The Black Snob

Politics. Pop Culture. Pretentiousness.

Archive for August 2008

Snob News Nuggets

with 10 comments

Today a couple of my BFFs are visiting. They’re my two best friends from Bakersfield — the newly ordained Anglican priest and the current, seminary attending Episcopalian postulate. They’re my two red-headed Irish-Dutch and Irish-German sisters, so I probably won’t be doing much updating today. (Although I could talk about strategy to counteract the Palin pick ALL DAY!)

The “Doomed Romance” series should resume this week. I was inundated in political news (obviously) and the series was bumped in favor of the Democratic Convention. Now the Republican Convention is set to kick off and a hurricane is bearing down on the gulf coast just after the three year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Let’s hope that everyone is spared the grief that plagued the region three years ago. But if the hurricane is devastating, let’s hope FEMA and the Bush Administration doesn’t sit idle while people drown. I can’t/won’t stand for it if I have to turn on the news and see what I saw three years ago. I’m not interested in crying for months, looking at people lose everything.

Tom Brokaw is getting on my last nerves. I miss Tim Russert on “Meet the Press,” so much. And even though he’s no Timmy, I wish they’d just put David Gregory on there. Brokaw just let’s the people he interviews go on and on and he doesn’t challenge them very often. Today he had Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty on and didn’t ask once if Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was more qualified than him to be vice president. He was a runner-up. Everyone knew he was being vetted along with Tom Ridge, Carly Fiorina, Joe Lieberman and Mitt “Mittens” Romney. He’s on McCain’s team. So what was wrong with him? That would have been my no. 1 question. How is Palin more qualified than you who’s been governor longer of a bigger and more complicated state? But noooo … Brokaw just sat there and let the man babble endlessly about Palin’s accomplishments — which more and more sound quaint rather than remarkable, like a high school extra-curricular resume where you rattle off you were president of the glee club and was a member of the Honors Society.

Also, fellow blogger and black nerd, Afronerd, is hosting author Jeremiah Camara on his radio show tonight. They’ll be talking about Camara’s new book, Holy Lockdown: Does the Church Limit Black Progress? (Hmm. I might have to check out that book.) They’ll also talk about Camara’s work on a “Holy Lockdown” documentary as well as his response to CNN’s Black in America series. The show starts at 7 p.m. EST. To call in “live” dial 646-915-9620 or reach Afronerd via email/IM at afronerdradio@yahoo.

Written by blacksnob

August 31, 2008 at 3:56 pm

You Don’t Know Her Name

with 26 comments

Barack Obama gave an awesome, awe inspiring, inspirational, sensational acceptance speech. It had a little something for everyone and appealed to both populists and pugilists. He showed he could do the dance of politics while dazzling the proletariat. It was great. And everyone agreed. Even Pat Buchanan and the boys on FOX News. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann went off, on air nonetheless, over the lone, rouge Associated Press wire editorialist who dared to say otherwise. The fireworks, the cheering crowds. Say what you want, as Papa Snob said while admiring the 85 thousand plus in the Mile High city, “That’s impressive.”

And you know that’s what the opposition thought too.

Which explains yesterday’s “‘Hail Mary’ pass.” And I didn’t call John McCain’s pick of Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin for Vice President of the United States, a Hail Mary. Republican strategist and CNN commentator Ed Rollins called it that. In the history of “WTFs” this one was huge. Right up there with Britney Spears shaving her head bald and Julia Roberts marrying Lyle Lovett.

I wasn’t the only one who smelled a strong whiff of desperation.

Let’s stop pretending this race is as close as national polling suggests. The truth is McCain is essentially tied or trailing in every swing state that matters — and too close for comfort in several states like Indiana and Montana the GOP usually wins pretty easily in presidential races. On top of that, voters seem very inclined to elect Democrats in general this election — and very sick of the Bush years.

McCain could easily lose in an electoral landslide. That is the private view of Democrats and Republicans alike.

