Archive for Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Scholar depicts race with usual wit

September 24, 2008


Susan Estrich

Susan Estrich

On the street

What do you think is at stake in the 2008 election?

Whether or not we’ll have the same thing going on as we have now or a change in direction. I think our liberties are at stake as well.

More responses

Election 2008

In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.

In a discussion laden with anecdotes that veered away from relevancy only to come back again, renowned legal scholar Susan Estrich kept a crowd of several hundred in stitches Tuesday night, as she gave her perspective on the 2008 election at Woodruff Auditorium on Kansas University's campus.

Estrich, with credentials that include her present title as a law professor at the University of Southern California, the first female editor of the Harvard Law Review, former Supreme Court clerk, campaign manager for Michael Dukakis and FOX News commentator, said race could be a determining factor in whether the country elects Barack Obama or John McCain.

"I would say it's big. The only question is 'how big?'" she said. "The real impact of race is how many of the swing voters in the swing states who quote should be voting Democrat : consciously or unconsciously view Obama negatively because of his race?"

Estrich's assessment discouraged Lawrence resident Sallie Dickinson, an Obama supporter.

"When she said some of the things, especially about race, I was especially disappointed," she said. "I believe her, I trust her, but that's not news I want to hear."

Estrich said McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate has energized a conservative base that was not enamored with McCain, and chastised the media for attacking Palin on what Estrich called "sexist grounds."

"The bottom line is Palin was a brilliant pick," she said. "McCain can't get 20 people (at a rally); Palin gets 60,000."

But Estrich, who described herself as a rape survivor, said Palin was "out of her mind" for not supporting abortion in the cases of rape or incest. She also theorized McCain picked Palin simply to play to jilted Clinton supporters.

"Do you have a leader or a token?" she asked.

Estrich, a liberal known for her wit, showed it off while answering questions posed by four KU students who are Hall Center Scholars.

"Lawrence is to Kansas as I am to FOX News," she said, drawing laughs and a few cheers.

She predicted neither candidate would come to Kansas: "If Obama comes to Kansas, the question will be, 'Did your plane need to land?' If McCain comes to Kansas, the question will be, 'Is it that bad?'"

She said Obama made a mistake in picking Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, instead of Clinton, but said Clinton is willing to help Obama however he wants. Estrich challenged the candidates to be forthcoming with a three- or four-point plan to revitalize the economy, and said both candidates have their hands in the pockets of Wall Street, thanks to donors.

Randal Jelks, a KU professor of American Studies and African-American Studies, wondered why no minorities sat on the panel asking Estrich questions.

"It would seem that KU could have (had) people asking questions from a different perspective," he said, noting the significance of Obama's candidacy. "I was quite disturbed that there was a lack of different voices to be heard and to ask questions."


S0uPnAzi 9 years, 8 months ago

I'd echo the comments about Fox News Sunday...I don't always agree with Juan Williams, but he's thoughtful, well spoken and he really makes me think about things in a different way. If only the dems were more moderate and willing to debate, we'd get a lot farther, but some on the far left are just too far gone!

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 8 months ago

I enjoy hearing from Susan Estrich, Juan Williams and Mara Liasson on Fox News. Far and balanced, baby!

SettingTheRecordStraight 9 years, 8 months ago

Make that "fair and balanced." Not too far left, not too far right.

justthefacts 9 years, 8 months ago

I have had the pleasure of not only hearing Susan before, but sitting and having drinks with her for several hours (hey Susan - we'll always have Lindsborg! LOL). She is about the most honest, intelligent and fair political pundits I have ever met or heard. I'd believe what she has to say 99.99999% of the time. Wish she'd move to KS and run for office! There should be no appeals based upon race or gender. Smart people who aren't enamoured of letting the "herd" tell them how to think will ignore any appeals that say (overtly or covertly) "Vote for the dark face to prove how far we've come" or "Vote for the woman to show how far we've come." A vote for President of the United States (and running mate) should always be based upon what the candidates offer in the way of strengths and policies. Whether you agree or disagree with a particular person or party, it does not evidence much intelligence to make your vote for a President or running mate dependent upon something beyond their personal control (like their race or gender)! I hope for the day when the gender or race or other traits that are beyond a candidate's control simply do not factor into voters' decision making processes.

monkeyspunk 9 years, 8 months ago

YES!""I would say it's big. The only question is 'how big?'" she said. "The real impact of race is how many of the swing voters in the swing states who quote should be voting Democrat : consciously or unconsciously view Obama negatively because of his race?""She gets it. This election will not be about racism on the right or even as a nation as a whole, it is about racism on the left especially the Dixie-crats. In the Obama ascension, we see how far America, as a whole, has come on the issue of race, regardless of what the race baiters say. If he doesn't get elected, the critical eye should not be turned on America or the Republican Party, but on the party that should have gotten him elected, but couldn't get over the fact that he is half black. What happens if he doesn't get elected? Will the Democratic party have a meltdown? Will the Blacks of the party look at the rest of their paler comrades and think twice about casting their votes with them come the next election? Will the Jesse Jacksons and Al sharptons of the world break ranks with their racist allies? they see racism in everything, surely they would see it in this situation. What about the hispanics? If a charismatic leader who happens to be brown is not supported by those in his own party because of his color, why should hispanics believe they would be treated any differently? I mean, us hispanics are that much lighter....

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