Archives for November 2012

What ‘Lincoln’ leaves out, and why it matters

After Nov. 6, listening to all the explanations for President Obama’s win, I was surprised at the surprise in some quarters about the enthusiastic participation of certain voters, and troubled by the way those votes were marginalized. It goes something like this: Look at all those blacks and Hispanics and Asians and women and young people who put President Obama over the top. How and why did this happen?

It happened because Americans stood in long lines to exercise a cherished right, and shouldn’t everyone be happy about that? When strict voter ID bills are scrutinized, not because they might unfairly single out some Americans but because they don’t cull out enough of them, then that’s a problem. And when people are shocked that the powerless make their voices heard, then it’s time for a history lesson.

Mitt Romney adviser Stuart Stevens, in The Washington Post, spins his candidate’s defeat into a philosophical win, in part, because after all, he won voters with household incomes over $50,000 a year and a majority of whites. It makes me wonder where the dreams and ideals of those in a different zip code and tax bracket fit in the national imagination. While filmmakers are in the business to make profitable entertainment, not conduct civics classes, the former can include some of the latter, especially when that’s the point. That’s why I was ultimately disappointed in “Lincoln,” and why it meant more to me than it should.

Is a diverse presidential ticket necessary for a GOP recovery?

After a resounding Electoral College loss in the 2012 presidential election, many have offered reasons and advice for Republicans hoping to turn it around in 2016. There’s been no shortage of blame heaped on Mitt Romney for a personality and message that never came into focus, except when the candidate was caught on tape complaining about the 47 percent of non-Romney voters or suggesting that Obama voters were bought with gifts of government services.

But the loudest chorus has been repeating the chant “demography is destiny,” noting the failure of the GOP to woo and win African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and the young, especially young female voters. Casting a clear eye on America in the future and the Democratic ticket that prevailed in the past two elections, will either party – particularly Republicans trying to reach out – ever again field a ticket that looks like Romney/Ryan and most every other in the history of the United States?

Paula Broadwell and the public’s right to know it all

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Decisions she made put Paula Broadwell in the headlines. They put me across the street from her house at 6 o’clock on Monday morning — that’s what I told myself as I stood with a cluster of reporters and photographers looking for signs of life.

For Charlotte neighbors Paula Broadwell and Rielle Hunter, the spotlight’s intense

CHARLOTTE — Just a couple of months ago, Charlotte was enjoying its time in the spotlight, host of a Democratic National Convention that gave the city’s profile a national and international boost. The latest news out of the New South state is just as prominent but in another category altogether.

It involves reporters staking out the upscale Dilworth neighborhood, craving a sighting of resident Paula Broadwell and quizzing acquaintances on every detail in the life of the woman who sent the e-mails that prompted the investigation that ended the career of CIA Director David Petraeus. Already, The Daily Beast has pointed out Broadwell’s proximity in distance and notoriety to Rielle Hunter, the mother of John Edwards’s youngest daughter.

Will President Obama get the respect he deserves now?

In the final days of the just-ended, very long presidential campaign, when supportive crowds booed President Obama’s mention of opponent Mitt Romney and the GOP Congress, he delivered his usual response, “Don’t boo, vote. Vote!” then added, “Voting is the best revenge.” He was he hammered for it, of course, with Romney interpreting it to mean that Obama wanted supporters to “vote for revenge.”

Actually, no. The president, by paraphrasing an old saying, was picking up on a mood of pent-up frustration felt by many who had voted for him in 2008. No one ever expected a president of the United States to govern without criticism or partisan sniping. What they hoped was that Barack Obama — a man born without wealth or privilege, whose life story exhibited the best of the American dream — would, once he worked his way to the White House, be accorded the simple respect due that special office.

Michelle Obama, Mariah and company try to close the deal in North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Election eve in North Carolina had it all, entertainment, sports and the first lady. In a lineup that included the NBA’s Derek Fisher and diva Mariah Carey in a gown so form-fitting she needed an assist up the stairs to the microphone, it was Michelle Obama who closed the show on Monday as she asked the crowd, “Are we ready to work for this?”

Kamala Harris: Focused on Job, Not SCOTUS

From advocating for health care reform to helping broker a settlement in the foreclosure crisis, California attorney general Kamala Harris has been as out-front on issues as she has in her vocal backing of Barack Obama. “I’ve been supporting the president for a long time; he’s been supporting me for a long time.”

A pioneer in her current position as well as in her previous post as district attorney of San Francisco, the Howard University graduate is the daughter of an Asian-Indian mother, a breast cancer specialist, and a Jamaican-American father, a Stanford economics professor. Harris said she grew up “surrounded by a bunch of adults who spent full time marching and shouting about this thing called justice.”

Harris spoke with The Root about issues, from prison reform to marriage equality.

Jill Biden and daughter hit issues checklist in North Carolina stop

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – It was a mother-daughter double team on the day before the last day of early voting in North Carolina. Jill Biden and daughter, Ashley Biden, spoke to an overflow crowd at the Obama campaign office in this town just north of Charlotte on Friday.

Meeting Gloria Steinem and making peace — sort of

It’s not that I know Gloria Steinem. But we do have history – personal and political – that not so neatly mirrors the way African Americans and women struggled with society and each other in fights for equal justice.