Blacks and Obama

A reader writes:

I have to seriously take issue with the anti-Obama sentiment expressed by some of your black readers. I myself am black and college educated, but what I want to ask them is...what is it that you see in Hillary that makes her more substantial than Obama? That she's a senator? What's Obama? That she got shelled by the Right for a number of real or imagined sins and lived to fight another day? Is it that she's been First Lady (or is that she's married to the unofficial "first black president")? I have no problems with Hillary, and I like Bill quite a bit (and I'm not blind to his personal failings) and I fully agree that blacks shouldn't vote for Obama just because he's black, but at the same time, how does one come to the conclusion that Obama is, "NOT a serious person"? I didn't know that a former editor of the Harvard Law Review was lacking in substance or "seriousness" (which is one of the most arbitrary characteristics in our political discourse at the moment anyway, but that's another matter).

It is troubling to me that some would still hold up Colin Powell as "serious" when he went against his own judgment and helped deliver the Bush Administration the war it so very wanted with his U.N. presentation. However, Obama, a man who called what was to come with crystal clear accuracy back when speaking ill of the war was being equated to treason, is not serious. Speaking unpleasant truth to power is serious. Having the courage of your convictions is serious.

The e-mailer goes on to write:

"By the way what major policy reform has Obama proposed anyway? If he is really incensed about Iraq, why doesn't he stage a filibuster? Has he not watched "Mr Smith Goes to Washington." Hillary might be a closet conservative, but at least she is not pretending that she is the only Ivy league educated woman in America."

This is a specious argument at best. Obama, if anyone would care to look, has being doing great work on non-proliferation (are loose nukes "not serious"?) , he just released a very good environmental plan, and his health plan, while perhaps not as robust as Edwards' or Hillary's (do people think "Hillarycare is going to get an easy pass this time around?), is still good and would help a large swath of the population. Furthermore, to me at least,  Obama isn't trumpeting his degrees in some effort to try to make similar black folk jealous or the like (or to be condescending, which is the feeling I get from that particular e-mail); rather, I think it helps young black Americans to see a black man, committed to his wife and family with degrees from top American institutions of higher learning actually being considered for president. It might show more of our youth that, yes, they can come from humble beginnings and still do great things.

And the filibuster? He can't stand up there day after day by himself. The DEMOCRATS need to get together to end the Iraq War and stop getting scared every time the "stab in the back" machine gets revved up. Centrist Democrats (like a certain female running for president, ahem) can't have it both ways; they need to make a choice and stick by it. Fence sitting (or lacking the courage to stake out your ground on an issue ) is not serious.

And, finally, Ron Paul is "serious"? Google search on "Ron Paul + racist" and get back to me.