A Placator and a Polemic: Two Black Conservatives on Obama

Conservative blogger La Shawn Barber and Republican talk-radio host Herman Cain


All this week, and all the next,
The Black Snob is taking a look at the views of black conservatives on Barack Obama. We’re examining who likes him, who doesn’t. Who will vote for him and who won’t. So far we’ve looked at the views of Amy Holmes, Condoleezza Rice, Alan Keyes, Colin Powell, Armstrong Williams and more.

Black conservatives Herman Cain and LaShawn Barber draw two starkly different figures despite the tendency of many black to paint black conservatives with a broad brush.

Cain is a Republican who once ran for senate and is now a talk show host. He believes in the ideals of the Republican Party but laments the fact that the party has been weak in reaching out to African Americans.

Barber is popular blogger and speaker who is Christian and staunchly against abortion rights. While she is a conservative she doesn’t hold Republicans in much higher regard than Liberal Democrats. She writes that she’s disgusted by anyone pandering to her based on her race.

Cain is the familiar. The often teased black Republican, taunted allegedly for staying with a party that does not support him.

Barber is the teaser of anyone who signs on to the two-party-system. Mocking the desire of blacks to be placated by a power structure designed to fail.

And their views on Obama are just as far apart, truly getting to the core of my black conservatives on Obama series which asks, “When confronted with the bait of an attractive candidate who appeals to your heart, but is counter to you reason who do you support?” Obama is a self-made man of intellect who is no one’s victim. But he’s also a dreaded Liberal. Which would have more pull if the wanting for Martin Luther King’s “dream” of racial harmony were still supplanted in our minds? What will these individuals do when offered a black candidate who shares their skin tone, educational background and sometimes similar backstories but otherwise shares nothing else?

Let us begin with Cain.

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Cain describes how the Republican Party dropped the ball in 2006 when numerous black Republican candidates were up for vote. He said the party support wasn’t there, dooming their candidacies to failure. Cain added that any “breakthrough” black conservative candidate is “going to have to break through on his own,” the Republican Party “is not going to push him.”

When asked about Obama’s candidacy, Cain is impressed with the ingénue, replying that Obama has a “gift of oratory.”

That’s not just the ability to speak, but the ability to connect with people. But I think that he’s going to be severely challenged in the coming months to put some meat on the bones.

When asked if he would support Obama, Cain continues his wishful train of thought.

I could under the right circumstances. If he showed me that he really was serious about reaching across the aisle.

While Cain has a bleeding heart for Obama, Barber is not one to be swayed by racial sentimentality. Her eyes stay steady on the game at hand and not on what she sees as racial fictions.

Barber charges that Obama is not The Great Black Hope, claiming it was the “white Liberal media” who crowned him as such. And she states this adoration of Obama on the left is based more on racial novelty than his intellect or talent.

And she finds both a little lacking.

She posits that he is only successful because he is a well-liked, media darling. She had this to say about publicity for Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope,” released last year before he announced his campaign.

With a fawning and easily infatuated leftist media, liberal authors don’t need to waste money paying publicists. Every major newspaper and magazine is a publicity machine, cranking out the kind of copy that would cost the author an arm and a leg if he/she had to pay someone to write it. I should be so lucky!

The man owns the current issue of TIME magazine. I mean, come on! He hasn’t done anything in the Senate to distinguish himself. He’s just…black.

Barber is a strong believer that Democrats, Liberals in particular, use their welcoming of diversity to hide the racial conflicts that still exist. Her blog posts support the argument that the Democratic Party is inherently racist, if not more racist than the Republican Party, and that the adulation over Obama by white Liberals if further proof of that racism.

She touches on this in a post entitled “Democrats in Blackface.”

Even when I was still voting for Democrats, I noticed how condescending they and other white liberals tended to be. Trying to appear comfortable around black people, they usually ended up saying something dumb. Being yourself must be difficult when you’re trying to pretend you care about or even know any black people.

In her posting on Obama’s book publicity she also wrote of Liberal whites placating blacks through Obama.

Back in 2004 when I was still working a day job at a heavily Democrat-voting organization, the word “articulate” was uttered frequently as white co-workers described Obama’s big speech at the Democratic convention. It wasn’t so much what he said, as I discovered when I read the text of his speech, but how he said it.

