Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Democrats Obama Dilemma

Posted by Warren Peterson on April 25, 2008

Before the Rev. Jeremiah Wright brouhaha, Barack Obama was not a black man. He was the new JFK. Unlike Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, he transcended race. He won an upset victory in mostly white Iowa. His mother was white but his father was born and raised in Kenya. Yet because he was not the product of over 200 years of African-American slavery, those who could trace their ancestry to the plantation did not embrace him.

Then came the exposé of Rev. Wright and Obama’s 20-year relationship with him and the Trinity church in Chicago. Snippets of Rev. Wright’s sermons denigrating America swamped talk radio and TV news and like a spicy meal, kept coming back. Wright’s Afro-centric theology became a campaign issue. The man who had been almost above criticism was put on the defensive. The man who had transcended race became the black candidate. He became an instant “brother” which gained him 80 to 90 percent African-American support but cost him his unifier image. It cost him significant white support. It opened the door to even the Clintons playing the race card. It took Barack off message and allowed Hillary to hit him with Bittergate, his relationship with former Weatherman terrorist William Ayers and challenge his experience and lofty rhetoric (“Where’s the beef?”). All these combined in Pennsylvania to shatter Obama’s messianic aura and raise questions about electability.

Democrats are now faced with a Hobson’s choice. Choose Hillary who has won the Electoral College vote rich states or Barack who leads in the popular vote. Pick Hillary, especially in a back room deal, and they lose the critical African-American vote and set back black/white race relations 50 years. Nominate Barack and the women’s vote could be lost. Either way, Democrats, with the best chance of capturing the White House since they ran a sitting Vice President, are poised to snatch defeat from a sure victory.

Democrats may just have to take the bitter pill option and accept a McCain win. This would give them four years to fix their nominating process. For Obama, he could use the time to gain experience, moderate his leftist views and build a powerhouse organization for 2012 when President McCain would be 76 years old.

It will be interesting. God bless America.


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