The Corner

Icky Thump

The NYT has a chin-pulling piece this morning about race and the election. It includes this quote, from Harold Ickes:

“If he were white, this would be a blowout,” Mr. Ickes said. “I think the country has come a long, long, long way since the 1960s. I think everybody would agree with that. But if you talk to people in certain states, they will say there are impulses that do not benefit Barack Obama because of the color of his skin.”

Maybe the problem is racist Democrats, because recent polls have indicated that nearly 10 percent of Democrats support McCain.

The Ickes quote is peculiar. He suggests that “certain states” have racist voters. I’d be curious to know his opinion about which states contain zero racists. I thought they were everywhere–often in small numbers, but everywhere.

Articles such as this of course lay the groundwork for what will be the dominant theme of liberal punditry in the event that McCain pulls off an upset: Racist America has refused to elect a black man who would have prevailed if he were white. It is of course an open question as to whether Obama would have gained the Democratic nomination if his dad had been from Sweden rather than Kenya. My guess is that he’d still be Dick Durbin’s understudy.

Finally, it’s worth pointing out the headline of the lead story on CNN’s politics website right now: “African-American enthusiasm could tip scales toward Obama.”

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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