Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Race and the U.S. Presidential Elections

UPDATE 10/08/08: I need to clear up a few misperceptions in comments. 1) Unless the race is really close come election day, I doubt racism will decide this election. I do think it would not even be this close if it wasn’t a factor. 2) The Bradley effect (voters who say they will vote for a black person, but then don’t) is different from those who openly admit they never will. But the latter do make one look for  the possibility of the former.  3)With the economy in such bad shape, there may be a “reverse Bradley effect” in swing states like VA, NC, and IN–where people who swear to their friends that they will never vote for a (insert racial epithet here), reverse themselves in the privacy of the voting booth. In the latest poll by the Wall Street Journal (not exactly biased in a liberal or Democratic direction!), 59% of voters placed the economy as their number 1 issue and Obama was rated better than McCain on the economy by 15%!

Despite “Palin bump” for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), I still think several factors favor an Obama-Biden victory in November: 1)As more becomes known about Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), McCain’s VP choice, her popularity among women and independents is tanking.  Sure, women were glad to see the first female VP candidate since Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY) in ’84–and all Americans were glad to see SOMETHING new with the GOP and this race. But a woman who has only 20 months in office and lists Alaska’s proximity to Russia as “foreign policy experience,” and then suggests war with Russia, is not reassuring for anyone but hardcore GOP neo-cons. And a woman who would outlaw abortions even in the case of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother strikes most people as extreme. Someone who made a D-minus in macroeconomics is not reassuring in this economic atmosphere–not even to NRA members who are thrilled that she can kill and field-dress a moose. Nor were many Americans reassured that she did not know what the “Bush doctrine” (Bush’s foreign policy guideline that the U.S. should not go to war only as a last resort, but preemptively any time we feel threatened or to spread democracy/capitalism or for whatever reason this week) was, apparently thinking it had something to do with W’s religious beliefs.  And Palin’s ethical challenges make her look like just another Republican.  So, the shiny is wearing off quickly–and she cannot carry McCain’s limping campaign across the finish line.  (She does present a challenge to Joe Biden in the VP debate: He will have to keep focused on McCain, not her, to keep from looking like a bully.) 2) McCain is trying simultaneously to keep his base secure by embracing the Bush legacy and distance himself and run against his party. The result just makes him look either confused or a liar.  3) The economy is being blamed on the party in power.  4)Obama is either leading or statistically tieing in all the battleground states and McCain doesn’t have the resources to cover all his bases–especially in the Democratically-trending West.  5) Obama has the better ground game and this will make a difference in a close election in several states, I think.

However, it remains true that the history and current state of American racism still could defeat Obama.  Polls show that as many as 1/3 of white Americans are worried about voting for a black man–still, in 2008.  That’s the major reason why this political race remains close.  Not the only reason, but the major one.  To understand the racial dimension does not require subtle analysis of Fox News’ race-baiting code words, the “secret Muslim terrorist” lie, but simply asking some easy questions. (Many of these examples were sent to me by email from friends in the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America.)

  • What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review while Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class at Annapolis (the U.S. Naval Academy)?
  • What if McCain had remained faithful and married to his first wife while Obama had left Michelle after she was no longer pretty due to a car accident and married a beautiful, wealthy, woman with political connections? (Actually, this double-standard on whose private life counts as “defending family values,” while breaking them and who is considered a threat to those values while embodying them is also a Republican-Democratic double standard and not just a racial double standard.)
  • What if Michelle Obama had not only become addicted to painkillers, but illegally obtained them through her charitable organization as Cindy McCain has?
  • What if Cindy McCain had graduated from Harvard Law School and quit corporate law to better help poor families?
  • What if Obama had been a member of the “Keating Five” Savings and Loan scandal (which caused a previous economic meltdown and government bailout) as John McCain was? What if hundreds of lobbyists, including for enemy nations like Iran, staffed the Obama campaign the way they do McCain’s?
  • What if John McCain were an eloquent speaker with fresh ideas?

If these questions  reflected reality, do you really believe the election
numbers would be as  close as they are?This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes  and minimizes positive
qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative  qualities in another when
there is a color difference.


