Toni Morrison To Endorse Obama

This is interesting:

ABC News' Rick Klein Reports: Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison -- who famously declared Bill Clinton to be the nation's "first black president" -- is endorsing Barack Obama for president today, an Obama campaign source tells ABC News.

In an October 1998 essay in The New Yorker, Morrison wrote: "Years ago, in the middle of the Whitewater investigation, one heard the first murmurs: white skin notwithstanding, this is our first black president. Blacker than any actual person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime."

This is a double edged sword for Obama imo. The Media will love it as they will see it as a rebuke to the Clintons. It will get a lot of play.

The downside is EVERY story will focus on Morrison's "first Black President" remark. NOT exactly the focus Obama would want it seems to me. If I was on Obama's team, I wonder if they might have wanted to not have this one AT THIS TIME. But what do I know?

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    Comments about race (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by NaNaBear on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 10:45:18 PM EST
    leads me to believe that some of you think blacks
    aren't suppose to endorse Obama because he is black. Are we suppose to vote for someone white even if we don't agree with them?

    Race seems to be a big issue on this board. You do it, and claim its what the media and the Obama camp is doing. On here you are the ones that can't stay away from race or stop thinking you know why blacks voted for Obama.

    You dismiss the fact that Hilary has black support. Do you think all blacks are suppose to support her.  

    Do you think whites should vote for Obama so they want appear to be to voting because of race.  Sounds foolish, just like its sound foolish when you think Toni Morrison or any black doesn't know who they prefer.

    AA have always backed the DEM Party in large numbers.  Negative remarks against AA that support Obama is causing division and you are  know different than those you percieve to be doing it.
    Your rationale is,  "they are doing it", "why can't we"  I see it as an excuse. I hope am wrong.

    This is a false comment (none / 0) (#35)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 07:53:58 AM EST
    And OT.

    Hey, Obama has been campaigning (1.00 / 1) (#7)
    by MarkL on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:04:19 AM EST
    for black votes on the basis of  his being black for some time. Morrison's endorsement will bring this to the fore. He's tried to have it both ways---running as the "black" candidate while saying those who point this out are racist.
    The jig is up.
    He didn't run the right kind of campaign, unfortunately.

    Wanna bet which reporter is the first to ask (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 08:10:38 AM EST
    Morrison, "So, is Obama going to be the second black president?"

    Yep (none / 0) (#2)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 08:12:18 AM EST
    It makes the whole line of being a black President fair game.

    Obama had done a great job of keeping it out of bounds. HE was "transcending" race.


    Really? As early as Iowa, the other of the (none / 0) (#30)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 12:07:15 AM EST
    two Obamas was raising race and pointing out how white it is.  As soon as Clinton won NH, Obama supporters -- not him -- were raising the "Bradley effect."  Etc.

    And in the very phrase "transcending race," Obama put race on the agenda from the start, didn't he?

    Not saying it isn't a marvelous phrase, not saying I see any other way to deal with it, but . . . there it is.


    I wonder (none / 0) (#3)
    by PlayInPeoria on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 08:21:27 AM EST
    if a reporter would ask ... or if a reporter would ask BILL if Obama is going to be the 2nd?

    Then they could leave out the reporters question and use it against Bill.


    Bill's comments over the past (none / 0) (#4)
    by Geekesque on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 08:37:34 AM EST
    few weeks show just how silly it was to call him a 'black' president.  He may have had a cultural affinity and understanding, but he was also willing to blow dog whistles like "Jesse Jackson."

    I don't see the downside, since people are fully aware that Obama would be the first black President.

    Um (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:10:51 AM EST
    That is rather ridculous. If the coverage was all about how Obama is going to be the fiorst balck President you think that would be good for Obama?



    If that's ALL it was, of course that would (none / 0) (#12)
    by Geekesque on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:27:21 AM EST
    be bad.

    But, there's a big difference in pointing to the benefits and appeal of his background and using it to marginalize him.


    I am talking about (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:32:44 AM EST
    Toni Morrison. What do you think the coverage wil be like?

    Heck, maybe she insisted and they released it the same day as Ted Kennedy's to drown it out.


    Only 8 days till Super Tuesday. (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Geekesque on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:37:52 AM EST
    Not enough time for everyone to get their own day.

    My favorite timing is Kathy Sebelius endorsing the day after she delivers the Democratic response to the SOTU speech.

    Having three Kennedy's on stage with him today is pretty special too.


    Meh (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:48:31 AM EST
    Sebelius is menaingless except in Kansas.

    Kansas is a Feb 5 state. (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Geekesque on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 10:13:59 AM EST
    And it's a woman governor.  

    Not to mention Obama's (none / 0) (#25)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 11:01:35 AM EST
    other home state.

    I read somewhere that the Obama (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 10:56:36 AM EST
    kids will also be on stage.  Will Obama's son be wearing short pants and saluting?

    Re: (none / 0) (#13)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:29:25 AM EST
    It kind of exposes the hypocrisy of claiming that there's a dog-whistle strategy of framing Obama as the "black candidate."  When he creates the exact same thing for himself - which he's done with much more than just this one endorsement - they see no harm in it whatsoever.

    Only if you pretend that this country's (none / 0) (#17)
    by Geekesque on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:41:20 AM EST
    history of racism and marginalization of African-Americans is irrelevant as context.

    To put it another way:  dog-whistles for African-Americans and dog-whistles for white supremacists are not morally equivalent.

    Note also that Clinton has made much more explicit references to gender than Obama has made to race.  Note also that Obama has not used dog whistles to refer to gender.


    Oh please (none / 0) (#20)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 10:23:18 AM EST
    Like there are a lot of white supremacists in the Dem Party.

