For black “conservatives,” black racial solidarity trumps opposition to leftism

“Among black conservatives, they tell me privately, it would be very hard to vote against [Obama] in November.”

That’s the black “conservative” Armstrong Williams speaking. The article proceeds to quote many other black “conservatives” and black Republicans who say they are leaning toward Obama. These black “conservatives” will vote for the man who sat happily in a Christian-Farrakhanite, white-hating, America-hating church for 20 years.

What’s left to say, then, for black America? Given that the black left is pretty much openly anti-American, the only honor in black America has been among black conservatives. But now the black conservatives by supporting Obama have discredited themselves as thoroughly as the feminists did when they continued to support President Clinton despite multiple charges against him of sexual harassment and worse. Are Ward Connerly and Thomas Sowell—two persons out of 35 million—enough to save the honor of black America?

- end of initial entry -

Adela G. writes:

You write; “What’s left to say, then, for black America? Given that the black left is pretty much openly anti-American, the only honor in black America has been among black conservatives.”

I don’t have anything to say for black America. After all, they are not my people!:) As for honor in black America, it has long since been conflated with and overshadowed by (to me, inexplicable) black pride.

I am trying to decide if if the swing of black conservatives toward you-know-who negates or validates my oft-repeated little saying that “race trumps gender but ideology trumps race.” On one hand, you-know-who’s dark skin is causing even self-proclaimed black conservatives to support him, despite their admitted reservations about his ideology. On the other hand, he wouldn’t be the presumptive nominee of either party if he were not a left-winger.

How conveniently they forget the fact that half his ancestry and most of his upbringing was white. If he’d really followed the “trope” of the typical black American male, he probably wouldn’t have gotten as far as he has since he’d likely be carrying at least some of the baggage of that trope: illegitimate and/or unsupported offspring, a criminal background, substance abuse, no higher degree than a high school diploma, bad credit, etc. His very lack of impulsiveness, his cautious approach and attention to background and detail are, frankly, more characteristic of high-achieving whites than they are of high-achieving blacks.

Steven Warshawsky writes:

I think you are jumping to somewhat overdrawn conclusions regarding the voting intentions of “black conservatives” based on a highly selective, superficial, and clearly pro-Obama article (from the AP, natch).

Of the few black politicians and commentators mentioned in the article (not all of whom are properly described as “conservative”), not all stated an intention to vote for Obama. Only talk show host Armstrong Williams (sort of), former congressman J.C. Watts (sort of), actor Joseph C. Phillips (who?), and columnist John McWhorter. Not Michael Steele, who stated that he “will do everything in [his] power to defeat” Obama this November. Not Colin Powell, who stated that he will vote for the candidate who “brings the best set of tools” to solving the problems facing the United States and the world—which is not necessarily Obama. Not talk show host James T. Harris (who?). Not former senator Edward Brooke. The article presents no real evidence that there is any meaningful “shift” among black Republicans towards Obama.

Do I doubt that many black Republicans and “conservatives” will pull the lever for the leftist Democrat Obama this November? Not at all. But this is a far cry from saying that black conservatives have “discredited” themselves as a group by supporting Obama. After all, you and many of your readers have expressed support in the past for the leftist Democrat Hillary Clinton. I see little difference here. Perhaps your reasons for supporting Hillary were different than the reasons given by Obama’s supporters, but the end result is the same.

In any event, why should we be surprised—and overly critical—that black Republicans are thinking about voting for Obama? The alternative is John McCain, who many white Republicans are considering not voting for. In my opinion, that is the much more important, and condemnable, phenomenon.

LA replies:

Maybe Mr. Warshawsky is right and I jumped to unfair conclusions, maybe not. JC Watts is pretty prominent. McWhorter is a prominent black “conservative” intellectual at the Manhattan Institute. The fact that I didn’t recognize all the names didn’t mean much to me; after all, how many black conservatives are there, anyway? Eighteen? So the fact that several were mentioned here impressed me as a large sample.

A commenter who calls himself Cultural Strategist writes (June 16):

As one of those “Black Conservatives” I must tell you that the reverse is true for those of us who are true to our thoughts.

In fact for most Black people IDEOLOGY trumps RACE—particularly on the liberal side. Many quality Black conservative candidates have been scorned because they don’t have a ‘D’ behind their names.

With the case of Obama some of the people listed in the article believe that the benefit of having a Black man achieve occupancy of the highest office in the land will be a symbolic victory enough to hold their nose and vote accordingly. They state that having two other branches of government to hold him in check will buffer the society from the implementation of liberal/leftist policies.

For me—having a Black man running for president provides me with the opportunity to repudiate that Presidential candidate , not because he is Black but because he is running for a national office and I disagree with his policies so.

In fact my planned vote against Obama is a repudiation of the entire political machine which dominates every single big city in America. Obama and Hillary Clinton are members of this same machine. Recently, whenever I debate a person to the left—Black or White—who is suffering from (or complaining about) the economy at this time I have noticed that they are from a large, Democraticly dominated city but they are blaming Bush rather than their cadre of elected officials for having failed them. (Akron, Youngstown, Milwaukee, St. Louis—all are 95 to 100% Democraticly run)

My efforts are primarily focused on realigning the political activism that takes place within the Black community with the common goals that are often claimed by the Black community. Too many of us have “sold out”, allowing ideology to trump our commitment to these common goals. Many push the methodology for attainment over evaluation if this popular methodology is actually working.

Obama would be nothing more than an expansion nationally of that which has failed locally. My vote against Obama is not a vote for John McCain but a vote of no confidence in the policies that dominate our large cities in America.

Stephen W. writes:

Perhaps I am one of the only eighteen black conservatives in the country :~), but I cannot possibly support the candidacy of Barack Obama. What many of my other friends and relatives say about Obama is that it is utterly tragic (but not shocking) that the first black presidential nominee of a major political party is so liberal. We all acknowledge that the only reason he has gone this far is that he is, for white liberals, the great black hope, and for blacks, practically the second coming. For me as a conservative, I am immune to his feel-good message, which has no substance whatsoever behind it, let alone prescriptions that can improve the lives of blacks and all Americans. I think that some black conservatives are for the moment enthralled with the amazing concept of a black American in the White House; however, after more careful reflection and realization of what he would do if he were in power, I would think they would do all within their power to defeat him.

Nor can I support John McCain either: his foreign policy with respect to Iraq (and in general) is repulsive, and his unspeakable betrayal of this country with respect to illegal immigration is unforgivable. Therefore, the Republican party gives me no one to vote for either. Since I live in California which is not in contention this presidential election cycle, I can vote as my principles lead me, which is to vote for no one for president. I pray that the conservative congressional candidates fare well this fall, to be a counterweight to the liberal onslaught to come.

BTW, I just returned from a three week trip to Turkey last month, where they celebrated the 555th anniversary of the tragic fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. As the only reasonably functioning economy and secular republic in the Muslim world, Turkey bears deeper scrutiny for me.

I toured the areas of Istanbul, Lycia, and Cappadocia. This is a youthful, conservative, contradictory, corrupt, Muslim country that has bountiful resources of its own. The country should realize it does not need EU membership and should not seek it. Membership would destroy them both. Turkey should pursue a relationship with the EU similar to that of Switzerland: mutually beneficial bilateral trade agreements to improve trade ties, and nothing more.

Standing in the Church of Holy the Wisdom built by Justinian in 537 was the highlight of the journey. The sense of early Christian history, airiness, lightness, and overall ethereal quality of the edifice remains, in spite of centuries of Muslim alterations—the most offensive of which are the enormous Arabic medallions hanging from the upper levels.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 14, 2008 01:23 PM | Send

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