What Does Obama’s Victory Mean?

Larry Elder's picture

“I intend to proudly vote for Obama,” said a caller to a National Public Radio show, “because I want to show the world what America is all about — that a person of color can become president of the United States.”

Let’s put aside whether the caller would express the same enthusiasm were Obama a tax-cutting, Iraq-war-supporting Republican. And let’s put aside what, if anything, America needs to “prove” to the rest of the world.

Obama — bright, sharp, a solid speaker — ran an incredible, come-from-nowhere campaign to topple a front-runner who, at one time, led by some 30 points. But as Obama once said in criticizing his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the caller acts as if America, as regards race, were “static.”

What of the last 40 or so years?

— Today, if black Americans’ gross domestic product were measured separately, it would be the 16th-richest country in the world.

— Nearly 80 percent of blacks live above the poverty level, contrasted with 65 percent 40 years ago.

— The greater percentage of blacks live either middle-class or better lives.

— The employment rate for married black men equals the employment rate for married white men.

— The average black woman with a college degree makes more money than the average white woman with a college degree.

— The highest percentage of blacks in American history — 46 percent — own their homes.

— The majority of blacks live in integrated neighborhoods (defined as living with at least 10 percent of neighbors belonging to “other races”).

— Black-white interracial marriage has soared — after anti-miscegenation laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in 1967 — from 65,000 in 1970 to 422,000 in 2005.

— Los Angeles, a city devastated by the Watts riots in 1965, with a population about 11 percent black, hired back-to-back black police chiefs.

— A black man served as United States ambassador to the United Nations.

— A black man served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

— Two blacks have served as members of the United States Supreme Court.

— The largest association of doctors — the predominately white American Medical Association — elected a black physician as leader.

— The largest association of lawyers, the American Bar Association, elected a black president.

— The Ford Foundation, one of America’s largest philanthropic private foundations, with 2007 assets valued at $13.7 billion, was led for 12 years by a black man.

— Blacks hold or have held CEO positions at major companies, such as Merrill Lynch, American Express and Time Warner.

— Black-owned businesses grow at a rate faster than white-owned businesses.

— The multiracial Tiger Woods is the world’s most famous and wealthiest athlete in earnings and product endorsements.

— Major League Baseball — America’s pastime — is comprised of 40 percent black, Latino and Asian players.

— The Super Bowl, the most-watched sporting event in America, recently featured two teams headed by black coaches.

— Black females have won the Miss America beauty pageant.

— Black economist and best-selling author Thomas Sowell, based on the number of newspapers that carry his column, is one of the country’s top 10 columnists.

— “The Cosby Show,” a positive, upbeat sitcom about a black, upper-middle-class family, reigned for years as America’s most-watched television program.

— Black faces on television abound — in commercials, as local and national news anchors, and in shows playing a variety of characters — from doctors and lawyers up to and including the president of the United States.

— Will Smith, a black actor, tops the list of the nation’s movie box-office stars.

— Black actor Samuel L. Jackson appeared in more movies than any other actor of any color during the 1990s.

— Black television host Oprah Winfrey, arguably one of the most powerful television personalities in the history of the medium, has amassed, to date, a fortune estimated at $2.5 billion.

— Blacks serve or have served as mayors in many American cities, including the three largest — New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

— The current speaker of the California Assembly is the first black woman to head a statewide legislative body.

— Blacks comprise 10 percent of the House of Representatives, including some from primarily white Southern districts.

— A black man serves as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee — arguably the most powerful committee in the House.

— A black man served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

— Virginia, one of the states of the original Confederacy, elected a black man governor.

— The Republican Party, in the last election cycle, nominated blacks as candidates for governor of Ohio, governor of Pennsylvania, and senator from Maryland.

— Blacks have served the current administration as back-to-back secretaries of State.

So, what does Obama’s candidacy mean? His victory shows that America grows ever closer to Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of a society that judges people based on content of character, rather than color of skin.