Whether U.S. racism is so strong as to decide this election in McCain’s favor remains unknown.  We know there is a “Bradley effect,” named for Los Angeles’ mayor Tom Bradley (D) who, according to all the polls, should have been easily elected as the first black governor of California. (When they got in the polling booth, many whites who SAID they would vote for Bradley, didn’t.) But we don’t know if that effect is strong enough to decide this election. Since the days of Bradley, Doug Wilder (D-VA) became governor of Virginia, the first African-American governor of a Southern state since Reconstruction–and Deval Patrick (D-MA) was elected by a stronger margin as governor of MA.  The Democratic primaries showed that many whites in states with little or no African-American populations are willing to vote for Obama–but in West Virginia and Kentucky (Democratic states with deep histories of racism) whites openly told British reporters that they would never vote for an African-American.

And the economy, as I have said repeatedly, both helps and hurts Obama simultaneously. It helps his chances because poor economies are blamed (usually rightly) on the party in power and because he has clear, commonsense ideas on how to help while McCain contradicts himself on the economy daily and looks confused, to say the least.  But economic anxiety tends to make people “circle the wagons” and resist reaching out to those who are different. America’s worst periods of racial and ethnic strife and our worst anti-immigration eras were also eras of economic dislocation. We made our most significant gains in civil rights (as a result of major organized struggle) in an era of major economic expansion when most white citizens felt secure.

Racism is not the only factor that could lead to a McCain victory–Democrats have a history of shooting themselves in the foot on the way to the finish line in presidential politics; many are still traumatized by 9/11 and still buy the “kill them all” approach to defeating terrorism embodied by Bush and McCain (though much less than in ’04); and 18-35 year old voters, where Obama is strongest, historically turn out in the lowest numbers in U.S. elections, among other factors.  But there is no doubt that racism is playing a major part in the way this election remains close.

The presidential debates could have more significance than in most elections and they begin next Friday.

(Remember, I won’t be here to reply to comments for a few days. Please be patient.)

September 21, 2008 - Posted by | race, U.S. politics


  1. It’s a relief to read your intelligent and sensible summary of the situation. I have been starved for your decent reflection these past weeks and reading too much from young and irrational right wing “religious” bloggers (insisting that Obama is elitist and a wimp, and that Saddam and Osama were friends “because the ‘bipartisan’ 9/11 commission said so” and that Palin’s statement, that the Iraq war is a task from God, is somehow justified – among other things) because they sometimes link to political speeches. It’s been depressing.

    I truly hope America isn’t as bad as some of the news clips here would have us believe – in which potential voters shamelessly declare their disgust of Obama because of the colour of his skin.

    Michael – it’s tying, not tieing, even though it’s from tie.

    I’m so glad you’re back and OK. Happy holiday. You should all come on over – it’s spring! 🙂

    Comment by steph | September 21, 2008

  2. Remember that whites openly saying they wouldn’t vote for blacks is different from the Bradley effect, in which whites say they’re voting for the black candidate or, more often, say they’re undecided when they’ve really already chosen to vote for the white candidate. They’re both problematic, but at least open racism is much easier to track and prepare for than the Bradley effect. Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com has argued recently that the Bradley effect didn’t show up in the primaries, though racist voting patterns almost certainly did.

    Also, don’t forget the recent Senate race near you in Tennessee: the late polls before the election that Hal Ford lost were actually right on target.

    Don’t forget that most of those one third of Americans already vote Republican, meaning they won’t likely change things that much, and that many of them will have problems of cognitive dissonance this election, b/c of opinions that women are no more fit to lead than are black men.

    Comment by Kyle | September 21, 2008

  3. Whether they openly say the won’t vote for a black president or they say they will and don’t, the outcome is the same – the black Obama isn’t voted for. The news clips and documentary I have seen, focus on Democratic “Hillary” supporters. However I have faith in the common sense of the majority in this case, and believe that Obama will win. The alternative will be disastrous.

    Comment by steph | September 21, 2008

  4. I’m reading an article called “Political Atheism and Radical Faith” by Daniel L. Smith-Christopher. He suggests that there needs to be more scholarship on the role of peace witness in the centuries between Constantine and the Crusades.
    Do you know of anything written about that?

    Comment by Howie Luvzus | September 21, 2008

  5. […] whites openly told British reporters that they would never vote for an African-American.” Michael’s entire post is worth everyone’s time, including […]

    Pingback by Thom Stark » White House Not for Blacks | September 22, 2008

  6. Michael – a while ago during the primaries Obama suggested something a bit Bush doctrinish: a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan. Do you know if this is still his position?

