Obama is in any case not a generic black candidate; he is a well-known candidate with specific characteristics that attract some voters and repel others. Indeed, the 2004 convention speech that introduced him to voters nationally was anything but a generic black appeal: It emphasized what all Americans have in common. The fact that Obama won the Democratic nomination and has been in the lead in most general election polls since last spring shows that almost all American voters are willing to give him a hearing. Yes, there are some voters who won't vote for him because of race, just as there are some voters who won't vote for John McCain because he is 72 years old. But spreading the meme that the only reason Obama can lose is because of voters' racism strikes me as a libel on the American people.
By Michael Barone