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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hillary, Race Matters and Obama

Rumor Is, Hillary is Pissed! She knows Barack Obama turned controversy into opportunity.

's A More Perfect Union Speech on race may have nailed him the Presidency!

As Michael Crowley of The New Republic wrote: Barack Obama gave a brilliant, inspiring, intellectually supple speech--but one that may have done little to solve his festering problem with working class white Americans.

What Obama said from the lectern in Pennsylvania sounded like what you'd expect him to say, in less polished form, in a frank scotch-on-the-rocks conversation. I especially admired his keen analysis of how the media treats "race only as spectacle--as we did in the OJ trial--or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina--or as fodder for the nightly news." That's one reason it's sure to be a hit with elite commentators, not to mention racially super-enlightened liberal Democratic primary voters. More HERE

AAPP: I must admit Michael Crowley was right when he said:

"But those weren't the people Obama needed to reach today. His target audience was working class white voters--Reagan Democrats with a historic tendency to let racial prejudice and fear override their other social and economic interests, and whose view of Obama the Jeremiah Wright controversy threaten to permanently warp. That's one reason Obama sounded a striking note of sympathy for racial resentment within white America:

"Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism."

"Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze--a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns--this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding."

It will be an epic triumph when American politics puts an end to those distractions. The question is whether a black man can accomplish this. One of Bill Clinton's greatest political assets (before this campaign) was his ability to be a Nixon-in-China when it came to race; his successful mid-90s defense of affirmative action is a perfect example.

For Obama, the task is far more complicated. Perhaps I'm too cynical, but I suspect the speech may fail to meet its goal of assuaging white America in two ways.

AAPP: Yes Michael Crowley your too cynical. Hillary Clinton is cynical too.

As I said, Rumor Is, Hillary is Pissed!

Obama's speech on race may have nailed him the Presidency!

I'm thankful that many people understand how this was a Big, Big, Really Big Obama Speech.

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