Obama’s victory does not prove this. It confirms it.

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Submitted by curmudgeon on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 3:53pm.

If you are voting for Obama simply because he is black, would you have voted for Rice or Powell if they were on the ticket?

Why hasn't Obama been castrated like Huckabee when obviously Obama religious leaders are so vile?

And, I wonder how many of the people who voted for Obama think we live in a democracy?

BTW, if you are saying you'll vote for Obama because he's black aren't you tossing out what Rev. King said about not judging on skin but content of character?

Submitted by USArmybrat on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 9:33pm.

Obama's victory was no confirmation, except to confirm that the majority of blacks will vote for the black candidate before anyone else,EVEN the wife of the so-called first black president! All of these advances that have occurred that Elder's has documented could not have come to pass in this mean, horrible USA that Michelle Obama has had to endure while listening to her little fire-breathing dragon of a minister, could they?

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 7:14pm.

..... but it's getting pretty tuff. Do whites vote for McCain because he is white? Did white women vote for Hillary because she is white?

Who do people who want Iraq to come to a close vote for? How could Barrack win the democratic nomination without the support of millions of good old white American people? Is it an impossible thought that, perhaps, blacks like Barack's message? Is that such a stretch? What do Americans have to look forward to in a McCain campaign that refused to exorcise its religious demons until they dared attack Jews? Remember? Muslims and Catholics were fair game with Parsley and Hagee. Your tunnel vision is causing me pause. You've insinuated I worship Obama. PLEASE. I worship only God and my beautiful wife and kids. I support the political canididate Barack Obama. As republicans search for the choice between "the lessor evil," pardon us democrats, independents, and even republicans who ACTUALLY dare support our candidate with enthusiasm. Anything else I say will purely be repetition. I hope you gain perspective in differentiating "support" from "worship."


Kevin "Hack" King

Submitted by USArmybrat on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 9:04pm.

I really don't remember saying that you worship Obama. I do think you give him a pass on all the things that have been brought up here and are very dismissive of them. And, please, don't even get started about Hagee, etc. Obama took TWENTY years to finally throw the whole church under the bus and did so only for his campaign, just like McCain. At least I see it for what it is; no blinders for me. I don't give a crap what color or what sex a candidate is, just that I can support him/her and that the person has the best interests of my country in the race. Obama does not, in my opinion, and neither does Clinton. McCain---sigh---is more like a draw. I am a conservative and that is the way I will have to go. It is great to have enthusiasm, but with Obama it is empty.

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Sat, 06/07/2008 - 7:26pm.

Real quick, you came to my defense with the bozos saying I was unpatriotic. You said you would not question my patriotism even though you thought I was an Obama worshiper (more or less.) No worries though. It's not at all something I take personally. It's just a strange context to put political support in.

At any rate, as an American who wants to see an end to the occupation of Iraq and a return to the full court press on Osama Bin Laden, Obama, the US Senator, is far, far from an empty suit. Think of it like this, how would you perform if you had to speak to a crowd of 75,000 people? Are you saying it takes no talent, intellect, or presence to do that? If so, you are quite an impressive and hard to impress person. At any rate, thanks for coming to my defense back then. I really appreciated it, and I feel like you might have an idea of what strange mechanisms make me tic. Smiling


Kevin "Hack" King

Submitted by USArmybrat on Sun, 06/08/2008 - 2:27pm.

You are obviously an American patriot, in my eyes. I know you love this country and care about our military, as I do. Obama definitely has talent for speaking to large crowds but his stances on Iran (that little country that isn't much of a threat) and his recent comments on the division of Jerusalem are just two examples of his inexperience and a lack of thought on matters of foreign policy. And I too want an end to this war, especially since I have a family member there for the second time. But not until we are ready to call it a success. All of the men and women that have been there, especially those that never made it back, deserve it to be a success. Have a great weekend--stay cool, if you can!

