Senior Correspondent

Senator Barack Obama’s Big Win: Is America changing her attitude? (FCN, 01-14-2008)

WASHINGTON ( – Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama rebounded from his worst single week in the campaign with a resounding March 21 endorsement from former fellow candidate Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico.

“Above all, you will be a president who brings this nation together,” Gov. Richardson, a “super delegate” and a prominent former Bill Clinton cabinet secretary, said of Sen. Obama at a campaign rally in Portland. Votes in the Oregon primary will be counted May 20.


Gov. Richardson’s support was announced at the end of a tough period for the senator, the leader in the primary popular vote, the winner of the most state primaries, and the delegate leader over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Sen. Obama saw his lead in national polls wither as he was tarred by fallout from excerpts of remarks about American racial history by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, the former pastor at Sen. Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Those remarks were magnified in the media political “echo-chamber,”and pushed Sen. Obama to deliver a lengthy address on race relations March 18 in Philadelphia, ahead of the important April 22 Pennsylvania primary.

The Richardson endorsement means “the super delegates are still moving in (Sen. Obama’s) direction,” Dr. Ronald Walters, professor of political science at the University of Maryland, told The Final Call.

“That’s a hell-of-a confirmation from somebody who served in the Clinton administration. It comes at a strategic time. It might signal to the other super delegates to continue to move in that direction. So, no, he’s not ‘toast,’ but they sure burned him pretty bad,” he said, speaking of Sen. Obama.

“I don’t think (his campaign is) ‘toast’ because he still has a lead right now and it’s going to take one hell of a performance on (Sen. Clinton’s) part right now in order to get ahead of him in votes; popular votes; number of states won, and so forth.

“She may have done what she wanted to do with respect to Pennsylvania,” said Dr. Walters, which was to put a “racial tag” on the up until now, fairly race-neutral Obama effort. “In order to overtake him in the popular vote, she has to win all of the rest of (the eight state and two territorial primaries remaining) by 60 percent or more, and she’s not going to do that.”

Another prominent scholar and expert on national politics, and Black politics in particular, agreed. “Let me remind you of the foremost rules in terms of the outcome of presidential elections. The factors that most influence are: Is the economy in a recession? Is there an unpopular war? Are there scandals connected to the incumbent administration?” said Dr. David Bositis, senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies. “And, if you look at those factors–the fact of the matter is, if you look at the most important, by far, the most important factors–we are in a recession right now, and it looks to be potentially quite a bad recession. This is not something that’s going to go away before election day.”

“We have an unpopular war which is extremely costly. Casualties have been going back up among the military in Iraq,” said Dr. Bositis, complaining that opinion polls showing Republican Sen. John McCain possibly winning the election over either Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton are grossly inaccurate.

“So we’re going to have a presidential election where the incumbent candidate–and McCain is the candidate of the incumbent party at the time of a recession–and potentially quite a bad recession, is going to win by 10 points plus, while there is a very unpopular war, which is his signature issue? That’s going to happen? If that’s what’s going to happen, it’s never happened before in American history, and it goes totally contrary to any of the patterns that have been observed in American presidential elections for the past 100 years,” Dr. Bositis insisted.

Despite the likelihood that Republicans will mount an unscrupulous “Swift Boat”-type campaign against Sen. Obama around racial issues, Sen. McCain is no match for Sen. Obama if and when the candidates meet face to face in campaign debates, he said. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, had his record as a decorated Vietnam War hero tarnished and his patriotism maligned by vicious TV attack ads.

“Once you get into the general election, I think that Barack Obama will be so far, head and shoulders, above John McCain in terms of performance, that it’s likely to be clear who the better candidate is,” said Dr. Walters. “I just don’t think that John McCain has got the stuff to stand up to him. When they get into debates, when they get out there explaining public policy, I just don’t think he’s sharp enough.

“I wouldn’t think this one thing is going to bring him down in the general election. It’s certainly going to do what it’s done already, and that is to bring them closer together in public opinion polls.”

But in the end, Dr. Bositis insists, White workers, who see their jobs being exported overseas, and Whites who oppose the Bush administration’s war in Iraq and its so-called “war on terrorism,” are not likely to elect another Republican administration, period.

“What support (Sen. Obama’s) going to get from the White working class in the presidential election–I don’t think he’s going to get the White working class vote in the primaries–in the general election it’s going to come because those peoples’ jobs are potentially dead meat. They’re going to vote their pocketbook, even if they have misgivings about Obama, even on race, they’re not going to vote for four more years of Republican politics,” predicted Dr. Bositis. Most White voters, he said, will realize that if Sen. McCain is elected, “they might as well move their family to the local shelter.”

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