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Jewish World Review
May 6, 2008
/ 1 Iyar 5768
An Obama win will guarantee a Dem loss in November
In a few hours we will know the outcome of the Democratic
primaries in two important states that could decide the political fates
of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
In Indiana, a primarily white state, we will know whether
white voters, who are close to 75 percent of the population of the U.S.,
accept Senator Obama's explanation of why, after first stating, "I can
no more disown him [Wright] than I can disown the black community. I
can no more disown him than I can disown my white grandmother," he now
rejects Wright after Wright's appearance before the NAACP and the
National Press Club.
Obama went on to explain: "The person [Wright] I saw
yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were
not only divisive and destructive, but I believe that they end up giving
comfort to those who prey on hate and I believe that they do not portray
accurately the perspective of the black church. Now, I've already
denounced the comments that had appeared in these previous sermons. As I
said, I had not heard them before. And I gave him the benefit of the
doubt in my speech in Philadelphia, explaining that he has done enormous
good in the church.
"But when he states and then amplifies such ridiculous
propositions as the U.S. government somehow being involved in AIDS, when
he suggests that Minister Farrakhan somehow represents one of the
greatest voices of the 20th and 21st century, when he equates the United
States wartime efforts with terrorism, then there are no excuses. They
offend me. They rightly offend all Americans. And they should be
denounced. And that's what I'm doing very clearly and unequivocally here
He has not explained why he sat in the church's pews for 20
years without complaint.
Do voters accept his explanation on Tim Russert's "Meet the
Press" on May 4th, when he said: "Well, you know, previously, there were
a bunch of sermons that had been spliced from a collection of sermons
for 30 years. And that's not who I thought he was. That's not what I
thought defined him. He's somebody who's a Marine, he's somebody who has
served on city colleges boards, somebody who was a respected pillar in
the community. And so I thought it was important to--for him to explain
or at least provide some context for some of the things that he had said
previously. But when he came out at the press conference of the National
Press Club, not only did he amplify some of those comments and defend
them vigorously, but he added to it. He put gasoline on the fire. And
what that told me was not only was he interested in using this platform
to continue to make statements that I fundamentally disagree with and
that offend me, but also that he didn't have much regard for the moment
that we're in right now here in the United States where we can't be
distracted or engaged in this divisive, hateful language?"
Or, do voters believe, as some do, including me, that Obama
cut his ties with Wright because of Wright's attack on Senator Obama in
which he made clear that Senator Obama, in his opinion, was like every
other politician, a hypocrite who is willing to say whatever will get
him elected? Wright said at the National Press Club on April 28th, "We
both know that, if Senator Obama did not say what he said, he would
never get elected. Politicians say what they say and do what they do
based on electability, based on sound bites, based on polls, Huffington,
whoever's doing the polls. Preachers say what they say because they're
The interview with Tim Russert, regrettably, did not touch
that area of their disagreement.
I believe that, if he is the Democratic candidate for
president, Senator Obama will lose in November. There are many people
in the Democratic Party and its leadership who feel that way. They are
told that, nevertheless, the party must accept Obama even if he arrives
at the convention with fewer committed delegates than needed to win the
nomination. They say that to deprive him of victory under all of these
circumstances would so enrage his supporters that they would either stay
home in November or cross party lines and vote for Senator John McCain.
Many superdelegates who will be making the decision to
nominate the Democratic candidate will be told that they will
permanently damage the party by causing a defection of the black vote if
they deprive Obama of victory. There is no doubt that were the
superdelegates to do what they were appointed to do - provide to the
best of their ability a candidate who is perceived to be best able to
win in November against the Republican candidate - they will be vilified
by many Democrats if they do not select Obama.
A lot is riding on tomorrow's vote. If Indiana goes for
Obama, the ballgame is over and he will be the candidate under any and
all circumstances. If North Carolina also goes for Obama, that will be
the icing on the cake and we will still call his black support, even if
it exceeds 92 percent, as it has in some other states, racial pride.
But politics is a complex business. If Clinton carries
Indiana and then goes on to win Kentucky and West Virginia, her chances
will greatly improve. Stay tuned. It ain't over till it's over.
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