Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, April 21, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page B-5



 Mountain Views News Saturday, April 21, 2012 

HOWARD Hays As I See It


Say it isn’t so; the first black president of the United States – the first 
black president of any majority-white nation in history – is a racist? 
This certainly isn’t something that I, or any other conservative I know, 
would conclude, but the Obama White House seems pretty concerned 
that Liberal orthodoxy and accepted standards of judgment might just 
come to that conclusion. They’re in panic mode, and understanding 
why will go a long way to explaining one of the key choices represented 
in this next presidential election.

The Obama White House is in panic mode because of a recent discovery that the campaign’s 
Tumblr account shows a picture of a very lily white staff at some sort of impromptu meeting. 
They realize that a similar picture of any corporate-America gathering or, God forbid, 
Conservative or Tea Party gathering, would be sufficient evidence to indict, try and convict 
the organization of blatant racism and bigotry toward blacks.

Sounds silly doesn’t it, but this is the standard Liberals use to determine whether racism 
exists. It’s called “outcomes-based” analysis. One doesn’t need to prove that a company, 
employer or political candidate actually intends to discriminate; all one has to do is 
show that the racial or ethnic make-up of their organization is different than the general 
population’s, and it’s proof of racism. The Justice Department has used this standard in 
suits against banks.

Politico has reported that the Obama campaign is making desperate overtures to find 
African Americans to work on the campaign. These include urgent emails pleading with 
supporters to help them and requests to the Congressional Black Caucus to move some of 
their black staffers into the campaign offices.

As readers know, I am not a fan of President Obama, but I know he’s a really smart guy – 
probably pretty sharp as well – and I have full confidence that his current staff was selected 
based on a vigorous vetting based on the criteria of finding the most qualified candidates 
and/or the most committed candidates. That’s exactly as it should be.

Every candidate, every office-holder, and every employer should be free to hire the best 
candidate they can find even if this includes a loyalty or philosophical leaning criteria. I 
wouldn’t expect Catholics to be forced to hire atheists any more than I would expect an 
atheist organization to be forced to hire an evangelical. We should all be allowed to hire 
those who will advance our cause or our company best.

The moral obligation of such a pursuit was a hallmark of Dr. Martin Luther King’s efforts. 
No greater moral weight could possibly be attached to his cry that we should “not be judged 
by the color of [our] skin, but by the content of [our] character”. It was his dream that we 
achieve a color-blind society. If you’re looking for the most honest, the most intelligent, the 
hardest working or the most loyal employee, race should not be a reason to hire or reject 

As the great economist, Thomas Sowell observed, there is no proof whatsoever to the 
proposition that all skills, talents, or beliefs are equally distributed among all races or 
ethnicities. It’s perfectly reasonable to find out that young, college-aged whites are more 
sympathetic toward and willing to sacrifice their time and energy for the most liberal of all 
presidents. I would expect them to be equally as devoted to John Kerry, were he president 
instead of Barak Obama. There’s no racism in this.

Likewise, I have no problem with the fact that over 75% of NBA players are black. Neither 
of these outcomes – the Obama re-election team or the NBA teams – suggests to me that the 
decision making was racially biased. The head of Obama’s re-election team and the heads 
of the NBA teams all want to win. They don’t care a rat’s fanny whether the people who can 
help them do it are white, black, small, tall, skinny, fat, clean shaven or full bearded. They 
want the best and most committed. 

In addition to perpetuating the myth that racial bigotry is proven simply by head counts, 
the other injustice here is that a fair number of talented, energetic young people, who have 
already sacrificed for this president, are going to have to be fired to make room for others 
who are less qualified or less committed. Nice way to reward effort and loyalty!!

This election offers a clear choice. Do we want liberal pin-heads in out-of-touch Washington 
deciding who has to be fired and who has to be hired based on their fanciful and inconsistent 
assessments of racial balance, or do we want freedom to hire the best we can find.

Interestingly enough, and with all due respect to Mitt Romney’s ideas and vision, this 
election is also shaping up to be a contest between the philosophies of two black men: Barak 
Obama and the Reverend Martin Luther King.

