Barack Obama: America’s First Black President–If He Were a Republican
Image compliments of Lima’s Flickr
By Thought Merchant
When Barack Obama was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 one thing was absolutely clear: he would have had a much brighter political future if he were a republican.
“Many black men simply cannot afford to raise a family — and too many have made the sad choice not to.”
“There are a lot of men out there who need to stop acting like boys; who need to realize that responsibility does not end at conception; who need to know that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child but the courage to raise one.”
These quotes are not from some right wing political pundit, but directly from Barack Obama on the subject of Black fatherhood and responsibility.
Because of the combination of perceived Republican hostility to African American political sensibilities and Black Republicans being caricatured as sambo-like Uncle Tom’s (sometimes justifiably), little notion is given to the possibility of a Black Republican who is passionately concerned about the issues facing the Black community, but unwilling to shuck and jive for the racist elements of the Republican base.
Many people fail to remember that had it not been for his role as Secretary of State in providing the arguments for the Iraq War, Collin Powell’s immense popularity among Americans would have made him an undeniable force as a Republican political candidate.
Ironically, Colin Powell staunchly supported affirmative action, and illustrated moderate political opinions on a variety of core Republican issues. However, Powell probably would have obtained great support among Republican Party big wigs as a candidate in an attempt to break the choke hold the Democratic Party has on Black voters, and assure Republicans political victory in a presidential election.
Barack Obama Would Have Filled a Vacuum in the Republican Party
Before the rather poor assembly of current Republican candidates was gathered, the Republican party was not beyond supporting Black candidates who maintained an organic concern for the Black community, but voiced a perspective that would not alienate the Republican base. As former Republicn National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman told the NAACP at their 2005 convention:
“Some Republicans gave up on winning the African American vote, looking the other way or trying to benefit politically from racial polarization,” he declared to a somewhat dubious crowd. “I am here as Republican chairman to tell you we were wrong.”
The Republican Party would have given Barack Obama the leeway to create a political agenda that would address issues affecting the Black community in a new and bold way that he could not even consider as a Democrat. This is because Obama must appease the White liberal fear of him seeming too “Black” on the issues, and potentially alienating White voters in a general election.
However, for the converse reason, Republicans would have given Obama the ability to craft a strong agenda on issues of race that was innovative in dealing with problems of the Black Community, while still encouraging their political participation. Tragically, Democrats will continue to inhibit Obama from being viewed (even remotely) as a champion of the Black community because of their constant fear of his perception as seeming too “radical” on race.
Its is this political castration when it comes to African American core issues that makes a Democratic Obama candidacy a complete wast of time, energy, and scarce resources for Black America.
A Republican Barack Obama would have garnered the huge political war chest of the Republican party, maintained the charm and persona that currently makes him appealing to Americans overall, and would have been able to maintain an assertive platform on race that would have greatly served the Black community.
Unfortunately, Obama must succumb to the stagnant attitude of the Democratic Party on any issue of race that is outside the acceptable political range for his presidential candidacy.
In conclusion, my point is not to champion the Republican Party as the salvation for all that ails African Americans in our country. Clearly the Republican party has shown hostility to many of the core concerns of the Black electorate .
What I seek to illustrate is that because of its history of strong support Black Republican candidates, and its willingness to allow policy that would benefit the Black Community in a way that would break their collective affiliation with the Democratic party, while maintaining their political base, the Republican party would have been a much stronger spring board for Barack Obama to have launched his political aspirations.
As a Republican, Barack Obama could have been the first Black President of the United States, as opposed to what Democrats want, but will never attain: Barack Obama being a United States President—that happens to be Black.