    Comment by steph | September 22, 2008

  7. Sorry, but here is why I have decided to vote for McCain/Palin:

    See the story of this incredible abortion survivor here:

    “”If abortion is merely about women’s rights, then what were mine? Becuase there wasn’t a radical or a well-meaning feminist yelling about how my rights were being violated that day.”
    — Gianna Jesson

    Comment by Jennifer | September 22, 2008

  8. The problem with the Palin ideal is there is no sex education to help encourage young girls to stop getting pregnant, no prevention of rape, no ability to stop predictable death during childbirth and the likelihood in the increase of dangerous backstreet abortions.

    Comment by steph | September 22, 2008

  9. The problem with Obama is that he believes that women have an unrestricted right to kill their babies. How can a seamless garment or consistent ethic of life Christian support this?

    Comment by Jennifer | September 23, 2008

  10. Looks to me like M W-W is parroting the party line:


    Liberals’ Warnings About Obama Loss May Prove Self-Fulfilling
    By Dennis Prager
    If Barack Obama loses the 2008 election, liberal hell will break loose.

    Seven weeks before the 2008 presidential election, liberals are warning America that if Barack Obama loses, it is because Americans are racist. Of course, that this means that Democrats (and independents) are racist, since Republicans will vote Republican regardless of the race of the Democrat, is an irony apparently lost on the Democrats making these charges.

    That an Obama loss will be due to racism is becoming as normative a liberal belief as “Bush Lied, People Died,” a belief that has generated intense rage among many liberals. But “Obama lost because of white racism” will be even more enraging. Rage over the Iraq War has largely focused on President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. But if Obama loses, liberal rage will focus on millions of fellow Americans and on American society.

    And it could become a rage the likes of which America has not seen in a long time, if ever. It will first and foremost come from within black America. The deep emotional connection that nearly every black American has to an Obama victory is difficult for even empathetic non-blacks to measure. A major evangelical pastor told me that even evangelical black pastors who share every conservative value with white evangelical pastors, including pro-life views on abortion, will vote for Obama. They feel their very dignity is on the line.

    That is why the growing chorus — already nearing unanimity — of liberal commentators and politicians ascribing an Obama loss to American racism is so dangerous.

    Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic: “White racism means that Obama needs more than a small but clear lead to win.”

    Jack Cafferty of CNN: “The polls remain close. Doesn’t make sense … unless it’s race.”

    Jacob Weisberg of Newsweek and Slate: “The reason Obama isn’t ahead right now is … the color of his skin. … If Obama loses, our children will grow up thinking of equal opportunity as a myth.”

    Nicholas D. Kristof of New York Times: “Religious prejudice (against Obama) is becoming a proxy for racial prejudice.”

    Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, in a speech to union workers: “Are you going to give up your house and your job and your children’s futures because he’s black?”

    Similar comments have been made by Kansas’s Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, and by writers in Time magazine. And according to The Associated Press: “A poll conducted by The Associated Press and Yahoo News, in conjunction with Stanford University, revealed that a fairly significant percentage of Democrats and independents may not vote for Sen. Barack Obama because of his race.” If you read the poll, it does not in fact suggest this conclusion. The pollsters assert that any person with any negative view of black life means that the person is racist and means that he would not vote for Obama. Both conclusions are unwarranted. But “Obama will lose because of racism” is how the poll takers and the media spin it.

    Why do liberals believe that if Obama loses it will be due to white racism?

    One reason is the liberal elite’s contempt for white Americans with less education — even if they are Democrats.
    A second reason is that it is inconceivable to most liberals that an Obama loss — especially a narrow one — will be due to Obama’s liberal views or inexperience or to admiration for John McCain.

    The third reason is that the further left you go, the more insular you get. Americans on the left tend to talk only to one another; study only under left-wing teachers; and read only fellow leftists. That is why it is a shock to so many liberals when a Republican wins a national election — where do all these Republican voters come from? And that in turn explains why liberals ascribe Republican presidential victories to unfair election tactics (“Swift-boating” is the liberals’ reason for the 2004 Republican victory). In any fair election, Americans will see the left’s light.

    If Obama loses, it will not be deemed plausible that Americans have again rejected a liberal candidate, indeed the one with the most liberal voting record in the U.S. Senate. Liberals will explain an Obama defeat as another nefarious Republican victory. Combining contempt for many rural and middle-class white Americans with a longstanding belief in the inevitability of a Democratic victory in 2008 (after all, everyone they talk to despises the Republicans and believes Republicans have led the country to ruin), there will be only one reason Obama did not win — white racism.

