Monday, June 11, 2007

Does Barack Obama transcend Race? Proft debates Berkowitz, on Cable and Streaming

Dan Proft: His [Obama's] personal story is a compelling personal story. It is a unique, personal story. That’s fine. That is not a qualification to be leader of the free world.

Jeff Berkowitz: I didn’t say that. I said he transcends race. That’s what we are talking about. Does he transcend race?
Dan Proft, Republican Campaign consultant and media personality, is the featured guest on tonight’s [June 11] City of Chicago edition of "Public Affairs," airing at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV] throughout the City of Chicago. Proft is also featured on the Aurora edition of Public Affairs, airing at 7:30 pm in Aurora and some surrounding areas on Aurora Community Television, Comcast Cable Ch. 10. The Aurora station reaches all of Aurora, Bristol, Big Rock and parts of Oswego, Sandwich, Sugar Grove and Montgomery.

For a partial transcipt of tonight's show ,a summary of tonight's show topics, and more about Dan Proft, go here.
To listen to Proft's weekly commentary on WLS 890 AM-Radio's Don and Roma, go here.
You can also watch Republican Presidential Primary Candidates McCain, Giuliani and Cox, Democratic Presidential Primary Candidate Obama and many more pols, opinion makers and opinion shapers, e.g., tonight's show with Dan Proft, soon this week's suburban edition of Public Affairs with State Rep. Mary Flowers [D-Chicago], and currently, recent shows with MarySue Barrett, President of the Metropolitan Planning Council, Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado [D-Chicago], State Reps. Jim Durkin [R-Western Springs], Linda Chapa LaVia [D-Aurora] and Julie Hamos [D-Evanston], Republican Campaign Consultant Dan Curry on your computer by going to
Another partial transcript of tonight's show is included directly, below.
Meaning of Transcending Race:

Jeff Berkowitz: Does he [Barack Obama] transcend race? You don’t think so?

Dan Proft: No, I don’t even know what transcend race means.

Jeff Berkowitz: I think the word transcend means, “above.” Am I getting my English right, at least? I mean you went to Northwestern University…you must have learned there--

Dan Proft: I know what Webster’s says “transcend,” means. I am just saying it is like a throwaway phrase that is meaningless.

Jeff Berkowitz: I don’t think so. I think he transcends race in the sense that he had a white mother, an African father from Kenya.

Dan Proft: Yes, I am familiar with his lineage.

Barack Obama's line: "Got my accent from my mother...

Jeff Berkowitz: So, you know his line—he says he got his color from his father and he got his accent from his mother (who was from Kansas), it’s not just a line, that is, race is a very difficult issue for people to face up to and deal with in this country. You agree with that, right?

Dan Proft: Yes.

Slavery and the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

Jeff Berkowitz: I mean there is a history of a hundred years, or so, of slavery that this country would rather forget, if it could, right?

Dan Proft: Well, I don’t think we need to forget it. I think we need to learn from it, but yeah—

Jeff Berkowitz: And, then after that, a lot of trouble in terms of people who should have had civil rights—didn’t have them

Dan Proft: Yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: You agree with all of that?

Dan Proft: Of course.

The contradictions of America and Obama:

Jeff Berkowitz: Along comes a guy who embodies some of those contradictions. A mother who was white. A father who was African, truly African, not in the sense we say African-American, but African [as in] from Africa. A man in whom—people have a certain trust when they hear him speak because he can speak to audiences that are black and he can speak to audiences that are white in a way, Dan, that-- you couldn’t and I couldn’t and I think you would have to agree with that.

Dan Proft: This sounds like the intro to his [Obama's] lifetime movie. I mean—

Jeff Berkowitz: No, it is a true statement. There are pluses and minuses to everybody. Those are pluses. You disagree?

Dan Proft: His [Obama's] personal story is a compelling personal story. It is a unique, personal story. That’s fine. That is not a qualification to be leader of the free world.

Jeff Berkowitz: I didn’t say that. I said he transcends race. That’s what we are talking about. Does he transcend race?

Does Race Matter?

Dan Proft: It’s irrelevant.

Jeff Berkowitz: It’s irrelevant?

Dan Proft: We spend so much time—well, maybe it’s not irrelevant. It should be irrelevant.

Jeff Berkowitz: It is one factor. I am not saying it is the only factor, or a dispositive factor—

Obama, Hillary, et al in 2002:

Dan Proft: What we should be talking about are people with the capacity and the vision and the ideas to lead the free world, to lead America in the 21st Century and all these challenges. That’s what we should be talking about.

Jeff Berkowitz: In 2002, sitting in your chair, on “Public Affairs,” I asked him how he would have voted, in terms of authorizing military action in Iraq—

Dan Proft: Um-um.

Jeff Berkowitz: This was a time in which I don’t think anyone could say it was a popular view to take—that he would have voted against it. And, that’s what he said, but more to the point…Barack Obama said on this show, November 25, 2002, he would voted against authorizing the President to take military action [in Iraq]. He then proceeded to say when I asked further-- if this would be an issue in the March, 2004 U. S. Senate Primary—sounds like an odd question now, he said it depends on how much the United States invests in that, whether that invasion proceeds and whether there is a split among the Kurds, Sunni and Shia. Some would say he foresaw a great deal of what would be happening. This is a guy who had been [at that time] in the State Senate for six years, not in the U. S. Senate. Would you give him that—that he has some understanding and ability to comprehend issues, way back when, five years ago—national issues that say, Hillary Clinton didn’t exhibit as a two year U. S. Senator?

Dan Proft: Well, they had access to wildly different levels of information, No. 1, that drove those decisions. But, Barack Obama is a smart guy. There’s no doubt about that. He has the capacity to comprehend these issues—

Fluency in Politics and Public Policy:

Jeff Berkowitz: Smart, well spoken. Perhaps, some would say, the best combination of politics and public policy—not necessarily that you agree with, but fluent in both in a way that many are not who are his competitors—

Dan Proft: But, my point is that I haven’t sent the evidence of his fluency in public policy and certainly not since he is running for President and marginally when he ran for Senate. I mean what he offers is a description of reality and then just kind of “I’ll fix it”; “I’ll make it better.”

Jeff Berkowitz: He said this was a dumb war. Are you sure it wasn’t a dumb war. We wouldn’t have been in Iraq—

Dan Proft: That’s being fluent in public policy? Calling something dumb?

Jeff Berkowitz: No, but he explained it. He saw all of these factions and saw all of what was going to happen.

Dan Proft: Right. And anybody who has taken a hundred level international relations course in the Middle East knows about factions and knows about the potential powder keg that is the Middle East, it is not like it is a new phenomena. So, the fact that he can explain what we all know to be true is—I don’t give him a lot of credit for—that’s fine, that’s great, but—

Jeff Berkowitz: I didn’t see anybody do it nationally in 2002. I didn’t see a Republican do it. I didn’t see a Democrat do it. I didn’t see Edwards do it. I didn’t see McCain do it. I didn’t see anyone do it. Maybe they did it and I just didn’t see it, but—
Dan Proft, interviewed on Public Affairs on May 20, 2007 and as is airing tonight in Chicago and Aurora, and as is streaming on computer at www.Public
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox and many other pols at