McCain’s pick shows he is not pretending. Politicians, even “mavericks” like McCain, play it safe when they think they are winning — or see an easy path to winning. They roll the dice only when they know that the risks of conventionality are greater than the risks of boldness. (“6 things the Palin pick says about McCain,” by Jim Vandehei and John F. Harris, Politico.com)

I still don’t know how I feel about the Palin diversion — because that’s what she is — a diversion, a MacGuffin, for something else. A MacGuffin for what, I’m still not sure. Perhaps just to hijack the news cycle. What’s obvious is that he did not pick her until the wee hours of Friday morning. There was no promotional material, no signs, barely a bio up on the woman and when McCain introduced her he visibly had to look down and read her name off of a piece of paper. (Skip to the two minute mark on the video.)

They’d only met twice and Friday was that second meeting. And the age gap loomed large as Palin looked closer to 34 than 44 and McCain looks closer to 82 than 72. People said they looked very “father/daughter,” you could go even further and argue “Grandfather/granddaughter” if you didn’t know that Palin had five kids and was celebrating her 20th wedding anniversary.

I have to admit. I’m rather confused. Some think this is part of some larger, genius GOP trickery, but the GOP has been … um … lacking in the genius factor this election. They’ve mostly looked old and out of shape, a sliver of their usual bare-knuckle, poo throwing selves. After all, the Dems haven’t been know for getting their hands bloodied in a fist fight for years now. It’s not like they’re hard to attack. It’s more that the GOP is so demoralized and pathetic, that the Dems are running rampant with Barack Obama doing Tiger Woods-fist-pumps all over the place.

The best attack they could come up with was, “Oooo! Look at that black guy. People like to hear him speak! He’s popular! Everyone thinks he’s all cool and junk but he’s really not and is like, totally a secret Muslim!

And Obama murdered that schoolyard taunt in his acceptance speech. The one that more than 38 million Americans watched. (Not counting the C-SPAN and PBS audiences Nielsen doesn’t track. The Snob family watched it on C-SPAN.)

Perhaps the Obama campaign is even better off than I thought. Maybe we could win? Why else would McCain pull such a high risk/reward pick? It doesn’t make sense. When you’re ahead, you play safe. When you’re worried you hijack a news narrative with a gimmicky, condescending veep choice.

And this opened up McCain’s age issue for debate, something the Democrats were holding back from. And it killed their whole “experience” argument. (Which I suppose wasn’t working anyway. Who was the last president we actually elected based on “experience?” Oh, yeah. Bush 41 — the one-termer.) And dear Lord, did they even consider that Hillary Rodham Clinton was HELL BENT on being the first female to get into the White House via Electoral College? She was already going to campaign for Obama out of obligation. Why poke the bear? If she says anything even the slightest eschew Clinton will destroy her.

I’m sure Palin is politically savvy and bright. That’s obvious. But she can’t have a slip up. Not even a little one. The time is too short between now and election day. One gaffe could kill her, unlike with Obama, Biden and even McCain, who are known entities and can weather a misspoken word or too. She can’t fumble. She can’t falter. She can’t make one false move.

Which again begs to ask, why did McCain pick her? What is he up to?

Since I’m going that this was not something that was “planned” and is more about insecurity than trickery I’m going to posit that the McCain campaign saw something in their internal polling that scared the shit out of them. Perhaps it was the fact that the “experience” argument wasn’t sticking or that the statistical dead heat didn’t convey how he was really doing in battleground states. Maybe it was all the kumbaya of the DNC convention and Obama’s home run hit of an acceptance speech that really drove home the fact that the Republicans, demoralized and depressed, were facing a lackluster convention that might get usurped by Hurricane Gustav.

If that’s the case, McCain knew he needed to do something brash. McCain needed to pick someone who could A) make a play for disaffected Clinton supporters before they switched to Team Obama; B) make a play for moderates and centrists who are dazzled by the historic nature of the Obama campaign and C) satisfy the Christian conservative base who don’t trust John McCain.

For that McCain was going to need an unconventional woman with culture wars credentials. Amazingly, a lot of Republican women who make it to the big stage in politics are pro-choice. Leaving the plucky Alaskan governor the last woman standing. She was for making abortion illegal — even in the cases of rape and incest — causing the hard right to squeal with joy.