    One executive at a black radio station told me when I interviewed him on my radio show at the Democratic National Convention that he could easily see riots if Obama loses a closely contested election. Interestingly, he said he thought blacks would be far more accepting of a big McCain victory.

    I pray he is wrong on the first point. But it does seem that liberals are continuing to do whatever they can to increase anger at America, or at least at “white America.” For 40 years, liberals have described the most open and tolerant society on earth as racist and xenophobic. If Barack Obama loses, the results of this liberal depiction of America may become frighteningly apparent.

    Copyright 2008, Creators Syndicate Inc.

    Comment by JimR | September 23, 2008

  11. Hey, it’s not as if a good percentage of the white voters in the Democratic primaries told pollsters that race was an issue for them. Oh wait, it is.

    What’s your take-home message, JimR? Are you saying racism isn’t a factor in America anymore? That an eloquent and religious Democrat can’t be running even with an old man disliked by his own core because of racism?

    And yeah, some Democrats are racist. Surprise! That doesn’t mean Republicans aren’t, just because they’d be voting for the old white guy anyway. Willie Horton ads, anyone? Heck, even some ads this election cycle.

    And no, there could be other reasons for an Obama loss, like Republicans lying about him being Muslim or Arab, as Rush Limbaugh just did. “Barack Osama, heh heh”. “Barack HUSSEIN Obama”. That’s bigotry too.

    Comment by Damien R. S. | September 23, 2008

  12. You say that Obama believes that women have an unrestricted right to kill their babies. That is an exaggerated untruth.

    Comment by steph | September 23, 2008

  13. Rebecca, the above comment is address to.

    Comment by steph | September 24, 2008

  14. my take away point is that if you don’t vote for Palin for vice president you are a sexist. I need Palin to win to “shatter the glass ceiling” so that I can tell my daughters that “they can grow up to be anything they choose to be.” So, I’ll see your racism and raise you sexism.

    I agree with steph that it is an “exaggerated untruth” to say that Obama believes in an unrestricted right for women to kill their babies. he only believes that they have an unrestricted right to kill their babies at any time before they are born. And if they accidentally survive an abortion.

    Comment by JimR | September 24, 2008

  15. “he only believes that they have an unrestricted right to kill their babies at any time before they are born. And if they accidentally survive an abortion” that is also an exaggerated untruth.

    Palin doesn’t need to be elected to prove that women can do everything. I would never vote for her. Quite apart from her right wing fundamentalist imperialistic ideas, as a pacifist, she’s hardly a role model I would want my daughter to imitate. Besides that she isn’t a mother I would want mothers to imitate. Apart from encouraging her pregnant teen daughter to marry a young hooligan whose myspace page boasts “I am a f****** redneck” and “I don’t want no kids”, she can’t hope to be a very attentive mother to her young baby in a job which takes her away from home.

    A far better model for my daughter is our Prime Minister – a three term elected anti war leader who has not left children at home to pursue her role. I will vote for our PM for the fourth time in November this year.

    Comment by steph | September 24, 2008

  16. Steph–you seem very angry.

    As a pacifist would you prefer to have Palin kill her baby because he has Down syndrome. Or tell her daughter to abort because she was not married? is there no redemption for a hooligan who calls himself a f*** redneck. where is the grace? where is the redemption? where is the love?

    And Obama does have very radical views of abortion. Everybody knows that. at one time liberal Christians could be pro-life, but more and more liberal Christians have sold out to the planned parenthood-pro-abortion lobby. it is very sad. they have made a mockery of the consistent life ethic.

    Comment by Jennifer | September 25, 2008

  17. this article makes a lot of sense to me–thoughts?

    What Was Feminism?
    By Victor Davis Hanson

    The media went hysterical over Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska and Republican nominee for vice president. She may have appeared to the public as an independent, capable professional woman, but to a particular elite she couldn’t possibly be a real feminist or even a serious candidate. And that raises questions about what is — and what is not — feminism.

    Feminism grew out of the 1960s to address sexual inequality. At an early age, I was mentored on most feminist arguments by my late mother. She graduated from Stanford Law School in the 1940s but then was offered only a single job as a legal secretary. Instead, she went back home to raise three children with my father, a teacher and farmer, and only returned to legal work in her 40s. She was eventually named a California superior court judge and, later, a state appellate court justice.

    Hers was a common and compelling feminist argument of the times, and went something like this: Women should receive equal pay for equal work, and not be considered mere appendages of their husbands. Childrearing — if properly practiced as a joint enterprise — did not preclude women from pursuing careers. A woman’s worth was not to be necessarily judged by having either too many or too few children, given the privacy of such decisions and the co-responsibility of male partners.

