Like senior citizens stampeding into a restaurant for the Early Bird Special, commentators are falling all over each other in trying to declare that the Obama speech on race was the best speech since the Gettysburg Address, or at least since their Bar Mitzvah speeches, usually begun, “Today I am a fountain pen …” or perhaps now it should read “computer.”
The speech, however, was brilliant for a different reason. He gave a speech about race when race was not the issue. It would be like President Bush addressing Congress and making a speech about crabgrass.
The issue was Obama’s nitwit pastor. His sermons – inconveniently for him (and Obama) videotaped – ran the spectrum from hateful, “God damn America,” to the ridiculous, America caused the AIDS epidemic, to declaring that the government was the cause of 9/11. Although Obama claimed he never actually heard the preacher say these disgusting words, it was rapidly becoming absurd for him to continue in that position, given the fact the pastor was his spiritual adviser, married him, baptized his children, counseled with him and made these remarks to many thousands of people in his audience. The conservative press (as few as they may be) and conservative commentators were closing in. It was only a question of time before people would turn up who were sitting in the audience with him while the pastor was spewing his idiosyncrasies. He arrived at a brilliant solution – make a speech about something else before the rug is pulled out from under him and he would have to do a Spitzer.
The problem is that today race is not really a problem in America. The president of the largest entertainment conglomerate in America – Time Warner – is an African American, so is America’s leading talk-show host. The highest non-elective post in America, secretary of state, is filled by an African-American who, incidentally, replaced another African-American. All of this is not to mention that Obama himself has astounding popularity and has a lead in being his party’s nominee for president.
Obama has successfully, by his speech, deflected attention from a potentially lethal blow, which reflects on a real issue – his judgment.
Obama seems to make a keystone issue that the major difference between Hillary and him is that he was opposed to the Iraq war from the start. So what! So was our brother-in-law. And neither he nor Obama was in the Senate at the time to vote for or against the war – and who knows what they would have done if they had all the information available to them as senators?
Hillary says she is the candidate of experience because of her time in the White House. Experience doing what? Arranging flowers (as her recently released records revealed)? Experience being one step ahead of the sheriff? Her just-released records revealed that she was upstairs in the White House while her husband was getting “Lewinskied” downstairs. Some person might ask the uncharitable question: How is she going to figure out what’s going on in the rest of the world when she could not figure out what was going on downstairs in her own house?
The real question is: In a country that has so many talented people of all races and religions, in varying sizes, from giants to midgets, how did we end up with these two duds?
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