Liveblogging Barack Obama's Race Speech!
Hey everybody, Barack Obama is going to talk about how his mother was Kansan and his father was Kenyan! But will he denounce and reject his former pastor, who said inflammatory things about how more black people are in jail than white people? Stay with us as we soberly investigate this fantastic opportunity for Obama to soothe frightened voters that he does not want God to damn anybody, particularly Americans.
10:31 AM -- Pat Buchanan says Obama has been "imbibing" Wright's "Afro-racist message" for 20 years. We would like to have a little bit of what Pat has been imbibing.
10:37 AM -- More vamping. Some sort of a sound check. Meanwhile, ooh, a "haz mat" situation at the Charlotte airport. Why is Barack Obama running late for the most important political speech of his life, besides that other speech he gave in 2002, and the one he gave in 2004? MSNBC has called up every black commentator in its massive digital Rolodex and they are all commenting now.
10:44 AM -- Sally Quinn says, "I wish I could talk to Reverend Wright, but he won't give any interviews." Yes, it is so puzzling why he would not want to talk to the media. After all they've done for him!
10:48 AM -- Republican strategist guy talks about how Obama is a great candidate who "happens to be black." Nancy Giles says, "Can I just interrupt here? Nobody who's black just 'happens to be black.'" We are cringing here watching these commentators patiently explain race to people (PAT BUCHANAN) who apparently believe that all these problems went away when Bill Cosby got his own sitcom. Finally, at last, The Candidate!
10:53 AM -- He is thanking some dude we do not care about. History, history, history. He looks like he is not very happy to be here.
10:55 AM -- Let me explain to you the history of racism, he says. Yes, there is a definite desultory tone to this speech, like Uggh, do we really need to go over this again? Unfortunately yes, because of Pat Buchanan.
10:56 AM -- "I believe that we cannot solve the problems of this time unless we solve them together." Kenya and Kansas! Drink! He passes on slavery to his daughters, and has many cousins abroad.
10:59 AM -- Too black or not black enough? Remember South Carolina? Oh snap the media has been "scouring the exit polls" for signs of racial division. Media, this is your fault. Also the racists' fault. And remember Geraldine Ferraro and her dumb affirmative action quote? That did not help either.
11:01 AM -- You know who also did not help? Reverend Wright, with his incendiary remarks. Obama finds him a bit of a downer sometimes. Well shit he is definitely taking on every critique they're leveling at him. The whole, "Why was this Wright guy his pastor for 20 years?" question, for example. A man is more than his YouTubes, is the answer, and to condemn a 20-year relationship on the basis of a few ranty bits is absurd. We don't know, Barack. Is America ready for a President who actually tries to put things into reasonable context?
11:05 AM -- White people, let me explain black churches to you. They are more fun than you uptight losers could imagine. They are actually fun, and funny, and people dance. Be not afraid! Sure, there are gangbangers, but also model students.
11:07 AM -- Ha ha, Barry has a crazy old racist grandma too! He IS America.
11:08 AM -- Believe me, America, nobody wants to move past this stupid race shit than me. But "if we both retreat into our respective corners..." Oh hey applause! Finally an applause line, and people clap like they have been waiting for something happy to clap at. And now he quotes Faulkner. We are in love again for the millionth time.
11:10 AM -- It feels like he's moving into the part of the speech that people can feel good about. The first part was like, "I know what you fuckers have been saying about me" and now it's like, "Remember all the terrible things that black people had to put up with for a million years?" Not sure why this is better, but it seems to go over better with the audience.
11:12 AM -- "Legacy of defeat." We smell a book title. Now he has to explain why middle-aged black men are bitter about things. We are appalled that he has to give this speech. It is a great speech, and it lays things out well, but that these concepts are not evident to the general public is appalling.
11:15 AM -- He throws a bone to the immigrant protectionist embittered white people. Your fears are being played on by Hannity!
11:17 AM -- "To wish away the resentments of white Americans" will not help either, alas. "I have never been so naive as to believe we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidate." Now more boilerplate stuff about tax policy, education...He encourages people to read, to their children. Now back to Rev. Wright: his problem was that he saw America's racial problems as "static," whereas they are not, as evidenced by one of his parishioners running for President. Touche!
11:22 AM -- Go ahead, assholes, I dare you to play those Wright YouTubes again, he says. But if we do, it will be just like the OJ trial and Katrina and "race as spectacle", and in the end you will still be assholes.
11:25 AM -- He is sewing this all up with a nice little bow. Education, healthcare, the war in Iraq, and how this relates to race. It is a PALIMPSEST of multivariate meaning, and in the end, Hannity is still a jerkoff, and our Asian children must learn to read so that they can fight in the war with Hispanics and wait in the emergency room with black people.
11:28 AM -- Tragic anecdote about mustard and relish sandwiches. "I am here because of Ashley." Not sure what that means, but we are getting sniffly.