    The way you guys have blown every controversy so far out of proportion - as if you really believe Hillary decided it would be great political strategy to insult MLK, as a dog-whistle to God knows who - is embarrassing, frankly.

    The media narrative has been written and you should just accept it and be happy, rather than trying to convince people who already get what a load of BS it is.


    Hillary didn't speak any dog whistles. (none / 0) (#26)
    by Geekesque on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 11:23:31 AM EST
    Bill's practically choking on his now.

    If You Want To Talk (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 10:46:31 AM EST
    Dog Whistles, you have to include the sexism dog whistles Obama has tooted. It seems stupid to go there if you ask me. Both sides lose.

    And in case you haven't noticed sexism is right up there with racism as context.


    Re: (none / 0) (#5)
    by Steve M on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 08:50:41 AM EST
    Obama's campaign has no problem with race being in the headlines, apparently, as long as everyone agrees that Obama's campaign would never, ever do anything to put it there.  Whether that's a smart strategy is open to question, but it seems to be the one they're going with.

    I personally can't see the upside to this particular endorsement.

    Taken Out of Context (none / 0) (#6)
    by grandmaj on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 08:57:15 AM EST
    The statement is taken out of context.  Check out: http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/01/28/first_black_president/

    A look at the context of the words at the source is illuminating. Morrison began by describing a nation glued to unseemly details of Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, as Kenneth Starr pursued his investigation and Republicans cheered him on. She questioned the pitch of Starr-fueled hysteria, and said: "Years ago, in the middle of the Whitewater investigation, one heard the first murmurs: white skin notwithstanding, this is our first black President. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime ... The always and already guilty 'perp' is being hunted down not by a prosecutor's obsessive application of law but by a different kind of pursuer, one who makes new laws out of the shards of those he breaks."

    Morrison was not saying that Bill Clinton is America's first black president in a cute or celebratory way, nor was she calling Clinton an "honorary Negro." Rather, she was comparing Clinton's treatment at the hands of Starr and others with that of black men, so often seen as "the always and already guilty 'perp.'" Even in its original context the comparison doesn't quite work. African-American men have been demonized for centuries without having done anything but be black men, while people of all political stripes would likely agree that Clinton put himself in a compromised position with the Lewinsky situation, even if the political reaction was out of proportion to his alleged "crime." Morrison seemed here to be making a dark admonishment about what it means to be tarred with the same brush that has punished African-American men throughout this country's history.

    Of course the problem is getting people to understand this as opposed to the bumpersticker "First Black President" meme.

    Good luck with that context thing (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:09:40 AM EST
    Rule 3? (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:13:08 AM EST
    of course... (none / 0) (#11)
    by mindfulmission on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:17:27 AM EST
    ... you are just adding to the lack of contextual understanding.

    Dude or dudette (none / 0) (#14)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 09:31:47 AM EST
    There is NOTHING ANYONE could do to fix that.

    Do not be a fool on this.


    unless you are worried about white working class (none / 0) (#22)
    by Heather on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 10:54:43 AM EST
    I don't think it is a bad thing. My first impression was that by endorsing (which she doesn't have to do)she repudiates her earlier statement re: Bill. It solidifies black support and helps her reputation and maybe even puts this notion to bed. Doesn't hurt anyone but Bill.

    that is silly (none / 0) (#28)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 12:22:51 PM EST
    Her endorsement of Obama is positive for him, I agree.

    It does not take away from what she said about Bill - the notion is ridiculous. You should be careful of projecting your own negativity about Bill Clinton onto  her - unless of course she told you otherwise.


    Oprah's book selections have (none / 0) (#24)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 11:00:56 AM EST
    Morrison's work.  Women of diverse backgrounds listen to Oprah and quickly buy the books she selects.  I think this will help Obama.

    But, I'm waiting for the A list actors to check in. Not just Chuck Norris an Stalone.

    My Mom (none / 0) (#27)
    by Judith on Mon Jan 28, 2008 at 12:20:35 PM EST
    gave me her books and I have nejoyed them over theyears.  Such a fine writer.

    i was taken aback by something she said about 6 or 7 years ago - she was tired of writing books to explain Black people to White people.  On my Mom's behalf I was a tad upset.  


    Bendixen (none / 0) (#31)
    by NaNaBear on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 12:10:35 AM EST
    Clinton's veteran Latino political operative was quoted as saying, "The Hispanic voter -- and I want to say this very carefully -- has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates."

    That brief quote from an obscure politician has generated shock and awe in Democratic circles. It comes close to validating the concern that the Clinton campaign is not only relying on a brown firewall built on an anti-black base but is reinforcing it. A prominent Democrat who has not picked a candidate this year told me, "In any campaign I have been involved in, Bendixen would have been gone."

    But not in Clinton's campaign. At the Jan. 15 debate, before the Nevada caucuses, where the Latino vote was important, NBC's Tim Russert read the Bendixen quote and asked Clinton, "Does that represent the view of your campaign?" Her response was chilling: "No, he was making a historical statement."

    THIs is one more example of some ignoring the fact that the Clinton's are injecting race.  Divide and conquer.  

    Problem with this strategy, her camp can't depend on Latinos in Califonia actually voting in large numbers.

    I posted this so some can chill out about who blacks want to support. We aren't the only voters
    to scrutinize. Or are we  

    With all the celebrity endorsements (none / 0) (#32)
    by Nowonmai on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:05:57 AM EST
    And others calling in their 'votes', the 2008 race for the White House is turning into "American Idol, Presidential Edition".

    Where's Simon when we need him.

    But have the real box office stars (none / 0) (#33)
    by oculus on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:29:56 AM EST
    signed on yet?  If so I've missed Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Angelina.  How am I to know what to do?

    Maybe we should use (none / 0) (#34)
    by Nowonmai on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 02:37:20 AM EST
    A "Wheel of Fortune" or a dart board?