HufPo has this story: Black Conservatives Conflicted On Obama Campaign

The entire article is worth reading, but I wanted to pull out a few excerpts.

Black conservative talk show host Armstrong Williams has never voted for a Democrat for president. That could change this year with Barack Obama as the Democratic Party’s nominee.

“I don’t necessarily like his policies; I don’t like much that he advocates, but for the first time in my life, history thrusts me to really seriously think about it,” Williams said. “I can honestly say I have no idea who I’m going to pull that lever for in November. And to me, that’s incredible.”

Yes that’s Armstrong “Payola” Williams. It seems the only reason he would support Obama is because of “history” aka race. I’m about to choke on the irony.

More from the story

J.C. Watts, a former Oklahoma congressman who once was part of the GOP House leadership, said he’s thinking of voting for Obama. Watts said he’s still a Republican, but he criticizes his party for neglecting the black community. Black Republicans, he said, have to concede that while they might not agree with Democrats on issues, at least that party reaches out to them.

“And Obama highlights that even more,” Watts said, adding that he expects Obama to take on issues such as poverty and urban policy. “Republicans often seem indifferent to those things.”

Very interesting position from Watts. I have a few conservative black friends, and many of them have a strong theoretical case for supporting the Republican party: competition. Even black Democrats acknowledge that their party has too often taken their votes for granted. For many, this campaign season was a rude awakening as we saw few Democrats step up to put an end to the race-baiting by fellow Democrats in the Clinton campaign.

So yes, in theory, Democrats should not be allowed to take black votes for granted, and the GOP should be a competitive option. But when someone who’s been inside the GOP as Watts has says that party is indifferent to the concerns of black voters, well, that’s not really competition is it?

Remember Denise Huxtable’s husband? Here’s what he had to say

“I am wondering if this is the time where we get over the hump, where an Obama victory will finally, at long last, move us beyond some of the old conversations about race,” [Joseph C.] Phillips said. “That possibly, just possibly, this great country can finally be forgiven for its original sin, or find some absolution.”

Yet Phillips, author of the book “He Talk Like a White Boy,” realizes the irony of voting for a candidate based on race to get beyond race.

“We have to not judge him based on his race, but on his desirability as a political candidate,” he said. “And based on that, I have a lot of disagreements with him on a lot of issues. I go back and forth.”

and John McWhorter…

John McWhorter, a self-described political moderate who is a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and a New York Sun columnist, said Obama’s Democratic Party victory “proves that while there still is some racism in the United States, there is not enough to matter in any serious manner. This is a watershed moment.”

“Obama is probably more to the left than I would prefer on a lot of issues,” he adds. “But this issue of getting past race for real is such a wedge issue for me. And he is so intelligent, and I think he would be a perfectly competent president, that I’m for him. I want him to get in because, in a way, it will put me out of a job.”

The last time I was on News & Notes, Desmond Burton (Afronerd) and I had a conversation about Obama’s victory shifting the racial conversation in the U.S. The idea is that Obama, of course, won’t solve all the problems of black America by his mere election, but that he’ll remove the “victim” mentality of many black folks who want to blame all our problems on racism.

We’ve got Obama’s ascent pushing serial spokesmen like Sharpton and Jackson out of the spotlight along with conservative pundits like McWhorter? Who will be left?

The true impact of Obama’s rise is somewhere in the middle. The symbolism of his success cannot be lost on any black American, liberal or conservative. Both sides can claim his victory as their own. From the left, I can be glad for Obama while knowing that the hundreds of thousands of unjustly imprisoned brothers won’t magically get their freedom back after inauguration day. From the right, they’d love to say that a black president has shattered the final mental achievement barrier holding our people back.

In the end, it will take more than Obama. It will take more collective effort and much more time, not just to shift the conversation about race in America, but the reality.


UPDATE: Was the idea for this article taken from an extensive and excellent series on Black Conservatives and Obama by The Black Snob? One has to wonder.

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