John McLaughlin Group: Obama "Fits The Stereotype..(Of) An Oreo"

[media id=5785] [media id=5786] (h/t Heather) Barack Obama may be our first post-racial politics candidate, but it's clear the media has not caught

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Barack Obama may be our first post-racial politics candidate, but it's clear the media has not caught up to that paradigm, especially any show that includes John McLaughlin and Pat Buchanan amongst its panel. Kudos to Media Matters, who caught it first:

On the edition of the syndicated program The McLaughlin Group that aired the weekend of July 11-13, while discussing recent comments made by the Rev. Jesse Jackson about Sen. Barack Obama, host John McLaughlin said: "Question: Does it frost Jackson, Jesse Jackson, that someone like Obama, who fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an Oreo -- a black on the outside, a white on the inside -- that an Oreo should be the beneficiary of the long civil rights struggle which Jesse Jackson spent his lifetime fighting for?"

If I had been a guest on that panel, I think my jaw would have dropped right then. Oreo? Really, that's the best place to take this conversation? To his credit, Peter Beinart does tell McLaughlin that it's an unfair depiction, but McLaughlin perseveres, thinking he's caught Beinart in a rhetorical trap when Beinart dismisses the notion that Obama should give as much weight to issues of discrimination in incarceration.

BEINART: But...Barack Obama doesn't talk about jobs and healthcare? He talks about it all the time. If he wanted to talk about the fact that there are too many people in prison, then you're asking him to do something that will lose him the election. That is politically...no serious political strategist...
MCLAUGHLIN: Oh...oh...oh...[crosstalk]
BEINART: He is a man trying to win the presidency, John.
MCLAUGHLIN: But then he's exactly what Jeremiah Wright says he is. He will do whatever is necessary to win.

So hold up here, McLaughlin. That he doesn't talk about prison rates in the black community but encourages fathers (on Father's Day, mind you) to be present in their children's lives, he's doing whatever is necessary to win? And then you had to give the floor to Pat Buchanan:

MCLAUGHLIN: Does Jackson have a legitimate point?
BUCHANAN: No, he doesn't. I'll tell you why, John. Here's why. What Barack Obama is saying is the message that needs to be heard. It's the Bill Cosby message. It is "Look, this is our responsibility. These are our families. White society is not responsible for our kids dropping out of schools or using drugs or going on welfare. We are." What Jesse Jackson says, is the white community's responsible and they've got to solve our problems.


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Oh help me. Stereotype much, Pat? This is what passes as elevated public television political debate in this country. The omnipresent Michelle Bernard tries to get this back on track and get the old guard to catch up on post-race politics:

BERNARD: I want to go back to the point you made about whether or not Barack Obama is an Oreo, because if Barack Obama is an Oreo, then every member of this generation of African Americans is an Oreo, because we stand on the shoulders of the people who fought for our rights and all of us say that you cannot blame "The Man" or white racism for everything that ails the black community.

Pam's House Blend looks at that "nugget of truth"...

UPDATE: Media Matters is circulating a petition to ask John McLaughlin to apologize on air.

Transcripts below the fold:

MCLAUGHLIN: Does it frost Jackson-Jesse Jackson-that someone like Obama, who fits the stereotype blacks once labeled as an "Oreo" -black on the outside, while white on the inside-that an "Oreo" should be the beneficiary of the long civil rights struggle which Jesse Jackson spent his lifetime fight for? Peter Beinart?

BEINART: Who knows what Jesse Jackson is thinking. But that is a completely unfair depiction of Barack Obama, who...the genius of Barack Obama is that he moves seamlessly between the African American world and the white world in a way that even Bill Clinton couldn't possibly match. And the tragedy of this experience is you know who's spoken eloquently for many, many years about personal responsibility in the black community? Jesse Jackson. He of all people should recognize in fact that what Barack Obama is saying is not contrary to the message of the civil rights movement, it is in keeping with that message.

MCLAUGHLIN: Let's nail this down a little bit more, for the sake of Jackson. The question is this: Jackson's point of contention is this, this is the exit question. The point of contention is that instead of Obama solely lecturing African Americans on parental duty, particularly fathers, he should have also given equal attention to the large and many believe prejudicial incarceration rate for blacks, their lack of economic opportunity and other public policy issues that limit choices for black males. Why doesn't Obama hit that as hard as he hits individual parental responsibility? That's what Jackson's complaining about.

BEINART: But...Barack Obama doesn't talk about jobs and healthcare? He talks about it all the time. If he wanted to talk about the fact that there are too many people in prison, then you're asking him to do something that will lose him the election. That is politically...no serious...political strategist

MCLAUGHLIN: Oh...oh...oh...[crosstalk]

BEINART: He is a man trying to win the presidency, John.

MCLAUGHLIN: But then he's exactly what Jeremiah Wright says he is. He will do whatever's necessary to win.

BEINART: He's a practical politician.

CLIFT: This is a generational shift. Jesse Jackson, Jr. put out a statement basically saying "Dad, time to leave the stage." There is a disconnect in terms of style and tactics from the older civil rights generation to the generation that Obama is from and that he's trying to attract.

MCLAUGHLIN: Does Jackson have a legitimate point?

BUCHANAN: No, he doesn't. I'll tell you why, John. Here's why. What Barack Obama is saying is the message that needs to be heard. It's the Bill Cosby message. It is "Look, this is our responsibility. These are our families. White society is not responsible for our kids dropping out of schools or using drugs or going on welfare. We are." What Jesse Jackson says, is the white community's responsible and they've got to solve our problems.

MCLAUGHLIN: Isn't this the oddity of the century, where a Barack Obama is a conservative and Jesse Jackson is the liberal? Isn't that an oddity?

[laughter]

BUCHANAN: Well, Jesse Jackson used to talk this way...

BERNARD: It is an oddity, but I want to go back to the point you made about whether or not Barack Obama is an Oreo, because if Barack Obama is an Oreo, then every member of this generation of African Americans is an Oreo, because we stand on the shoulders of the people who fought for our rights and all of us say that you cannot blame "The Man" or white racism for everything that ails the black community.

MCLAUGHLIN: What about changing public policy where it needs to be changed?

BERNARD: Well, you change public policy, but, but....
[crosstalk]

BERNARD: If I could finish my point, when Jesse Jackson came out and said when he gave his quote unquote apology the next day was Barack Obama should be demanding more government programs for African Americans and that's wrong.

CLIFT: As Jack White, a former Time Magazine writer, says that it's disorienting for the black community when "The Man" might be the guy in the Oval Office and so everybody's making some adjustments here, but Barack Obama is handling his role beautifully and that is to relate to America as a broad population.

About Nicole Belle

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Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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