    In such an ideal gender-blind workplace, women were not to be defined by their husband’s or father’s success or failure. The beauty of women’s liberation was that it was not hierarchical but included the unmarried woman who drove a combine on her own farm, the corporate attorney and the homemaker who chose to home-school her children.

    Women in the workplace did not look for special favors. And they surely did not wish to deny innately feminine differences. Instead, they asked only that men should not establish arbitrary rules of the game that favored their male gender.

    Soon radical changes in American attitudes about birth control, abortion, dating, marriage and health care became, for some, part and parcel of women’s liberation. But in its essence feminism still was about equality of opportunity, and so included women of all political and religious beliefs.

    That old definition of feminism is now dead. It has been replaced by a new creed that is far more restrictive — as the controversy over Sarah Palin attests. Out of the recent media frenzy, four general truths emerged about the new feminism:

    First, there is a particular class and professional bent to the practitioners of feminism. Sarah Palin has as many kids as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she has as much of a prior political record as the once-heralded Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, who was named to the Democratic ticket by Walter Mondale in 1984 — and arguably has as much as, or more executive experience than, Barack Obama. Somehow all that got lost in the endless sneering stories about her blue-collar conservatism, small Alaskan town, five children, snowmobiling husband and Idaho college degree.

    Second, feminism now often equates to a condescending liberalism. Emancipated women who, like Palin, do not believe in abortion or are devout Christians are at best considered unsophisticated dupes. At worse, they are caricatured as conservative interlopers, piggybacking on the hard work of leftwing women whose progressive ideas alone have allowed the Palins of the world the choices that otherwise they would not now enjoy.

    Apparently these feminists believe that without the ideas of Gloria Steinem on abortion, a moose-hunting PTA mom would not have made governor. The Democrat’s vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, said Palin’s election, given her politics, would be “a backward step for women.”

    Third, hypocrisy abounds. Many female critics of Palin, in Washington and New York politics and media, found their careers enhanced through the political influence of their powerful fathers, their advantageous marriages to male power players and the inherited advantages of capital. The irony is that a Palin — like a Barbara Jordan, Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher — made her own way without the help of money or influence.

    Fourth, most Americans still believe in the old feminism but not this new doctrinaire liberal brand. Consequently, a struggling John McCain suddenly has shot ahead of Obama in the polls. Apparently millions of Americans like Palin’s underdog feminist saga and her can-do pluckiness. Many are offended by haughty liberal media elites sneering at someone that, politics aside, they should be praising — for her substantial achievements, her inspirational personal story and her Obama-like charisma.

    This past week we were supposed to learn about a liberated Gov. Sarah Palin. Instead the media taught us more than we ever wanted to know about what they now call feminism.

    Comment by Jennifer | September 25, 2008

  18. No I am not angry. I do not approve of abortion but I would not deny it of women and girls in special cases as mentioned. I think you are leaping to conclusions. Did I suggest that Palin abort her down syndrome baby or her daughter abort her unborn child? No. I suggest that Palin shouldn’t be pursuing a job that takes her away from her responsibilities as a mother at the early stages in her child’s life. And I suggest that her daughter should not marry that boy but learn to practise abstaining from sex and taking care of her baby with the help of her family until she is ready to choose a decent husband. And if hockey boy is still hanging around and behaving himself when he’s a little older, fair enough, marry him later on.

    Your second paragraph makes no sense to me. I do however find it contradictory that so many so called “pro life” supporters, support war, torture, gun ownership and even the death penalty.

    Comment by steph | September 25, 2008

  19. Do you think she’s charismatic? I find her very simplistic and slightly wishy washy. Obama is charismatic. He has grace and charm, integrity and intelligence. What I find disappointing and worrying is that the biggest election issue seems to be the religious abortion debate. It doesn’t sound like either party will ban abortion (all this “respect” of other peoples’ views, from Palin) and to me there are far bigger issues at stake with greater consequences for the future.

    Comment by steph | September 25, 2008

  20. “I do not approve of abortion but I would not deny it of women and girls in special cases as mentioned.”

    I see. Steph is not in favor of “just war” but she is in favor of “just abortion”

    But if you are in favor of “just abortion” then why not be in favor of just war? or just capital punishment?

