Lisa, re: the Reverend Wright’s chains (a reference to his gated community?), light skin color, etc, the problem for the Senator is a simple one: The more the Obama brand becomes linked with words like “slavery”, “chains”, “Farrakhan”, “liberation theology”, etc, the more Americans will tune out. No doubt a sliver of the electorate is as racist as the professional grievance-mongers claim. But a bigger segment simply doesn’t think about race that much and doesn’t want to. When you refer to “the racial drama with which our culture continues to live”, to most Americans it’s a “drama” in the sense that a daytime soap is: You’re aware it’s still out there somewhere, decade in, decade out, and you fully expect to be channel-surfing in 2023 and come across it for five minutes, but you don’t want to have to live with it every day.
Imagine if Colin Powell, the genuinely post-racial man Obama merely claims to be, had run in 1996. Would the campaign have dwindled down to Aids conspiracy theories and the genetic predisposition of clapping rhythms? No. Because that’s not where Colin Powell lives. There are no Jeremiah Wrights in his life. This problem is of Obama’s making, and it’s killing him.