So McCain has a woman, but she so far right on cultural issues (from teaching Creationism in schools to seeing homosexuality as immoral) that she might freak out the moderates and centrists if they ever get to know her too closely … and believe me, the Dems plan on making the world ALL TOO FAMILIAR with Palin and her views.

Hell, she once supported Pat Buchanan in his run for the presidency.

Will this gamble work?

Obviously McCain hopes so. All eyes on Palin have taken the bright lights off Hopey McHopington and Mad Dog McGraw. But all eyes on Palin also means all eyes on Palin. Judgmental eyes waiting to see what she says and does and prying into her personal life, something the nosy media and blogosphere will happily sift through.

I think Obama and Biden, who are obviously at a position of strength, should lay back a bit and let the press do its work. See what this “Palin person” is all about. Let Rahm Emmanuel and the other Democrats push the “WTF!” factor and the age issue. Hang back. See what McCain is up to. Does he actually have an ace in the hole or is Palin one big bluff?

Let McCain have this news cycle. He wants the ever watching media eye on him for a while, so bet it. Have his “own” manufactured hype of a “historic” ticket, go ahead. This “me too-ism” only adds to the desperation factor. Let’s see if car has a motor in it, before we charge blindly into what could be the most obvious trap in the history of politics.

Written by blacksnob

August 30, 2008 at 4:58 pm

Mourning Mittens

with 13 comments

While I didn’t want Mitt Romney anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. I, like many people who enjoy the magical phoniness that is Mitt Romney, am crushed (Crushed, I tell you!) that he won’t be available to make fun of for the next 67 days.

It was my dream to see both John McCain and Mitt Romney stand next to each other all sour patches while trying not to vomit or murder one another. Maybe that was the problem. Because if Mitt were veep it would be creepy to have him call every morning to ask John, “How are feeling today? Do you feel the cold hand of the Grim Reaper itching closer? Like they always say, John, go into the light!”

Maybe Gov. Sarah Palin is able to get out her talking points without everyone wanting to take a shower afterwards. But the real victim in all this is me. All I wanted was to have Mittens back for me to kick around. My visions of seeing Mad Joe Biden taking The Crazy to Mittens in a debate. Hearing Mittens lie about things he didn’t have to lie about. Tell me how your dad walked with Dr. King again, Mittens! I liked that story!

And I felt sorry for Mittens. As the primary progressed the other Republican ladies-in-waiting started playing John McCain’s backup dancers during debates. They would all take turns taking a Louisville Slugger to Mittens’ lil’ mitts. They just wouldn’t stop picking on him. He can’t help it that he looks like a game show host and went from being moderate-to-hard right in the span of one soundbite.

He wanted to be president, dammit! He didn’t care how. And then people stopped donating so he kept spending his own cash. He was going to purchase what We the People wouldn’t deliver. See? McCain could use a guy who could write his own checks, but Romney was denied … again. Now he sits there, all salty, because he’s been shit-grinning and kissing McCain’s ass for months and now all that hard work FOR NOTHING. Endorsing him at CPAC where he’d become some conservative folk hero while McCain got booed? FOR NOTHING. Pretending to find McCain smart, impressive, inspiring or dynamic and defending him on TV? FOR NOTHING.

Mittens’ kissed ass for more than four months and all he got was yet another slap down from McCain, only this slap down was governor of Alaska for less than two years and doesn’t have $220 million.

Boo!

There were so many things I hadn’t made fun of yet about you, Mittens. So many things. Like how you look like you style your hair with Armor All and that you stage massive tournaments of charades and Risk with the Osmond family at your compound. There will never be a candidate out of central casting more cheesy than you, and that’s what makes you special.

Sigh.

While I work up some material on this, Palin person, I guess I’ll just have to wonder what could have been …

… Made fun of.

Written by blacksnob

August 29, 2008 at 10:44 pm

What Michelle Wore For Barack’s Date with History

with 15 comments

If you were wondering who made the printed, multi-colored dress Michelle wore for Barack’s acceptance speech wonder no more. Women’s Wear Daily claims it was by New York designer Thakoon Panichgul. It is a floral Radzimir kimono dress and part of Panichgul’s Spring 2009 collection.

