perfect”. Jackson isn't, but then, neither was Mandela, nor even Gandhi. However, I do think there is a quantifiable distinction between Obama and the majority of African-Americans, and I think that “experience” to which you refer is crucial to it. President Obama is an “American African”; he is rooted to a country other than the USA, namely Kenya. Although he does not hold dual citizenship, it is conceivable that he could. If he wished, he could rescind his American citizenship, and take a Kenyan one. This avenue is denied African-Americans. They are American, but they are a minority that is still routinely discriminated against, whether overtly or covertly. There may be a yearning for an African “identity”, but that identity is denied them, because they aren't African. They are American.
It is here that terminology becomes unfortunately inexact. The descendants of African slaves have, obviously, African descent, but that is not the same as being African. Obama is African, on his father's side. This sets him apart from the body of African-Americans. What further sets him apart is the fact that he has had a privileged upbringing provided by his white maternal family. I am certain it is the case that there are many Americans who look upon Obama as simply “one of those black fellas”, but his formative experiences, including the years he spent in Hawaii, really do set him apart.
As does his white lineage. There is a peculiar kind of “racism” that automatically disqualifies a dual heritage person from belonging to one of his heritages. And automatically includes him in his other heritage. President Obama is as white as he is black, yet the former label is denied him whilst the latter is applied. It can be argued that Obama himself sees himself as a black man, but it could be argued that it would be impossible for him to call himself a white man. He would be ridiculed. His choice is a Hobson's choice, founded in a continuing perverse fascination with skin colour, or gender, or religion, or...
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I don't disagree with anything that you say, except for the fact that despite having a father who was African, Obama grew up as an American (with no contact with his father at all). And, as I said before, he experience being a black man (albeit with lighter skin) growing up in America. That is part of who he is.

I should mention that we have discussed these issues at great length here before. That is not to say it is not worth discussing it further.
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Post by Cenedril_Gildinaur »

2012.

On the Democrat side, it is unlikely he'll face opposition unless the economy gets much worse much faster than I predict. And remember, among Austrian economists, I'm considered an optimist.

On the Republican side it is of course more complicated.

It really depends on whether the Republicans believe they have a realistic chance on winning.

In 1984, 1996, and 2004 we got to see the "throwaway candidate" phenomena. It is when the party puts up someone they don't expect to win in order to put on a good enough show to say they are still out there trying to win. Normally parties to don't renominate someone who lost, so the party doesn't want to waste someone who has a real chance of winning on a race where they don't have that chance. Run Dole in 1996, save the better candidate for the face off against Gore.

If the Republicans feel they have no chance, it will be second stringers. This might lead to a Huckabee or Palin candidacy. Or it might lead to someone who is currently less well known to the general public but well known in political circles.

If the Republicans feel they have a real chance, then it is a lot harder to pin down who they might nominate. Romney is currently in the lead, but I somehow do not think it will be him.
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Post by Túrin Turambar »

Cain is interesting, but even in this anti-political climate I have a hard time seeing someone who has never held at least a state-level elected office getting a major party nomination. Still, stranger things have happened.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Actually, I think if he gets some traction, it actually will help Romney nail down the nomination, since it would be likely to siphon off support from other potential tea party favorites.

However, I do see Romney having a hard time distancing himself from the Massachassetts health care reform plan, which is seen by many as a precursor to what they so derogatorily refer to as "Obamacare" - indeed, I have heard that plan referred to as "Romneycare". You know the other Republican candidates are going to pound him to death on that issue.

The other interesting wild card candidate is Jon Huntsman, the soon to be former ambassador to China (and the former Republican Governor of Utah). He is considered a moderate on social issues, but conservative on fiscal issues, and that could be a very appealing combination. He is also intelligent and engaging. A lot of people thought that Obama named him ambassador to China in order to remove him from the field. If so, that did not work.
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Post by axordil »

He is considered a moderate on social issues, but conservative on fiscal issues, and that could be a very appealing combination.
Not to the theocratic elements on the Right. It's a combination that works in NH but not Iowa or SC. Cain's got a different problem: he's not going to prosper in SC for unfortunately opposite reasons, might do well in NH (known for contrarianism) and who knows in IA?
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Post by yovargas »

I wish I had paid better attention to the name but NPR did a little piece about a potential Rep. candidate which apparently has been getting some buzz. At first it sounded like standard boilerplate conservative speak about cutting spending yadda yadda until I heard him say that he supported military spending cuts too. My ears perked up. I can't take any of these "less spending" conservatives seriously until they start talking military cuts too and this is the first time I can recall a conservative suggesting that. Intriguing.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Ax, it's in Iowa that Cain has been getting the buzz. His strategy (if it he goes) will clearly be to get a big surprising showing there, and build on that momentum. If he does well both there and New Hampshire, he could survive the inevitable downturn in South Carolina. Moreover, I heard report recently that there has been a large influx of African-Americans into both Carolinas in the past few years. I don't know whether that will make a difference, since most would likely be registered as Democrats.

Yov, was that Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana?
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Post by vison »

Mr. Huntsman spoke Chinese. That might have had something to do with it. He spent time in Taiwan as a Mormon missionary and speaks Standard Mandarin Chinese fluently. He is also fluent in Taiwanese Hokkien (Minnan).

Whereas the new ambassador to China, Mr. Locke, (former governor of Washington State) while of Chinese origin, does not speak the sort of Chinese spoken in Beijing and, somewhat surprisingly, is viewed with contempt and dislike by many Chinese - simply because he IS of Chinese origin.

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Post by yovargas »

Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:Yov, was that Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana?
I think that's it, yes.
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Post by Cenedril_Gildinaur »

I'm hoping Gary Johnson of New Mexico decides to run.
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Post by vison »

Is he yet another Mormon?
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Post by Cenedril_Gildinaur »

Nah, he's a Lutheran.

Wikipedia on Gary Johnson

As great as Ron Paul is, he's in his 70s. Gary Johnson is in his 50s. Plus although Paul's ideas have entered the mainstream he still suffers from having been considered a "kook" or "fringe" for 20 years. Johnson, like Rand Paul, does not have the "kook" stigma, although the media is trying hard to apply it to Rand. Johnson has two successful terms as governor, so has some seniority over Rand, putting him in position to pick up the Ron Paul torch should Ron decide to step aside.

Ron Paul supporters know who he is, and if one runs and the other doesn't the transition will be seamless and painless.
"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."
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Post by Primula Baggins »

There are Lutherans and Lutherans.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Can you explain what you mean by that, Prim? (I know I could probably figure it out by looking at the links, but I would like to do what YOU mean.
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