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The Wall Street Journal Contains Multitudes

The Wall Street Journal editorial board objects to the notion that, should Barack Obama lose, it will have something to do with the fact that he's black:

Not so long ago Mr. Obama was the Tiger Woods of American politics. As Geraldine Ferraro indelicately pointed out this spring, his African heritage helped him cast his candidacy in a history-changing light. Now, merely because the McCain campaign has begun to get its act together and raise issues like taxes and foreign policy, Mr. Obama is suddenly the victim of rampant Jim Crow sentiment?


The bitter glee that some Democrats find in their imagined racist America is a strange turn for Denver. Thursday's nomination of the first African-American candidate by any major party will in fact make history. Mr. Obama defeated the party favorite, Hillary Clinton, with a broad appeal that largely steered away from race. His success says something good about Democrats and the country. [Emphasis added.]

So, in one breath, the Journal endorses Ferraro's view that Obama's "African heritage" (which is inseperable from his race) helped him win votes in the Democratic primaries. But in the next breath the Journal notes (more in sorrow than in anger, of course) that, unlike today, Obama didn't make racial appeals in the Democratic primaries. So which is it? Did Obama's race help him? Or did it not matter at all? And if the Journal can't make up its mind about that, why do we think it has any particular insight into whether Obama's race is hurting his electoral prospects now?

--Jason Zengerle