Some e-mails about today’s column:
1. Dear Mr. Lowry,
… The only thing I’d quibble with is the notion that if Obama were a white man he wouldn’t be doing so well. Given his limited experience, perhaps that’s true. But, a white Democratic male politician with his oratorical skills, the same message, the same tone, and his campaign’s organization, I’m not sure he wouldn’t be attracting at least some attention. My sense is that in both parties there is a desire for someone, anyone, who is different, charismatic, articulate and inspiring. The conservative movement is still waiting for someone like this, albeit with substance, to truly fill Reagan’s shoes.
2. …like Edward R. Murrow calling Eleanor Roosevelt a fascist….
I think this analogy gives too much credit to Olbermann as a journalist. And based on her marriage to FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt could probably be accurately described as fascist. At least that’s how I’d place her after reading Jonah’s book. Your larger point is well taken though. Who knew watching a group eat their own would be so entertaining.
3. Rich, I was (am) a Romney guy but in light of the “race” monster rearing it’s ugly head, and given the virtual certainty that Obama is the democratic nominee, perhaps it’s for the best that McCain is our nominee. In order to effectively foil the race card, we need a candidate who can withstand the inevitable, baseless charges of racism that will be thrown his way. And the only way to withstand said baseless charges is to simply refuse to accept them–and more importantly, refuse to apologize. Mac, with his long engrained “Maverick” persona, general collegiality with the (admittedly backstabbing) press and just plain, spiteful stubbornness, is the only candidate who would have a chance of slaying the race dragon in this manner. Of weathering a brutal couple of news cycles and condemning NY Times headlines. Of just saying, in a Limbaugh-like manner, “screw you.” I think people would admire that, and it would (at long last) put democrats and victim pimps on notice that the days of their most effective weapon were numbered.
ME: 1) I think the e-mailer is right. Ferraro’s original comment–as she acknowledged in subsequent interviews–was correct but incomplete. That Obama is an African-American has given his candidacy it’s extra excitement as a history-making endeavor; it’s what helped create a lot of the positive press coverage that launched him on his way; and it’s what gives his pledges to unify the country an added symbolic resonance. But he’s also out-campaigned, out-fundraised, out-organized, and out-classed Hillary.
2) I know, I know regarding Murrow and Olbermann. That’s why I said “back in the glory days of liberaldom.” Also, I know my line there runs afoul of Liberal Fascism, for which sin I repent with an Amazon link.
3) I do think McCain is a good match-up with Obama when it comes to racial politics. Not just because he doesn’t have any racial guilt and won’t take any guff on this point, but he’ll be scrupulously above-board. This is why it was so important to distance himself from Bill Cunningham repeatedly saying “Barack Hussein Obama.” When it’s going to be a hyper-sensitive environment anyway, you can’t afford to be associated in any way with schoolyard tactics.
In response to the email you posted on the Corner I think I would say this. If we had a white man who espoused much of Obama’s political views, was attractive looking and articulate, and had a fair amount of money and a reasonably good organization, and had a similar lack of experience and a somewhat short resume, he would have been John Edwards. I understand full well that Obama has far more of an oratorical gift than Edwards, but I think the analogy still mostly holds. And, of course, the chance of anyone like that being asked to give the key note address at the National Convention in 2004 as a member of the state legislature of some mid-west state would be precisely zero regardless of his rhetorical skills, it seems to me.