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Will Louisiana Gov. Race Hold Lessons for Obama?

When Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) announced this week that he will challenge Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) this November, it drew little attention from the national media. But how the Louisiana voting public treats Jindal could well provide some clues to how Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) might fare if he wins the Democratic Party's 2008 nomination.

Rep. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana
Bobby Jindal is making a second run for governor in Louisiana. (AP File Photo)

Jindal is making his second run for the chief executive job after coming up just short to Blanco in 2003. In that race Jindal led the open primary with 33 percent of the vote, and polling seemed to point to a victory for the Republican in the head-to-head match-up against Blanco. On Election Day, however, he lost.

While it's impossible to quantify just how much Jindal's ethnicity factored into the 2003 election, it's clear that some within the Democratic Party believe that the more voters are aware of Jindal's ethnic background, the better chance they have of reelecting Blanco this November.

Need evidence? Take a look at the final few paragraphs of the Jindal announcement story that ran in the Shreveport Times.

The story details how the state Democratic Party regularly refers to Jindal by his given first name -- Piyush -- rather than calling him Bobby.

The recent history of black candidates running for statewide office is littered with examples of either overt or alleged race-baiting. In 1990, Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) found himself in a close race with Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt (D), who is black. Helms decided to run an ad showing a pair of white hands crumpling up a letter while a narrator intoned: "You needed that job...but they gave it to a minority." The "white hands" ad was decried by Democrats as racist, but Helms refused to back down. He won narrowly that year and defeated Gantt more convincingly six years later.

In the Tennessee open seat race in 2006, the Republican National Committee put up an ad that showed a white actress urging Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., an African American, to call her, saying the two had met at the Playboy party. Democrats cried foul loudly and repeatedly, insisting the ad was an attempt to play on fears of interracial dating and marriage. Republicans shot back that the ad was a parody from start to finish with the aim of highlighting Ford's liberal values, not his race. Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker (R) went on to beat Ford to claim the seat vacated by Sen. Bill Frist (R).

Ford, in an interview earlier today, said that race would inevitably play a role in Obama's candidacy but predicted that it wouldn't be a "central part of his campaign."

Every campaign is different, and what happened to Jindal or Gantt isn't necessarily predictive of what Obama will face in the coming months. But the Piyush/Bobby issue is indicative of the way that race and ethnicity can be subtly -- or not so subtly -- injected into politics.

Obama's line to deflect confusion about his name -- "a skinny kid with a funny name" -- is a good one, but it won't keep his opponents (or, more likely, third-party groups with ties to his rivals) from trying to find ways to make his skin color an undertone of this campaign.

Witness the Insight magazine story -- since debunked -- that alleged that Obama had been educated in a radical Islamic school when he was living in Indonesia during his childhood. The Insight piece could also be seen as a subtle way of raising questions about Obama, whose middle name is Hussein.

More hits like that against Obama will come. And while the Louisiana governor's race is a whole different ball game than a 2008 nomination and general-election fight, Jindal's experience on the 2007 campaign trail could offer some lessons for the Obama camp.

And in the end, Jindal's ethnicity may not matter much at all no matter how often it's brought up. Blanco continues to suffer fallout from her handling of Hurricane Katrina disaster response, and the depopulation of New Orleans significantly undermined a Democratic bastion key to the party's statewide electoral strategy.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 25, 2007; 2:57 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Governors  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Capitalizing on Kerry's Exit
Next: Clinton in Iowa: Setting Expectations

Comments

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Posted by: erkxfiu cjgxan | February 15, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see the analogy myself.....Senator Landrieu has done a lot for the state of Louisiana so why shouldn't the Bill (Domenici/Landrieu Bill) that she co-sponsored (S 3711) have passed....My Senator Rocks!!!! I so love her!!!! Jindal knows why the House Bill would have not been approved and if he doesn't then he can go and ask Jeb Bush....Katherine Harris had much more to her credit when she was a Republican delegate in the United States Congress than Congressman Jindal has... A lot of other states--especially Florida and Alaska wouldn't have gone for the drilling provisions off their coasts Congressman Jindal!!! Again, the Governor rocks and people are still trying to place the blame for Katrina on her.....But doesn't get also get credit for the fact that not one hurricane reached the United States in 2006??? If you want to place the blame on her then why not give her the credit for stopping hurricanes from reaching us in 2006.....Again, I have an awesome Senator who is truly concerned about the State of Louisiana and I am not talking about Senattor David Vitter....I'm talking about Senator Mary Landrieu....This is dedicated to my dynamic duo....**Attention all hateful comments to my blogs will be left there as a public example of your stupidity....I don't care if you delete your screen names....**

http://sharonisdelighted.blogspot.com/2005/10/save-wetlands.html

Posted by: Sharon Mounier | February 10, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate. Timothy Charles Kalemkarian is his name.

