With the economy still coughing, with one war bubbling and another merely seeting, with an administration’s major health care initiative stalled, it can be easy to forget the immediate and essential change that comes when an African-American is president of the United States.
This from the Washington Post:
Obama was asked at the end of his [Wednesday night] news conference about the arrest last week of Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. outside his home. The incident has sparked a national discussion about race relations.
Obama noted that “Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here,” and he referred to the professor’s account of arriving home to find a jammed door, forcing it open and then being confronted by a white police officer looking for proof that Gates lived in the home. According to Gates’s account, he showed the officer his ID and became angry when the officer would not identify himself.
We’ll let the New York Times pick it up:
Mr. Obama, asked Wednesday what the incident said about race relations in America, noted up front that Mr. Gates is a friend and that his comments might be biased. He said “words” had been exchanged and added:
“Now, I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and, number three, what I think we know, separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. And that’s just a fact.” He added later that the incident was “a sign of how race remains a factor in this society.”
Blogging is the new journalism, we’re told. And so all bloggers are journalists, right? Not really.
On Monday night, the fellow who runs two of the most popular political blogs in the state — the locally oriented PeachPundit.com and nationally minded RedState.com — sent via Twittered a particularly compelling message.
Wrote Erick Erickson:
I’ve decided to just start clobbering Oxendine every day at RedState and Peach Pundit and suggesting new FOIA requests each day.
(John Oxendine’s Republican campaign for governor did not mention Erickson by name, but alluded to the feud in a recent fund-raising e-mail.)
Only the week before, The State newspaper, going through e-mails of journalists begging for the chance to let a disappeared Gov. Mark Sanford to explain himself, found a message from Erickson:
“If he wants something more personal for the blog to push back, I’m happy to help,” wrote Erick Erickson, a writer for RedState.com. On June 23, Erickson ripped “media speculation” about Sanford’s whereabouts.
“I wasn’t trying to be a reporter. I wanted to curtail the story,” Erickson said by e-mail. “Well that didn’t work.”
The point is, Erickson — who also has a part-time job as a Republican city councilman in Macon — does not consider himself a journalist. And woe be unto the political candidate who thinks he is.
“The more accurate comparison would be talk radio — not CNN,” Erickson said. “Make no bones about it. I’m not out to be fair and balanced. I have a side that I advocate for.
“We do try at PeachPundit to be objective, which gets us in trouble. I state my biases clearly – still try to be fair. RedState is an activist oriented site of a particular viewpoint that I don’t apologize for.”
The extremity of his comments can be shocking — when David Souter announced his retirement to the U.S. Supreme Court, Erickson referred to the justice as a child molestor. In the last 48 hours, he’s called Jimmy Carter “history’s greatest monster.” Erickson sometimes deals in innuendo rather than rhetoric, and has been particularly hard on Georgia politicians who — whether by rumor or fact — can’t keep their pants up.
His early defense of Sanford wasn’t an inconsistency, Erickson said. When he wrote that e-mail to Sanford mentioned above, the South Carolina governor was still lost on the Appalachian Trial.
In his writings, Erickson speaks well of Karen Handel, one of Oxendine’s many GOP rivals. But he says he’s on no one’s payroll. He’s also siding with Marco Rubio against Charlie Crist in the Florida’s Republican race for U.S. Senate. “If I were not an elected Republican official in Georgia, republicans would have no problem,” Erickson said.
After our brief conversation, Erickson called back and left a voice mail: “I do on occasion drum up news,” he said. “but when I do do news generation, it’s not to be just the reporter, but to lay the facts out there that are positive toward my cause.”
Erickson is planning a rendezvous between those who post for his blog and several Republican officials, in Atlanta from July 31 to Aug. 2.
On Wednesday, Ken Edelstein over at Atlanta Unsheltered reported that Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was in the running a new job: Region IV administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, at $177,000 a year.
My AJC colleague Eric Stirgus dutifully went rumor-chasing. First, Stirgus got the denial from Franklin’s office. But he is a true skeptic, and kept going.
“This story is not true,” was the e-mail he received from Adora Andy, the EPA press secretary. And so we must report this rumor killed.
While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Gwinnett towers to be toppled. SunTrust struggles with $183 million loss. Delta trims losses, AirTran posts profit. State’s high school graduation rate in ‘crisis.’ Cobb school system could eliminate 11,000 school bus stops. Georgia guardsman from Dalton dies in Afghanistan. Teachers groups angry over furloughs. City of Atlanta looks at leasing offices for parks staff.
Your Luckovich fix. Kyle Wingfield says choice is a casualty of ObamaCare. Post-racial America looks pretty racial to Lawrence Bobo. Obama headed to Plains, not Hope.
From elsewhere in Georgia:
Atlanta Unflitered: DeKalb district attorney says Bolton’s luxury car story ‘absurd,’ but not criminal.
WSJ: Obama endorses surtax on families earning $1 million a year for health care. WP: North Korea escalates a war of words, calls Hillary Clinton vulgar and unintelligent.
For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.