The Spectacle Blog

Obama and Helms: BFF?

By on 7.9.08 | 3:04PM

Sen. Barack Obama's campaign refused to make a statement about the death of Jesse Helms according to the Wall Street Journal:

A spokesman for Sen. Barack Obama said the candidate aspiring to be the country's first African-American president wouldn't have any comment.

It's probably smart for Obama to avoid talking about Helms, whose complex shift on racial issues isn't an easy thing to discuss. But it is sort of strange to hear that despite his refusal to comment, he not only voted for a resolution commemorating Helms's achievements, but he also co-sponsored it.

This shows how far Obama has come in alienating his more radical base in favor of looking like a centrist. Today's column from Roland Martin is pretty indicative of how many liberals feel about Helms:

It's easy in this age to say that Helms, who carried his dislike of African- Americans like a badge of honor for 30 years around the U.S. Senate, was a son of the South who was simply honoring good, old-fashioned Southern values. But when you stand in opposition to a bill that would, for the first time, give African-Americans from border to border the constitutionally guaranteed right to cast a vote, then I refuse to call you a stand-up person for the rights of every man, woman and child.

And don't try to suggest that because Helms hired several African-Americans in his office that he was still a good and decent guy who was misunderstood. No, he was very clear in how he looked at issues, and if you had the wrong skin color, sorry, but you didn't fully count as an American.

What is Obama doing sponsoring a resolution to commemorate someone who so clearly grates his followers? Why not simply vote for it?

UPDATE:

Speaking of his base, what about the Kossacks? Are they happy about the sponsorship? They certainly didn't like Helms. Just click here to look at everything they've posted.

Here's what "Al Obama" writes of Dr. No: "A rat bastard. And a champion of the Republican conservatives. ... Deserving of scorn, derision and opprobrium, even on the day of his descent into a most deserving fate."

Or bfuentes with this headline: "Right decides to beatify hatemonger Helms"

Or "latest outrage": "Helms was a disgrace to North Carolina and the nation, and what better time to celebrate our independence from the bigoted, hate-filled politics he stood for."

Every Democrat cosponsored this bill -- if Obama was so above politics, wouldn't he have done differently? And even as he hasn't, why is no one on Kos critical of him for doing what he's done? Sounds like they're giving the honcho from Chicago a lot of latitude.

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