Submitted by Jamie-Mac on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 4:07pm.

Yo curmudegeon nobody said it better than you.

What if the table was turned? What is Obama was a Republican and had associations with all the vile people he does?

I think the outcome would be different.

I must give credit to Larry for showing us how black Americans have come so far.

This means that can stop complaining. LOL

Oh is Obama black? Uhhh no.

Voting color now days, that shows what a sick state we are in even though Larry showed us how far blacks have come so far.

I gotta go, I think I hear someone whining.

TonyF's picture
Submitted by TonyF on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 6:56am.

Answer: Only when it benefits him is he black, when it doesn't, he's multi-ethnic.(still hyphenated though)

O wad some Power the giftie gie us,To see oursels as ithers see us!
(R. Burns)
If we could see ourselves as others see us, we would vanish on the spot.
(E. M. Cioran)

JAFO 72's picture
Submitted by JAFO 72 on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 3:33pm.

Now, where are the crime statistics? Educational statistics (i.e. drop out rates)?
Proof that you can have a thousand "Atta Boys", but one hundred thousands "ooops" takes it all away.

Stop looking at Obama as black, and start looking at him as the Marxist that wants to "CHANGE" us to a socialist government. Start looking at his history. What legislation has he passed. Sorry, meaningful legislation. Who does he associate with. Bill Ayers (a known terrorist), Reverend Wright (a thinly veiled racist), Pflegler (a race baiting bonehead) and the list goes on.

Universal healthcare? I can believe in that change. I can believe that the DMV can run our healthcare system. Again, stop looking at the race of the candidate, and start looking at the past performance, (if that can be said) and the company he keeps.

McCain is no better. Just the lesser of two weevils.

"The one constant in all of your failed relationships is you."

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 7:00pm.

"Stop looking at Obama as black, and start looking at him as the Marxist that wants to "CHANGE" us to a socialist government. Start looking at his history. What legislation has he passed. Sorry, meaningful legislation. Who does he associate with. Bill Ayers (a known terrorist), Reverend Wright (a thinly veiled racist), Pflegler (a race baiting bonehead) and the list goes on."

You are obviously one of those "bitter" people our future president has discussed. It is almost comical that the message of "blacks vote for him because he is black" is not reflected by those who say it in the sense that you must obviously be voting McCain/Clinton/Bush/Reagan/Clinton because they are white.

Let me ask, who would Americans who want troops out of Iraq vote for? WHO? Seems easy enough to me. I know who the one candidate that agreed with me in March of 2003 is. I know who the one candidate who is not business as usual is. I know who the one candidate who distanced himself from every divisive message is.

You desparate republicans are in need of group therapy. Larry Elder's message is spot on. Try as you might, neither you nor USarmybrat, nor any other conservative can take away the fact that Barack Obama could not have won the democratic nomination without the support of white Americans. As we watch the unemployment rate jump 10% with REPUBLICANS REFUSING TO CALL A RECESSION A RECESSION , who in the heck would you vote for? Speaking for myself, I really think your average Joe blow is tired of taking advice from those who have driven the USS Valdize into the rocks. Now, off of my soap box and out for some suds. I wonder if Beaver still sees Obama's campaign as one in peril LOL.

Kevin "Hack" King

Submitted by USArmybrat on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 8:49am.

I never said Obama did not have support from whites. What I did say was that blacks have voted with an unprecedented percentage for him.

JAFO 72's picture
Submitted by JAFO 72 on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 10:47am.

Hack, the "recession" is not here yet. The Fed reported a 0.6% increase in the GDP (posted in May of 08) over the last two months, not a decline. Here we have another Lib politician (a rookie at that) pandering to the economic ignorance of America. Where are you getting the unemployment rate. I believe it has been at it's lowest since even before Clinton took office, hovering around 4.5 to 5%.
Larry Elders article touts accomplishments of "blacks" or "African American". So what if Barrack Obama made Harvard law review. Many American (black, white, red, yellow, polka dots, stripes whatever) have accomplished many off the same feats.
Like I said, look to the political accomplishments (i.e. legislation passed etc.) of Mr. Obama. What has he done? ? ? ? Yep, he was born black. What else?