Gregory J. Welborn is an independent opinion columnist. He writes and speaks frequently on political, 
economic and social issues. His columns have appeared in publications such as The Los Angeles Daily 
News, The Orange County Register, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He can be reached at

“We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's 
like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like 
to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old - and that's the 
criterion by which I'll be selecting my judges.” - Barack Obama 

“I think I'm an actor because I have very strong imagination and empathy. 
I never studied acting, but those two qualities are exactly the qualities that 
make for an activist.” - Susan Sarandon 

Soon after leaving college, I was walking down Broadway on Capitol Hill 
in Seattle with a gay friend of mine, when a car of yahoos pulled up and through opened 
windows shouted, “Faggots!” I jerked around to do something (I don’t know what), when 
my friend grabbed my arm and quietly admonished, “Just ignore it – just move on.”

It’s the only time that’s happened to me, and I remember it to this day. I also recall being 
struck by the realization that for my friend, it was something he’d long before learned to 
deal with as a routine occurrence.

President Obama in his quote was talking about empathy as it relates to judges, while Susan 
Sarandon related it to activism. I cited them together knowing the juxtaposition of “activist” 
and “judges” would rile colleagues on the right-side of this page. Also, because three 
recent stories brought a renewed appreciation for how a capacity for empathy, to ability to 
get beyond superficial coverage and understand the effects on real people with real lives, is 
not only valuable in judges and activists, but essential in our leaders.

As coverage of the Trayvon Martin shooting has quieted down between Mark Zimmerman’s 
court appearances, what stays with me most are the call-ins to talk-radio describing 
aspects of growing up in black families I’d been unfamiliar with.

There was discussion of “The Talk”, by callers who were either parents who’d given it or 
youngsters who’d received it. The purpose was to explain to young teens that there were 
certain neighborhoods one just didn’t go to. It was also to make sure that kids understood 
the proper behavior when stopped by the police; no back-talk, hands on the wheel, no sudden 
movements, and absolutely no reaching – whether for the glove compartment, under 
the seat or a pants pocket. This was not a matter of politeness, but of staying alive. 

One mother described the reality succinctly; “When a white kid is picked up by the police, 
he’s taken to his parents. When a black kid is picked up, he’s taken to jail.”

Our son will be 25 this Summer, and is just getting his career in gear. Under the Affordable 
Care Act, he’ll be able to stay on our family health plan for another year. Not long ago I 
flashed on the prospect of the ACA being overturned, and was hit by the prospect of three 
options; either coming up with an extra several-hundred dollars a month, allowing him to 
continue coverage, his giving up on ambitions to settle for whatever job offers health benefits, 
or going without insurance and hoping to avoid catastrophe. 

I breathed a sigh of relief upon learning the California Legislature has assured that certain 
provisions of the ACA, including the one allowing kids to stay on their parent’s plan until 
turning 26, will be available to California residents regardless of whatever the Supreme 
Court decides. I empathized, though, with the hundreds of thousands of families throughout 
the country enduring similar anxieties.

President Obama had Justice Sonia Sotomayor in mind with the opening quote. I wonder 
about her colleagues, such as Chief Justice John Roberts, who established their careers 
promoting the interests of corporations, not people. For them, as for most members of 
Congress, quality healthcare for their families will never be a concern. The question is how 
many will extend their interest beyond academic discussion of the compatibility of the “individual 
mandate” within the context of the Commerce Clause to include consideration of 
American families forced into bankruptcy because a child gets sick.

When Hilary Rosen noted that Ann Romney had “never worked a day in her life”, she was 
summarily promoted by the corporate media and elevated from CNN analyst to Democratic 
strategist and Obama surrogate. What received scant attention, though, were remarks of 
Mitt Romney that elicited that comment from Rosen; suggesting he relied upon his wife to 
inform him of the hardships suffered by American women.

The notion that pervaded subsequent commentary was that it was simply a matter of 
“choice” among mothers; those who chose to stay home with their kids and those who 
instead chose to pursue interests outside the home and leave care of the children to the 
hired help. There was no empathy for mothers who could only dream of being able to stay 
at home with their children, for whom taking a $9-an-hour graveyard-shift was not a matter 
of “choice”, but of survival – of being able to put something on the dinner table. There 
was no sympathy shown Ann Romney, who maintained, “I know what it’s like to struggle.”

