Sunday, August 16

MORNING LINE

Progressive Review - The black Ivies - the new group of black politicians who got where they are by passing white exams instead of crossing white police lines - are running into a bit of trouble. Only Newark's mayor, Cory Booker, seems to be holding his own. In DC, just 30 percent in a recent poll said they would definitely vote for Mayor Adrian Fenty again, 13% said no, and 46% said they would consider someone else. When Fenty won election, he took every precinct.

The job approval numbers for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, reports the Boston Globe, "have plunged to levels not seen in decades for a Massachusetts governor. In a survey of 445 residents, taken last month, only 19 percent of respondents gave him a positive job rating, while 77 percent rated it fair or poor."

And Barack Obama is slipping as well.

Part of the problem is that learning how to please the white establishment in order to get into office doesn't always result in policies that please the rest of the voters.

Obama, for example, has made few new friends since being elected and has lost some of his old ones. We wouldn't be surprised if there is even a serious primary challenge to Obama in 2012.

So the era of the black Ivies may be short lived. With their education and unthreatening style they can initially win a lot of white votes, but once on the job their politics can be too cautious and beholden to establishment interests for their own good.

Either, as currently seems to be the case, this will play into the extremist right's hands or it will lead to a more progressively populist multi-ethnic politics. It was, for example, in no small part the failure of German liberalism in economic bad times that helped put Hitler in power. On the other hand, we can envision a presently unknown black or latino pol rising on a politics that is comfortable to those who is hurting right now - regardless of ethnicity. After all, it only took Obama four years to move from state senate to White House. Keep your eye on the ball. It's bouncing.

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