"The one constant in all of your failed relationships is you."

acapella's picture
Submitted by acapella on Mon, 06/09/2008 - 9:54pm.

Dear AF A-10
I have been a registered Democrat all of my life, but I now consider myself to be a conservative, independent American. I have to correct your passionate belief that we are in a "recession". I believe that you are getting your information from mainstream TV news. They have the chicken little mentality and don't care about reporting the truth if it doesn't suit their purposes (electing a Democrat). But, by definition, a recession is 2 consecutive quarters (6 months) of the economy SHRINKING! That means the GDP actually recedes. The last numbers that came out earlier this month showed the economy grew very anemically, but it was higher growth than predicted (I believe the numbers cited were January '08, but could have been later). That is a good thing!! We are, and have been, in an economic slowdown, but not a recession. You certainly don't hear Ben Bernanke crying "Recession" because the minute he said that, he would be out of a job!!!

Submitted by kikenbutt on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 9:26am.

that there is a personal recession that people feel and live. Where the analyst tell us that we are not in a recession, our friends get laid off from work, the Mom and Pop's close up, some major retail pulls out, some people refuse to spend their stimulus checks feel they must sock into savings. Gas prices and groceries are on the rise and on and on, these kinds of real life, everyday experiences make us feel that we are in a true recession.

yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 6:10am.

explain Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and how one arrives at that figure, please. Keep the faith.

Even a dead fish can go with the flow.

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 9:52pm.

He said last week "the fundamental elements of our economy are strong." You both say no recession. Run on that. Look at the movement of the unemployment rate (that doesn't even account for those who have fallen off of the unemployment rosters after a prescribed time.) Look at our historically unbalanced trade deficit. Look at our historic foreclosure rate. Look at the historic drop in home values. Look at the historic drop in Americans' net worth. Now, tell me again, with a straight face, that your definition of recession tells you everything is fine. Good luck with THAT message.


Kevin "Hack" King

JAFO 72's picture
Submitted by JAFO 72 on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 8:14am.

I'm still wondering where you saw 10%.

Washington Post
Tuesday, June 10, 2008; Page D01

"Bernanke also addressed the higher jobless rate -- unemployment rose to 5.5 percent in May from 5 percent in April, the government said Friday. But he suggested that worsening economic conditions are roughly in line with what he was expecting as the Fed cut interest rates through the spring, and that the risk of a deep downturn has diminished."

Must it all be the Republicans fault? Who has had the majority in both houses for the last two years? Hmmmm. When did all this "economic downturn" start? Hmmmm. Foreclosure rate. Wasn't it the banks that made extremely stupid loans to over extended borrowers? I don't know of too many people that had there net worth drop unless they foreclosed. Then again, that was not their worth. It was the banks.
Financial Accounting 101.

In terms of a recession, with a straight face, everything is fine. In terms of things getting worse, and possibly falling into a recession, yeah were heading there. Herein lays the problem; when the Fed continues to cut interest rates to stem inflation, it has an adverse effect on consumers to overspend. When consumers overspend (credit) and cannot pay their bills the downfall begins. Lowering the rates on T-bills any further will not help.
Macroeconomics 101.

How to confuse a Liberal:
1. Use fact and logic.
2. Wait for the whining and sniveling to die down.
3. Lather, rinse & repeat.
Politics 101

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 8:23am.

It must be the repubicans fault that a bunch of greedy idiots were suckered into homes and interest only mortgages that they couldn't afford.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

AF A-10's picture
Submitted by AF A-10 on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 4:15pm.

if the economy does not recover. Nothing will be his fault when he is POTUS, right?

