If you're wondering why the Barack Obama campaign is losing traction among black voters--and make no mistake, it is, the latest Washington Post/ABC News Poll show he trails Hillary Clinton by at least 13 percent among blacks nationally--look no further than the meta-messaging presented in the New York Times interview with Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny.
The senator rehashed his all-too-familiar "change" rhetoric and says "now is the time" to distinguish himself from the Democratic front runner and accused her of trying to ... obfuscate ... and avoid the big issues.
Blah, blah, blah. It's like going to the club on a Saturday night and watching another guy publicly announce that "now is the time" to put his arm around the neck of a hot babe standing nearby--or, in our case, a hot man--and ask for a kiss. Geez, just grow a pair and just do it.
After almost a decade of languishing under the "compassionate conservatism" of the George W. Bush Administration, the roll-back in civil rights by the Supreme Court, and, the horrors of Katrina, black voters are looking for strong, decisive leadership from the White House. The fact that it could come from the first ever elected black president is definitely a plus. Platitudes on awareness, strategy and messaging just won't cut it senator.
That delicate racial balancing act has consistently been Obama's strongest suit with white voters and the intelligentsia--he is non-confrontational and does not address unpleasant subjects such as institutional racism--and his Achilles heel with black voters. That triangulation on race relations is precisely the reason why Hillary Clinton (so far) polls stronger among blacks--she and Bill are too smart to take black voters for granted.
We just saw this played out to disastrous results over the weekend with the "Embrace the Change" gospel revival concerts headlined by "ex-gay" pastor and gospel singer Donnie McClurkin. Instead of Obama using the opportunity to campaign on "change" and "transformation" within the black community, the campaign allowed ex-gay Rev. Donnie McClurkin to take the microphone and sermonize his brand of "change" and "transformation." It's still unclear who was asleep at the wheel--one of Obama's top LGBT advisors is black, and, the campaign's religious affairs director is black and, like McClurkin, a Pentecostal minister--but the poor choice and Obama's non-response demonstrated a lack of sophistication on the black church. Maybe these black "advisors" actually have little input? Wouldn't be the first time.
Is Barack Obama looking for directions for the road to Des Moines? Or Damascus? If the senator wants "change" or "transformation" in his traction with black voters, it has to happen fast. And now.