I grew up in Newark where all politics was ethnic. I've never gotten over it. But, for the past six months I've heard pundits prattle and seen the writers writhe in print as they endeavor to explain the roll of "race" in the Democratic primaries. It's like, "Gee, do you think that race has anything to do with Obama's candidacy?" Come on guys. We all know it does.
Here's what I think really happened. A bunch of guys -- none of them Bill Clinton fans -- decided that the Democratic Party needs a candidate who isn't named Hillary. But it looked like Hillary couldn't be beaten -- she owned the black vote. Her husband was the "first black President". How can you beat her?
Everybody I grew up with in Newark knew the answer to that. You take the black vote away from her. You find a black-black man who can deprive her of her advantage with blacks. Quickly you discover you don't have too many options.
Jackson and Sharpton are yesterday and they carry a lot of baggage. There's a new governor in Massachusetts, but nobody's ever heard of him. Herald Ford, the ex-Congressman from Tennessee would have been perfect, but he lost his bid for the Senate last year and he's on the sidelines now. And then there's, Barack Obama.
Obama's smart, looks good on camera and hasn't been around long enough to make any major mistakes. He's the right guy in the right place at the right time. If we play our cards right it totally changes the primaries. Obama gets ninety percent of the black vote, Hilary loses her ethnic edge and we go on to victory.
It's a genius strategy, and every ward politician I grew up with in Newark would've figured it out in a second-and-a-half. If you wanna beat the other guy, steal his base.
So, how'd Obama get the nod? Just lucky, I guess.