Star Parker

Who would have ever thought, when we were dozing off in the middle of John McCain's presidential campaign, that he'd reel in Sarah Barracuda and change the game overnight?

"Barracuda," of course, was what they called Gov, Sarah Palin when she was a star point guard on her high school basketball team.

I'm not fond of sweeping pronouncements suggesting that any development is "historic" or "changes things forever." But this time I'm giving in to temptation.

This presidential campaign is historic and will change things forever.

We've a black man on the Democratic ticket and a white woman on the Republican ticket, and both are out of the mold of conventional race and gender politics. The result will be, if not the end of race and gender politics, then certainly the beginning of the end.

The irony of the Obama candidacy is that it did not begin to soar until it was clear to blacks that this was not business-as-usual black politics. This was much different from electing a black candidate in a racially gerrymandered district that practically guarantees that a black is elected.

Consider the contrast between Obama and now ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick has just agreed to resign his position as mayor, despite eight felony counts filed against him and overwhelming evidence that he lied to the Detroit City Council about his extramarital affair with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty.

Kilpatrick's shenanigans have cost Detroit taxpayers millions, including $8.4 million used to settle a whistleblower lawsuit filed to expose his affair.

Despite the compelling case against him, and huge costs imposed on taxpayers, Kilpatrick hung on to his mayoral job for almost nine months after the Detroit Free Press broke the story that he was lying about his affair.

It took Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm to agree, at the request of the Detroit City Council, to preside over a hearing on whether to remove him to cause him admit he lied and step down.

What fueled Kilpatrick's stubbornness in the face of obvious guilt? The sense that he could hide behind race.

Many Detroit blacks dug in with their support of Kilpatrick as white suburbanites called for his resignation.

He even pulled the gender card when he lied under oath.

"My mother is a congresswoman. There have always been strong women around me," he testified. "I think it's absurd to assert that every woman that works with a man is a whore. I think it's disrespectful, not just to Christine Beatty but to women who do the professional job that they do every single day."

Star Parker

Star Parker is founder and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501c3 think tank which explores and promotes market based public policy to fight poverty, as well as author of the newly revised Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can do About It.