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I don't want to rain on this parade, especially since I thought the speech was the best I have heard by a national US politician in my lifetime (born 68) but I have to.

I agree with you that race was not perhaps central to the speech. This is all about patriotism in the end.

And you can bet that the flags are a symbol of massive overcompensation, because they need to be.

All attacks on Obama have one thing in common. He is being fashioned as the Manchurian candidate. Every negative comment is meant to drive the notion home that he's not a real American.

This is always how the GOP goes at Democrats, and the only one to have avoided that level of scrutiny is Gore. Dukakis of course was Greek, not American; Clinton a draft-dodger; Kerry was a phony soldier who faked service to our country and then went hippie. All of them unpatriotic.

This is why the idea that the Muslim meme has now been blown out of the water doesn't really matter. It was never there in the first place to do anything but question his patriotism. Sure, Americans seem to despise Muslims in general, but Americans are also highly capable of coming to the conclusion that, "He's not one of the radical ones." I would argue, instead, that its primary intention was to make him seem unpatriotic, a man who doesn't love America as much as the true Americans. As such, it dovetails really nicely with the attacks on Wright.

The American mind works in soundbytes:

"God Damn America," err, hmmm, something a Muslim would say.

Black church, just like Farrakhan, don't think some Americans won't get this mixed up.

Nation of Islam, Black Panthers. Hmmmm.

People get Iraq and Iran confused, Al-Qaeda and Saddam.

Of course this is a racial attack, and a religious one. I'm not denying it. But the primary intent is still there. Make him seem unpatriotic.

Unfortunately, as is evident in the media, Obama does not yet have an answer to "God Damn America." His speech was breathtaking, but brains in this country are the size of a speck of saccharine. Where's the soundbyte to combat that? Nuanced mature serious discussion of race? Our last candidate had nuance as well. Where's the soundbyte?

I've heard it this morning: "I would no more disown Rev. Wright than I would my white grandmother." That's the one that gets repeated. But it's a mixed message. It associates White's patriotism or lack thereof with Obama's grandmother's latent racism. The two are not comparable other than to say that Obama has understandable difficulty disowning people who are close to him. But that's a personal dilemma. Where's the meme? How to combat: "God Damn America?"

The polls show that he has not won.

by Upstate NY on Thu Mar 20th, 2008 at 10:18:21 AM EST
My impression today, though I don't live in the U.S. is that Obama is severely damaged and may not recover. If Clinton wins the remaining primaries because of the Wright fallout I could well see the Super Delegates giving her the nomination. If that happens, and black and Obama supporters feel that Obama was wronged and stay home on election day, then say hello to President McCain and the continued decline of the U.S.A. And because Clinton has so brutally attacked Obama, she cannot choose him as V.P. candidate; she has closed that door. I'm afraid we are going to say hello to Bush 3.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Thu Mar 20th, 2008 at 04:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My impression -- and I didn't even know about the Wright controversy until around the time of Obama's speech, so it's entirely possible I'm missing a lot -- is that he took a pretty nasty hit from it, but not as nasty as I would've expected.  (His numbers have recovered a bit since the speech, as he's now back to within the margin of error.)  It depends on how things play out from here.

Rather than keeping an eye on Obama, I'm keeping mine on the Right.  They seem determined to come as close to the line as possible without stepping over it, but I wouldn't discount the possibility of someone slipping up -- (say) some well known right-wing talk show host calling him a synonym for "nigger" (if not the actual word) in a fit of rage, or something to that effect -- and turning the fury on the other side.  (My money would be on Hannity or Buchanan.)

We'll see.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 20th, 2008 at 05:29:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think they have to go there at all when it comes to race. That will lose them votes. The racists are already not voting for him.

They will unapologetically go after him because of his name, and his father, and Wright, and also paint him as a Communist. That old meme? Yes, you watch.

by Upstate NY on Thu Mar 20th, 2008 at 09:27:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd add to that it doesn't seem to have benefited Clinton at all in GE match-ups with McCain.  She's down to 55% of blacks against him.  Add the young voters not showing up in sufficient numbers, and it's over.

All of these things said, it's fortunate that it's only March.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 20th, 2008 at 05:31:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here's a good sign for him, though:  In the new Fox poll, only 24% believe Obama shares Wright's views -- presumably the 24% who still think Bush is awesome.  57% do not believe he does.  (Am I once again going to owe my country an apology for underestimating its collective intelligence?)

The hope would be that it would cause an initial hit, followed by him moving back up due to a combination of forgetfulness and reasoning that the pastor and Obama don't agree.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Mar 20th, 2008 at 07:18:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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