… He’s a liberal who doesn’t like to be called a liberal. His speech contained nothing breathtaking, groundbreaking, or worth the hyperventilating hype that resulted from it.

Barber’s hostility was much more fascinating than Cain’s dull fealty. She wrote about her disdain for Democrats, but she wasn’t much gentler with Republicans. Unlike other black conservatives who stick with the party, Barber remains politically unaffiliated. She have voted for Bill Clinton twice and she may have voted for George W. Bush twice but she makes no allusions about either’s intentions.

This also from “Democrats in Blackface.”

(A)nyone who’s read more than a single blog post knows I detest when Republicans pull the courting-black-voters scheme. I don’t campaign or write for politicians, and I’m not the least bit interested in trying to persuade blacks or anyone else to vote for Republicans (I’m not a Republican, by the way). I couldn’t care less these days why 90 percent of black voters keep voting for liberals, and Republicans should stop wasting valuable time trying to get the “black vote.”

If you can’t pull in people with race-neutral ideas, don’t bother. If you have to resort to skin color pandering, pack up your stuff and go home.

Reading her sometimes angry words reminded me of Clarence Thomas’ autobiography, “My Grandfather’s Son.” Many reviewers were surprised to hear how angry Thomas was and about how much of that hostility was still in regards to racism and the racism inflicted upon him by whites–both Liberal and conservative.

If you read Thomas’ writings, a lot of it sounds none-too-dissimilar from the writings of slain black nationalist Malcolm X before his storied trip to Mecca. Malcolm X did not believe racism could be eradicated and that any allusion as such was a harmful fantasy. The only way black people could make a better life for themselves was to separate from the United States as a whole and develop our own independent institutions.

This mindset is considered “militant,” but it isn’t that different from conservative “revolutionaries” like Barber arguing that government programs and social welfare are destroying the black community. She is a believer in the notion that racism and Liberal largesse cannot be separated from the government that creates it.

Which brings us to Barber and Obama.

Unlike Cain, who is a Republican partisan with centrist views and is willing to still work within the system, Barber is more likely to believe in the founding principals of the US Constitution and little else.

Barber’s objection of Obama is purely based on the issues at hand. She’s not as affected by the romanticism and is focused on voting for the candidate who best shares her views.

Despite my pro-Democrat leanings, I respect people who don’t chuck their ideals for a one-night-stand in a voting booth. I’m affected by the sentiment of a black president, but I also want that black president to share my views. Racial solidarity only gets you so far with me. After awhile I’m going to go all Janet Jackson and start asking, “What have you done for me lately?

Barber doesn’t necessarily bash Obama. But she doesn’t praise him either. She’s an anti-abortion, war hawk who thinks our immigration policy needs more stick and a lot less carrot. On paper she shouldn’t back Obama and she doesn’t.

Unless her blog is filling me with lies.

Cha
nces on endorsing Obama?
Cain, si. Barber, no.

Chances on voting for Obama? The same as before.

Side note: While I’m more than willing to agree that racism is a problem in both parties, color me perplexed about the reasoning that having a more diverse representation of blacks means the latter party is the most racist of them all.

This view doesn’t explain those black people who helped vote Obama and other blacks into office in Chicago and other parts of Illinois. But that’s often the flaw in this sort of argument. For it to work you’d basically have to argue that the white leadership of the Democratic Party is a shrewd manipulator who “allows” black voters to elect black politicians that the party establishment has already pre-approved.

That, of course, lead me to two questions:

1) So the Democrats are able to pull off this coup with black people and the Republicans can’t? Because that’s typically what their party is accused of doing, accused plucking black ringers from obscurity to game the system and get them elected. I’m a Democrat and I know our party is no where near organized enough to pull that off. Just look at this current election for proof. But if for some reason this is the case, my second question is …

2) Who vetted Cythnia McKinney before she went Green?

I realize it’s hard for some people to believe, but black people vote for their representatives, not the other way around. There’s no way the Democratic Party establishment wants a viable percentage of its power brokers believing the earth is 6,000 years old, but that’s what you end up with amongst black Democrats who are more likely to be socially conservative.

Hugging up on gay people and talking about global warming will get you about one vote in Southside Chicago.

