Ugliness and Endorsements
(New Orleans, LA/Charlotte, NC) - I'm in a meeting on Sunday morning and we're interrupted because General Colin Powell has just announced on "Meet the Press" he's endorsing Barack Obama for President.
This is big. Getting the General's greenlight was seen by some as validation. It's what he said that was real damaging.
"Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to how to deal with the economic problems that we're having. And almost every day there was a different approach to the problem and that concerned me. It's sensing that he didn't have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She's a very distinguished woman and she is to be admired. But at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President. And so, uh, that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.
I've also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently – or his campaign has – on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign, but Mr. McCain says that he's a watchdog of terrorists. Then why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country, trying to suggest that because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow Mr. Obama is tainted. What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate.
I've come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities – and we have to take that into account – as well as his substance – he has both style and substance – he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.
I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the ... onto the world stage and on the American stage and for that reason, I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama."
As I land I'm amazed to see numerous people wearing McCain/Palin t-shirts. Dah, I forgot I'm in North Caroline which is up for grabs. Both candidates are crisscrossing the state. It's the first time the state has been in play in presidential politics since Jimmy Carter.
As I make my way to the B-terminal there is a restaurant with a NASCAR racer out front. Oh, this is NASCAR county. North Carolina has a lot of traits of Virginia. It's holding on to its southern roots while northern and educated folks are invading their state. It's meant good jobs but intellectual curiosity blunts some of the racism which held sway in the past.
I remember Obama is in Fayetteville, so I check out the Politico online and Fayetteville Observer. Headline downplays a woman yelling at Obama while visiting the Cape Fear BBQ & Chicken restuarant.
Campaigns will sometimes do these unscripted stops and Obama is masterful at using these activities to talk to people with the press in tow. My visceral reaction was "the south hasn't changed much." But a closer look shows how effective the message has soaked into the minds of some people.
Diane Fanning, 54, yelled, “Boo, socialist! Socialist! Get out of here!” Her intention was not to make news but rather give voice to what she had heard and had made up in her mind. Fanning is just two years older than me. She likely experienced the integration process first hand. I'm also going to guess she works with black people.
I'm guessing while growing up, her family probably didn't like the fact people were changing their world. She has accepted it, but just doesn't trust "colored people." Note, I didn't use the N-word because in these times its just wrong. I'm assuming she has a high school education and can easily be influence by media. She is a marketers dream. She has been a Republican all her life and can't imagine why anyone would vote for a "Liberal Democrat." If you asked her if she's a racist, she would deny it. But old ideas die had.
Obama will never be able to convince her, but the confrontation is example of why Obama may be on to something. "Confronting our fears." He talked about it when he denounce Reverend Jeremiah Wright. It must scary to think "a black man could be president." Older people are cringing at the thought.
I believe older white woman and some younger ones (not all)are especially susceptible to this because they visually have an image of a viral, oversexed, and angry black man.
Here's question that needs to be answered; Can you get pass your long held beliefs and vote your interest. It won't be easy.
The ugliness of the campaign is being played out in other places well. I located this fake dollar sent out in California categorizing Obama. There is two weeks left what could we be in store for?