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Friday, March 30, 2007

I've had enough of this Obama black enough talk

Lois Hatton writes in the USA Today:
Some have suggested that his Harvard education, his white mother and his privileged background separate him from the experiences of mainstream African-Americans. The son of a Kenyan, Obama has a different heritage than most African-Americans whose ancestors came to the USA chained in the holds of slave ships. Obama's father came to America by choice and without the leg irons and chains of slavery.

This unique heritage, however, does not nullify Obama's blackness or isolate him from understanding the needs of other African-Americans. Black leaders have always been the most articulate, the most educated and the most elite members of their race.

Right on! Hopefully, this media theme is dead. It assumes black voters vote mainly on the basis of race. No, black people, like everyone type of people, are looking for a candidate that will be the best president. That being said, Obama won 90% of the black vote in the Illinois Senate Primary. He has demonstrated that he can prove to the black voters in Illinois that he is a qualified candidate. And I don't see anyone reason why that won't translate nationally. The polls of black voters favor him over Clinton a little bit now. In the future, they'll probably favor him a lot.

Illinois Political Insider Rich Miller wrote:
Ten months before the March 2004 U.S. Senate primary (about where we are now before the Iowa caucuses), Obama's own polls showed him winning just 34 percent of the black vote. About a month before the primary, African-American voters began ''breaking'' in large numbers to his candidacy. As they began focusing on the campaign, black voters saw he was viable, liked his message and a significant percentage finally realized he was African American. He ended up winning just about all their votes.

This same pattern has been repeated time and time again during the past 25 years here. Harold Washington didn't start off his campaign with the majority of black support against a white female with a huge war chest and the powers of patronage and incumbency, but he certainly ended that way. Like Byrne, Hillary Clinton is almost universally known and has a strong record of backing issues important to many Democratic African-American voters. Obama is far less known. It's perfectly natural that, right now, many black voters are siding with Clinton. But, if Obama's candidacy remains viable through early next year, I'd bet that the vast majority of African-American voters will end up with him.
The real question: is the media smart enough to realize Obama is black enough? For a while I doubted they could do it, but they may just be smart enough.

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