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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Location: Douglas, Coffee Co., The Other Georgia, United States

Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Is he American enough? -- Show us you are Omaba. Recently ending a speech with "God Bless America" was a good start, but make it just a start.

Eleanor Clift writes in Newsweek:

Some 50 delegates were reportedly poised to unite behind Barack Obama if he had won by even 1 point in Texas. He lost the popular vote by 100,000 ballots, and now we learn that 100,000 Republicans voted for Hillary Clinton, probably not because of some change in party allegiance but because they thought she would be the easier candidate to beat. This kind of strategic voting often backfires (think Ralph Nader). The Texas crossovers are winners. By helping to prolong the Democratic race, they can claim credit for weakening the eventual nominee, whoever it turns out to be.

Obama has had a terrible time since Hillary sprang back to life after winning the Ohio and Texas primaries on March 4. The speech he delivered on race relations in Philadelphia was a valiant effort to address the story about his former pastor's inflammatory rhetoric. Having resisted for so long being typecast as the black candidate, Obama could no longer hold off plunging into the debate that still divides so much of America.

By most accounts, Obama did a masterful job aligning the promise of his candidacy with the grievances expressed by both blacks and whites, noting in particular how the anger of working-class whites over affirmative action and welfare formed the Reagan coalition. But the cable-news noise machine doesn't easily let go of something so juicy as the anti-American rhetoric served up by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The now-retired pastor did what the Clinton campaign had been unable to do--put Obama in a box he doesn't need to be in, one that brands him as a candidate primarily of black aspirations. The cable commentators kept pounding away, but in another universe, the one inhabited by Obama's base--the millennial generation--his Philadelphia speech became the most-viewed video on YouTube this week with almost 2.5 million hits so far. Maybe, just maybe, the cable critics and conservative pundits are talking to themselves.

At an election-watch panel Thursday morning organized by the American Enterprise Institute, a questioner using journalistic shorthand asked if the uproar over Reverend Wright "has legs." The consensus among the panelists was that Obama might have stanched the bleeding among Democratic primary voters but that the issue will continue to dog him in a more virulent form with questions about where his true loyalties lie. Is he American enough?

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