I mentioned our historically poor trade deficit. Economists link that to our very, very large indebtedness to China and free trade agreements. Who, in the last 8 years, has set the economic policies that have generated our HUGE deficits and who has pushed free, unregulated, unabated trade? That would be the GOP, right?

The unemployment rate: My 10% number was a bogus typo. My bad. The historic rise in the unemployment rate is not. Jobs moving overseas have an impact in that number. Every change of course the 51/49 majority Senate has tried to inact, GOP road blockers have guaranteed that a veto proof majority would be absent. So, NOTA, try as you might to blame the Democratic Congress for the situation, the actual blame would be that there is not enough of a majority to CHANGE THE GOP SET COURSE. This is not hard
NOTA and Skyspy. You have to willingly turn your head to ignore the effects of the PResidents' policies. GOPers promised us $20 barrels of oil post Iraq invasion. Where's the beef? We were promised restrained spending. Where's the beef? John McCain says the economy's elements are "strong." Where's the clue bird there?
John McCain's chief economic advisor, Senator Gramm, still is a bank lobbyist for UBS, and helped (SKYSP) to block regulatory protections put in place after the great depression, that would have limited or prevented predatory loan practices. It's easy to ignore problems that you don't face. That's why I want a president with a CLUE. Vote how you'd like, but Bush part Troix does not excite me at all.


Kevin "Hack" King

Submitted by skyspy on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 4:56pm.

Good to see you back. Don't be a stranger.

JAFO 72's picture
Submitted by JAFO 72 on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 8:27am.

Hence my screen name and avatar.

"The one constant in all of your failed relationships is you."

Submitted by sageadvice on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 5:49am.

You can't expect the administration or any republican to admit failure of the last almost eight years! They will not. Another election is coming up. To heck with fixing anything!
They won't even admit to the obvious things that are wrong--it is called evasive answers---not lying!
Total polarization, and is sad.

Submitted by Spyglass on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 10:22am.

GDP=Consumption + gross investment + government spending + (exports-imports)

Submitted by sageadvice on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 5:51am.

GDP indeed.
I suppose we also won the war!

Submitted by Spyglass on Wed, 06/11/2008 - 9:32am.

Just admit it. In reality, that's what you did.

Submitted by sageadvice on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 7:16am.

It depends upon how many tons of paper are shuffled per day! Those are products--pieces of paper with writin on them that are sold primarily by banks.

Quantity of tax paid employees (cops, firemen, town officials, town non-officials, county, etc., all add into the GNP.

Loans are also products! Plenty of those yet.

Credit cards are also products---everyone has 8-10.

Houses worth $300,000 with two loans totaling $450,000 are also part of the GNP.

yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Tue, 06/10/2008 - 6:09am.


Submitted by Davids mom on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 2:44pm.

Obama’s victory does not prove this. It confirms it.


Submitted by sageadvice on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 2:54pm.

Good. Now let it go!

yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Thu, 06/05/2008 - 4:10pm.

It is a great moment in American History, but let us look for what it means in terms of the economy, the influence of corporations on the political process, the stature of the US vis a vis rest of the world. Let us see how "Presidential" he is before we brand him as a success or a failure. Keep the faith.

Even a dead fish can go with the flow.

wulfman's picture
Submitted by wulfman on Sat, 06/07/2008 - 8:46am.

“Let us see how "Presidential" he is before we brand him as a success or a failure.”

You hit the nail on the head.

As you well know the president can’t make any laws.

If the Democrats do not pickup enough seats to overcome a filibuster by the Republicans, Obama is not going to be able to get much done. He maybe able to pull the troops from Iraq and let some tax cuts expire but that’s about it.

Obama has about as much Republican congressional support as Bush has Democratic none.

After a nasty general election it really won’t matter who becomes president.

The nation and the two parties will be just as divided as they are today.

Some things never change.


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