This argument rather insulting and racist in itself, the notion that black people are somehow duped by these racist, white Liberal super geniuses. Black politicians, like their white counterparts, suffer from the same degree of intelligence, savvy, flaws and corruption. This isn’t Zimbabwe where someone screams “It’s all the white man’s fault” and people begin murdering anyone who can’t tan. You might get a couple of stray “amens” out of the choir, but most people will go back to complaining about the price of gas.

Check back to The Black Snob all this week and next, the series concluding on April 14th.

Sunday: Amy Holmes
Monday: Condoleezza Rice
Tuesday: Ward Connerly
Wednesday: Shelby Steele
Thursday: Alan Keyes
Friday: JC Watts
Saturday: Colin Powell
Sunday: Armstrong Williams
Monday: Michael Steele
Tuesday: John McWhorter
Wednesday: LaShawn Barber and Herman Cain
Thursday: Star Parker and Eric Wallace
Friday: Larry Elder and Thomas Sowell
Saturday: Juan Williams
Sunday: A final analysis, “Who Would Clarence Thomas Vote For?”

10 thoughts on “A Placator and a Polemic: Two Black Conservatives on Obama

  1. Black Snob – I like you. OK?I have enjoyed this series on so called “Black Conservatives”.Mr Herman Cain is not at all “open minded” to a Barack Obama presidency. I just listened to his radio show at 7pm on WSB radio. The main focus of this episode was on TAXES. The “Tax Freedom Day” for 2008 is April 23. This is the point in the year at which if 100% of your earnings were given pay off your tax foot print – what day in the year would it fall on. April 23 is as late in the year as it has ever been.Today he criticized the Obama plan to remove the Social Security contribution cap (and rightful so). For some reason Mr. Obama simply doesn’t understand – SOCIAL SECURITY is an ANNUITY, not a welfare program that uses income redistribution at its core. Thus WHAT YOU PUT IN is a determinant factor of what you get out. Thus the richest man in the USA who receives a salary only pays FICA taxes on the first $116k of his earnings. Upon retirement THIS is set as the basis for his payouts. With Obama’s wreckless plan a billionaire will pay FICA for his entire salary, the limit being removed. While this sounds GREAT as the SSI will receive more MONEY….this also means that the LIABILITIES of SSI will be increased.To bottom line it for you – the Government hopes that the richest man in the USA lives a long life up to retirement and thus pays his money…..and then DIES AN EARLY DEATH so that the money otherwise owed to him/her and their spouse will revert back into the general fund upon their DEATH.We hear so much about “Intergerational Wealth” within the Black community. Social Security is an anathema to this as it CONFISCATES any residual funds upon a person’s death and gives it to the SYSTEM rather than the ESTATE.Mr Cain, former CEO of “Godfather’s Pizza” is soundly against the Obama tax plan.[quote]And their views on Obama are just as far apart, truly getting to the core of my black conservatives on Obama series which asks, “When confronted with the bait of an attractive candidate who appeals to your heart, but is counter to you reason who do you support?” Obama is a self-made man of intellect who is no one’s victim. But he’s also a dreaded Liberal.[/quote]Oh my goodness Black Snob. Isn’t this a case of “the pot calling the pot a……”?You question the basis of the “dreaded Black liberal” theory as a basis for rejection but you fully understand WHY the Black community only needs to hear that someone is a Black Conservative and all else becomes moot in what they have to say.Obama being a “self made man” DOES NOT MEAN that he has “self made plans” as a general statement of his economic outlook. In fact he represents the same ole failed liberal, quasi-socialist policies that are firmly entrenched in our cities, seeking to be promoted to the national office.For me personally speaking my greatest problem with Barack Obama is that he is CLEARLY beholden to his LEFT WING BASE! I provided hard examples in my previous posts about his unwillingness to tell HIS LEFT WING BASE what the NEED TO HEAR but instead only what they WANT TO HEAR. A “president” doesn’t get to vote “PRESENT” when there is a major issue that would tend to have him to disappoint his loyal base.Where as Obama is comfortable at attacking the corporation, the conservative and rich people – he has shown time and time again the incapability of turning around and telling the ‘Verizon Wireless’ collection of left wing supporters that at least SOME of their initiatives have FAILED. The “Welfare has hurt Black families” was a perfect opening to have such a discussion EXCEPT he never told us who the birth mother of these policies is. Just let him attempt to alter these policies – they will make it clear WHO they are.

