Maybe He’s Not Black Enough.
By Thought Merchant
One thing that is evidently clear from the recent fundraising decrease of Obama is that he has been loosing the debates. Honestly, he’s been losing them badly. Now from the title of this post many will say its unfair of me to question Obama’s racial authenticity. My point in doing so stems from acknowledging a certain tradition among African American leaders—they usually can handle a verbal jousting with finesse.
Its well known that within the oratorical tradition of African Americans, the ability to think on ones ones feet has been considered a prerequisite to moving the crowd, or getting your “hustle on.” From players to pimps and preachers to politicians, the gift of gab is something that has always been an asset to members of the Black Community. That being said, why is “Brotha Barack” coming up short when it comes to these debates?
Compare Obama to past African American presidential contenders, and his verbal jousting skills seem pathetic. Jesse Jackson in the 1988 Democratic race had oratory style and flair. Al Sharpton in 2004 handled himself in the debates with aplomb. Even Alan Keyes handles his Republican peers more adeptly than Obama handles Democrats. Then what is the problem? Honestly, Obama has no excuse.
Barack Obama graduated with high honors from Harvard Law School and was editor of their Law Review. He worked as a Civil Rights attorney and taught Constitutional Law. Debates of any type should be a breeze for Obama. Yet he flounders with “umms” and “uhs” like a rank amateur. My point is this: with all that fancy education Barack Obama has, he cannot muster the traditional oratorical style of great African Americans speakers of the past. Frankly, he can’t even muster the talents of good African American speakers of the past. At least not when it counts, which is clearly in these debates. Why? Maybe its because Obama has always been divorced from these traditions within the Black Community.
It is this lack of ability to be vocally inspirational in these debates that has caused Barack to loose support amongst Democrats. And it is Obama’s inability to meet the high standards of African American oratorical tradition that has denied him full support within the Black Community in the first place. So when it comes to his ability to rock the microphone–Obama clearly has not been Black enough.