Monday, November 17, 2008

So I Won, and This Is What I Got!

(Baltimore)- The state of euphoria surrounding the election of the nation’s first Black President is starting to loose its luster as the enormity of the job has revealed itself. This isn’t for the meek. There are multiple moving parts with no clear solution and second guessing being blood sport.

The current president, George W, Bush, is still in charge. He remains relevant and more importantly, “we only get one president at a time.” He could just play caretaker but, has decided to engage himself. The two most obvious places are in the economy and Iraq.

The meeting of the G-20 has saved “W” some face with his long time supporters. Everyone’s economy is the tank. The world is paying attention, but just like the American public, few world leaders are prepared to continue the insistence that free markets and unfettered regulations are the key to prosperity. The concept is slowly being discredited. There are those who continue to believe having some free market economics is a good thing. The real bad news is the next American administration is not totally sold on ideas being floated to help the world economy.

The recent accord worked out by Iraqi Parliament to keep American armed forces in the country until 2012 is a real slap at what the President Barrack Obama has been saying, “I want out in 16 months.” Gentleman there’s a new sheriff, follow orders or go home. Unlike the current administration the President Elect is not about continue the same policy. Who knows what it will take to undue this treaty because I’m sure they are looking at 16 months (no doubt about it).

The Parade

The pilgrimage to Chicago seems to be on everyone’s must do list. Sure there have been a number of former Clinton appointees seen around Chi-town and mentioned as cabinet members. Even Hillary Clinton’s name was floated for Secretary of State, but why not Bill Richardson (he’s been ambassador to the United Nations).

Rahm Emanuel for chief of staff is a good choice. I predict however he will not last the first term. This is about territory and many people will be fighting for the president’s ear. Can he co-exist with David Axlerod?

The politics of this type of administration is strung out with BlackBerry messages that could make your head spin. Welcome to the world of the tech-no-file politician. There motto seems to be “give me ten minutes and I can give you the world.”

Valerie Jarrett will like be Obama’s bulwark against over reaching. Her work within the inner circle will be crucial to staying on message and also creating an air of competency. I’m wondering, who becomes the "pit bull" in defending the president’s message?

Lastly, they say the president must not have a BlackBerry. I get it, but he’s going to want something to communicate with and to people (in the comments section let’s hear what you think he should have).

The 60 Minute Interview

Flip Wilson playing Geraldine would say, “What You See, Is What You Get!” The man continues to put people at ease. (FYI, he did this with me).

I thought it rather interesting the conversation about his mother-in-law coming to the White House. I think most men have a love/hate relationship with their mother-in-laws. They help with raising our children but part of us is always reminded, “This is our mother-in-law (I feel you Barack I just lost my mother-in-law).”

I expect to see more of these types of one on one interviews to soften the hard edge of a press briefing. (Remember he’s only the President Elect.). Don’t think for an instance that as a reporter of color I won’t be critical. I will give him the benefit of the doubt. I’m looking for an intelligent approach to the complexity of the American way of life. Solving just one of the myriad of challenges will be an accomplishment.

Detroit Bailout

One of the big three will have to die. Unfortunately, it will likely be GM. There red ink is enormous. Giving them money right now would be like using a band-aid when you need a tourniquet. A public relations ploy will help Ford and Chrysler, but they all are in such dire straits. The public can’t stomach another bailout.

Speaking of bailout, who wrote the rules on how the money from the bailout was to be used? Was it Secretary Hank Paulson or was it the Congress? Oh yea, that’s right Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank has to report to congress about what they are doing with the money. No one in this group seems to singing from same hymnal.

The Dog and School

Can this pallor game end soon. The dog isn’t going to be here until January. Sasha and Malia are little girls, give them a break. It’s no fun when you can’t be normal. Think about it? Every time you want to go anywhere, there’s a big dude with sun glasses talking into his wrist. School will be a refuge. They are the new kids coming from Chicago. This is the age when clicks are formed and rebellion seems normal. Good luck. Remember your dad’s the president.

The Inauguration

This is the new federal bailout plan for Washington/Northern Virginia/Baltimore. People are coming and there is no place to stay and everyone wants to be a part of history. The numbers are going to be big. Entrepreneurs you have enter NIRVANA. Money will flow like a mighty river (I though that was freedom). Tickets to the outdoor inaugural are premium and no one has them. That hasn’t stopped the internet from selling them at inflated prices. It’s hot free ticket. Parties will be the second big thing following the inauguration and the parade.

The build up to the swearing in will continue to force the country to deal with a truism that people aren’t comprehending, there’s a new president and he doesn’t look or will act like any president who’s come before him. “Get ready something big is about to happen,” from Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

For those of you interested I appeared on the News and Notes on NPR today. For those in the Washington, DC area on Friday, November 21, 2008. I'll be be kicking off Watergate II with a session called "Emerging Politics" at the National Press Building 5:30 PM



Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What Have God Wrought?

Baltimore - "What Have God Wrought?" was the message Samuel Morse sent in his first telegraph message. It ushered in an era that could never be reversed. Tonight we see another moment in time which will never be reversed. The country has elected its first African-American president. This is the country which counted black slaves as three fifths of a person. Who knew?

Time and time again the country ruled against the simple idea all men are created equal. The nations highest court codified the rules which did not allow Blacks equal justice. Heck the nation fought a Civil War to end slavery. Despite the war southern states were loathed to extend full citizenship.

