“I think people who try to put this sort of messianic mantle on Barack’s nomination are a little bit misguided,” he said.
John McWhorter, a self-described political moderate who is a senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute and a New York Sun columnist, said Obama’s Democratic Party victory “proves that while there still is some racism in the United States, there is not enough to matter in any serious manner. This is a watershed moment.”
“Obama is probably more to the left than I would prefer on a lot of issues,” he adds. “But this issue of getting past race for real is such a wedge issue for me. And he is so intelligent, and I think he would be a perfectly competent president, that I’m for him. I want him to get in because, in a way, it will put me out of a job.”
James T. Harris, a Milwaukee radio talk show host and public speaker, said he opposes Obama “with love in my heart.”
“We are of the same generation. He’s African American and I’m an American of African descent. We both have lovely wives and beautiful children,” Harris said. “Other than that, we’ve got nothing in common. I hope he loses every state.”
Moderate Republican Edward Brooke, who blazed his own trail in Massachusetts in 1966 as the first black popularly elected U.S. senator, said he is “extremely proud and confident and joyful” to see Obama ascend. Obama sent Brooke a signed copy of his book, inscribed, “Thank you for paving the way,” and Brooke sent his own signed book to Obama, calling the presumed Democratic nominee “a worthy bearer of the torch.”
Brooke, who now lives in Florida, won’t say which candidate will get his endorsement, but he does say that race won’t be a factor in his decision.
“This is the most important election in our history,” Brooke said. “And with the world in the condition that it is, I think we’ve got to get the best person we can get.”
Williams, the commentator, says his 82-year-old mother, who also hasn’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate, has already made up her mind.
“She is so proud of Senator Barack Obama, and she has made it clear to all of us that she’s voting for him in November,” Williams relates. “That is historic. Every time I call her, she asks, ‘How’s Obama doing?’ They feel as if they are a part of this. Because she said, given the history of this country, she never thought she’d ever live to see this moment.”
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