Man Without Qualities

Friday, July 11, 2003

Trend Away, Trend Away, We Will Cross The Mighty Ocean To Lagos Bay

"If you look at the data, 74 percent of African-Americans self-identified as Democrats in 2000. Sixty-three percent self-identified as Democrats in 2002, an 11-point drop on their side," said Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.

It is true that many African American will not be swayed by the President's trip to Africa. But it's not necessary that more than a small minority of them be positively affected for the trip to be highly successful.

But the real irony of the President's Africa trip is the marvelous (for him) way the whole thing is playing out with respect to the current fracas over the intelligence used in the last State of the Union address. Central Intelligence Agency head George Tenet (white) is now taking the blame and giving Republicans who care to get involved someone other than the President to blast. That blame is being largely handed out to Mr. Tenet by the President's two main defenders in this matter: Condoleezza Rice (African American) and Secretary of State Colin Powell (African American).

The CNN coverage of the whole matter today was priceless. Condi's and Colin's competent faces and voices defend the President, nearly-ecstatic local African reporters struggle to contain their joy and excitement at the leader of the world's most important nation visiting their country and treating it seriously and without condescension - all while hostile white CNN operatives breathlessly report the President's "problems" with no clue that he is treating them and their Democrat confederates to a world-class suckering - or, as some call it, a rope-a-dope.

The more the television networks dig in, the more African Americans generally get to see a President whose main advisors and defenders in times of potential crisis are African Americans - who defuse the crisis from the shores of Africa itself while local Africans cheer. To the extent the Democrats challenge the President on this matter, they will have to go through - and will have to be seen going through - Condi and Colin. Not a pretty sight, especially to a Democrat. It is hard to believe that the hostile, white American television reporters don't see the ironies and significance of the matters they are covering. But there those reporters are - quite literally broadcasting that they think they finally have the President where they want him.

But I'll wager that the whole show isn't lost on the brilliant Donna Brazille. Casandra's is never an easy role to play.

Exquisite. There hasn't been entertainment of this high order since the President's speech to the United Nations.

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