Mitt Romney drew further distinctions as he maintained that for the 1%-plus crowd, nothing 
is nobler and more laudable than being stay-at-home, nor is there anything harder for 
the mother. For those struggling to survive, though, it’s a different stor:. Last January, 
Romney asserted that “even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work.” 

The presumptive Republican nominee will laud his wife’s ”choice” to stay home and take 
care of their sons, but for the poor single mothers who rely on government assistance to 
provide food and shelter for their children,”they need to learn the dignity of work”. 

This brings to mind another observation about empathy, from 400 years ago:

“Nothing is so hard for those who abound in riches as to conceive how others can be in want.

- Jonathan Swift 



by Joe Gandelman

The 2012 Presidential election campaign is now shaping up as a political 
life and death battle over independent voters, where the losing 
candidate will be the one who turns them off the most.

Comedian-columnist Will Durst likened the 2012 Presidential primary 
race to the mania surrounding the video game Angry Birds: 
“The object of ‘Angry Birds’ is to use a slingshot to fling various 
flightless birds at flimsy houses built by egg-thieving green pigs. The 
object of the 2012 Republican primary race is, well, pretty much the 
same thing: to toss accusations and blame at the White House in order 
to steal independents from the Democrats. All while emitting 
unintelligible screeches, squeals and shrieks.” 

On the Democratic side the race is now on to toss accusations and blame at Republicans to prevent 
independents from going over to presumptive Republican nominee former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt 
Romney and to support Barack Obama.

The danger is when the smoke clears on Election Day this high-stakes Angry Birds game will end with 
a political process resembling what flying pigeons drop on people, or a dead duck where a big chunk of 
voters is more disgusted by political parties and political rhetoric than ever before.

The indisputable fact is that 2012 race will be all about which party can win -- some independents 
would say “deceive” -- the greatest number of independent voters. And often contradictory polls now 
suggest indies are up for grabs.

A Gallup tracking poll has Romney ahead of Obama 45 percent to 43 percent and leading in independent 
voters, 45 percent to 39 percent. A CNN poll has Obama leading Romney 52 percent to 43 percent 
and ahead with women and indies. A Reuters/Ipsos poll finds Obama’s lead over Romney has shrunk 
with Obama at 47 percent and Romney at 43 percent. 

These polls come within the context of polarized American politics, where the center is notably weak. 
Moderate Republicans are all but extinct in the GOP and after the next election most conservative 
“Blue Dog Democrats” will likely be history as well. Moderates have all but vanished in Congress. 
Each party is largely defined by and reflects its ideological base. And the ranks of indies grow. Independent 
voters are often split between those who left their old parties and still lean towards them and 
those who simply like to independently judge each issue and candidate separately.

Here’s some advice to both parties on how to LOSE independent voters in 2012:

• Make your hypocrisy blatant, so what you say is later negated by press reports of what you said before 
or, better yet, video showing your past comments. Make the hypocrisy so clear that a mega-quick 
Google search shows your indignation was somehow missing when your side said or did the same 
thing. Or that you even said it yourself.

• Be secretive and get caught at it on an open mic talking to a foreign leader or by a reporter who overhears 
a supposedly closed-door conversation. Refuse to or stall in releasing your tax returns and keep 
that issue alive. Compare your foes to famous dictators, or slap an extreme label on them and or compare 
them to political mass murders (Stalin, Hitler, Nazis, fascists, socialists, Marxists, Communists), 
so when Indies look at you they hear The Twilight Zone theme.

• Push the polarization button and only talk to your party’s ideological base. Ignore, downplay or evade 
serious talk about the economy and what needs to be done next.

Team Obama and the Democrats seemingly assume that -- no matter what -- they’ll eventually win independent 
voters.” GOPers seem to feel they can easily paper over extremist rhetoric from the Republican 
primaries. The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky sees “signs that the Obama campaign is sounding 
ridiculously overconfident.” This could be because neither Obama and the Democrats nor Romney 
and the Republicans fully understand the independent voters they’re trying to harvest.

But independent voters understand Republicans and Democrats.

 Which is why many independents remain independents.

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared 
on cable news show political panels and is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, 
centrists and moderates. CNN's John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. 
He can be reached at and can be booked to speak at your event at www.