"Obama 'cain't do nuthin' for ya, man',
if all you can do,
my Negro Candidates,
is be black
and holler "yes we can."



I happened into a post at Jack & Jill Politics today, which was a good thing, because the rant I posted in response to Artur Davis: What Went Wrong got to be long enough that it qualified as a bona fide blog post, AND it allows me to use one of the dozens of pictures I have collected of Obama doing something besides scowling at the camera, his preferred pose of late.

Writing Artur Davis in the same sentence with Obama is like comparing me to the Nobel Prize winner who went to my alma mater. Because the only thing Davis has that is remotely close to being in common with Obama is Harvard Law School. Obama's coattails cannot carry dead weight.

I just got off the phone with my dad about South Carolina politics to see this, and I'll say the same thing to you guys that I said to him and the crowd at Jack & Jill Politics.

"Black candidates for political office in this election cycle have about as much in common with the Obama campaign as the man in the moon."

None of them, incumbents or challengers, used his blueprint of broadening their message to be more inclusive, building a grassroots presence, decentralizing their campaign team authority, indoctrinating a core of true believers to spread their gospel, or integrating the web into every aspect of their campaigns.

None of them.

Millions of Obama supporters - some black, some white, some latino, some asian, some indian - almost all of them are sitting at home right now. The ones I talk to are looking for something to do, because they liked the sense of being on an important mission it gave them.

Replicating the kind of mission statement Obama had for a lesser office would be hard, but it is doable. Mobilizing the kind of enthusiastic core group of supporters, even in smaller numbers, is expensive, time consuming, and slow to come together. But now we know it can be done.

So why isn't ANYONE, from Deval Patrick on down, doing any of this? Do their political consultants have a multi-year non-compete clause in their contracts that says "you are obligated to pay my lazy, myopic ass a huge penalty fee if you refuse my services for your next election?"

You wouldn't know Thurbert Baker was running for the governor of Georgia if it wasn't for a slow news day once in awhile, where the local news trots out the canned shots of the candidates.

Black candidates are finally raising enough money to be competitive, but until they begin to mobilize communities instead of trying to beat the man at his own game of Big Money Donor Bingo and Major Endorsement Dog and Pony Shows, they need to take a picture of Obama's coattails, because that's as close as they are going to get to them.


"Obama 'cain't do nuthin' for ya, man',
if all you can do,
my Negro Candidates,
is be black
and holler "yes we can."


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