Monday, February 18, 2008

White enough?

Talking Points Memo (TPM) is reporting on Clinton's new strategy to counter Obama: questioning his authenticity. As TPM points out, this authenticity argument has been used with great success by the Republicans in the last few election cycles. This was the whole argument against Kerry. Of course, Clinton has been questioning whether Obama stands for real democrats, which is a class argument (used by Republicans as well). But behind this is Obama's race, which being hard to pin down naturally makes him seem unnatural in many (or most) parts of the world. I think that this aspect of race, which was raised by the press repeatedly before Obama began winning the black vote everywhere, will be a big part of the Republican strategy if Obama is the nominee. It's a ludicrous argument, of course. As blogger Too Sense points out: "Not once during the entire 2008 election cycle has any writer or commentator asked whether John Edwards is 'white enough.' Mike Huckabee has not been placed under the "authenticity" microscope to see if he is 'really' white, or...something else." But I'll admit that Obama's ability to negotiate his multiple identities and still seem authentic is part of my own fascination with him. It's a 21st century thing. In any case, I'm hoping it will prove to be a weak attack.

More later: Clinton has attacked Obama for being a rhetorician (the basis of politics, for christ's sake). Obama responded that words do matter. "I have a dream," he said, "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Yep, I've heard these phrases before.

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