- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Obama and race

Geraldine Ferraro may have had sinister motives when she said that Barack Obama would not be ‘in his position’ as a front-runner but for his race. Possibly she was acting as Hillary Clinton’s surrogate. Or maybe she was simply befuddled by this new reality — in which blackness could constitute a political advantage,” Shelby Steele wrote yesterday in the Wall Street Journal, prior to Mr. Obama’s Philadelphia speech explaining his long relationship with a black nationalist preacher.

“But whatever her motives, she was right: ‘If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position.’ Barack Obama is, of course, a very talented politician with a first-rate political organization at his back. But it does not detract from his merit to say that his race is also a large part of his prominence. And it is undeniable that something extremely powerful in the body politic, a force quite apart from the man himself, has pulled Obama forward. This force is about race and nothing else,” said Mr. Steele, author of “A Bound Man: Why We Are Excited About Obama and Why He Can’t Win.”

“The novelty of Barack Obama is more his cross-racial appeal than his talent.”

As for Mr. Obama’s controversial former pastor, “The fact is that Barack Obama has fellow-traveled with a hate-filled, anti-American black nationalism all his adult life, failing to stand and challenge an ideology that would have no place for his own mother. And what portent of presidential judgment is it to have exposed his two daughters for their entire lives to what is, at the very least, a subtext of anti-white vitriol?

“What could he have been thinking? Of course he wasn’t thinking. He was driven by insecurity, by a need to ‘be black’ despite his biracial background. And so fellow-traveling with a little race hatred seemed a small price to pay for a more secure racial identity.”

State of sex

New York’s new governor revealed yesterday that he had affairs with several women, including a state employee. The confession came a day after he took over from former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who was driven from office by a prostitution scandal.

Gov. David Paterson said the affairs happened during a rough patch in his marriage, and that the employee did not work for him. He insisted he did not advance her career, and that no campaign or state money was spent on the affairs.

“I do not feel I have broken my commitment to the people of New York state,” Mr. Paterson said at a press conference with his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson.

Mr. Paterson admitted an affair in an interview with the New York Daily News on Monday after he was sworn in, but his comments yesterday indicate the couple’s fidelity problems went deeper than he first acknowledged, the Associated Press reports. He is not having an affair now, he said.

The Patersons said they both had affairs during a time when their marriage was headed toward divorce. But they admitted the infidelity, sought counseling and have built a stronger marriage and family.

“We dealt with it as a family,” his wife said. “A marriage has peaks and valleys. … No marriage is perfect.”

“I think we have a marriage like many Americans, maybe even like many of you,” the governor told reporters. “Elected officials are really just reflections of the people we represent.”

Mr. Paterson said the affairs took place since about 1999, and one extended into his term as Senate minority leader, which began in 2002. He said he didn’t reveal the affairs during his time as a senator, Senate minority leader or lieutenant governor because no one had asked him, and he came forward because he didn’t want the rumors to cloud his governorship.

Clinton backer

Rep. John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat, yesterday announced he was endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“I’ve known Senator Clinton for 15 years,” Mr. Murtha said, as reported by the Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown, Pa. “I know that she continually reaches out for opinions and ideas, not just from our nation’s leaders, but from all Americans.”

Mr. Murtha also is a superdelegate, an official who is free to support any candidate at the party’s national convention in August.

Cool reception

Numerous conservative and individual evangelical leaders are urging the Senate to reject climate-change legislation they say will do “grave harm to our economy, the poor, and U.S. competitiveness.”

The letter sent to the 100 lawmakers Monday and signed by 70 activists, scientists, economists and state lawmakers says that not all people of faith have embraced what they say are radical climate-change proposals.

The Lieberman-Warner America’s Climate Security Act of 2007 will require a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S., but the activists say the bill also will hurt the poor by causing food prices to increase.

“We urge you to reject the alarmist claims of proponents of catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming, and to reject the draconian taxes and regulations on the American people found in bills such as Lieberman-Warner,” the letter said.

Several religious groups support the bill, including the Catholic bishops, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Episcopal Church, National Council of Churches, Presbyterian Church USA and United Methodist Church.

Among the individual evangelicals signing the letter opposing the bill are Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Gary Bauer of American Values; the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition; and Anthony Verdugo, director of the Christian Family Coalition.

Pennsylvania poll

Sen.Hillary Rodham Clinton has regained ground she had lost in Pennsylvania five weeks ahead of its primary, a new poll shows.

Mrs. Clinton holds a 12-point lead over rival Sen.Barack Obama, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. She has 53 percent, compared with Mr. Obama’s 41 percent. On Feb. 27, the same survey showed her leading Mr. Obama 49 percent to 43 percent.

Mrs. Clinton continues to lead among women, whites, voters older than 45 and those without college degrees, the Associated Press reports. Mr. Obama leads among men, blacks, voters with college degrees and those under 45.

Pennsylvania votes on April 22.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes

.com.

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