Written by blacksnob

August 29, 2008 at 9:27 pm

Posted in fashion, michelle obama

McCain Campaign Looks Into the Eyes of Obama and Blinks, Dipping Into "The Crazy" With Veep Pick

with 27 comments

My first reaction was “Who?” Quickly followed by a “what the f…?” To steal the talking heads from gushing about Obama’s speech John McCain attempted to throw a curve ball with Gov. Sarah Palin from Alaska.

If his goal was to confuse the shit out of everyone — mission accomplished!

I get the feeling the McCain campaign made this decision in the wee hours after Obama’s speech. After all, the news was supposed to leak at midnight, but it didn’t, signaling that the closing of the Democratic National Convention was THAT GOOD. Apparently the spectacle and revelry was not “too much” and “arrogant.” Apparently it set just nicely with folks as the awe inspiring rah-rah, “Go, Speed Racer Go!” vibe the Dems wanted.

The Palin pick smells like fear. Fear that the unity of the Clintonistas and the Obama-ites after all that feel good Stevie Wonder backed lovin’ could bolster the Obama-Biden ticket to the top. Palin is a Trojan horse meant to sway disgruntled feminist Democrats and lure them to the Republican ticket. And people joked that Biden was an “Affirmative Action” pick — Palin is like an Evangelical Geraldine Ferraro with an NRA membership, a first time governor who’s only in her second year and under investigation according to CNN.

I realize that some Republican players are attempting to spin this WTF into a good thing (She has two whole years of executive experience! She’s a social and fiscal conservative! Joe Biden can’t slap down a woman in a debate without looking like an asshole!), but she’s the governor of Alaska. How many votes in the electoral college does that pull? The Obama campaign is actually “pleased” with the pick as they feel the experience argument is now off the table now that McCain has picked a relatively unknown, not vetted 44-year-old.

On CNN the talking heads are arguing that this pick shows that McCain wants to be seen as the “real” agent of change by this wild card pick. Reporters Suzanne Malveaux and Gloria Borger are reporting that some Republicans are scratching their heads. I think John McCain started dippin’ into The Crazy, whippin’ out the Maverick card.

Ultimately, people don’t pick their president because of their veep selection, but just as it was odd that George “Poppy” Bush picked the dimwitted Dan Quayle to be within a heartbeat of the presidency, McCain, who turned 72 today, has strangely picked an unknown out of fear of the successful public relations coup that was the Democratic National Convention.

Smart move to distract the press and get them to stop cooing about Obama’s speech, poor move for the future. If he wanted to pick a woman he should have picked the former head of Hewlett-Packard, Carly Fiorina, Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson or Sen. Elizabeth Dole or ANYONE that people have actually heard of. (Fiorina was so effective as a surrogate she was able to tote views I didn’t agree with yet I still enjoyed listening to her.)

Is this woman the future of the Republican Party? Is this someone they’re going to rally around for president if McCain wins and decides to be a one-termer? Is she prepared to be the leader of the free world if McCain pulls a William Henry Harrison? And is this to generate some excitement? According to CNN, the McCain campaign had to bus people in from out of town because they couldn’t wrangle 10,000 in Dayton for this announcement. He had Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney there with him, but obviously flenched when Obama painted him as old, staid and out-of-touch.

But out of all this ridiculousness, I’m mostly disappointed that he did not pick my boy “Perfect Hair” Mitt Romney, aka “Guy Smiley” from The Muppet Show. I’m just distraught. No one worked insincerity like Mitt Romney. Every word he uttered sounded like the crowing of a used car salesman.

What will I do? Who will I make fun of? Damn you, Sarah Palin! Damn you!

Written by blacksnob

August 29, 2008 at 3:19 pm

We’ve Only Just Begun

with 16 comments

It was big. It was beautiful. It was just the beginning … I hope.

I’m too mentally fried to write anything of substantive nature. All I can say is that 1) the speech was so perfect even Pat Buchanan had to agree, 2) I will never tire of looking at Michelle and the girls, 3) I enjoyed the moment and all its fullness and 4) I was glad he turned the “popularity breeds contempt” celebrity meme on its head by pointing out it was the acts of millions of individuals that put him on that platform. That the campaign is about them, us and the rest of America. Not him.

