Hopes for Obama's Second Term
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But the reelection was a sense, sort of the normalization of success for an African American president. And not just saying, "Okay, yeah, we tried, but you saw how that went. You know, he wasn't really up to the job." That was, again, this great Republican ad. You know, you tried, he tried, it's not working. Let's, you know, let's go back to the way things are done.
There was a fascinating comment by somebody on election eve who said with a straight face that, "This election, 'cause they're changing demographics, will be the last time there are four white males on the national ticket." And, you know, wait a minute, that's a sign of sort of the normalization of Barack Obama, like Colin Powell, as an American, as opposed to an African American.
BILL MOYERS: Well, he is as much white as he is black.
JAMES FALLOWS: Exactly. Exactly. But, as you well know, in the long travailed American race relations, if you are any black, you are black. And so he is, a fascinating part of his autobiography is that he'd been raised outside the country, as we know from the right wing. The first time he had to decide whether he was either black or white is when he came back to college in the United States and realized there was this black, white grid in the United States, as opposed to being multi-racial, as most of the rest of the world is.
BILL MOYERS: People are talking about the fight within the Republican Party over their future. But there's a fight already starting within the Democratic Party between the progressives and liberals and the Clinton Democrats who look upon themself as centrist. And there're a lot of articles as we speak appearing on the web and in the press about Obama's really a centrist. He's really a corporate Democrat. He is, and William Saletan and Slate Magazine has a piece saying he is, in fact, a moderate Republican at heart. What do you think about that?
JAMES FALLOWS: I think, on the one hand, that's true. The moderate Republicans still exist, they're just Democrats now. And that's why the Republican Party has been distilled to its extreme. Second, it certainly is true that, as you've written about and broadcasted about, there's a huge cleavage in the Democratic Party between essentially the Wall Street Democrats and the more progressive Democrats.
And that's an important issue that affected our views the first Obama administration and the second too. However, I would contend that in most of my conscious lifetime, this is the most coherent the Democratic Party has been. I mean, compared to the Republicans.
The Republicans are falling part and in complete, you know, clan war. Whereas, as you had the previous Democratic incumbent being the most impressive advocate for this Democratic incumbent. Whereas the Republicans can't mention the guy who was their previous incumbent. And so I think--
BILL MOYERS: George W.
JAMES FALLOWS: George W., yeah, who just, you know, didn't come within a thousand miles of the convention or wasn't mentioned in the speeches. So I think that the Democrats, they do have these tensions. But at least they can have some sense of a majority party, which they hadn't thought of themselves as for a long time. Being able to say, "Okay, how do we address the basically progressive narrative we have that's not just tax cuts and it's not just the top one percent?"
BILL MOYERS: Before this campaign began, I picked up and reread your book you wrote many years ago on the press called Breaking the News, right?