Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Wright Path? Race, Patriotism, and GOP Election Strategy

The Republican Party has long been known for developing winning electoral coalitions around the issues of race, rights, and taxes. Often associated with the "Southern Strategy," the focus on the volatile topic of race has opened up the GOP to charges of insenstivity to the problems of minorities and the poor.

The question of race in 2008 is even greater than in past years, with the potential nomination of the nation's first African-American as the Democratic Party's standard-bearer. Can the GOP campaign effectively against a candidate who seems to personify a post-racial appeal?

The Politico takes a look at how questions of race and patriotism have been put on the agenda by Barack Obama's Wright controversy:

For months, Republican party officials have watched with increasing trepidation as Barack Obama has shattered fundraising records, packed arena after arena with shrieking fans and pulled in significant Republican and independent votes.

Now, with the emergence of the notorious video portraying Rev. Jeremiah Wright damning the country, criticizing Israel, faulting U.S. policy for the attacks of Sept. 11 and generally lashing out against white America, GOP strategists believe they’ve finally found an antidote to Obamamania.

In their view, the inflammatory sermons by Obama’s pastor offer the party a pathway to victory if Obama emerges as the Democratic nominee. Not only will the video clips enable some elements of the party to define him as unpatriotic, they will also serve as a powerful motivating force for the conservative base.

In fact, the video trove has convinced some that, after months of praying for Hillary Clinton and the automatic enmity which she arouses, that they may actually have easier prey.

“For the first time, some Republicans are rethinking Hillary as their first choice,” said Alex Castellanos, a veteran media consultant who recently worked for Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Even Obama’s much-lauded Tuesday speech, which detailed his relationship with his church and focused on the issue of racial reconciliation, failed to shake the notion that Republicans had been given a rare political gift.
It's no wonder.

Wright's preachings are repudiated by nearly everyone in the United States.

The GOP rightly has an election issue of legitmate concern to a majority of Americans - people who truly love their country, and who differentiate between our actions as the leading democratic nation state, a nation in the lead in the West's progess on race, rights and political inclusion.