Bicycle Diaries: Obama's elephant

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13.2.08

Obama's elephant

and I don't mean
the Republicans

In the final hours of yesterday's Potomac Primaries, the NYTimes reports on the elephant lurking in Obama's living room: RACE. Ginger Thompson writes that, despite Obama's insistence on a colorblind campaign strategy, his advisers and aids have locked horns over race with not-so surprising results.
Instead of following a plotted course, Mr. Obama’s campaign has zigged and zagged, reacting to outside forces and internal differences between the predominantly white team of top advisers and the mostly black tier of aides.
To be frank, I don't think Obama needs to worry about the race elephant. My fellow citizens are ready for an African-American president. What he should be worrying about, however, is the zig-zag over race. If Obama wins the campaign adviser and aids will become his presidential advisers and aids. It reminds me too much of the Carter Presidency when the bitter policy disagreements between Cyrus Vance, the Secretary of State, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Adviser, effectively paralyzed our foreign policy.

What I'm getting at here is that the primary/caucus season is not only a good way to learn about the candidate. It's also a sneak preview of how her/his administration will conduct policy. Carter was the first candidate I got excited about - I was a sophomore in high school. In fact Obama's campaign reminds me a lot of Carter's come-from-behind campaign. Even his campaign slogan, JC Can Save America, has the visionary ring of Obama's Change We Can Believe In. Unfortunately, when Reagan trounced him 4 years later, much of it had to do with Carter's zig-zags. I certainly hope that Obama gets this path straightened out so he can lead that damn elephant out of his living room.

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