John Feehery: Speaking Engagements

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On Race and Beer

Posted on July 31, 2009



  It makes a man want to have a drink.



  The President’s beer summit worked very well to distract the White House from the hard work of legislating, gave cable television a chance to cover something interesting (beer), gave women a chance to complain about being left out (as my wife points out, the only person who did everything right was the woman who called the cops in the first place, and she was presumably sipping chardonnay by herself at home with no invite to the beer party at the White House), and gave Glen Beck a chance to call the President a racist.



  I didn’t stand up for Glen Beck on television, so several conservatives called me a wimp and worse. 



  These conservatives make the case that Barack Obama is a racist because he attended a racist Church (he certainly did that), has promoted racist policies (affirmative action), wrote a book about race (several actually) and nominated a racist judge (Sonia Sotomayor) to the Supreme Court.



  I don’t buy it myself.  I don’t think Obama is a racist.  If you look at his cabinet, he has plenty of white people hanging around, giving him advice and working hard for a government takeover of the private sector.  Obama was raised by white grandparents,  he hangs out with plenty of white people, he is a good family man, and by and large, he doesn’t strike me that he is looking out only for the interests of black people. 



  That doesn’t mean that I agree with his left-wing agenda or his intellectual world-view, or his policies.  It does mean that I wouldn’t mind having a beer with him and talking about the Chicago White Sox or about golf.



  Obama, though, does have to be careful on the affirmative action front and on any statement he makes regarding race relations.  Hard economic times and fiscal insecurity bring out the worst in people, and with unemployment reaching close to 10 percent, plenty of people of all races are extra sensitive about the perception of racial favoritism. 



  Affirmative action is all fine and good if I have a job and a clear path to economic security.  It is very bad if I can’t find a job and my future is uncertain. 



  People are pissed out there in world.  They are worried about their jobs, they are worried about losing their homes, they are worried that the neighborhood schools are bad, that the country is going to hell in a handbasket, that we are losing our leadership in the world to the Chinese etc.



  And polls show that while a large percentage of people like President Obama personally, they are losing patience with his policies.  And they also show that a fairly high percentage of Americans dislike the President intensely, and they are showing that in different ways (loving Sarah Palin, for example).



  The Beer summit is over now, and that is a good thing.  When does Happy hour start?