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Obama’s race, By Doug Thompson

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When did being black turn from being a steep barrier to a decisive advantage in a presidential race, Mrs. Ferraro?
Geraldine Ferraro, a former Democratic vice-presidential nominee, said recently that leading Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama wouldn’t be where he is today if he wasn’t black.
She’s right, as far as she goes. Barack Obama wouldn’t be where he is today if he wasn’t black — and a skillful campaigner, somebody who looks younger than he is, possessed of a profound eloquence and a genius at raising money.
He also wouldn’t be where he is if Ferraro’s candidate, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., hadn’t drastically underestimated him.
Obama’s a black man who’s taken most of the delegates away from the white heir apparent. That’s a tribute to his skill, not a result of his skin tone. In fact, his ability to leverage his race into an advantage rather than a prohibitive handicap is a tribute to his other strengths.
Ferraro wasn’t wrong as much as she was selective in her truth. Her statement was, however, not “absurd.” That’s what Obama called it, and that needs some discussion too.
Does anybody out there deny that the chance to shatter the glass ceiling is not a powerful part of Obama’s appeal?
Of course it is. Everybody who’s read any one of a dozen or so of my columns about this primary knows I’m no member of the Barack Obama Fan Club. Voting for him just to anger bigots is one of the very few powerful factors in his favor for me.
What is the elusive “change” he keeps talking about, when his “policy papers” don’t show enough differences with Clinton to disprove that they are twins separated at birth? Let’s say it out loud for once, as if we’re not ashamed of it.
The change Obama offers is the fulfillment of one of the promise that anyone can grow up and become the president in America.
The change he offers is the flood of new hope and the strivings that hope will inspire when millions of people see that promise become more than just words.
Having a black man’s picture on the wall of elementary school classrooms would do everybody some good.
Obama’s success so far is a major stride. Major strides can be tripped up. Now that we finally have the topic of race fully open — to the point it hurts — let’s talk about it.
Let’s talk about how it’s time to stop treating Barack Obama like he was a hothouse flower whose candidacy is only because of political correctness enforced by well-meaning whites.
There’s a scene in “In the Heat of the Knight” when the investigators confront the old money bigot in his greenhouse. The genteel racist describes one of his prize orchids, which can only flourish under careful, knowledgeable care — “like the negro.”
Every time I hear a self-righteous Democrat talking about how Hillary Clinton’s “gone too far,” I think of that scene.
“Gone too far,” indeed. She’s not out of the starting gate compared to what’s coming at Obama if he wins the nomination. There’s a storm coming, people. Standing up in the boat saying “Peace, be still” isn’t going to work unless one of you folks is Jesus.
Barack Obama doesn’t have to learn karate to defend himself. John Kerry did everything he needed to do to defend himself. He just did it weeks too late.
When honor’s involved, you jump like somebody’s burning you. You respond immediately. You respond effectively. You do it yourself.
My favorite speech in all of Shakespeare is from his most famous play, and you hardly ever see it even in the theater. The whole scene is usually cut for length.
It’s the “eggshell” speech by Hamlet, given as he watches an army march to battle over a bare scrap of land that won’t be big enough to bury the dead when the fight’s over.
That is the moment he finds the resolve that haunting by his father’s ghost could not provide.
Obama should read it if he hasn’t already. So should those who support him.

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