You have to wonder about the background and experience of today’s professional politicians.
Take the new book on Michelle Obama by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor, described in detail at the link below. Kantor describes an incident where Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett squares off with then White House press secretary Robert Gibbs. Gibbs apparently felt blindsided by Jarrett who tore him a new one over a small incident involving the first lady. What appeared to get Gibbs’ goat most was that Jarrett appeared to have acted on her own in defense of Michelle without the first lady’s knowledge. That sent Gibbs over the edge and the f-bombs flew.
But really, how surprised could Gibbs have been? Did he not recall the incident during the campaign itself when he and other white staffers were called together at the Chicago residence of Jarrett to listen to a dressing down delivered by Obama ally Chris Edley, the black dean of Berkeley Law? Did Gibbs really not believe that there was a racial edge to what held the Obama insiders together? And did he not understand that there is no daylight at all between the Obamas and Jarrett?
Of course, readers of this blog are long familiar with the political history of the Obamas, from their apprentice on the south side of Chicago where Obama worked closely with former radicals like Bill Ayers and Mike Klonsky who had turned away from their earlier pseudo-marxism for a new form of poisonous racial and identity politics. And, of course, although it is no longer polite to recall this, there was the 20 year record of the Obamas sitting in the pews of Rev. Wright’s black nationalist church in that same south side milieu.
So while the details of the Kantor book help put some nuance on the real nature of the Obamas’ background and race driven approach to politics, you have to wonder at the surprise of the professional political class.
The larger story here, of course, is the collapse of traditional American liberalism. Remarkably if you turn on Fox News you will hear Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum talk endlessly about the problems of the “working class” but liberals fear being tagged “reds” if they use the word. Instead, multiculturalism and identity politics are the order of the day. Of course, these concepts have proved useless in the face of serious economic collapse, not least of all for black and hispanic American who have been hit even harder than whites by the collapse of the financial markets.
If liberals want to deal with these problems they have to stop their flirtation with the dead end racialized politics of Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and get serious.