Obama and Ethnic Extremism

 Like many Republicans, I was puzzled by the odd spectacle of George Bush’s former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, endorsing Barack Hussain Obama for President.   What could have driven Powell to abandon the candidate of his own party, John McCain, who is also a friend of longstanding?

Powell’s position on Iraq remains virtually identical to that of John McCain, and far removed from that of Obama.  After all, Powell was the administration’s point man for the invasion, which Obama now claims to have opposed.  On the economic front, too, there are differences.  Powell is no tax-and-spend liberal.  He has called taxes a redistribution of wealth, supports the right to keep and bear arms, and is in favor of drilling in ANWR.    

Now it is true that Powell is no social conservative and, as such, is out of step with the Republican mainstream.  In his support of abortion, in particular, he is closer to Obama than to John McCain.  But still the question arises:  Would Powell, a Black man, have endorsed Obama if Obama wasn’t Black?

Let’s start with what Powell himself, anticipating the reaction of many to his surprise endorsement, said about the race issue.  He was cognizant of the racial aspect of his endorsement, he explained, but went on to say that race was not the dominant factor in his decision.        

To help us think about what role race might have played in Powell’s decision let us imagine for a second that Hilary Clinton–the nominee who almost was– headed the Democratic ticket.  Does anyone imagine for a moment that Colin Powell, two weeks before the election, would abandon his party of thirty years and endorse her?  Or that he would justify his last-minute switcheroo by complaining about the “negative tone” of the McCain campaign, or his choice of vice president?  The whole idea is ludicrous. 

And yet, the only real differences between Clinton and Obama are their sex and their race.  (If anything, many of Obama’s positions are slightly to the left of Hilary’s, and therefore presumably harder for Powell, the moderate Republican, to embrace.)  There is no reasons to think that Powell is sexist.  That leaves, standing in stark relief, the race factor.  It may not, pace Powell, have been the dominant factor, but it may well have been the decisive one. 

The thought that Powell would have shifted his support to Obama in part because of the accident of ancestry makes many Americans-including me–profoundly uncomfortable.  If “all men are created equal,” in the words of our secular creed, then our ideal must be a colorblind society.  For Colin Powell to abandon the very principle that made his own successful career possible is disheartening, to say the least.  It is hard not to see this as a step backwards for race relations in America.

Charges of racism have proven a potent weapon in this campaign season.  Earlier this year such accusations were even hurled at Bill Clinton, of all people. Donna Brazile, for example, objected when Clinton called Obama a “kid” who was “unqualified to be president,” complaining that this was insulting to her “as an African American.”

But if I was astounded to hear Clinton, who likes to call himself the “first Black president,” cast in the role of racist villain, I was even more surprised at the way Black voters are being solicited to fall in line behind Obama.  I recall a television talk show on which a New York City councilman chided a supporter of Hilary Clinton for not supporting “the Brother.”  “Come home, Sister,” the Black councilman repeatedly urged this Black elected official with some passion.   The host of the show let these remarks pass without rebuke, or even mention.  While there is something to be said for ethnic solidarity, I cannot imagine that any of the other races that populate America would be permitted to make such a blatant racist appeal.

The appeals seem to be working, of course.  Obama’s support among the Black population is at record levels, even though many apparently have little idea what his actual positions on the issues are.  Blacks are overwhelmingly pro-life, for example, while Obama is in the pocket of abortion-provider Planned Parenthood.

I am no fan of shock jock Howard Stern, but only someone who lives for controversy would have dared to point out the huge gulf that separates Obama from many of his African-American supporters on the issues.  To illustrate this point, Stern went down to Harlem and interviewed people on the street.

“Who do you support for President?” he began.

“Obama,” invariably came the response. 

“So you agree with Obama’s pro-life position and his determination to stay in Iraq until the job is completed,” Stern then asked them tongue-in-check.

“Oh, yes,” invariably came the response. 

And they all agreed that Obama had made a very wise choice in picking Sarah Palin to be his running mate. 

Clearly, if they knew nothing else, they knew that Obama was “a Brother.”

And that, my friends, is a poor way to pick a president.

Steven W. Mosher


Steven W. Mosher is the President of Population Research Institute and an internationally recognized authority on China and population issues, as well as an acclaimed author, speaker. He has worked tirelessly since 1979 to fight coercive population control programs and has helped hundreds of thousands of women and families worldwide over the years.

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  • ed

    Leaving aside the substance of your article, your pointed use of Obama’s middle name (I noted his was the only one used in the article) comes across as completely partisan and fear mongering and therefore turns off folks who are interested in reasoned arguments. I suggest foregoing this in the future. IMHO of course :>


    PS. In case you think I am overly biased, I will NOT be voting for Obama in light of his support for the culture of death.

  • BerenCamlost

    It is completely relevant to point out the name of Hussein.

  • mamamull

    My son (10 yrs old) calls him Barak Insane Nobama – my son is bi-racial, just like Nobama, but he is also an adopted child and therefore truly rejects abortion. He realizes that his birth mom could have “chosen” to end his life.

    I agree that many of the supporters of Nobama are doing it just for racial reasons. The Baptists conference that was in Cincinnati – a Christian heartily endorsed Nobama – why? He isn’t especially keeping with God’s commandments. They have to be aware that abortion is carried out by more minority girls and women and that they are endorsing genocide.

    Unfortunately, it is a sad statement about our country that people would elect a man who doesn’t have a patriotic bone in his body and has ties to Muslims – and the Muslims already think poorly of our country for killing babies. How can he look in the mirror and not see his folly?

    I don’t get inflamed by the middle name anymore. I just keep praying for the unborn.


  • Cooky642

    Mr. Mosher, I hope you won’t take offense if I set straight one small problem in your article that your editor should have caught. You said, “And yet, the only real differences between Clinton and Obama are their sex and their race.” While Mrs. Clinton’s and Mr. Obama’s “SEX” cannot be an issue, since they both have children, their GENDER certainly is. His GENDER is male; hers is female.

    Secondly, ed, using Mr. Obama’s middle name certainly IS relevant to an article on Gen. Powell’s endorsement. Among Gen. Powell’s statements was the following: “Barak Obama is NOT a Muslim. And, even if he were, so what? Isn’t it okay for a little Muslim boy to grow up to be President of the United States of America?”

    And, for your information, my response to Gen. Powell would be: “SEE A PSYCHIATRIST IMMEDIATELY!”

  • Mary Kochan

    No Cooky642, “sex” is correct. There are two sexes male and female. Animals and humans have sexes — but only two. Nouns have genders, male, female, nueter, and in some languages, several others. That was the whole point of applying the term “gender” to humans, so we could have more than just two.

  • Cooky642

    Thanks for the English lesson, Mary. Learn something new every day. 😉