When you gonna criticize your hero, Tim?  Been gettin a lot of that.  There’s plenty to criticize, but one big one stands out for me.

Much is made of Barack Obama’s many trips to Ohio.  They had no appreciable impact on voter turnout in African American precincts, who voted over 90% Democratic.

I could be wrong, so please correct me if I am, but Barack Obama never went to a black church in Ohio during this cycle.  In fact, the rally in Cleveland on Sunday was not at a church, but in the CSU arena, which ODP could not, or would not fill (depending on who’s spinning you).  If you are the first black president of the United States, you’re a Democrat, and you hold a rally the Sunday before the mid-term election in Ohio, call me crazy, I think you have to start your day in a black church in Cleveland.

We are all quite aware of the pitfalls Barack Obama faces as our first black president.  He is also likely to be the only black president of the United States, for the foreseeable future, maybe forever.  That’s a lot of pressure.  He is being psychoanalyzed at his every turn, by people waiting for him to cross some imaginary line between elitist non-white to angry black man.  Barack Obama seems to be governing with an eye toward what a history book will say about his blackness 100 years from now, which explains the endless attempts at bi-partisanship with a Republican Party hell bent on destroying him.

That has to change.  It is stifling Barack Obama’s ability to advocate for his beliefs, and elect Democrats.  For example, “don’t ask don’t tell”.  I’ve been willing, quite vocally so, to give Barack more breathing room on this than most in the LGBT community.  Well, the time is up.  If something doesn’t get passed repealing DADT  in this lame duck session, it won’t get passed.  This fear of looking anything less than a transformational post-partisan non-boat-rocker is killing our base.  And it’s not getting policy passed.  It has to stop.

We all know the Rovian expression, attack your opponent’s greatest strength.  That’s what the teabaggers have been doing since the first email smear went out in 2007, right up to today.  Republicans know that Barack Obama’s identity, his diversity, is responsible for his presidency far more than he is reasonably willing to admit, and they want to make him afraid to tap that.  They’ve succeeded, and Barack alone can reverse this.

By quite visibly going about not being a black man, at least on the Sunday before an election in Cleveland, Ohio, Barack Obama is handcuffing his ability to approach the 98% Democrat, 10% TURNOUT voting bloc that will never abandon him – African American voters.  There’s a lot of ways that Barack Obama helped create the Ohio result in 2010, but to me, that’s the most damaging.

Barack needs to black it up a bit.  Teabaggers be damned.  They can’t hate you any more than they already do, Barack.

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  • Jen

    I canvassed an African American voter who wasn’t certain whether Barack Obama was a Democrat or a Republican. I don’t blame the voter for this.

  • Um. WOW! Maybe it’s not the blackness then.I’ve read everything that’s been said here and elsewhere about why we got our electoral teeth kicked in and the thing that keeps coming up in my mind is a complete and total failure to communicate a message. Obama on the many accomplishments in his first two years and Ted likewise in Ohio. Failure to be able to tell that story along with the Lehman/Wall Street story is the reason we lost this one. We actually asked the campaign many times to pivot in this way and never really saw it.

  • Thomlaw

    I don’t recall black mayors and other black elected officals being used by state
    or national party leaders in media spots on TV or radio was this intentional or


  • Anonymous

    wow … i’m sick of all the racism i see here all the time

  • Jen

    Also there was not an engagement with new/sporadic voters of 08 in the municipal races of 09. There was alot of organizing around issues in 09, but I think a civic engagement/voter education program would have been valuable. Some people I canvassed were not aware that there was an election in 09, and not aware that they didn’t have to re-register to vote in order to participate in it. Also just alot of wrong phone numbers, bad contact info and people who moved (and unaware that they should do a change of address with the board of elections).

  • WOW. So he shoulda rolled the motorcade up on dubs with spinnin’ rims to a free Kanye West concert after having done the Cabbage Patch down the aisle of a Baptist Church with his new fade given to him by a local barber? That would have done it?

  • Anonymous

    Wow, this is the point where I remind people that the post is the opinion of the author alone and not the rest of us.

    What’s next? Lee wasn’t Jewish enough? Was Boyce and McGee-Brown not “black” enough?

    Tim, Obama’s failure is precisely the point I agreed with you on in your Strickland post, except more so. Obama gave weak defense of his record so far and he failed to articulate a message, any message, as to what a continued Democratic-controlled Congress would bring. Instead, he played mostly defensive messaging.

    Seriously, wow.

  • Modern hits the nail on the head here. If anyone on Obama’s communications staff still have a job after this debacle, I’d be amazed.

  • Joe99

    One could say perhaps Obama didn’t want to go to a black Church in Cleveland because he is secretly a Muslim but that’s unlikely true but some in America believe it. The one thing they do believe is that he has been a complete failure on jobs. Unemployed people have lots of free time to watch TV and they see Michelle on vacation spending their money in Spain and Barak hanging out with Paul McCartney and no action on jobs. If the people actually SAW him making the same type of effort on jobs that he does picking the NCAA tournament on ESPN, the midterm results might have not been as historic. People watch FOX news and the Obama administration makes delivering the message that the President is out of touch with the ‘folks’ very easy for them. ‘Blacking it up’ is unlikely to work becasue there were too many voters who voted in 2008 who are never going to vote again, but some real action on jobs and perception managment (read: less golf, basketball and vactions) might help.

  • mvirenicus

    not sure whether obama is a dem or rep. sounds more like a policy problem to me. that’s what *i’ve* been saying all along.

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