I'm not sure Barack Obama has sounded an off-key note in his campaign thus far. Am I swooning? No. I've learned my lesson. But read this NPR interview, where Obama has to walk through a racial and cultural minefield. He strides straight ahead, unflappable and sane. I think his appeal is precisely this. He is moving our narrative forward. He is able to speak of race and faith and politics without the usual ideological cant, and without the conventional cliche-ridden positioning. Compare him with Romney's or Clinton's parsed pirouettes. They just don't feel fake in comparison; they feel old. Money quote from Obama:
NPR: Do you think that your life and your experience as an African American would cause you as president to pursue any particular policy differently than if you'd been white? Would you be a different president in some way?
Obama: There are certain instincts that I have that may be stronger because of my experiences as an African American. I don't think they're exclusive to African Americans but I think I maybe feel them more acutely. I think I would be very interested in having a civil rights division that is serious about enforcing civil rights laws. I think that when it comes to an issue like education for example, I feel great pain knowing that there are children in a lot of schools in America who are not getting anything close to the kind of education that will allow them to compete. And I think a lot of candidates, Republican and Democrat, feel concern about that. But when I know that a lot of those kids look just like my daughters, maybe it's harder for me to separate myself from their reality. Every time I see those kids, they feel like a part of me.
Why do I keep feeling that he's actually being honest?