Posted by: anonymous | January 31, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

No comparision between Obama and Jindal.

Jindal needs to improve his vote by 3%, if it is Blanco, who is his rival.. he will cruise through.

But democrats will call names and
play race card at their own peril. There are sensible people who voted for blanco who realized that "skin-color" cannot compensate for competence.

One other thing to note, is the Katrina effect on demographics.. which may very well suite a republican than democrats.

Posted by: Srikanth | January 31, 2007 5:30 AM | Report abuse

In response to "Hurricane Audrey, Louisiana's Real Ragin Cajun," thank you for calling me on a small technicality. After a bit of research, indeed, Congressman Jindal did not technically author the House Resolution which passed and was sent to the Senate. The bill he did author was slightly modified in committee, so he is not "technically" the author. And absolutely, all of Louisiana's congressional delegation had a hand in securing the oil and gas revenue portion of the Energy Bill, I implied this in my previous post.

How appropriate that "Hurricane Audrey" denotes herself as a "hurricane" being that Governor Blanco's biggest failure as Governor resulted from a hurricane. A lack of vision, a lack of leadership from the Governor played a huge role in New Orleans' disastrous recovery. Progress in Louisiana during Blanco's term? That's a joke Hurricane Audrey, thats a joke. Three hundred thousand of her constituents cannot move back home for numerous reasons, some which the Governor could control and some she could not. Let's just say that a number of months ago Louisana's housing recovery program was publicized on TV as "The Governor's Road Home Program." Now, after paying a company 800 million dollars and having the program fail miserably and publicly, it is now called only the "Road Home Program." Something is wrong with you if you think Louisiana has progressed with Blanco. The government failed on all levels, but she played a huge role. Come October 20, Louisiana will be much better off with a leader with a vision, did I mention he is a Rhodes Scholar?

Posted by: adrienne | January 29, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

This message is in response to "Adrienne's post of January 27 where she erroneously gives credit to U.S. Representative Jindal from Louisiana for the state's forthcoming offshore royalty bonanza...It was not Jindal but rather Senator Mary Landrieu's bill which landed the money for Louisiana!

Four years ago Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Louisiana's first woman Governor ran against 19 men. In the primary she received 18 percent of the vote against 35 for Jindal. No one dreamed that she would go from 18 percent to 52 percent! While Jindal went from 35% to 48%.

In November of 2006 her popularity was 12 percent to Jindal's 80 %. Two months later she has increased 300% and there are 7 months to go.

When she starts touting the progress made in Louisiana in 2006, in areas outside the recovery issues, it will be deja vu come election day....

If you don't believe me check the News Archives December 29 article on Louisian Progress of 2006: www.gov.la.state.us
Thanks for reading

Hurricane Audrey from Bayou Country
Louisiana's real ragin' Cajun

Posted by: Audrey George | January 29, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

This message is in response to "Adrienne's post of January 27 where she erroneously gives credit to U.S. Representative Jindal from Louisiana for the state's forthcoming offshore royalty bonanza...It was not Jindal but rather Senator Mary Landrieu's bill which landed the money for Louisiana!

Four years ago Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Louisiana's first woman Governor ran against 19 men. In the primary she received 18 percent of the vote against 35 for Jindal. No one dreamed that she would go from 18 percent to 52 percent! While Jindal went from 35% to 48%.

In November of 2006 her popularity was 12 percent to Jindal's 80 %. Two months later she has increased 300% and there are 7 months to go.

When she starts touting the progress made in Louisiana in 2006, in areas outside the recovery issues, it will be deja vu come election day....

