Monday, June 02, 2008

Barack Obama's Legacy

There is no question that Barack Obama will go down in history as one of the most significant individuals in US political history. Love him or hate him, he is huge on the political landscape. This is true, regardless if he wins or loses. He is the first African-American candidate that was able to break the color barrier and transcend virtually all ethnic groups. But will that be his legacy?

Certainly that would have been the case at the beginning of this election cycle with his theme of "unity" seen through out his literature, commercials, and messages. But will that be his historic legacy? The following are some areas that could harm that reputation.

* The issue of elitism
His words are now famous: "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And it's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." Such elitist rhetoric tends to divide, not unify.

* His United Church of Christ

Obama finally walked away from his beloved church of twenty years, but most would describe that action as "too little, too late." This came after his former pastor, Rev. Wright, was found yelling "God d--- America" and sounding very supportive of the attacks the US has faced on video and a Catholic priest, Michael Pfleger who described Hillary Clinton as an entitled racist, who believed she should get the nomination just because she is white. This offends most Americans and was the straw that "broke the camel's back" and lead to Obama breaking ties with the church.
* Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama stirred quite a ruckus when she said that "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country," she told a Milwaukee crowd, "because it feels like hope is making a comeback." This was shocking to most Americans. We may not like some of the things are country does, but I am proud of this nation every day. Most Americans fit that bill.
Later Mrs. Obama complained about her huge student loans she and her husband have had to pay for their undergraduate and law educations. She doesn't mention that, partly as a result of those educations, they both made over $4 million last year in salaries and book sales. Furthermore, she failed to mention that she attended Princeton and Barack attended Columbia, and that they both attended Harvard Law School. They probably should have went to more affordable schools or, at the very least, be extremely grateful to have the opportunity to attend the most elite schools in the country and to have the incomes to afford such. This separates them from the rest of us.

Any of these on their own would leave a devastating impact on a politician's legacy. Combined they have the potential of taking an individual who has clearly worked very hard to appeal to many and making him one who is historically recognized as acceptable to few.

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Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your article is pretty divisive itself.

4:22 PM  

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