An angry black man.
That’s what the Republicans want, oh so desperately do they crave it. If the Republicans can label Barack, through implication and “unconnected” surrogates, 527’s and friendly media, if they can label him as an angry black man he will go down into defeat.
Barack’s in a tough spot. He has to be unflappable, yet he cannot appear conciliatory or weak. If he goes into some righteous attack, some brash and divine diatribe on the lies and slanders of the Right they WILL win.
This isn’t an easy spot for Barack, but I think he’s finding his way through it as well as can be expected. The Sarah Palin thing through most everybody for a loop, which was sort of the reason for such a choice. Barack has to hit back, but he cannot come across as overly angry. Stereotypes are no less powerful for their paucity of moral or ethical value.
There are too many people, far too many white people, who would like nothing better than to be able to see Barack as another angry black man demanding what (such people would insist) he hasn’t earned. Such crass bullshit has a way of becoming conventional wisdom altogether too quickly. And yes, I’m speaking ill of a sub-set of my fellow caucasians. Back home in South Carolina this sort of thing is more common than it should be.
All that being said, I think a lot of Kossacks, a lot of members of the Netroots more generally, we seem to miss a fundamental truth. He can’t bring down the angry fist of justice on them, no matter how right it would be for him to do so, no matter how just. We can, and we should. We can be angry, we can be brazen, bold, and brash.
Please stop hoping, and for fuck’s sake stop asking Barack to lay the smackdown on John McCain and friends. In a moment of truth, of furious and righteous anger, Barack would disarm himself.
Keeping a cool head has brought him and us this far. I trust in his instincts. Please do the same. He’s better on the counterpunch, and he’s better with a little finesse. They could stand to do a better job of hitting back and they have GOT to find a way to get the media to cover Joe Biden whilst he hammers away at the Republicans in precisely the way Barack Obama cannot.
We have to get control of the narrative again, yes, you guys are right about that. I just disagree with how we do it. Anger can be a powerful tool, but it will be the end of our presidential hopes in 2008 if it defines Barack. That is not his fault. It is what it is, and if we hope to see him win, we must accept that.