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The Obamas' symbolic year

Comedian, actor and activist Bill Cosby and I shared a train car from New York to Washington yesterday. No, we didn't talk or anything. He slept most of the way. But seeing him reminded me of what he symbolized during the 8-year run of "The Cosby Show" as the patriarch of the Huxtable family, a successful black family with five children ensconced in a Brooklyn brownstone. From 1984 to 1992, they were the antidote to the shuck-and-jive comedies on television and the celebration of violent pathology in rap music that came to define African American lives.

But one year ago tomorrow, the fictional Huxtables gave way to the real-life Obamas. Barack and Michelle Obama with their daughters, Malia and Sasha, have not only achieved the American dream but symbolize America itself. As an African American, I still find it incredibly powerful and moving to see all of them be the face of the United States. At home and abroad, they exemplify the limitless opportunities in America available to anyone who is willing to work hard to reach for them.

In a few hours we'll all be consumed by the results of the Massachusetts Senate race between state Attorney General Martha Coakley (D) and state Sen. Scott Brown (R). We'll be dissecting vote totals and trends. And we could very well be on death watch for President Obama's legislative agenda. But I didn't want this day to go by without applauding one area where he and his family get it right every time.

By Jonathan Capehart  | January 19, 2010; 4:17 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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They do not symbolize America. They are rich and detached. They, like all Democrats, want socialism to soothe their rich souls and make them feel better for being upper class.

Posted by: kathy26 | January 19, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The Obamas DO NOT symbolize America! He's stupid and puts us down in front of the world and she dresses like a bag lady. I'm embarassed to have them represent us anywhere.

Posted by: aaniko | January 19, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: redwhblue | January 19, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

What exactly is in the liberal Kool-Aid?

Posted by: clandestinetomcat | January 19, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"On death watch for President Obama's legislative agenda"? Get a grip Jonathan! I can't believe the gloom and doom coming out of your beltway pundits.

Since when does anything less than a super-majority in the Senate mean the "death" of a President's agenda? Many Presidents have achieved great things with less convincing majorities in both houses. Can we get some perspective here?

Posted by: sambam | January 19, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Countries do not continue to exist and flourish on the symbolism of their Presidents. Countries need achievers and realists in high office to shape national opinion. President Obama has not done that. He allowes a Chicago style political machinery to rule from the White House and lo and behold even the Congress is chiding him for his lack of influence and ability as they have to shape policy themselves. Not very good!

Posted by: HarGru | January 19, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Obama has the cutest family! :-) I would tend to vote for the candidate who is the most qualified, regardless of their personal life, but must admit it is nice to have both. The president is both head of government and head of state in our fair country. I understand that many Democrats don't 'get' family values, but the many honest Republicans out their must recognize that the Obamas, by all appearances, exemplify the ideal family structure, huh?

Posted by: michael1977 | January 19, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

The Obamas do not symbolize what is right with America. Instead they are front and center in being out of touch and detached.

Their poor little rich kids are being raised by granny while mamma goes shopping.

They are worthless and will be gone in 2 years and 11 months. Their 15 minutes are just about up!

Posted by: MrBoggle | January 19, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

my behind

Posted by: analgesic33 | January 19, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

I continue to wonder why people who do not like the Obama family come to sites to read about them and leave mean and ugly comments. I don't go to Repub. websites and post ugly comments and name call. Why do you keep coming...Why do you even want to read about people that you seem to dislike so much. Go talk to those who agree with you....oh yeah, I forgot, most don't read or write. Anyway....GO AWAY! You bore me.

Posted by: calethia_hill10 | January 19, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

You are right about the First Family, Jonathan; you are so wrong about the "death watch" for President Obama's agenda. Our president is doing just fine and despite the best (worst) efforts of evil and/or misguided people, America is going to be just fine, no matter what happens in Massachussetts.

Posted by: gsross | January 19, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

This is all about Obama not his children or his wife.
Obama is president. He has two lovely children. He has an intelligent wife and he was elected. HIs accomplishments were nil and they still are. He has broken his word to the American People too many times. He and Pelosi and Reid have embarked on the corruption of Senators and House members using bribery and extortion to get a horrific bill forced down the unwilling throats of a large majority of the country. This alone makes him unfit to be President.

Posted by: mharwick | January 19, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Your pride in the Obamas is understandable as well as the relief they provide from the downward spiral of popular culture. However, they merely represent America for a time and do not symbolize her. A personna that is calculated for maximum political expediance is not my idea of the American dream.

Posted by: ritamurphy8 | January 19, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I know how bad it pissed off your mom but you shld go back to eating banannas on tv if your going to write this crap. Cmon Capehart, there are not many black men in the press so step up to plate and quit writing this kind of fluff. Your better than this.

Posted by: rbprtman23 | January 19, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

obami and his family sure as hell does not symbolize the writer of this comment, no way, period.

Posted by: sabestu | January 19, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I never ever thought of a socialist a symbolizing America... I think his secret has caught up with him, now that the country knows what socialism really is.

Posted by: freemarketer | January 19, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

This crap make Gene Robinson look like Shakespere. For the love of God...

Posted by: HookInMouth | January 19, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

They do NOT symbolize America.

Tonight Massachusetts spoke for America. America rejects these self-absorbed, out-of-touch elitists who are trying to ram their unpopular agenda down our throats.

How does it feel to be a lame duck in your first year, Mr. Obama?

Posted by: NoWayNotNow | January 19, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

They DO NOT represent America. He did little, if anything to deserve the office that he holds. I am embarrassed for our country that one has to do so little to become our President.

Thank you Massachusettes!!!!!!

Posted by: annapolis85 | January 19, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

They do not represent America at all.
They vilify and punish success.

Dr. Huxtable would not succeed in Obama's world, he would be destined to a life of government dependance or meaningless government jobs.
You could not think of a worst analogy.

Posted by: tommyk63 | January 19, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

tommyk63 has is right. They are regressives masquerading as progressives. Look at the policies of tearing down success and redistributing the results of success to people who have been told their whole lives that they cannot succeed without government; but look, they can't succeed with government; e.g., welfare roles; auto industry (except Ford). It is the government that got us in the current mess, and it was people like BHO (Barney, Chris, Maxine, Henry, Kent et al) that stopped any credible effort to reign-in the abuses and the mandated risk taking by the financial institutions. If Obamacare is so great, why were there so many deals to bring people on board to vote for it?

Posted by: BeanerECMO | January 19, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Hello all,
When Barry O came to power I kind of hoped that he truly would be a post-racial man and a good president. Unfortunately after a year in office he still brings to mind the old comedy, 'The Jeffersons". Welllll,,,,we're moovin' on up.... etc.
Oh well maybe some day America will elect a black president not another white one with a dark complexion and nappy hair.

Posted by: matpk2 | January 20, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

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