"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obama's "Other" Race Speech

The Daily Caller has portions of Obama's immediately infamous "other" race speech. Obama gave the speech to a predominately black audience while in the middle of the 2007 presidential primary. I'll just address some of the issues that The Daily Caller illuminates.

From the Caller's article:

'"The people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!” Obama shouts in the video, which was shot in June of 2007 at Hampton University in Virginia. By contrast, survivors of Sept. 11 and Hurricane Andrew received generous amounts of aid, Obama explains. The reason? Unlike residents of majority-black New Orleans, the federal government considers those victims “part of the American family.'

"The racially charged and at times angry speech undermines Obama’s carefully-crafted image as a leader eager to build bridges between ethnic groups. For nearly 40 minutes, using an accent he almost never adopts in public, Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America. The mostly black audience shouts in agreement. The effect is closer to an Al Sharpton rally than a conventional campaign event."


"And with that, Obama pivots to his central point: The Los Angeles riots and Hurricane Katrina have racism in common. 'The federal response after Katrina was similar to the response we saw after the riots in LA,' he thunders from the podium. 'People in Washington, they wake up, they’re surprised: "There’s poverty in our midst! Folks are frustrated! Black people angry!" Then there’s gonna be some panels, and hearings, and there are commissions and there are reports, and then there’s some aid money, although we don’t always know where it’s going — it can’t seem to get to the people who need it — and nothin’ really changes, except the news coverage quiets down and Anderson Cooper is on to something else.'

"It’s at about this point that Obama pauses, apparently agitated, and tells the crowd that he wants to give 'one example because this really steams me up,' an example that he notes does not appear in his prepared remarks:

"'Down in New Orleans, where they still have not rebuilt twenty months later,' he begins, 'there’s a law, federal law — when you get reconstruction money from the federal government — called the Stafford Act. And basically it says, when you get federal money, you gotta give a ten percent match. The local government’s gotta come up with ten percent. Every ten dollars the federal government comes up with, local government’s gotta give a dollar.'

"'Now here’s the thing,' Obama continues, 'when 9-11 happened in New York City, they waived the Stafford Act — said, "This is too serious a problem. We can’t expect New York City to rebuild on its own. Forget that dollar you gotta put in. Well, here’s ten dollars." And that was the right thing to do. When Hurricane Andrew struck in Florida, people said, "Look at this devastation. We don’t expect you to come up with y’own money, here. Here’s the money to rebuild. We’re not gonna wait for you to scratch it together — because you’re part of the American family."'

"That’s not, Obama says, what is happening in majority-black New Orleans.'What’s happening down in New Orleans? Where’s your dollar? Where’s your Stafford Act money?' Obama shouts, angry now. 'Makes no sense! Tells me that somehow, the people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!'

"It’s a remarkable moment, and not just for its resemblance to Kayne West’s famous claim that 'George Bush doesn’t care about black people,' but also because of its basic dishonesty. By January of 2007, six months before Obama’s Hampton speech, the federal government had sent at least $110 billion to areas damaged by Katrina. Compare this to the mere $20 billion that the Bush administration pledged to New York City after Sept. 11.

"Moreover, the federal government did at times waive the Stafford Act during its reconstruction efforts. On May 25, 2007, just weeks before the speech, the Bush administration sent an additional $6.9 billion to Katrina-affected areas with no strings attached.

"As a sitting United States Senator, Obama must have been aware of this. And yet he spent 36 minutes at the pulpit telling a mostly black audience that the U.S. government doesn’t like them because they’re black.

"As the speech continues, Obama makes repeated and all-but-explicit appeals to racial solidarity, referring to 'our' people and 'our neighborhoods,' as distinct from the white majority. At one point, he suggests that black people were excluded from rebuilding contracts after the storm: 'We should have had our young people trained to rebuild the homes down in the Gulf. We don’t need Halliburton doing it. We can have the people who were displaced doing that work. Our God is big enough to do that.'

"This theme — that black Americans suffer while others profit — is a national problem, Obama continues: 'We need additional federal public transportation dollars flowing to the highest need communities. We don’t need to build more highways out in the suburbs,' where, the implication is, the rich white people live. Instead, Obama says, federal money should flow to 'our neighborhoods': 'We should be investing in minority-owned businesses, in our neighborhoods, so people don’t have to travel from miles away.'"

Ah yes, more racial separatism, anger and misinformation. These are the staples of identity politics, and thus staples of the contemporary Democratic Party.

Aside from the shameful rhetoric of racial separation, what strikes me is that this speech absolutely oozes with Obama's love of big government. The suburbs' prosperity is largely due to government money (highways and such) and the solution, for racial equality I suppose, is to redirect the money to "our neighborhoods." The implication is that with government money we can all buy off racism. It smacks of the reparations argument.

Is this a game changer for Obama? I don't know. The DNC is in damage control mode, of course. MSNBC is attacking people who released the tape saying that they're trying to scare Americans-- as if Obama's speech is just a shopping list or something.

The economy "unexpectedly" stinks and doesn't seem to be in the middle of a recovery, unemployment is at epic levels, the federal government is spending money at numeric levels that only astronomers use, the median household income is dropping, and nobody's all that happy about the feds micromanaging their health care and insurance. I think the majority of people, rightfully, hold Obama accountable for these issues anyway.

I certainly don't think this speech helps Obama at all, but I don't think most Americans were going to vote for him before it was released anyway. It'll probably just drop him another point or two, which will likely be reflected in the media's polls by a one point bounce.


  1. Leftists are hilarious on this one. They seem to be saying that this "proves" Obama is black and that's the point. Um, say what? Are we sure these people aren't mentally deficient?

    /just saying

    1. Apparently proving Obama is black means indulging in Black separatist rhetoric like his mentor Reverand Wright. Nothing like stoking racial hatred for political gains.

      I think it also gives some insight into Obama's attitude toward Israel. Sowell wrote a pretty interesting short piece on that recently.