Barack Obama’s new racial dilem­mas

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Bill O’Reilly

Well, Barack Obama should be one happy guy. His big vic­tory in North Carolina has pretty much locked up the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion. Now it is vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble for Hil­lary Clin­ton to de­feat him in the pop­u­lar vote or in the elected del­e­gate cat­e­gory.

Thus, Mr. Obama has the nom­i­na­tion won un­less an­other Rev. Wright crawls into the pic­ture. Spin­ners who talk about re-votes in Florida and Michi­gan are dream­ing; that will not hap­pen. The Obama cam­paign would be fool­ish to par­tic­i­pate. They played by the Demo­cratic Party’s rules and won. They’re not go­ing to sanc­tion do-overs.

Also, as Al Sharp­ton told me, any kind of su­perdel­e­gate shenani­gans will lead to mas­sive demon­stra­tions at the Demo­cratic Con­ven­tion in Den­ver, which would be dis­as­trous for the party. So Mr. Obama seems to be in. Now comes the hard part, con­vinc­ing Amer­i­cans that he is the best choice for pres­i­dent with­out all hell break­ing loose on the race front.

Thanks in part to the Rev. Wright’s now im­mor­tal “the U.S. of KKK” re­mark, the race fac­tor has emerged big-time in this elec­tion. If you don’t be­lieve me, just look at the vote in North Carolina and In­di­ana.

About 60 per­cent of whites voted for Mrs. Clin­ton, as op­posed to an as­tound­ing 90 per­cent of African-Amer­i­cans pulling the lever for Mr. Obama. And work­ing-class whites went even big­ger for Mrs. Clin­ton. No ques­tion there is a race di­vide.

Ac­cept­ing that, Mr. Obama has two ba­sic prob­lems in the race arena. First, mil­i­tant blacks re­in­force neg­a­tiv­ity on race is­sues, and th­ese pin­heads just keep pop­ping up. In ad­di­tion to the Rev. Wright, Philadel­phia preacher Der­ick Wil­son wrote in the Philadel­phia Daily News that Mr. Obama is a “house Ne­gro” for not sup­port­ing the Rev. Wright.

Of course, that is in­sane, and a re­spon­si­ble news­pa­per would not have printed the lu­nacy. But in this hy­per-par­ti­san coun­try, race-baiters will find a fo­rum, and ev­ery time stuff like that gets ex­po­sure, racial an­i­mus comes back.

Mr. Obama’s sec­ond dilemma is con­vinc­ing skep­ti­cal white vot­ers that he and his wife are sym­pa­thetic to their con­cerns. Let’s be hon­est, few white Amer­i­cans would tol­er­ate the Rev. Wright for five min­utes, much less 20 years. And Mr. Obama’s com­ments in San Fran­cisco about blue col­lars seek­ing refuge in guns and church hurt him badly.

So, the sen­a­tor must clar­ify his phi­los­o­phy with­out be­la­bor­ing the is­sue. Even with his ver­bal elo­quence, that will not be easy.

I do not ex­pect Mr. Obama or Sen. John McCain to dwell on race, but surely some of their sur­ro­gates and the me­dia will ex­ploit the is­sue to the fullest. Any kind of per­ceived racial com­ment will be splashed all over the place.

That, of course, will be bad for the coun­try and bad for the can­di­dates. But it’s com­ing. No ques­tion.

Bill O’Reilly is a na­tion­ally syn­di­cated colum­nist.

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