  2. Interesting….There are lots of women who are right-to-lifers–till they get pregnant. Then, presto! Suddenly, they’re not a right-to-lifer anymore. It’s gratifying to know that she both sees faults in the Republican party and is “waiting” to hear more from Obama. Not because I’m a died-in-the-wool Democrat. Far from it. More because she does have “some” openmindedness. Not including pregnant women, of course. If not herself, it will take someone close to her getting pregnant, for her to see the light.Cain is okay. Obama’s continuing effects on all of these so-called black conservatives is absolutely fascinating. ~I’m very curious about what your next series will be. Maybe you’ll decide this while you’re on vacay?

  3. constructive feedback: As to Cain’s pros and cons on Obama, he will have to reconcile his own Obama gushing with his Obama bashing. I can understanding the difficulties in coming to grips with that — especially since that’s what the series has been about.And what you asked about regarding a black conservative balking at voting for a black Liberal being none too different from the inverse with black conservatives and black voters … that is also the point of the series. That skin color, alone, does not determine how you vote. Nostalgia can affect you, that’s what blacks who are centrists conservatives are dealing with. But if your disdain for Democrats is solely rooted in something irrtractable, like Parker’s concern for abortion, no amount of pride is going to make you switch teams.I wanted to show that there is a fluidity of thought among blacks on both sides. I also wanted black people who bristle at just the mention of a black conservative to actual listen to their POV. So I’m not admonishing anyone. There’s no damnation in any of these stories (with the exception of Keyes who I hate for being a fundamentalist homophobe). I’m going for understanding in spite of difference in political opinion.So you read that right, but it did read in both ways. Both sides (I hope) are supposed to read it and calm down a bit so there can be a conversation rather than the usual howling and blood-letting.As for Obama being tied to his base, every politician is. Barack Obama can do nothing more about his constituents than I can make black people be less caught up in mystical thinking and stop with the sexism and homophobia. He can’t will 22 million people to do something different. That’s what I meant when I replied that black politicians are a reflection of their electorate, not the other way around. If Obama wants to hold on to the black vote he CANNOT make any sudden moves away from the issues they care about. No amount of remixing or flowery rhetoric gets black people to sign on for the capital gains tax. Ergo, Obama is not going to become a more centrist or conservative candidate. He’s trying to get elected in a Democratic Primary where a plurality of the voters thinks he’s doing just dandy preaching to the choir.I guess that’s why I don’t get your argument unless you just like saying over and over that Obama’s to Liberal. No duh, he’s running in a Democratic Primary!It’s the same reason why John McCain had to cuddle up to Rev. Hagee and kiss Jerry Fallwell’s ass before he died. The same reason why he couldn’t avoid C-PAC this year.These are your constituents. If you don’t like them, you should run for the other party. That’s all I’m saying.Moody: Barber’s anti-abortion extremism is pretty familiar for me since I’ve lived in “Red state” regions or Catholic strongholds in the US. And it is also true that saying one thing and practicing it is another. I don’t know how many times I was called a “God-less heathen” but this one girl in my anthropology class in high school because I didn’t go to church and believed in evolution. She told me that I was going on a path to ruin, then she got knocked up.We were 15. So I call bollocks.Per my next project, I don’t know. A few people on DailyKos want me to guess what black political thinkers and journalists think of Obama. I don’t want to touch on the journalists (lest I incur the wrath of Roland Martin again), but the scribes like Cornell West and Eric Michael Dyson and some “Negroes of Note” like Robert Johnson or Susan L. Taylor might be interesting. Your business leaders. Your talk show hosts who aren’t Oprah. I’m thinkin’ about it.