    Comment by Dave J | September 25, 2008

  21. I am not in favour of abortion. I think some women should not be denied it but that does not mean I am in favour of it. No war is “just”. Just war is a concept to justify something unjust. It is an oxymoron.

    How would you feel if when you were a boy you were brutally raped and became pregnant and had to persevere for 9 months to have the life inside you, if you survive the childbirth, probably taken from you. Lucky for you that would never have happened.

    Comment by steph | September 25, 2008

  22. From a Jewish guy commenting on this:


    Rationalizing Obama’s Defeat

    You must know the old joke:
    A young man returns home from a job interview at a radio station, dejected. His mother sees his sunken face and understands immediately that something has gone wrong.

    “My son! The sport’s announcer’s job—you didn’t get it? Nobody knows more about sports than you! How could they reject you?”

    The son: “Mom, it was anti-sss …. anti-ssssssss … anti-sssssssssss … anti-SSSSEMMM-itism.”

    Democrats are already preparing their excuses for the possible defeat of Barack Obama in November. That was an important column Bob Shrum just wrote. True, the column offers Barack Obama unfortunately little guidance as to how to win the election. But it does offer an all-purpose excuse if Obama should lose: racism. Some might say that five weeks in advance is a little early to be developing rationalizations for defeat. And others might say that a candidate who has consistently led in almost every poll since early summer has little need for rationalizations. But those who say these things do not know the Democratic Party!

    Maybe I am unfair here, but to an outsider it seems that Democrats see these quadrennial presidential contests not as trials between two parties with the voters deciding, but as trials of the voters! Are the voters good enough, decent enough, unprejudiced enough to vote Democratic? Or will they succumb to their lower natures and vote Republican?

    At the end of Hunter S. Thompson’s book on the 1972 campaign, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, Thompson listens to the news reports declaring Richard Nixon’s re-election and thinks: “Okay, we are a nation of used car salesmen.” Not for him the thought that there might have been anything wrong with George McGovern or the party that nominated him! If I fail … it shows there’s something wrong with you.

    That mode of thinking is obviously very condescending. Less obviously, it is very self-defeating. Suppose the voters are just as lunk-headed as Thompson and (depending on the outcome) Bob Shrum believe. What follows? Yes, another couple of decades of massive illegal immigration may well create a very different electorate. Until then, however, these are the voters you have got. The only route to political power is through convincing them; abusing them does not help with that work.

    Even more counter-productive, the blame-the-voters mindset relieves candidates of responsibility for developing and articulating acceptable policies. Barack Obama faces other challenges in this campaign than his race.

    Obama is running as the more pacifist candidate in a country where the more nationalist candidate has won every presidential election since 1816. He is running as the more economically collectivist candidate in a country where the more economically individualist candidate has won seven of the 10 elections since 1964. He is a more remote and inaccessible personality and he has a radically less impressive resume than his rival. His personal story not only lacks the heroism of John McCain’s, but it is punctuated with odd gaps and unanswered questions. Obama still has not delivered a fully plausible account of his relationships with such figures as Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright. Perhaps the most immediately damaging fact about Obama’s candidacy, however, was his decision not to reach out to his principal party rival, even though she won very nearly as many Democratic votes as he did.

    Obama may be The One. But he is far from a perfect candidate, regardless. And Democrats do neither him nor themselves any favors when the only flaws they can see are the flaws in this democracy’s ultimate decision-makers: their employers, the voters.

    Comment by JimR | September 26, 2008

  23. Jim, Jennifer, what’s with posting whole columns of other people’s work here? While this is not my blog, of course, I’d suggest that’s what links are for. Comments sections are for you making YOUR comments. At least, that’s the general blogosphere etiquette as I’ve come to understand it.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | October 2, 2008

  24. It is very surprising that in this day and age,racism should determine who the President of the US should be.After all the biblical sermons from missionaries from the US and the rhetorics from American politicians, that we should love our neighbours as ourselves,and treat one another equally; for that is how the good Lord treats all of us.I am afraid that so many of us in Africa will now begin to look at the US with disdain and malancholy should the US use the race card to determine who becomes the next President. If Obama is legitimate man for President of the US, his colour or race should not be used to disqualify him.America God and the whole world are watching you.

    Comment by MASSA | October 8, 2008

  25. […] whites openly told British reporters that they would never vote for an African-American.” Michael’s entire post is worth everyone’s time, including yours. Share this post! Twitter Digg Facebook […]

    Pingback by White House Not for Blacks « thomstark.net | November 5, 2009

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