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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Juan Williams, Thy Sin Is… Timothy Egan’s?!

posted by on January 17 at 9:05 AM

I recently criticized Juan Williams for not identifying HRC supporters as such when they were asked to comment on Obama’s campaign. Now the New York Times’ Timothy Egan has committed the same sin:

When [voters] see black this or black that — even a positive black first — it’s trouble.

I say this from the experience of having followed as a reporter two of the most talented African-American politicians in the land — Norm Rice, the former Seattle mayor, and Ron Sims, the chief executive of King County, the 12th most populous county in the United States, which includes Seattle. In their earlier campaigns, race was not a factor because people were too nice, in our Northwest, Scandinavian-liberal tradition, to bring it up.

And so it seemed reasonable that both men could step up. Rice ran for governor, and so did Sims, in separate open elections. Rice lost to a man who became America’s first Chinese-American governor. Sims lost to a woman.

In both cases, barriers were broken. But the ceiling seemed to remain only for blacks. What happened to them is what could lie ahead for Obama.

“He’s got to stay away from race,” said Sims when I spoke to him this week. “He’s got to stay away from it. Race remains the one thing a black cannot talk about openly in a political campaign in this country.”

Sims endorsed Hillary Clinton in September.

Besides that, Egan’s tale seems like a radical oversimplification of the Gregoire-Sims primary race. Remember, Sims broached the sacred income tax question? But in any case, identifying Sims as a Clinton supporter would have sufficed.

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I completely agree. Advocating for an overhaul of the tax structure in implementing an income tax is what killed Sims' nomination, not the color of his skin. While I personally think a state income tax is a fairer way to go, it is overwhelmingly unpopular in this state. His campaign scared the hell out of a lot of people. He is also much more liberal than Gregoire, which plays well in Seattle, but not the rest of the state.

Posted by Reverse Polarity (formerly SDA in SEA) | January 17, 2008 10:26 AM

So, what about what Egan and Sims did say? That race needs to be talked about. Can we talk about that?

Notice how urban liberal mayors of any kind don't move up in Washington State, too. Maybe it's not race, maybe it's being urban and liberal. Maybe moderates outside Seattle just don't like folks from that urban liberal archipelago we Sloggers live inside so comfortably. Maybe moderates nationwide don't like urbanliberals, and that's why Democrats have usually lost the Presidency for the last sixty years. Obama folks say he will magically overcome this factor and that right wing smear machine will be foiled because Obama will give inspirational speeches that unite us all.


Here's the problem: apart form Iowa, what evidence is there of this?

Another problem:
if someone brings up the need to deal with terrorists attacking on day 1, or drugs, or race, or how he said he was against the war then said he might not have been against the war if he'd been in the SEnate at the time, or any of the potential negatives, the Obama supporters cry foul, instead of explaining how he is going to handle those issues when they are the subject of millions of dollars of right wing attack ads.

Posted by unPC | January 17, 2008 10:26 AM

There will be plenty of chances to get more evidence between now and 2/9.

Posted by Mike of Renton | January 17, 2008 10:54 AM

Sims only came out for a state income tax after he was done. She was kicking his ass. Sims had much going against him. Sound Transit and King County being big negatives statewide in 2004.

Posted by whatever | January 17, 2008 1:07 PM

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