Monday, January 14, 2008

Obama and Nutter - Repeating Myself

Clem Murray/Phila Inquirer

"The country needs to elect a black president someday soon. Then we can get past race as an issue. Obama may be the one.

My hesitation due to his slim resume is he will be a lousy president because I can’t forget the two worst mayors Philly ever had were Wilosn Goode and John Street- they were both educated and smart but in office were utter failures...."
Wendy Whinner

Wendy wrote that in response to a thoughtful piece on the presidential candidates by Susie Madrak over at Suburban Guerrilla. Both Wendy and Suzie make excellent points.

But. I'm tired of all the talk framing Barack Obama as the new Messiah.

It's insulting to the Black community in a deeply insidious way. Vesting so much expectation and power in the first Black presidential candidate suggests he might be the only qualified Black presidential candidate.

Which is of course, absurd. There could have been others. There will be more. But Black or White, they must be qualified. And to anoint Barack Obama as The One is over the top, especially for such an untested leader.

Especially when you consider that here in Philly we just inaugurated an Obama-esque Black mayor who could in fact bring salvation to our city -- Michael Nutter.

Philly's savior doesn't have Obama's looks, but he preaches a potent message of change. One big difference: Nutter possesses the far more important qualities of business experience, political savvy and gravitas.

I said back in May when Nutter won the mayoral primary:

It's odd, for example, that in a city with a strong African American majority, a black man widely seen by other blacks as "not one of us," elitist and having more in common with whites still won big.

It's even odder that nobody's made the Barack Obama connection.

Michael Nutter, while 100% African American, was raised like a middle class white kid. He walks and talks like one. Don't get all knee-jerk liberal on me, I'm reporting a consensus even Nutter acknowledges.

Growing up, the Nutters they didn't talk about race, they focused on education and hard work. On pride and self respect. On ethical behavior and correct English (Nutter's father eschewed ghetto-speak). They weren't rich but Nutter got scholarships to a private Catholic prep school. And to Penn, where he earned a Wharton business degree for crying out loud.

Michael Nutter's got his funky little humanizing quirks too: he worked as a Disco DJ, couldn't cut it in medical school "and the world is a safer place" he reports with his trademark dry humor and clear diction. Married 16 years, he has a 23-year-old son from "a previous relationship." Ahem.

Nutter's more than a bit of a nerd and a loner, but he's got creds. That Wharton degree got him placed at Xerox and as a financial advisor before he joined the political arena.
Michael Nutter is 50 years old, with a resume of impressive public service including 16 years on Phila City Council, working uphill against corporate pork and old time political greed.

I answered Wendy with a post of my own on Suzie's blog.

Wilson Goode and John Street may have paper credentials, but both are pedestrian politicians with neither vision nor gut-level belief in themselves or the people they serve.

Both worshiped more at the Church of Corporate Greed than in the crumbling schools and neighborhoods of genuine need. They took their constituents for granted and let them down.

White mayors have done the same, it's true, but sad to say they've had something Black mayors have lacked: undivided agendas. Without that essential political currency, Goode and Street are just two more failures and liars.

Joe Clark, Bill Green and Ed Rendell, not a saint among them -- yet in their time, smart, credentialed, connected and White, three of the best (White, Black or Hispanic) mayors in the country.

Michael Nutter might just crack the code in Philly.

I don't think Barack Obama can do that yet for the country.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nutter could be president some day, he's that good.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nutter and Obama are similar but I have to say I think Obama's more qualified. He's a Senator.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Ross Associates, Inc. said...

Obama is beyond qualified, and for all of you who say he isnt I wonder how many of you voted for Bush?

5:16 PM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

Wait, what? If we don't think Obama's qualified enough, that means we voted for Bush?? How do you make that leap?

Tell me please, how exactly is Obama beyond qualified? Truly, tell me his experience, his plans, his strategies, his first steps, his abilities and qualifications to Lead, Govern, Globally Negotiate from day one.

That's not a sarcastic question. I wish somebody would help me see how his admitedly glorious message translates into reality and action.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I happened upon this blog - what a stupid statement by sally swift. Due to obvious circumstances, Hillary Clinton by far is more well known than Barack Obama. So, naturally all the rhetoric is going to state that she is more experienced and he is not, regardless of all the facts that refute this claim.

I am from Illinois, so I am much more familiar with the many achievements of Barack Obama. Just because you are ignorant and have not bothered to educate yourself on why Obama is very qualified to lead this country, does not diminish the fact that he is. And I am certainly not going to waste my time trying to convince someone with obvious biases why Obama would be a great president.

Maybe you should spend more time being open minded and researching the hard facts instead of ignorantly speaking against a great man that you obviously do not know.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

Why would you call me "stupid" and "ignorant" simply because we disagree?

I've made my case here numerous times, showing--I believe--that I am articulate, informed and intelligent. Therefore, I should be someone worthy of discourse with you.

But instead of engaging me (and possibly others) in worthwhile debate about this most critical election, you simply call me names and move on.

Too bad for all of us.

3:05 PM  

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