June 5, 2007


Obama Warns of 'Quiet Riot' Among Blacks (BOB LEWIS, 6/05/07, AP)

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Tuesday that the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse a "quiet riot" among blacks that threatens to erupt just as riots in Los Angeles did 15 years ago.

The first-term Illinois senator said that with black people from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast still displaced 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, frustration and resentments are building explosively as they did before the 1992 riots.

"This administration was colorblind in its incompetence," Obama said at a conference of black clergy, "but the poverty and the hopelessness was there long before the hurricane.

"All the hurricane did was to pull the curtain back for all the world to see," he said.

Obama's attack on Bush got ovation after ovation from the nearly 8,000 people gathered in Hampton University's Convocation Center, particularly when he denounced the Iraq war and noted that he had opposed it from the outset.

Even the sainted LBJ was unbothered by the need to turn guns upon rioters in the '60s, which makes Mau-mauing seem a truly dubious political strategy.

What's interesting though is the trap that his decent into identity politics reveals. His secondary message there--why should the black community care about Iraqis?--applies just as well if you ask: why should the white community care about the black? It's just not a road he wants to ease very far on down.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 5, 2007 1:28 PM

Sailor in a review of Barack Obama's biography, makes the point that Obama seems sensitive to the issue of whether he is accepted by African-Americans. So this is just his way of saying "hey I'm just one of the guys"

Posted by: h-man at June 5, 2007 3:25 PM

"Quiet Riot"? I didn't think Obama was into 1980s white headbanger music. Does that mean he's gonna get wild, wild, wild?

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 5, 2007 3:41 PM

Is it a threat? A threat that a "quiet riot" will turn "noisy" if a black is not elected as the next president to address the problems of the blacks?

New Orleans blacks have themselves to blame. They voted the most incompetent black back to power just because he was black. Then they blame their woes on the white guys. Can't they just for once think about what they have done, and try to right things for themselves?

Posted by: ic at June 5, 2007 3:54 PM

A suitably retro theme for a reactionary candidate. While the mayor of Newark, NJ struggles heroically for real liberation, Obama audaciously emulates the squeege-man Sharpton, another golden oldie.

Posted by: Luciferous at June 5, 2007 4:02 PM

Has Obama decided to follow the example of Segolene Royal?

Posted by: ratbert at June 5, 2007 5:11 PM

The joke, is Blackwater, will be doing the riot control

Posted by: narciso at June 5, 2007 7:13 PM

Bring 'em on!

Look, the "hopelessness" Effendi Obama is talking back is a spiritual malady, the result of combining economic lassitude, not necesarily a bad thing in itself, with covetousness.

One is not to be blamed for disdaining exertion beyond what is necessary for sustenance. To go on from that position, however, to rage for material possessions one has not earned, is not "hopelessness," but sin.

We read recently about a similar canard in the concept of so-called "relative poverty."

Posted by: Lou Gots at June 5, 2007 8:00 PM

I've long thought that he's little more than another big-city lefty Democrat, and this is the sort of thing they all believe (or pay lip service to). As Obama is forced to go beyond vague bromides, he'll inevitably say more things of a similar non-electable nature.

Posted by: PapayaSF at June 5, 2007 11:16 PM

He's just another Senator who has wanted to be President since he was in college.

But taking the squeegee-man Sharpton route is just too much (great phrase, Luciferous). Does Obama believe he can summon hordes of rioters?

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 6, 2007 12:06 AM

Disappointing that he decides to feed the mess as Bush has consistently refused to do.

Posted by: RC at June 6, 2007 4:39 AM

It appears Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), a front-runner for the Democrat Party presidential nomination, has stolen a page from the campaign playbook of Segolene Royal, the French Socialist Party candidate who lost the French presidential election to Nicolas Sarkozy early last month.

In a Bob McCarty Writes™ post May 4, I reported that operatives of Senator Obama and his chief rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), would be paying close attention to the results of the presidential election in France. A day later, I wrote and published a post about Royal's warning to her countrymen -- or, as she would say, "country-persons" -- only 48 hours before election day that violence would erupt in the streets of France if she lost. And it did.

Now, according to an Associated Press report, Obama tossed out words like "Katrina" and "Rodney King" before accusing President George W. Bush of doing nothing to defuse a "quiet riot" among blacks that threatens to erupt just as riots in Los Angeles did 15 years ago.

Sounds like a threat to me. Moreover, it sounds like he's targeting the same segment of the Democrat Party base at which people like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton tend to direct their oft-divisive, race-bating efforts, such as "No Justice, No Peace!" Worst of all, it sounds as if he's hoping those targeted will actually resort to violence so that he -- Obama -- can try to lay the blame for the social unrest at the feet of Bush and, more importantly, his Republican opponent in the 2008 general election.

If I was Senator Clinton, I would be eating this up, satisfied that the junior senator from Illinois had blown his chance and, in so doing, improved mine.

Posted by: Bob at June 6, 2007 7:21 AM