And could Joe Biden not be more stoked to be veep? Grinning, two fists in the air, I half expected him to leap into the crowd and start body surfing because The Crazy caught a-hold of him.

Now I will sit and wait to be “shocked and awed” by John McCain doing something lame, like not picking his loathed primary rival Mitt Romney for veep. (Everyone is murmuring he’ll ring-a-rosy around Tim Paw-who-the-hell-knows-who-this-dude-is-lenty. I’m really wanting to see Ann Romney, the handsome but not-too-swift, “serving our country by working dad’s campaign” Romney boys and ten billion other Romneys back in this thing. I have not tried to hide the fact that I find Cindy McCain dull and pinched, and, sadly, Megan McCain is no where near as fun as the Bush twins. If I can’t have boozy young adults I’ll take 1950s fantasies in minty Mormon flavor. Bring on the insanely wealthy and thick haired political Osmonds, please! One rotten Romney don’t spoil the whole bunch, John!

Written by blacksnob

August 29, 2008 at 4:14 am

Excited, Relieved, Concerned But Wouldn’t Miss It

with 2 comments

I missed Bill Clinton’s address to the convention Wednesday night. I was out late and didn’t get home until 8:30, giving me a chance to at least catch Joe Biden’s acceptance speech. So I gave it a listen a few moments ago off of the Democratic National Convention homepage. I’ve always been fascinated by the Clintons like many other political watchers. The former president’s ability to wriggle loose from almost any situation back in the 1990s was fascinating to watch, and of course, he was quite deft at giving a good speech.

There was a lot of mocking of the term “catharsis” that Sen. Clinton used to a group of supporters, but it was great for someone like me who was sick of all the fighting and wanted everyone to go back to at least pretending they like each other, who was tired of the press dining off of manufactured hype night after night, and was tired of being one of the few who felt trapped in the middle, more amused, bemused and confused by the ongoings than angry.

So I felt good about both Clintons’ speeches. I realize it won’t shut someone like … let’s say … conservative pundit Leslie Sanchez up. But it was a great “I’m backing Obama. The Clintons are backing Obama. Please STFU about it already, Chris Matthews.”

To go with the relief that the Clintonista/Obamanite trench warfare may be over, I’m excited, concerned but would not miss Barack Obama’s acceptance speech tonight. The excitement is obvious. Obama’s going to accept the nomination. It’s historic. And it’s happening on the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.

It’s an amazing coincidence (or a brilliant contrivance) that the Democratic National Convention is going to end on such a note, such a fascinating book end from the historic Civil Rights Era “March on Washington” and to the modern politics of today where blacks have made more and more advances on the national stage, as well as becoming governors. The growth, the progress continues and Obama is evidence of that.

But, please, don’t compare him to MLK. Obama is his own revolution. He’s a beneficiary of the Civil Rights Movement like myself and countless others, he just chose to mold his benefits into politics and go further than anyone dreamed. Dr. King lost his life fighting for the rights of the black and the poor and for Obama’s shot at the Oval Office. For me it’s apples and oranges. I think Jackie Robinson is a slightly better — but still imperfect — comparison. They share the whole suffrage of the first black person to do something, but ever person’s struggle is unique to their own time and circumstances.

I’m concerned about the venue, but not because the Republican’s plan to compare him to something cheesy, like Cecile DeMile’s “The Ten Commandments” when really William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” with Obama as Marc Anthony and Bill Clinton as Caesar being more apropos.

But that’s probably the elitist in me expecting parodies to be much more multifaceted and not mere farces.

My real concern comes from it being so vast with so many people. I don’t think anything bad will happen. But that doesn’t stop the concern considering all it takes is one whackadoodle.

But I’m not going to focus on such morose things and instead I’ll chose to be happy, hopeful and a little optimistic. I still think there’s only a fifty-fifty chance of him winning, but the fact that he was able to seize this chance, something that was out-of-reach for so many for so long, and become the first black person to lead a major party ticket earns him a bit of optimism from even the most hardened of political cynics.

Written by blacksnob

August 28, 2008 at 10:21 pm