[col. writ. 9/9/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal
By now, if pundits were to be believed, Sen. Barack Obama was supposed to be coasting to an easy November win, buoyed by dramatic moments at the democratic Convention, and cruising on a comfortable lead in the polls.
But if ever there was an election season that proved that pundits couldn't catch the ball, this is it.
For the polls are neck-and-neck dead heats between the campaigns of Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain (R- Ariz.). If there was a post-convention bounce, it went to McCain for his surprise pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for the V.P. spot.
She has energized a campaign that was seen as moribund just a few weeks ago.
There is another factor that we cannot ignore; what former GOP house majority leader, Dick Armey (R - Tex) calls 'the Bubba vote.
In Armey's words, "The Bubba vote is there, and it's very real, and it is everywhere," Armey went on to explain what he meant by 'the Bubba vote'; "There's an awful lot of people in America, bless their heart, who simply are not emotionally prepared to vote for a black man." There it is.
If this Bubba vote has kept Obama from bouncing after a successful convention, McCain's Palin pick has compounded this problem.
For it demonstrates that all the hue and cry over 'experience' was but a smokescreen for something else. It shows us that all the clamor over 'qualifications; was naught but pretext.
For after all is said and done, for millions of Americans, Barack Obama's blackness has made him automatically ineligible for election.
That's not issues; that's not views, that's not politics; that's race. Period.
And, truth be told, that's America, at its core.
After the Democratic conventions, many Black publications gushed over the history of the nomination. And while it's true it's never happened before, it's also true that a nomination is nothing more than a means to an end.
If he loses the election, the nomination goes into the Geraldine Ferraro closet, and it will be generations before this historic opportunity returns.
And, if 'the Bubba vote' gets its way, he may well lose.
It reminds us of what's called 'the Bradley effect,' after former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley ran for Governor of California. Bradley was leading in polls by double digits the night of the election.
By morning, he'd lost.
When Douglas Wilder ran for Governor, he led by 10 points in the polls. His victory was just over 1% of the vote.
So, the polls are neck-and-neck. Indeed, some show McCain leading.
What's that tell ya, but that 'the Bradley effect' (or should we call it 'the Bubba effect'?) is still at work?
--(c) '08 maj
[Sources: Wolf, Richard and Martha T. Moore, " Armey predicts Obama will hit blockade of 'Bubba', " USA Today, Thurs,. Sept. 4, 2008; Henry, Charles P., "Obama '08 - Articulate and Clean," Black Scholar. (Spr, '08). p. 5.)