If you don't believe me check the News Archives December 29 article on Louisian Progress of 2006: www.gov.la.state.us
Thanks for reading

Hurricane Audrey from Bayou Country
Louisiana's real ragin' Cajun

Posted by: Audrey George | January 29, 2007 10:25 PM | Report abuse

In spite of Obama's obvious ability and knowledge of politics, he cannot overcome the racism that exists in this country. If he were to win by some strange chance, he would be assassinated before he could be
inaugurated. I hate that he fell for the media hype, but he is a refreshing change. Too bad

Posted by: Michelle Bonner | January 29, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

In spite of Obama's obvious ability and knowledge of politics, he cannot overcome the racism that exists in this country. If he were to win by some strange chance, he would be assassinated before he could be
inaugurated. I hate that he fell for the media hype, but he is a refreshing change. Too bad

Posted by: Michelle Bonner | January 29, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Jindal and Obama are two different people and let's not let the media make it an issue of the 2. Jindal is bright and ascended to notoriety under the last Gov. Foster. Both will face the issues of race, they know that just like the rest of us. the biggest issue for race for jindal may be the state republican party running another candidate that would be free of the race question.

Posted by: RobGreg | January 29, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Jindal and Obama are two different people and let's not let the media make it an issue of the 2. Jindal is bright and ascended to notoriety under the last Gov. Foster. Both will face the issues of race, they know that just like the rest of us. the biggest issue for race for jindal may be the state republican party running another candidate that would be free of the race question.

Posted by: RobGreg | January 29, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Jindal and Obama are two different people and let's not let the media make it an issue of the 2. Jindal is bright and ascended to notoriety under the last Gov. Foster. i don't know how much he has grown professionally, but he came out touting ways to improve the state health agency. the only comparison with Obama is they are both a darker shade of brown. Obama is from Illinois, and a majority Black district for his state legislators seat. Incredible rise to state senator. Jindal is pure conservative and may be their most viable option, though i anticipate he will be challenged. If he is elected in Louisiana, it would open many of eyes.

Posted by: RobGreg | January 29, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

John Kerry was not a serious contender in 2008 because the Democrats never renominate a nominee unless he is a sitting President. The last time the Democrats renominated a losing nominee was Steveson way back in 1956 - 51 years ago. For Democrats losers never get a second chance!

Kerry seems to gotten more irrational with each passing year since his defeat in 2004. It was a good thing he lost since his choice of words and forums have alot to be desired. To critize his own country, in the manner he did, makes him look bitter, reckless, and less than patriotic.

Danny L. McDaniel
Lafayette, Indiana

Posted by: Danny L. McDaniel | January 28, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

To say Bobby Jindal is a Washington stooge is to show your extreme ignorance. Jindal has fought to get Louisiana back on its feet after the most destructive natural disaster in our nation's history, a disaster many people have simply forgotten about but impacts hundreds of thousands still every day. and also, jindal is just one of bush's pawns? really? again, ignorance... see his vote on the minimum wage increase. also, his strong job performance has been duly noted in his home state, where he won reelection in november with 87 PERCENT OF THE VOTE. he lives in a conservative district, but it is not THAT conservative. his accomplishements in congress garner support from his constituents across party lines. additionally, in a poll published a week ago, likely Louisiana voters prefer Jindal over Blanco 59 percent to 35 percent. Sure Blanco's incompetence effects her unpopularity, but so does Jindal's ability to bring the New Orleans area up from its knees. In a bill he authored which was included in the 109th Congress' Energy Bill in Dec. of '06, Jindal helped secure oil and gas royalties for his state. The bill, signed into law, will produce billions of dollars over the next 20 years which go directly to flood protection and infrastructure improvements to protect his constituents from future hurricanes. Jindal is his own man and fights for his constituents.

Posted by: adrienne | January 27, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

To say Bobby Jindal is a Washington stooge is to show your extreme ignorance. Jindal has fought to get Louisiana back on its feet after the most destructive natural disaster in our nation's history, a disaster many people have simply forgotten about but impacts hundreds of thousands still every day. and also, jindal is just one of bush's pawns? really? again, ignorance... see his vote on the minimum wage increase. also, his strong job performance has been duly noted in his home state, where he won reelection in november with 87 PERCENT OF THE VOTE. he lives in a conservative district, but it is not THAT conservative. his accomplishements in congress garner support from his constituents across party lines. additionally, in a poll published a week ago, likely Louisiana voters prefer Jindal over Blanco 59 percent to 35 percent. Sure Blanco's incompetence effects her unpopularity, but so does Jindal's ability to bring the New Orleans area up from its knees. In a bill he authored which was included in the 109th Congress' Energy Bill in Dec. of '06, Jindal helped secure oil and gas royalties for his state. The bill, signed into law, will produce billions of dollars over the next 20 years which go directly to flood protection and infrastructure improvements to protect his constituents from future hurricanes. Jindal is his own man and fights for his constituents.