During all this time Black people did not waiver in their support of this country fighting in its wars to maintain democracy. How ironic, because they could not enjoy the fruits of this country.

Frederick Douglass lashed out in the North Star. W.E.B Dubois wrote about "the color line"...Jesse Jackson heard the roar of the crowd say "Run Jesse Run." Obama has fulfilled all of their promises.

I am in awe. When I wrote about him four years ago some of you thought I was crazy. I believe he had something then and he still has it.

We will mark time by this event. Our children inherit a world where they can truly be anything they want. They are a part of the Obama Era.

Grant Park Speech

As a triumphant warrior. the president elect, strode to the stage with his family knowing he had done the impossible. The crowd was estactic, but poised to hear from the new leader of the free world and he did disappoint.

"Let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers — in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people."

Channeling Lincoln following his own election he said, "a nation far more divided than ours, “We are not enemies, but friends … though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn — I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too."

The story of 106 years old, Ann Nixon Cooper, made this speech have context. "She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons: because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America — the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can."

The "Yes We Can" becomes the call and response that raises the crowd in Grant Park to a cathedral with him as it's anointed leader. This is a moment in time we will not soon forget.




(Baltimore) - The networks have given OHIO to Obama. This is big. With Pennsylvania going his way could Florida, Virginia and North Carolina be far behind. This might be a landslide.

It's a definite rejection of the arguments put forward by McCain....experience, socialist, and associating with terrorist. I'm sorry it didn't work. Young people didn't buy and neither did the middle class. Obama caught a perfect storm with gas prices hitting five dollars a gallon and joint economic collapse of the sub prime housing and the Wall Street meltdown. The unpopularity of the current President is aiding an electorate which wanted change.

Sarah Palin negated the experience issue. McCain's insistence the economy being his weak suit pulled him down.

I'm hearing it's close in Florida and Missouri.


Problems and Calls

(Baltimore)- It's 8 pm and the networks have started to call states; Obama: Massachusetts, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maine, Delaware, Maryland. For Mr. McCain: Oklahoma, Tennessee.

The states of Virginia,North Carolina, and Ohio are two close to call.

By 8:30 pm Pennsylvania is also in the Obama column.

Several Republicans senators will not be going back to the Senate. Three senate seats have changed hands. Are we on the verge of a landslide.


The Indianapolis Star reported a pair of Republican poll watchers were removed for challenging Democrats based on foreclosure records. A judge told the GOP not to do this.

Chesapeake/Tidewater area of Virginia has issues with soiled ballots.

Stopped by the NAACP War room on the way to radio station. They have an armed of volunteers putting out fires and solving issues at polling stations. Nothing was left to chance.

Grant Park

Over my shoulder is CNN which has a live picture of Grant Park in Chicago, Ill. The party has started.

Can the network hold off in announcing a winner of this race before the polls close in California.


Election Day

Baltimore - It warmed my heart to vote today. I can tell you it took me 1 hour and 15 minutes. The people in line were pumped. A number of people were voting for the first time, others hadn't voted in years and veterans were impressed. Few votes opted to leave before casting their vote. Lauren who stood with me in line said she hadn't voted in the last two years(which shocked me because she was over 30). "This is different." I'm preparing for my news analysis on WYPR-FM. You can listen in by clicking on the call letters. I also had a chance to visit one of Maryland's strongest Republican areas (Eastern Shore). It has a very contested congressional race. What I found interested was a woman who said she voted for John McCain but voted for the Democrat who was from the area. I believe there will be a lot of ticket splitting this election.


With less than a day to go before this year’s Presidential election I’m caught up in reminiscing about Grandfather. My namesake was often a political prognosticator. From his seat on my family’s home in Richmond, Virginia he marveled when Doug Wilder, the grandson of a slave, became the states first African-American governor. It provided some of the most liveliest conversations. “Boy, you just don’t know,” he would say. My grandfather known as Charlie Robinson (I personally, hate this reference to my name, but have learned to tolerate as I’ve grown) saw the world through many prisms. He was a devout catholic, a savvy businessman, a stride piano player, and keeper of family secrets. One of his favorite TV Shows was Sanford and Son. In many ways I was Lamonte. Helping him salvage junk from Fulton area of Richmond.

I lived with him as a college student. I know I was stranger when I first moved in with him but became his confidant. I watched as he provided haircuts to white men who had known him for years. Some of them thought he was white. The odd looks during some of the sessions were purely ironic. As they often tried to get him to agree with him on issues of the day. Secretly, he tolerated them because they provided him the means and the way to operate in a white world as a Black businessman.

My grandfather would have been star struck by a black man on the verge of being a president. This man once told me the story of the sculpture of George Washington on the statehouse grounds. The construction crew was asked which way Washington should point. A stately white politician said, "to the south where the darkies should go." It was a reference to the state song which had overt racial references.

He like many older folks are amazed at this race. I've recently been tagged with this so Jones' Generation. For those who are unfamiliar to this reference it described as people who are caught between the Boomer Generation and the Generation X. The suggestion is the tag is for people born in 1961 (I believe they are a little older). Many of this group are many of the pundits you see on television. They are smart, politically savvy, and are at the top of their game.

I also believe they have live out the lives through the backdrop of songs including The Temptations, "Don't let the Jones Get you Down; and Billy Paul's, Me and Mrs. Jones. The Jones are supposed to be what you want to be and this demographic has flexed its muscle.

As I await the results I'm certain of one thing you can't predict this race. Black voters are energized. Let's find if they have the ability to pull it off.