“It’s not about black versus white. It’s about the past versus the future.”
UPDATE: Here’s the full speech.
UPDATE 2: Here’s the video:
P.S. When Bill Clinton called Barack Obama’s position on Iraq “a fairy tale,” he wasn’t playing the race card. On the other hand, when Bill Clinton said this…
Huh? Who said anything about Jesse Jackson? Why would his mind happen to wander there, pray tell?
Ugh. It’s pretty obvious what the Clintons are up to here. Obama’s people played right into their hands by making race an issue when it wasn’t — re: the “fairy tale” and MLK comments — but that doesn’t diminish the disgustingly cynical nature of what the Clintons are now plainly trying to do. The underlying strategy of their campaign has evolved into making the public perceive Obama as the “black candidate,” thus creating a white backlash. Will it work? God, I hope not. But I fear it may be enough to tip the scales in Hillary’s favor.*
Obama’s victory speech tonight shows that he’s doing exactly what he needs to be doing: rising above it all, or at least positioning himself so it seems like he’s rising above it all. Put another way, it now behooves Obama to look more “presidential” than the ex-president — and the way Bill’s been acting, that shouldn’t be too hard. Obama’s shots at the Clintons need to be veiled but effective, something he pulled off effortlessly tonight. As Eric Scheie puts it, “I’m very impressed at his ability to go for the jugular in a respectful manner.” (Hat tip: InstaPundit.)
For me personally, the Clintons’ recent behavior has caused a major tipping point my personal outlook on this race and my plans for how I’ll vote on February 5. I’ve gone from tentatively favoring Obama over Clinton, but leaning toward voting in the GOP primary (probably for McCain), to a solidly committed Obama supporter and voter. I will proudly cast my vote on Super Tuesday for the senator from Illinois — end of discussion. Obama is far more liberal than I am, and I do still have concerns about his inexperience; I’d enter a McCain-Obama general election thoroughly undecided. But I desperately want the Clintons to move off the damn stage. Good grief: Enough! I’ve always been anti-dynasty in principle, but now I feel it much more deeply than that. They need to go. They’re bad for the party, bad for the country, and bad for my stress levels. It’s time to get rid of them. We can salute them for their service at the convention… and then let’s nominate and elect somebody else, for the love of God.
*I suspect that only a minimal amount of “tipping” is needed, if any. The Super Tuesday format favors Hillary anyway. Obama does better when voters get to see a lot of him, and of his opponent. Hillary does better campaigning from afar; the more voters see of her, the less they like her. But voters in California won’t be seeing nearly as much of her (or of the uber-charismatic Obama) as voters in, say, Iowa and South Carolina did. This bodes well for Hillary.
P.S. On a more optimistic (for Obama) note, Noam Scheiber’s analysis is worth reading.
And then there’s the NRO reader who writes, “I would argue that a black man winning 25% of the white vote in good ol’ SC is HUGE.” There’s something to that. South Carolina is not representative of the rest of America when it comes to race relations; racial issues are, it seems to me, much more highly charged there than in all but maybe two or three other states in the whole Union. So let’s not assume that South Carolina’s racially polarized tallies (though not as badly polarized as some thought they might be) will be repeated to the same extent across the country on February 5. This is not the United States of South Carolina.