Posted by: adrienne | January 27, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

To say Bobby Jindal is a Washington stooge is to show your extreme ignorance. Jindal has fought to get Louisiana back on its feet after the most destructive natural disaster in our nation's history, a disaster many people have simply forgotten about but impacts hundreds of thousands still every day. and also, jindal is just one of bush's pawns? really? again, ignorance... see his vote on the minimum wage increase. also, his strong job performance has been duly noted in his home state, where he won reelection in november with 87 PERCENT OF THE VOTE. he lives in a conservative district, but it is not THAT conservative. his accomplishements in congress garner support from his constituents across party lines. additionally, in a poll published a week ago, likely Louisiana voters prefer Jindal over Blanco 59 percent to 35 percent. Sure Blanco's incompetence effects her unpopularity, but so does Jindal's ability to bring the New Orleans area up from its knees. In a bill he authored which was included in the 109th Congress' Energy Bill in Dec. of '06, Jindal helped secure oil and gas royalties for his state. The bill, signed into law, will produce billions of dollars over the next 20 years which go directly to flood protection and infrastructure improvements to protect his constituents from future hurricanes. Jindal is his own man and fights for his constituents.

Posted by: adrienne | January 27, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

All of the examples of a 'Southern Strategy' are from state wide races in the South. The closest thing to this in a national race is the Willie Horton ad in 1988. The real question is will a 'Southern Strategy' ad cause a backlash in competitive states. If the Republicans are slipping in states outside the South because they are going too socially conservative how would it play out nationally. Say Obama was making inroads in the heart of the Republican South and a third party tried this; would the moral outrage help Obama among the undecided voters in the competitive states that decide the outcome?

Posted by: muD | January 26, 2007 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Shocking is not the word...

Posted by: Me | January 26, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

hmm

Posted by: Anonymous | January 26, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

hm

Posted by: Anonymous | January 26, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

hm

Posted by: Anonymous | January 26, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Shocking: William would be disappointed that your refer to him as a Democrat racist. He is a Republican racist.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | January 26, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Democrats invoking racist attitudes against minority candidates? SHOCKING...not. Why wouldn't you expect their hypocrisy on most other issues to apply to issues of race as well?

Posted by: shocking...not | January 26, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

One gets the impression from reading this article that Rep. Jindal is African American. He is not, and so it is hard to draw much from comparisons to the experiences of Black candidates. His family is originally from India, so voters see him more as from the immigrant experience. He uses the reassuringly downhome nickname Bobby while his opponents use his foreign sounding first name. It is a whole different set of stereotypes he would have to overcome to win.

Posted by: Zack from the SFV | January 26, 2007 1:08 AM | Report abuse

William,

You state that "[Jindal] needs to do what is best for his party, not what is best for HIM."

Maybe your viewpoint is skewed. VERY skewed. Maybe more candidates need to do what is best FOR THE COUNTRY, not what is best for themselves, or their party.

Posted by: Mike in Baltimore | January 26, 2007 1:02 AM | Report abuse

^^^^^^^^^^^^
another moonbat...yawn.

Posted by: William | January 26, 2007 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Obama has all and even more than the current "president" had prior to 'stealing" the election in 2000.

He has the charisma, the intelligence and the empathy that many current so called politicians do not have.

I do not think at all that the Jindal/Blanco run has any practical implications to Obama and his run.

Give him credit (Obama) for being authentic! that is what we need, someone who is authentic and does not wet his/her finger and place it in the air (or should I say New york air?) to see which way the wind blows! COME WHAT MAY, SENATOR OBAMA WILL GIVE THEM THE RUN FOR THEIR MONEY -AND LIFE AND MAKE THIS UPCOMING RACE THE BEST EVER!

Posted by: lusajo | January 26, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

This post is PATHETIC, Chris. Just pathetic.

