Oh, look! Barack Obama is black.

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Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)

Listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600 Friday, Feb. 15, 2008.

Barack Obama is well on his way to not only becoming the Democratic nominee for president, but, in my opinion, to becoming the President of the United States. Why I think he can beat John McCain is a topic for another session and believe me, we’ll get to that.

But right now, let’s go ahead and deal with one of the inescapable facts about an Obama presidential campaign.

He’s black.

We’ve never had an African-American in a serious bid for the presidency. The fact that a black man with a Muslim-sounding name has a very realistic chance of becoming the president is truly remarkable.

The good news is that we’ve reached the place in the evolution of American society that a black man can run for the presidency and have a clean shot at winning it. The bad news is that the candidate’s race is nonetheless still a topic for discussion. And discuss it we will. There’s no way around it.

Ed Rendell has started the bidding. Rendell is the former mayor of Philadelphia and a major player in the Clinton campaign. He said to the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

“You’ve got conservative whites here, and I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate.,”

I don’t think Rendell’s motives in making this statement are pure nor is his timing coincidental. Given that the Clinton campaign is in serious trouble, I think he’s trying to scare white Democrats who are supporting Obama into believing that Obama will lose the White House for the Democrats because he is black. Thus the need to vote for the more electable Hillary Clinton.

Write this down so you will remember that I told you. If Obama is nominated he is going to come under fire that he has not yet seen in his political career. He is going to be scrutinized and criticized. The Republicans are going to pull out all the stops, calling into question his record (scant though it is), his liberal statements and his past and present associations.

And inevitably, someone is going to say Obama is unfairly attacked because he’s black.

If he’s elected, as he may well be, the Republicans are going to go hammer and tong against him to thwart his hard-left agenda.

When they do, expect to hear that the rough time that President Obama is receiving is because he is black.

It’s going to happen. And it’s too bad because to the extent that Obama’s race is a part of his candidacy or his eventual administration, the fact that his policies and beliefs are wrong will be frequently obscured by the fact that criticism of his wrong-headed policies will pass through the “you-don’t-like-him-because-he’s-black” filter.

Republicans are frequently painted by Democrats as being racist, particularly with respect to African-Americans. (The fact that a Republican president has had not one, but two black secretaries of state doesn’t seem to diminish this criticism.) So Republicans who dare criticize Obama start out on defense before they finish a single sentence.

I am a conservative Republican and I do not support Barack Obama. I wouldn’t support him if he were white. Tell me you’re going to raise my taxes, shove government-mandated health care down my throat and retreat precipitously from Iraq and you have lost my vote. It makes no difference what color you are.

I don’t believe what Barack Obama believes. But I am nonetheless proud of him. Except for his hard-left policy beliefs, he embodies much of what I think is great about America. He comes from a middle class background. He put a premium on education. He has worked hard. His story is living testament to the uniquely American idea that anything is possible with belief, preparation and hard work.

He may well become the 44th president. If that happens, it will be a ringing testimony to the fundamental goodness of America. Because it will prove that the society that once denied Rosa Parks a seat on the bus can evolve and grow into a society that elects her spiritual grandson to the highest office in the world. That we have gone from Bull Connor to the very real possibility of a President Barack Obama in a single generation, without the intervention of a conquering army, is what sets America apart from the rest of the world.

If Obama were campaigning on the rhetoric and convictions of Ronald Reagan, I’d walk through fire to vote for him. (Note to John McCain, I’d do the same for you.)

If Obama wins, I believe it will be because of weak opposition. If he loses, I believe it will be because once closely examined, his beliefs will be fully revealed as too far to the left of mainstream American thinking.

Either way, I don’t think it will have anything to do with his race, try as many will to make it so.

That’s my word. What’s yours?

YOU TELL ME!

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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5 Responses

  1. Larry Womack says:

    I could not agree with your statements more. How long will it be before you cannot smoke in your back yard; or your car with the windows down. Though a smoker, I have never had a problem with NOT smoking where inappropriate. However, a simple word or sign has always been all it took. Making a law simply paves the way for more and more invasive laws of the future. Laws that will eventually affect everyone in one way or the other. When it reaches enough for the citizens to cry out against it, as you say, it may be too late.

  2. R.W. Moore says:

    Paul,
    Yes, you are correct in your analysis of Obama.
    It could be the right time for a black president but he ain’t the one. He stands for hope and change. What does that mean? He will get the lion’s share of the black vote and that’s sad because he has conned them as expertly as the Clintons did for eight years. He has nothing in common with most black Americans except skin color. He would have a blank check with a Democrat congress so we need to change the numbers in congress. Who could I support for a black President? Bobby Jindal in 2012. Sure bet!
    R.W. Moore Tyler Texas

  3. Jim Reeves says:

    I would not have any problem voting for an African-American for President, just not Barack Obama. He is a socialist and will drive this country higher and higher taxes to support social programs. He will open the borders and give citizenship to 15 million illegal aliens. He will wave the white flag and leave Iraq and Afganistan to the terrorists. He does not have the sense to deal with Iran and N. Korea. I would love to have a chance to vote for Condi Rice.

  4. Brian Eggerman says:

    Nice pre-emptive strike. What you fail to acknowledge is that the republican party and the conservative movement that has had it by the throat for decades has duly earned its reputation as racists. First there was the exodus of southern segregationalists to the republican party after Kennedy/Johnson betrayed them by throwing off their 17th century views on race, then there was the steadfast opposition to any government efforts to level the playing field after 400 years of slavery/jim crow subjugation of blacks by the white race. The most telling evidence of blatant racism among conservatives however is the self-serving denial that racism even exists! Not only does it still exist, but it is still a predominant factor in our society. To deny so is equivalent to denying the holocaust. It is still institutionalized in our country, however latent, and a conservative president picking a couple of mindless lapdogs for his cabinet doesn’t change that fact.
    You have every right to critize Barack Obama’s policies, but when you are dismissed as a racist, remember who made your bed.

  5. Getan Pade says:

    I believe Hillary Clinton is a racist at heart. Remember her poor attempt at humor in regard to Ghandi and 7-11 during a speach in St. Louis?

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