  4. [quote]Obama’s continuing effects on all of these so-called black conservatives is absolutely fascinating.[/quote]Moody: How so?Why is this small and irrelevant collection of “Black scum” so worthy of interest? From a perspective of PROPORTIONALITY shouldn’t there be more in depth study regarding how much Obama’s rhetoric and policies sound just like those of the political machine that ALREADY dominates Black America but has failed to initiative comprehensive CHANGE despite its growth in power?[quote]There are lots of women who are right-to-lifers–till they get pregnant. Then, presto! Suddenly, they’re not a right-to-lifer anymore. It’s gratifying to know that she both sees faults in the Republican party and is “waiting” to hear more from Obama. Not because I’m a died-in-the-wool Democrat.[/quote]Interesting perspective.Can we bring in some different constructs into the picture so that we can better articulate your views? Prior to there being a Democratic or Republican Party….WOMEN and specifically BLACK WOMEN had engaged in the cycle of reproduction. I have little doubt that both prenatal care and abortion where subjects that were critical in this process. How is it then that Democrat/Republican becomes such a mask or a filter by which to judge all of these innate HUMAN functions?Does it bother you in the least that some people quantify a woman’s PROGRESSION in a society based on her ability to terminate her pregnancy or not? Why is this concept not a perversion? You sure have “come a long way baby”.I have never understood the confluence between those who purse natural, Afro-centric perspectives (and they enforce the natural hair mandate) and those who run with the modern day notions of ‘freedom’ and liberation – some of which show just how beholden they are to the popular culture and the technological capabilities that are present to relieve them of “a problem” that they have growing within them.(For the record I am technically ‘pro-choice’ as I don’t want the GOVERNMENT to step in to this issue but I would prefer to have cultural consciousness and the ordering of relationships between man and woman to make this an exceptional procedure – as they value the GIFT that God has presented to them to nurture)

  5. [quote]As for Obama being tied to his base, every politician is.[/quote]Black Snob – let me be clear if I hadn’t been previously:Trumping any questions that I have about Barack Obama are the antics that I see in his most died in the wool supporters.I have never seen more SUBJECTIVITY and bias than among them. It is interesting where as when their adversaries are scrutinized they reserve the right to raise the bar arbitrarily high as to insure that this guy NEVER, never, never is able to become a person in good standing.When it comes to a conflict with Obama their bar, which is controlled by their subjectivism is lowered so far that he only needs to sneeze and this is sufficient in answering the question that was posed to him.When I heard a local radio DJ who attended the first Obama fund raiser that passed through Atlanta last year say live on the radio that “being in the same room as this man was a cathartic experience for me. I will forever be changed by this experience” I realize that there is no chance in hell that this man is going to be able to call strikes or fouls as he sees them.The interesting part is that while some people condemned those who attempted to interject religion into the political space….these people are attempting to make Obama – THEIR GOD!!! All of this is part of the same array – those who have unrealistic political aims with respect to their enemies (ie: Hurricane Katrina rescue) are equally as susceptible to convincing themselves that ONE MAN is the ‘second coming’.BOTH are harmful. They outsource your own consciousness upon some external force that might not come through for you.

  6. This Barber chick is wylin’… you will NOT insult Barack’s intelligence or his abilities as a writer. I am sooo tired of people treating “liberal” like it’s a dirty word! I am a black Christian and I am also a Liberal. Heaven forbid I find ending a war that’s claimed 4,000 lives, providing universal health care for the uninsured (like ME), lessening the influence of the rich in Washington, supporting legislation that helps poor people, changing drug sentencing laws, ensuring that innocent people do not get the death penalty before DNA testing is completed and a whole RACK of OTHER STUFF more important than whether or not gay people can get married or women can get an abortion!The truth of the matter is, America is a democracy, not a theocracy. So where would I get off trying to force the entire country into a biblical framework?! As a matter of fact, God doesn’t even force us to choose a relationship with Him. He gives us free will.As long as there has been sex women have been attempting to have abortions. Making them illegal is not going to end that. In fact, as a Christian, it weighs much more heavily on my mind that women would have to resort to using toxic concoctions they heard about old wives tales, throwing themselves down stairs, using coat hangers and going to people who aren’t even doctors to try to terminate their pregnancies.But aside from that, I’m looking at this woman’s blog and she has Ann Coulter, Larry Elder and McWhorter as her favorites?! Really?! I’ve been struggling w/this whole concept of black people who seem to look down on those “poor, ignorant blacks.” Like, “good thing I’m not them. They should be like me and pull themselves up by their bootstraps.” “Come On, People!” (yes, the Bill Cosby pun is intended). Of course, I’m also not sure how that works out w/the whole Christianity thing either.