Posted by: F&B | January 25, 2007 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Barrack Obama ought to be spreading the word that he's just a good ole Irish boy from Tuscaloosa.

Posted by: Jim Stahl | January 25, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Andy R: "Jindal is a Washington stooge, where as Obama is the real deal" Honestly, why specifically is Jindal a Washington stooge? Because he ran for an office, lost, moved, and ran for another and won? Is Hillary a "stooge" because she moved to New York? The guy is a native of the state he represents in Congress. And one more thing, he's a hell of a lot smarter than Obama.


Posted by: silver spring | January 25, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse


For uncensored news please bookmark:

otherside123.blogspot.com
www.wsws.org
www.onlinejournal.com
www.takingaim.info

A warning from Senator Webb: Democrat cites danger of deepening "class lines" in America

By Patrick Martin
25 January 2007

The official Democratic Party response to President Bush's State of the Union speech Tuesday night was delivered by newly elected Senator James Webb of Virginia, a former Republican and secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration.

Webb's eight-minute speech dealt with two issues: the war in Iraq and the growth of economic inequality within the United States. Webb's criticisms of the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq were typical of the congressional Democrats. He criticized Bush's incompetence and cast the Iraq war as a diversion that weakened the position of the US in the global "war on terror," although he was more scathing than most of his counterparts about the war's toll on the United States, in both human and financial terms. (See: "Bush's State of the Union speech highlights crisis of US ruling elite").

The senator's discussion of the economic conditions in the United States, however, went considerably beyond the pallid quasi-populist rhetoric normally employed by many Democrats. He spoke bluntly about the widening divide between rich and poor and the vast chasm that separates corporate CEOs from ordinary workers.

In beginning his remarks, Webb said there were other urgent issues beyond the scope of his brief speech, including "such domestic priorities as restoring the vitality of New Orleans." This was an attack on Bush, who made no reference whatsoever to the greatest natural disaster in American history, an omission that exposed the utter indifference of the White House to the needs of the vast majority of the American people.

Webb continued: "When one looks at the health of our economy, it's almost as if we are living in two different countries. Some say that things have never been better. The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared. When I graduated from college, the average corporate CEO made 20 times what the average worker did; today, it's nearly 400 times. In other words, it takes the average worker more than a year to make the money that his or her boss makes in one day. Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world."

After hailing the passage by the House of Representatives of an increase in the minimum wage--a drop in the bucket compared to the actual social need--Webb turned to the subject of the Iraq war. He returned to the theme of economic inequality towards the end of his speech:

"Regarding the economic imbalance in our country, I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt."

In his description of the deepening social divisions in America, Webb was stating facts that are well known throughout the media and political elite, but almost never referred to publicly or seriously analyzed outside of the World Socialist Web Site.

He used language, including the phrase "class lines," that has been virtually banned from official bourgeois politics for many decades. Right-wing pundits and politicians regularly denounce any explicit reference to the socioeconomic polarization of American society as "class warfare," in effect declaring that the class contradictions in America are so severe that even to acknowledge their existence is impermissible.

A man of the military and state apparatus, Webb is himself an ardent anticommunist. The former Marine officer and Vietnam War veteran held high political office in the Reagan administration. But he is one of the more thoughtful representatives of the US ruling elite, and, as a successful war novelist, able to articulate his concerns.

His remarks are thus significant both for what he did say, and what he didn't. Webb drew very tame political conclusions from the explosive social facts he cited. He praised the example of a Republican president, Theodore Roosevelt, who struck a public posture of opposition to the excesses of the wealthy ("trust-busting"), in order to safeguard the profit system from the attacks of what Webb described as "demagogy and mob rule"--i.e., socialism.

In pointing to the growing class divide in America, the Democratic senator was addressing two audiences. He was, on the one hand, attempting to pump new life into the tattered myth of the
For the rest please go to:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/jan2007/dems-j25.shtml

Posted by: che | January 25, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

As I have said before, Jindal is the Louisiana version of failed New Jersey congressional, senatorial, and gubenatorial candidate Doug Forrester.

Jindal is extremely ambitious and arrogant and has moved (his actual residence) around the state trolling for elected office.

He previously ran for senate IIRC and lost, then against Blanco, and lost, and now, he is obsessed with the idea of defeating Blanco and winning the governorship out of spite, and to sooth his ego.

