Obama’s New Politics

My colleagues at the Northwest Progressive Institute pointed to a disturbing story about a document put out by the Obama camp. It was basically a slap in the face to Hillary Clinton’s India supporters. I would never have expected this from Obama. From the NY Times:

the curtain was pulled back this week, at least for a moment, when a document prepared by the Obama campaign landed in the hands of the Clinton campaign.

Referring to various ways in which Mrs. Clinton, of New York, and her husband had benefited, financially and politically, from support from Indian-Americans and companies that do business in India, the Obama campaign circulated a document to reporters on the basis that they not reveal where it had come from. Under a bold headline, the document referred to Mrs. Clinton as ā€œ(D-Punjab).ā€

Wow, that’s some stupid, racist stuff. Thankfully, and surprisingly, Obama apologized, as he was called out to do by several groups. The apology was not what I would call public though, as it was released only to South-Asian supporters. Here is the text of the apology:

I wanted to respond personally to your letter regarding the recent
research memo that our campaign put into circulation.

I believe that your concerns with the memo are justified. To begin with,
the memo did not reflect my own views on the importance of America’s
relationship with India. I have long believed that the best way to
promote U.S. economic growth and opportunity for American workers is to
continually improve the skills of our own workforce and invest in our own
scientific research, technological capacity and infrastructure, rather
than to try to insulate ourselves from the global economy.

More importantly, the memo’s caustic tone, and its focus on contributions
by Indian-Americans to the Clinton campaign, was potentially hurtful, and
as such, unacceptable. The memo also ignored my own long-standing
relationship to – and support from – the Indian-American community.

In sum, our campaign made a mistake. Although I was not aware of the
contents of the memo prior to its distribution, I consider the entire
campaign – and in particular myself – responsible for the mistake. We
have taken appropriate action to prevent errors like this from happening
in the future.

Please feel free to share this letter with other members of your
organization or leaders in the Indian-American community. I look forward
to our continued friendship and exchange of ideas – during the course of
this campaign, and beyond.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

I think it’s interesting that the only mention of the apology on Obama’s site is this one. Why not have the full apology there to demonstrate sincerity?

Nevertheless, I will give credit to him for apologizing. Given that these Republican bastards never apologize for anything, this is definitely a “new kind of politics.” I wonder if the genius who thought this would be a good idea still works for him. This also begs to me the question of what the reaction would have been if the letter contained a slur against people from, say, Kenya, instead of India. Hmmmm….

Friends, let’s pay as close attention as we can to make sure that people hold themselves accountable.

One Love. One II.

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About Garlin Gilchrist II

I am the City of Detroit's first ever Deputy Technology Director for Civic Community Engagement. My job is to open up the city's public data and information for the consumption and benefit of all Detroiters. I currently live in Detroit, my hometown, with my beautiful wife Ellen and our twins Garlin III and Emily Grace. I'm from Detroit. I created Detroit Diaspora, and was formerly the National Campaign Director at MoveOn.org. I also co-hosted The #WinReport on "The Good Fight," a an award winning, nationally syndicated radio show that was one of Apple's Best of 2013. After graduating with degrees in Computer Engineering and Computer Science from the University of Michigan, I became a Software Engineer at Microsoft. By day, I helped build SharePoint into the fastest growth product in the company's history. On my personal time, I sought out opportunities to connect my technical skills with community building efforts across the country. This led to my co-founding The SuperSpade: Black Thought at the Highest Level, a leading Black political blog. I served as Social Media Manager for the 2008 Obama campaign in Washington, and then became Director of New Media at the Center for Community Change. I spent two years creating and implementing a strategy for the Center to take it's 40 years of community organizing experience into the digital age. I speak before diverse audiences on effective & responsive government, empowerment in revolutionary new organizing spaces, increasing civic engagement & participation through emerging technologies and protecting civil rights in the age of the Internet. Full bio here.

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