Noam was wondering if Obama's "Yes, We Can" video would on balance be harmful or helpful. My husband is on record as firmly in the "helpful" camp. But one savvy Latino political consultant I know has a different take. On the eve of today's California showdown, he sent me an email noting:

The video is based on the iconic Latino political statement:  Si se puede (yes we can), attibuted largely to the late Willy Velasquez the founder of the non-profit Southwest Voter Registration Project (based in San Antonio, Texas).

Although the video is well intentioned and highly motivational (but way too long) it essentially appropriates a Latino mantra for African American and English language purposes.  There are a few Latino faces on the video:  Enrique Marciano (CBS's Without a Trace) and Adam Rodriguez (CBS's CSI Miami), however, the phrase and its historical relevance is completely usurped from the Latino community.  I think that many Latino organizations may find this video well-intentioned but offensive....

PS  Did you notice that Michelle Obama's San Jose event yesterday only featured high profile Black and White women?  La Opinion newspaper endorsed Obama and they could have had the editor there:  Monica Lozano.  Not to have a high profile Latina at that event was a major visual and message gaffe--I mean they were in California.

Now, my friend has sky high hopes for Obama. He thinks the man could indeed be a game-changer and a bona fide bridge-builder, even regarding the dreaded "black-brown" divide. But to do that will take political skills and effort way above and beyond the norm. My friend has little doubt Obama possesses the former; his question is whether the campaign will bother with the latter.  

--Michelle Cottle