In other words, the alternative to ignoring race is ...to ignore race and talk about economics.
Obama's not a race man after all. Just a standard old fashioned doctrinaire blacks-and-whites-together-for-health-care progressive. One achievement of the speech is that it makes this leftish orthodoxy come as a relief.
P.S.: Excellent closing anecdote also helped. Would have been better 15 minutes sooner! ...
**--I'm not even getting into the parallel Obama draws between Rev. Wright and Geraldine Ferraro--Troublesome Equivalence IV. Whatever you think of the equation of the two (it's absurd!) how un-strategic is it for Obama to require white voters to disagree with Ferraro in order to agree with Obama? 4:40 P.M. link
Early Souljah Is Like Yeast! In his Big Race Speech today, I hope Obama remembers the lesson of his breakthrough 2004 convention keynote address, which is a) say something conservative and anti-PC sounding; b) say it strongly and c) say it early. After that, you'll have the doubters on your side and you can more or less be as doctrinaire-left as you want. But the longer you wait to say something heterodox, the more heterodox you have to be to have the same effect.
In Obama's 2004 speech, the Early Souljah moment that made it work came about a third of the way in:
... children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. [E.A.]
Voters, including but not limited to the crucial white males and independents, heard that hard, unhedged dis of dysfunctional ghetto-poor identity culture--it pretty clearly isn't whites doing the slandering Obama's rejecting--and decided they liked this guy. A good way to introduce yourself as a different kind of African-American politician! After that, Obama could even sell them John Kerry.
Why do I worry Obama's forgotten this lesson?
P.S.: There are plenty of potential Souljahs still around: Race preferences. Out-of-wedlock births. Three strike laws! But most of all the victim mentality that tells African Americans (in the fashion of Rev. Wright's most infamous sermons) that the important forces shaping their lives are the evil actions of others, of other races. ...