Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Taken-for-Granted Urban Vote

In advance of Barack Obama's "re-launch" of an urban agenda, DMI senses that surrogates are going to be advancing Obama's urban policies to give him plausible deniability to more conservative suburban voters, and they respond:
The political reasoning behind Obama’s presumed decision to shy away from urban issues seems obvious: on one hand he must work hard to demonstrate that he can identify with Americans outside of urban areas and, on the other hand, he is expected to pick up the urban vote regardless of whether or not he himself addresses head on the concerns of the nation’s cities.
Though acknowledging that Obama's "paper" urban policy is better than John McCain's irrelevant school voucher solution and his ridiculous "surge against crime" ideas, DMI asks for more:
Being a spokesperson for the nation’s cities does not mean speaking only on behalf of urban elites, nor does it mean speaking only about poverty and homelessness. Rather, this spokesperson would present cities as typical in the economic, social, and cultural challenges they face, but unique in their capacity to confront and overcome them.
My guess is that we are not going to get anything more substantive from Obama than warmed over conservative urban policy. It begs the question: if candidate Barack Obama would choose yesteryear's urban solutions during the campaign, would President Barack Obama use the same to win victories in Congress? If that is indeed the case, then the prospect of winning does not justify holding tongues about the need for progressive urban agenda at the federal level.

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