Even after Ron and I had agreed on these pages to hold our noses and vote for Kerry, it was obvious that he was a horribly flawed candidate. And don't get me wrong... I think he would have found a way to lose that election even had he been unmarried. (At the time, I seem to recall a Rasmussen poll positing a hypothetical match up between George W. Bush and a syphilitic, incontinent schnauzer, with the canine holding a solid 6% lead over the incumbent, so this was no easy feat.) But adding to his woes was the fact that every time Teresa opened her mouth, it seemed it was only to say, "Excuse my while I load my revolver." and then promptly shoot John in the foot.
That's why I felt a twinge of sympathy for Obama this morning when I read this report.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The polls are showing your husband is trailing Hillary by 46% to 37% in the African-American community. What's going on here?
MICHELLE OBAMA: First of all, I think that that's not going to hold. I'm completely confident: black America will wake up, and get [it]. But what we're dealing with in the black community is just the natural fear of possibility. You know, when I look at my life, the stuff that we're seeing in these polls has played out my whole life. You know, always been told by somebody that I'm not ready, that I can't do something, my scores weren't high enough. You know, there's always that doubt in the back of the minds of people of color. People who've been oppressed and haven't been given real opportunities. That you never really believe. That you believe that somehow, someone is better than you. You know, deep down inside, you doubt whether you can do it, because that's all you've been told, is "no, wait."
BRZEZINSKI: It's interesting that you say that, excuse me. Because a stewardess yesterday, a 52-year old African-American, and I asked her if she was interested in Barack Obama, if she would vote for him. And she said, like this, she said: "I don't think so, because he probably can't win, because he's black."
OBAMA: That's right. That's the psyschology (sic) that's going on in our heads, in our souls, and I understand it. I know where it comes from, and I think that it's one of the horrible legacies of racism and discrimination and oppression.
Now first of all, I suspect she was dead wrong in her interpretation of the comments by the airline stewardess, if not on the impressions of the entire electorate. I can understand how some black voters might not believe that Barack Obama "can win" in 2008, but not because they feel that he's not "good enough" for the job by virtue of being black. Far more likely, as I see it, is that they fear that there simply aren't enough white voters who would be willing to vote for a black man for president. I appears, at least in some cases, to be more of a case of facing what they perceive as grim reality. If Obama can't win, is it better to jump onto a campaign of internecine warfare to back him only because of his skin color, or is it preferable to get behind the candidate with the best chance to capture the nomination and hopefully take the White House?
There's also that factor that the person being interviewed was at least implied to be female. Hillary polls exceptionally well among women across racial and religious lines. That might sway the person's choice as well. In any event, this isn't the first gaffe I've seen from Michelle Obama. She made a couple of seriously eyebrow raising comments at a forum for the wives of candidates recently hosted by Maria Schriver. There was another one that's not coming to mind just now, but my impression is quickly growing that Mrs. Obama does not have a natural head for politics and media control. Her husband's chances at getting within sniffing range of the nomination are already teetering between slim and none, and she should probably stop tossing more anchors into his lifeboat.