Thursday, June 12, 2008 GuestPost: Time For Bad Advice With Juan Williams!?!

[Editor's Note: I'm actually working for a change today, so my homegirl The Black Snob is graciously taking the wheel in my absence. And yeah, I know. I owe you guys that Rates The Cable News Talkin' Heads: Fox News Edition soon. It's funny that Snob's officially throwing him under the bus here cause I've seen him in the hallways at NPR DC on occasion and he seems to be a relative nice guy. So I'm sure he won't be happy to read this one. As usual, be gracious hosts and show our guest some love, you-know-where.]

Fox News political contributor Juan Williams, ever the pundit and not the political strategist, is pushing the notion that Barack Obama should give another race speech to further explain the wayward pastors in his closet, further implying that the politico only cozied up to these George Jeffersonian radicals to get votes in the black community.

Mmm. Maybe. But that's still some pretty stupid advice, Juan.

But I'll let you hear (read) it from the horse's mouth, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Obama needs to give another speech. This time he has to admit to sins of using race for political expediency – by knowingly buying into divisive, mean messages being delivered from the pulpit. He has to say that, as a biracial young man with no community roots, attaching himself to Rev. Wright and the Trinity congregation was a shortcut to move up the ladder in the Chicago political scene.

He has to call race-baiting what it is, whether it comes from a pulpit or calls itself progressive politics. And he has to challenge his supporters, especially his black base, to be honest about real problems at the heart of today's racial divide – including out-of-wedlock births, crime, drugs and a culture that devalues education while glorifying the gangster life.

Mr. Obama also has to raise the bar for how political criticism is handled in his camp. Step one is to acknowledge that not every critic is a racist. His very liberal record and his limited experience, like his association with Rev. Wright, is a fact, not the work of white racists. Just as he calls for the GOP not to engage in the politics of fear over terrorism, Mr. Obama needs to declare that he will refrain from playing the racial victim, because he understands such tactics will paralyze political debate and damage race relations.

Only by admitting to his own sins can Mr. Obama credibly claim that he has seen the promise of our country, in which Americans of all colors work together. Only then can he convince dubious white voters that he is ready to move beyond racial antagonism and be their president.
One. When did Obama, the candidate who avoids talking about race like R. Kelly avoids prison time blame race or play victim for anything? His supporters often cry foul, but the word is mum from the Obama camp. All I ever hear from the O-man is peaceful racial platitudes. Not "They see me rollin'. They hatin'. Patrolling. They tryin to catch me ridin' dirty."

What campaign has Juan been watching?

Two. Challenge people? I thought this was a race for president. Not therapeutic reality show "Starting Over."

Why do I think this is horrible, no good, very bad advice? Well, for one ... this would help Barack how? The man is trying to become president. I don't know if Juan noticed this, but politicians have to do this thing called politicking. Even if Juan is right in his assumptions that Obama hopped on the back of Wright when it was expedient, then explained him away when he was inconvenient, what would be the benefit of Obama publicly saying, "My politics aren't based in any ideals or truth, just what will get me to the top fastest." Because, seriously Juan, being an unabashed, ruthless opportunist did wonderful things for the campaigns of Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton.

As for confronting black people about social issues, Obama has discussed this at townhall meetings and in stump speeches. What would Juan like him to do? Go on Jay Leno ripping up a picture of Lil' Wayne? Don sunglasses and go on a speaking tour with Bill Cosby?

Once again. He's running for this thing called "President of the United States." People running for president must finesse their way around such land mines, not toss up a prayer and pounce right on them.

This would be like asking John McCain to confront his past infidelities, boozing, wine, women, fighting and flaws and give a speech clearing up his cheating on his first wife with Cindy McCain, then going into an in-depth self-examination of the Savings & Loan scandal he was knee deep in as a member of the Keating 5 during the 80's. This would help him how?

The man could barely bring himself to untangle from his own "crazy" minister, John Hagee, until he started insulting Jewish people.

Politicians address controversial issues as they come up or when they're forced to or to stem the tide of negativity. Not to reignite a debate that has somewhat died down. And Williams tries to use the coming onslaught of attack ads featuring Rev. Jeremiah Wright, aka "The Straw Man," as the excuse why this is needed.

There is NO speech Obama could give that would change the minds of people who were wary of him in the first place. And there is no speech that can erase "GD America" from our collective memories. Once the YouTube Pandora's Box is opened you can't go back. It's done and there is no speech that could repair the damage of that.

Question: Has Barack Obama given enough "race speeches" already, or does Juan Williams have a point here? Is it solely the responsibility of "the black candidate" to address issues of race or should all candidates be held to the same standard?

It's Time for Another Obama Race Speech [Wall Street Journal Op-Ed]

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