  7. [quote]you will NOT insult Barack’s intelligence or his abilities as a writer. [/quote]Misunderstood Me:I briefly scanned your blog. The one thing that I came away with, as your quote above also enforces – is your protection of Barack Obama’s assumed “intelligence”. This comes across as a “given” to you, something that those who analyze his policy positions MUST come away with or THEY are the ones who are lacking intelligence for not being taken in his light.It is clear that you and I think fundamentally differently. Your “Christian” concern about the horrid methods that a woman might have to resort to in order to abort her child for me gets trumped by my “Christian” questions of the cultural and societal constructs that are ‘enforced’ in the society in which they live. The same physical woman who struggles over having a child growing in her womb at the “wrong time in her life, wrong man, wrong amount of money available to her” is far more likely to bring this child to full term if and when the core relationship with the male ‘sperm donor’ is sound. One person’s “accident” that must be ‘fixed’ to another person in a more structured arrangement is both yet another mouth to feed that taxes the family’s finances but a gift from God that is an addition to the family.I simply can’t see how the concern for the “abortion method” TRUMPS the realities of the CONTEXT in which the unborn child was conceived.[quote]I’ve been struggling w/this whole concept of black people who seem to look down on those “poor, ignorant blacks.”[/quote]There are no larger a community of people who “look down upon the ‘poor ignorant Black'” than those in the community of people who claim to want to HELP THEM, assuming their INFERIORITY by never asking anything of them to assist in their own salvation. How does one look DOWN upon another human being more than to establish a “caged animal/zookeeper” type relationship with them in which one is always WORKING ON “BEHALF OF” them to obtain resources that will benefit them instead of working WITH THEM to have their actions/thoughts/behaviors placed in line with their ultimate objectives in their lives?For those who are cursed with this assumed inferiority of the poor and the Black poor they seek to have benefit ‘rain down upon’ the unwashed masses, them receiving the benefit from these resources brought to them without having to do anything but receive them; as an expression of their RIGHTS as an American. For me, an observer of “WHAT IS WRONG WITH US AS A PEOPLE THAT KEEPS US IN BONDAGE” it is clear that more comprehensive and lasting change can only come when such desired benefit is primarily expressed across the backs of those who are seeking such benefit.

  8. love your blog but i’m about to go waaaay off topic. i know this is old but is anyone else bothered by the fact that obama couldn’t spare a day to go to memphis to honor king? the more i think about it, the more it bugs the hell out of me. anywho, just had to get that off my chest.

  9. Don Diva: I can understand you being disappointed. But I think that had more to do with the … I don’t know … jerk factor of turning the murder of an icon into another political stump speech. That’s why both him and Hillary stayed away. McCain on the other hand, needs to not look like he’s afraid of the Negroes. Not too long ago he was pulling a lazy George Wallace in Arizona over the state not wanting to adopt MLK Day as a holiday. They were the LAST hold out and McCain defended his state’s right to say, “Martin who?”So that’s why he was the only one in Memphis at the hotel. And I was still mildly offended, but considering he already started off with negative points on most black people due to his party affiliation, I think he should have just skipped it.But he knew it couldn’t hurt him to be there.constructive feedback: I’m weeeelllll aware of those who take their adoration of Obama to new and uncharted areas, but I don’t think there is something that can actually be done about Obamamaniacs. My only fear regarding them is the fact that they have put him on such a pedestal that if he does become president they will be seriously disillusioned once it’s time to make hard decisions and Obama turns into a regular president who has to decide what he’s going to fight for and what he’s going to let die in the street.But I won’t worry until people’s grandparents start hanging up pictures of him next to their faded copies of MLK and RFK.That would be creepy.But I’ve never been comfortable with any sort of public acts of fealty. It just feels weird. I used to think it was just church that weirded me out. But then being in a black sorority weirded me out. Then I went to that Democratic fund raiser and that freaked me out. And I like Obama a lot, but I had a long debate with myself about even putting an icon on my blog.There’s not a lot of space in my mind between public solidarity and cult.So yeah. They’re freaking, but seriously, what can anyone do about that?

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