Naturally, the Clarion-Ledger ran a story about how backwards we are here in Mississippi because we don't have enough black statewide elected officials. Naturally, they miss the forest for the trees. Then again, most of them haven't been outside of Fondren in so long they forget about the forest, I guess.
First, no black politician has been elected to statewide office since Reconstruction. True. Now, stipulate between 1877 and 1970 that this was impossible. I do. Why not since 1970? The examples that are always held up are Gary Anderson and Barbara Blackmon, "qualified" candidates for office (funny how "qualified" usually equals "has been around forever" and "Clarion-Ledger writer likes me") who were defeated in elections in 2003 and 2007. But let's look at qualifications.
Gary Anderson was a state bureaucrat forever, rising to budget cheif in the Musgrove administration. Wow. There's a qualification that should bowl people over when electing a state treasurer! Then he ran as the Trial Lawyer, I mean, Democratic candidate for Insurance Commissioner. What were his qualifications then? Well, Joey Langston and Dickie Scruggs liked him enough to throw boatloads of money at him. That's about as close to insurance as he ever got. Plus, how many people really pay attention past the third or fourth race on the ballot? The last argument for Anderson is that his opponents weren't as 'qualified,' though Tate Reeves has a financial background and Mike Chaney has actually worked in insurance. Plus Chaney had been around forever-surely this makes him qualified!
Barbara Blackmon was actually doing well-until her inane midsummer campaign tactic of swearing that she'd never had an abortion (thus implying Amy Tuck had). Never mind that Amy Tuck was a sitting Lt. Governor who had been run out of the Democrat party by Blackmon and her allies. That was about as smart as bathing with an operational toaster. Plus this also brought up her pro-abortion stance. Dumb campaigning doesn't equal racism. It equals dumb campaigning.
Second our state will not be adequately represented until we have a black statewide official. No, Sen. Simmons, our people are barely adequately represented now by most of our legislature, black or white. See: Franks, Jamie.
Third, political parties are segregated. Which is why the state legislature is controlled by white Republicans in both houses of our legislature. Oh, wait...
Then there was Dr. Rozeman's assertion that whites vote on social issues and blacks on economics. Funny how back in '04 the Gay Marraige Ban passed with around 90% of the vote. I guess all the black voters left their ballots blank when they got to that line. And funny how Haley Barbour ran on an economic platform and was elected overwhelmingly in the last statewide election.
Dr. Rozeman also asserted there were no black politicians who could win statewide elections. Eh, maybe. Mike Espy, I think, would probably have a disagreement there. The funny thing is, a black candidate probably would do better if he didn't have people like Dr. Rozeman pumping him up as "the black candidate." Barack Obama did his dead-level best not to be the "black candidate," which is probably one of the reasons that he'll be taking the oath of office tomorrow (though the faults of George W. Bush and John McCain probably have as much or more to do with that). Personally, to me, Obama was the elitist, hoity-toity, morally flexible, kind of air-headed candidate, not so much the black candidate.
One thing that was missing from the Clarion-Ledger article, of course, was a perspective from...the other side. We got a lot of talk about why whites won't vote for blacks, but none in the other direction. No white politician was quoted in the article. And of course, I guess they couldn't find a black Republican willing to out himself and comment. We're talking about a paper that once got quotes from Mississippi State students regarding a story about Ole Miss! Shoddy journalism all around.
Yeah, it's MLK day, so I guess in their liberal minds, this story works so well. After all, its got everything they love to see-race, bashing Mississippi, and politics. However, the day before our first black president will be sworn in, they might have been better served to write one about how our president-elect was judged not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character. But then again, they probably wouldn't feel as good about themselves and their own moral superiority otherwise.