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Is the cover racist? An inflammatory attack on Obama? Some of his supporters think so.
I think that before anyone is allowed to become a political activist they should be required to take a basic lit class and learn about satire and irony. Their heart conditions might benefit.
It’s not an attack on Obama. It’s a comment on the ridiculous nature of some of the attacks on him.
The New Yorker caters to a semi-elite literate crowd. Everybody else will only see it in light of the hysteria and the media coverage. It will convince nobody that Obama is a Muslim terrorist, nor that Michelle Obama is a closet Angela Davis. The crowd who believe they are radicals, don’t read the New Yorker.
Addendum: Obama was on Larry King tonight and they discussed the New Yorker cover.
KING: But I’ve heard a lot of others comment on it. We haven’t heard you speak about it yet. That “New Yorker” cover which depicts you and your wife, and you dressed in a Muslim outfit, your wife in a kind of military outfit, Osama bin Laden’s picture burning, what do you make of that?
SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D-IL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I know it was The New Yorker’s attempt at satire. I don’t think they were entirely successful with it. But you know what? It’s a cartoon, Larry, and that’s why we’ve got the First Amendment.
And I think the American people are probably spending a little more time worrying about what’s happening with the banking system and the housing market, and what’s happening in Iraq and Afghanistan, than a cartoon.
So I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it.
KING: But didn’t it personally sting you?
OBAMA: No. You know, we’ve — one of the things when you’re running for president for almost two years is, you get a pretty thick skin.
And, you know, I’ve seen and heard worse.
I do think that, you know, in attempting to satirize something, they probably fueled some misconceptions about me instead.
Personally, I doubt it. But overall, a very grown-up response.
From the Votemaster:
The Green Party has nominated former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and community organizer Rosa Clemente as its 2008 ticket. McKinney is a former Democratic representative from Georgia. She was elected to the House in 1994 from a 64%-black district and was reelected three times until she was defeated in the Democratic primary by a totally unknown DeKalb County Commissioner in 2002. She came back and was elected again in 2004 when the incumbent, Denise Majette, ran for the Senate. She ran for reelection in 2006 and lost in the primary. She is most famous for trying to enter the House without her pin identifying her as a representative and when a capitol police officer questioned her, she punched him in the chest.
It is hard to understand what the Green Party is thinking. In 2000, Ralph Nader got 2.7% of the national vote on the Green ticket. In 2004, the Green candidate, David Cobb dropped to 0.1% of the vote (120,000 votes nationally). While some day a party might be able to win by running two unknown black women, 2008 is not that time. People who don’t like Obama or McCain have two high-profile alternatives this year, Ralph Nader and Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate. It appears that the Green Party is trying to commit political suicide. If it had picked a candidate known for something more than punching a police officer, it might have had a chance to at least get 0.1% like in 2004. Better luck in 2012. The Green Party’s only hope is that rich Republicans shower money on it in hopes of hurting Obama. But it is a slim hope as McCain will be pleading for that cash himself.
Interestingly enough, green parties in other countries have a real influence. In 1998, the German Green Party got 6.7% of the vote, 47 seats in parliament and entered into a governing coalition with the Social Democrats. Three of its leaders became cabinet ministers, including the foreign minister. But it achieved this by running top-tier candidates and focusing on getting as many votes as it could.
I don’t want to rehash all the old analysis about the differences between parliamentary and electoral-college systems. Nor David Cobb’s “safe state” strategy. As much as I appreciate the Votemaster’s analysis of the mainstream election campaigns, he obviously doesn’t get the point of party building where you don’t have proportional representation. Nor does he quite get that not all election campaigns are focused exclusively on the win itself. And I’m certain any party tries to get “all the votes it could.” Besides, who would Votemaster consider a “top tiered candidate” available to the Greens. Jello Biafra maybe?
Although she didn’t fare too well in the California primary (Nader won huge even though he wasn’t running for the nomination), McKinney does represent an attempt to broaden the currently white middle class exclusivity of the party. It will be interesting to see if she peels off some of that black vote which wants to “cut (Obama’s) nuts off.” It hasn’t worked in the past as the black vote is generally very pragmatic and while the politics of radical affluence might not see a difference between the parties, the difference for inner city economics is profound.
Still, I hope the smaller parties all come together for their own debates. Nader, McKinney, and Barr in one setting would certainly have its entertainment value.