As long as he keeps running for stuff, the GOP will have no chance of taking the LA governorship or Landrieu's senate seat. :(

He needs to do what is best for his party, not what is best for HIM.

Apparently, if he can't defeat Blanco, he wants to run against Landrieu. Why doesn't he just give up already and let an electable candidate run?

He's exceedingly selfish, and probably has presidential ambitions. He just won't give up.

Jindal represents an educated, upperclass mostly white, conservative district of LA, and that is how he got elected to Congress in 2004.

But rural white voters will not vote for him (remember, David Duke won 60% of the white vote in LA when he ran for governor.)

Blanco is EXTREMELY unpopular, and that is the only reason Jindal may win.

But Blanco would be wise to step aside and let her friend Charles Melancon, a popular, conservative, rural Democrat to run for governor.

He would blow Jindal out of the water, no contest.

And Blanco would have the satisfaction of ensuring that her old enemy Jindal does not defeat her, and that she is succeeded by her friend Melancon.

If Jindal can't win in 2007, I don't see any way the LA GOP will let him run against Landrieu, one of the only 2-3 Dem senators the GOP MAY have a chance of taking down in 2008.

-----------------------------------------
By the way, KOZ...I'm just wondering...I assume you are more of a libertarian-leaning conservative?

You seem conservative on economic issues but liberal on social issues.

Given that, I'm surprised you arent concerned over the Patriot act, the wiretapping and all.

How do you stand on guns and immigration?
regards,

William

Posted by: William | January 25, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Why aren't you in the miltary, kofzouk? Are you a coward? I think you are. What other reason is there not to fight in a war you beleive in so much?

I think it's projection. You're allways calling dems cowards, because you know you are. Bullies always make big talk, hding in their mother's basment with their fuzzie slippers and computer.

Posted by: Lindsay | January 25, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Is this about race or a name? You failed to mention the implications for Bill Richardson is that because he has a white sounding name?

I also agree race will certainly play a factor but I think Ford's race in TN is much more predictive of how Obama's candidacy will play out.

Posted by: mountain man | January 25, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

In 1972, more than three decades ago, Danish lawyer and part-time politician Mogens Glistrup had an idea that brought him instant fame. To save taxes, he proposed that the Danish army be disbanded and an answering machine be set up in the defense ministry that would play the following message: "We capitulate!" Not only would it save money, Glistrup argued, but it would also save lives in an emergency. On the strength of this "program," Glistrup's Progress Party managed to become the second-most powerful political party in the Danish parliament in the 1973 elections.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,462149-3,00.html

Interesting idea for Dems to consider.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 25, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Nagin had been a Republican before he changed parties so that he'd have a chance of winning the New Orleans mayoral race. I've heard that one of the reasons for the bad blood between him and Blanco (and Landrieu) is that, although he had run as a Democrat, he supported Jindal, the Republican candidate in the 2003 gubernatorial race.

Posted by: THS | January 25, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Glenn -- This is in fact Ray Nagin. The file photo is from the 2003 campaign, FYI.

Posted by: washingtonpost.com | January 25, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I fail to see how the Jindal/Blanco election lends any predictive power to Obama's candidacy at all, no matter which way it turns out. The analogy seems contrived.

Posted by: Golgi | January 25, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The difference between Jindal and Obama is simple. Jindal is a Washington stooge, where as Obama is the real deal.

Will Senator Obama's race play a factor in the presidential race. Of course it will. To say it won't is naive.
The thing is Senator Obama can out politic anyone out there. He is smarter than pretty much everyone in the Senate, and he is the best public speaker America has seen since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But could Dr. King win the presidency? Not when he was alive, but who knows now.

Posted by: Andy R | January 25, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Is that Ray Nagin campaigning with Bobby Jindal in the photo?

Posted by: Glenn Gervasio | January 25, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I am afraid Senator Obama may face more difficulty than opinion polls taken regarding race generally indicate. People are willing to say that a candidate's race is not a factor, but will the voting booth bear this out? That being said, I do think Obama can win. Victory is possible, but why then has there only been two African American governors? Why is there only one African American in the senate? He is an amazing candidate in the level of interest he raises, and he seems more electable than a certain NY Senator whose negatives are so temptingly unmoving.

Posted by: Charles Coulter - Los Angeles | January 25, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

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